Welcome to my in-depth writers series Fighting Prose. This week we’re talking to Beverly Owens who is a fun retiree that enjoys writing mysteries.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing for a very long time but didn't get serious about it until two years ago. I threatened for years that I had a book or two in me and decided to tell one when one day a character entered my mind and wouldn't leave. I could see her she was determined that I write her story and introduced me to a couple of her friends and family. I sat down, not knowing what I was doing and began to type. I self-published that first book 6 weeks after I began writing it. Roni is the main character in my first four books in the Roni Rainer Mysteries series. Earlier this summer, I started my second series when Taylor came to me one day as I did this dishes. She said that Roni wouldn't mind if it allowed her a little vacation. Writers will understand this....
Of your books, which is your favorite?
They are all my babies. I love writing about Roni a whole lot but Taylor in the new series is fun to write, too. She is very different from Roni. I wouldn't be able to tell you that I have a favorite daughter and I can't say that I have a favorite character or book.
What's your favorite genre to read? Write?
I've been an avid reader ever since I learned that I could escape into a book. For years, I read Mysteries. Then I got into historical fiction, found that I love to read Fantasy and then I discovered Cozy Mysteries. I'll read any genre if the blurb captures my attention.
Tell me about your process: how do you get in the mood to write? How do your characters come together? How do you get your ideas?
I'm always in the mood to write. I treat it like a job. Every day I get up, drink some coffee while checking emails and social media. I get dressed like I'm leaving the house and then sit down to type. I won't stop until I've typed at least 2,000 words (sometimes when I'm in the zone I type more). My poor old brain is crowded with characters... they just kind of show up. My ideas come to me in a variety of ways. I might stand at the sink doing dishes or riding in the car to do an errand. Taylor came to me one morning as I stood at the sink brushing my teeth. Crocheting, believe it or not, opens my mind up to ideas, too. Once an idea takes form, I talk to my husband about it. He is supportive and often helps me work through parts that have me stumped.
Who do you admire the most in the writing world?
My goodness I have read so many really talented authors in my decades of reading. Two people stand out as ones that I admire. Jean Auel who wrote the Earth's Children books is one. She just blew me away with her extensive research and telling such a good story that she pulled me into a prehistoric world that was believable and fascinating. Steven King is also an author that I admire a great deal. The man is a true wordsmith! I don't and won't read any of his horror books because the man is so talented with showing you something with words that I would never sleep again. I love his other works, though. As you read his books, you SEE the story. That is a talent!
If you're not busy writing, what are you busy doing?
I read a lot! I love to crochet gifts for the family and for our home. Cooking brings me joy, especially when my husband enjoys what I've placed on a plate in front of him. My biggest joy is when my girls come home for a visit bringing my two granddaughters with them. They keep me busy on those visits. Other than that it is the basic keeping the house clean.
Have you ever had writers block? If so, how did you get out of it?
Yes, and it messed with my head. I was working on my third book and everything just stopped. I would sit down and nothing would come to me... nothing! I worried and fretted and thought I was through. I just put it away for a while. I would think about it every once in a while but nothing came to me. It was in November 2017 when I started that book and it wasn't until February 2019 when the block broke away. I sat down to crochet one day and as the yarn ran across my hook, my mind wandered and the solution came to me. I sat down that afternoon and finished the book in less than a month.
For a writer starting out what advice would you give them?
Believe in yourself would be the first piece of advice. If you are a writer, it will come out of you because it has to. Stick with it and remember the first draft is just that a draft. It will need to be polished and pretty later but the first thing is to write the basic story. After you have written it, read it and then read it again and then again. Each time you work on it, it gets better. Also, read a lot. Read what others are doing in your genre and in other genres. If you see that certain tropes are being overdone, don't fall into that trap. Find something original and different for your books. Write what you know! Research it if you don't have firsthand knowledge. And please, please for the love of Pete, do not put your setting in a real area that you have never been to or researched. Fantasy writers can create their own worlds but if you pick a real setting know the terrain, the weather and the flora and fauna. Your readers will pick up on your lack of knowledge.
Have you always been creative? Has it always been writing?
I've always been creative. Storytelling has always been a part of me whether verbal or the written word. Crafts have always been a huge part of my life. Crocheting, needlepoint, and cross-stitch have taken up more than a few hours of my time.
What is your dream writing location?
A cabin in the mountains somewhere surrounded by nature.
If you could bring one of your characters to life who would it be? Why?
You mean they aren't real? I would love to spend time with Kitchi from the Roni Rainer books. He is so spiritual! Aunt Flossie in the Cabin 9 books is just a hoot and I would like to spend some time with her as she explains numerology and the spirit world to me.
Thanks for reading!