You were a guest on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ before, where we learned about writing in your life and your projects.
Let’s see what you can tell us today:
1. Are you still writing in the same genre as you did before, and if not, why did you switch – or would you ever think to change genres?
I am still writing travel adventure stories for middle grade readers and probably will for some time. I enjoy writing for this age group. Tweens are no longer little kids and not yet young adults. They are just discovering life outside their comfort zone and are eager to learn more. I like to think my books will broaden their horizons and spark an interest in traveling.
I have, however, written short stories – memoirs, about growing up on the Canadian prairies, and plan to publish them in a collection soon. It´s always good to try different genres to stretch your writing muscles.
2. Please, tell us a little about your writing process.
It´s not a terribly organized process and I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone but it works for me. I get an idea, usually based on a location, and start scribbling. Once I get the first draft of the first chapter completed, I create a mind map. This mind map is divided into chapters and a location is allotted to each chapter. Then I add characters to the chapters. I use different coloured gel pens to do this. I add ideas and action as I progress with the story. I am very much a panster writer. This is a living map and gets changed a lot. It gets very messy and colourful. No one could ever make sense out of it except me. It’s as messy and confusing as my mind. Once I’m finished writing the first draft, which I edit and share with critique partners as I proceed, I then review the complete story and do some rewrites before sending out to beta readers. After more rewrites based on the beta readers feedback, I send it to my publisher who does a thorough edit. After a few more changes and rewrites, it is ready for publication and I have the book memorized. There is probably an easier way to do this but I don´t know it!
3. What is important to know for young, new authors and writers?
There is no right or wrong way to write a book. You find a way, usually by trial and error, and then you make it right for you. You can spend way too much time worrying about doing it right. Just write it down and polish it later. There will always be edits and rewrites. (see above)
4. Your experience in the writing world, do you think it has already taken you where you wanted to go?
Yes and no. I am astonished to have six books published in the series and more to come. I also have a bilingual book published and short stories in anthologies. So I am pleased with my production, especially since I started writing seriously later in life. I am happy to have a following and some devoted Amanda fans. So in some ways I have exceeded where I wanted to go. I would however like to be better at marketing and have my books more well-read internationally. I’m the sort of person who always raises the bar so I don’t think I will ever be completely satisfied.
5. In your opinion, are you a writer or an author – and what is the difference for you?
I am both. I have heard that a writer is someone who writes (that’s me) and an author is someone who is published (that’s me too). Perhaps the difference is that an author is someone who is in the business of writing. To be somewhat successful, you need to look at it as a business.
6. Please, tell us about your projects again. Was there progress since the last interview or are there even completely new projects?
Since my last interview on Writer’s Treasure Chest, I have completed and published the sixth book in my Amanda Travels series, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind. In this book, intrepid traveler Amanda is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico where she visits many incredible sites including an ancient pueblo, a traditional hacienda and a haunted hotel. She learns about the wild and violent past of this rugged but beautiful landscape. Her classmate claims to see ghosts everywhere they go and Amanda can’t escape an eerie wind that follows her. This book is a bit spookier than the others but everyone seems to like it. One reviewer said it is fast-paced, spooky, and enough cultural reference to delight both readers and parents.
I am now working on book seven, Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action and have ideas for Amanda in Malta. Amanda has a more places to visit and interesting people to meet. If only she could mind her own business and keep out of trouble.
Thank you for being my guest once again. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
Thank you so much for inviting me back to your wonderful blog!
Darlene Foster has dreamt of writing books, travelling the world and meeting interesting people for as long as she can remember. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky Amanda Ross, a twelve-year-old Canadian girl who loves to travel. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in unique destinations. Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Spanish Costa Blanca with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She believes it is never too late to make your dreams come true.
Find Darlene’s new book ‘Amanda in New Mexico’ here: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels-ebook/dp/B01MT8LXAR/
All other books can be found on her Amazon Author Page