Thursday, December 12, 2013

“When you write your books, do you make them up all by yourself or do you use a kit?”

This question from a third grader during my years of writing for young readers still makes me smile.  If only there were a kit!  Writing is the hardest job I’ve ever had. Harder than newspapering and working retail during my undergrad days, harder than being a public school administrator, harder than being a college professor.  And despite the lack of a kit to make it easier, it’s the one I love the most.  For the past twenty years I’ve been lucky enough to get to do it full time, first as an author of novels for preteens and young adults at Simon and Schuster and Random House, and more recently as an author of historical fiction for adult readers. 

“What do you do all day?” wondered the third grader’s freckled faced pal.  That question is one I got almost every time I visited a school.

My answer is that no two days are exactly the same, which is why this job is so much fun.

This was my schedule on October 22nd, a typical day:

Alarm goes off. I get up, throw on some clothes, take Jake outside, bring him in and feed him, start the coffee.  While my husband is in the shower, I make breakfast and pack his lunch.

Breakfast, coffee and the newspaper.

Husband leaves for office. I shower, dress and pour my second cup of coffee. Up the stairs to my office. Fire up the computer.       

Answer e-mail. Carolina Gold, my new novel, is launching in two months, and today there are a couple of e-mails from my publisher and one from my publicist, personal e-mails from friends and family, letters from readers (I love that part!) and the daily poem from The Writers Almanac. Garrison Keillor, a most talented writer and radio personality, chooses a poem to share with subscribers every day.  Sometimes it’s an old classic, sometimes it’s work by a poet who is new to me, sometimes it’s a poem by one of my favorites such as Robert Frost, Donald Hall or Mary Oliver.  I take a few minutes to savor the poet’s words, to ponder their meaning, to revel in the language.

9:00am-12 noon
I have just turned in the manuscript for my next book due out in 2014 so today I am doing background reading and researching the next book I will begin writing in a few weeks, preparing a story summary to share with my publishing team at meetings in Nashville next month. 

Break for lunch. The weather is nice so I take Jake for a short walk around the neighborhood. We’ve had a lot of rain lately. The back yard is too wet for his usual game of Frisbee, so the walk is his consolation prize. Sightings: Cats 3, squirrels 2, other dogs 1. He is supremely happy.

I’m writing a series of blog posts like this one to be posted when Carolina Gold releases in early December. I finish a couple of those and then return to a magazine article I am writing due next month for December publication.

Phone call with my publisher, Daisy Hutton. We discuss  a couple of new projects that recently went to contract, titling options for the book I’ve just turned in, endorsement opportunities for the new book, and possible approaches to the book I must start writing soon for publication in 2015.

Return to the magazine article. Finish the draft and start looking through my photo files to choose pictures to accompany the article. Remember that I failed to take something out of the freezer for dinner. E-mail hubby that we will be eating out tonight.

We head for Sushihaha, our favorite Japanese restaurant. The food is fabulous, but I love going there as much for the excellent service and the tranquil atmosphere as for the food. Inside the restaurant is a soothing little waterfall and outside are dozens of potted plants we can admire from our favorite table by the windows.  We share an order of California rolls, and then order dinner, saving room for a few bites of gingered ice cream over chocolate fudge for dessert.

Home.  Let Jake outside, bring him in and settle in to watch Turner Classic Movies or read a book.

Watch the evening news, let Jake out again before bed.  Sweet dreams!

Dorothy Love is the author of numerous books for adults, preteens and young adults. Her popular
Hickory Ridge series, set in her native Tennessee, marked her return to her writing roots in historical fiction and introduced readers to her trademark blend of history, mystery and romance. She lives in Texas with her husband and their golden retriever and welcomes readers at and at  

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for a chance to win a free copy of Dorothy's latest release, Carolina Gold!


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