Where Readers & Writers Connect
Here at Readers’ Realm, we believe that writers must first be readers. What do you enjoy reading?
Reading is one of my most favorite past times. There is nothing quite like finding a new book that tantalizes your imagination and invites your fingers to run along the binding. Growing up, I was blessed to have a wall of books to choose from thanks to my parents passion with reading. In college I was hard-pressed to not invest my last nickel and dime in a few dozen books at the local second-hand store. And when I received a check from one of the relatives for Christmas or Birthday? Yes, I went straight to the local Christian bookstore to see what they had in stock. Christmas gifts to others usually also consisted of an assortment of books from CBD.com. Books are in my blood.
Andre Norton is one of my favorite fantasy writers (Mirror of Destiny, Opal Eyed Fan), followed rather closely by Lawrence Watt Evans (The Misenchanted Sword) and Piers Anthony (A Spell for Chameleon). I love their style of weaving a tale. There is such a great balance of character definition, conflict, description, and dialogue. Especially with Andre Norton, the sprinkling of romance leaves me wanting more, seeking out the next book in hopes my craving will be sated. There are so many more authors I could list here, so I will leave it with simply the fantasy genre.
When did you decide you wanted to write?
There was never a conscious decision to write, honestly. From the moment I can recall there has been a press in the deepest part of me to weave stories. As I matured, it blossomed into a daily, unquenchable thirst to bring characters to life on the page, to heal the tortured soul, to tell the story of the characters I see so vividly in my mind. Whether the story was inspired by a movie seen or a book read, there was always the impression that another story waited just on the horizon.
Did your parents encourage your love for reading and/or writing? If not, where did encouragement come from?
I believe they did, in their way. Growing up, they encouraged us to read, they read to us, and they would not allow us inside until it grew dark – which encouraged us to play outside with the siblings and our imaginations. While I don’t recall encouragement to pursue a career in writing, my mother is now one of the best research assistants and quality assurance managers I could ask for. In fact, she is creating a timeline for my fantasy saga and very excitedly informed me that she finished working in book one. She is a great brainstorming partner, asking questions that spin my imagination into realms it might not have ventured into without her. My husband is the same way, being a fellow writer and a strong “idea man”. He also is a great resource for my villains. HAH!
How do you get an idea for a book?
It usually hits me between the eyes, ricocheting inside my brain to destroy my attention for anything else. At times inspiration strikes when I allow my mind to wander to whatever seems interesting at the time. For instance, my most recent idea, a romantic comedy set on the Oregon Coast, came to me while thinking back on an annoying time in my life when I was given a speeding ticket. Most of the time, however, ideas come while working on one of my WIPs, while trying to sleep, while driving, or even while taking a shower. I don’t know when I will be blind-sided with an idea. After more than 20 years of being sabotaged by inspiration at a moment’s notice, I rather enjoy the spontaneity of it, because that encourages anticipation and excitement of the new project.
How do you prepare to write a book? Did you do any special research?
As a young writer I would pants it from the first, working from a general or rough idea of the characters,
the plot, and sometimes the end goal. I still tend to do this for NaNoWriMo, although the storyline is more completely thought out, but it is a relief and release to allow the characters to be fleshed out in a rather spontaneous manner.
My rough drafts are always written more from the “pantster” side of things than not. It is amazing the facts you can learn about your character through a complete draft written from the “free writing” perspective. Allowing my characters as well as my subconscious writing instinct free reign is an investment into the discovery of the storyline, backstory, and countless other possibilities that outlining can sometimes squelch. A rough draft is the initial skeleton of the story. Fleshing out comes later, once you have discovered whether or not you have a single skeleton or a couple extras mixed in. A rough draft is so important for a writer like me to become engaged with not only the story I want to tell, but the characters that will be living the tale. After all, if I am not entranced by either, how will I presuade my readers to care one way or the other?
More frequently, now, I jot a bio of the character, especially their life’s goal, summarize the story I see in my head (acknowledging to myself the freedom to change it as I write the rough draft), and do any research of the location or a particular career/job held by the characters. I remember one novella required researching DNA and genetic manipulation, while another will require I research Oregon State Troopers. It’s fascinating where stories will lead us!
How many books have you written, and how many of them have been published?
I have completed about 30 books, all of which have been published on various internet sites, 13 more are on my to-complete list, and 4 more are published through my personal publishing label. There are at least two novels I will pursue traditional publishing with, but I am having a lot of fun being in control of my characters’ destiny from day one to the time they are released into the world.
What genre do you usually write?
I usually write inspirational romance, although of late I have been focusing on more medieval fantasy. Romance and “finding love” has always been a focus of mine, finding happiness or justice in a bad situation or within a rough life. Let’s say the genre chose me, as I cannot imagine writing any story without a smattering of the romantic. Call me a romance junky, because I love the swell of emotions as one of my characters realizes they love someone.
What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?
When I’m not writing or reading, I’m usually watching movies or playing video games. I love the games that have a “choose your own adventure” storyline. I discover such a wide variety of character types while playing games! That and I’m a geek. Making bead or wire jewelry is another hobby I enjoy.
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
My new release, My Fair Princess, is [what I call] a “sweet & spicy” romance written for fun, exploring the lighter side of love and the control we have over it, should we make that decision. My next release, slated for August, is Of Damsels & Dragons. The title might suggest a medieval fantasy, but Damsels is a contemporary dramatic romance set in Hollywood. The main character, Amy Burke, is a somewhat recent theater grad who finally gets the chance to work with her thespian hero, Sir Garret Harrison of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Garret is a jaded character who has no belief in the idea of “religion” or “true love”, until Amy’s common sense faith and passionate heart begin to show him a different perspective on both. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see how his own view has changed until loss makes itself known.
Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to a beginning writer?
Don’t let someone tell you your Voice is wrong. Each writer has a different way of spinning a story. To find your Voice, experiment, explore, challenge, read, question, and then do it again.
For more information about Nona King and her fiction writing adventures, visit her website at http://nonaking.com or her Blog: http://wordobsession.net.