26 June 2007

REPOST 12/11/2006 Getting to know me...

I always say that readers want an author they can get to know. Now, I've been doing a lot of spotlights lately, and I thought I'd repost some of my favorite questions and answers here.


A book is difficult to write? None, really. The difficult thing is writing parts of a whole series, so I know every character and make sure they stay "true to character" throughout the series and not just in his/her own book.


Since I could hold a pencil. I wrote my first poem at age 7. I started competing in writing contests...and winning when I was 11. I won a
place in Taproot that year and was the youngest winner ever (at that time), so young that they made me take a teacher with me to the symposium, because they were afraid to let me go across town for it alone. Grin... I had my first article in a local newspaper when I was 13, won a place at the University of Pittsburgh in poetry at age 15, won first place in a competitive essay contest (one that made you write the essay on a general subject of their choosing on the day of the contest) at age 17, and did my first poetry reading at 19. Now, here's the shocker. I wrote poems, articles, essays and short stories, but I never wrote a novel until 2001. I woke with what I thought was a short story brewing and found myself writing a 200K novel.


Intense- when I'm writing...or doing anything that has me focused, I am like a wire strung tight.
Fun loving- I hate people with the proverbial stick inserted anally.
Can't help it. I want to be around people who can joke around and keep it light.
Intelligent- sometimes to my own detriment, because I overthink things. Grin... Can't help it. The mind is always moving.
Logical- also sometimes to my own detriment. When someone's motivations and actions don't make sense, it really bothers me! And, since I have a brain that falls into the "pattern recognition" form of thinking, I see patterns clearly...or breaks in patterns clearly.
Detail oriented...okay, that's two words, but it's one phrase- I really do keep track of the little things. That's why people ask me so many questions. I know the guidelines like the back of my hand. I also am great at planning, because everything has a time and place.


Not hard. Each world and character is an individual to me. I don't often mix anything up.


Psychology. Why are they doing this? What is their mindset. The physical looks come later.


Writing. Grin... That is my pressure release valve. If I'm not writing, I'm playing board games or watching movies with my husband and kids. A nice candlelit dinner, which we do at least once a week around here, works wonders for me.


Well, I've met Sherrilyn Kenyon and some of my other favorites. I'd love to meet Stephen King, because I'd love to talk to him about characterization. He's a genius, and he's my idol on that mark. I'd love to meet Piers Anthony in person...and Christine Feehan...and Robin Owens. I've talked to all of them online, and they are such
great people, I'd love the chance to get a hug and have a glass of Coke with them.

what is sexier............
a) a long lingering look,

I'm a sucker for eyes. And, people who MEET my eyes and manage to hold me there are rare.

what makes you happy and why?

A letter from someone who loves something they read of mine. It's better than chocolate, better than a 5 star review from RT. It's better than just about anything else in my professional life. In fact,
I have one such letter FRAMED and hung next to my monitor. I read it at least once a week.

what in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?

Attraction, understanding, strife, nits they have to work out... It can't be too easy. The obstacles can't be too easily overcome. They can't just throw themselves at each other and have it fall together. They have to understand each other not just be hot for one another. And, they MUST, MUST, MUST respect each other.

which of your books would you describe as
a) laugh-out-loud-sexy and full of fun

Written In The Stars or Mama's Tales

b) adventurous and wild

Sexually? Tygers. Plotwise? Night Warriors books, in general.

c) hot and steamy

I have to pick ONE? Ouch... I don't think I can.

which of the above would you think give readers the best read as-it-where?

You didn't name it. The ones that make them feel everything from laughing to crying to squirming to screaming makes the best read, IMO. Caring about the characters does. I hope I provide that, too.

how difficult is it for you to have to re-write a whole scene / chapter because your editor does not agree with what you have written and they suggest changes?

It's never happened. I don't think I'd end up doing what she wanted. Grin... I honestly think I'd end up making a different, smaller change that did less damage to the overall scene.

What is your favorite movie of all time? The one where you can watch it and still get affected at the same spots each and every time?

There are several, but the first that comes to mind is LadyHawke.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things would you have with you? *mind you, you do have a strong hunky man to help you with things* *grins*

Sunblock to get me through until I have a good base tan. Hey, I am nothing if not honest.

Writing materials and a waterproof case to keep them in. I am a basket case, if I can't write.

MY first aid kit, fully stocked...which includes survival equipment already. Grin... ALWAYS be prepared.

Fishing gear! A must, if we want to eat well. Fruit only goes so far.

My tent. Okay...if the hunk can build a decent shelter...sex toys. Grin...

What is one historical figure you would love to chat with and why?

Mary Shelly...to find out what it was like to start such a huge revolution in publishing. Or Guttenberg, for the same reason.

What character out of all your books is the closest to your personality?

LOL! I'm a mix between Kyla from Prophecy and Katie from Tygers. That really irks my sister, when her husband tells her those are his

What do you feel is the most important aspect a new author should remember when writing/creating their own stories? Any advice for aspiring authors?

Look for what makes your story/world/characters unique and let them BE unique. Also, let them be fallible. Characters that never fall and never lose are boring. As for the rest, I have entire blog posts of advice. Grin...

Have you ever been nervous over reader reaction when a new book come out? How much does reader response mean to you over your books? What do you hope readers get from your books after they read them?

Anytime I do something radically different than I've done before, I am a nervous wreck. I hope they like my books, but if they don't, I move on. So far, I've never had to move on and pretend I never made a choice. Grin... I hope they FEEL. I hope the books touch them and make them think.

How long does it take to write a book for you? Is there much research involved in your stories?

I average 50K of new work every month, but since I write on so many at once, I don't average a new book every month or two. I write a lot of shorts and novellas in between the big books. At the moment, I have about 50 WIP on and around my desk.

The amount of research depends on the book. Some are on another planet and have little or no research...only worldbuilding. Some are on earth of today or yesterday and take a lot of research. For Tygers alone, I researched tigers, brain functionality and testing, and petit mal seizures. I also visited home and made notes of things that had changed since my last visit to include in the book. When I write something dated, what's on the news in the book was ACTUALLY on the news that day.

What is the biggest challenge to you in writing-storyline, characters, POV, etc?

POV, but only because I find myself writing bits of stories far out in the series to get a solid lock on the characters as they must present in earlier books. It's a juggling routine.

What is your writing process? Do you use mood music, candles or anything?

I write the first few drafts longhand...pen and paper, two lines to a line plus the margins and such. I usually write on the couch or chair in the living room, with a lap desk. Then I go to the computer. I add up to 33% to the story as it goes into the machine. I do a continuity edit, a cleaning edit and an auditory edit on it. Then I submit it.

What is your goal within the next year or so with your writing career?

Rebuild what I lost when I left one of my publishers. Since I have offers for most of it already, that won't be hard to do. And, try to
get a NY contract. I may like it there. I may hate it there, but I'm going to give it a try.

If you could have any man to share a passioante night with (besides DH), who would it be and why?

One of my Night Warriors...grin... You write them because you have SOME attraction to them personally.

Do you find it hard to write love/sex scenes?

Not at all.

Where do you find your inspiration for your books and does it inspire all your stories?

It really depends on the story. Sometimes, it's a dream. Sometimes, it's a game of what if with something else I read or watched. Sometimes, it's a scene I come across, or a line, or a song.

What personality traits do you have to have in your heros/heriones?

Whatever is right for the stories. But, my heroines are seldom doormats. I just don't write anything that won't stand up when called and at least try to kick some arse. I also don't like TSTL heroines (too stupid to live). If they are, I'd rather kill them off in the first chapter and write something more worthy. Stupidity should be painful, and I make it so.

If you could write anywhere, where would you go and why?

I'd LOVE to have a mountain retreat. Just the warm woods, a stream...all the soothing sounds and sights and smells of nature. Of course, the log cabin...not too rustic to be comfortable, a fireplace... That's my sort of place.

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