The final segment of my Interview with this fascinating author!
Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like?
A. I guess references to the Jonestown Massacre would be inappropriate? For some people it’s a pretty orderly process. I envy them and I try to be more orderly with every book. But I also think it’s important for the writer to be on a quest of his own, to be trying to understand the story in a million ways, and learning new things through the whole process of writing. When the writer figures something out, about the characters or the story– that generates real excitement for the reader. I’ve generally needed an editor at the end, the way one needs an obstetrician at the end of a pregnancy. And sometimes the editor has needed forceps.
Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters ?
A. I’ll find there’s someone whose life story I’ve been fascinated by, and that fascination pulls in all kinds of other stories and lives I know, and then I realize I want to write about someone like that, to think about that life.
Q. What inspired your story/stories ?
A. Almost always a moment of grace, a moment where everything feels right and different forces are working in harmony. The sheer beauty of that, given all the difficulty and friction and wrongness everywhere, makes it seem worth saving that moment in the clearest detail possible. And that usually involves thinking about how such a moment could occur, midst all the grief and conflict of life. And usually something deeply funny under it all, and deeply felt. I’d like to be able to manufacture more grace, if possible– people suffer so much in the course of their lives, and I’d like to give them something beautiful that recognizes that suffering, and also the beauty that still lives in spite of loss and hardship.
Q. What are you working on?
A. I’m working on a third novel set in the fictional Outer Cape Cod town of Oyster Creek. The first two are The House on Oyster Creek and The Harbormasters Daughter. I’m just in the early stages right now, but I know that some of the same characters will be involved. The working title is Last Night I Dreamed of Paris, but it’s a novel also set on the Outer Cape, about three people gone nearly mad with different griefs, all managing to get through life by odd stratagems (one fancies himself a Parisian dandy and lives that life as best he can, even in the unemployment line), until they witness an accident on the fishing pier that pulls them into action and into relation with each other. It’s a big blob right now!
Q. Have you? Or do you want to write in another genre`?
A. I’ve written a number of essays, and I love it for the clarity! (And the word limit!) It cheers me up to write an essay when I’m stuck in the middle of a novel. I love short stories too– I’m sure my stories are really my b
Biography I was born on Staten Island, NY and grew up in rural Connecticut, in a house that was built out of stones dug out of the fields around it. I moved to Provincetown MA in 1982 to take a Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center, and have lived here for 30 years now, with my husband Roger Skillings and our daughter Marisa. My books are THE ROSE THIEVES, DARLING?, THE BRIDE OF CATASTROPHE, THE HOUSE ON OYSTER CREEK and THE HARBORMASTERS DAUGHTER. My website at WWW.HEIDIJONSCHMIDT.COM has more information, links, etc.
Click here to read Part I of Interview
DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with best-selling AUTHORS! “The Writer’s Corner”
In addition to my twice weekly blog I will also feature an interview with another author once a month. These authors have already responded and you can read their interviews by clicking on their name: Janet Evanovich, Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNeal, Karen Robards, Mark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Tasha Alexander, Patrick Taylor, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Cathy Lamb, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Raymond Benson, Andrew Grant, Heidi Jon Schmidt, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, Walter Mosley, and many others.
So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create! Patrick Taylor joined us in November. Heidi Jon Schmidt will be under your Christmas tree. Raymond Benson will be my January author. Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter. Janet Evanovich and Loretta Chase will be featured . Sherryl Woods in our Valentine author.