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Welcome to my Writing blog. If you're interested in my comments about "My Favorite Things," my articles for yourLDSneighborhood.com, and Life in general, click here for a direct link to RondaGibbHinrichsen.com.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Interview with Linda Weaver Clarke on Writing the Amelia Moor Detective Series by Ronda Hinrichsen




I'm always working on my writing craft, and one of the ways I do that is studying how other authors do what I'm trying to do and then incorporating that skill into my writing. With that in mind, and knowing her experience can help other writers, I've interviewed author Linda Weaver Clarke about her newest novel, The Mysterious Doll, and especially about her writing process.
Me: Thank you for joining me on my blog today, Linda. I'm sure your experience and insight will be a great help to readers. Throughout my career, I've found that one of the first questions aspiring authors ask me is where I get my ideas, so why don't we begin with that? Please tell us a little about your new novel and where  your idea for this book came from.
 
Linda: The Amelia Moore Detective Series is a cozy mystery that involves missing persons. So I try to create a story around a missing person and make it intriguing at the same time. I’m not sure where I get my ideas. I just think about an area that I would like to set my next story and then try to come up with a story that would fit that area. In this story, Amelia and Rick end up at Estes Park, Colorado in the famous Stanley Hotel that is supposedly “haunted.” I stayed at this hotel once with my husband and daughter and it was such a fun experience. And no, I didn’t see any ghosts while I was there. But I did see the famous Stanley Steamer Automobile.

In The Mysterious Doll, Pauline Jones is confused why her boyfriend took off without telling a soul where he was going. But that isn’t all. Sam Whitaker is accused of stealing a valuable porcelain doll from the museum. His disappearance makes him look guilty, but Pauline is convinced he is innocent. When Amelia finds Sam, she realizes they need to prove his innocence. Where is the antique doll and who has taken it?

Me: How do you put your stories together? Do you plot first, or do you begin with a nugget of an idea and let the story take you where it will?

Linda: I usually plot first because with a mystery you have to know the ending and help your characters get there Lwithout the reader knowing the secret. Afterwards I’ll add fillers to my story as I write. So in a sense, I guess I also “let the story take me where it will.”

Me: That's exactly what I do too. Great minds think alike--grin. Now, I know there are a lot of elements you "do right" in your books, but you would you please tell us what  one writing skill you consider to be your best? Hpw did you develop it?

Linda: Description is my strength. When I first began writing, my editor would tell me to add more description so my reader would understand what my hero or heroine looked like. Also, what kind of mountains were they looking at in the distance as the couple strolled along the path? With this encouragement, I worked at it until it became second nature to me. I made my weakness become my strength. How do I know this is my strength? Because I’ve had many reviewers comment that they could actually feel as if they were in the area my story took place because of my descriptions. I try not to overdo it, though. Just enough to help my reader imagine they are there.

Me: Along with that, what characteristics do you strive to include in every book by Linda Weaver Clarke?

Linda: I try to include humor, some romance, and intrigue. Those are my favorite types of books to read, so I want to include it in my stories.
 
Me: Finally, I believe it's important for writers to know what they hope readers will get from their books. What do you hope readers will get from The Mysterious Doll?

Linda: Fun and entertainment. If a reader loves romantic cozy mysteries, then this book is right up their alley. What is a cozy mystery? It’s a G-rated story. Usually the sleuth is an intelligent woman who must solve the case.  Most mysteries are about solving a crime, but this new series involves missing persons. 
Me: Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Linda, and Congratulations on your new book. 
Click here to purchase The Mysterious Doll from Amazon.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Learning from Book Reviews by Ronda HInrichsen



Betrayed, my recently released novel, has been receiving some awesome, reader reviews, and I am so happy and grateful so many people have enjoyed it. I also love learning from those statements what I did right in my book and what I want to continue to include in my future stories. Praise and learning--the perfect combination. :)

However, sometimes we get reviews that mention elements about our book the reviewer didn't like, or worse, their comments are simply unkind; i.e., the reviewer hates everything about the book and is not opposed to sharing that opinion with the world. It's a given. No matter who the author is, they will receive such reviews. But I've found that if I look beyond the criticism and consider the review as a response to my work, just as I do when I'm reading it aloud to others, I can learn a great deal that will help me with my writing, and sometimes with my career as an author.

For instance, if a reviewer states she enjoyed elements of the book, like the lovely descriptions and the relationship I developed between the characters, but the story was slow and it took her a long time to get through the book (By the way, this is not one of my reviews.), I first try to understand what the reviewer is really saying, In this case, I'd see that while I met some of my goals, because I want my readers to enjoy the setting and the characters, I'd also notice I didn't meet another of my goals, which is I do not want readers to want to put my book down. So it might be that I need to increase my pacing and suspenseful elements. I then keep that information in mind as I read others' reviews and decide if the reviewer was right. If so, I have some writing work and learning to do.

As far as the hate-everything-reviewer goes, most of the time that reader is NOT YOUR READER anyway, and there's no point in spending a lot of time worrying about how to fix something to that reader's tastes.But, if the reviewer mentions an element in my book that mine didn't have or didn't do well but that he really want to be there, I consider whether or not his points are valid and whether or not I should work on what he said. After that, I move on.  Part of marketing work includes trying to find those readers who like what we write, so I try to hang on to the praisers I find and not worry about the rest.

Finally, most of the time it's not recommended that an author respond to a reader's review, but this "rule", like so many others, is one that needs to be followed or not followed according to the situation. In the following case, I thought I should respond to a question a reviewer had because my answer could also help those who read this blog. She mentioned this about my character, Tom:

"I thought his profession was interesting as well and I'm kind of curious to know how that was decided on for the story and the research the author did for it."  htp://www.wishfulendings.com/2015/01/blog-tour-review-giveaway-betrayed-by.html#more


Answer: I came up with the initial idea for Tom's profession while I was watching a historical documentary about one of the World Wars. I don't remember which, probably WWII, but in either case, it talked about how a battle situation was won because they had a magician figure out how to deceive the enemy through an illusion. I loved that idea and ran with it. As far as the research goes, there are always small bits of information I have to look up as I write the story, but most of Tom's character and especially his tricks came from the book, Hiding the Elephant, by Jim Steinmeyer.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Marketing Tool--Blog Tour

No matter how we're published, authors have to market their books. For many, including me, that's a hard thing to do, because we have to not only put ourselves--our work, our words, and in some cases our hearts--out for the world to see, but because it's also very difficult to say, "Hey, check out my book. It's awesome, perfect, everything a reader could ever want . . . "  LOL. And yet, somehow, somewhere, we have to try to spur "word of mouth" advertising.

Blog tours can help. Sometimes publishers will put them together for authors, and sometimes authors will put them together for themselves, but this time, my publisher, Covenant Communications, put together a blog tour for Betrayed. The tour is on day 2, and so far I've seen three great advantages: I've received some dream-come-true reviews which have been posted on important sites like Amazon and Goodreads; tweets about my book have surfaced through Twitter; and I am finding new readers.

The bad side of tours? They can be somewhat costly and time consuming to put together, and the cyber-world seems to always be changing, so it's hard to guage how many people are actually seeing it. But that's the case with every marketing tool. As for me, so far, so good--I'm happy with Betrayed's Blog Tour.

Blog Tour Schedule





Friday, November 21, 2014

Betrayed by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen



Introducing the cover (which I absolutely love) for my next romantic suspense novel, Betrayed. It will be released on January 2, 2015 and is now available for pre-order here. Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Awakening by Dorine White

Just in time for Christmas, Author Dorine White's Young Adult novel, The Awakening, will be released on December 2, 2014. Here's a sneak peak.





Nightmares really do come true, and for fifteen-year-old Kyler Birkwood, they are just beginning. Raised on a farm by his Aunt Martha, Kyler has no clue about the magical heritage swimming through his blood. When he discovers evidence of a mythical creature, a terrifying beast thought only to exist in fairy tales, his safe world shatters.
Left at a school of magic to hunt for clues, he is overwhelmed and disbelieved. As loved ones begin disappearing and Orcs roam the land, Kyler must undergo a journey that takes him from the High Courts of the King to the unknown forests of the East. His magic just awakening, Kyler is the lone hope for a world that will not listen.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What She Did Right--Showing Silence (Escape to the Sea by Tera Mecham)



Author Tera Mecham's new novel, Escape to the Sea, is a sweet romance about a young woman who finally finds love, marriage, and delicious romance with a handsome man after having been jilted at the alter two years earlier. While there are many great things about this story, such as the exotic settings and Mecham's ability to effectively and sweetly show the physical and emotional attraction between a man and a woman, one of my favorites is that Mecham beautifully shows moments of silence rather than telling us that time has passed. For example, during a dinner scene, Mecham writes: "A soft breeze blew across the table, and I placed my hand
on my napkin so it wouldn’t flutter away." If the author intended only to show action during the conversation, she could have left it at "I placed my hand on my napkin" or even "I moved my napkin to my lap." However, with the added details, Mecham shows both a moment of silence and a description of the setting. LOVED IT!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Fearful Thing By Kathleen Marks (Ronda Hinrichsen)

I am nearly finished writing the first draft of "A Fearful Thing", a Dalton & Dalton Mystery. It is a historic paranormal romantic suspense novella with characters I really love writing about.Think of "Castle" meets "The Parent Trap" plus a glowing cat. :) Anyway, I recently received the cover and can't wait to show it off. So here it is.