by Jean Herny Mead
I'm lucky to live on a mountaintop at 7,000 feet. What better place to write? By lucky I mean all those hours of uninterrupted writing. We only have cell phone service here and that doesn’t work half the time, so I’m usually not bothered by telemarketers. My life may sound boring to some but my husband and I are basically hermits who make a trip to town once or twice a month to buy supplies and visit friends. It requires planning but the solitude and beauty of the landscape are well worth any inconveniences isolation may cause.
I'm up between six and seven each morning and I go straight to my computer in my pajamas with a bowl of cereal. A cup of chai tea topped with whipped cream opens my eyes while I answer email and check on my books’ sales numbers. I then launch into one of three books I’m currently working on: my fourth Logan and Cafferty mystery/suspense novel, second historical, and a second book of interviews, The Mystery Writers, from my blog, Mysterious Writers. So, when I occasionally hit a blank wall—I hate the term “writer’s block”—I switch from the manuscript I’m currently working on to another. And if all else fails, I sit on the back deck and watch deer and antelope roam our land. I also enjoy watching the neighboring rancher’s horses as well as the mountain scenery, whether green with grass or covered in snow. That always gets my creative juices flowing. But, because I began my writing career as a journalist trained to sit down and write, I rarely hit a snag.
I’m definitely a seat of the pants writer. My characters are so familiar by now that they’re like old friends I look forward to visiting every day. I always read the chapter I worked on the previous day, making minor changes, which carries me into that day’s work. I use the film strip method, which means I watch and listen to my characters in my mind’s eye and type as fast as I can to keep up with them. I rarely plot in advance and only outline my nonfiction books. I sometimes write myself into a corner, although not very often. I also enjoy doing research at night for my current book.
It's cold and windy here now, but as fellow mystery writer Loren Estleman once said, the best time to write is when the snow is deep around the old ranch house and there's nowhere else to go.