Inside the Mind of a Writer

Sally Wiener Grotta by Daniel GrottaDuring the blog tour for The Winter Boy, Sally appeared on numerous websites, answering questions about her writing, her characters, what inspires her, and so forth. For each interview, she gave fresh, new responses that provide interesting insights into how she works and thinks.

In addition to posting links to some of the many fabulous reviews her novels have been receiving, periodically I will post some of these interviews.

Here’s an excerpt from her interview on the Book Goodies website:

“What inspires you to write?”

“I write to try to understand, to attempt to make some sense of our human condition. I weave tales that put characters I learn to love into difficult, if not impossible situations, and then I try to tease out answers, or — at least hope to instigate ideas that might lead to – if not solutions, then maybe some better understanding of the problems.

“I often picture a hospital newborn nursery, filled with tiny bundles of unshaped humanity. Which one will be the philanthropist or artist or teacher? Which one the corrupt politician or drug dealer? What is it that can take an infant — so full of hope and potential — and make him or her hate?

“Why is it that families who are brimming over with love can twist that love into something that destroys the lives of the very people they claim to care about?

How is it that communities who want only peace are so willing to send their young to kill and be killed in far away countries, which are filled with other communities who, in their hearts, also want only peace?

“Those are the type of questions I often ponder. They frequently wake me up in the middle of the night, demanding that I do something with them. So I write.”

“Tell us about your writing process.”

“I’ve learned to trust my instincts. As long as I sit down at the computer and write, the words will come. I’m lucky in that I’ve never really experienced writer’s block. I’ve found that if I can’t go forward with a story, it’s because something I’ve already written doesn’t ring true, or has pushed the story or characters in the wrong direction. So, when I can’t go forward, I go back, rewriting what is already there.

“It’s finding the time to write and not being intimidated by the empty screen that are my stumbling blocks. So, I try to put aside the mornings to writing.. Of course, life intervenes. However, the days that I don’t write, I lose myself, becoming less whole. I need to write to feel truly alive.

“Once I’ve written a story, then I rewrite, and rewrite again. Sculpting the prose, fine-tuning the characterizations, until its whittled down to the best I can create. I put it aside, let it ferment, then rewrite yet again. Finally, I hand it over to my editors, and after I work with them, I work it over again. I enjoy the rewriting and editing almost as much as the writing itself. But then, I’ve had some wonderful editors in my career.”

To read the rest of this interview, please click here

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