Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Take Five And Meet Multi-published, Award Winning Author Maris Soule

 

Maris Soule has published 30, yes, you read that right, 30 novels.  
I'm honored to have her as a guest on the blog. 
Today we get a glimpse into why and how she creates her stories.

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Maris.  Tell us, what inspired you to write Echoes of Terror?

Two events led to the creation of Echoes of Terror. The first was while I had lunch with a writer friend who had just spent the summer in Skagway, Alaska, volunteering for the National Park System. I thought Skagway would be the perfect setting for a story. The second event was when I saw an interview with Elizabeth Smart, who recently had been rescued. In that case, I kept wondering what the rest of her life would be like after such an ordeal.

When you’re brainstorming for a new story, what usually comes first for you, the plot or the characters?

Hmm, that’s a good question, especially with this story in mind. As I said, the ordeal Elizabeth Smart went through (and since then I’ve read of many other women, and boys, who have endured the same terror) initiated the character of Katherine Ward. But once I knew I wanted a woman who had been kidnapped as a teenager, I had to think of a plot. What was Katherine doing now? How was she coping? That led to why would she be in Skagway? And from that point, how would she react if another teenager was kidnapped and she, as the only female police officer available, was assigned the case? Bit by bit the plot came together, but it was always tied to the character.

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?

With Echoes of Terror the most difficult part for me was writing the emotions. I’ve never been kidnapped, never found a friend’s dead body, never had to face a man who terrorized me for nine months. I struggled over those scenes, and I hope I captured how it would feel and how a person would react. Also, Katherine’s grandfather has dementia. It was difficult for me to write those scenes since my father ended up with Alzheimer’s. In that case, I knew how Katherine would feel. It’s terrible seeing someone you love, someone who used to have a wonderful mind, become a shell of himself.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

When I begin a new book I spend a lot of time playing with the idea(s) in my head. I may look like I’m walking the dog, but I’m really (mentally) talking to characters, picturing settings, or trying to come up with something (a plot) that will involve these characters and involve a reader. I may jot down some ideas. Usually I come up with an opening (introduce the main characters, setting, problem), and I usually have a rough idea how I want the story to end. With some books I’ve been a plotter and I’ll write an outline that will take me from point A to Z. On the other hand, there are times when I think I have a plot only to discover I’m a pantser. (That’s what’s happening to me with the book I’m working on now. The characters seem to have taken over, and I’m just along for the ride.)

If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be?  And why?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Zorro. I wanted to be thought of as incompetent, but at night I would ride in and right all injustices…and no one would know who I really was. I still like that idea, that sort of character. Usually they’re Marvel Comic characters. Fantasies. As for why, I guess it’s because I’m way too open. People who know me, really do know me. I’d like to have a secret side, but I don’t. I’d like to have talents that I could secretly use to help others. I’d like to be able to right a wrong and know I did so, but no one else would know. (Well, may one or two people would know, but that’s all.)


Give us a brief summary of Echoes of Terror :
A teenager is missing, and Officer Katherine Ward is assigned the case, never expecting it to parallel her own kidnapping experience seventeen years before. In Skagway, Alaska, the usual crimes faced by the police department’s small force are DUIs and missing bikes. With the chief in the hospital and officer missing, they’re not prepared for the kidnapping of a billionaire’s daughter.

Buy:



Bio:
Maris Soule is a two time RITA finalist who has won numerous awards for her novels. Born and raised in California, she majored in art at U.C. Davis and taught art for 8 years before retiring to raise a family. An avid reader all of her life, once she quit teaching, she decided to try writing, and she’s been at it ever since. Soule and her husband divide their time between Michigan and Florida. Echoes of Terror is her 30th published book.

Find Maris:



26 comments:

  1. Thank you, L.A. Sartor for inviting me to appear on your blog. It was fun thinking back to what inspired me to write ECHOES OF TERROR and how the story finally took form.

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    1. It's a total pleasure to have you here today. I hope to reach #30 in published books. I'm on my 7th.
      Hugs
      L.A.

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    2. It took me many years to reach that number, so I'm sure you'll make and surpass 30.

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  2. Wonderful interview! I think so many of us are like you...walking the dog but really having intense conversations with our characters and stories. Mine like to do it while I'm driving and only when I'm alone!

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    1. Hi Melissa,
      I usually have my ah-ha fix-it moment in the shower. I really must get a waterproof tape recorder or diver board to write notes.

      Hugs,
      L.A.

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    2. Melissa, I also zone out while driving, which isn't always good. Although I'm on auto pilot watching the traffic on the road, my mind is working through a plot point, and suddenly I have no idea where I am.

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  3. Congratulations on book number three-zero. What a great accomplishment. Your writing process pretty much mirrors my own. We never quite know what our characters are going to come up with, do we? I'm like you in another sense too, in that I get a LOT of writing accomplished while on my daily walks.

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    1. Hi Margo,
      I find after only 7 books that I'm plotting out the major beats and turning points, but then the characters take over and create the day-to-day story.

      This has been quite a revelation and change for me, but it seems to be working better.

      Hugs,
      L.A.

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  4. Congratulations on your many, many books, Maris. I too wonder about Elizabeth Smart and others like her. When I'm out walking, I like to push away my writing problems and enjoy the outdoors, knowing that my unconscious is hard at work. And then, all of a sudden, an answer to an unspoken questions arrives, and I'm headed home to write. Thanks for sharing your work and ideas.

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    1. Susan, yes! Living in Colorado, and right next to the Flatirons, hikes beckon me and clear my mind. Usually after I get home, I have a glass of ice tea on the patio and within minutes am grabbing the laptop or iPad and fixing problems. Somedays it does take longer, but I've learnd to trust that it will work out.
      Hugs
      L.A.

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    2. Susan, the workings of our subconscious absolutely amaze me. When I started writing, I didn't realize how helpful the brain (and the Universe) could be. Now, when I hit a wall, I simply stop worrying about it, and sure enough, in time the right answer shows up. Actually, sometimes it's spooky.

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  5. Maris,

    A very interesting interview! Congrats on successfully writing 30 novels! Best wishes for your continued success.

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    1. Hi Jacqueline, YES. 30! I, too, wish Maris, much continued success.
      Hugs,
      L.A.

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    2. Thanks Jacqueline. I know compared to some writers, 30 isn't many, but I certainly never expected to reach this number when I started, so it feels very good.

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  6. Excellent interview and helpful, too. I brainstorm a novel much as you do, Maris, but lag a bit in the number published. My nineteenth novel will be released in 2018.

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    1. Congrats, Irene. 19 rocks!! Then there is #20....
      Great to see you here.
      Hugs,
      L.A.

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    2. Ah, but Irene, how many years have you been writing? It took me over 30 years to reach this number. Besides, the number really isn't as important as the quality. Look at Harper Lee. With 1 book, she surpassed everything I've accomplished.

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    3. Maris, dare I ask how long you've been writing? I've been writing since I was young, then tried to publish in the 90's, gave up because I was getting the same comments from agents, I was too sophisticated a writer. Then learned and wrote screenplays and 5 years ago tried the indie route, which I love.

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  7. I have to bow to you there, too, Maris. My first book, a children's book called To Rainbow Valley came out in 1969 so that makes 48 years for me to reach 19 books. The fun thing is, that little book is still in print. Just got my royalty statement from Perfection Learning and To Rainbow Valley sold 367 copies in 2016. After this long! Makes me smile.

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    1. Irene, how neat that after so many years people are still buying and enjoying the book. Yes, you deserve to smile...and pat yourself on the back.

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    2. Irene, I bow to you. How cool to continue to reap the rewards. Awesome. Big smile from me as well.
      Hugs,
      L.A.

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  8. Leslie Ann, like so many writers, I started making up stories when I was in grade school, tried writing those stories when I was in high school and was discouraged. I didn't think about being a writer until I was married and had two preschoolers and wasn't sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. :-) I started writing with the intent of being published in 1980. My first book was published in 1983, the giveaway for the brand new Harlequin Temptation line. That now seems like eons ago. I've had a few years, here and there where I wasn't published, and I've worked for 5 different publishing houses, but I keep hanging on. Next step, self-publishing???

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  9. Congratulations, Maris, on #30! That's unfathomable to me. Loved the interview, especially how your setting and primary protagonist materialized. Also, love your cover--perfect for the storyline! Good luck in your journey with your latest release: Echoes of Terror.

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    1. Thank you Lisa. Five Star (my publisher) has done a fantastic job with my covers. I'm so sorry they (Five Star) will no longer be publishing mysteries.

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  10. This is interesting about how you put several disparate events together to create this story. And Happy 30th book birthday.

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  11. Thank you, SusanD. I find my stories become a combination of events I read about, hear about, see or experience. I have a sweatshirt that says on the front "Anything you say may appear in my next book." It is very true.

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