The Writing Process Blog Hop with Author Christine Plouvier

Christine’s Book! Click the image to grab a copy on Smashwords.

Here’s the second part of that Blog Hop I started with Joe Mahoney – my Q&A with Christine Plouvier!

AM: Question 1: Tell us about the character Dillon Carroll – who is he and where did he come from in your imagination?

CP: Oh, gee! I don’t know where Dillon came from. One day I had the inside of my head to myself, and the next day, there he was, unpacking his kit. Dillon is a celebrity journalist and political pundit who is in the latter part of a lengthy career, and whose routine becomes a rout after he encounters an American baby-boomer genealogist, camping at his ancestral farm in one of the Gaeilge-speaking areas of Ireland.

I’m what’s called a “pantser” writer, meaning that I don’t outline or “plot,” so everything that happened to Dillon was a complete surprise to me. He’s one of several characters in Irish Firebrands who carry some serious psychological baggage into relationships that can only get worse before they get better.

AM: Question 2: Your background is so varied and interesting – can you share an anecdote from your years in military intelligence?

The lady herself.

CP: Yikes! Ask me an easy one. My last duty station was at the National Security Agency. Contrary to popular belief, NSA really isn’t very interested in little people like you and me. I worked in a large room with no windows, many desks, and a huge world map mounted on one long wall, which was covered with black draperies when anyone whose security clearance was inadequate needed to enter the room. My job had to do with drawing charts and graphs about submarine activity, using
colored pencils. The men who worked that desk would throw away the pencils when they were only half ground down, and when I would come on watch, I’d fish the pencils out of the burn bag in the waste basket, and take them home. By the time I got out of the service and started my family, I had a coffee can full of colored pencils that were just the right size for little kids to use: Spy pencils that got a new lease on life, decorating coloring books.

AM: I love that visual of the pencils getting a whole new life!

AM: Question 3: The Passions of Patriots sounds incredible – what can you tell us about that story you are developing? When can we expect in print?

CP: Oh, wow. Another hard one. The idea for The Passions of Patriots came from a scene in Chapter 30 of Irish Firebrands, when Dillon Carroll learns that his grandfather was in the British Army. The story is partly about Dillon’s paternal grandparents, and their struggles to survive the tumultuous years of the early 20th century, in Ireland and
in Europe. The other main character is a young Bavarian whom Dillon’s grandfather meets on the Western Front. I have most of the interpersonal stuff and about half of the First World War stuff roughed out, but I still have all of the Irish history part to do, so
I’m afraid it’s going to be a while yet, before it sees the light of day. (I write epic-length books.) But I’m almost ready to start a dedicated blog for The Passions of Patriots. Right now it’s piggybacking on the Irish Firebrands blog.

AM: Well I can speak for myself at least – can’t wait till you finish your latest epic venture. Thanks for stopping by Christine!


The Writing Process Blog Hop with Author Joe Mahoney

A quote to live by

I’ve been tagged by friend and author Joe Mahoney to participate in a Blog Hop (who in turn was tagged by his sister, author Susan Rodgers).

The way this Blog Hop works is he asks me a bunch of questions, which I answer here in my blog, and then I somehow convince two other bloggers to do the same for me.

Here are Joe’s questions and my answers:

1. After working at the CBC for many years, and with a bright future ahead of you there, you made the incredibly courageous decision to give it all up to focus on your writing, even though at the time you had no publishing contract. How were you able to do that? Do you miss the day job? What advice do you have for other aspiring writers dreaming of taking the same path?
It didn’t feel courageous at the time, I promise you that. It felt foolish and a little selfish to take such a promising future leading digital strategy at CBC Radio and put it aside to follow a dream. But at the same time, and you can attest to this Joe, for the first time in my life it didn’t feel like a choice. I was being pulled so strongly towards the writing, towards Portia that I knew if I didn’t give it and her my undivided focus that I would regret it for the rest of my life. I am so glad I listened to the voices in my head and parted ways with the full-time job. I am also so glad I could do it with (I believe) grace and my head held high. From the time that I was a little girl I knew I wanted to work at the CBC, and I did, for a decade and a half. I will never forget that place, the accomplishments or the great friendships I made there. I guess my advice would be to do the same – to listen to the voices in your head, and try to trust them.

2. Jewel of the Thames is your first novel. What have you learned about the craft of fiction during the writing of this book? Is there anything you know now you wish you had known at the beginning? Can you describe your writing process?
Oh good gosh I’ve learned so much it would be hard to get it all down. I learned a lot about my own writing style – that I prefer action to description and dialogue. I learned that often what people don’t like in your novel has nothing to do with you or your writing, but comes from their own preferred style of writing (something I keep in mind when I grade my student’s papers now!). I don’t think there’s anything I wish I had known when I started this process, I just learned <I think> in the natural order of things. My writing process is pretty simple, I write long-hand in moleskin notebooks, generally starting with a case I want Portia to take on and then expanding from there. I do my full first drafts that way, and then do a lot of editing while transcribing from notebook to laptop.

3. What are your future plans for detective Portia Adams? Do you have any other projects in mind that don’t involve her?
Portia has many more casebooks in her future (seven more casebooks are written, and I’m writing the eighth and ninth right now), but I also have a time-travel series that I’ve started and a dystopic YA short-story that I’d like to turn into a full novel. So lots of writing on the go!


Here are the bloggers I’ve tagged:

Christine Plouvier

Miss Christine!

Christine Plouvier was reading and writing at age 4. Her early career included manufacturing in the electronics and automotive industries, and she is a Navy veteran. She raised three sons and a daughter while earning an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Health Education/Community Health, and a Master of Science
in Healthcare Administration.Christine worked eighteen years as a Certified Childbirth Educator and more than twenty years as a Registered Nurse. Her prior works include several crochet patterns published by two magazines, and two privately published self-help
manuals. Now she writes novels: in 2013 she released Irish Firebrands (a contemporary romance that crosses five other genre lines).She is now producing an audiobook of her first novel, and is writing her second, The Passions of Patriots (about the early 20th century Irish wars and the First World War). Her interests include the life transitions that can drive – and be driven by – the hidden agenda of the mind.She lives in Indiana with Oliver, a white cat that has black spots, soft fur and a good disposition, but which chooses to answer only to “Kitty.”

Advice from a successful author: Wynne Channing

The fight for survival begins
The fight for survival begins

I was fortunate enough to have dinner last night with the delightful author of What Kills Me – Wynne Channing.

Not only is Wynne charming and witty (as I suspected her to be based on how she writes her main character Axelia) but she’s one of those wonderful authors who actually wants you to succeed.

Wynne writes a very quick-paced detail-rich adventure story that quips at you like a best-friend you’re on the run with.

She had some great advice for me on self-publishing, finding an agent, getting a great book cover (like hers!) and how important it is to keep writing while I was doing all of that.

If you haven’t read her very original vampyre story (notice I gave it the respect I give REAL vampyre stories that don’t twinkle in daylight) I encourage you to download it quick before <spoiler alert> the next one in the series comes out.

Admitting to being a writer

Han Solo from Star Wars
Dining Solo?

Part of traveling for work means that I sometimes find myself eating meals solo, an anomaly in my life. Like the true nerd I am, I often pull out my notebook and write while I eat.

Tonight was one of those nights, as I spend my first night of three in Ottawa.

What was different tonight is that someone stopped walked by my table twice and then stopped to ask me if I was a writer.

For the first time I did not deny it. It felt good when I said: “Yes, yes I am.”

Weird eh?

For those of you who pay the bills in some other way, how do you answer that question?