Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Christiane France on Why She Writes

Christiane France is a writing peer of mine at Amber Quill Press. The highly successful romance author tells us, below, what makes her tick.

By Christiane France

Because I can? Because it’s the safest way of doing things I’d never have the guts to do otherwise? Because I want to show off my writing skills? Because I need to do something with my hands other than umm…err…well, you know, doing whatever there is to relieve the boredom of endless TV?  Or is it because I’m hoping for fame, fortune, instant recognition, and maybe having my books made into movies?

Actually, it’s none of the above. I write because I have a continuing and compulsive need to create something, anything, be it a new recipe, a new story idea, a new knitting pattern, or crochet design. So long as it starts off with a tiny grain of inspiration and ends up as a full blown successful whatever, I’m happy.

I also love to write (and that’s a crazy, mad, love it to death emotion not just a lukewarm like) because I’ve discovered being a pantser rather than a plotter is way more fun. I take a couple of characters, give them names and occupations, set them down somewhere in the world, and then I wind them up and watch them go. Like all infants, they need momma’s guiding hand for the first few steps, but once they realize they can walk, talk and do just about anything up to and including the ever so slightly illegal, they turn the tables and start telling me what to do. And that’s probably the part I like the best—when a character digs in his/her heels and says, no way, no how am I doing that, so there! Which, of course, is my cue to say, “Okay, sweet pea, and how would you like to do it?”

Of course there are times when none of us are sure whether to turn left, right or continue straight on. That’s when I have to start digging around for even more ideas. I just finished a story where I was having the worst problem trying to figure out the ending. I wanted something that said forever in a very special way. The two guys couldn’t come up with anything and neither could I, so I took the evening off and went to the movies. And, of course, you guessed it, something happened toward the end of the show that gave me a shot of pure inspiration.

I can hear you saying, what was it? What happened? Well, first you have to watch the movie Valentine’s Day, and then read my book The Cop and the Drifter when it comes out later this year (I’ve just heard it will be the weekend of May 30, 2010), I hope you get the connection because it was such a perfect moment in the movie and, I hope, the perfect one for my story. 

Christiane France truly believes that love makes the world go round, so she likes stories with both happy and bittersweet endings. Christiane has been writing romance for the past twenty years and lives near Niagara Falls with her husband and The Boys—two black and white Persian cats. Visit her online and check out her latest release, French Twist here.

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  1. Chris tells it just like it is--any art form is a compulsion that must be practiced. Like Chris, I write without an outline and begin just as she does. I get stuck in every story at some point, just as she did. On one occasion I realized it was because I didn't know my hero well enough. When I understood him better the words began to flow. I used to think getting hung up was because I write by the seat of my pants. Then I heard Lyndi Lamont, another Amber Quill romance author, moan at being blocked. She said, "It's because I have to outline before I begin."
    I guess we all get stuck, no matter the process.

    How is it for you, Rick?

    Carolina Valdez

  2. I am like you and Chris...I write by the seat of my pants, letting my characters guide me. Of course I have a general idea of where I'm going and what I want to accomplish, but for me, it's so much more fun (and so much more inspired) to just jump in and write and trust your instincts than to plan and overplan.


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