My stories emerge from a sense of place. Initially, I make a scrapbook of images, words, and ideas which become the novel's unofficial road map.
In the next step, I build visual collages based on characters' histories, fears, and dreams. From there, I outline the plot, that is, the series of events that connect characters with place and time.
I build the first draft using method writing. From a meditative state, I embody a character's thoughts, heart, and body, and tell his or her story as authentically as possible.
And then comes the hard work -- redrafting and editing, which requires the invaluable help of friends, husband, teachers, and editors to turn a rough draft into something else altogether.