Any who, in this game of writer's tag, today I'm "IT" and I get share some insights on my writing process. Next week you can visit the blogs of...
Aspiring Novelist Becky Kyle, a lover of four-legged friends and YA author who has written a really great book--Madame President--which is currently in search of a home with a worthy publisher.
Michael Dabney, an award-winning freelance journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous local and national publications, such as Indianapolis Monthly Magazine, the Indianapolis Business Journal, Ebony magazine and BlackEnterprise.com. The father of two adult daughters, he lives in Indiana with his wife and dog Pluto.
Now...enough about them. It's me me me time. LOL (just kidding)
1) What am I working on?
The J.J. McCall novels are part of a 5-book series. The first book is the Seven Year Itch, which introduces the characters and kicks off the chain of events that serves as a foundation of a series. In the wake of the arrest of Robert Hanssen, a source has told the FBI that there is another mole. When the story begins, the US Intelligence Community is about to give up on a 10-year search. When J.J. McCall’s sources start dropping like flies, she realizes not only is there a mole, but the mole is active. She is drawn into an unsanctioned mole hunt to find out who has compromised her assets, In Book 2 Son of a Itch, released in December, the mole hunt continues. They’ve identified one mole but find out there is an entire network…and J.J. has been assigned to lead the task force which brings the network down.
Right now, I’m working on Book 3, A No Good Itch, which takes the mole hunt to New York. J.J. and the team are thrust in the middle of a potential war between Russian and Italian Organized Crime while they try to take down the financial hub of the mole network. Once again, the book is filled with lots of twists and turns and an ending that will probably make my readers kill me. But it’ll be worth it.
2)How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My novels are very loosely based on my 20+ year career in the U.S. intelligence community. I think most spy thrillers are not written by people directly from that world, so the kinds of stories I tell and the level of detail is going to be different from other authors. Also, the main character is based on a real life FBI agent with whom I worked for several years. She was a spy catcher in the Russian program who worked cases similar to the ones in the book. So, my books are very much based in reality.
Moreover, these are not your typical spy thrillers. While the content (Russian intelligence) is very much like Daniel Silva or Tom Clancy, I have a totally different writing style and voice. I’m often told that I provide a lot of details which make the books feel authentic, but they are not so full of jargon that they are confusing, and that’s because I really wanted to write books that were more accessible—especially to female readers who often read lighter books. I really combine a balanced mix of romance, humor, mystery, suspense, and thrills to provide the readers with a great read.
3)Why do I write what I do?
I felt like the J.J. McCall story was one that had never been told before and I wanted to be the one to bring her story to light. You don’t see a lot of stories about female FBI agents catching spies operating inside the United States. You definitely don’t see an African American female doing that kind of work—even though I know from experience that women like her exist. Also, another interesting angle is that she is a human lie detector. I think this is really a first, for that “superpower.” Also, with all the hubbub about NSA and CIA spying activities, I wanted to show readers this side of the FBI world—that there are thousands of spies sent to the United States (YES…even TODAY) to steal U.S. secrets. They target government employees around the world. The FBI, CIA, NSA, etc., serve a critical function in keeping this country safe.
4)How does your writing process work?
There are days when my house is full of light and sunshine and the words flow like the coffee from my Keurig. My fingers can hardly keep up with all the ideas floating in my head and I can write for hours—10-12 hours many days—without hardly stopping to eat…or shower. For my romantic comedies, I’m a pantser through and through. But I’ve learned to outline for my spy thrillers because if I don’t, my stories are so complex that they will have more holes than the south side of the moon.
Is it always so wonderful?
Au contraire, mon frère!
Most days, however, when I sit down to write I have to fight for every single word that goes on the page, but I make myself sit there and I make myself write. Sometimes I write the story out of order because another part of the story is coming to me a little easier than the part I had intended to write. But I don’t walk away without getting in 2,000 words per sitting.
Do I sit down every day? Naaaah. Most days but not all days. I work as a technical writer/editor during the day. When I’m in the middle of a proposal working 10-12 hours days (sometimes more), I can’t shift my brain from writing about systems engineering plans to writing about J.J. McCall…while also taking care of my son. So, I’ve learned to get over the guilt, stop killing myself, and I allow myself the flexibility of writing whenever the brain space allows me to. Never does a week pass without me writing at least through the weekend though and a few hours on slower weeknights.
I’m on my 7th and 8th books in my 5-career, so that’s not too shabby, eh?
If you'd like to pick up one of my Awesome-tastic books, check on one of the links below.
S.D. Skye Novels on Amazon – Kindle and Paperback
S.D. Skye Novels on Kindle – Worldwide Links