Stephannie FAQs

 I love hearing my readers, but before you email me, please check below to see if your question has already been answered or if it may have been answered in my Book FAQs. I get a lot of the same questions, and I’ve tried to put the answers in one easy-to-find-the-answers place!

Q) When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In 1999, I read an article that stated that all those who write are writers, published or not. I started thinking of myself as a writer from that moment on.

Q) What is your writing process?

I love planning. I love figuring out who my characters are, what they look like, what they want, what I’m going to make them do, and the world they live in. I like outlining the story, but not to death. I’m not going to be drawing detailed maps are fill out pages of unless information about my characters. As long as I know where to start, where they are going to be mid-story, what the climax should be, and how it all turns out, that’s enough planning for me.

Q) What are your favorite things about writing?

Daydreaming.

I love figuring out who my characters are, what they look like, what they want, what I’m going to make them do, and the world they live in. I like outlining the story, but not to death. I’m not going to be drawing detailed maps are fill out pages of unless information about my characters. As long as I know where to start, where they are going to be mid-story, what the climax should be, and how it all turns out, that’s enough planning for me.

The first draft can be scary, especially at the beginning, but it’s still fun. It’s the later work, like editing, revising, and proofing that are my least favorite things. It’s necessary for a good book, but very tedious. It gets to the point I almost hate my books and never want to read them again. It’s one of the reasons beta readers are so important.

Q) Do you have stories that sound good in concept but suck when you write them? Will they ever be published?

At last count I have 20 stories started and 18 abandoned and alone in my filing cabinet. This doesn’t include the numerous snippets of story ideas that languish in my digital filing cabinet waiting for their moment in the spotlight.

I find that most failed stories happen when there is a spark of an idea but no planned ending to write toward. Without a goal they don’t work.

Some of those story fragments will end up in other work, others will never see the light of day. I’ve cannibalizing bits and pieces in future work.

The largest of note is The Raven King. The story is a monstrosity that was nearly 400 pages which I went through and cut out all the melodrama and concepts that could have been cool once but that did nothing for the story. It comes down to figuring out the problem with piece and cut out everything that made it a mess until the basic plot was a sound one.

Q) Why did you chose indie/self-publishing? And will you ever consider traditional publishing?

The short answer is that half way through my second novel (2008) I started to study the publishing industry and I was wary of what I was reading about the changes in traditional publishing world. Then I read an article about being a professional writer and all the things that I would need to do to “make it”. The one point that drove it home was deadlines and the importance of meeting them once you sign a contract, and I  tried to imagine meeting those deadlines with my 1 and 18 month old children, my responsibilities on the Ranch, and some family issues.

The thought of the stress level plus the idea of  crank out book after book so that I wouldn’t be forgotten, wasn’t worth it to me. The enjoyment of writing is in writing and sharing the stories I have clamoring around in my head. I didn’t want an editor to tell me what I had to change in my book to meet the current trends. I didn’t want the pressure of writing what the industry believes sells rather than what I enjoy.

If it wasn’t for another Indie author mentioning self-publishing I probably would have a cabinet of unpublished manuscripts that no one would get to see. The idea of self-publishing my books made sense to me, for my lifestyle it still makes sense to me 8 years later. I would rather write a book I would enjoy reading and hope that someone else does too, then write something I don’t like just because someone thinks it will sell.

Q) I’m new to writing and publishing. Do you have any advice to give writers like me?

Write what makes you happy. It doesn’t matter if it’s fantasy, fiction, romance, thrillers, non-fiction, horror, or erotica. Do what works for you. If that’s writing everyday, then write every day. If that’s creating a project folder of maps, research, character sketches, setting sketches, outlines, etc. Do it. If it’s just writing without a plan, have fun at it. Don’t let anyone tell you what you must do, or the right way to write.

We are all different and as long as we all end in the same place, a completed written work, who gives a shit how we got there.

Q) What does your writing schedule really look like?

It really depends on the time of year and what is happening in my life.

  • School Months: Once school starts my days are open from 7am to 3pm, Tuesday to Friday.
  • School Months, Swing Shift: Because my hubby works for the Department of Transportation, once the snow flies, he’s on swing shift. Every other month he’s home either in the morning hours or the evening hours. This can interfere with my my 7am to 3pm workday.
  • Summer months: Kids are home all the time and as they get older they need me around less and less. I usually work in the earlier morning time and take them outside once it gets warmer. If I’m lucky I can get back to work later in the evening.

 

Q) I’ve always wondered, what are romance writers like in Real Life?

I’ve found that most romance writers of my acquaintance are like everyone else, normal people with small eccentricities that make them who they are. Many of them are introverts, which in this extrovert run world is sometimes considered weird. Very few of them live the lives they write about. Many of them are comfortable with the idea of sex, have healthy relationships, and love telling stories about romance.

As for me, in Real Life I am basically the same as who I am online.

  • I’m passive-aggressive. At least that’s what an ex-friend told me when I wouldn’t argue with her over a subject that did matter to me. I like to say that I’m a peace-maker who picks my battles.
  • I’m an introvert. I hate large crowds, although I’ve been told I’m a good public speaker.
  • I’m happy to be a hermit, or as close to it as I can be living with three other people. If I hadn’t met my hubby, I would be more than happy to live alone for the rest of my life. Now that I have him and my kids, I wouldn’t trade them for peace and quiet of living alone.
  • I’m a ranchhand. I help hubby out with the Ranch whenever possible, even when it cuts into my writing and book design time. I’d rather put in the extra work to make up the time then leave him to work alone.
  • I’m occasional inappropriate. The song about the guy laughing at a funeral comes to mind. Yes, I’ve done that, though discreetly and you had to be there to understand why.
  • I’m passionate about books, publishing, my business, and my writing.
  • loyal to my loved ones and will defend them fiercely.
  • I love to write and enjoy being the Goddess of my worlds and playing with my imaginary friends as I send them on adventures and laugh over something funny they do.
  • I prefer my novels to have romance and sex in them, even if it’s just secondary to the story.
  • I love and adore my husband of 10 years and my kids. I would do anything for them.

In a nutshell that is me.


I still have a question for you

Now if you’ve still got questions that weren’t answered on this page or you’d like a more in-depth answer to, I’d love to hear them, and I’ll try to answer them as soon as possible. Chances are, if you have a question, then someone else does, too.