Gearing Up Meet and Greet

Deana Barnhart

I've just joined up for the GUTGAA blogfest being run by Deana Barnhart for September. I hope that the activities involved will help me in my own work, and equally that the blogfest will introduce to me some more writers, always a good thing.

The first activity is designed as an introduction, using seven questions and we have to provide a mini bio also, so here goes.

Where do you write?

I write in my study / studio. It's a spare bedroom on our top floor, and inside is an absolute mess at the moment. We inherited some huge old bookshelves and desk from the previous owners, and are stuck with them until we can dismantle and replace them. So, at the moment, all my crafting materials occupy the shelves, and the computer is squashed onto another table. One day…

 

On the positive side, the room opens out to a deck which overlooks a natural creek and Australian native bush. Everyday my writing is watched over by kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets, king parrots and sulphur crested cockatoos, which I hand feed outside the studio. In the summer time the doors are opened out, and I take a book to read, or do some writing outside on the outdoor sofa we have on the deck.

 

Desks and the deck are shared by some writing companions – a cat when they feel inclined, and the new puppy.

 

Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

It's the old and huge wooden cabinet left by the previous home owners, chocked block with my crafting supplies. On the floor below is a small dog bed with Mickey, the new puppy, trying to pretend he's asleep.

 

Favourite time to write?

I write in the mornings – from as soon as I've dropped off my daughter at school. Some mornings that's normally by 8:00am, some mornings it's a lot earlier. Some days I write for 2-4 hours, others I write for 7-10, with breaks.

 

But my favourite time to write is actually in the late afternoon, or early evening. That's when I most easily get into a roll. That time, unfortunately, is rarely available for me as a mother of a school age child. I have homework to oversee, and dinner and other chores to do.

 

Drink of choice while writing?

I'm not a big drinker. If I write for more than a couple of hours, I'll go make myself a coffee. Instant is fine, occasionally I'll treat myself and make myself a nespresso, or walk up to the local cafe to pick up a latte – I have a cafe that's only 200 metres away. How lucky am I?

 

When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

Oddly, things have changed for me. As a student, I couldn't study without noise around – the television or radio as background noise. I never listened, just needed the sounds to accompany me. Now I write in silence. Although if there are interuptions, for instance it's the school holidays and kids are around, I can still phase their noise out.

 

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

Actually, my work in progress is part of a series based on Blue Raynes, a young forensic psychologist who in a later novel, will have to face a copycat killer.

 

This first novel came about somewhat accidentally. I was looking for something to write as a sampler into the series, and this one started off as a collection of A to Z themed short stories started off for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge of April. The shorts developed into a real novel, once I became intrigued with the ripple effects that a crime like stalking has on the community at large.

 

What's your most valuable writing tip?

I'm too new to this to even suggest my own tips could be of any value. I'm still learning about myself and my writing just about every day. The best I can do is to occasionally remind myself that I tend to worry over what all the writing advice I read out there is telling me to do – or not to do. Instead, I've always been a rule breaker, and need to trust in my own abilities in building my writing career.

 

Mini Bio

Hunter grew up in small town New Zealand, made a career in I.T. in the capital city. She followed her new English husband back to county U.K. for a decade, then took up writing once settled back down under. All that moving around from city to suburbia and back again must have led to murder on her mind, because now Hunter writes thriller fiction. She lives in suburban Sydney with her husband and daughter, accompanied by a large menagerie of animals. And yes, she is still a bit of a geek.

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