T. Lynn Ocean is the author of six novels, including Choosing Charleston, which is available for free here.
What is your connection to the setting of your novel, Charleston, SC?
I'VE LIVED ALONG SOUTH CAROLINA'S SUNNY GRAND STRAND FOR 20 YEARS, AND CHARLESTON IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE LONG WEEKEND GETAWAYS. IT'S ONLY A FEW HOUR'S DRIVE FROM THE MYRTLE BEACH AREA, BUT IT'S A DIFFERENT WORLD. I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THE CITY -- NAMELY ITS UNIQUENESS AND ITS PEOPLE.
What inspired you to write about the diverse characters in the Stone family?
A BELIEF THAT, EVEN THOUGH FAMILY MEMBERS DON'T ALWAYS GET ALONG, A FAMILY BOND IS COHESIVE. ONCE CHARACTERS DEVELOP IN MY MIND, I JUST LET MY SUBCONSCIOUS TAKE OVER. I'M A BIG BELIEVER IN THE POWER OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS... IT'S ALWAYS WORKING FOR YOU, AS LONG AS YOU PROPERLY "FEED" IT WITH POSITIVE INPUT AND IDEAS. ULTIMATELY, THE CHARACTERS TAKE ON A LIFE OF THEIR OWN... I JUST WRITE IT ALL DOWN!
How did you come up with such vivid and apt metaphors to describe your character interactions?
I WRITE TO ENTERTAIN SO PROBABLY, I USE THINGS THAT I OBSERVED IN REAL LIFE THAT MADE ME LAUGH.
What expertise did you draw on in discussing the technicalities of property law in your novel?
A LOT OF RESEARCH AND TALKING TO KNOWLEDGEABLE PEOPLE. THERE MUST BE A BASIS OF TRUTH AND ACCURACY FOR FICTION TO BE BELIEVABLE.
Did you devise the plot by using an outline, briefly writing ideas and filling them out later, or just writing in the moment?
I'M NOT THAT ORGANIZED. BUT MAYBE I'LL TRY OUTLINING NEXT TIME.
Your dialogue between large groups of characters is both humorous and musical. How did you write dialogue for so many characters that flowed while retaining the overall structure of the scene?
WHEN I WRITE DIALOGUE, I IMAGINE THE SCENE UNFOLDING IN MY HEAD -- AS THOUGH I'M WATCHING IT ON A BIG SCREEN AT A MOVIE THEATER. I THINK THAT IF YOUR CHARACTERS ARE DEVELOPED PROPERLY, THEIR INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITIES WILL COME ACROSS IN THEIR DIALOGUE.