Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Challenge of Writing

We're reaching those warm days of summer when it's fun to sit outside with a great book. I spent many a summer afternoon and early evening sitting in the shade or on the patio  reading when I was young, and it's a habit that has stayed with me ever since. Of course, to do that, you always have to be in search of the next great read, and that's why I'm always looking for new authors and new books to enjoy. Today's guest in My Writing Corner, Terry Korth Fischer sounds like she is writing just the sort of books I enjoy that would be perfect for those long summer evenings of reading.

 Terry writes mystery and memoir. Her memoir, Omaha to Ogallala, was released in 2019 and her  short stories have appeared in The Write Place at the Write Time, Spies & Heroes, and numerous anthologies. While she is from the Midwest, Terry now lives in Houston with her husband and their two guard cats. She tells us she enjoys a good mystery, the heat and humidity, and long summer days.  I wanted to know more about her thoughts on writing.

What are some of the challenges of being a writer?

There are always challenges: phone, Internet, family, bathing. But seriously, writing isn’t the obstacle. It's self-doubt. I don’t know a writer who doesn’t wonder if their current manuscript will measure up. Does it need one more beta reader? One more edit? Many times, I mentally revise a scene after submission—pesky night thoughts.

Tell us about your road to publication.

I spent six years writing Gone Astray. For the first four years, I had a full-time job. My focused writing began after retirement. That said, I knew I wanted a traditional publisher. The process of finding an agent and publisher through query and achieving publication can take years to accomplish. I gave it a whirl but didn’t feel I had that kind of time. Luckily, I met my publisher at a writers conference. The Wild Rose Press, a small press with a stellar reputation, can take a writer from submission to print in months. I queried them, received a contract, and voila! Gone Astray was released in February 2021.

 How do you come up with your characters?

Developing characters is one of the fun elements in writing. There is so much freedom. A character can be anything, do anything, and get away with actions a real-life person wouldn’t dream of attempting. But it can also be daunting if you want a multi-faceted, believable, relatable character for your readers. I like to use the personality of someone I know well and tweak it to fit the profession and temperament of a character that will enhance the story I’m telling. In Gone Astray, Rory Naysmith has many traits I saw in my dad, and the rookie, Thacker, was modeled after my adopted brother.

 Tell us about your latest book, Gone Astray.  What made you write it?

Detective Rory Naysmith, the protagonist in Gone Astray, takes a job with a small-town police department after a life-altering medical event. He sets out to prove his career isn’t over. Unfortunately, he’s a crusty, curmudgeonly sort; technology and a series of escalating crimes will get the best of him unless he learns to alter his perspective. Sorry, no spoilers.

A heart attack sends detective Rory Naysmith reeling. Too young to retire, he accepts a position in small-town Winterset, Nebraska. Handed an unsolved truck hijacking case, with the assistance of a rookie, Rory sets out to prove he is still able to go toe-to toe with younger men. When the body of a Vietnam veteran turns up, he dons his fedora and spit-shines his shoes. But before he can solve the murder, an older woman disappears, followed closely by a second hijacking. He doggedly works the cases, following a thread that ties the two crimes together.  But can Rory find the mental and physical strength to up his game and bring the criminals to justice before disaster strikes and he loses his job?

The novel received an excellent review that said, “This is probably the first coming of age book for a character who is fifty.” I didn’t set out to write a coming-of-age novel, but I had watched my husband and a work colleague struggle with their identities after undergoing heart surgery. So, I feel like the advice to write what you know worked for me.

 I’ve read a kazillion mysteries over the years. Then one day, I thought, I can do this. What I like is a puzzle, not too much sex, or violence, or foul language. And characters that are engaging and who I want to see win. So that is the kind of book I set out to write, and as I said earlier, voila!

What advice do you have for beginning writers?

Don’t give up; it’s the only difference between a published author and an unpublished one.

What’s your next project?  

A second Rory Naysmith mystery is in the final draft, and a third is percolating. I love these characters; they have become my best friends. But, of course, that could be the new stay-close-to-home mentality speaking. But honestly, if I have to spend months, or years, with a story, this is the crew for me.

 If you would like to get a copy of Gone Astray, here are the buy links:

Gone Astray Buy Links: (jpg attached)

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2LHnlYI

B&N Buy Link:  https://bit.ly/3q5h4Wh

If you would like to know more about Terry and her books, here is the contact information. 

Visit her website at https://terrykorthfischer.com


Thank you, Terry for being my guest this week. Any comments or questions for Terry?



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