Getting Inside a Writer’s Head…


Shirley Wine, AuthorHello Everyone

Firstly thanks to Jane Beckenham for asking me to join this blog hop …. 

Getting inside a writer’s head … what a scary thought … are you really game to take that risk?

I remember vividly going to a luncheon where the guest speaker was Diana Gabaldon, author of the The Outlander  series

A member of the audience asked, “How did you come up with Randall?” (a particularly nasty character with a sadistic homosexual bent).  Diana looked the woman in the eye and said, “You’ve just been sitting down to luncheon with her.”

The whole room reverberated with gasps—this dainty elegant woman? She considered she was like this monstrous character she’d created?  Her words have stayed with me for years…and the more I think about this—the more I realise that in one pithy sentence Gabaldon summed up the whole process of getting inside a writer’s head.

My father was something of a philosopher—what a lot of people refer to as ‘an old soul’. And I well remember him telling me… ‘Charlie (he is the only person who ever (dared) call me that) you need to remember, there is good in the worst of us, and bad in the best of us…    

As a writer, if you want to really connect with your readers, you need to dig deep…connect with the dark places inside…before you can bring your character to life… As Ling, a Chinese philosopher, put it succinctly…How can you write if you can’t cry?   

So how do these two philosophers affect my writing process?

I love to needle my characters…make them bleed and yes make them scream and cry…my heroes as well as my heroines…  Why?  … Writing (and gardening) has literally kept me sane … I have buried five sons, three in infancy and two adult sons…identical twins who died 12 weeks apart aged a few days short of their 30th birthday.

Has this coloured my writing? Abso-freaking-lutely! This is why, no matter how hard I try to write light and frivolous, a dark very serious side creeps into my work.

What am I working on now :  A series of three books … Prodigal Sons.

All three men in this series have one thing in common …. they’ve returned home … like the Biblical Prodigal Son …to reclaim or save their family heritage…bringing with them a bucket load baggage …

In the first book:  Lovers’ Lies Keir Donovan …left home to escape his unhappy shirley_wine-Keir 72dpi-1500x2000 family situation … but when his father decides to sell Donovans Banking, Keir discovers family ties do have meaning … he returns to claim his heritage and settles on a calm future … only to learn the hard way … when man plans, God smiles …

I am currently working on the second book: The Return ….  Logan Sinclair returns to claim his heritage at Darkhaven  … older … wiser and carrying a heavy load of baggage and has to face the people he’s hurt and a grief beyond his comprehension…

The third book of the series Whitby or Me  is still in the planning stage:  …  Matt Daintry thought he’d lost Whitby Downs forever when it was sold to pay his father’s gambling debts … until now … but is he prepared to sacrifice his honour to reclaim his heritage?

My books nearly always centre around the other great love of my life … the love of the land, a love that runs as deep as the blood in my veins … combine my love of the land and my grief at losing my sons and this gives my books an emotional edge that sets them apart…and I can in some way re-write history and make sure that no matter how much my characters struggle, cry and bleed … they have the happy ending life cheated me of … my five sons were meant to be there for me in my old age …

Next week … you will meet … Kris Pearson another very successful New Zealand krisAuthor

Kris lives in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, the setting for many of her novels.  She writes hot, passionate, contemporary romances full of love and laughter.

Kris is an Indie Published author whose   ‘Wicked in Wellington’ series, and ‘Heartland Heroines’ series…have gained her an International following…many of her books appearing in Amazon and Apple iBookstore best-selling lists.

Her ‘Sheikhs of Al Sounam’ – series is one she’s working on now.

Kris has an advertising background, and has worked for radio, television, and in advertising and is the current membership secretary for Romance Writers of New Zealand. She writes and gardens, and these days is in business with her husband in the decor field.   Visit Kris Pearson any time.

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Published on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014, under Latest News

18 Responses to “Getting Inside a Writer’s Head…”

  1. Susanne Bellamy says:

    Your books always have emotional punch and weight, one of the reasons they are so good. You are also doing great things for tourism to your part of the world; I absolutely plan to visit there one day.

    Great post, Shirley, and spot on.

    • Shirley says:

      Like you, I love our little corner of the South Pacific … 2 days and counting and we pick up our new luxury caravan and we plan to journey to all the little hidden corners we have not yet explored.

  2. Shar says:

    What an amazing journey you’ve had Shirley and I can totally relate to your wanting to re-write history to ensure a happy ending. I wish you all the success in the world with your writing! xx

    • Shirley says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by… Life has a way of throwing spanners around every corner … what’s the old adage? Man plans … and God smiles. I truly believe that!

  3. Amy Talbot says:

    Great article, thanks. Not sure I want anyone poking around inside my head, though.

    • Shirley says:


      It’s a real scary thought! Sometimes I manage to shock myself at the things that come from deep in my subconscious mind. When I read what I’ve written, I often have one of those whoa moments!

  4. Andy says:

    Just from reading this post I can tell you are a great story teller. You have a way of capturing attention very easily with your writing, I will be keeping an eye out for these books, would love to read them 🙂

    • Shirley says:

      Thank you for stopping by… I can no more imagine not writing than I can not breathing…it is like gardening, just part of my routine for daily living.

  5. Jaci says:

    What a woman you are! This was so very interesting Shirley; so open and well written. Thank you for sharing.

    • Shirley says:

      I love the opening line in the movie Forest Gump … Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get…. I regard life like this too, there is the good times, the tough times, but would I change it? No. As the prophet Kalil Gibrand said … grief is the price of loving…I would not change one moment of the time I had with my boys to avoid the pain their death left me to cope with.

  6. Krystle says:

    I love how you draw the reader into your words! (Well at least me anyway!LOL!) I’ll be waiting to hear about Kris next week!

  7. Kris Pearson says:

    Great post Shirley. How am I going to follow on with anything half so interesting? And I just love your new cover look – about which I shall email you privately.

  8. Nick Ritchie says:

    Well that was certainly an insight Shirley!

    I’ll be keeping an eye out for those 3 books…

    • Shirley says:

      Thanks for stopping by…sometimes I even surprise myself…I’ll go back and re-read stuff I’ve written and think to myself…did I REALLY write that. Weird Huh?

  9. Kungphoo says:

    sounds like a trilogy to me.. good luck with the books!

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