Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Q&A: MINDY STARNS CLARK, PT 2


Continuing our series with mystery novelist Mindy Starns Clark, author of the "Million Dollar Mysteries." Her "Smart Chick Mystery" series includes The Trouble With Tulip and Blind Dates Can Be Murder (Harvest House Publishers).

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PART 2.

How many books do you read a month?
One or two. Sad, I know, but now that I'm writing full time I find that there's not enough room in my brain for reading as well.


What are your writing habits?
On good days, I'm at my desk by 8 a.m. and I write straight through until the kids get home at 3 p.m. On not-so-good days, I'm busy handling the other aspects of my career (paperwork, marketing, public appearances, etc.) plus being a mom of two teenagers, which takes more time and effort than I ever expected!

With every book, I go away by myself for a week or so at a time, to concentrate solely on the writing. Thank goodness my husband is so supportive and is willing to handle the home front while I'm gone. Usually, I'll do this at the beginning of a book—to plot it out and create my outline—and again at the end—to read what I've done and make sure it all pulls together nicely.

So I guess you could say my writing habits are fairly uneven, but I'm able to do what it takes to finish a book, which is the most important thing!

Are you an “outline” writer or a “make it up as you go” writer?
I have Adult ADD, so I have to use an outline; otherwise I might wander around for several thousand pages before I reached the end. Basically, I'll hammer out about a 20-page version of the entire novel, nothing structured, just a "she does this, then this happens, then he does that" sort of thing that tells the story from beginning to end.

When my outline is finished, I print it out and set it next to my computer, and that's what I use for my guide each day as I write. Sometimes the minor details and order of events will vary, but by and large I stay pretty consistent with what I've mapped out.


Are you a full-time novelist?
Yes, and I love my job!


How many books did you write before you could go full-time?
Thanks to my husband, I only had to replace a small part-time income, so the day I got my first advance is the day I quit doing anything but writing. It's hard enough to juggle writing with mothering, being a good wife, and doing church work. I don't think I could hold down a second job as well, though I greatly admire those who do.

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Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of our conversation. In the meantime, visit Clark online at MindyStarnsClark.com and read her recent interviews at Cruse'n With Lonnie and the Harvest House site. Blind Dates Can Be Murder is available from Amazon and many other find retailers.

Q&A: MINDY STARNS CLARK, PT 1
Q&A: MINDY STARNS CLARK, PT 3

Related links:
CHRIS WELL ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS!
Q&A: GINNY AIKEN (Decorating Schemes)
Q&A: HOPE LYDA (Altar Call)
Q&A: CRESTON MAPES (Full Tilt)
Q&A: BRANDILYN COLLINS (Web of Lies)
Q&A: TASHA ALEXANDER (And Only to Deceive)
Q&A: LONNIE CRUSE (Murder In Metropolis)

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Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction

SHE'S THE SHERIFF!

A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at StudioWell.com. Watch the trailer on YouTube.