What do you do when you’re not writing?
Unlike Bones and Castle, the two writers that give name to their respective TV shows (Bones (Fox) and Castle (ABC) whose books are inspired by their exciting life experiences, my life is quite boring.
I have a Ph.D. in Biology and I'm from Spain, so for a living I do translations, mainly for Pharmaceutical companies. The rest of the time, I write.
Of course, I do other things, unavoidable things like shopping, cooking, eating, exercising (you get the picture) or more exciting ones, like driving my daughter to and from school and activities, going out with friends, or going to the movies. But even when I am doing all these things--sleeping included--I write.
For me, the writing of a novel does not start in front of a blank screen, or a blank piece of paper in an old typewriter, as it does in the movies. It does not start with the typing of the title of the book and the byline, 'by so and so'. The writing starts in my mind.
Once I have an idea for a story, I create my characters and bring them with me everywhere. I put them in different scenarios and let them interact with each other as they follow the different plots I make up.
After a while the characters become eerily real for me. They develop their unique voice and mannerisms, their own personality. They are people, apart from me, and their responses to the story situations is, often, quite different from what mine would be.
Only when the story has been playing in my mind for a while and the characters have worked a particular scene from every possible angle (like actors do for real on stage) I sit down in front of my computer and write that scene.
That is why I said before that when I'm not working, I am writing: because when I'm in the middle of writing a novel, I think about my story all the time.
But even when I'm in between projects, because I just finished a novel, or a part of a novel, I also write no matter what else I'm doing. I write in the sense that anything I do, or see, or hear is a possible source of inspiration.
As Picasso said: "That inspiration comes, does not depend on me. The only thing I can do is make sure it catches me working."
And if inspiration doesn't come, I tease it out of hiding by reading topics that interest me. It was while reading about Medieval Spain that both the sequel to Two Moon Princess and my newest novel Requiem for a King originated.
But it was while watching Buffy, the Vampire Slayer that I got the idea for my work in progress Becquer.
As for Two Moon Princess, it came out of my past.
So, I guess, my life and my writing have become one.
And I like it that way.
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