Interview with Belinda M Gordon, author of “Tressa’s Treasures”

What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?

I tend to use various methods depending on what draft I’m working on. I plot my books longhand using index cards. I dictate much of the first draft, then I work on the computer keyboard to fine tune it.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?

I’ve often heard the quote “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes at nine every morning.” Which I believe is attributed to William Faulkner. I do think it’s true that you need to be disciplined and inspiration will come.

How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?

Despite my answer above, I do find the blank page intimidating. If I have a clear idea what I want to write, if I can see it in my mind’s eye like a movie, well then it’s easy to get going on that scene. But having just a nugget of an idea can make it difficult.

Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?

I’m someone who loves to set goals and when it comes to writing a book I set goals or ‘deadlines’ for myself- when the first draft should be done, when it will be ready to send to the editor etc. I aim for a set number of words each day when I’m writing a first draft. After that, my goal is based on how many scenes I will revise.

Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?­

That couldn’t be further from the truth! At least for me. The idea of a first draft is to get the story down as quickly as you can. I believe this lets your subconscious come up with great ideas as you go along. Ideas often pop up as you go for spots earlier in the book. In that case I make a note in the earlier chapter so I remember it when doing the second draft and keep moving forward on the first draft. Most writers I know start out with the knowledge that their first draft will be heavily flawed.

Have you ever written a character with an actor in mind?

I often looked for pictures of actors or models that match the character’s image in my head. I find this handy—especially for minor characters—as a quick reference when I want to describe them.

 

Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?

Not on purpose. I wrote a romance novel several years ago that was backed up on a floppy disk (that tells you how long ago it was!) I can’t find the backup and I have only a hard copy of about a third of the book. if I could find it, I would be polishing it for publication right now.

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

I have a team I work with that includes a story and copy editor, several proofreaders, and a cover designer. I do everything I can to put out a good, professional book.

Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?

I wrote the original draft of Tressa’s Treasures in 2009-2010. It hung out on my computer until 2015, when I remembered it was there. I read it through and decided it was worth finishing. Tressa’s Treasures has turned into The King’s Jewel Series which will include four books. The second book in the series, Xander’s Folly, was completed much faster, but it takes time for the editors to do their work. The periods it was with the editors was the only stewing time for that book.

It is often said that in order to write something, you must believe in what you are writing. Do you agree with that?

Yes, I believe that’s true. I mean, obviously you could write a story you don’t partially like, where you don’t believe in the story. But if you don’t like the story yourself, it would be hard for others to like it. Your feelings would show in your writing.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I’ve always been a big reader. When I was a kid I would read a book a day. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of time any more. I could name dozens of authors I love, but that would take up too much room here. So, let me give you a sampling: Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, Diana Gabaldon, Jim Butcher, Lisa Gardner, Rhys Bowen, Sue Grafton….to name just a few.

What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?

The characters! The best books have great characters that come alive on the page. You feel like you know them and you care about what happens to them. I think this is a big reason why series are so popular. People want to spend more time with the people they have gotten to know.

Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors?

I love to travel though I don’t get to do it much. Visiting new places, meeting new people is good for refueling your creativity. However, the logistics around travelling by plane is so cumbersome I wish someone would invent a transporter already!

But, as a writer, I do spend a lot of time indoors. I often think it would be nice to take the computer outside to write, but that never seems to work out for me.

What other genres do you enjoy reading?

Besides Urban Fantasy, I LOVE mysteries and I think any good book needs a little romance.

What’s your favorite movie which was based on a book?

This is a hard question, but after some consideration I think the clear winner for me is The Lord of the Rings. My favorite of the trilogy is The Fellowship of the Rings.

Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?

My mother was a big reader, but I didn’t need a push. She read all the books I did, especially when I was a teenager. It was great because we could talk about what we did or didn’t like about the stories. It wasn’t until many years later that it occurred to me she was probably monitoring what her teenage daughter was reading!

Do you enjoy discussing upcoming ideas with your partner? If yes, how much do you value their inputs?

My husband is very patient with listing to all my trials and tribulations as I work on a book. He’s a great sounding board who sometimes has a good idea for me but more importantly he listens and many times that lets me work it out on my own. My son is also a good sounding board for story development.

Do you enjoy theatre? Would you ever like one of your stories to be turned into a play?

I do enjoy the theater, especially musical theater. I’m currently obsessed with the soundtrack from Hamilton since getting tickets to the show is impossible. I see my books working better as movies rather than plays, but of course it would be a thrill to see one of my stories acted out.

Can you tell us about your current projects?

I currently working on the third book in the King’s Jewel series. The first two are currently available at Amazon. I’m about halfway through the first draft, which is my least favorite part of writing. I’m looking forward to getting to the next phase and start revising.

When can the readers expect your next book in print?

The third book—unfortunately I don’t have a title yet—will be available in the early part of 2017