R. Lee Walsh is an artist, author and proud mother of two beautiful and talented daughters as well as the caretaker for a 96 year old grandfather who battles with advanced Alzheimer’s, not to mention two lazy but adorable dogs, a kamikaze cat and a reclusive hamster named Wink.
Proving that truth is stranger than fiction, she has written hundreds of true stories about her unusual life experiences and developed a popular line of inspirational greeting cards, as well as being a writing coach and chief Morale Officer at Author Salon, a Project Development and Network site for aspiring authors.
What inspires you to write?
I’m a firm believer in stories. We all have a story to tell – after all, what is our life, but a story? I’ve lead a wild and sometimes hilarious life and through the retelling of my adventures in one form or another, as well as those of others, I feel connected to the world.
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process starts with an idea and I begin accumulating information. I have a story wall in my basement where I actually map it out as I go along. Over time I begin building my characters and have found Story Mind software to be helpful for holding all my notes together. From there I start accumulating pictures, ideas scenes in my head until I have what looks like a cohesive plot. From there I start writing full scenes and expanding on my characters through dialog. I was trained to “show not tell” which means I try to present my characters through what they say and their observations, rather than telling the reader what they look or sound like. Once I have what seems to be a cohesive story outlined and the first draft done, I take some time to let it sit (harder than it sounds) until I feel ready to dive in and do the first edits. Usually I read several books in between, then go back with a fresh mind. The Last Scribe Series has been edited more than 20 times!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
When I write, I actually go into my closet (weird but true) where there are no distractions whatsoever (which in my house is necessary). I spend a good half hour to an hour going over my notes and begin the process of entrenching myself in scenes. I envision them and play them out in my head – letting the characters tell me which way they want to go. Remarkably, nine times out of ten, I’m completely surprised at how often they have a mind of their own. In the end, my job is really just to record it.
What advice would you give other writers?
Patience and learn to edit. Join a writing group with people you don’t know (objectivity) and really invest yourself in it. Listen to advice and critiques with an eye for improving your writing, not just arguing your point. If you want to be good at any craft, connections, commitment and ongoing education is paramount.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
It’s taken me seven years to write this series. The first three main novels, The Last Scribe, Second Sight and 366 have been reviewed by publishers for the last few months. In the interim, I had SO MUCH extra material and people were fascinated by certain characters so a friend suggested I try novellas to pass the time. One became two and the list grew. Now there are seven and I’ve had a great time developing this into an epic.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think, as with any traditional field, that times are changing. We can either change with them or become relics. The traditional publishing market has changed and I for one have read twice as many books as I did when they were printed only. I think the future holds incredible opportunities for writers who, for whatever reason had none before. I can’t tell you how many brilliant writers I’ve met that have been turned down by traditional publishers only to find a huge audience in the digital world.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Paranormal, Childrens, YA
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print