What have you written so far?
I have written four novels to date. My first one, After All Is Said And Done, was born out of the incessant need to create a story about two couples who worked together that had an affair, resulting in a pregnancy. So many times, we see the immediate results of infidelity, but not the long-term effects. I wanted to follow these four individuals for two years in their lives in order to depict the devastating ramifications that adultery can have on a marriage.
The Monster of Silver Creek is my sophomore novel and is a mystery about a troubled police chief trying to stop a serial killer.
I like to write stories that deal with real issues, such as alcoholism, abuse, and mental illness. Seasons of Darkness was my third novel to be published and follows a lonely young man as he tries to cope with his mother’s suicide while struggling to live among a family that was never functional to begin with.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
As I begin each novel, I make an outline of the major incidents that are going to occur. This is rather easy for me because I’ve already daydreamed my characters doing these very things. Watching my book unfold in my mind allows me the ability to make bold decisions where they are concerned because I’ve come to know them quite well. It’s like making a movie and then putting it down on paper—scene by scene; by doing this, I see the hurt in their faces, the subtle movements of their hands, and I hear the inflections in their tone of voice.
The hardest part for me is writing it the way I see and hear it using only words. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to critiquing my work, so much so, that at times, I think it hinders me from moving on. If there is a scene that just isn’t working, I’ll ponder it every waking moment until I get it right. Then, when I am satisfied, I put my name on it.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
As a reader, I don’t pay any attention to who published the book. If it has a nice cover and intriguing blurb, I’ll read it.
As an author, I think that over the course of the next few years, the indie revolution will evolve and the stigmatism of it will fall away. Right now, more and more readers are discovering that an author doesn’t necessarily have to have a big-time publisher attached to their name in order to write a great story.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Never give up. If you like writing, keep doing it.
- Join author support groups and learn all that you can about the craft of self-publishing, marketing, promoting, and, of course, writing.
- Write for yourself and not what you think others want you to write.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
My latest novel, Tragedy at Silver Creek, is about a small town in Montana struggling to deal with the aftermath of a serial killer’s reign of terror, and is the standalone sequel to The Monster of Silver Creek. Guilt is a very powerful thing, and in this new book, former deputy Jack Collins is mired in it as he tries to cope with fatherhood, along with his new—and unwanted—job as chief of police.
When the body of a young woman, having the same puncture wounds as the serial killer’s previous victims is discovered, Jack must determine if this is a copycat crime or the work of a possible accomplice—either of which—could put the killer’s only surviving victim in grave danger.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
After I wrote The Monster of Silver Creek, I found myself thinking about the characters and what they would be doing now, so much so that I realized there was another story to be told. Tragedy at Silver Creek was a fun book for me to write because I had grown to love all of the characters and wasn’t ready to tell them goodbye. Because of that, a darn good book came out of it.
What role does research play in your writing?
Research plays a huge role in my novels because I want them to be as plausible/realistic as possible. I am fortunate to know a couple of nurses that I can go to for medical questions, and I research the heck out of the states and counties I set my books in.
Other times, I spend hours on google looking at various sources for a particular scene I’m working on. For example, one evening, I was in my office and my husband came in and, after glancing at my computer screen, asked, “What are you doing?”
“I’m studying the maturation rate of maggots on a corpse,” I replied innocently.
My husband sighed and shook his head. “Well,” he said, walking away, “have fun with that.”
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
An interior decorator. After writing, my most favorite thing to do is decorate. I’m a huge fan of HGTV and it is always on in my house. I love taking something that no one would think of and integrating it in the design, hence putting my own personal touch on a room.
Tell us something unique about you.
I love all animals—except snakes.
When I type, I double-space after a period (this is something that was ingrained in me in high school and I absolutely cannot stop doing it. See? I did it just now.)
As a devout connoisseur of chocolate, I can be bought with a Kit-Kat.
How can you discover more about Belinda and her work?