I (Marianne Stillings) hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and reading lots of wonderful books!

In trying to decide what to talk about today, I considered addressing parts of the writing process; plot stuff, where writers get their ideas (always a popular choice), characters (especially heroes), and other aspects of the writing process. Finally, I decided to talk about something I don't see discussed very often, which is, What's In It For Me?

Because I have a full-time day job, am a single-mom with a family, am in the throes of a new relationship, and have all the stresses of the modern world, I'm often asked, first of all, where do I find the time to write, and secondly, why on earth do I do it when there's so much else going on (e.g. "When do you sleep?!?").

The answer to the first question is easy: I write whenever I can. Evenings, early mornings, weekends, holidays, vacations, birthdays, even sick days. I write for fifteen minutes, I write for three hours. I write whatever I can, whenever I can.

Some days, I can't find the time to write at all, then I have to make up the pages on another day; that's hard, and very frustrating, especially when my brain stalls out and can't give me what I need. But I've written six books this way and, until I win the lottery, inherit a fortune, or discover lost pirate treasure, this is how it's going to have to be.

Which brings me to why I sacrifice every ounce of free or borrowed time I have to writing. Is it the money? Eh, no. Is it the fame? Eh, no. Is it a form of therapy? Hmm. Now there's a question one could dwell on a good long time.

The honest truth is I write because I can't stop. I can't stop breathing either, or thinking, or stop my heart from beating (how poetic is that?).

I love telling you a story. I love finding just the right word or phrase to create the mood or image I'm going for. I love pretty adjectives and just-the-right action verb. I love naming characters! (It's like having hundreds of puppies and I get to name them all!) I love finding just the right bit of dialogue to bring a conversation between two people on a page alive for the reader. I love to entertain, evoke emotions--joy, laughter, love, even sorrow--because all those things are elements of living, elements we all understand and share.

These commonalities are my way of connecting with you. That is my main goal. A book is a compact between two people, you and me. I write a book for you and you honor me by spending valuable hours of your life reading what I've written. I can't imagine anything more flattering to a writer than that. It means I have to do my best for you, each and every time.

Books and stories have influenced my life. They've made me see things more clearly. They've made me feel a connection to other people. They've enlightened me, warned me, shown me examples of how I could be, or maybe should not be. They've held up universal truths for me to examine, evaluate, appreciate, and I wanted to try and do the same thing.

I write because it's too much a part of me not to. I wrote before I ever made a penny at it. I will write even if I never sell another book. I will write because it's not only what I do, it's who I am. I write for me and I write for you.

Writing doesn't always make me happy. It's hard work. Often frustrating. Sometimes confusing, elusive, a nemesis to be confronted and conquered. But I love it. If I didn't, I sure wouldn't do it!

When a manuscript is completed and sent in, there's a sense of relief and accomplishment beyond compare (until you receive the editing revisions and the copyedits, of course, but that's a whole other ball game).

Thank you for spending some time with me today. And if you've read any of my books, thank you for that. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

Have a wonderful day!



Blogger Jane said:

Hi Marianne,
I've read all your books. I've been waiting for Ethan's story for a while now. I can't wait to get my hands on it. I'm excited that there will be a another Darling book after this. What can you tell us about the Darling sister?

3:05 PM  

Blogger Marianne said:

Hi, Jane:

Thanks so much for posting, and I'm very pleased you like the Darlings. I love both Nate and Ethan, but for different reasons. Nate is funny and sunny and wry, and Ethan is solemn and somber and dark, with a hidden sense of humor that surprises people (especially the heroine).

As for Andie, she's blond and beautiful and trying hard to overcome the reputation her detective brothers had on the SFPD. She is sent undercover to get the goods on a fake clairvoyant, but instead, finds herself falling for him. And when she starts having vivid dreams of a woman who lived (and died) a hundred years ago, she seeks out Logan's help.

KILLER CHARMS turned out to be, in large part, a paranormal. I didn't plan it, it just happened, but I'm pleased with the result. It gave me a chance to write a historical in the context of a contemporary romantic suspense. I love San Francisco and am fascinated by the earthquake and fire and this gave me a chance to explore in.

I hope this answers some of your questions. And thank you for being a fan.

Happy holidays!

4:07 PM  

Anonymous Melody said:

Hey Marianne,
I read and loved your first two books but then kind of lost track of you. Looks like I've got some catching up to do! I'm so glad to see you're still writing the funny, smart and sexy books I enjoyed so much. I definitely plan to pick up the ones I haven't read and move them to the top of my TBR stack.
Happy Holidays!

5:24 PM  

Blogger Marianne said:

Hi, Melody:

Aren't you sweet; thank you! I hope you like the rest as much as the first two!


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