(Guest Post) Author Interview with C.L. Donley

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I consider writing a gift for me. I just always knew how to write, and was always confident in my ability and point of view. I always noticed that I was uncommonly good at it for my peer group, at every age. But I was never super jazzed about it as a career path. My major was music business in college– for about a semester, haha. I realized pretty quickly that there was nothing about it that engaged me and I needed to find a major that wasn’t going to cause me to flunk out. And so, English it was! Even when I found a lot of validation and community as an English major, I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted to do. I spent my 20’s going from job to job, trying various career paths and using my gift very seldom. So I guess I’ve always been a writer, but if it wasn’t for self-publishing, I wouldn’t be able to call myself an author.

What is your writing process?

I always have ideas floating in my mind of either a character, a setting, a plotline, etc. Once I settle on two or more of those things fitting together, I feel like I have something good enough to take note of and that’s literally what I do. I have a lot of vocal notes that I leave myself. But I don’t sit down and write until I have at least a few scenes that I want to flesh out. I try to create an outline as soon as I come up with one, because my initial idea tends to be the best, and sometimes in the process of writing, I’ll convince myself that I need to do something different for whatever reason. Sometimes, it’s a good thing, but in case it isn’t, and I end up getting stuck because I’ve lost my way, I always have that initial outline that brings me back to that spark of inspiration that made me want to write the story in the first place.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

Typically, I like to have at least one rough draft under my belt before I start a new one, so that there’s a buffer between me and that next deadline and I’m not psychologically overwhelmed by the process of churning out books. But I’m currently experimenting with having several books going at a time, because I think I burnt myself out with my most recent standalone, that I was basically glued to for four months until it was done. So that kind of broke me, and now I’m flittering across five or so different stories haha. It kind of sucks because I’ve been doing this for months, and I basically have five barely finished books. Combined, I’ve probably written the equivalent of one, but I’m just trying to keep myself inspired, because finishing them in sort of this pipeline order is just a traumatic idea right now.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I don’t really do research until I absolutely have to. Research can be daunting and can become an excuse not to start at all until you have it all right. I sort of just write a rough idea of what I want, and then go back to each place and make sure it’s correct or at least plausible enough that it won’t take anyone out of the story.


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