First, a quick link for anyone wanting a sneak peak at Tower of Strength:
My website is in the process of getting updated, but if you visit THIS PAGE, you can download the prologue and first two chapters.
Now for more answers to reader questions:
Stephanie Black asked: Are you ever going to publish the serial killer book you mentioned?
I hope so. (I mentioned this manuscript at the bottom of THIS post and then on THIS ONE, for those who missed it.) I'm toying with the idea right now, but I know that since I wrote it so many years ago, I'll want to do rewrites to polish it up. We'll see.
Stephanie also asked, in reference to how much I supposedly do: Do you ever sleep?
Actually, I'm huge on sleep. I knew a girl in high school whose health suffered majorly because of a lack of sleep. She had a home situation where she had to be mother, father, and still try to be a teenager who got decent grades. But she told me in no uncertain terms that nothing is worth losing your sleep over, because if you destroy your health that way, it'll affect the rest of your life. I took that to heart.
That said, I don't get quite as much sleep as I really need (I'm one of those freaks who needs 8 1/2 to 9 hours to function optimally), but I do make sure I get a solid 8 hours regularly.
The heart of the question, though, makes me laugh. I don't do nearly as much as people think I do. (I don't remember the last time I cleaned a toilet, for starters. That's what older kids are for. I rarely watch TV. I don't have hobbies, really. I simplify things as much as I can.)
Becky: What is the next project you are working on?
I've got a couple of pots in the fire right now. I'm revising a folktale (a young adult fantasy) that I'm really excited about. (I know . . . something totally different!).
I'm trying to finish up a grammar book so I can self-publish it in time for the LDStorymakers Conference in April, where I'm teaching a class on grammar and usage. That way attendees can buy it for reference.
After that, I'll be working on a chocolate cookbook. (Tough job. Man. Won't that be rough? :D)
But the next thing readers will actually see is my contemporary women's novel about what deployment is like for the women and families at home, which I submitted last fall. It should be out in about a year.
Josi asked a few questions. First: If you weren't a writer, what career goals would you have?
I'd probably want to teach at a university. Maybe be a linguist. (Shocker, right? Hardly. Not if you know Word Nerd Wednesdays!) Once upon a time I wanted to teach high school English. I don't think I'd have the patience anymore. College-age students sound about right.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Contrary to what many people probably think, it's NOT Anne of Green Gables. My favorite L. M. Montgomery book is The Blue Castle. (As much as I love Anne, that book doesn't make my Montgomery top five.)
In more recent years, I about fell over in awe reading The Poisonwood Bible. That's the kind of command of story, character, and language I aspire to. (I bow to Kingsolver's greatness!)
Also from Josi: What is the best compliment you have ever received about anything?
I remember standing on the north side of the Harold B. Lee library (which you can't do anymore because of the new addition) back when I was a BYU college freshman. I was chatting with my good friend Sheryl and Dan, a buddy we'd both known all through high school.
Out of the blue, he looked at both me and Sheryl and said, "You know, some day you two are going to be awesome moms."
A wow moment that's stuck with me all these years.
Heather: This is NOT to get you to say mine, I just always ask this question because I love finding out people's favorite things. SO, if you could only read one blog for the rest of your life, which one would it be? I know I know, so unfair.
Holy cow, I have no idea. Going to scroll through my Google Reader before I can answer. Cruel, cruel question, Heather!
The best I can come up with actually isn't a favorite, per se. I'd probably resort to reading Janet Reid or a similar blog so I could keep up with the publishing industry, or the Frog Blog, so I could keep in touch with a lot of my writer friends, since several write for that blog and even more hang out there.
Or I could totally cheat and say Writers in Heels, which is my feed aggregator (like a reader) for several friends' blogs and my own.
No way could I pick a favorite blog in the typical sense!
Mina: How do you balance your writing with being a mommy? And then how do you fit blogging in on top of that?
When the kiddies were younger, it was much, harder. (Although blogging didn't exist then, so that helped, I guess.) Back then I fit writing in during nap times or after bedtime, or I'd do it for one hour while they hung out with Dragon Tales or their latest favorite show.
As they got older (and into school) things have simplified. My youngest is now in kindergarten, so I really focus my writing time when she's there. I do a lot of blogging in the morning after the older kids are sent out the door and before she wakes up.
It's definitely a balancing act, one that I do better on some days than others (and better when I'm not on deadline than when I am . . .).
I will say, though, that with blogging, pre-posting is a blessing. I can squeeze in a post on one day when I have the time to write it and have it post on another day even if I'm busy that day. It brings me joy. :)
Another thing that helps is doing a lot of drafting on the fly, like in the doctor's waiting room or in the dance class lobby. If I plan ahead and know what scene needs to come next, I can crank out 1,000 words in 45 minutes on my AlphaSmart Neo. I do a lot of pre-planning and writing notes so I know what to expect of myself on any given day. I can make the most of my time like that.
More questions and answers coming next week.
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