Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Guest Author: Chris Redding

Mystery author Chris Redding agreed to let me interview her, and we're lucky to have her here. One of the things that is so frequently overlooked when talking about writing is the preparation work. Wej all have this fantasy that writers just sit down and...write. But months, if not years, of research go into every book to try to make it as accurate as possible. Chris is no exception as she mentions in this interview.

Chris Redding

Why did you decide to write?
I can’t not write. If I don’t write down what’s in my head, I can’t focus on anything else. My brain gets too cluttered.

How much research do you do?
This really depends on what I’m writing about. For A View to a Kilt, I actually spent a lot of time talking to a Philadelphia Detective. He taught me so much about investigating crimes. For Incendiary, not as much. My husband has been a volunteer firefighter for many years so I could pick his brain for that part of it. I was on a first aid squad for many years, so I already knew that part of it. For the novella I’m writing now I need to research what happens when a company goes public. It’s something I know nothing about so I will spend more time because there is a learning curve.

When do you write/what is your writing day like?
I write in the morning when I am writing new stuff. It’s when my brain is at it’s best. If I am revising, then I can do that anytime. I have to fit writing in between kids, husband, part time job and the morning, after everyone leaves, is the best time.

What is the best advice someone has given you about writing? The worst advice?
The best advice was to keep at it. The worst was to try to break into Category Romance first. I don’t write like category writers. Nothing wrong with them. Love a good Harlequin a couple of times a year, but that’s not my style. My plots tend to be more intricate.

How do you approach a new book? Outlines? Just an idea?
What if? It’s the first question I ask my self. Then I map out the goal motivation and conflict of the main characters. Then I careen down the hill like Bode Miller, hoping I get to the bottom in one piece. Can you tell I’m a pantser?

What makes a great book in your opinion?
It needs to resonate with the reader. I can’t tell you how it should, but that the reader needs to be able to identify with at least one of the characters. It also needs to have a beginning, middle, and end with character growth.

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Learn everything you can and keep it at it.

Where do you see yourself as an author in five years?
I see myself making enough money to quit the day job and to pay someone else to clean my house.
Where do you see the publishing industry going in the next few years and where do you see yourself within this industry?
I am not one of those people who can predict things. What I’d like to see happen is more and more of the money going to authors. There is no reason that we shouldn’t be able to make a decent living from writing. Look at surgeons. They get paid a lot of money because not everyone can be a surgeon. Not everyone can be a good writer. Some people have the desire, but are not willing to put in the work. However we get there, we should be paid for what we do.

Brief Bio
Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog and three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital.

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