Ask the Author - Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill

Discuss the January 2016 book of the month For the Love of Suzanne by Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill.
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khudecek
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Re: Ask the Author - Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill

Post by khudecek »

falloutlunartic wrote:How do you decide what details to keep in a story and what details to take out?
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you.

This is another good question.

When I rewrote the story, there were things in there that I had to double-check the facts. For instance, there was a part in the book where it was mentioned that Cody had learned how to hunt and live off the land. Not many noticed this (if any) but I left out "fish". In the original manuscript, Cody knew how to hunt and fish. When I checked it out again, I discovered that Apache Indians didn't fish or eat anything that lived under the water. So to leave that one word in there would have been historically inaccurate.

I look for stuff like that. I move on to keeping things consistent and as realistic as possible. Fiction is fiction, of course, but if a scene doesn't fit, I cut it.

The paranormal aspect of this story is fiction but it was based on something that happened to my grandfather in the Black Hills of South Dakota when he was a child. He and his mother lived on a ranch west of Deadwood and she fell ill in the middle of the night. She needed a doctor. The Black Hills are indeed, black, in the middle of the night. He got on a horse and rode to Deadwood to get the doctor and all the way, there was a light guiding him.

I wanted to keep that in the story and gosh darn the consequences. I believe in miracles and I believe love conquers all.

I hope this answers your question. Thank you for asking. :)

-- 06 Jan 2016, 03:42 --
gali wrote:Great answers!

Will there be a sequel at some point?
Thanks, gali. :)

I have no plans for a sequel at this time.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
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Post by bookowlie »

Your writing and fact-checking process is very interesting, especially that the Apache Indians don't fish or eat anything that lived underwater. It must be so time-consuming to write a novel where you have to be mindful of the little historical details. It just adds an other layer to editing your book, in addition to making sure the plot flows well.
"The best way out is always through" - Robert Frost

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Post by stoppoppingtheP »

[bco=][/bco]
khudecek wrote:It's hard to pinpoint an exact time with it. Let me tell you why.

I wrote this book in 1996. I did some editing on it and shelved it. I don't really know why. I got married in 2001, moved to Kansas, had a couple of kids...you know, did the "life" thing.

Fast forward to 2015. My son and I are going through some boxes a year and a half after moving into this house and he pulled out a pile of paper bound in a rubber band.

He looked at it and said, "Hey, Mom. What's this?"
I looked at it and my jaw dropped. "It's a manuscript! Wow!"

I have to confess that I don't remember writing it. As I read it, nothing seemed familiar but I knew I'd written it because I'm the only writer in the family. I didn't remember Cody or Suzanne. I didn't remember anything about it.

I knew it had to be put on my computer, like the rest of my novels and short stories so I started retyping it.

As I retyped it, I added some things, took some things away, renamed it, added a little spice to it, changed the ending and was ready to put it back in the closet. It didn't get that far.

I think the time it took to retype it was maybe a month or so. Editing took much longer. Weeks. Editing always takes longer. Writing the first draft is always the easiest part and the most fun. Editing is a grueling but necessary process. I edited it three times before I submitted it to Scott for his edits. Then it was back and forth for awhile.

I signed my contract on May 24 (keep in mind, the story was already written) and the release day was October 26, 2015.

Thank you for your question. I hope I answered it for you. :)
Your answer really gave me hope. I've written a few stories, but I've never been able to complete them. Perhaps one day I will also be able to go back and finish them.

“there have been so many times
i have seen a man wanting to weep
but
instead
beat his heart until it was unconscious.

-masculine”


― Nayyirah Waheed

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khudecek
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Post by khudecek »

stoppoppingtheP wrote:[bco=][/bco]
khudecek wrote:It's hard to pinpoint an exact time with it. Let me tell you why.

I wrote this book in 1996. I did some editing on it and shelved it. I don't really know why. I got married in 2001, moved to Kansas, had a couple of kids...you know, did the "life" thing.

Fast forward to 2015. My son and I are going through some boxes a year and a half after moving into this house and he pulled out a pile of paper bound in a rubber band.

He looked at it and said, "Hey, Mom. What's this?"
I looked at it and my jaw dropped. "It's a manuscript! Wow!"

I have to confess that I don't remember writing it. As I read it, nothing seemed familiar but I knew I'd written it because I'm the only writer in the family. I didn't remember Cody or Suzanne. I didn't remember anything about it.

I knew it had to be put on my computer, like the rest of my novels and short stories so I started retyping it.

As I retyped it, I added some things, took some things away, renamed it, added a little spice to it, changed the ending and was ready to put it back in the closet. It didn't get that far.

I think the time it took to retype it was maybe a month or so. Editing took much longer. Weeks. Editing always takes longer. Writing the first draft is always the easiest part and the most fun. Editing is a grueling but necessary process. I edited it three times before I submitted it to Scott for his edits. Then it was back and forth for awhile.

I signed my contract on May 24 (keep in mind, the story was already written) and the release day was October 26, 2015.

Thank you for your question. I hope I answered it for you. :)
Your answer really gave me hope. I've written a few stories, but I've never been able to complete them. Perhaps one day I will also be able to go back and finish them.
Don't give up. Write as much as you can. Write every day, if possible. Just don't give up. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
Latest Review: "See Bride Run!" by Charlotte Hughes

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Post by kimmyschemy06 »

Time travel has been an old subject. Did you not think that your story might be considered, well.. cliche?

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Post by DarkestbeforeDawn »

How do you balance so many genres at once? Do you feel like they aren't properly developed or focused on at some points? How do you do it so it doesn't distract from the overall novel
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khudecek
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Post by khudecek »

DarkestbeforeDawn wrote:How do you balance so many genres at once? Do you feel like they aren't properly developed or focused on at some points? How do you do it so it doesn't distract from the overall novel
After reading some of the comments on this forum, I'm not so sure I did do a good job of balancing it all out. What I wanted to do was to present a book that was an adventure with an Indian guy and a white woman, a relationship that was frowned upon at that time. It was during a time when Indians being forced onto reservations, often with deadly consequences. That was the Western part of it.

Honestly, I don't know how I could have done it differently. I don't think it would have worked if Suzanne had been a part of that era. Had she been a part of that era, she would have seen Cody as everybody else did and there would have been no story.

I hope this answers your questions. Thank you for asking. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
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Post by bookowlie »

khudecek wrote:
DarkestbeforeDawn wrote:How do you balance so many genres at once? Do you feel like they aren't properly developed or focused on at some points? How do you do it so it doesn't distract from the overall novel
After reading some of the comments on this forum, I'm not so sure I did do a good job of balancing it all out. What I wanted to do was to present a book that was an adventure with an Indian guy and a white woman, a relationship that was frowned upon at that time. It was during a time when Indians being forced onto reservations, often with deadly consequences. That was the Western part of it.

Honestly, I don't know how I could have done it differently. I don't think it would have worked if Suzanne had been a part of that era. Had she been a part of that era, she would have seen Cody as everybody else did and there would have been no story.

I hope this answers your questions. Thank you for asking. :)
I thought the different genres were balanced well within the story. The time travel/fantasy was not overwhelming at all - it was just a plot device to highlight the two main characters' way they viewed each other. It was the juxtaposition of characters from different backgrounds. The romance angle was subtly handled through much of the story with a man showing Suzanne respect and positive attention. The historical backdrop also fit well with the character development and the way the two main characters viewed each other. I never felt like the genres made the story too busy. I looked at the genres as supporting Suzanne's character development, which was the highlight of the story.
"The best way out is always through" - Robert Frost

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Post by gali »

bookowlie wrote:
khudecek wrote:
DarkestbeforeDawn wrote:How do you balance so many genres at once? Do you feel like they aren't properly developed or focused on at some points? How do you do it so it doesn't distract from the overall novel
After reading some of the comments on this forum, I'm not so sure I did do a good job of balancing it all out. What I wanted to do was to present a book that was an adventure with an Indian guy and a white woman, a relationship that was frowned upon at that time. It was during a time when Indians being forced onto reservations, often with deadly consequences. That was the Western part of it.

Honestly, I don't know how I could have done it differently. I don't think it would have worked if Suzanne had been a part of that era. Had she been a part of that era, she would have seen Cody as everybody else did and there would have been no story.

I hope this answers your questions. Thank you for asking. :)
I thought the different genres were balanced well within the story. The time travel/fantasy was not overwhelming at all - it was just a plot device to highlight the two main characters' way they viewed each other. It was the juxtaposition of characters from different backgrounds. The romance angle was subtly handled through much of the story with a man showing Suzanne respect and positive attention. The historical backdrop also fit well with the character development and the way the two main characters viewed each other. I never felt like the genres made the story too busy. I looked at the genres as supporting Suzanne's character development, which was the highlight of the story.
I agree! I also thought the different genres were well balanced and in tune with the story.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by khudecek »

Thank you bookowlie and gali. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
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Post by bookowlie »

I thought the blending of different genres is what made the story unique. It wasn't the typical western romance...it wasn't the typical time travel/sci-fi story...it wasn't the typical romance since the romance didn't come to fruition until much later in the story...it wasn't the typical historical novel since the main character was contemporary.
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Post by CzechTigg »

Hi again, kristi.

Not the most amazing question, but still interesting to me. "How do you go about plotting, and separating into chapters?"
(To clarify a bit: do you have an outline from start to finish, or do you let the story 'write itself', but then rein it in and try to make things follow some overall order?)
Some writers do like to have a plot first, but other find it restrictive, so I wonder where in the spectrum you are. :)
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Post by khudecek »

Hi there--

Thanks for the questions. I hope I can answer them to your satisfaction.

This is going to sound odd but when I write novels, such as with Suzanne, I do not plot or outline anything. I do find outlines a bit restrictive when writing something that big. However, when writing short stories, such as Ghostwriter in Holding Fire, I plotted and outlined the entire story. When you have to keep a story a certain length, I find it imperative to do so.

You can find pictures of the plotting/outlining work on my social media page. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
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Post by CzechTigg »

Yeah that's the sort of answer I was expecting, so thanks kristi.

I'll certainly check out the social media page. I wasn't aware you shared those details in that way, but it's a great idea.
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Post by khudecek »

Thanks for such a great question. :)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
Latest Review: "See Bride Run!" by Charlotte Hughes

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