Posted by Rebecca
Join Dr. Jeri Fink, author of the historical fiction novel, Trees Cry For Rain (Dailey Swan Publishing), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in August and September.
Dr. Jeri Fink is an author, Family Therapist, and journalist, with over 19 books and hundreds of articles to her name. She writes adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction, and has appeared on television, radio, book events, seminars, workshops, and the internet. Dr. Fink’s work has been praised by community leaders, educators, reviewers, and critics around the country. To find out more about Dr. Fink http://www.drjerifink.com
Q: Give us an example of a typical writing day.
There’s no “day.” I’m always writing – in my head, in my sleep, in my trip to the store. I’m immersed in a world of characters and stories – they constantly dance before my eyes. Sometimes I’m at a party and I get very quiet. My husband prods me with a gentle “stop writing, pay attention.” It’s useless. If I’m not writing consciously, it’s churning beneath the surface, my characters skillfully designing their own stories. I’m a lucid dreamer (a vivid style of dreaming where I consciously participate in the outcome), so characters and plots join me in my sleep, too. If I have a question, I “insert” it into my thoughts before I go to bed. Inevitability, I wake up in the morning with my solution. It’s a very rich and exciting way to view the world!
Q: Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper?
I don’t restrict myself to either computer or pen-and-paper. I might write directly onto my tiny laptop, far away from my home office. Or I might write longhand, sitting at my kitchen table, sipping Earl Gray Tea. Sometimes I write notes on napkins after eating sushi at my favorite restaurant. I ultimately arrive at my desktop computer. When I’m working on a novel, I will write every day – no matter what, no matter how long and no matter where I am. The first chapter in Trees Cry For Rain was written on hotel stationary in Sedona, Arizona.
When my characters are ready, I can’t stop them from emerging!
Q: Do you work from an outline?
Yes and no. When I write nonfiction, it’s always begins with a tight outline. Fiction is different. My characters tell me their stories – I generate a loose outline after I know the basic plot. Since I like to incorporate metaphor, I often have to sketch out “hidden connections” to keep track of where I’m going. Ironically, my most detailed outlines are after the book is written, when I’m checking timelines, accuracy, consistency, and plot strength. I guess that makes sense since my editing and rewriting take much longer than the original draft.
Q: Biggest Pet Peeve about the writing life.
Isolation. People around me go to work, have holiday parties, and team meetings. Most see immediate results in their work – they can share accomplishments with co-workers and bosses. How do I tell someone that I’m really excited because one of my characters saved the day? How do I explain that I’m really upset because one of my characters committed a heinous crime? One day I was having lunch with an author friend. I was complaining about a character that suddenly appeared and forced me to go back one hundred pages to “write him in.” She shook her head sadly and said she knew exactly what I meant.
The waitress thought we were nuts.
Q: What’s next for you?
While I was waiting for Trees to be published, a very dark character leaped into my consciousness. It began with a story. My friend from California was telling me about a fifteen-year old mass murderer in her neighborhood.
I was very quiet. She knew immediately.
“You’re not going to write about him, are you?” She asked.
It was too late. We went to her computer to research and I experienced my first earthquake. It was an omen . . .
Jakob: A Perfect Psychological Storm took two years to write. As a Family Therapist, I was able to analyze cutting-edge professional research to construct a theory on the genesis of psychopathy. Then I asked myself the question: what would it look like in real life? The book scared the hell out of me.
Now I’m working on my next book. It’s historical fiction that begins in 17th century New York. I never stop writing . . . and I never know where my characters will take me.
Q: Writer’s Block – If you have ever experienced it – how did you resolve it?
I don’t experience writer’s block. I am my writing, and my writing is me. They can’t be separated. There are times when I need to think – to mull over a character or restructure a plot, but that’s still writing. There are times when I simply need to live – integrate what I see beyond my laptop. But that’s writing, too. Putting words on a paper or screen is only one part of the process.
Q: How did you feel holding your book in your hands for the first time?
Trees Cry For Rain is my nineteenth book, but the response is always the same. The first time I see my book it’s like holding my newborn baby. I carried, nurtured, and dreamed about it and suddenly it’s there in my arms.