raul: hi Denise, how do you research your books?
Denise Hamilton: I was a Los Angeles Times reporter for 10 years so I got paid nicely to do research, which I have been able to spin into plots
Janet Fitch: Hi ulken, I was a senior in college--I'd always been a major reader, but I'd had a bad experience in 3rd grade.
Denise Hamilton: for my novels.
Administrator: janet and denise, do you write every day?
Janet Fitch: I was in England and realized I didn't want to be an historian after all, I wanted to be Anais Nin
Janet Fitch: I write every day... I never get ideas unless I'm actually writing. Ideas I get in the shower don't do me any good
Denise Hamilton: I just finished my first standlone novel, it's set in1949 Hollywood, so for that one I read a lot of biographies and memoirs and
Denise Hamilton: oral histories of growing up in Hollywood.Mickey Cohen's autobiography was a special highlight, I highly recommend it.
Administrator: i want to write a novel this year. how do i start? do i need to know how it will end first?
ellen Ulken: Denise, Are the characters in your novel, then, fictionalized representations of the real people you studied?
Janet Fitch: It's a lot to expect of yourself, to write a novel in a year. ANyway, you don't write a novel, you write a scene, and then another scene.
Administrator: what is a reasonable amount of time to dedicate to writing every day?
Denise Hamilton: I write every weekday, when my kids are in school. I try to write from about 8-3 pm, but of course that's also the time I have to answer e-mail, run errands, etc.
Tom: Hi Denise and Janet. I'm wondering what you think about 'the zone' in writing--you know, where the muse is just kind of speaking through you and time starts to fly and you're amazed at what's coming out. Is that kind of state the exception or the rule--meaning, is writing more often painful and slow, and the 'flow' thing just a once-in-awhile side-benefit of working hard?
Janet Fitch: I never know how a novel is going to end, because you don't really know what's going to be at the bottom of a novel until you excavate it
Denise Hamilton: So it takes discipline. I punch the clock, just like I was in an office. Inspiration usually strikes a couple of pages in.