My Dad was a builder of houses. I can remember the many times throughout my childhood we'd visit his creations in various stages of being built. I also remember house plans being spread out on his desk in his home office, with pads of paper beside them, and his jottings written down. Sometimes he'd be on the payroll of an architectural firm but for most of his building career, he was his own boss. These were his creations as he took great pride in the finishing touches and building houses of quality.
I often bemoaned the fact that I learned nothing from him. I can't even hammer a nail in straight and usually end up hitting my thumb. Definitely not a chip off the old block.
However, I've come to realize, we're more the same than I'd originally thought. First of all, I take great pride in my writing, as he did in those many, many houses he built. And also, as he was a constructor of houses, I am a constructor of stories.
I, too work from a plan -- the synopsis I create at the outset of each project. I take care in crafting a plot that will be sound, much as a house needs to be strong to withstand the elements. I populate my stories with characters who are real to me as his houses eventually housed families.
Okay...maybe I'm stretching this entire analogy a bit too much. But it's clear to me now. Each time I'm starting a new book, each time I'm editing and often re-jigging a plot line, each time I send a finished manuscript off to my editor, I've created or constructed a book. Just as he did a house. I am my father's daughter. Who needs a hammer and nail!
Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime