What is the hardest chapter or scene you’ve written so far?
Chapter Thirty-Seven of Luke's book. Y'all ... I just didn't want to do it, but it had to be done. And I'm not an emotional person. I don't cry over books or movies (except for that one time in the theater watching Marley and Me ... I mean, how could you not cry?!) but I may have choked myself up multiple times writing that chapter/scene and even during the read-throughs.
Do you write solely for yourself or to deliver to readers what they want?
I'd probably say a little bit of both. I mean, I want to give readers books that they are going to love and want to read again and again, but I have to be invested in the story in order to write it. So while I do write with my readers in mind, I mostly go with what feels right to me and hope for the best :)
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Ugh, the internet. It's a beautiful thing and can be so helpful when you need to do some quick research, but it's so dang distracting!
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Internet, specifically social media. I waste too much time dithering about online, when I should be writing. I've gotten so bad that I reward myself with internet time when I complete a certain number of pages.
What is the hardest scene you’ve written so far, and why?
It's a spoiler so I can't tell the specific scene, but anyone who has read Along the Way Home will know it as when Kate is in the tent with her brother, and Jake is trying to take something from her and she refuses. I cried hard when I wrote that scene, and EVERY SINGLE TIME I revised it. The concept behind it is based in the real stories of travelers of the Oregon Trail, and it was heartbreaking to think that real people had suffered through such horrific tragedies and had to face such heartbreaking decisions.
Samantha St. Claire
Do you write for yourself or . . .
I believe that our readers are living out their own versions of the universal story and in that process are looking for answers played out in the lives of our fictional characters. In that respect, I do write for my readers, but I choose themes about which I feel a passion. Whether it’s the loneliness of singleness or fears of isolation, or where true happiness resides, I want the theme to drive the story and take us both to a satisfying ending with a clear resolution. As a result, I hope my stories will resonant with readers, giving them something to take away and ponder when they turn the final page.
Hardest book to write . . .
The most difficult book for me was the one I completed this summer, still in revision. The theme dealt with the paralyzing effect of fear on all aspects of our lives and how to break those bonds that rob us of our joy. The story characters had to overcome some towering life issues. Finding the answers took me to some dark places as I attempted to get into the minds of the story players. In fact, I had to take a few weeks away before writing the crisis and climax of the plot. It was all too close to home.
But the ending came in a rush of words just as spring bursts into my garden. The answers arrived like the budding peonies, slow and wondrous.
What advice would I give to my younger self?
I would advise myself to listen to my inner voice and take the call to write seriously, not waiting for a better time or making excuses of the lack of time. Had I heeded that message, the many books in my head now might be written.
MK McClintock/McKenna Grey
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I've been to and lived in a lot of great places, though I did not know at the time that some of those travels would become settings for my books. North Carolina and Maine are settings in a couple of my Kyndall Family Thriller books (contemporary) and Scotland made it into one of my British Agent novels (historical). A lot of my books are set in the Rocky Mountains, where I've lived most of my life. I love being able to add authenticity to my writing by visiting the settings of my stories.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Quieting all of the voices from other stories while trying to focus on the present voices. I always have a lot of ideas for different books bobbing around in my imagination at one time (different genres and time periods, too). It can be distracting, so before I sit down to write, I do a 10-minute session of yoga, write a blog post, or read the previous chapter from my current work-in-progress, just something that will help me focus on the story in front of me. It's not easy making other characters and ideas wait their turn.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both! I'm energized while writing, and after I finish a writing session, the "high" carries me through the next half hour or so. Then exhaustion sets in and I crash and just want to relax and think about nothing. If I've written a scene of death, dying, or crying, my energy drains faster, but while I'm in the writing zone, there's not much need for chocolate because the writing itself is so invigorating.
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