This afternoon I joined friend and fellow mystery writer Darryl Bollinger at Brevard’s fabulous indie bookstore, Highland Books. Darryl and I met at the Amelia Island Book Festival last year and were surprised to find we only lived about 40 miles from each other - he in Waynesville, NC and I in Brevard, NC. Collaborating today turned out to be a lot of fun, and happily, we made a great pair presenting in the mystery genre. I expect this will be the first of such endeavors.
It never ceases to amaze me how different we authors are from one another, how we get our inspiration, how we see and feel our characters. Darryl draws on what he hears around him. Maybe a conversation overheard in an airport, or something said by a friend - those innocuous happenings will stir Darryl’s imagination and an idea for his next mystery will arise.
I, on the other hand, “download” dialogue and characters directly from “out there”. Those characters, in turn, dictate the story to me and I transcribe it. I know that sounds really woo-woo, but I don’t have any other explanation for how the creative process works in and for me.
Darryl is also a serious student of the art of writing. John Updike, Stephen King, Michael Creighton - he named three others - each author excelled in some aspect of writing that Darryl found helpful in crafting his own stories. And while I have always enjoyed reading, I can’t say that I studied different writing styles like Darryl did or that I even paid any attention to them. Either the author’s story caught my interest, and held it, or it didn’t.
Our commonality is the fact that we are indie authors. That means we self-publish instead of being picked up by a publishing company. The publishing world has changed, and both Darryl and I like to have more control over the marketing of our books than we would have with a “regular” publishing house. It’s the rare author who is discovered by a publishing house and has a book that hits the best seller list. Writers write because we have to, because the Muse consumes us, because we have no other option. We don’t write for the money - although none of us turn up our nose at sales - we write for the love of the process. And because we become friends with our characters.
Check out our books on Amazon. You won’t be disappointed..