I’m currently working on the sequel for Second Chances. In the novel, Regina and Alex are on a journey that’s a very emotionally driven quest for both of them. The choices they’re faced with and the decisions they make will have life changing implications for both them.
The bulk of the story takes place outside the United States so I spent time reading and researching the Dominican Republic’s sugarcane plantation industry, its history and present day work environment. The internet is an amazing wealth of information, videos, photographs and first hand accounts that just twenty-five years ago wouldn’t have been available the way they are today.
I’m a very visual writer. If I let my mind be quiet and give myself the chance, I can see the characters and what they are doing. Sometimes it’s a snippet of conversation that comes to me that gets me started on the next scene. That’s when I tend to write my best scenes. Music is another important motivator that helps me tap into the right emotion and get it all out onto the paper. There are usually a handful of songs that I find and somehow in their own way they fit the mood of the story. “Angels on the Moon”, “Tennessee Line”, “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” and “Amazing Grace” were on the top of the list for a good part of the time I’ve been writing this story.
I want the reader to feel, see and smell the environment that has so much to do with the atmosphere and setting of this story. It’s a study in contrasts, of our industrialized, technologically driven health care system versus that of a community with no infrastructure. It’s a humbling experience for all the characters in it that are health care workers.
Trying to write every day is important for me even if it’s just to sit down and rewrite the sentences that don’t feel right from the previous day’s efforts. I’ve learned to be more patient with myself and not push when a scene isn’t working. It’s typically because I’m writing it in the wrong character’s point of view or I’m getting in the way of the dialogue and not letting the characters in the scene drive it. Setting what I’m working on aside and not consciously thinking about it while I do other things around the house or take a walk with my family or even working, gives my mind a chance to wander and get back on track.