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Monday, July 7, 2014

The Writing Life Blog Hop, July 7, 2014

The Writing Life Blog Hop, July 7, 2014

Fellow author and genealogist, Michelle Goodrum, invited me to participate in a writing life blog hop. I sounded like a fine way to allow the reader to get into the heads of various writers so I agreed.  You can see who is featured in next week's post at the end of this post.

The questions:

1) What am I writing or working on?

I recently finished the first twenty episodes of a new series of short stories set in 1876 that I published on HubPages as individual stories. Then, I incorporated them into an eBook, "The Kings of Oak Springs," using Lulu. I've published my nonfiction there, but not my fiction. Also, this was my first eBook-only publication. It went very well for a first time out. My other fiction is published via CreateSpace and Amazon, in soft back hard copy and Kindle.
Using my family publishing company, we are putting the finishing touches on a collection of stories on The Founding (1833-1876) which are the backstories of my earlier novels in "The Homeplace Saga" series. The next two books, one set in the 1999, and the other set at the turn of the 19th-20th century, are being formulated in my head (and in some notes) and are somewhat related. Presumably, these will be novel "ish" books number six and seven in the series.
One other project is my "Weston Wagons West" series of short stories, again, published separately, on HubPages. This is a fictional extended family (from 1600s to current day) who interact, through the years, with my actual ancestors that I have researched over the years. What fun!! Most recently, one of these lines actually interacts with my "The Homeplace Saga" characters in Missouri. It is purely fictional, and adds an exciting new perspective on my most familiar characters. These episodes will eventually be packaged as eBooks, as well (especially now that I know how easy it actually is, if you keep it simple!).

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My genre is the family saga. I know of no other family saga set in the heartland of America, set in one location, with the same set of families through many years (the saga). The stories are in the tradition of Little House on the Prairie being inspired by my passion for family history and genealogy research as well as life experiences. As more stories are generated, more stories are inspired. The early stories focused on four families. Recently, I introduced a family new to the area, and am letting them tell the stories of the community from this additional perspective. These are "real-lifelike" families and deserve to have their stories told.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Basically, because I must. I am a writer. That is what I do. I read and I write. I studied writing in the late 1980s, but then decided earning my PhD was more important for my family. During the 15 years I was a college professor, my wife and I focused on family history and genealogy research as our primary "hobby." Upon retirement, at age 70, I committed to my writing career. I write because I must, not for money (thankfully!). The fiction I now write is a culmination and consolidation of many years of family history study and life experiences. My nonfiction writing is an outlet for what I am thinking and doing that does not go into my fiction. This mostly relates to a deep interest in "heritage" - that is, the historical, cultural, and natural aspects of life.

4) How does my writing process work?

As a retired person, my first responsibilities are to my wife, and my family. My family is relatively small, it turns out, so I do have free time. I choose to read and to write, in that free time. Unlike many others, my writing time usually comes in the afternoon and evening, or even late at night. I write when I feel like writing. My only deadlines are monthly. I keep a rough plan, and I think about my writing, a lot, even when I am not writing. Much of my short writing projects, in particular, are composed in my mind, while doing other things, even lying in bed at night. If I try to force it, or meet imposed deadlines, it doesn't work. Otherwise, the stories flow from my characters, and their lives. I have more stories in my mind, for many of my characters, than I can possibly ever "write down" - much like real life. Most stories never get told. I accept the responsibility to write as many of them, as I physically can, in the time I have.


NOW, let's meet next week's featured author:

Terri O’Connell is a professional genealogist in the Chicago area, focusing on Midwestern United States Genealogy, with a main focus in Illinois and a special interest in Irish research. She is also the owner of Cruise Planners – O’Connell Cruise and Travel, a full service travel company. Their mission is to encompass the full family: vacations, reunions, and history travel. Terri is a travel enthusiast with a passion for genealogy and enjoys bringing the two together to assist her clients in their travel needs. You can find Terri online at, Terri is the Executive Director of The In-Depth Genealogist,

Blog Hop History
This particular blog hop started in April 2014 by Ellen Barone on The Internal Traveler. If you follow the links backwards you will see a wide variety of writing genres represented. If you Google "Blog Hop Ellen Barone" you can see a sampling of what I am talking about. Also, you can read the post by Shannon Combs Bennett that got Michelle involved and the other writers she featured there, as well!! ;-)

[Simultaneously published at Dr. Bill's Book Bazaar and Dr. Bill Tells Ancestry Stories.]

Happy Reading!

Dr. Bill  ;-)