Luckily for us, we’re going out with a bang (and since we’re talking about Linda here, you can read that however you want) with the fun, feisty Ciel Halligan, whose voice is so strong I just had to ask about it!
Yeah, weird as it sounds, that license plate story is the truth. It happened when we were hauling our son back to college. I glanced over into the the next lane, saw the vanity plate, and Ciel popped into my head. I could see her. And I knew she had this odd ability … okay, yes, I know that sounds wackadoo. But seriously, it was like she was already there, just waiting for the right time to show herself.
She started talking almost immediately, and would not shut up. In first person, which isn’t (er, make that wasn’t) my usual style. She was all “I” this and “I” that, and when I tried to squeeze her into a third person limited POV, she closed her mouth and refused to speak. Well, by that time, I reeeally wanted to know what she had to say, so I gave in and let her have it her way.
Re the compelling plot (thanks for that, btw!): This is going to sound odd for a person who writes fairly complicated plots, but to me “plot” is just a tool for revealing character. I can’t really separate them. It’s kind of like how astrophysicists will talk about “spacetime” as a single continuum, instead of two distinct things. (Why, yes, I am a nerd. I read books on quantum mechanics for fun. Don’t understand everything I read, mind you, but I still like it. *grin*) Anyway, since plot is just, basically, what a character does, and a character has to do something in order to exist … well, neither can exist in a vacuum. For me, anyway. As the character grows, so grows the plot, and vice-versa.
That’s a roundabout way of saying I suspect the plot was there in my head somewhere, just like Ciel, but until I sat down and started listening to her I didn’t know what it was. So no outlines for me. The plot, as an intrinsic part of the character, only comes to me as I get to know the character.
Now, aren’t you sorry you asked?
Deb Linda is giving away signed ARCs of IN A FIX to one of our commenters (US and Canada only, please). To enter today, tell us what comes first for you — voice or story?