Books4m asked Lauren Willig:

I'm impressed with the Pink Carnation books.I am blown away by your writing and balancing ability.I work full time, while earning my MLIS,I can barely think.I was wondering about your writing process, your stories always weave little pieces into a larger tapestry. Do you start with the big picture and work out the details or do start with the idea and tie up loose ends as you write and edit? Thank you

Lauren Willig Thanks so much! Usually, I start with what I think of as the big "what if"? For example, with the first Pink book, "what if a dashing spy suddenly found himself confronted with a young woman determined to help him?" The what if can be character driven-- what if a certain type of character finds herself in a certain type of situation, how would she react?-- or it can be fueled by a historical event that catches my imagination. In the current book, the big what if is "what if mad Queen Maria of Portugal was spirited away by loyalists before the royal family sailed to Brazil-- and both the French and the English were trying to find her?" Once I have that big picture question, then it becomes a matter of lots of little questions. Okay, the mad queen is missing-- how would the Pink Carnation set about finding her? What kind of questions would she ask? How would she feel about having to team up with the agent on the ground, Jack Reid, who has the local knowledge and language skills she lacks? And it goes on from there, with that first big idea proliferating into thousands of little ideas. I generally have a broad idea of where I want the story to go, but it always develops and changes as I write it. It's not a very tidy process... but it does keep it interesting!

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