Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Please welcome my guest, Dolores McCabe

Good morning, Dolores, thanks for being my guest today.
Hello, Katherine, it is good to be here.

Let's get started with the interview.  No sense making our readers wait any longer, don't you think?

1.)     How long have you been writing and what made you decide to pursue a writing career?
I have been writing all my life, it seems. I have written poetry, short stories, and novels. I have always been very good with the written word, much better than with the spoken or conversational word. I like to go over my thoughts again and again to organize them and to make sure I put my ideas and visions into words that clearly convey them.

2.)     Do you have a writing routine?  Where do you usually do your writing?  
When I am in the throes of inspiration, I write feverishly for hours. I am not hungry or sleepy. I know that any thought I don't write down will be lost forever. I will lose the continuity and the vision will be gone. I used to drink coffee and smoke, but I have broken both habits. For quite awhile, as I research my historical topic and age, I simply scribble down thoughts on bits of paper whenever they pop into my head: A character here, a scene there, a slip of conversation, an event, in any haphazard fashion. When I am ready to put my story together, I gather all my scraps and try to organize them. I lay them out on the floor and arrange them into a logical order, then write chapters around them. Sometimes a chapter is only a few sentences at first. It will grow. I like to sit at my kitchen table and write.

3.)     I know how you feel about losing the thought or vision if you don't write it down. Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do?  Any plans in the future to write in a different one? 
I love a good romance. But I want an intelligent romance, with real decisions, choices, and consequences. I have been flirting with the idea of trying a collection of war remembrances. This would be a very personal portfolio, drawn from my father's shared experiences in WWII, my husband's in Vietnam, and my son's during peacetime. I am also working on Biblical characters. I particularly enjoy the prophets.

4.)     The collection of war remembrances sounds very interesting. Who is your favorite author?  (I know, an unfair question.  I couldn’t name just one myself.)  
Wow, this is tough, but right now I would have to say Jane Austin. Although the Bronte sisters were trailblazers and I love them forever, Jane Austin's works are highly intelligent and great to read. They explore social mores and poke gentle fun at people's foibles, and at the same time they have memorable characters.

5.)     Jane Austin is one of my favorite writers too. How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?
I really hate when this happens! What I do is return to my research. If I can't write, then I read. I prefer primary sources, as they also happen to be great books in their own right. AXIOS and THE HIGHEST DESTINY are set in Imperial Rome, and I read Tacitus, Suetonius, the letters of Peter and Paul as well as the Acts, and even Petronius with much enjoyment over and over again until Claudia Acte's story finally began to knit together. Similarly, with NORTHWIND, I read "King Harald's Saga," "Beowulf", and St. Bede until Moira's adventures came to life. For THE SHADOW OF THE PHOENIX, only Edward Gibbons; "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" could do the chaotic period of the Germanic invasions full justice. Very few original writings exist from that terrible period, but Mr. Gibbons found them all and compiled the most comprehensive treatise I have ever read.

6.)     Wow, your research sounds fascinating. Do you have a critique partner or partners?  If so, do you think they help more in terms of moral support or in terms of line editing, brainstorming, etc
I work alone. I have considered joining writing groups and have attended a few here and there, but I am very shy and I had a hard time opening up. It seemed to me that most of these aspiring writers were foundering around or else bragging about whom they knew or where their last essay was published. Perhaps I attended on an off day, but I didn’t feel comfortable. Fortunately, I have met several good friends online who have graciously agreed to critique my writing. They were very helpful, because the author can't always see where the story line gets a little ragged or where the reader can't make the connection between when the author sees and what the author writes.

7.)     I'm shy too which does make it hard to open up. What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?   
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW. No better advice has ever been given! If you haven't experienced, researched, or observed people, you won't be able to create believable characters. You won't be able to engage your readers and make them care about what happens to your characters. Indeed, you yourself won't care about what happens to them! If you don't have a strong story line, one that gets you from "point A" to "Point B", your story will lack conviction and fire. If you haven't developed a cohesive setting, one that you have researched, then your story will have flaws. Try to avoid "formula writing." Make your story ring with sincerity.

8.)     Great advice! Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences
My latest release is THE HIGHEST DESTINY. It started out as a sub-plot in AXIOS, but it hindered the completion of the work. I finally realized that DESTINY wanted to be a story of its own. It runs concurrently with AXIOS and shares a few characters, but the major characters of AXIOS are very minor in DESTINY. Once I divided the two, both of them rushed on their separate ways. DESTINY follows the life of Daneh, the winsome daughter of a British Druid priestess. Just a dream-laden child when the Romans arrive to subdue the Silures' rebellion, she falls in love with their callow Commander, Corbulo. She comes to Rome as his mistress without fully realizing what that means. While in the care of Corbulo's domineering aunt, she meets Merullus, the leading legalist of the day. Roman society is highly complex. Corbulo's liaison with Daneh threatens to doom his promising career. His family intervenes and has Daneh removed. Corbulo is convinced of her death and continues on to become one of Rome's greatest Generals, but Daneh finds a new love and a new life of her own.

9.)     Can you tell us a little about your next project?  
I am still throwing a few ideas around. I can feel the urge to write stirring in my imagination. I am waiting for that idea, that vision, that flash of inspiration so strong that I can't wait to create it.

10.)   Anything else you’d like to share
I'd like to thank you, Katherine, for this opportunity to dialog with you and your readers. My books are offered for sale on my website, through Amazon as paperback or ebooks, and on as ebooks. I would like to offer a link to THE HIGHEST DESTINY on Smashwords and from there you can access the listing at Amazon if you prefer, or visit my website where I have some pictures and background settings for my books.

Other books by Dolores are: 

 Dolores can be contacted at her website or by email at:

Thanks, Dolores for stopping by and telling us about your books. 

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