Friday, January 6, 2012


Thoughts from a disordered mind.

I know several people who suffer from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. For them, the lack of natural light can lead to a depressing time. I know it's serious and I'm not about to treat it lightly.

But for me, it’s Seasonal Writing Disorder (SWD), loosely described as a difficulty with attaining and retaining the necessary feeling of the season, in order to effectively write a novel. Let me explain. My or rather Erika’s first book, A Killer Read, was set in early fall. That’s fine because I’d been working on it from spring, which isn’t that much different from fall except for heat and colours, through fall and into winter. Plus, it was my first real novel, so what did I know.

The challenge started with the next book, Read and Buried, which isn’t due out until next November. It’s set during December and leads into Christmas, but it was written mainly in spring and summer. You see where I’m going with this?

The third book, which I’m working on now and is due to the publisher on June 1st but won’t be out at the bookstores until next year sometime (thinking autumn here), is set during summer and…well, look out the window! Snow. Windchill. A smattering of freezing rain. Sure, we have sun most days but I’m not about to go out in my shorts!

I suppose one could set the mood with a heat lamp, the smell of suntan lotion, summer-themed songs playing on the CD, maybe even a smattering of sand on the floor. Not going to happen in this house.

I think this is the true test of a writer. If you can conquer Seasonal Writing Disorder and make the reader really feel the time of year you’re writing about, then you’ve done your job. Of course, the writing has to be excellent, the plot believable and even outstanding, memorable characters, dynamite dialogue, and a mystery to die for. No problem…right?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime

1 comment:

  1. One way that's fun to get into different headspaces is flavours. What cocktail do you associate with a summer day? Maybe a malibu rum and pineapple juice to make you feel like you're somewhere tropical?