This is the first in a three-part interview with the Author, Loretta Boyer McClellan:
What motivated you to write Misthaven of Maine?
Loretta Boyer McClellan: I’ve written magazine and newspaper articles, poetry, lyrics, as well as blog and marketing/marcom content throughout my career. I’ve also been an avid journal and letter writer, personally; however, approaching fiction seemed this elusive triumph that was always just out of reach to consider, until something within me changed. Life experience changed my approach. It was like a light switch: one day it wasn’t a consideration, and the next day the light switch flipped on. Suddenly it was a defined goal to achieve that seemed not just surmountable, but a very focused endeavor!
Writing fiction became a challenge that I wanted to achieve and succeed in, as I was seeking creative options. I suppose the same way that writing lyrics was not something I thought I’d ever do, then somehow, the words just came during a period of growth in my life. When the words were put to music and one of the songs won an award, it was a wonderful surprise! The experience in writing Misthaven of Maine has also been full of wonderful surprises. Writing fiction is much more creative than writing a feature story or a news article, working within the parameters and constraints of reality. The joy of watching the story unfold is like nothing else I’ve ever done. I’m hooked!
Speaking of your writing process, what is involved?
Loretta Boyer McClellan: I first start out with an idea, as I suspect most authors do. It can come from many sources—even a single thought—but primarily the foundation of ideas for Misthaven of Maine in particular was built upon life experience. I then write an outline, adding as much detail as I can, but allowing for an evolution and freedom to change and adapt, as inspiration and ideas come along during the writing process—quite profusely at times, in fact.
Like painting, I take breaks. I take a step back from the “canvas” if you will—and come back to view it later with a fresh perspective. For me, this works consistently well. I come back to scenes in the story to build upon later, as ideas come. Just like in a watercolor, where you can overwork an area and ruin the nap of the paper beneath, so too is writing much the same. There is a need to preserve the quality of the work and let go of the unnecessary that clouds the clarity. Hopefully I’ve achieved that.
When I wrote the ending for Misthaven of Maine, I just knew it was the right place to stop. It was an instinctual confirmation, instead of a subjective decision—which was how I expected the ending to be determined. It was yet another surprise in the process for me. Additionally, it was an intentional move to take a stanza in the epigraph from Misthaven of Maine to use for the title of sequel, Misthaven of Maine: Journey to Beyond.
To be continued…
Text, images and logo ©2012, Loretta McClellan; all rights reserved.
Photo, “Old Letter and Quill” by Simon Howden of freedigitalphotos.net; used with permission.