Imogen Keeper, a.k.a. Immy, is from the East Coast of the United States, born and raised and back now with her husband and their son, who is a handful and a half to say the least. She discovered writing when he was about six months old. It was something she’d dabbled at in the past, but never really put on her serious hat. So, bored at home with a kid who took truly magnificent naps, she studied up on the how-to’s and the how-not-to’s of writing. With about six active works in progress, she decided to knuckle down and focus on one. In short… she became obsessed. It made her blush, it made her sweat, and it made her cry a few times, but The Bonding came out. You can e-mail Immy for a sneak preview of the second book in the series or visit her website.
Q: Which writers inspire you?
So, so many. And I’m not entirely sure I’m aware of all of them. They’re all in my head lurking, along with all the English teachers, movies, plays, art and travel. My subconscious really takes over when I write, because I’m not usually using my active brain as I put the words down, it’s more like a trance state. During the planning phase, and the editing phase, that’s when my brain comes out and I can see places where I may have been inspired. I read a lot of Marion Zimmer Bradley when I was young, as well as a lot of the classics in college. From Phillip Dick to Jane Austen. About a thousand romance novels and pop culture mainstream books, like GRRM, Suzanne Collins. They’re all in my head somewhere, lurking.
Q: What’s your marketing experience been like?
Ha! Sigh. Marketing. Chuck Wendig has an article about the good and the bad of writing. He calls writing the unicorn, and says that even unicorns have a… um… rear portion of their anatomy. He uses a less polite term for it. But in my mind, that part is marketing. I long for the good old days when writers got to write and the publishers took care of the marketing, but sadly those days are gone. If we want anyone to know about our book, we have to market it. I heard this from a hundred people, and largely focused on my primary goal of write, get published. I should have listened. Marketing is… hard. To put it simply. Self-promotion doesn’t come naturally. Social-media doesn’t come naturally to me. And I don’t think I’m unusual in that. Marketing is the unicorn’s butthole. Unavoidable and vile, but essential. I’m blumbering my way through as best I can.
Q: What are your views on social media and marketing?
Ummm… could I let you know when in a few years, once I’ve got the knack for it? In all seriousness, its a tremendous tool we have, and a fascinating connection we all have with each other now on this planet. If one can use social media well, it’s like striking gold. The writer needs to have a good product, but that’s a small part of the battle. Spreading the word is the hardest part, and that seems to be a magical combination of social media, timing and luck.
Q: Talk about your writing process and how you brainstorm ideas.
I’m still largely reworking how I do this with each story. Some writers are plotters and others are pantsers. I seem to all somewhere in the middle. I’m a plotster, if you will. I need to have a general idea of who the major players are, and what the plot is doing, but I don’t get too specific. If I do too much planning, it destroys the magic of the story for me, and it feels too much like checking boring boxes. The magic sauce for writing well and fast seems to be to have a loose plan, but tons of room for discovery and creativity along the way. But that’s just me. All writers seem to function a little differently.
Q: How much research do you do?
None up front. I discover what needs to be researched as I go and leave myself notes in parenthesis. [Research: Can you kill someone with a knife in the back with a single blow? How big does the knife need to be? Where would it need to land?] Stuff like that is scattered across my early drafts. I write very light sci-fi, meaning I don’t focus too much on the technology. It’s more a romance adventure/fantasy series set in space than a true sci-fi, so I make up almost all the details I can get away with, and then research as I edit. As I edit, it depends on how detailed I need to be. Each story is a little bit different. But let’s just say, my browser history is… diverse.
Featured Writers is a series dedicated to discovering the talents, motivations, and strategies of writers all the world over. I don’t care how experienced you are, whether you’ve published anything, or what you’re writing about: If you’ve got a story to tell, I want to hear about it! To share your process or project with my readers, contact me with a brief bio and a little bit of information about what you’d like to talk about.