Birthday Custom: Reflections on Another Year

by Kristina Ludwig
Mar 30
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: March 30, 2016 at 3:09 pm

This past weekend was my birthday–time to party, goof around, be surprised, and eat lots of chocolate. And, on a more serious note, it was time for my year-end review.

IMG-20160329-WA0002
A special message from my hubby and daughter on my birthday.

 

Every b-day, I divide my life into categories and evaluate each one honestly. This short reflective exercise not only lets me celebrate all the small victories of the previous year, it helps me to pinpoint goals for the upcoming one.

My year-end review is similar to making New Year’s Resolutions, but I find that my “resolutions” are easier to achieve because: a.) I feel more energetic and dedicated in the spring than I do at the tail end of the holiday season, and b.) The rest of the world is not making resolutions with me, so I can focus on my own goals more.

IMG-20160329-WA0003
Because reflections go so much better with chocolate-on-chocolate cake…

Interested in trying your own year-end review? Here are the categories I use, as well as some questions to ask yourself.

  • Relationships: Friends and family bring us so much color and happiness, like flowers in a garden. And, much like flowers, important relationships need constant attention and love in order to bloom. Ask yourself: Have I maintained close relationships with my family and friends? Am I in contact with my long-distance friends and family? Have I made new friends? Do I spend quality time with my kids and/or significant other, and do I tell them I love them every day?
  • Fitness: Because our bodies only work as well as we take care of them! Ask yourself: How often do I work out? What is my favorite form of exercise? If I belong to a gym, am I making the most of my membership with regular visits? Am I exploring new fitness classes? Do I eat healthy foods the majority of the time? Have I tried any new exercise regimes this year, and would I like to try something new next year?
  • Hobbies: Our “extracurricular activities” are so enriching, giving us an outlet for our creativity and passion. Ask yourself: What are my favorite hobbies, and have I practiced them this year? Have I neglected any hobbies that I used to enjoy, and if so, how can I rekindle them? Are there any new skills I would like to learn? Are there any organizations I can join to meet others who share my hobbies?
  • Spirituality: Regardless of our religious affiliations, being in touch with our spiritual side can help us to feel more tranquil and centered, enriching overall feelings of well-being. Ask yourself: If I’m religious, do I pray regularly and attend worship services? Do I practice yoga and/or meditation? When and where do I feel most at peace?
  • Career: Ask yourself: What were my proudest moments in my career this past year? What were my greatest achievements? Do I feel as though my career is bringing value to this world? What would I like to change at work, and how can I do my job better? Am I happy in my current position, or would I like to change positions and/or fields? If I’m on leave/sabbatical, when do I plan to return?

There you have it: my year-end review! The most fascinating thing about this exercise is the way the categories overlap and influence each other, leading to “Aha moments” as we reflect about them. For example, relationships with our family can influence our performance at work, and expressing ourselves through creative hobbies can lead us to feel more spiritually balanced. Sometimes, we may discover a deficiency in one of the categories that influences the others, or we might realize that great performance in a category significantly enhances the others.

Do you conduct a similar exercise around your birthday, or maybe at the start of a new year? Do you have anything to add to my review? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Reflections on a Seattle Vacay

by Kristina Ludwig
Jun 5
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: June 5, 2015 at 9:38 am

Last week, we visited Seattle for the first time. I’d always heard great things about this Pacific Northwest city, and wanted to see it for myself.

It turns out that the so-called “birthplace of grunge” is a lot greener and happier than I’d imagined. Although Seattle is portrayed as a rainy city, we had perfect, sunny weather for most of our trip. The climate was actually pretty similar to San Diego (highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s) during our vacation.

A lovely day in Seattle

A lovely day in Seattle

 

We stayed in a hotel downtown with a spectacular rooftop deck, and spent hours gazing out over the city and water. We could see the Space Needle from our rooftop, as well as the waterfront area and everything in between. In the mornings, the view was obscured by a layer of fog, but once it burned off, the city was clear and shimmering before us.

The view from our hotel room

The view from our hotel room

There are tons of tourist attractions there, but we prefer to stay away from things we deem “too touristy.” As a result, we hung out in fun, trendy neighborhoods like Belltown, loading up on coffee (of course! But no Starbuck’s.) and delicious food. The vibe was chill, people seemed nice and talkative, and the city was incredibly clean. One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to the EMP museum, with exhibits featuring various pop culture elements. We especially enjoyed the Nirvana exhibit, and the music section upstairs where patrons can play various instruments. I tapped into my inner jazz musician by composing my own piano piece over a rhythmic jazz beat, and Antonio had a field day with the guitars. We even jammed together on guitar and drums, and Xaviana pounded the keyboard. The vacation environment, coupled with the overall free-for-all feel, fueled our creativity for the week ahead, and we’ve both been super productive since our return!

 

Antonio plays air guitar next to the musical instrument sculpture in the EMP museum.

Antonio plays air guitar next to the musical instrument sculpture in the EMP museum.

Another favorite was Alki Beach, which we hit on our last day (and the only gray day we experienced in Seattle). The thick, low-laying clouds and light mist of rain created the perfect environment for introspection as we looked out over the water. And the fact that we found an awesome Greek-inspired fish-and-chips place, Sunfish, added to the fun. Over lunch, Antonio remarked that it was easy to forget what country we were in, and it’s true. Seattle provides such an eclectic mix of cultures and such a colorful and random environment that you could really be anywhere. During our stay, we enjoyed cuisine from all over the world: a Creole brunch, Japanese sushi, Italian dinner, American gastropub fare, and, of course, the Greek-American fusion fish.

20150522_133608

We left Seattle full of excitement and inspiration… Since then, Antonio has taken his energy and creativity to his brand-new job at a startup, while I’ve directed mine toward writing my upcoming book, Amish Blessings. If you haven’t been to Seattle yet, you must try it!

Reflections on a Baja California Vacay

by Kristina Ludwig
Apr 27
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: April 27, 2015 at 9:20 am

It’s so nice to return to the blog… Between writing my new eBook (Amish Shopkeeper–look for excerpts coming soon!) and mini-vacations here and there, things have been a little crazy.

Last weekend, I visited Baja California with Antonio, Xaviana, and some friends, and was super-inspired by the vibrant culture and seaside beauty. We’ve been talking about road-tripping to Mexico forever, since it’s so close to San Diego, and I’m pumped to share my random reflections with you!

Our first stop was the ocean town of Puerto Nuevo. The music of mariachis filled the air as merchants hawked their wares–everything from hats to jewelry to mini guitars. The salespeople seemed so passionate about their merchandise that everything was hard to resist, and I found myself wondering, “Do I need this random fill-in-the-blank?”

Delicious aromas of fresh coffee and sweets from the dulceria wafted out to greet us as we headed to lunch at a restaurant with a sunny rooftop dining area overlooking the glistening waters of the Pacific. The oysters, lobster, shrimp, and fish were so fresh that they tasted as though they had just been caught an hour ago, and there’s nothing like a real Mexican margarita. ;)

Afterwards, we wandered the colorful streets, stopping at an art cafe. These are fairly popular in Puerto Nuevo, and I think they’re amazing, since they combine two of my favorite things, art and coffee. We purchased a beautiful beach painting from brilliant artist Jorge Prieto B. I admired the paintings and straw art as I sipped my Mexican mocha, which was as spicy, rich, and complex as the local culture itself.

After that, we drove a bit further south to Ensenada, another beach town, and stayed in a resort there.

A shot of our resort at Estero Beach in Ensenada

A shot of our resort at Estero Beach in Ensenada

 

Ensenada is what I would call “raw”–it has some pretty sketchy areas, a stark contrast to the polished sheen of its tourist district. We had dinner under the stars, in a table overlooking the water, with the music of a nearby wedding serving as the perfect soundtrack. The next morning, we brunched at a classy restaurant with live piano music and authentic Mexican cinnamon rolls and breakfast dishes. I was in love–with the food, the ambience, and the price. I couldn’t get over how excellent the quality of food and service was for the money. If you’re looking for a supremely affordable vacay, Baja California is for you!

That afternoon, we continued to a wine tasting at Shedeh Winery. The wine country was all rolling hills and dry, dusty roads, and, like Southern California, the temperature was considerably warmer inland than by the coast. We enjoyed full-bodied, exotic red wines complemented by fresh bread and tapenade–the perfect end to the perfect mini-getaway.

At the Shedeh Winery, with special guests Xaviana and the Very Hungry Caterpillar ;)

At the Shedeh Winery, with special guests Xaviana and the Very Hungry Caterpillar ;)

After that, we drove back home, spending about an hour and a half at the border in massive lines to get back into the US. It may have been a long time, but it certainly wasn’t boring; there were tons of vendors to keep things interesting. We bought coconut-pineapple ice cream, and enjoyed our last encounter with the vivid Mexican culture–until next time, at least!

7 Ideas to Make Every Day Awesome This Week!

by Kristina Ludwig
Feb 2
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: February 2, 2015 at 9:11 am

Who likes Mondays? Okay, not a lot of us. But, weirdly, I do. I think of them as the start of a brand-new week of awesomeness. We’ve had time to recharge and rejuvenate over the weekend (hopefully), and we can start fresh…so what’s not to be excited about?!

This Monday’s blog post is a little different than most; I want to share a fun thing you can do every day to super-charge your week. So, here goes. Since the week technically begins on Sunday, I’ll start there.

These tiger cubs playing outside look like they're about to have a super-charged and fierce week. :)

These tiger cubs playing outside look like they’re about to have a super-charged and fierce week. :)

  • Sunday: Create a Weekly Mantra. This will not only excite you to begin your workweek, it will also keep you focused until Friday. Antonio and I enjoy creating mantras on Sunday nights, and also writing a list of weekly goals. We’ve been doing this for over a year, and feel that we’ve both been more effective and efficient ever since. The mantra keeps us motivated, and the goal list creates a sense of accountability–and accomplishment every time we check something off!
  • Monday: Draw Upon Your Passions. Don’t let your workweek start off dull and boring; infuse a little bit of something you’re passionate about into your day, and motivation will follow! When I worked as a pharmacist, I would often start the week with a new outfit, or try something new with my make-up, because I love these things and they improved my attitude all day. Now that I work from home, I’m sure to incorporate at least one of my passions into my day, whether it’s exercising or playing the piano for my baby girl. Drawing upon my passions makes me feel more inspired, and lets the week start off on a strong note.
  • Tuesday: Be Grateful. Starting every day–not just Tuesday–by remembering at least one thing you have to be thankful for lends a rosy glow to your day.
  • Wednesday: Recharge Your Batteries. Many of us start feeling exhausted as the week wears on, and by Hump-Day, we’re zombies. Sometimes, it’s nice to take some time off and have a bum-night in the middle of the week. Watch a movie, and make sure to sleep early, so you can finish off your week strong!
  • Thursday: Cook Something New and Healthy. Good nutrition is  essential for physical and mental health, and cooking at home is the best way to get it! I cook at home almost every night, and always make leftovers for lunch later in the week. Cooking is also an extremely creative and rewarding pursuit. It can de-stress you as you become absorbed in creating just the right combination of flavors, and, of course, it rocks once you get to eat your concoction!
  • Friday: Have a Happy Hour. Time with family and friends is so important for people who want to supercharge their lives. Spend a few hours with people you love, who lift you up. Remember that the attitudes of whomever you associate with most will rub off on you, so spend your  time with your most positive and fun friends!
  • Saturday: Exercise Outside. Working out in a gym is great, but nothing beats exercise outside. It just feels more exhilarating. So whether you’re skiing in the winter or jogging on the beach in summer, take advantage of the great outdoors, and you’ll feel your mind expand in the process.

What did you think of these ideas? What do you do to super-charge your week and make every day awesome? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Random Places to Find Inspiration

by Kristina Ludwig
Jan 12
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: January 12, 2015 at 9:00 am

As writers, we have to be open to the weird and the wonderful, and inspiration often strikes in totally random places. Often, we don’t even need to search for inspiration; it finds us instead. With that in mind, here are 5 random places where you might find your next story idea!

Image courtesy of somethingoneverything.com

Image courtesy of somethingoneverything.com

  1. Vintage Stores - Writing historical fiction? Then head to your local vintage store before you slide into your desk chair. Browsing is so much fun because each item has its own unique story–and it’s up to you to find and tell it.
  2. Gyms - Your blood is pumping and the endorphins are flowing; these factors can launch your creativity into overdrive. Add to that the fact that your mind is mostly blank when you’re doing reps or running on the treadmill, and you have the ideal environment to dream up awesome new writing projects.
  3. Your Shower - Many times, you don’t even need to venture out of the bathroom for inspiration; just take a shower! Great ideas often hit when you’re sudsing up.
  4. Bed - The saying, “Sleep on it,” is so true; sleep really lends us a sense of clarity. If you’re stuck at a stubborn point in your story, “sleeping on it” is often all you need.
  5. Public Transportation - Not only do you have uninterrupted time on a bus, train, or airplane, you also have an abundance of people and conversations. Hello, people watching!

Writers out there, what is your favorite random place to find inspiration? Is there a special location that always works for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.

New Year’s Writing Resolutions

by Kristina Ludwig
Jan 2
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: January 2, 2015 at 9:00 am

I don’t know about you, but a fresh new year motivates me like nothing else. Even though it happens every 365 days and is therefore not all that special, each new year is like a blank slate. Somehow, I feel like I can be anything, and do anything, after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. Perhaps I have delusions of grandeur from a few too many sips of champagne, but still…there’s just something magical about a new year.

This year, my resolutions are writing-related, so, of course, I must share them with you! After all, blogging creates accountability, so I’ll just have to follow up on these resolutions, right?!!

Image courtesy of claimfame.com

Image courtesy of claimfame.com

So, here they are… 5 writing resolutions for 2015!

  1. Release one eBook per month - I was able to maintain this rigorous pace throughout 2014, with the exception of the month of November, when I took some time off after the birth of my daughter. Now that our family has settled into a nice rhythm, however, I plan to write and publish an eBook every month this year!
  2. Finish the California Mermaids series with a bang - I won’t lie; the California Mermaids series has disappointed me a bit. I was so inspired to write in a totally new genre, but, unfortunately, the mermaid books are just not selling as well as I’d thought. Therefore, I’ve fought with my momentum as I’ve written the last book of the series, The Mermaid’s Voyage. Some days, I’m incredibly psyched to write it, but on others I lack motivation. However, the New Year brings a new attitude, so I’ve decided that I’m going to have fun with the book and write the most amazing series finale I can. Which leads me to my next resolution…
  3. Return to the Amish Fiction Genre - While formatting my Amish Couples Box Set, I just happened to skim the ending of Amish Baby, and I teared up as I read about Hannah’s faith and God’s work. I realized that I missed incorporating themes of faith and God into my books, and at that moment, I knew that my heart was telling me to return to Amish fiction.
  4. Participate in NaNoWriMo - You may recall that I performed my own version of NaNoWriMo in 2014. Here’s the blog post I wrote about it. However, I want to do it right in 2015, and follow all the rules–for the first time ever.
  5. Attend a Writing Conference - Conferences are the perfect places to find inspiration, network with other writers, and just have an all-around good time. That’s why a return to the conference scene is in the cards this year!

Writers out there, do you have New Year’s writing resolutions? If so, what are they? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Cover Reveal and Mermaid Monday Giveaway!

by Kristina Ludwig
Dec 15
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: December 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

I’m psyched to announce that my newest eBook, The Mermaid’s Wedding (California Mermaids #2), will be launching tomorrow, December 16th!

Therefore, I’ve dubbed today Mermaid Monday…and what would this magical “holiday” be without a giveaway? I will be gifting FREE copies of The Mermaid’s Wedding to the first five people who comment below with one reason to love mermaids. Get creative! For example, you could comment, “I love mermaids because we’re never too old to believe in magic,” or, “I love mermaids because they bring a dose of fantasy and intrigue to my Monday.” Also, please include your Amazon ID (your email that is registered with Amazon), so I can gift you the Kindle book.

In honor of the launch, Book 1 of the California Mermaids series, The Mermaid’s Curse, will be free December 16th and 17th, so make sure to download it if you haven’t already!

And in other news, I want to give a warm shout-out to everyone who voted on the cover concepts that I posted on Facebook and the blogs last week. The overwhelming winner was the design on the right. Here’s the final cover reveal! What do you think?

Here's the cover reveal for The Mermaid's Wedding, which will be launching on December 16th! What do you think?

Here’s the cover reveal for The Mermaid’s Wedding, which will be launching on December 16th! What do you think?

 

5 Tips to Switching Genres Seamlessly

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 22
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

As much as I’ve loved writing my Amish books, I’ve decided to take a hiatus from the YA Amish Romance genre, mostly because my imagination called me in another direction. I’ve always been intrigued by mermaids, and even dressed up as one last Halloween! During a trip up the coast of California a few months ago, I admired the deep blue waters and the jagged rocks of Monterey, and thought, “Wow, this place looks like there should be mermaids.” Add in the appeal of Monterey’s history as a vacation and fishing town starting in the 1880s, and I had all the inspiration I needed to create a series about generations of mermaids with a peculiar curse, starting in Victorian times!

Me as a mermaid, partying with friends dressed as other mythical creatures, last Halloween.

Me as a mermaid, partying with friends dressed as other mythical creatures, last Halloween.

One reason that many authors find themselves pigeon-holed into one genre (besides sales and fan base, of course) is because it’s difficult to transition from one genre to another. I’ve taken several steps to prepare myself to write YA Mermaid fiction–mindset really is everything. And guess what? I’m already eight chapters into my new mermaid book!

Here are 5 tips to switching genre.

  1. Read at least 20 books in the new genre - Market research not only helps you to generate ideas, it’s essential in order to create a book that fits into the overall market, yet still has enough individuality to stand out. During your market research, pay close attention to the length of the books, the pricing, the covers, and the descriptions. Finally, checking out the reviews will show you what your new target audience likes and dislikes.
  2. Watch TV shows and movies about your new genre - This can be anything from documentaries to movies to TV series. I happened to stumble upon a Netflix original series called Mako Mermaids, geared toward tweens, and Antonio and I started watching it. Although it appeals to a younger audience, watching the series has spurred my creativity and exposed me to mermaid myths. It’s so important to really saturate yourself in your new genre, during your work and play hours! Which leads me to my next tip…
  3. Quest for inspiration constantly - Do activities that bring you closer to your characters. For example, take “educational field trips,” like I did when I was writing my Amish series. Lately, I have been doing mermaid-like activities–not difficult for me, because I tend to do these things anyway. For example, I’ll take a break from writing to swim in the  pool–great exercise, and I’m often inspired during this time. I also go to the beach with Antonio at least twice a week, usually around sunset, and some of my greatest ideas come to me there. And inspiration can strike when you least expect it. This weekend, after lunch in Old Town, I saw a store called Mermaid’s Cove, which is full of mermaid memorabilia, books, and other curiosities.
  4. Do your research - Check out non-fiction sources on your new topic. I’ve learned a lot about mermaid mythology just by Googling the subject–isn’t the information age great?! However, I’ve also read some books about mermaid legends and lore, such as “Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea” by Varla Ventura.
  5. Follow blogs - These are one of the most often overlooked resources when writing in a new genre. While writing Amish fiction, I followed various blogs written by ex-Amish, and lately, I’ve begun following blogs by fans of mermaids. Not only are blogs an awesome place to find facts, opinions, and discussions about your subject, they also bring you closer to your target audience!
A golden-hour beach picture  from yesterday. Getting inspired for a new series has never been so much fun.;)

A golden-hour beach picture from yesterday. Getting inspired for a new series has never been so much fun.;)

Authors out there, do you write in more than one genre? If so, what tips do you have for a smooth transition? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Writing Lessons Learned from Watching the VMAs

by Kristina Ludwig
Aug 25
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: August 25, 2014 at 11:27 am

Last night, Antonio and I watched the VMAs. I adore these awards shows, not only for the elaborate performances and the glamour, but, of course, for the intrigues, conflicts, and awesome surprises!

vmas

This year’s VMAs were fun to watch, and, naturally, they inspired me to write this blog post. I believe that the various forms of the arts (music, drama, literature, and visual arts) influence each other, and there are many lessons we writers can learn from the VMAs. Here are five:

  1. Sex Sells - Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” performance raised some eyebrows, with the steamy twerking and blatantly sexual costumes. In fact, parts of the routine were totally inappropriate for the large population of pre-teen viewers. But let’s face it: There’s no denying the fact that sex sells. This is the same reason that, in literature, erotica books are best sellers. I’m not advocating switching your genre to erotica if you normally write clean romances, but I’m also not judging the artists who inject a healthy dose of sex into their books or music. As a YA writer, I like to keep my books clean and uplifting, but sexy art makes the world go round. ;)
  2. Conflict Equals Drama -  Speaking of Nicki Minaj, according to several articles, the “beef” between Nicki and Iggy Azalea is over. Last night, Iggy reportedly told Nicki backstage that she did great, and Nicki said “Thank you, baby.” But Iggy’s face during Nicki’s performances seemed to tell a different story. I don’t know about anyone else, but I saw a little conflict there, and I felt like the camera people were honing in on it. And why not? After all, conflict equals drama. It hooks viewers, and in literature, it keeps readers entertained and drives the story until the end. Creating rivalries and conflicts is so essential to writing that the great teachers continually emphasize the importance of “torturing the characters.” So don’t be afraid to torture yours!
  3. When in Doubt, Add a Little Humor - The announcers at the VMAs were so funny; I found myself giggling on and off the entire time. Just as the humor balanced out the performances, wardrobe malfunctions, and little dramas, adding some “comic relief” to our writing can provide readers with much-needed reprieves from the heavier stuff.
  4. A Lot of Work Goes into a Polished Product - The VMA performers had months of rehearsals, not to mention hours of prep-time to look and feel their best on the actual day. Just as they had to work hard to make it look easy, so must we writers. Multiple drafts, professional editing, beta readers, and constant practice allow us to present our most polished products every time!
  5. Don’t be Afraid to Deviate from Your Genre–But Know When to Stick to It - I was a bit underwhelmed by Taylor Swift’s performance last night, in part because she has deviated so far from her original image as country-inspired girl with guitar. True, the artistic process is all about evolution, but fans expect some consistency as well. Taylor did not seem entirely confident with her overblown routine, and looked fairly awkward during some of the more demanding dance moves. While I give her props for evolving, I also feel as though she may have deviated too far from her genre for comfort. The same is true in writing. Many times, we find ourselves pigeon-holed into a genre that we may never have expected. I, for example, would never have guessed that I would write eleven Amazon best sellers–and counting–in the YA Amish Romance genre! And while I’m excited to try out a new genre, YA Mermaid Romances, I will continue to keep the Amish writing alive, since that is what many of my fans have come to expect and anticipate.

Writers out there, did you watch the VMAs last night? If so, did you learn any interesting lessons? I’d love to hear your random reflections!

Perplexed by Life and/or Human Nature? Turn it into a Story!

by Kristina Ludwig
Aug 4
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: August 4, 2014 at 11:14 am

One of the pieces of feedback that I receive most about my books is that the characters, situations, and feelings are believable and relatable. And there are reasons for this. First of all, I’m an avid lifelong reader, and have been exposed to various types of literature. I know how touching it is to feel for a character, so I’ve learned techniques to create reader empathy for my own characters. Also, I love to channel my characters, really becoming absorbed in their worlds. And, most of all, I am fascinated by human nature and all of its oddities, which is probably why I enjoy making up fictional characters so much in the first place.

One of the most interesting things about getting well-acquainted with new people is learning to interpret their moods, and eventually being able to guess how they will react to certain situations. That’s why, with family, significant others, and close friends, we can often predict how they’ll handle the ups and downs of life–and even sometimes what they’re thinking or about to say. This same concept applies as we get to know our fictitious characters. Even if we create character profiles detailing everything from childhood background to favorite color before we ever start writing, we still have a “getting-to-know you” period with these products of our imagination, as they develop and become more real to us.

Perplexed face courtesy of SHERV.net

Perplexed face courtesy of SHERV.net

Human nature, and life itself, is so perplexing, full of twists and turns. Even when we know people well, they can surprise us and throw us a curveball, and when we’re writing, our characters sometimes do much the same thing. Human nature can be fickle, influenced by so many factors, and sometimes, uncharacteristic behavior can be most intriguing of all. Observing it in someone you know is interesting, but creating it in your own characters can be pure magic.

The other aspect of human nature that I find incredible is evolution. This is why, in my books, I always choose to write about dynamic characters as opposed to static ones. One of the most telling parts of a person’s character is how (s)he responds to challenges in life, and how life experiences shape personality. Just as a jagged rock in the ocean wears down and becomes smooth over time from the continued bashing of the waves, so can people’s characters be molded by their good and bad experiences. Will your character become rougher and tougher when (s)he faces adversity, or smoother and more worn down? You, as the author, are in control of that. Embrace it!

Some of my most dramatic books have been written in times when I’ve been most perplexed by my own life or my relationships with those around me. Do you find this to be true in your own work? I’d love to hear your reflections and experiences!