Writing Space: Heather Poinsett Dunbar

Heather and her husband Chris Dunbar are both members of a writing cabal that I belong to. They both have an author interview pending in the works, but I also invited Heather to do a writing space post here at No Wasted Ink. I think you’ll agree that her writing style and tools are unique.

Heather Poinsett Dunbar AuthorI’m Heather Poinsett-Dunbar, one of the coauthors of the Morrigan’s Brood series. Where do I write books? I suppose the 64 thousand dollar question really is where don’t I write books.

I write the first draft with the hubby, Christopher Dunbar, at a variety of places. Generally, since we’re both trying to be gluten-free, we go to several Asian places in the neighborhood. We pull out a legal notepad from what we call the ‘man-purse’ (since Chris usually carries it) and a pen. Yes, we’re that old-school. Then we start writing. We go from one ‘scene’ to the next. Why do we go out? Because we share a house with three cats who talk a lot.

After our meal, I basically have notes that look like:



Heather Dunbar's Favorite Writing Tool
MAN POV

Mandi: Lamia, blah, blah, Strigoi, Deargh Du.

A: EI is not cooperating. Looks annoyed.

MA: Strides in and interrupts them. Who took all my #$@#$!ing bloodmead???

And so on.

Sometime after that, I generally go to my office (the HeatherCave), light incense and candles, turn off phones, and start typing or talking (I use a speech-to-text program that works for the most part, but it also translates Gaelic names into the most delightful nonsensical ravings). If I’m just typing out our notepads, I’ll play music. Generally, it has to be in a language I don’t know or instrumental, as I will start singing along if it’s in English. Right now, I listen to Corvus Corax, Omnia, Faun, Clannad, Dead Can Dance, Vas, and a lot of soundtracks and trailer music. However, I like to get a musical impression of the historical era that we are writing about.

Heather Dunbar's Writing SpaceAt some point, I take time to kick out the cats and try to ignore their pleas for gooshy food. Sometimes one will sneak in and fall asleep in the extra chair.

Other times, I work on the road if we’re at an event or book signing. When I can, I type at lunch at work, but my office is my favorite place to type and think.

Right now, there is a pile of 10 notepads waiting to be transcribed, as my job is a tad stressful of late. Hopefully, I will get back into the flow of things very soon.

Generally, after typing out the dialogue that Chris and I wrote, I go through and add details. I am a librarian, which means I basically research as a hobby. So, I go through our print reference materials in my library at home and then I start accessing historical electronic databases that will help me add a bit of realism to our writings. We’re both history nerds, so this is a lot of fun for us both. Once I’m done, I send things back to Chris, he reads and adds to the draft, I accept or add changes, and boom, it scampers away to the editor.

If you’d like to read more about our adventures in authoring, be sure to visit our blog!

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