The Mason List was Published on the 10th of January 2015 and since then, has received countless rave reviews from readers all over the world. This is S. D. Hendrickson’s debut novel, so when she agreed to this interview, I was ecstatic that we would get to hear from the genius behind this phenomenal book. In this interview she tells us about how she got the idea for the book, her writing process, and of course her journey thus far in the literary world. You can read my review of The Mason List here.
1.What inspired and drove you to write ‘The Mason List’?
I have wanted to write a novel for many years. It was a bucket list type dream. I heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and it provided the opportunity to write a full-fledged novel. The concept behind NaNo is 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November. I had several ideas but a few days before the kick-off, I settled on the concept of The Mason List: A boy and girl growing up as childhood friends and then growing old together. Instead of the family hating the poor girl. What if the girl hated the family? I didn’t have much more than that.
So I wrote the original 50K word rough draft in 30 days, and then spent the next two years turning a very rough draft/outline into 140K word final draft. After a few months away with an editor, I took the final back and cut it down to the 120K words published draft. The whole process took about three years…
Along the way I had lots of doubts. I had no idea what I was doing. Writing is a very isolated hobby full of self-doubt. The story had to come together like a puzzle piece. I wrote the chronological first, and then I wrote the present day as a frame. I tried to write those at the same time but it was confusing to flip back and forth. I wrote three different frames. The third idea worked better than the first two. The first and third were similar. I put the second in a folder to use on a future project.
All in all I enjoy writing: this and everyone around me was what encouraged me to keep on going.
2. Apart from self-publishing, what other publishing paths did you consider for ‘The Mason List’?
I did not consider traditional publishing. I wasn’t sure I would even publish the book when I started writing. After spending this much time on the story, somewhere along the way I knew I would self-publish. I had started writing about the same time as some of the current, popular self-published authors published their first books. I just write slow. But I saw what they were doing in the industry. That also inspired and encouraged me to continue. I saw self-publishing as a viable opportunity.
In terms of promoting the book, so far i have received such tremendous support from bloggers on social media. They are wonderful promoters and supporters to the self-publishing world, so I contacted my favorite bloggers and others who I thought might be interested in reviewing a book like The Mason List, and so far I have come across many awesome and kind people who were willing to read, review and promote the novel.
3. What did you sincerely expect, or hope would happen when you published ‘The Mason List’ and what has happened so far?
I did not expect the impact the story would have with readers. So many have personally emailed me on how the story touched their lives. It blows me away every time I receive one. People are so genuine in their responses. Sometimes it still feels strange that I released it to the world and people are actually reading. It feels strange that bloggers actually wanted to review it.
I also didn’t expect the reaction people would have about the main character Alex. Some of the reader reviews had very strong reactions to her. However, I guess for me – if the reader felt love, hate, or pity toward Alex, I think she was still good character because she made the reader feel something. She wasn’t bland.
4. Tell us about your writing process.
I have a full-time day job, so I write around my work schedule. Sometimes I go extended periods of time without writing because of it. I tend to write on Saturday mornings at my house or at Panera Bread.
As for a daily routine, I have no set goals or word count. I’m a sporadic writer. Sometimes I get an idea for dialogue or a scene and it might be in the middle of the day. I will type it up in the notes section of my phones. I compile these later in Word, which becomes a problem. I often have lots of notes I have to sift through later and figure out where to put those in the story. Sometimes I sit down and write a whole scene on my computer and then spend weeks tweaking that same scene.
5. What advice would you like to give aspiring authors out there?
Don’t stop writing. You have a dream, so pursue it. It might take a few months or a few years to get the book down. Some authors can write a book in a month and there are others who take ten years. If you want to write and have not started, consider NaNoWriMo. It gives a time and place and whole support system.
8. Any upcoming works that you would like to tell us about?
I am working on a story called Waiting for Wyatt. It’s a work in progress. It has dogs in it. I use this tag line to describe the concept. “A story about Charlie, who deserved a chance and Wyatt, who needed a second.” There’s no release date set. Thank You.
SD Hendrickson received a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism and Public Relations from Oklahoma State University. She lives in Tulsa with her husband and two schnauzers. Currently, her days are spent teaching computer software to oil and gas companies as well as writing technical instructional manuals.
Some of her favorite things include Food, Chocolate, Dogs, Nuttella (because she saw a picture with Nuttella stuffed in the middle of a chocolate chip cookie), Netflix, vacations to tropical places, reading in the bathtub, going to movie theaters with reclining seats, following animals on social media – check out Marnie on Instagram!
Visit www.sdhendrickson.com for The Mason List EXTRAS! and more information on upcoming projects such as Waiting on Wyatt and The Tunnels. The Mason list is available on Amazon eBook and print, Barnes & Noble eBook, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords.
You can also like her page on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/sdhendrickson.
Thank you all for reading and feel free to drop your comments. 😎