The Writing Process Blog Tour

 

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Whether it was songs about homeless people I’d see through the car window of my mother’s gold Windstar minivan, or stories on time travel I’d write sitting in the back of math class, as the rest of the students evaluated expressions and fractions.

On November 14th 2013 I published my first book, Tales of a Sevie, a story on the highs and lows of junior high school, told through a series of handwritten notes passed between friends. It is the first book in my series Life As We Note It. Through this publication, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and connect with dozens of authors and writers of every genre from all around the world. One of those lovely writers is Nancy Petralia, author of Not in a Tuscan Villa which she wrote with her husband John about their time spent in Italy. I’m so grateful to have worked with Nancy through social media and am thankful she invited me to join her in this blog tour on the writing process. Read more about Nancy and John on their blog http://notinatuscanvilla.com/blog-3/.

The Writing Process Blog Tour is similar to a chain letter in the fact that it creates a domino effect as it links and passes from writer to writer through their blogs. It’s a chance for writers to connect, support one another, and talk about how and what they write, all by answering FOUR basic questions about the writing process.

Here we go! :)

1.)   What am I currently working on?

I am actually trying to juggle 5 projects at this time and am in the beginning stages of all of them. I’m working on putting together 3 books of poetry (one geared towards teens, one for college students, and another for young adults). I’m also putting together an experimental art book that will be a collection of quotes, poetry, journal entries, and paintings, while also working on The Middle Class, the second book in the Life As We Note It series.

2.)   How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’d like to think my latest book, Tales of a Sevie, has a very unique and substantial voice of young teen girls. I also think the format differs from a lot of other middle grade books, being that it is told from the point of view of 4 best friends and their handwritten notes to one another.

3.)   Why do I write what I do?

I have a special attachment to the teenage years because I think it’s such a fascinating time of transition. While being pumped up on hormones and extreme emotion, we often have to deal with situations we probably aren’t mentally mature enough to handle at that time. I think teens have a lot to say, in a different way than adults do, and I’d like to keep those voices alive.

4.)   How does your writing process work?

Honestly it’s been different for every book I write. Often an idea of mine will be inspired by a dream. First thing the next morning I’ll began outlining. Other times I’ll outline and plan in my head for weeks, sometimes months, without writing a single word down. Then, when I’m ready to write, I’ll dive right in. The only real constant I’ve noticed in my writing process is all of my work is very character driven. I tend to develop and get to know my characters before anything else. Once I’m clear on who they are, what they do, and what they want, it’s easy for me to develop a plot from there.

As I mentioned earlier, The Writing Process Blog Tour is about connecting with other writers. I have asked Carol Cooper, Mark Weir, and Gertrude Martins to grab the baton from me to continue this tour. You can read more about them below.

Carol Cooper

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Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist and author in London. Her racy romantic novel One Night at the Jacaranda comes after a string of non-fiction books, including an award-winning medical textbook (2013), co-authored with colleagues.

Her blog Pills and Pillow-Talk  http://pillsandpillowtalk.com is about what she does when she’s not being a doctor. Carol enjoys living abroad and loves to travel. Other loves are her cat and her new husband, not necessarily in that order.

Mark Weir

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Even as a small boy Mark always wanted to write, but it wasn’t until he reached middle age that he took it seriously. Mark started to write and found that he couldn’t stop. He wrote for two hours a night and longer on the weekends. Soon, he had enough material for four books and began the publishing process. His new novel, Randall Crane and the Whitechapel Horror, is due out in the late spring in e-book format and paperback. You can read more about Mark and his books on his blog http://markweirauthor.moonfruit.com/blog/4583196172.

Gertrude Martins 

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Gertrude Martins is an Indo-Canadian who’s resided in Canada for the past twenty-seven years. In Toronto, she’s worked as a vice principal and for the Toronto Catholic District School Board for twenty-one years. She’s since been retired for three years, giving her the time and discipline to fulfill her dream of writing. Gertrude often writes under the pen name Geetha Patel. You can find more information on Geetha and her first novel Song of the Koel on her blog http://www.geethapatel.com/news–blog.html.

 

Please look for Carol, Mark, and Gertrude’s posts next Monday May 5 on their blogs to read about their work and their routines when it comes to the writing process.

Girl Zone

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I’ve had the luxury to recently team up with Erica Portillo from GirlZone.com. GirlZone is a wonderful website for young teen girls. The site covers a variety of topics on relationship advice, boys, fitness, and fashion along with blogs,  fun featured quizzes and book reviews all catered to the lives of teenage girls.

Here’s a brief interview to learn more about the lead editor Erica and GirlZone.com. cruise 2 (245x350)

What is your role at GirlZone?

Erica: I get to do a  little bit of everything, which I love! I was just named editor, which was quite an honor. I also run all the social media, so I send out tons of tweets a day. I have a bit of an addiction to FB & Twitter, so this works out perfectly. :) The best part is I get to write, which is my passion and fills me up. I write a blog, Erica’s Inspirations and am the GZ Advisor.

How did GirlZone get started?

Erica: MJ Reale, the GirlZone president, wanted to create a place for teen girls to read about all the issues important to them, as well as help them to discover their identity and learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Have you worked for GirlZone since it first launched back in 1997?

Erica: No, I was actually in high school when GZ began. :) I started writing the GZ Advisor column about 3 years ago. Girls send me their questions about boys, friends, family, etc, and I give them my heartfelt advice. I have my masters in school social work and provide counseling to teens at schools in Chicago, so I have an understanding of some of the issues teen girls face today.

What is the range of age groups that visit and benefit from GirlZone?

Erica: 12-17 years old

What are some of GirlZone’s most popular features?

Erica: We have quite a variety of topics on our site! Whatever you’re feeling that day, fitness, book reviews, fashion, relationship advice, we’ve covered it! I would say the most popular features are our quizzes, advice columns, and blogs.

What is your personal favorite feature on the site?

Erica: I love the “Your Body/Mind” section because it gives tips on how to manage stress, has healthy recipes, and works to motivate you!

When you write for the advice blog, what are some of your favorite topics to respond to and why?

Erica: The most common questions I receive are about crushes and boy problems. Relationships also happen to be my favorite topic to give advice about, probably because I went through a lot of the same issues as a teen. Boys are complicated! I want to share what I’ve learned through much trial and error over the years.

What were some of your own issues that you struggled with as a teen?

Erica: I was painfully shy in middle school, so I had to come out of my shell and learn to speak up for myself. Relationships definitely had their ups and downs. I was sensitive, so if someone didn’t like me, it would take a knock at my self-esteem. I used to think, “Well, maybe if I were skinnier, he would like me.” Thinking back, that sounds so dumb! I realized that I had to build up my confidence and self-image, so if a boy broke up with me, it wasn’t the end of the world. I just had to cry, wipe my tears, and move on. Time and friends heal all. :)

Does GirlZone have any current advice on what you struggled with in your youth?

Erica: Yes, absolutely! :) I think a lot of teen girls struggle with their confidence, self-image, speaking up for themselves, and of course, boys. We have advice and articles on it all!

If someone wants to share a life story or get some advice from GirlZone, how would they connect the website?

Erica: Life/Love/Family/Friend Questions email: gzadvisor@girlzone.com

Health/Body Questions email: Ms.Knowbody@girlzone.com

If you want to share a life story email: YourWriting@girlzone.com

Also, please feel free to follow us on Twitter: @GirlZoneGZ

Check out Erica’s latest video on how to get over your first love. :)