Heya Buckaroos! It’s been a while since I’ve posted an interview to my Pickin’ An Author’s Knows series. I do apologize for leaving you hanging without appropriate author-ish tidbits for oh so long. My bad.
Last summer I met a local gal, and by “local” around these rural parts, that means someone within an hour’s drive distance. Or, it means a 20-minute, 2-seater airplane ride, and since I am not setting my hind parts inside another miniature airplane anytime soon (I screamed and cried and snotted and gripped and peed and prayed myself into an adult hissy-fit the one and only time I was conned into such a ride), let’s stick to actual factual, wheels-on-ground drive time. Oh yeah, and ferry time. ‘Cause between her mountain range and mine is this big ole river, and, well, you gotta cross the wildWaters when ya wanna go somewhere. Someplace. Anywhere. Anyplace. Anyway, where the hey-diddle-diddle was I? Oh yessiree. I have some author knows fodder for ya.
I’ve picked it. Now I’m gonna flick it. Oh, I know. So, so very gross.
Alrighty then. I met this gal at a coffee/brunch gathering of writerly types and I knew she was destined to be a trueBlue friend when she said it didn’t matter if her coffee was filtered through a tube sock or an espresso machine. Righto. My kinda gal! Anyway, miss Carmen Peone is a friend. And she’s a writer, well, a story-teller, actually.
Even though I have some Native blood coursing about in my veins, and I read tons and tons of books, until I read her trilogy, I had not yet read anything like her series. Miss Carmen’s work is historically accurate (locale, peoples, and events of the era). I think she’s part sleuth, the way she’s researched and interviewed forks in order to get the Native American linguistics, spellings, meanings, and data spot-on right.
She’s a no nonsense sorta gal, sorta like me, and she feared-not to find my place deep in the wintertime, wildWoods. She lives in the country, drives a big ole pick-up, raises & rides & horses (well, I don’t hold that against her – beings that I raise, but don’t ride anymore), raises hound dogs, grips bows and slings arrows, and she even brought me canned goods when she came over for lunch and some writerly chit-chat.
Ya know, I’m superDuper thankful to find my writerly soul-sister. Well, this might be news to her. Shhhh. Let’s keep it on the down low. Anyway, I hope it’s not too scary. HairyScary. or ScaryHairy. Whatever.
Without further ado buckaroos, let’s give a big ole Yeehaawww-Welcome to miss Carmen Peone! Oh, and if you cannot tell from the book covers, her trilogy has horses in it. Der. Better still, her books are God-centered and they move along at a good clip. And to think, this series began as a story she jotted down for her boys — a way to honor their Native American heritage. I’m sure as shootin’ glad she decided to bring it to the rest of us.
Read on for the 5th installment of
Pickin’ An Author’s Knows:
1. Please tell us a little bit about your writing history.
I never gave it much thought, nor planned on being a writer. I have an degree in Abnormal Psychology from Eastern Washington University (Washington State) that I have not used in the professional sense; although it came in handy while raising four boys. When I moved to the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation back in 1988, I fell in love with my husband’s people (my husband is a tribal member) and I wrote a fictional trilogy as a tribute of my family’s legacy for our sons. They also are Colville Tribal members.
2. What inspires and/or motivates you as a writer?
Writing gives me a platform to acknowledge God, our Creator, through the fun of fiction. I love to develop entertaining and serious characters; I like to write fast-paced scenes for young adults, who nowadays seem to possess the attention span of a gnat.
3. Have you ever been, or are you currently, part of a writer’s critique group?
I am one of several ladies in my area (meaning we span three counties in our rural setting) who recently have come together to start a support and critique group. We consist of a wide array of writers and bloggers. Even though I have to drive at least an hour for the meetings, and we have a sporadic schedule right now, it is an encouragement to me. All of it is an answer to prayer. In addition, I have a couple of friends who comb through my manuscripts; but, I really need to hook-up with a fiction-focused critique group.
4. Do you write with pen & paper, typewriter, or a computer?
For writing, I began with pen and paper and have since moved to computer. But for editing, I cut, change, add, and scribble, with a red pen on a printed copy of my manuscripts. It does take up more time, but it’s what works for me.
5. If you write via computer, do you use a specific author’s application or writer’s software program?
I simply use Word for XP. I didn’t even know there was a writer’s software program — I may have to look into that. Word gets the job done quite well.
6. What is your favorite part of a writing project? And least favorite part?
Creating characters, describing places, and doing research are my favorite parts. And because I love to learn new things, even though I have lived on the land our Native American roots and I have been embedded in and among the Arrow Lakes people for twenty-five years now, which is the heart of my trilogy, I still research specific tidbits… herbs used in the mid-1800’s by the Arrow Lakes people; stories that have been passed down for generations; and health-related issues.
My least favorite part is editing because it’s hard for me to see my errors – I read my work as it should be, not as it is, so I miss tons of little mistakes. Thank goodness for friends who proofread for me. I do, however, love cleaning up my manuscripts, adding additional details, making my characters come more alive, and giving life to landscapes and scenes. I want readers to see the area where I live, and the place where my books are set; I also want them to see the traditional garments that the people wore; and I want them to “hear” the characters speak the native language.
7. Does your story unfold daily or do you write from a strict outline?
I craft an outline of each chapter and merely write a sentence or two of what could happen, and once I begin writing, the characters take on a life of their own. I don’t stray to far away from that outline though; I often just add to it or add on chapters.
8. Do you share your in-progress work with others (i.e. friends, family, etc.) or do you wait until you’ve completed an entire book before anyone else reads it? Why?
I’ve done it both ways. I worked only with an instructor from Writer’s Digest for my first book, Change of Heart. And for my second and third books, Heart of Courage and Heart of Passion, I had a friend comb through my in-progress works to make sure that the plot made sense. I’m glad I did because she discovered a character who was pregnant, apparently, just out of the blue! My friend asked, “Did I miss something here?” I told her, “No, I did!” I had needed another angle for the storyline, so I added the pregnancy in to the existing character, but forgot the details leading up to it. After she pointed out that error, I went back in and added the pregnancy details where they were needed. In hindsight, it was quite funny.
I just completely finished my fourth manuscript before I had someone else look at it because I had too many gaps I needed to fill along the way. Up until the end I was researching details (like how to make a rope out of horse hair, as was done in the mid-1800’s) because I had trouble nailing down certain facts. I always want to be precise and as authentic as I can be before anyone reads my work.
9. Please give us a glimpse of a day in your life, especially of your writing routine.
My days are becoming way too busy! I wake up, it takes a bit as I am not a morning gal, and I go through emails before I move to marketing. Then, I go to work at the local K-12 school as a coordinator for the afterschool program. I essentially get to play with kids for a couple hours four times a week; I also do all the grant reporting that goes with the job. I have no complaints about my daytime job because as I said before, I get to play with some amazing kids! Afterward, I come home, rest a minute, eat dinner, and then do my writing. For some odd reason, I get a whopping second-wind at eight o’clock so then I write for a few hours. That’s pretty much my routine.
10. If you could step back in time, what would you tell yourself as a beginning writer?
Keep your eyes open and enjoy the ride; trust God to get you through it, Carmen; and stop worrying. Breathe. Stop, and enjoy the process. It’s already in your head.
* Thank you, miss Carmen,
for your time and your writerly words of wisdom.
** For part 2 of this interview, come back soon!
And to pick more knows-es,
go here: Pickin’ An Author’s Knows.