Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I’ve always liked writing and telling stories, but I didn’t get serious about writing until later in life.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I think all characters are based on real people. I mix their traits to create unique, different characters needed for a particular story.
What was the most interesting research you had to do for your books?
I wanted to write about an eating disorder, but bulimia and anorexia have been covered extensively, so I found out binge-eating disorder is a real affliction.
Where do you go to do your research?
I can usually find enough information on the internet to cover any topic. The main character’s best friend in “Surviving Haley,” is a girl from India. Since some of my students and their families come from India, I knew a bit about their culture. For the rest, I read online articles.
How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
I start with a subject I feel passionate about and then develop a main character to fit the story. Overeating and homelessness are two things that interest me. Yes, the process was the same for the second book. I picked a subject and went on from there. It takes me at least a year to complete a first draft and then longer to rewrite it. I do rewrite chapters as I go, but then I have to analyze the whole story when I’m done and fix any plot issues.
Are you currently working on any new book projects?
Yes. I’m almost finished with another YA contemporary novel about a girl whose family loses their house through foreclosure and end up living at a campground.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
If you want to be a writer, don’t give up. Keep writing. If you want to be an author (a published writer) you will have to work the business side of writing as well. Be prepared to promote yourself and your work online and in person. Establish relationships with other writers and future readers. Have an online presence even before you are published.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
I write every week, but not necessarily every day. Although I’m currently shooting for 500 words per day. I’m not a morning person, so it’s better if I write in the late afternoon or evening.
Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?
Yeah, I whisper words as I’m typing them. It helps me know how a passage sounds.
What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?
Definitely plotting. I don’t outline or even plan out my chapters and scenes—they happen on the page. It would be easier to plan ahead, but ideas don’t come to me when I try. I get a chapter written then my critique group comments on it. I’ll often rewrite that chapter before I go on to the next.
Brenda Baker is a teacher who lives in Nebraska with her husband and a mixed husky. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, word games, swimming, traveling, and spending time with family.