Gregg E. Brickman was born the daughter of a North Dakota country printer. She migrated to Florida and completed her education, embarking on a varied career in clinical, administrative, and academic nursing.
Gregg started writing as a teenager, turning out pages of sappy poetry. In the mid-nineties, she bought a book about writing a novel and committed the story burning in her head to paper. She called that first novel a learner’s effort, joined Mystery Writers of America, and actively pursued the craft.
Credits include Imperfect Contract [Kindle and CreateSpace], Illegally Dead [Kindle and CreateSpace], Chapter 14 of Naked Came the Flamingo, a Murder on the Beach progressive novella edited by Barbara Parker and Joan Mickelson, and On the Edge, a short story [MiamiARTzine.com]. The Writers’ Network of South Florida recognized On the Edge among the finalists in their Seventh Annual Short Story Contest.
What inspires you to write?
I develop a burning urgency to get my thoughts on paper. It’s not really the story line and the plot so much, as the lives of the characters, who become very real to me. As a nurse and nursing educator, I’m inspired to write about the realities of hospital life and nursing. I seek to inform as well as entertain. As a mystery writer, I love a good who-done-it and strive to create that.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’ve started two different amateur sleuth series. One features Tony Conte, a ex-Special Forces Medic turned nurse. The other features Sophia Burgess, a mid-thirties ex-cop turned nurse.
When I consider a story line, the first decision is which character is better suited to tell the story. Then I do my research for the main story line and for my side stories, which often center around a medical condition. While I’m doing that, the story is working in the back of my brain. I create a story board type of outline that I work and expand with detail as I progress with the writing. While creating the outline, I pay attending to plot points and character visibility.
When I sit down to finally write, the story pours out onto the keyboard. Then the painful part begins. Edit. Re-edit. Critique group edit. Rewrite and re-edit again.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to them, but I do listen to them. I think that’s important so that the story becomes their story and is true to their personalities. The stories become character driven, sometimes taking an unexpected turn dictated by the character’s nature rather than by my imagination or platting.
What advice would you give other writers?
First learn the craft. Join writer’s groups. Join or form a critique group and try to get at least one experienced writer in the group. The group should be willing to be critical of your writing, not just compliment your efforts and say you’re wonderful. Then be willing to correct, edit, and rewrite until the manuscript is the best you can make it. Have others read your writing and comment. Pay attention. And, lastly read everything, not just in your genre, but broadly.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I tried the traditional route for a long time, but that didn’t work out well for me. Getting an agent seemed an insurmountable barrier. When Amazon made it so very easy to self-publish, I went with that option. I’m a bit of a techy, so I can do the conversions myself. I also found the CreateSpace conversion to be straight forward. I like having control over my writing career, and I like being my own publisher. I also like not sharing most of the profits with someone else.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I first published with a small eBook publisher in 2004. My writer friends treated my eBook as nonexistent and perhaps with a bit of scorn as well. That’s all changed now. I could make a long list of mid-list authors who are self-publishing because they lost their contracts or because their publisher let their backlists die. I think eBooks are here to stay. I also think that paper books are here to stay, but over time, the mix will change.
What do you use?
Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Mystery, suspense, amateur sleuth, female sleuth, medical mystery
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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