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Posted at Mar 13, 2014 1:14 am
Interested in the different writing processes of authors? This week I am interviewing Australian author, Terry Spring, about her own writing process. Terry writes historical and also works as a ghost-writer. To find out more about Terry and her books, visit her website at www.terryspring.com
Here is my interview with Terry:
What are you working on?
I’m about to start marketing my Australian historical novel (A Tambo Girl-Hester Jane’s Story) having recently completed it whilst also helping out the guy for whom I ghost-wrote his memoir Lucky Me. He was a POW on the Burma Railway (a similar type of story to the one depicted in the film The Railway Man), but as he’s 93, a great deal of marketing falls on me.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
The ‘wise people’ tell us we should write about what we know, so I researched the lives of real-life people and use their lives as my story line—with some embellishment. Of course, many writers do this but the people they write about are usually known people whilst I like to use the ordinary man (and woman) in the street. My novels are often set in past centuries whilst I have ghost-written a few who live in this century and try to tell their story in their voice, which is fun, but hard work trying to find the right questions to ask in order to get the answers I need to make the story move forward and interesting. It’s as much about their agreement to omit stuff as to write about events in their life.
Why do you write what you do?
Dunno!! I often ask myself the same question. I suppose I like to read about the lives of ordinary people who live in extraordinary times. History has always been my passion and it’s interesting to me to research how the general public lived in times past, as opposed to the wealthier people whose lives are often well-documented. Yeah, the King lived like this, but what about the villagers and inn-keeper outside the town?
How does your writing process work?
If its ghost-writing a memoir, I ty to get the person to give me a brief run-down of their life and ask them which aspects they think should be highlighted and what they want people to know about them. Then with my written and voice records, I research the times on the internet or y reading books written on the subject or the era which gives me a basis to discover what was happening to my subject at that time i.e. if a war was on. I write the first chapter and the ending and then spend many months interviewing and filling in the person’s life.
If it’s a novel, I usually chose a person)s) and research their time and place by reading internet articles and excerpts from books dealing with the same subject an dbuildt on that. I oftern write the ending first and then work my characters towards it.
I usually write a ‘life’ for each character – looks, clothes, profession, family make-up, living arrangements, friends, relatives, likes and dislikes. I document the major events in my story on a timeline and work my way through the timeline until I have covered all characters and events using my documentation I write a synopsis of the story, then put my writing away for a month or two then re-read and re-write until I have polished it up to a standard that covers everything in the synopsis, trying to ensure that the final draft contains all the elements required in a manuscript that is ready to set the world on fire! No agents have knocked down my door, but I’ve sold quite a few books and some are sold in Australian shops and historical tourist spots as well as Amazon and my website, www.terryspring.com.
Thank you for sharing your writing process with us, Terry.
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