Sunday, 6 March 2016

An Interview with Belinda M Gordon

My guest today is Belinda M Gordon, author of Tressa's Treasures, the first book of The King's Jewel series.

Belinda M Gordon was born and raised in Pennsylvania and currently lives in the Pocono Mountains area with her wonderfully supportive husband, her thoughtful easy-going son, and two delightful dogs.

Hi Belinda, thank you for taking the time to visit, and agreeing to the interview.
I'd like to start by asking if you've always wanted to be a writer... and if there was a particular moment when you thought, ‘I can do this!’?

I've always been an avid reader, but I wouldn't say I always wanted to be a writer. Having said that, when I was in elementary school I wrote little stories featuring my girlfriends and me!

If you read enough I think you inevitably come across books where you say to yourself, 'I could do better than that'. Somewhere in the late '90s, I decided to give it a try and I wrote my first novel. It was terrible! But it was also a great way to learn. Then I took what I learned and wrote another.

I set writing aside for a while but the bug to tell a story eventually resurfaced. My third attempt became Tressa's Treasures, my first published novel. After finishing the first draft I put the book away for a few years. Early last year I took it back out and reread it. I was pleasantly surprised—I thought the story was pretty good. That's when I had the 'I can do this' moment.

What motivates you to write?
I love creating new things—starting new projects—and writing works well in satisfying that passion. You don't need much in the way of special equipment to write. But you need to put in a great deal of effort in both the task itself and the research involved in learning the craft. Plus, once you finish one book, you have a whole new project to start—the next book.

Tell us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
I work during the day, so my writing time is in the evenings and on the weekends.
During the week, when I get home from work, I put my laptop on the kitchen counter and write what I can while I cook. This is more or less successful depending on what's for dinner!
After dinner I move to a recliner where I continue working. If I'm lucky my son's dog Max, an adorable cocker spaniel, will sit on my lap as I work. Every once in a while, he'll try tapping the keyboard to add his own flavor to my writing.
I like working in the evening like this because if I get stuck on a plot point I often work it out while I'm sleeping.
Weekends are just more of the same. I write as much as I can while working around whatever else is happening in life.

Do you have a favourite memory related to reading or writing?
My mother was also a great reader. When I was young she read my books, and we discussed them—what we liked, what we didn't. When I became a parent myself I thought back on that and wondered if she read those books because she liked them or to keep tabs on what her teenaged daughter was reading. I asked her once, and she said "both" with a mischievous smile. Mom passed away thirteen years ago now, so this is a very fond memory.

What was the biggest challenge in creating Tressa's Treasures?
When I started writing Tressa's Treasures I knew I wanted to write a love story between a human and a non-human from the non-human's point of view. I immediately decided vampires and werewolves weren't for me, but it took quite a while to settle on the Sidhe. Once I made that decision, it was fun researching the mythology surrounding the Tuatha de Danann and deciding what details to use in the world I was creating. But it was also a lot of work.
Otherwise the hardest thing about writing the book was carving out the time and having the discipline to get it done.

( Tressa's Treasures is available on Amazon. )

Do you develop characters from your personal experiences or draw from that of others?
Certainly my personal experience has influenced the development of my characters, but I didn't model any of them after specific people. I started with either the role the character played in the story—the sidekick, the big sister—or a general personality type (i.e. a crotchety butler). From there I drew from my experience but also from similar characters in books and movies.

The cover of Tressa's Treasures is wonderful! Would you tell us how it came about?
The process of choosing the book cover was lots of fun! It's as if the story you've labored over for months magically turns into a book.
I used the website and created what they call a 'contest' where any of their designers can submit possible covers. I narrowed it down to my four favorite and then polled all my friends on Facebook, LinkedIn and through email.
I went with the cover that got the most votes, which luckily I also happen to love!
Wesley Goulart, who does fabulous work, designed the cover. He is currently working on the design for the next book in the series, Xander's Folly.

Xander's Folly... is that what you're working on now? Can you tell you tell a bit about it?
Xander's Folly is the second book in The King's Jewel series and will be available this spring.

In Tressa's Treasures we learn that Alexander's mother disappeared when he was seven years old. Much of the second book revolves around solving the mystery of what happened to her.
We also meet some new fae, the search continues for the treasures of the Tuatha de Danann and the Unseelie lurk in unsuspecting places; which leads to plenty of drama, suspense and, of course, romance.

Which writers inspire you, Belinda?
There are so many great writers out there; it's impossible to make a definitive list but here are a few that come to mind: Diana Gabaldon, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Jana Deleon, Rhys Bowen.

Where can you see yourself in 5 years' time?
My husband and I own a business, and that's my current fulltime job. I love the work we do but it requires that we are in the office to do the job properly. Ideally, five years from now, we would have someone else managing that business for us. My husband would be retired and I would be writing fulltime—from anywhere in the world we wanted to be at that moment!

Do you have a top hobby that you do when you're not writing?
I'm always picking up new hobbies. I love to learn new things and get bored easily. I would say that my top hobby right now—in the little time I have after writing—is photography. In high school I took a photography course and have always been 'that person' who is always taking pictures. Two years ago my son bought me a Nikon camera for my birthday. It has been a whole new experience translating what little I remembered about film photography from back in the day into the digital age, but it is also a lot of fun.

Can you tell us about the best TV show you've seen in the last month?
This past week-end my son introduced me to the Amazon show The Man in the High Castle. The series is based on an alternate history book of the same name, set in the early '60s. The alternate history is that the Allies lost WWII. The premise sounded interesting but, after sitting down to watch the first two episodes, I have to say it freaked me out a little! But it was also very good.

...And what's your favorite film?
That's a hard question; I love to go to the movies. I'm going to go with the first one that popped into my head—The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day Lewis. My husband and I went to see it on our honeymoon.

I'd like to know more about your dogs, if you don't mind.
I mentioned my son's dog earlier, but I also have a dog named Sandy. We rescued her from our local shelter about four years ago. She's a mutt—mostly Lhasa Apso but also part Cocker Spaniel among other things. Sandy comes into work with us every day and has been dubbed the office supervisor. She spends most of her day extorting payola from everyone—in the form of dog treats!

One Last question before you go, Belinda...
If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I'm not one to think much about changing the past, because I feel my past experiences have shaped who I am today. Plus, I had a wonderful childhood—loving parents, great siblings. However, when I was five years old we moved away from our extended family. We were just a few hours away by car and so I would see my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents several times a year. Interestingly enough, I have continued in the same way throughout my adult life—living just a few hours' drive from my parents and siblings. I've always been curious what it would be like to live closer to my family.

Thank you for joining me, Belinda, I've enjoyed talking to you.

Connect with Belinda:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

1 comment :

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed Tressa's Treasures and am patiently awaiting Xander's Folly. This interview was extremely interesting and I learned so much about Belinda that I never knew, even though I am one of those "within a few hours relatives." Keep on writing and we hope to see you, Paul and Josh soon. Love Colleen, Dan and kids.