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:
33 thoughts on “A Life in a Day of a Writer: Author Darlene Foster @supermegawoman shares a typical writing day #writing #books #reading”
Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog, Anne!!
It was a pleasure, Darlene. Thanks for taking part. 🙂
[…] Read more about my not so typical day here. […]
Sounds like a perfect life, Darlene. It’s great to write just when you want to!
It really is. Thanks. No life is perfect but it’s close.
Impressive, Darlene – you put me to shame! I seem to get less and less done these days. So much of my energy is taken up by my husband’s health problems plus daily drudgery. But your vitality and joie de vivre produce well-deserved results.
Thanks, Ruth. Yes, there is daily drudgery too. Fortunately, we are both in good health as we speak. I realize that can always change so I’m making the most of it. xo
You like me have so much of your day revolving around your dog. I can’t believe how often whatever I do is because of the dog!
Sounds like a wonderful day, and life, Darlene.
I know but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Without the dog, I’d be glued to the chair in front of the computer all day!!
Great post, Darlene, really enjoyed it.
Your productivity is awesome, even if you don’t write every single day anymore, Darlene.
Thanks, Anne, for featuring Darlene today, one of my avid author supporters. 🙂
Thanks, Marian! Some times I feel I’m busy doing nothing but at the end of the day a book emerges. Thanks for your support over the years. xo
Your days are gentle and social, Darlene. A perfect combination for writing.
As usual an enjoyable post Darlene and one that set me thinking a lot about where to find inspiration for writing a book. There are differences between us, experienced professional vs novice and fiction vs non fiction but you identified something I am lacking for my own writing which is the way and places you find inspiration and ideas for your novels. If I were living in a wine village and could sit in a Wine Bar or brasserie or go and talk to some of my winemaker friends in Burgundy it would have a major positive effect. But I can’t do that though thankfully I have notes, diaries and blog posts of wine adventures over 50 years. I’ve followed up your own post with one of my own today to see if anyone has any bright ideas!
Thank heaven for those notes and diaries. Who would have thought they would aid in writing a book? It is amazing where ideas can come from. Thanks for mentioning me in your post today.
I loved reading about Darlene’s day. Seems like she’s pretty well managed by her canine friend.
You’ve got that right, Norah. Now if only I could teach her to type!!
Wouldn’t that be perfect. 🙂
I enjoyed this glimpse into Darlene’s writing life. It sounds divine! (Retirement is looking better and better to me these days.)
Thanks, Liz. It’s not that you have more time when you’re retired, because you’ll find you don’t, but it’s that you use your time differently. It took me a while to get used to being retired.
It’s the using time differently that is appealing to me–although the thought of actually taking the step of ending my professioal career is a little scary.
A lovely peep into a day in the life of Darlene. Her life sounds wonderful.
No life is perfect but it works for me. After being so busy for a good part of my life, it is nice to relax a bit.
You live life as it should be lived and how I aim to live it. I agree with you about retiring from writing. What would I do? Thanks for sharing. Now I must forget about traipsing through castles and get some work done.
Thanks, Diane. Have fun traipsing through castles!! One of my favourite things to do.
Yes, this is fun Darlene. The life of a writer is nonstop – even when stopping for the dog, we are thinking of our plots and our characters. We DREAM our characters (or at least I do, when I’m really in the middle of writing a good long story) and nicely, we are beholden to no one except ourselves and our writing schedule. Here here! (And nice to meet Anne here, who was so gracious to host you.
Those characters tend to go with us everywhere we go and even in our dreams. Thanks, Pam.
You’re living your best life, who can ask for more? Enjoyed this post, Darlene, though it makes me want to visit Spain even more! lol
You really must visit, once we can safely travel again.
I loved learning about Darlene’s day and what a lovely life she leads. Toni x
Thanks, Toni. I figure we only have one life so we need to live it as best as we can. xo
I agreed, Darlene. Glad to hear you’re enjoying life and writing. #sensal