Archive for February 3, 2012
How did you get started writing?
I got started in writing the same way many authors do. I read. A lot. When I’m on a break from writing, I can read two small books a day or one large book plus start another book. I would go to the library every couple of weeks and take home stacks of books. Then one day, I noticed my favorite lines were disappearing. So I made up my own stories. In my head, of course. Until one day, my husband challenged me to write them down. I hate writing. It’s hard and I knew that going in. But I love a challenge and so I wrote. That book will never see the light of day. But the next one was published.
What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I do what every smart writer should avoid. I write in multiple genres. At first, I stuck to romance. But even then I was all over the map. My first published book was an historical, Ghost of a Chance with a ghost as a secondary character. My second was a contemporary with the magic of Christmas. Then I branched out into fantasy romances which inevitably led to SciFi romances that got darker and darker, until I leapt into horror and apocalyptic fiction and receded into Urban SciFi. Because writing is still a challenge to me, I have to be really excited about the story–hence the genre jumping. The moral of the story is that I didn’t pick the genres, they picked me.
Tell us about your current series.
Blue Maneuver is the start of an Urban SciFi series. What is an Urban SciFi? Well, I did kinda make the term up, but in short it is about extraterrestrials here on Earth. Oh, it gets better. Because I love conspiracies and there are plenty of documentary series about UFOs, I incorporated much of them into the series. And did I mention that many of the extraterrestrials are human? There’s also a minimum of technology used and it’s in disguise so you won’t see a laser pistol. However, you might see a key fob that shoots lasers. I do love my tech.
What movie best describes your life? Why?
That’s a tough one. Since I watch a lot of horror movies, I’m glad my life doesn’t resemble any of those. Or has there been any zombies… Although, I haven’t been getting much sleep lately and my kids aren’t exactly morning people. Hmm, I’d have to say Miracle on 34th Street. Sappy I know. But I can be somewhat narrow-minded but my husband keeps me grounded as do my children. They also allow me to dream and share theirs with me. But most of all, I have my personal Santa who helps me get the things that are really important, like our current house—which sold 3 times but each one fell through until we were able to make an offer on it. Of course, I do believe in Santa. My husband just tells me he loves me which is code for: I won’t have you locked up.
What inspired your latest book?
Between the overindulgence of ancient alien theories, I watched a documentary that hinted that modern humans may have been on the planet for more than a million years. That’s a long time to be pounding rock. Heck, 53,000 years is a long time to pound rocks. So I got to thinking—what if we weren’t pounding rocks and picking lice off each other for all that time. What if we had left the planet multiple times in the past before the civilizations imploded? And what if Atlantis was one of those civilizations? And what if those space-faring humans wanted to come home again? And so a story was born.
What is your favorite part of writing?
Coming up with the idea for a story. Then it’s all in the dream stage, no fumbling for words, no trying to transcribe the images inside my head.
What is your least favorite part of writing?
Filling in the blank page. I love editing, hammering at those words to get them just write, but putting them on the paper with that blinking cursor taunting me, can be a bit intimidating. To overcome it, I sometimes write with my eyes closed. Which can be disastrous is my fingers are one the wrong keys.
What is your next project and when will it be released?
Ah, I have so many. I am currently seeking an editor for two of my SciFi romance novels. They are part of a series which is set in space—sleeping beauty is awakened by a cyborg Knights Templar. I currently have to finish up a PNR comedy set around Valentine’s Day due out next year. But the next thing I’ll be writing is the second book in my apocalyptic series, Redaction—complete with nuclear meltdown.
What is your typical day like?
I roll out of bed about 4:30 to feed the cats and walk the dog. Then it’s a shower and dressing for work. I eat breakfast while checking emails and book sales/reviews. Off to twitter and FB to see if I’ve come up with something clever to say or respond to. Then I drive to work—where it’s more emails, then depending on the day I’m working on my instrument, crunching data, cleaning glassware and my labs, or performing my chemical extractions. Occasionally, I jot down ideas in a notebook for my story. During my breaks/lunch I haul out the ipad and pound out a scene. Then it’s back to reviewing data, entering data and reading journals, if there’s time. After I swing by and pick up my son, I head home where I put dinner on then make a quick walk around the park or sweep the pool and check on the plants. After dinner, I sit at the computer, check emails and sales, write some more while listening to songs on YouTube. Then if it’s Tuesdays or Thursdays, I stop at seven pull out my scrapbooking or quilting stuff and craft for an hour. At eight, I help my daughter with homework and do the dishes plus assorted chores. Then I’ll check emails or write just a smidge more before shutting down the computer and going to be at 9. Glamorous I know.
How much time do you spend promoting your books? What works best for you?
I spend about two hours promoting, but it’s not all about me and my works. I try to visit my favorite blogs and when an author I know is blogging on another site, I stop by and comment, sometimes even buy the book. I’ll do reviews for books that I can rate 3 stars or higher, but I won’t score lower just because I understand how much work goes into creating one. I also retweet things of interest and let my followers know if an author I love is blogging and/or offering a giveaway. As for what works, I haven’t a clue. I just decided to do a blog tour. The first couple months I set up myself. The next couple, I’m going through a service. So we’ll see how that works in spreading the word about my books.
How has your experience with self-publishing been?
I’ve been very fortunate to fall in with a bunch or Indie pubs that approach it with professionalism and a long term approach (Thanks Bella Streetfor the introduction). I’ve learned a lot from them and they are very supportive. Even though my husband hasn’t read my stuff, he’s extremely supportive of everything I do. My family and friends are the same, plus there’re my fellow writers through my local RWA chapter. I’m never alone which says a lot because writing is a solitary business.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Everywhere! My brain is one giant index file that is constantly cross referencing things and spitting out ideas. I faithfully record them in a notebook. Most I won’t get back to but a few have actually seen the light of day—Redaction was a story 10 years in the making.
What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?
Know your craft, thicken your skin and find others like you. Plus, my favorite, never stop learning.
Do you have critique partners?
I used to have 9. Now I’m down to 3. That’s not counting family who also critique my works but they’re more beta readers.
What is your favorite dessert/food?
Red Devil pepperoni pizza. It’s thin crust with a tangy tomato sauce, just enough cheese and pepperoni so no one has to fight over it. Okay, now I’m starting to drool.
How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
Pretty likely. My characters are a bit like Frankenstein’s monsters. They’re pieces kulled from many people. Rae, my heroine in Blue Maneuver, started with my critique partner Kim—she’s an accountant and doesn’t really like scifi. From that, she grew piece by piece until she became the character she is now.
Give us an elevator pitch for your book.
The extraterrestrials have landed, and they’re human. The only thing preventing Earth from becoming a battlefield is an unemployed accountant and her Smartphone.
Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.
Rae doesn’t believe in aliens nor is she tech savvy. The perfect heroine for a scifi novel, wouldn’t you say? Her compassion is her strength—she does genuinely care from those around her, even the icky looking aliens. But the compassion also makes her weak as she wants everyone to be happy. Except those trying to kill her, of courseJ
Here is the blurb:
The extraterrestrials have landed and they’re human.
Rae Hemplewhite didn’t believe in aliens until a close encounter with out-of-this-world technology drags her into the extraterrestrial security program. Helping alien refugees adjust to life on Earth is difficult enough, but her first clients have a price on their heads. Plus, her new partner seems torn between the urge to kiss her or kill her.
And that’s the good news.
The bad news: Alliances are forming in deep space. If Rae doesn’t keep her witnesses alive long enough to transfer their top secret information to the right faction of humanity, Earth will become a battlefield.
For those who would like to follow my tour, I’ll be at Sapphire Phelan‘s talking about Rae’s vow not to swear on Monday and talking about the two men in Rae’s life on Tracy Sumner’s blog, Friday the 10th .