I completed NaNoWriMo on 15th November 2019, which is the fastest I have ever managed to write the 50,000 words required. This left me with several options, one of which was to continue with this story, Seasons of an Affair and increase the word count to 70,000 plus to create a draft manuscript for future editing and revision.
However, a book I placed on order some time ago became available. This particular book is the story of a man, who escaped society and lived alone for 27 years. Known as the North Pond Hermit, Chris Knight existed in a make shift camp with no human contact for all that time. I initially read the newspaper reports when he was captured and it sparked an idea for a novel, along with two other strange news stories, this became my 2014 NaNo novel – The Giving Thief. After reading the book of his life (twice) I was plunged back into that story. Do I go back to it and complete it?
Then another on order book became available giving me my third option. This is a research book on steampunk, which is the genre of one of my 2018 NaNo projects. I used that NaNo challenge to write the sequel to The Rython Kingdom and launched Rython Legacy in 2019. However, the other ‘novella’ project for that year quickly expanded into a full length novel, The Commodore’s Gift, from a short story I’d written some time before. So I am tempted to revive this story line as well.
So which will I chose?
As a writer we all have multiple story ideas racing around our heads all the time. It is difficult to decide which story to choose when they all clamor for attention.
First of all, my book is not a novel but a self help book so I will try to answer the questions……
What inspired your latest novel?
In 1993 I left my husband and in leaving him lost everything for a time, my home, my job, my family and so on. I struggled to make sense of how I was feeling without any real help from the therapists I went to, the self help books I read, or any friends, etc. I talked to. I decided to return to University where I discovered the work of William James. It made sense of what I, not only, was experiencing, but also what my family was going through. Had no intention of ever writing a book about it, but after hearing everyone responding to 911, in much the same I felt in 1993, I decided I need to share what I had learned and so put it all down on paper.
How did you come up with the title?
William James developed a model of self in the late 1800’s – the title refers to how we, without being aware, are searching for that level of understanding.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
You are okay – no matter what is happening to you. It all makes sense if you take into account your whole journey through life. Only once you clearly understand your “self” you are you free to choose the next steps wisely.
How much of the book is realistic?
All of it, I hope.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are three main sources for the examples I use in the book, my own life and what I have learned from two groups of people who live on the extreme……those with autism and those who were sexually abused as children.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
Social media: facebook – interact with people all over the world on messenger through it. No blog as such, but do share thoughts through the notes section on facebook. Also have a website for my work in autism: www.autismconsultingservice.com
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
Have just completed my first novel – one I carried around in my head for 45 years. Currently have a couple more on the go. One is a murder mystery type, the other, the impact in a community in the midst of a world wide disaster. Don’t think I will be writing any more self-help books
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I like the main character in the murder mystery -Oliver Weary……he is a good man, in spite of what happened to him as a child, and spite of what the community at large assumes.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
Definitely a dabbler. Just finished a dinner theatre murder mystery for my family that worked out well, completing two very different projects in the moment: a manual for the work we do, and a short history of my grandfather’s life for my extended family as well as the two novels in progress.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
Am amazed at how, although one has planned out an outline, how stories take on a life of their own as time goes by.
What is your best marketing tip?
Wish I had one!!!
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
For me, it has been a great tool, but it does take time and energy to use it effectively.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
It is who I am and I delight in the freedom to do it at this point in my life. At a certain point in life, I actually burned everything I had written up till then, something I have regretted ever since. Not good to not live with the freedom to be oneself.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I don’t remember, did a lot of newspaper ideas as a child and carried on with them in high school and college – the childhood ones were all fiction, while the later ones were of actual happenings and shared with the community I was in at the time.
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
I think it has always been diverse.
What genre are you currently reading?
Current book of the moment is Emma by Alexander4 McCall Smith – a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s novel. We have a wee library close to our home and I currently get all of my reading material from it……so becomes very diverse based on what others have contributed.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
At this point, pleasure. Started researching both autism and the long term effects of childhood sexual abuse in the late eighties and basically gave up reading for pleasure for the next 20 years…..so it feels goo to get back to it.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My husband Clay
Where is your favorite writing space?
On the computer!!! So nice to have something that I can use that gets my thoughts down almost as fast as I can think them!! Have my own office in my home so that’s where the writing happens at this point. Have this dream of moving into at hotel for a stint and having everything looked after for me so all I needed to do was write, but fear it might end up too boring.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
No, not really – joined one last fall but nothing came of it…..
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Margret Lawrence – to thank her for a portion of The Diviner’s which explained how I was responding to life and what I needed to do to change it.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Right where I am. Love my home!!! But in the midst of that, also NEED to experience the energy of the mountains, the ocean and the old growth forests so make the effort to visit them at least once a year.
Do you see writing as a career?
Since I am almost at the age of 70, not really looking for a career. May have wanted it when I was younger but know now that the life I experienced has opened me up in ways that sitting at a desk never could have….and it is those experiences that make what I write powerful.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
No – drink a lot of coffee but rarely snack if ever.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
No deadlines at this point in life!!
Gail Gillingham Wylie, M.Sc. is an individual, marital and family therapist working in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada specializing in the field of autism. She has a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology from the University of Alberta and a Masters of Science in marital and family therapy from Loma Linda University, California. She has worked as a quantum biofeedback practitioner with SCIO since 2005.
Gail is known internationally through her books on autism: Autism Handle with Care (1995), Autism A New Understanding (2000) and Sharing our Wisdom (2003) and has spoken at many conferences on autism in United States, Canada, England, Malaysia and South Africa throughout the last quarter century. These include presentations at the World Conferences on Autism in Toronto in 1993, and Cape Town, SA in 2006. Her latest book In Search of Self takes her out of the autism world as it applies to each and every one of us.
Gail first began using the model of self as tool with her clients while working as a family therapist. She has successfully incorporated it into her sessions on the scio as it provides a visual map for those who are working towards self awareness. She fully believes that we are living at a time during which developing and unconditional acceptance of one self and of others is of prime importance. The model of self can help us do that.
Road trips have become a regular occurrence since I came to live in Canada. I have been given the gift of an awesome friend, Linda, who enjoys the open road and finding new places and experiences. We leave the main highways and travel the back roads discovering hamlets, small towns and wildlife. Most of our trips are long weekends but this week we incorporated a book fair event into our plans and are making a week long trip to explore new places.
Having new experiences, meeting new people and discovering places and scenery we would not otherwise know about, fuels the writing muse. Due to the length of our trip this time I made a list of writing projects I would like to complete. Possibly wishful thinking but with a plan in place it gives me a goal. So this is the schedule, although in which order they are accomplished is open to how I am feeling at the time.
Edit a fellow author’s manuscript.
Revise WIP – Rython Legacy with fellow author’s editing suggestions.
Complete an animal rescue story for submission to an anthology.
Continue writing my steampunk story, The Commodore’s gift.
Revise social media format/posts/branding.
Our trip so far (we left early on Sunday morning) has seen new places and the sighting of five bears! We also met a wonderful author by chance when we decided on an impromptu lunch in a small hamlet. We will visit local libraries and book stores on our travels as well because life is so much better with books.
When you open up yourself to new experiences you find abundance and food for the Muse.
Do you create a writing retreat/vacation writing schedule?
The event we will be attending is below, if you happen to be traveling that way. Find me & Linda on the Dream Write Publishing table.
Summer Oldstice Saturday 15th June
Host: Uptowne Olds
Description: Summer Oldstice Street Festival. Artists, Musicians, Performers, Bakers, Growers, Food Service vendors, handicrafters and more!
Tuesday’s this year will incorporate author interviews, writing news, the progress on my various writing projects and will be open to blog sharing.
If you would like to be interviewed or if you would like to share a blog post, your book news or events then please contact me with the details.
I am happy to connect with writers and authors no matter their geographical location or their writing experience. The more we share the better our writing community becomes.
As it is the first post of 2019, I will share my writing goals.
Firstly, I want to revise & edit the sequel to my fantasy novella, The Rython Kingdom. I have settled on a title – Rython Legacy. It is currently just under 30,000 words. I will participate in a NaNoWriMo workshop run by some of my writing group members in the next couple of months to get feedback on the story.
Secondly, the other novella I had planned for NaNoWriMo, grew to well over the novella length and continues to grow! It will be my first steampunk novel. It is exciting to write another genre. I have decided on the title: The Commodore’s Gift.
I will also host my writing group’s monthly meetings, attend book events and blog.
Yep it’s me today due to an author having to postpone her interview. I thought I should try my own interview to see how it felt!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It certainly energizes me, once I am into a story it embraces me in such a way I forget the world around me. My characters carry me along showing me what comes next.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Knowing which story to write…with so many ideas bouncing around my head it is difficult to pick one and stick to it. If an idea comes to me during another project I have to jot down notes, a paragraph or two to enable me to go back to the current WIP.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
To date I have not felt the need to be anonymous. I love to share my stories regardless of which genre I am writing.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I count myself lucky to have many author friends, whether virtual or local. My writing mentor is Linda Pedley, without her encouragement and support I would not be writing or indeed published. My writing group friends are very important to me as their feedback and fellowship are worth its weight in gold.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I write in multiple genres and go where the story takes me so mainly each book is a stand alone, however I was asked by readers of my fantasy novella, The Rython Kingdom to write a sequel and have written the first draft as part of NaNoWriMo this year.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Most certainly getting my books published with Dream Write Publishing. I was an integral part of the process and my vision for each book has been created.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I was lucky to have parents who encouraged reading from a young age and allowed my imagination to flourish through the portals of magic – books.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I may sound like an old record with this one – Ferney by James Long – is the ultimate reincarnation novel for me. I re-read it on a regular basis.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I have an affinity with tigers – solitary when they want but will protect their young with their life.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Goodness, let’s see a novella sequel, a steampunk novel, a western romance, a suspense/thriller and a possible short story collection.
What does literary success look like to you?
To have readers respond to me after reading one of my novels to say they enjoyed the story. Of course I would like one made into a movie but knowing my words are out in the world forever gives me a kick.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It depends on the genre, for example for my thriller I had to research how a body could dry up. While for my western romance I had to delve into barrel racing. Both of these took some time during the writing of each book.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
This depends on how many events, writers and board meetings I have as well as if there is a deadline but I try to write for several hours each week. My constant writing is creating three blog posts per week.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I look at the genre, geographical location and era of the narrative and the characteristics of the particular personality.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
The stories pick the genre, I follow the narrative and the genre becomes clear the deeper we go into the characters personalities.
How long have you been writing?
I began writing later in life so only around eight years. I have been making up for lost time ever since!
What inspires you?
A sentence heard or read, a picture, a writing prompt, a vista or an article on a fascinating subject. Inspiration comes from many avenues and I grasp them with both hands.
How do you find or make time to write?
I am quite structured in regard to my writing blog as I need to post three times a week so will write all three most commonly on Sundays. When it comes to fiction I tend to go in bursts so will hide myself away at my writing desk and let the words flow. If an idea hits me I will write until I feel I have the narrative captured.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I participated in NaNoWriMo this year and my plan was to write two novellas, however although one concluded nicely the other has grown beyond novella length already so will be a novel. Both of these will require editing and revision during 2019, which means my other two novels will get pushed back.
What do your plans for future projects include?
As above I have two NaNoWriMo projects to conclude but also have two other novels on the backburner. I am also considering a short story collection at come point.