For those unfamiliar with speculative fiction
I first heard the term used to describe Sherry Gottlieb's bookstore, A Change of Hobbit. It was my favorite hangout when I was a teen, and only today through her site have I found out it is "the oldest and largest science-fiction and fantasy bookstore in the world." So if you want to know what speculative fiction is, read the fascinating story of why Sherry opened her bookstore. :)
For those unfamiliar with blog hops
They are sort of like the old-fashioned chain letters you used to get in the mail, where you get one and then you ask other people to keep it going. In this particular blog hop, apparently it used to be you tagged three other bloggers, but we have only seen one blogger tagged so far as we traced it back.
Anyway, how fun. On to the blog hop questions!
What am I working on?
My series is about how all dogs are really aliens from other planets. Dog Aliens 1 and Dog Aliens 2 are published, and I am working on Dog Aliens 3.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
My fantasy superhero is a dog. OK, I just Googled "dog superheroes" and got a Wikipedia page with ten, so maybe that's not so different after all. :( In case you wonder but aren't curious enough to click, they are:
1. Underdog (I can still hear the song in my head...)
2. Ace the Bat-Hound
3. The Comet Dog
4. Dynomutt, Dog Wonder
5. Goofy (Really? He doesn't seem like a superhero to me.)
8. Rex the Wonder Dog (Road Rovers)
9. Wonder Dog (Super Friends)
10. Yankee Poodle
OK, well, all the dogs in my dog stories are aliens. That's my other genre: dog story. Only, no one has made that a genre, so all of us 'dog story' authors have to list our stories under children's fiction > animals > dogs. What's up with that, Amazon? Barnes and Noble, any help? Kobo? Google Play? No? Now you know. All the dog stories are in Children's Fiction. Yep, even the really heavy dog stories like Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Oh, I know!
I write happy dog stories where the dog doesn't die at the end. There you go. That's how my work differs.
Why do I write what I do?
I write family-friendly, action-packed, humorous stories so that parents and grandparents can enjoy what they read to their kids and grandkids. Jean Baldridge Yates made the Raffle rock and the photo collage you see at the top of this post. Teachers write and tell me my books are in their 4th and 5th grade classroom libraries. I know families with 8-to-11-year-old kids where the whole family will read my books and discuss them together. One mother says my books are her 8-year-old's favorite books. I get such a kick out of all this! Hearing from readers is the best part of being an author.
How does my writing process work?
I am a slow writer. I type really fast; that's not the problem. I just don't have that many ideas, so I have to grab on to the ideas I do have and let them live in my imagination until I start to hear what the characters are saying to each other. Then, I write that down. :)
My first draft is almost all dialogue. Next, I go through and describe where the characters are and what they're doing. I make another pass through and tell what they're thinking. Another pass to make sure there are funny parts and silly parts. As I go through each time, I also tweak to make sure things make sense and the timeline is consistent. I keep passing through and adding stuff until my deadline.
I thought my writing process was weird and unique until I read Alexandra Sokoloff's blog: Screenwriting Tricks for Authors. She has posted a list of all the types of passes she does, in order of descending importance, until her deadline comes and she has to turn the thing in. It's uncanny how similar our two minds are, yet she writes horror while I write silly superheroes.
Tag! You're it!
I'm tagging Travis Hill, another author I know from KBoards, who writes all kinds of stuff, but one of his stories I've actually read (and really like) is It's Better This Way, which happens to be free right now on Kindle!
I love this bit Travis emailed me about his favorite activity:
"Trying to convince my wife that I need a ninja sword. I mean, they wouldn't sell the things on TV if they weren't invaluable weapons for when gangs of ninja suddenly crash through your living room windows, swords drawn."
P.S. Here you go, Travis!