1. I get my story ideas through events in the news or experiences of others. For instance, my novel, The Cascade Winners, came from what I heard from my husband and his colleagues about their work experiences on the oil rigs and in the engineering office. That, along with mergers and takeover in the industries, bonds of friendship, and what if the friends could win a lottery.... created the seeds of my novel.
2. I write the beginning first and follow the story in a chronological order.
3. For my characters, I try to make a chart of their birth dates, family, physical attributes, likes, dislikes, education, jobs.
4. I do my writing at my desk in a corner upstairs.
5. A story springs from an idea, an image or some event. The idea doesn't grow immediately. Sometimes I push it aside because I want to finish the project I'm working on. Once in a while, it persists and I start working on it. For example, after September 11, 2001, my husband and I were talking about where Osama bin Laden could be. We thought he could disguise himself as a Sikh ( a religion where people don't cut their hair) and cross the border to India. Instead of bin Laden, I started with a young man, Ahmed. The short story became, "The Accidental Terrorist."
6. Yes, I write in chronological order.
My personal note to Hema. May your journey to eastern Washington be joyful and this new phase in your life amazing. All of us at SVWL will miss you.