Welcome to author Scarlett Braden Moss, coming to us from Cuenca, Ecuador where she lives and writes with her husband along with their lively Ecuadorian pound puppy, Picasso.
Describe your current writing spot or space.
My writing space is critical to my muse. I’m so fortunate to live in a beautiful city completely surrounded by green mountains. It’s necessary for me to have a window where I can see those mountains. I also have a wall to my right with clip boards with all the details for the series and books I’m writing like the character sketches and on the left I have big whiteboards with the details I need to be able to glance at while writing. I also need absolute quiet and no distractions. I envy people who can write in public spaces, on the beach, etc. I need my space, set up just right and no squirrels – I still suffer from ADHD, so removing distractions is important.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Before the lock in, I would wake up at four, drink a cup of coffee (Mason jar sized “cup”) and then refill the “cup”. That’s when I go behind closed doors and I write until the words don’t come anymore. Usually about 6 hours. And unless there is something going on, I do that 7 days a week. I’m working to get back on that schedule. It’s nice.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Honestly, at that schedule I can write a book in 7-14 days depending on distractions and word flow. Some days words flow better than others and I’ve learned not to fight it too much if they aren’t.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Oh, I have one full length book that needs a re-write. And I literally at this moment have 13 books waiting to be written. As in the characters are talking to me, I know what the book is about, I just have to write it.
Do you write under a pseudonym? If not, have you ever considered it?
I do. Because I have a sordid mysterious past, lol. Actually, I’m in the process of reorganizing and republishing all of my books using different pseudonyms by genre. But those aren’t secret, they are just to help sort my different audiences. Poetry will remain under Scarlett Braden, Thrillers will be S.J. Braden, the Cozy mysteries are Scarlett Moss, and a future Paranormal Women’s Fiction will be as Jade Moss. There’s an old joke about all the names to fit the voices in my head, but I now have so many characters talking to me we won’t even go there.
What comes first for you, the plot or characters?
It varies by series. Sometimes a character appears first and tells me a story. Sometimes I get a brainstorm about a story and then I start looking for the characters. They usually aren’t far behind.
Can you hear your characters talking?
Yes, I do. And they are loud and obnoxious sometimes. But I suppose they have to be. I recently learned that all writers don’t hear their characters. My first reaction was, oh, that must be so much harder to write. But I suppose it’s not any harder than for those of us who do, and we rely on them to talk to us, to tell us the story and sometimes they stop talking. Sometimes other characters just are pushy and talk over the ones we’re trying to hear. But my very favorite part of writing is when the characters take me in a direction I didn’t see coming. I love those days when all of a sudden I must keep writing to see what happens next.
What kind of research do you do for a book?
I am picky, picky, picky. And I research everything! Of course, the big stuff you would think of like how to kill someone with nutmeg. But even the tiniest of details. Like writing a book set in London and the character orders a Lemon Blueberry muffin. And I’m squirreling over on Google making sure you can actually get blueberries in England in February, because I don’t know that for sure. Sometimes I could write books faster if I wasn’t so literal. Yes, it’s fiction. It doesn’t matter. I try to be as accurate as I can.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Ever since I moved to Ecuador and started writing the Hummingbird is my mascot. I am blessed with about a dozen of them outside my office. Periodically, they come to my window and talk to me. Or they give me a show with their flight aerobatics. I adore them and I believe they are fond of me too. My first book was titled Harvesting the Hummingbird, was changed to Hunting the Hummingbird and is now in the works to be republished with a completely new title that won’t have Hummingbird in it. I’m sad about that, but from a business perspective, it’s what needs to be done.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Just do it. So many people told me, for decades, that I should be a writer. And I never thought I could possibly come up with all the details needed to tell a story with written words. Once I got started it was like a zoo full of characters were set free. They used to call me crazy…I’m not crazy, I just have a whole lot of voices in my head with stories to tell.
Scarlett says she in the process of retitling, rebranding and republishing many of her books. Thus, the best place to check out her current titles and author names is on her website. You can also search for any of the above author names on Amazon or Bookbub. Please feel free to email her and let her know which genre of books you’re interested in and she’ll hook you up with newsletter subscription links, author pages, and occasionally free books. Also, she’d love to see you join in the fun in her Facebook Reader Group.