Novel ideas – many people ask where I get ideas for my novels. The answer is: many different places!

I usually have an idea for my next novel before I finish the one I’m working on. This wasn’t the case with the novel I’m currently writing. I thought maybe I was done. But, apparently not! I’m busy laying the groundwork for my fifth novel. Not my favorite part of the process, but necessary just like the firm foundation of a home.

I like to write each novel around a theme. This helps me stay focused. It’s so easy to wander off into someplace unknown without this central theme. Readers may not be aware of the themes of each novel. And that’s okay! My main goal is that readers enjoy the stories I write as much as I enjoy writing them. (A Grave in the Vegetable Garden theme: justice; A Table on Kilimanjaro: success; The Smallest of Waves: freedom; North of Eden: truth; Novel Five: the air we breathe).

Readers sometimes wonder if I’ve fashioned a character after them. No, I haven’t. At least not that I’m aware of – =) A number of years ago, I attended a fabulous weekend seminar where I learned how to build character thanks to author Drusilla Campbell.

Writing a novel requires discipline. The best writing advice I ever read was to write at least fifteen minutes every day. That way, you don’t have to waste time reviewing what you wrote. You will remember it. And, in fact, I’ve found you’ll think of your novel throughout the day. Some of my best writing sessions have happened while I’m bicycling. There’s something about the rhythm of pedal pushing that unlocks ideas and solves challenges I might be having moving a story forward.

When I’m writing, I’m open to ideas. Being open brings up all sorts of opportunities to apply new thoughts to my writing process, helping me describe settings and build characters.

Bottom line: I’m curious. I’ve never stopped learning, and I hope I never do.