Felicia Watson, author of the ground-breaking romance Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela and the award-winning sci-fi novels, The Lovelace Series, started writing stories as soon as they handed her a pencil in first grade. She’s especially drawn to character-driven tales, where we see people we recognize, people who struggle with their mistakes and shortcomings, acknowledge them, and use that knowledge to grow into wiser human beings.
Where No One Will See: Lucia Scafetti, a Philly private eye, has tried to move out of the shadow of her infamous crime family. But her life is upended when her notorious hitman father disappears while in search of the diamond he stole from his last victim. Lucia races to unravel the mystery of her father’s disappearance before a crooked and powerful cop beats her to it. Though Lucia’s allies are scanty and her enemies numerous, she tries to resist the questionable help on offer from her Mafiosi family. It looks like Lucia must finally decide on which side of the law she truly belongs, knowing the wrong choice could send her to prison – or an early grave.
Where No One Will See won Gold in the 2023 CIPA EVVYs, Mystery/Crime/Detective Category. The CIPA EVVYs are one of the longest-running book award competitions on the Indie publishing scene, running for nearly 29 years. The annual contest is sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA), along with the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation (ELF).
Do you write in more than one genre? I’ve written in three (romance, sci-fi, and now crime/mystery) genres. I read voraciously, almost every genre except horror, so I’m prompted to write in more than one genre.
What brought you to writing? I’m a born storyteller and love reading, so writing was a natural outcome of that. As soon as I started reading books in first grade, I couldn’t wait to tell my own stories, and I’ve been writing ever since.
Tell us about your writing process: I’m the plotiest plotter who ever plotted. My process is to ruminate on the story until I have my MC, their motivation, and a theme. From that, I write out a short plot summary. I do my research and then write a chapter-by-chapter outline. If scenes or snippets of dialogue come to me, then I stick them into the appropriate chapter as I outline. Next I make a calendar and plan out the plot beats on it and make sure the timing makes sense. Then, I write character sketches for all major characters and draw maps for important locations. Finally, I start to write. As I write, things always change, so I go back and update the outline and calendar, always saving copies of past versions.
What is the most challenging part of your writing process? I tend to under-write my first draft. Especially when it comes to visual description. I’m big on dialogue. I hear my characters more than I see them, so my first big edit involves fleshing out a lot of details.
What are you currently working on? I’m putting the finishing touches on the sequel to ‘Where No One Will See‘ and starting the process for the 3rd book in the Scaffeti mystery series.
Who’s your favorite author? I have three very different authors I love: Ursula K. Le Guin, Jane Austen, and Hunter S. Thompson. If forced to choose, I’d pick Le Guin.
We hear of strong-willed characters. Do yours behave or run wild? They generally behave, but there have been times when I’ve tried to write a character doing or saying something that goes against their nature (to serve the plot), and I always get bogged down in those scenes. Once I figure out the problem, I have to re-write because if you know your characters, staying true to that knowledge is essential for portraying well-rounded people.
Do your protagonists ever disappoint you? No, but I did have a secondary character who did. I initially wrote him as the support for my MC in a moment of deep anguish before realizing he’d actually be angry at her and had no support at all in that moment. One of my beta readers even said he was disappointed in the character but felt the scene was true to his nature.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew to enjoy? That’s such a great question. One for me would be C. J. Cherryh. I think I was a little too young when I first tackled ‘Brothers of Earth‘ and found it slow-going. I wrote her off until ‘Downbelow Station‘ won the Hugo Award in 1982, and I decided to give her another chance. I had matured enough as a reader to be enthralled by her emphasis on character rather than action. In fact, Cherryh probably paved the way to my appreciation for Le Guin.
Looking to the future, what’s in store for you? I plan to finish my 3rd mystery novel and then return to my sci-fi series. There are so many stories left to tell there.
Do you have any advice for new writers? My advice is the same as, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Practice, practice, practice. There’s nothing like practice to improve your writing. Find a low-stakes arena (a class, a writing group, fanfiction) and experiment with everything: tragedy, comedy, erotica, slice of life, thrillers, all dialogue, no dialogue, drabbles, short stories, novels. Get feedback on everything you produce and listen to that feedback.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and your books? I love hearing from my readers! Comments, questions, concerns, or complaints – hit me up!
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/where-no-one-will-see-felicia-watson/1142863199