Hello friends! Today I have the pleasure of picking the brain of author Thornton Parsons. Thornton has been writing nearly all her life, her first work published when she was just 14-years-old. Her newest book, the first of a series, Lake Eerie: Haunted Homicide, has gone to press and is published by Cambridge Books. She is currently working on the second installment, Lake Eerie: Eye for an Eye.
If you would like to contact Thornton, you can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alright! Let’s get to some questions:
1. What made you start writing? Were there any particular books/events/people that inspired you to start writing?
My parents were divorced early in my life and I spent my formative years not knowing my father. My mother has proved to be the greatest inspiration to the advent of my writing career in Portland, Oregon. She loved murder mysteries, and I followed along willingly. She loved to read, and I, in turn, found solace in books. Most of my primary and elementary school days were spent in the library. It was a whole other world for me. In the second grade, I found that I had no artistic flair, so I was the wordsmith who captioned my classmates’ drawings and artwork. In the third grade, I was the scientist journaling my experiments (at the time I didn’t even know what journaling was) in my basement laboratory, unbeknownst to me that all of these experiments had already been conducted and lab reports written. We had no internet, so how was I to know? I found my niche in the fourth grade and wrote my first novel. Of course, it wasn’t very good, but I’ve grown since then.
2. What is your writing process? Is it a set process or more fluid?
My writing process is to start each new book with a kernel of truth. When the idea is in place, I plan it out, outlining it chapter by chapter. It’s not like it was before computers when you actually had to keep separate files for separate chapters and work slowly and methodically pounding out character development and plot twists on an old manual Smith Corona typewriter. With my computer, the process is very fluid now. It is no longer necessary to suffer through draft after draft when you can work each draft on a master document. In the old days, editors allowed writers three mistakes per page. Not so in the age of computers. Also, working from a master you can easily transition from chapter to chapter or work chapters randomly. I usually like to write my beginning and endings first. As for projects, I like to have one in my publisher’s queue, one in progress, and one on deck to begin when the next one is submitted. You can’t rest on your laurels. You’ll stagnate.
3. What advice do you have for new/aspiring writers?
Don’t let others discourage you or deter you from your dream. I have heard so many people say, “I wanna be a writer,” but in truth, they don’t want to do the work. A wannabe is a has been that never was, so don’t listen to the naysayers and wannabes. As long as the dream is in your heart, think in terms of “I am a writer.” You just happen to be uneducated/unskilled and unpublished. Get your education at school or educate yourself. Hone your writing skills and one day you will be published. Don’t quit. Go Tell Aunt Rhody was rejected 47 times. If I’d quit, it wouldn’t have been accepted for publication on the 48th.
4. What project have you enjoyed working on the most?
I think I had the most fun writing Swanee River Moon. I had the idea for it since I was nine and never knew quite how to formulate a plot line. However, on a trip to Savannah a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to stay at a charming bed and breakfast. Being a writer, they assigned me to the Library Room (with all of the books). At breakfast one morning in the Dining Room, the plot started to form and the chapters seemed to come together and this bed and breakfast became the setting for this murder mystery. The proprietor sat at the table telling me stories about the house and I nibbled on bacon as I scribbled notes on a napkin. By the time I had departed, I finally had the direction that I needed to complete this project.
5. What is the deciding factor on whether or not to pursue a project?
The deciding factor in pursuing a project is the viability of the project itself. If you write only that which you like, you might have some great writing, but you probably won’t sell anything. It’s good to write what you know, but it doesn’t hurt to expand your horizons and explore other avenues. Ask yourself questions that pertain to why this is trending or that is so popular. You can weave these into great story lines if you’ll give yourself the chance. When I decide on a project, I like to see it through until the end, even though the finished product might not resemble the vision that was in my head.
Thank you for the lovely interview, Thornton! I especially enjoyed your the advice you offer to new authors. There is definitely no such thing as trying to be a writer. You either are or you aren’t! And you story of going through 47 rejections is very inspiring. I had a similar experience with my first novel, Dark Guardian, and went through well over a hundred rejections before it was accepted and kicked off my professional writing career! Thank you again for stopping by the blog, Thornton!
I hope you all enjoyed reading Thornton’s interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it. Please feel free to leave your thoughts below!