Greetings fellow bibliophiles and ardent SciFi/Fantasy fans. Welcome to “Writing behind the wheel”, a blog devoted to answering questions about my new SciFi/Biopunk Action Adventure novel, MONDRAGON, about my writing process, about anything at all, really. Feel free to fire away. I’ll do my best to answer you as soon as possible.
QUESTION: Your book is entitled MONDRAGON. Why is your blog entitled “Writing behind the wheel?”
The truth is, I actually wrote the bulk of Mondragon in Southern California while sitting behind the steering wheel of my compact car.
And no, not while driving! Parked, and only on especially hot days, engine running, air conditioner on full blast.
My lovely wife, Sheri, is a PICC nurse (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, for those unfamiliar with the term). Since her job requires her to travel from facility to facility (which are scattered over a fairly large territory, ranging from Palm Springs to Los Angeles to San Diego), and since we thoroughly enjoy each other’s company and like to spend as much time together as possible, I do the driving and Sheri does the PICC insertions. It’s demanding work. We typically put about 1000 miles a week on the car. When Sheri goes in to do a procedure (each one takes roughly an hour or so), I whip out my iPad and wireless keyboard, wedge the iPad into the gaps on the steering wheel, recline my seat a bit (I’m 6’4”, something of the “long cowboy on a short horse” in our Hyundai Elantra, rest my keyboard and legal pad on my lap, and dig in.
“Folding time” I call it. Because no sooner do I begin than it seems like Sheri’s right back in the shotgun seat next to me; I’m packing up my gear and we’re hauling it down the road to start the process all over again at our next stop.
Obviously, time management is one of the biggest challenges a writer faces. On days when the facilities are really spread out, we can spend ten to twelve hours, of which I may get in only three or four hours of actual writing time. And yes, I do look forward to being able to work from my desk at home. Someday soon, I hope. Maybe when I grow up. (Aren’t writers supposed to be forever young?)
Interestingly, as we all know, there’s a good deal of prep work and puzzling things out that a novelist has to do, and that goes on in between stops, driving “down a long bone-white road, straight as a string,” as the late, great Robert Penn Warren has said. Good company and the sometimes breathtaking West Coast scenery doesn’t hurt. Sheri’s a writer too, so we get to share our passion for living the life of the imagination. It makes for some terrific conversations, to say the least. And time flies. By the way, while my process may be unconventional, the outcome seems to have paid off, as Foreword Clarion Reviews just gave Mondragon a Clarion Ranking of Five Stars. You can read the full review here: Foreword Reviews
Good luck and good reading! Cheers! ~ Aran Jane