Q: How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
A: I think, like actors who have a natural ability for acting or may have been in the business for a while, much of who you really are and what you've been through tend come out in your characters. Sometimes this can be a downfall for your characters, so you have to rein it in.
Q: In general, how long does it take you to write a book?
A: It all depends on how motivated I am. What emotional upheaval rooted the story. I once, out of pure anger, wrote a 100,000 word story in seventy-two hours. Devastation brought on a 15,000 word story in a month. Pure excitement over a couple coming from a previous story gave me a 60,000 word story in six weeks, and a 55,000 word story in a month. Now, keep in mind, these are first drafts.
Q: What do you do to recharge your batteries?
A: I will fill the tub with a light scented bubble bath and choose a book I've been dying to read. I will lay back and read five or six chapters or the entire book while I prune up. This is especially helpful if a scene isn't coming out like it does in your mind.
Q: What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
A: I love watching the characters struggle with their emotions toward one another and when they finally test the waters - oh yeah! Writing love scenes and sex are so much fun. The key, I believe, is to block out everything but that character and become her/him, get into their head and body. I can go on for pages, then I worry, that after three or four pages, the reader may have already achieved satisfaction and therefore ready to move on. Or simply need a breather and next time I can take it up a notch. I probably shouldn't worry about that, but sometimes reality interferes.
Q: What kind of research do you do?
A: I seem to deal with real life issues of some sort in my stories, so if I have no personal experience with where the characters are at, I talk to someone I know who's been through it, or hop on the net and look for those people who have experienced it. Or, I contact agencies who handle them. Accuracy in fiction is every bit as important as non-fiction. If you lose one reader for the lack of research, they are going to talk to others. Word of mouth is an important make it-break-it in any business.
Q: Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
A: I write character driven stories, so I say the characters definitely come first. Without them, there is no story. I might have an idea of the storyline, but I learned long ago that it's pointless for me to map it out. The characters are going to shake their fingers at me and take me along for the ride.
Q: What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
A: For me, the hardest part of writing is proofing the story before I send it out. I still miss so much as do those who have also proofed it. The easiest part is writing the first draft. The freshness of doing something new is such a motivator.
Q: Do you have a set schedule for your writing, or do you struggle to fit it in with daily life?
A: The only schedule I adhere to is the one my boss gives me which tells me when to show up for work. I'm on the computer twelve to eighteen hours a day, the majority of that I'm working on a new piece or revising another. I do other things as well. I research, email, chat, critique, promote. If this isn't enough to blow your mind, I also have music blaring from my laptop and the television on. After raising four sons, I need the racket.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
A: Feedback from those who bought my book and read it, especially when they tell me how they related to the heroine, and then want the address and phone number of the hero.
Q: Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
A: If you really love to write and want to see it published, don't give up when it seems you're never getting it right. Turn those harsh critiques and rejections into motivation to persevere and show them you do have what it takes.
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