by Connie Ward
What made you decide to become a fiction writer?
I don’t remember ever deciding to become a writer. It was more of an evolution of something inevitable for me. Fiction, on the other hand, was a choice. I like the process of taking things I’ve learned from life and weaving the details into fictional threads. The benefit, of course, is getting to decide how things turn out.
What type of stories do you write? And why?
My first love was literary fiction, and I always find myself straying back to that. But occasionally my brain longs for some order and complexity of plot, and I like to take a break to write mysteries.
What do your family/friends think about your writing?
I think they’ve accepted it as part of my identity, though some are more enthusiastic about it than others. The kids’ picture books are the best received overall (I write the Emlyn and the Gremlin series under Steff F. Kneff). My grandmother has just started reading UnCatholic Conduct. I did warn her that parts of the book border on erotica, but she seems unfazed…
Where do you get your ideas?
From asking myself a lot of What If questions. What if this contract was enforceable? What if this character made that choice? What if this happened to that person… and usually the germ of an idea grows and connects with other ideas, and sooner or later I have a viable plot.
How do you write; do you plan everything out or just write?
It depends on the type of story. I learned my lesson with UnCatholic Conduct, because I literally lost the plot for a few years and had to start over to find out whodunit… Now I plot a lot more for mystery novels, even if I continue to pants it for literary fiction and the kids’ books.
What makes UnCatholic Conduct special to you?
It’s my first venture into mystery fiction, and I know that the readers of this genre are pretty loyal and have high expectations for form and content, so that makes me a little nervous. But it also makes this book pretty special.
How much of yourself and the people you know are in your characters?
I think I’d like to avoid answering this question so I don’t get into trouble. 😉
Which gay/lesbian authors inspired you the most? Do you have a favorite of this author(s)?
I’ve read more gay and lesbian fiction over the past several years than I ever had access to as a teenager, and I find I really appreciate a lot of the YA books out there, especially those by Malinda Lo and Julie Anne Peters. Of course, I love everything that comes out of Bold Strokes Books, which is why I was very excited when they took on UnCatholic Conduct.
Do you have any suggestions for new writers?
Be patient. Don’t rush. The writing process takes time, but that’s really the least time-consuming aspect of the job. Take time to research. Take time to edit, and re-edit, and send work out to honest beta readers. Research the publisher you’re approaching and make sure you’re a good fit. A published book is out there FOREVER so make sure it’s your best work, and don’t compromise.
When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
What? Writers have free time? Well, in that case, I’m going to take up several new hobbies!
Seriously, most of my non-working time is currently taken up with my toddler, who is a fantastically interesting little creature. It’s amazing the things about life you can rediscover while watching someone else learn them for the first time. Most recently, it’s been snow. “Wow” she tells me with an amazed expression. It’s hilarious.