Today it’s the turn of author Darlene Foster to give us a glimpse into the unpredictable and variety-filled days that make up her life as a writer. Darlene writes enthralling children’s adventure fiction. She also writes short stories and a wonderful blog with lots of posts and photos about her travels.
Her latest book is Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action and you can read more about it and how to preorder a copy at the end of this post. In the meantime you could get any of the earlier Amanda books for the upper primary/middle graders in your life. So, over to Darlene.
Darlene Foster’s Writing Life in a Day
I will start by saying there is no such thing as a typical day in my life anymore. I worked for 48 years and my life was very structured. During the latter part of my working life, I decided to follow my dream of becoming a writer and made a vow to write for two hours a day, no matter what. And I did, usually in the evening after dinner while others watched TV. As a result, I wrote and published four books and several short stories.
Now I’m retired and live for the most part in sunny Spain. I seem to have rebelled against structure in my day, so I write whenever I find some time. I no longer write every day either, although I write most days. In the past five years since I retired, I have written four more books. So much for structure!
So here is a sort of typical day. I wake up at 7:30 and take my dog for a walk, which is a great way to start the day. While she is busy playing in the park with her doggie friends, chasing squirrels and trying to climb trees, I often think about the next chapter in my WIP or a short story, blog or travel article I’m working on. Hubby goes for coffee with his buddies and takes the dog along, while I have breakfast, throw in a load of wash and check emails and social media.
When they come home, we all go to the beach so the dog can have a run. Later we stop for a coffee at a beach café, where we meet interesting people from all over the world and where I get ideas for my stories, characters, names, sayings etc. It’s all part of my research.
I work on the computer in the afternoon which includes writing, blogging, marketing, researching, social media and answering emails, taking a break for a cold drink or an ice cream and reading on the terrace. In the hot summer months, I usually go for a dip in the pool to cool off, taking a book and a note pad along. I get good ideas at the pool, especially if there are kids there. Last summer I met the father of a child who told me he had a very real fish phobia. A what?? I had to give that to one of my characters in the Amanda in Malta book. Going to the pool is also part of my research. I sometimes sell books at the pool so it is also part of marketing.
Dinner is on our terrace overlooking an abandoned lemon and orange grove. We take the dog for her evening walk together. (Our day is planned around the dog as you can see.) I might watch TV with hubby, notepad near as I get ideas from TV shows too. Then I work on the computer for an hour or two as that is when my family and friends in Canada are awake and we connect on Skype, Facebook and Zoom. It’s also when I connect with my publisher in Canada as we discuss my next book, do editing, marketing and create covers.
This is a sort of typical day, but other days I meet with writers where we critique each other’s work and share ideas. I belong to three such groups in Spain and one in Canada, which we meet digitally. Other days we may go for a drive in the country and visit Spanish villages, castles or churches full of history and stories. And of course we travel to other countries where I collect ideas for future stories, when we are not experiencing a world-wide pandemic.
Am I happy? You bet I am! Not having to follow a strict schedule, (other than the dog’s), not having to rush to work, meetings and other obligations is wonderful. Will I retire from writing? Never. Why would I? What would I do if I stopped writing?
I shudder at the thought.
Anne: Thank you to Darlene for this fascinating insight into her writing life. I agree – I can’t imagine my life without writing. You can read more about Darlene and her latest book below.
Darlene Foster is a Canadian author who has written the popular Amanda Travels series, featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places where she encounters mystery and adventure while learning about another culture. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in various countries. Darlene has won prizes for her short stories and a number of them have been published in anthologies. She has also written a bi-lingual book for English/Spanish readers.
Darlene grew up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where her love of reading inspired her to travel the world and write stories. Over the years she held wonderful jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, and wrote whenever she had a few spare minutes. She is now retired and has a home in Spain where she writes full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, she likes to spend time with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.
Her books include: Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, Amanda on The Danube: The Sounds of Music, Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, and Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady will be released in the spring of 2021.
Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action is Darlene’s latest book in the Amanda Travels series
From the back cover:
Alongside her best friend Leah, Amanda is in Holland to see all the sights: tulips, canals, Anne Frank House, windmills, and even a wooden shoe factory. She is also keen to find out what happened to her great uncle, who never returned from World War II. What she doesn’t expect is to find and fall in love with an abandoned puppy named Joey. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald. Follow intrepid traveler Amanda around Holland as she encounters danger and intrigue while trying to solve another mystery in a foreign country.
Amazon Canada here
Amazon UK here
Amazon US here
Barnes and Noble here
You can connect with Darlene on social media at the links below: