Technically, this post is for A Girl Of White Winter, the third book in the A Dark Glass Novel Book. But I have all three books, and the great covers, here for your enjoyment so we’ll start from the last book and work our way to the first. I also have Author Barb Hendee here with me to talk about her writing process. And no, it’s not boring. I know (and she knows) that the topic can be, but hers is not. Read on.
The Series is A Dark Glass Novel, a Historical fantasy, and the latest book of it, A Girl Of White Winter by Barb Hendee, will be out tomorrow.
I’ll start with the Author because I don’t want to break the flow of the three books later on.
What’s Barb’s Writing Process?
Normally, I avoid doing any type of “writerly” blog posts because for most people, they’re a good substitute for sleeping pills.
But . . . chatting about the human writing process is a little different. Nearly all of us write, whether it’s fiction, poetry, essays, letters, reports for work, etc. And everyone has a different process.
When I chose my major in college, people were shocked when I did not wish to go into teaching creative writing. Seriously. I’ve never taught a creative writing course. I did my master’s degree in composition theory, and I teach essay writing. The reason behind this is that I don’t have the first clue how to teach someone else to write fiction. It’s something that I “do,” but I don’t really understand it. I have a firm grasp of how to teach someone how to write an essay. I also spent years studying what goes on inside our minds as we attempt to write.
When you hear the phrase “writing process,” it can mean several different things. For one, we all have a personal writing process—meaning in reference to the way our brains and habits function. There are perfect drafters, binge writers, over-planners . . . procrastinators, etc. The list goes on.
I’m a firm believer that deadlines play into this process.
For example, my husband and writing partner, J.C. suffers from being a perfect drafter. He’ll write a sentence and then stare at it. Something isn’t quite right with that sentence. He’ll change a few words–or maybe the order of the words–and then stare at the sentence again. Sometimes thirty minutes will go by, and he hasn’t moved on to the next sentence. This is a stressful way to write, and these folks tend to start projects early if they are to meet a deadline.
Then there are procrastinators. These writers let the ideas churn and swirl inside their heads. They have been given two to three weeks to write a six-page project, and the ideas are still swirling twenty-four hours before the project is due, but not a word has been written. Ten hours before the project is due, they start drinking coffee like it’s going out of style, and then they sit down and start hammering out words. They do get the project done, but they are often unhappy with it because it really needs to “cool” for a few days before quality revision can take place. But it’s due and needs to be submitted.
Then, there are the over-planners. These writers love to do research and outlining. They will come up with a grand idea that excites them, and they will begin research. They also have two to three weeks for a project, but they spend most of that time doing research, taking notes, and outlining. They are having a fabulous time until they realize the project is due, and they haven’t actually started writing yet.
I’m a “binge writer.” I have a friend, another fiction writer named James Van Pelt, who is the complete opposite of me. He’s capable of getting up every day and writing three pages of a novel or story and then saving his work, closing the file, and going to work (he’s also a teacher).
I am sooooooo jealous of him. I can’t do that. With fiction, I have to become completely immersed (meaning “lost”) in a project. As a result, I only write fiction on breaks between college terms. But within a few days of starting a novel, I do nothing besides write from dawn to dark. This is a little hard J.C. because I’m also the cook in our house, and during those writing binges, we eat a lot of cereal, tuna sandwiches, and pizza.
But a few days into starting a novel, I’m getting up at 4:30 in the morning, making coffee, and pounding on keys. A Girl of White Winter is just over 80,000 words, and I wrote it in three and a half weeks. What’s more, I don’t remember writing it. I read it afterward, and I was very caught up in the story. It’s heart wrenching. Hah! But I don’t remember writing it.
This is not unusual. I’ve woken up to emails from students that read, “Barb, I finished the first draft of my essay last night at midnight. It’s on why Orca whales should not be kept in captivity. I got caught up in the topic, and I don’t remember writing it. But I just read it, and I think it’s pretty good. I’ve attached it here. Will you read it for me early and tell me what you think?”
I’m always glad to read projects early and give feedback, and I really understand what a student means when he or she says, “I don’t remember writing this.”
But the processes I list above are just several examples. What is your typical process? Think about this. Do you like your process? Or would you prefer to change it?
And now, the books.
A GIRL OF WHITE WINTER
Kara, as a ward with no parentage and no future, has been raised knowing nothing outside her lady’s chambers. Until Royce Capello, a visiting nobleman, is struck by her ice-pale looks, and demands her as payment for the land the family needs.
With barely time to protest, Kara is sold and packed off for a life as a concubine—until a raiding party descends on Royce’s company and she’s kidnapped for the second time in as many days.
Whatever happens, Kara will be alone in the world, inexperienced and fearing even the vast unfamiliar sky. But one raider gives her a choice—and a magic mirror appears to show her where each path will lead…
She can leave with her protector Raven and journey with his performing troupe, competing for his mercurial affections.
She can flee the raiders’ settlement, and return to Royce’s manor, chattel among devious nobility.
Or she can stay in the settlement, bound to firm, silent Caine, who is as gentle as he is staid and inscrutable.
Her fates twist and turn to affect far more than she could have guessed, tangling the bitter with the sweet—and Kara must choose which consequences she can live with…
I’d heard the word “grandfather” from one or both of them before. “Is Caine your brother?”
Raven nodded. “So is Logan. He’s the eldest. I’m the youngest.”
Absorbing this news, I took another small bite and swallowed it. “Caine called me his property.”
“I know he did. I heard him.” He studied my face. “But you don’t need to worry. He won’t sell you, and he won’t hurt you. I promise.”
“Why did he bring me here?”
Raven hesitated. “I told you I don’t know…but Caine is a man who believes in fate and in prophecies.”
“And you don’t?”
“I believe in choices.” He stood up. “And I don’t like this. I don’t like you being locked in here, and I don’t like you losing control over your own decisions.”
His words washed over me. I’d never heard anyone talk like this before. I’d never thought about having choices.
He crouched again. “My people all used to be travelers. We traveled the kingdoms as we pleased, never settling anywhere, but that life grew hard for some of us, and my grandfather founded this place. The location makes it safe, and some of us, like Logan and Caine, prefer to grow food and live here year-round.” Tilting his head, he added, “But some of us don’t.”
A CHOICE OF CROWNS
Olivia Geroux knew her king was reluctant to marry her, whatever the negotiations had arranged. But she never expected to find handsome, arrogant King Rowan obsessed with his stepsister instead. And before she can determine what course to take, she overhears her greatest ally plotting to murder the princess.
Olivia must act quickly—and live with whatever chaos results. As the assassin hunts his prey, a magic mirror appears to show Olivia the three paths that open before her . . .
If she hesitates only a moment, the princess will die—and she will become queen.
If she calls for help, she will gain great power—but she must also thrust away her own happiness.
If she runs to stop the murder herself, she will know love and contentment—but her whole country will suffer.
As she lives out each path, her wits and courage will be tested as she fights to protect her people, her friends, and her heart. And deciding which to follow will be far from easy . . .
THROUGH A DARK GLASS
On her seventeenth birthday, Megan of Chaumont discovers she’ll be sold as a bride to the brutish Volodane family—within hours. Her father grants only that she may choose which one of the ruthless, grasping lord’s three sons she weds:
Rolf, the eldest: stern, ambitious, and loyal?
Sebastian, the second son: sympathetic, sly, and rebellious?
Or Kai, the youngest: bitter, brooding, and proud?
As shy, horrified Megan flees the welcome dinner for her in-laws-to-be, she finds an enchanted mirror that will display how her life unrolls with each man, as if she were living it out in a breath. But there is no smooth “happily ever after” in her choices.
Deaths and honors, joys and agonies, intrigues and escapes await her in a remote, ramshackle keep, where these rough but complex men reveal one side and then another of their jagged characters—and bring forth new aspects of Megan, too. But the decisions of one teenaged marriage-pawn reverberate much farther than any of them have guessed . . .
Instead, I found myself staring into the eyes of a lovely dark-haired woman in a black dress. Her face was pale and narrow, and she bore no expression at all. But there she was, inside the right panel gazing out me. Was I going mad? Had my parents driven me mad?
“There is nothing to fear,” the woman said in a hollow voice.
I doubted that statement. I feared for my sanity, but as yet, I’d not found my voice to answer her.
“You are at a crossroad,” she continued, “with three paths.” As she raised her arms, material from her long black sleeves hung down. “I am bidden to give you a gift.”
Here, sadness leaked into her voice, especially at the word “bidden,” and my mind began to race. Was this truly happening?
“You will live out three outcomes . . . to three different choices,” she said. “Lives with men . . . connected by blood. Then you will have the knowledge to know . . . to choose.”
I shook my head. “Wait! What are you saying?”
Lowering both hands to her sides, she said, “The first choice.”
Before I could speak again, the storage room vanished. Wild fear coursed through me as the world went black for the span of a breath, and then suddenly I found myself back in my family’s dining hall, only everything was different.
Chairs had been set up in rows, and guests were seated in them. I wore a gown of pale ivory and held my father’s arm as he walked me past the guests toward the far end of the hall. Flowers in tall vases graced that same end, and a local magistrate stood there with a book in his hands.
Beside the magistrate stood Rolf, wearing his armor and his sword.
Turning, he looked at me in grim determination.
He was waiting.
Barb Hendee is the New York Times bestselling author of The Mist-Torn Witches series. She is the co-author (with husband J.C.) of the Noble Dead Saga. She holds a master’s degree in composition/rhetoric from the University of Idaho and currently teaches writing for Umpqua Community College. She and J.C. live in a quirky two-level townhouse just south of Portland, Oregon.
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