Dawn is a Romantic Suspense/Mystery writer who spends her days teaching high school students and her evenings plotting murders. She lives in Texas with her husband, Scott, two elementary-school-aged daughters, and her four-legged writing partner, Cooper.
Dawn is always shooting people. When she isn’t thinking up places to hide the bodies, she has a camera in her hand either at her husband’s hockey games or her kids’ activities. If there is nothing around to photograph, Dawn has a book in her hand. Reading is a dangerous pursuit for her since she always has to finish the book she starts.
Since Dawn’s a teacher, I’m turning the tables on her and using my Writer’s Quiz interview format. Rest assured, there are no grades involved. Dawn is already a winner in my book. 🙂
Multiple Choice Questions
(Please explain your answers.)
1) When did you first experience your love of writing?
- I came out of the womb with a pen in my hand.
- I dabbled in high school but didn’t get serious until recently.
- I read a romance novel, fell in love, and had to write one.
- None of the above.
A. I always had a very active imagination. In elementary school, I wrote several “novels”. They were bound in folders with brads. I made sure they had a title page, a back-of-the-book blurb and a space for readers to leave comments. At some point, I started keeping my work to myself, but I never stopped writing.
A few years ago, I decided if it was really possible I was going to be 30 years old, then one day I might actually be 40 years old (!) and that shouldn’t happen unless I had at least attempted my dream of becoming published.
2) How many stories have you completed?
- I’ve finished my first story but can’t stop editing it.
- I finished my first story and moved right on to the next one.
- So many that I’ve lost count.
- None of the above.
C. I have no idea how many I have completed. Right now, I have four in various stages of revision that are all over 50k.
3) What kind of stories do you write?
- Romantic Suspense
- Contemporary Romance
- None of the above
- All of the above
E. As I said, I have four working right now. One is a mystery, one is Romantic Suspense and two are Contemporary Romance. I have to say suspense is my first love, though.
(Maximum of two paragraphs per question.)
1) What have been the high points of your writing journey so far?
I would have to say the high point has been joining a writers’ group and attending my first conference. Being in the company of people who ask questions like, “What do you write?” and understand talking about characters like they were real people, is a terrific experience for someone who hid her love of writing for years.
2) What aspects of writing do you find most challenging? Most rewarding?
Most challenging has to be the discipline to go back and revise, revise, revise. Most rewarding is having a best friend say, “While I was reading, I forgot it was you who wrote it.” Meaning, she heard the character’s voices, not mine. That was a great compliment.
3) How has your day job as a teacher served you in your writing endeavors?
I definitely have no shortage of character material. My teaching doesn’t lend itself to actual writing. I think the process of being creative in my lesson plans spills over into being creative with my storytelling. Unfortunately, my obsessive planning for my class does not translate into obsessive plotting for my writing.
True or False
(Please explain your answers.)
1) I can’t imagine starting a story without plotting it first.
False! Plotting makes my eye twitch. I am a full-fledged pantser.
2) I get my story ideas from crime reports in the paper.
True. As you can tell from the Friday Plot Swaps on my blog, crime stories can be a useful source of inspiration. I would never want to be a true crime writer. Sometimes, just the snippet of the news story gets my mind moving.
3) I must have music playing when I write.
False. I am easily distracted. I use music for inspiration or to set the mood for a particular scene, but once I start writing I have to turn it off.
Fill in the Blank
1) My favorite writing buddy is: _____________________________.
Cooper, my furry companion who shares the other side of the love seat where I write.
2) I love writing romantic suspense because: ___________________.
I love mystery and danger from the comfort of my home. I don’t ever want to actually face down a bad guy. I am a big ‘fraidy cat! But instead of cowering in the corner, my characters jump in and kick some tail.
3) The members of The Dawn Alexander Fan Club are: ____________.
My husband, Scott, who is amazingly supportive and helps me make sure my male characters sound like real men.
My two best friends, who aren’t writers, but are my “first readers”. They already have plans for my book signings someday. Everyone should have that kind of support.
My critique partner, Teri Anne Stanley, as well as all my other writer friends. Writers are a very supportive community.
Story Problems: Just for Fun
(X is an unknown number. You get extra credit for tackling these. :-))
1) Your hubby calls to tell you he’s taking you out to dinner at one of your favorite X restaurants. What will be the choices, and which one will win out?
Either Saltgrass Steak House, Joe’s Crab Shack or Cheddar’s. Saltgrass would win because it is near the house and I like steak!
2) Your best friend, who knows you very well, suggests taking a road trip to your favorite X Texas locales—her treat. What places will you visit, and why?
Austin. Absolutely. I love Austin. There is just a good vibe there, lots of good memories and they have the coolest book store (Book People). There is also plenty of shopping, which with my best friend, is what we do best.
3) Your daughters talk you into a trip to the mall where you visit your favorite X stores. Which are they, and what items are likely to capture your attention?
I am really not a mall person. I worked in one forever and now I have students working at almost every shop I go in. I try to avoid the mall as much as possible 🙂
Dawn’s Question for You
I often give my characters a talent I don’t have, but wish I did. One of them is an artist, another has a beautiful singing voice. One is a sharp shooter and I have never even fired a gun.
Other than writing, what kind of talent do you have? Do you pass these along to your characters or do you give them the ability to do what you wish you could?
Dawn has generously offered to give away a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card and, if the winner would like, a first-chapter critique.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Dawn by August 1st and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.
On August 2nd I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.
Congratulations to Candie L. Campbell, winner of the drawing!
Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. addresses only.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Learn More About Dawn
Visit her personal blog ~ Writer in Waiting
Friend her on Facebook ~ Dawn Alexander
Follow her on Twitter ~ @dawn_alexander
Add her to your Circles on Google+ : Dawn Alexander