How did you find your particular writing style? A creative writing class, a teacher, a format or something else?
Do you write differently for different genres?
We all find a process that allows us to convey our story in the best way is good – right? There are several styles that utilize words/language, sentence structure, and paragraph structure, to convey our meaning effectively in respect of the genre we write.
Last week’s question: How important is research to you when writing a book? What have you researched for you current manuscript?
For me, research is half the fun of writing. Even with the convenience of today’s Internet, I still enjoy thumbing through “real” reference books: highlighting, underlining, dog-earing pages, sticky noting, etc. My most recent research project has been on cremation.
I have researched medieval physician’s healing techniques, the circumstances of how a body can dry out and become a husk, natural substances that prevent pregnancy or induce sterility.
The first book in this new series, What the Cat Knew was actually inspired by a dream my husband had! I hadn’t written any paranormal before this, haven’t written any kind of fantasy for decades, and I decided to give it a try.
How did you come up with the title?
I brainstormed a number of ideas, checked to see how many were already in use, and tried them out on the cover to see how they looked. The “cat” themed title has carried through the first three books, I’m not sure whether it will carry through the rest of the series.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are a number of messages in What the Cat Knew; that people should be what they are and pursue their natural talents; that things are not always as they appear; not to judge a book by its cover; that there are many different kinds of talents; and one that is fleshed out more in the next two books… the issue of consent.
How much of the book is realistic?
These books are paranormal mystery, so there are witches, spiritual messages, other psychic phenomena and magical races. But it is a balancing act between the concrete, “real” world that Reg has always tried to survive in, and the new magical world she is just getting to know.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In some of my books, yes. In What the Cat Knew, there is not much that is pulled from my own experience.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
You can find me on most social media with the name pdworkmanauthor.
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
I have three books written in the Reg Rawlins, Psychic Detective series so far, and you can expect more after that. You can find out my plans for the rest of the year at https://pdworkman.com/upcoming-in-2019
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I created this spin-off series from the Auntie Clem’s Bakery series because I liked Reg Rawlins so much and saw that she had a lot of potential as a character, so she is at the top of the list. But I also really enjoyed the psychic cat, Starlight, and Sarah, the feisty old witch. The villainous Corvin is a lot of fun to write and really rounds out the story and adds intrigue. In books two and three, I started to explore some other magical races and have had a lot of fun with Callie and Ruan.
Of all of the stories/series that I am working on right now, the character I think I am enjoying the most is Zachary Goldman.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I write crime fiction, but that has turned out to be quite a wide umbrella, ranging from suspense/thriller to P.I. mystery, to cozy mystery, and now paranormal cozy mystery. I have both young adult and adult books and series. They all tend to focus on outcasts, underdogs, and social issues.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
For thirty years I only wrote seat-of-the-pants. I have been writing using mind-maps and outlines the last few years, but I still occasionally pants a novel here and there. Because I am writing a lot in series right now, the books tend to develop a general shape that is reflected in each book in the series, so there is less planning to do in the later books, and I am settling into a sort of minimalist outline plan right now.
What is your best marketing tip?
I struggle with marketing. It doesn’t come nearly as naturally as the writing itself. Learn from others, try new things, and be willing to stick with what works.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
While I am in a number of writing groups, I tend to answer other people’s questions more than to write mine. It can be good entertainment, but I find it best not to spend too much time on social media.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I like to work out the emotions I am feeling and get my thoughts down on paper, to produce something that both entertains and makes people think. I love the creative process and sitting down and rereading my characters’ stories again and again.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I wrote my first novel-length fiction at age 12. I have always loved writing and making books and have some of the little construction-paper books that I stapled together written in scribbles before I could even read or write.
What genre are you currently reading?
I am reading a murder mystery right now. I read a lot of crime, with some YA, literary, and nonfiction thrown in.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
I read mostly for pleasure. I do a lot of research, but generally rely on articles and short non-fiction rather than novels. I don’t generally analyze the writing of the fiction books I am reading, though I do take note if there are things I particularly like or don’t like.
Do you see writing as a career?
I am hoping to make it my full-time career in the next couple of years. I currently work full-time hours at my writing business as well as at my day job.
P.D. Workman was born and raised in Alberta, Canada. She writes riveting young adult and mystery/suspense books dealing with mental illness, addiction, abuse, and other social issues. She has won several literary awards from Library Services for Youth in Custody for her young adult fiction. She currently has over 30 published titles and can be found at pdworkman.com. She has been married for 25 years and has one son.
Yes with my newest book, it did exhaust me because of all the research and due to the fact I have a vision problem.
2. How many writing groups do you attend? How does it help your writing?
I am currently with several writing groups. The Inspiring Writers, Authors in the News, and Christian Ebook Writers. Each group is very helpful to me and have helped out a lot by giving me good advice and it has saved me a lot money.
3. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
My last book, Tales from a Closet has to stand alone because it is fiction and the content is different from my latest book, which is The Legacy of Christ. In turn this book will be linked to a following one.
4. How long have you been writing?
I began in high school but then continued in college although I questioned my ability as I lacked experience. However, after attending a creative writing class, my tutor encouraged me to submit several poems to a contest. I won an award, was named poet of the year and invited to California to read them.
5. What does literary success look like to you?
For me it isn’t just about money but getting myself out there and my message in helping the Westminster Church of Detroit. And hopefully donating to the church.
6. Which is harder to write fiction or non-fiction?
Since I am a fiction writer, I find this easier as non-fiction books can be challenging. That is why it took me eight months to research and write The Legacy of Christ. I feel I was commissioned to write the book.
7. What do your plans for future projects include?
I do plan to write another book but will have to research a lot for it and also to save in order to get it published.
8. What was your hardest scene to write?
For me it was the telling of Christ’s life.
9. How many hours a day/week do you write?
It depends on the story and what information I need but mostly I can write for hours. If I’m working on an ebook it can take up a whole day at a time.
10. How do you select the names of your characters?
When it comes to naming character I go with past experiences, such as ex boy friends.
11. What inspires you?
Life is what inspires me. I love to see the words come to life on paper. life is what inspires me I love to see the words come to life on papper .
12. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I feel like it would be a kitten, or baby bird because they grow to be great bird flying high. I think my work can soar too.
I’m sharing my story of my first visit to Canada – this will be published in my writing group’s Canada 150 special anthology.
My First Taste of Canada by Mandy Eve-Barnett
My first visit to Canada was in the early eighties, a last big vacation before starting up my company, knowing vacations would be impossible for at least a few years while the company grew. I believed, at the time, that it would be a once in a lifetime trip.
Arriving in Edmonton in late July invaded my senses with big city life. A country girl all my life with only occasional trips to London, UK for art galleries, museums and shows, the buzz of the city around me was hard to acclimatize to – the heat, noise, fumes, people and sirens – all assaulted my senses. Added to this was attending the unforeseen wedding ceremony and reception of a distant cousin. My mind became blurred at names and faces of people I had no real knowledge of before that day. Maybe a few too many glass of cheer didn’t help!
The next day my Uncle and Aunt took me on a tour of the city sights, I marveled at the height of the buildings – glass and metal reflected the heat and I quickly became uncomfortable. Air conditioning, an unknown phenomenon until then, was soon my best friend. Large department stores all encased in cool aired malls saved me from heat exhaustion. Fashions, ornaments, accents and manners intrigued and delighted me. An evening meal at a nice restaurant satisfied, but a visit to a local club with a younger cousin was more enlightening than first expected. The club looked like many discos of the era and it took me a while to realize the absence of young men. Not knowing my cousin very well I was wary to ask the obvious question. All was revealed once we sat down and the lights dimmed. One after the other male strippers entertained the all female audience. With a room full of excited and tipsy women the doors opened to the young men who had queued outside waiting on nine o’clock. It was certainly an experience!
My Uncle and Aunt owned a small RV and this was our mode of transport to Vancouver, their home town. Our route would take us through the Rocky Mountains and until I saw those magnificent structures I had no field of reference to their size and magnitude. Used to rolling hills and lush greenery these monoliths in dark steel grey, snow capped and craggy were awe inspiring. Mile upon mile of evergreen firs spread outwards in all directions, rising sharply to the base of the mountains and becoming sparse on the rocky outcrops. Taking it all in was mind blowing; my head turned this way and that at speed trying not to miss a single view, a glimpse of a wild animal or roaring river.
After several hours we took a rest stop in what seemed to me an isolated cabin restaurant overlooking a lake. The food was good, the ability to walk and stretch even more welcome. Just as we were leaving a thundering sound filled the air and the owner of the establishment urged us outside. Fearing something awful was about to happen I stayed close to my Uncle. We stood in awe as an avalanche crashed its way down the mountainside on the far side of the lake. The sound echoed around us, the ground beneath our feet shivered, and our chests felt the shock wave of air as it rushed past. In that moment I understood the absolute power of nature, trees snapped like twigs, huge boulders rolled and were consumed and the landslide of snow and ice crashed into the lake water making a tidal wave. Nothing could stop that power, that motion.
When the last of the avalanche snow slid downwards, we returned into the restaurant by kind invitation of the owner to celebrate with a glass of champagne. He admitted in the fifteen years he had owned the restaurant it was the first avalanche he had seen. We were there no more than an hour and a half and witnessed such a spectacular event. I will always remember the sight and sound of that avalanche it has stayed with me for decades.
Our onward journey was not without more adventure however. The temperature dropped quite significantly as we drove further into the Rocky Mountain range and I huddled under a blanket, peering out at the scenery that changed dramatically as the sky became overcast. Snowflakes began to fall much to my surprise but not to my Uncle and Aunt, who assured me it was common in the higher altitudes. The snow fell heavier and the mountains disappeared under a white curtain. Our reduced speed and burgeoned windshield wipers made me anxious but my Aunt comforted me saying my Uncle had driven in such conditions before. Then there was a sputter, a sudden decrease in speed and then all was quiet. The engine died and I saw my relative’s shoulders tense. Now what? Unfurling a map my Uncle plotted his route and estimated our location.
“There is a hotel around the next bend, if I’m correct on our position. We will make it that far.”
Easing the RV along slowly he inched our way toward the hoped for hotel. At the bend we saw a grey shape materialize and formed into a hotel. Spluttering to the front of the building the RV stalled as if to say my work is done. There were only a couple of vehicles outside the hotel so my Uncle went in to investigate. On his return he advised us the hotel staff were working on a grand opening after a refurbishment and that they were not actually open yet. However, understanding our predicament they made up a couple of rooms for us and one young man helped fix the RV the following morning, allowing us to continue to Vancouver. A place I really loved mainly due to the ocean view and salty air so like home for me.
Canada is now my home and I have come to know a small part of it through incredible road trips with my dear friend, Linda. I will never ‘see’ all of Canada – the continent is just too vast but my experiences and friendships have given me some knowledge of Canada and it’s inhabitants.
I’m too excited to wait so I’m posting this event now! My fellow author pal, Eva Blaskovic and I are having a joint book signing on 8th July at Audrey’s Books, Jasper Avenue, Edmonton 12:00 – 1:00 pm. Everyone is welcome!
Come and see our new and improved novels, get your book signed and ask us questions on the stories or our writing process.