Thanks for the questions. Let’s hop to them: 

Sally asked:  How far in advance do you work on a novel?
Give an example of how/when an idea came to you for one of your books.

Most novels have been percolating in my brain for over a year by the time I start to write them.  Every once in a while I’ll get an idea with an accompanying sense of urgency–THE DEBT–was one of those–and I know I’m supposed to write it ASAP.  That always involves writing my editor and explaining that though I’m contracted to write XYZ, I’d really like to write ABC instead.  To their credit, most editors will allow a writer to switch, because they all seem to want a writer to follow his/her passion.  

A novel requires four pieces before I can begin to assemble the puzzle:  the plot, the characters, the setting, and the theme.  I usually get the plot and/or setting first, and I create characters to fit the story.  For instance, I read about researchers in the rain forest canopy years before I figured out a plot, took time to go to the Amazon, and completed enough research to begin writing THE CANOPY.  

Right now, I have ideas in my head for the following stories:  a woman searching for an orphan in Guatemala, a story about a fake psychic, a story about a magical drugstore telephone, a story about three sisters, a story about Elizabeth I, and a story about a man given three pieces of prophecy about his life in his youth.  I have to find a publisher willing to contract them first, then I have to write them.  So some of those stories may be waiting a while, and I’m sure they’ll change a bit while they’re waiting.  That’s okay–it’s good for stories to percolate.  🙂 

Blogger Mocha with Linda Says: 11:35 AM  

Started Brothers yesterday and it is as good as I anticipated. Had to make myself go to bed last night!

What made you choose Simeon? I know Reuben convinced the others not to kill Joseph, and Judah has a “speaking part” in the Bible account of selling Joseph, but what captured you about Simeon? Or was it stuff later in the 12 tribes?

Simeon was chosen for me, as the Bible says he was the one chosen to stay behind when the other brothers went back to Canaan.  So he was the one who remained “on stage” with Joseph, so he was the one I chose to use as the protagonist.  Plus, the more I learned about his family background, the more interesting he became to me.  What a hothead . . . but what made him that way?  Hmmm.  That was the intriguing part of the puzzle.  

Thanks for joining me for another BOM! 



  1. Smilingsal

    Thanks for answering. It’s fascinating to me to “see” how your mind works!

  2. Kristine

    I love hearing the ideas you have. I can’t wait to see how they percolate over the next few years!

  3. Mocha with Linda

    Can’t believe I forgot Joseph was the one who picked Simeon to stay behind! LOL I was just caught off-guard by what a temper he had.

    Always enjoy your answers and your
    BOM features!


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