Why do I write? I guess you could say I write because I HAVE to. I've always told stories; I started when my little sister kept bugging me so much that I needed some way to quiet her down so I could sleep. If I told her a story she would back off, so I bless her lovely little inquisitive heart - she got me started.
I always have a part of me open to the "What if." Snippets of news on NPR or seeing a field back-lit by a sky in gradations of violet and purple would spring me into story mode.
Why paranormal? This is an odd one. When I was nine years old, I wanted to become a nun. A nun! I wasn't even Catholic, but I loved the sense of ritual that I did not find in my parents' Protestant churches and becoming a nun seemed to have a mystical edge to it. However, I wasn't sure exactly what I was and was not sure about the celibacy thing so I put that idea in the background. Here is the odd and silly part - I saw the Bell, Book and Candle movie with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, and when I saw the modern witches in that movie it was like a deep inner bell rang really loud. That's what I was!! A witch. Of course, the early 1960s in upstate New York only had books on how bad witches were. I was too young to get a copy of Gerald Gardner's books on modern witches so it took until we moved to California and I became involved with Wiccans to realize that was "what I was."
In Wicca, the paranormal is normal, so writing stories with the paranormal reflected what I experienced. Also, all the stories I told my little sister had magical elements in them, snatched from dreams and an inner connection with the sacred. Also, I love to read paranormals, I started with fairy tales, then The Wizard of Oz and the Lord of the Rings. You tend to write the books you like to read and that was true of me.
My first full-length novel was a really long "magic, murder and mayhem in the Middle Ages" book about a half-Basque witch who comes into her full powers torn between the love of two men - one a Breton knight who was her childhood sweetheart and the other an Inquisition soldier sent to destroy her. I did a lot of research to get pedigrees for all my characters - minor barons and knights who really lived during that time. I got these from a series of French books at Berkeley titled 'L'Histoire de . . ." which were about the story of different areas of France. It was a lot of fun!
Up until 1997, I had a clear vision for all the books or stories I wrote, even though I am a "seat of the pants" writer who likes to be surprised. Then a string of deaths and catastrophes shut me down. The next book I wrote was less written by me, that is, I wrote it but the experience was more that it wrote me. That book became my Wild Rose Press release, Sacred Guardian.
I wrote Sacred Guardian to prove to myself that I was not going crazy. This is probably still up to some debate, but I fell into a horrifying and lengthy crisis that lasted years and when things got really bad, I started hearing voices. I've been Wiccan for over 30 years and have been in touch with inner guidance, but never, ever heard voices.
This was not the regular voice-in-the-head that dances around commenting on everything was a Voice that was not part of "me" at all and it scared the pants off me. Yet when I got really scared, it backed off and let me be. Finally, I asked it what it was and it told me it was an angel.
Yeah, right, sure, an angel. Angels and witches? Right. I thought, "Hey, maybe it's just a character trying to get me back into writing again. So I started writing it. I have to say that I tend to write long and fairly fast. But this book took me by the throat.
Over time, the book morphed and twisted. It would not sit still, because the experiences I was having kept growing. I had to really bear down on the book to get a story that could be told in 350 pages.
Years later, I'd written and had other stories published but this book still would not let me alone. Finally, after being to India several times and experiencing some really amazing things, I surrendered the fear that I was crazy and wrote the book.
I imagine there are other writers out there who have books that "wrote" them. What a ride!