Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wild Card Weekend - Stella McLean

This weekend meet Canadian Superromance author Stella McLean, with her reasons for creating heartwarming love stories!


WHAT MAKES A WRITER TICK?

I wish I didn’t need to write. And there are days when life would be much simpler if I didn’t. So, why do I write? Why do any of us write? What makes us put hours and hours of writing time into a book, and then spend many more hours working on the promotion of that book?

It’s not for the money, unless you’ve hit the mother lode on the New York Times bestseller list. When I sold my first book, I worked it out, and if I counted the eleven manuscripts and ten years of writing, my first book earned me about four cents an hour!

We didn’t pick writing for the social life, as writing is a solitary profession, one with endless work and worry about whether there will be a next book contract, and whether anyone will buy our next offering. There are times when a writing career seems to be a short cut to terminal anxiety.

After years of wondering what made me do it, here’s the best I can come up with, and maybe you can say this better than I can, so please feel free to add your comments.

I believe that for many of us, writing began as the fulfillment of a dream that what we wrote would somehow make a difference in someone’s life. We honestly believed that we could entertain people with our stories of love and caring, that our reader would experience a “me too” moment when they read our character’s story. But as time passed, and rejections made us doubt our abilities, we had to search deeper inside ourselves to stay motivated to continue. For me, I love to write, to sit at my computer and put words up there on the screen. But they’re not just any words. They are coming from some internal source I didn’t know existed until I began to spend serious hours on writing back in the nineties. For me, the discovery that writing stories made me feel happy and filled me with a strange contentment kept me going. Sure I wanted to be published, and I spent YEARS as the rejection queen of my RWA chapter, but what other profession allowed me to give shape to what was going on inside me?

What motivated me was the sense that no matter how long I had to wait for publication, there was always that strange feeling of joy created when I sat at the key board, typing away while my inner ‘writing core’ fed me the story line.

And to this day, stories appear in every part of my life. I find story ideas in everything I do. This free-floating, find-a-story-anywhere thing has always been a part of my life. And you know what’s best about it? It’s all mine….until someone publishes it.

What about you? What drives your story creation?



Stella MacLean’s next Super Romance is out March 10th. Baby In Her Arms is a story about second chances in love AND in life.

17 comments:

  1. Great take on "what makes us do this" Stella! Baby in Her Arms is right on the top of my TBR pile and I'm so looking forward to reading it as I enjoyed "Heart of my Heart" so much. My mom did to, so I must grab her a copy of this one!

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  2. Thanks so much Deb. And I'm so pleased to hear you and your mother enjoyed Heart of My Heart.
    And it's so true. When a story is published, the most wonderful event in a writer's world is to have a reader say how much they enjoyed reading the story.
    As writers, our ultimate verification is to have a reader enjoy our stories.
    Stella.

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  3. Hi Stella, my fellow Super author--I loved your post. What keeps me going? The fact that I can't stop (and don't want to.) Like you, stories come to me and I have to write them down. I'm so surprised at what is lurking inside my head sometimes, lol. I can't wait to read your book!
    Jeannie Watt

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  4. Jeannie,
    I'm so glad to read your words. I too am often surprised at what lurks inside my head. Just the other day, I had a story pop in about a woman who is faced with meeting her ex for the first time after the divorce....and everything that could go wrong did. Despite the 'down' scenario, it's a comedy.
    I'm looking for a funny title, and then I'll outline the story.
    Keep your stories rolling.
    Stella

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  5. Great topic. Why do we write? Why do I write? I think my brain would explode if I didn't get the words out of it and on paper. Of course, when the writing is not going so well, I wonder if a brain explosion wouldn't be easier in the long run. LOL.

    Linda--fellow Canadian author from Alberta. Hi, all you Canadians.

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  6. Linda, you are SO right. Explode is the perfect word. I ALWAYS feel so much better after I've spent a few hours writing. It's as if the pressure is off for awhile.
    Stella

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  7. I've tried to give up writing.... but I can't. I love it too much.

    I've been playing make-believe in my head for so long, my brain does it whether or not I'm writing. Putting the images in my mind into words satisfies my creative spirit in a way nothing else does. I imagine, therefore I am.

    BTW, I LOVED Baby in Her Arms! It's such an emotional book - I laughed, I cried, I devoured it in a single gulp. I adored the bride in the carriage scene near the end of the book. You painted such a vivid picture.

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  8. Hi Stella,

    Loved reading about how everyday life provides much of the inspiration for your stories. These stories must have a lot of personal meaning for you as a writer as well as resonating with readers who may have also experienced similiar "storylines" in their lives! Looking forward to a quiet afternoon and a pot of tea so that I can enjoy your latest book, Baby in Her Arms!

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  9. Thank you Tory,
    Yes, I so understand the need for make-believe. As a child, I played cut outs with the Eaton's catalogue, and created stories about families that lived in a 'split level' house made up of the top of my neighbor's sewing machine. I've often wondered since if she found the whole thing a little strange....but maybe because I spent time at her house, she'd gotten used to it.
    Whatever it was, it was a great way to jump start my imagination.
    Stella

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  10. Stella, I also write because I've always have - whether on paper or in my head. Characters, images, places pop to mind and demand attention.

    The new book is on my TBR pile, and will be my reward when I get thru the chapter I'm writing now.

    Light,
    Nancy Haddock

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  11. Dear Nancy in Toronto,
    Yes, a whole lot of my writing comes out of my everyday life. In fact, the 'star' of Baby In Her Arms, a cat named Fergus is taken straight from my experiences with Emma Jean, my notorious cat who refuses to use up ANY of her nine lives.
    Hope you enjoy my book, and I'll wait for your comments on my website, www.stellamaclean.com
    Stella

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  12. Dear Nancy,
    Isn't it amazing how writing chooses us? We think we have our need to write under control, and then suddenly, we see something or hear something, and bingo! We're at the computer. Heavens, I've even written while waiting for a plane, waiting for a doctor, waiting for just about anything provides what I call writing bonus times. And I've written on envelopes, grocery lists, appointment notices and inside my check book.
    And light to you, Nancy.
    Stella

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  13. Hi there; I loved your post because you hit on the nail the reasons for me spending countless hours dipping into my imagination. The satisfaction of pleasing others just adds to the pleasure. Good luc k with your future endeavours.

    Strong, smart, sensuous heroines; heroes to die for.
    Carol McPhee: http://www.geocities.com/carolmcphee2003

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  14. Hi Stella,

    I really enjoyed your post, and a lot of what you said about writing hit home to me. Like reading, I can't remember a time when I didn't write, although it's only been a few years since I started doing it seriously. And now that I have, I can't imagine giving it up.

    I loved Heart of My Heart and can't wait to read Baby In Her Arms!

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  15. Dear Carol,
    You're so right. A writer's life is about the story that the reader can relate to, or has had a similar experience.
    Thank you for saying what you did.
    Stella

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  16. Dear Annette,
    I wonder what our lives would be like today if we didn't read. Like you I can't remember when I didn't read. I'm so glad you enjoyed Heart of My Heart, and I hope to see you on my website soon.
    Stella

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  17. Thank you everyone for being here, and I hope to see you here again.
    Stella

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