We recently interviewed our member, PD Workman. Here’s what she had to say:
Your Writing: Genre, Length, Process
What genres do you write? Do you write short stories, novellas, novels? Some or all?
A: Cozy mystery, Paranormal cozy, private investigator, police procedural, medical thriller, high-tech crime, suspense, thrillers, and YA. Mostly full-length novels, one novella series
Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?
A: I was a pantser for almost thirty years. I managed to train myself to plot and plan, which helps me to write tighter, more targeted stories. Now, I plot for almost all books, though I still pants the occasional one. My plots are fairly loose, and I don’t like to plot the ending. I have also started prewriting at the beginning of each day, talking to myself about the scenes that I am going to be writing that day.
Do your characters come first, or do the stories (i.e., were the characters looking for a story or vice versa?)
A: Characters are key for me. I am really enjoying writing in series that allow me to dig down deeper and explore my characters’ backgrounds and put them through new, interesting challenges with each new story.
Do you write stand-alone stories or a series or both? What attracts you to them?
A: I mostly write in series, which allows me to explore and grow my characters, and gives readers a natural next book to read.
Where do you write? If you have a specific workspace (or more), provide a description. Do you prefer music, silence, or some other noise in the background when you write? If music, what kind?
A: I write in my home office at a standing desk. I prefer quite most of the time, but I live in the house with other people, so I frequently use music to drown out other noises. While writing, I prefer instrumental music, which keeps me moving forward and does not distract me with lyrics.
Inspiration and Influences
If you remember the first story you wrote, tell us about it.
A: The first full-length novel that I wrote was about a teen runaway who ended up being framed for murder, but unbeknownst to the people who framed him, he was the son of the head man in a crime syndicate.
Where do you find ideas for your stories? Can you tell us about the spark for one of your publications?
A: News stories that inspire or enrage me, music, dreams, a person I see on the street or overhear in a grocery store. There are so many great inspirations everywhere. What the Cat Knew and several of the books in the Reg Rawlins, Psychic Investigator was inspired by a dream, as were some of the other books in the series. Henry was based on a teen I saw walking down the street. His Hands Were Quiet was inspired by an ongoing injustice taking place in an actual treatment/educational facility. The books in the Medical Kidnap Files series are based on actual medical kidnap stories, and each of the stories in Loose the Dogs was based on actual dog attacks.
Characters, Setting, Theme
Are there certain themes that keep coming up in your work? If so, is it intentional, or something that just happens?
A: I frequently write about social issues, especially kids in foster care (or adults who were in foster care) or on the streets. Lots about mental illness, addiction, abuse, disability, etc.
Your Current Project
What’s your current writing project? How do you feel about it right this minute?
A: I am working on book 16 in my paranormal cozy series, where my psychic investigator is looking into the disappearance of her mentor. I’m 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through and enjoying it!
Life as a Writer
Other than Sisters in Crime, do you belong to any other writer’s groups or communities? Do you think these types of social interactions are important for writers?
A: I am also a member of Crime Writers of Canada and a number of other groups on Facebook and Discord. I was a member of a cozy mystery mastermind group that just closed after three years, and am in a new mystery/suspense/thriller mastermind group that meets every couple of weeks. I enjoy doing online sprints with fellow authors, exchanging knowledge and tips about marketing, etc.