Darlene Biese Schultz, author of Decision or Destiny, answered some questions for me. With her permission, I share these answers with you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Where did you get your idea for this book?
The idea for my book came partly from actual events in my life and because I wanted the challenge of fictionalizing parts of my life.
Is it something that had been fluttering around in the back of your mind that you finally had to write about?
Yes, this story kept fluttering in and around my life throughout many years – actually since the 1980s after I graduated from Kent State.
Was part or all of it based on actual the actual life experiences of you or someone you know?
About 50-60 percent is based on actual experiences of mine and many family members.
Decisions or Destiny is a very appropriate title for your book. Were there any other titles that you considered?
Yes, more titles than I can recall, but another one I considered was, Coming Home, A Love Story.
Your characters were very well-developed. Did you plan out everything that each of them was going to do before you began writing the story or did their lives just develop in front of your eye?
I started with character descriptions, then outlined who, what, where, when and why – also the how I would arrange the story to flow chapter by chapter. Amazingly, as I’ve heard other writers say that the characters write the story – well they sure do! Much developed as I was writing each chapter.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
I used names I liked, plus middle names and names that rhymed with some actual characters.
How much research, if any, did you have to do for this book?
I researched songs and titles from the 1960s – present as I referred to these songs as the background or what was popular at the time. I also did research for some places and obituaries. I researched book titles before I gave my story a name.
There were several poems in the story. Were those written by you?
Yes, I’m also a poet – and wrote some of the poems used in the story, back in the 1970s and a few were written recently. The last poem – placed at the ending of the story, was written one evening while I was sitting in our living room as my husband watched a television show that didn’t interest me. When I write a poem – I write it as it comes to mind. I rarely ever edit my poetry.
How long did it take you to complete this book?
That’s a loaded question – as it took me far too long. I first started with the idea and one of the chapters as a short story in 1983! I wrote more after different events – and moving around the country so often. It stayed in my file cabinet for years – resurfaced in the 1990s, and finally I started – just started and set up timelines. About 35 percent was written after I booked a trip to Italy last February. My husband promised to go there with me when I wrote and published the book. I did, and we made the trip in September 2011.