An expert knows all the answers – if you ask the right questions. …Levi Strauss
I don’t presume to know all the answers because I’m no expert at anything. That might be a fun question to ask yourself. What are you an expert at doing? Hmm, none of you asked me that question, but it is tickling my imagination. I’d have to use my imagination because I don’t think I can claim expertise at anything. I might be a novice expert at stringing words together or enjoying grandkids or walking with dogs or finding flowers. I like to smile. Can you be an expert smiler? How about an expert at chasing rabbits? That’s what I’m doing here when I’m supposed to be answering your questions. Only three more questions asked by readers that I haven’t answered, but if you’ve thought up some question you want to ask, please leave it in a comment. Q & A time is always fun time for me, and if you ask the right question, I might know the answer.
So Melissa asks, “Do you ever dream about the characters in your stories?”
I dream a lot. Sometimes wild and crazy stuff. Sometimes boring, tiresome stuff. Over the years, a few nightmares too, but mostly my dreams are ordinary and even when I wake up and know they were exciting or fun, I get up and poof, they disappear. That’s why people who study dreams or want to analyze their own dreams keep a paper and pencil by the bed. I don’t. Occasionally a dream will stick with me and I can sometimes figure out why I dreamed it. But I don’t really work out plot problems in my dreams.
That’s not to say my subconscious doesn’t work on them while I’m sleeping. I believe that happens. I’ll have some bit in the story that just isn’t working or I need something else to happen. If I sleep on it, then often the idea comes through as though by magic. The magic of the subconscious.
I do think I’ve dreamed about Wes and Jocie, the characters in my Heart of Hollyhill books. I don’t know why I think that. It could be simply how those two talked in my head all the time while I was writing those stories. I had to “unfriend” them when I started writing my Rosey Corner books so that the new characters could start talking to me. LOL. But to answer your question, Melissa, I’d have to say I rarely dream about my characters. Thank goodness, they let me sleep.
One more writing question today. Paula asks, “Are you going to write any more books like Words Spoken True?”
So now you know why I have that book cover with the post. I’m sure you were wondering. I’ve heard this question or similar questions many times from readers. People will often ask me, in person or through messages, if I’m going to write more books about this or that character. Right now people are asking if I’m going to write more Hidden Springs mysteries. But I’ve also often been asked about more books about Jocie in the Heart of Hollyhill series or about the Merritt sisters in Rosey Corner. Lots of people say they’d like another Shaker book and I can say probably so on that one. I’ve even been asked before if I might write a sequel to Words Spoken True. My best answer is usually “Who knows? Never say never.” The truth is, I’d like to do all those things. I’d love to write another Hollyhill book. I even pitched a new Rosey Corner book to my editors and they nixed the idea. But I would love to go back and revisit those characters and let them whisper one more story about themselves in my writing ear. Another Hidden Springs mystery would be fun too. I’ve got some unfinished business there in Hidden Springs, but you have to wonder whether I can find any more unfortunate people to kill off.
But Paula’s question was about Words Spoken True. And she didn’t exactly say are you going to write a sequel so we can find out about Blake and Adrienne and whether they are still putting out the news. No, she asked if I’m going to write any more book like WST. That story does have a stronger romantic thread along with its dramatic history. I often tell people that story has everything but the kitchen sink thrown into it. It has newspaper history, political drama, and the terrible historical events of “Bloody Monday” that included mob riots. There are political parades. There are fancy balls and an old dog named Mr. O’Mallory. There’s even a serial killer, another bit based on something I read in an old newspaper.
So, my answer to Paula’s question would have to be no. Words Spoken True was a unique blend of history, romance and action. But then again, I might say I hope the answer is yes. I do want to write more stories that excite readers and make them want more stories “like that” from me. In fact, I hope my next story, These Healing Hills, is going to be like that. A blending of unique history, interesting characters and romance. I want all my stories to be the kind that make readers want to read more. It’s good when readers keep wanting to know what happens next even after they’ve read the last page in a book.
Have you ever read a book and wished there were more “like that?”
So, thanks for reading. I’ll get to that last question from Karen about my family next Wednesday. That will be good timing since it will be near Mother’s Day. And if you have a question about my writing or about anything, I won’t promise an expert answer, but we can talk about it here on One Writer’s Journal.