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Author Interview: Lorna Suzuki

While I’m working hard on finalizing my Team Alpha manuscript this month, my blog might have been echoingly empty, except that I met the fabulous Lorna Suzuki on Twitter a few months back. Last month, she ran an interview with me, so I jumped at the chance to return the favor.

Indie author, Lorna Suzuki
Indie author, Lorna Suzuki

1. You’ve lived an interesting life, from an early career in law enforcement and heading up the education department for zoos and a conservation center to your decades of experience with martial arts. How do you see the range of those experiences playing out in your writing?

Many writers follow the adage: Write what you know. In my case, some of my personal experiences seeped onto the pages of my stories. Having lived with racism, I faced sexism, male chauvinism, and harassment, as I grew older. Being only one of two women in the field in our province back in 1979, my experience in law enforcement with the Federal Dept. of Fisheries & Oceans was not unlike the grief some female RCMP officers still face.

Suzuki books: Imago Chronicles, book eight and Dream Merchant saga, book one
Suzuki books: Imago Chronicles, book eight and Dream Merchant saga, book one

In writing the Imago Chronicles series, the female protagonist is half human and half elf. Being the only one of her kind, she is shunned by one race and denied by the other. To make matters worse, she enters the male-dominated arena of warriorship, training as an elite assassin. So definitely, some of her experiences were inspired by what I’ve dealt with.

2. What influenced your choice to give up the work with the zoo?

There was never a choice, but first, let me explain my involvement with zoos. Growing up in the 1960s, zoos were viewed by many as a form of entertainment. In my opinion, zoo animals were the ambassadors representing their species and habitat, both of which were, and still are, disappearing at an alarming rate. If these animals are entrusted to our care, it is not good enough to provide them with longer life. The focus should be on their quality of life and how to better their life in a safe, but artificial habitat. My job was to educate the public about the changing role of the modern zoos.

I prefer animals not to be held in captivity, but for many, there is no wild habitat left. So, is it better to let them become extinct because of our carelessness or indifference? I remember when many believed whales were nothing more than big fish. When credible aquariums showed patrons these animals were intelligent, they live in family groups, communicate and even express grief, society put pressure on the whaling industries and for aquariums to stop treating the whales as circus performers.

I frown on animals made to do tricks for our entertainment. If animals are encouraged to display natural behavior so we can better understand them, then that’s different.

Many want animals to be free, but wild places are fast disappearing. Others say, go to Africa and see animals in their natural environment. But what is natural about a pride of lions struggling to catch a meal while tourists in ATVs tear through their habitat, scaring off their prey animal, just to observe them? Life in the wild is difficult enough. Animals starve or die of fixable injuries all the time, but when people interfere to have this ‘natural experience’, it is always the animals that suffer. The zoo is now the modern ark, preserving/conserving endangered species and educating the public about the need to protect wild spaces so there are places for species’ reintroduction. Through the years, I found unless people feel a connection to these animals, they tend to care less about them or their plight.

As for leaving the zoo, the entire management staff, myself included, had opinions about how a modern facility should operate. These opinions did not align with the new, foreign owners. We were all relieved of our duties.

On February 6th, 2002, I had no job to go to. One door slammed shut, so I pried open a window. On Feb. 7th, I began writing the first novel in the Imago Chronicles series.

3. I know you use your martial arts knowledge specifically in your books. Have you ever had authors ask you for a technical review of their fight scenes?

No, but I’ve had authors with no martial arts experience tell me they studied my fight/battle scenes to learn how to write them. This changed after I listened to a chat hosted by a writer. She said she hates it when a female character is able to take on a much larger opponent and do so successfully. Other authors chimed in, decrying how it’s “so phony” when a woman, especially a small one lacking super powers, can do this.

I had to speak up. I explained I’m less than 5 feet tall, but when I do demos, I use the largest men to prove you do not need strength or size to take on a big opponent. Of course, they didn’t believe it until I invited them to check out some of my martial arts demos where I do just that. The chat room went quiet. When the host returned after seeing my demo, she stated I was “an anomaly! It just doesn’t happen in real life!” It was obvious those lacking fighting experience needed some guidance as to what is truly possible. Since then, I’ve been invited to a number of literary events to conduct writing about fighting workshops and martial arts demos.

4. You’ve said before that you wrote your Imago series to make sure your daughter had a strong, female protagonist to look up to. Now that she’s an adult, has she commented on how reading your books has impacted her and her worldview?

My daughter, Nia, like the female protagonist in Imago, is biracial. Being half Japanese and half English, she, too, has had to deal with racism and continues to witness me dealing with it too, in our daily lives. She is pursuing a career in conservation, studying the same Wildlife program I studied at a local campus. I can’t say if it’s a coincidence she follows in my footsteps because my novels influenced her.

Like the female character in Imago, she observes the world around us, and like me, she notices human behavior. While Nia was in elementary school, we began writing the Dream Merchant Saga. Nia was appalled, seeing kids cursed with a sense of entitlement.  For example, one student lost a new iPhone on the playground. Nia offered to help her find it, only to have this student say, “Don’t worry, my mom will buy me a new one.” Nia couldn’t believe this! Also, she was irked when kids showed off brand name sneakers, clothes, etc. particularly when they made other students who were not so privileged feel bad about having less. Her reaction to this helped create Princess Rose in the Dream Merchant Saga. Rose is beautiful, but uses/abuses those around her because of her sense of privilege. She learns the hard way that it’s easy to buy loyalty, but true friendship cannot be bought.

5. Several years ago, you optioned the film rights to the first three novels in the Imago series. Don Carmody was attached as the producer and you ended up with an IMDB page. What happened?

Yes, Don Carmody is an Oscar-winning Canadian producer, best known for “Good Will Hunting,” “Chorus Line,” and the “Resident Evil” franchise. His production company was signed on, the screenplay was written, etc. but like most properties optioned for film or TV, at the eleventh hour, a major investor pulled out because the economy had tanked.

Since then, the original executive producer tried to option the property again, but now, I am working with a producer in New York. We are looking to develop Imago Chronicles for a cable  TV series. I believe this is a far better medium to share the series than to cram the novels into a film trilogy!

6. What lessons did you draw from that experience and what tips would you share with other authors who face similar paths and choices?

There is so much involved in a film deal and one must never accept an option agreement without fully understanding all the terms and conditions.

First of all, if a producer wants to option your property, get legal representation! If you do not have a literary agent, then find a good entertainment lawyer. In some ways, a lawyer can be better because literary agents take a percentage of EVERYTHING they negotiate (from book royalties to box office receipts and profits from merchandising), while many entertainment lawyers will charge a set rate for negotiating a deal.

Second, do not option for longer than three years, and if you do, make sure the executive producer meets targets or production milestones in order to receive an extension. For example, by the first anniversary of the agreement have a screenwriter hired and a script produced; second anniversary, have financing in place, etc.

Some big production companies will option a property merely to prevent a competitor from securing it. By placing milestones before renewing, it can reveal if the production company is serious about making a film or if they plan to just sit on it.

Do not let an executive producer option your property for $1. I’ve had authors tell me this is what they’ve done because a producer told them it’s common practice in the industry. James Cameron of “Titanic” fame was the one who started this $1 option fee. He made this deal with the “Terminator” film, but it was to secure his role as the director.

I don’t know many writers who are also directors, but unless you have a deal like this, the only person to benefit from such a deal is the producer. You must remember the primary goal of the executive producer is to secure a property for the least amount of cost to them. That $1 is to make the option agreement legally binding, if you accept.

Three, it is better to walk away from a bad deal than to sell your property (and soul) on a promise or a hope that having a book optioned will mean instant book sales, fame, etc. because this is rarely the case.

7. You’ve completed ten books in the Imago world. Do you think you’ll ever revisit it?

My health is failing, so I doubt I’ll do any more writing other than personal messages for Nia. I don’t like the idea of starting something I can’t finish. As it stand now, the Imago Chronicles is my legacy to her and I’m just so grateful we collaborated on the Dream Merchant Saga.

8. You’ve completed three books in the Dream Merchant Saga. Will this series go on as long as the Imago series?

Late in 2018 Nia and I published our last two novels in the Dream Merchant Saga, Book 4: Sin and Book 5: World’s End. These books will most likely be our last together. Fifteen novels later, and I think maybe the world has had enough from me.

9. What do you see as the biggest benefits of remaining Indie?

It’s great if you’re a musician or a filmmaker, but there is still a stigma attached to being an indie author. In my experience, both as an attendee and a panelist at various literary events, I’ve spoken to aspiring authors who have told me there’s a level of credibility when you are traditionally published, so that is the only way to go, ‘if you’re a serious writer’. Sadly, many of these authors have no idea how difficult it is to acquire a credible literary agent or to be pulled from the obscurity of a publisher’s mountainous slush pile. For me, even having a literary agent with a proven track record of sales to the big 5 publishers was no guarantee. In fact, I wrote my first novel with no intention of going the traditional publishing route. It was only when I self-published and was invited to do an interview and martial arts demo on MTV that a film producer happened to see me and one of my novels being used as a weapon. She brought the first three Imago novels, fell in love with them and searched me out to option my novels for the film trilogy.

As an indie author I am not pressured by deadlines other than the ones I impose. I can choose the retailers, decide on the retailers’ discount, as well as set my royalties for my eBooks and print books. Typically, this is not the case for traditionally published authors. BTW, I also know some traditionally published authors wanting to complete their publishing contracts with their big publisher to allow them the freedom to write as an indie author. So, it really comes down to the individual writer and their expectations.

10. What question did I not ask that you would wish to have been asked?

The only question that comes to mind is what would ever compel a vertically challenged, puny female to ever want to enter law enforcement at a time when women were just entering this male-dominated arena or become a martial arts practitioner/instructor in a style predominantly practiced by men. To this day, people scratch their heads when they look at me and discover my background!

If you’re interested in keeping in touch with Lorna, she’s on Twitter @LornaSuzuki

If you want to get a sense of her writing before buying her books, she has sample chapters posted on her website.

Author Interview: Bounty Huntress Author Sheri Queen

Bounty Huntress by Sheri QueenAs regular readers know, I am a participant in The Hotel Paranormal series. Since I’ve enjoyed all the stories I’ve read by fellow authors in the series, I’ve decided to open my blog to visit with them. This week, we get to know the author of the book released November 6, Sheri Queen:

  1. How did you come up with the title for this book? It’s my protagonist’s job—bounty hunter. I decided I wanted to separate my novel from the many other bounty hunter ones, so I came up with the gender switch of huntress. It worked.
  2. Is there a message or theme in this story you want readers to be aware of? There are several themes within the story, mostly about family and relationships, but the biggest one is that it’s okay to be different. Love who you are, and don’t let what others say make you think you’re not good enough.
  3. Is this part of a series? If so, can you share a little about what’s coming next? This is a short novel that’s part of a multi-author series, The Hotel Paranormal. Over twenty authors have penned their own paranormal story set in a common world—the Hotel. It’s been so much fun to do. You can find out more about the series at www.thehotelparanormal.com, but basically it’s a hotel set in an alternate dimension that’s a gathering place for paranormal creatures.

    The Hotel Paranormal is THE place for supernatural beings looking to get away from it all. Beings like werewolves, vampires, elves, sprites, djinn and more check in from all over the world for business and for pleasure—and sometimes for both.

    Also, I’m using this as an introduction to a new series I’m working on, the Sleepy Hollow Hunter series. The next novel will be out in 2017, although I don’t have a release date as yet. It will see Janda Gray take on her hunter role in earnest. She’ll have great joys and even greater sorrows as a Sleepy Hollow Hunter.

  1. Is there a process you go through when deciding your character’s names? I find names in all sorts of places—street signs, town names, shop names. My character, Janda Gray, was inspired by a florist shop—Janda’s Flowers. Lol. If the name fits the character, why not?
  2. What made you become an author? I love reading. It was my go-to activity growing up. I make up stories in my head all the time, so I thought it would be good to actually learn how to write them down. The other thing about being an author is that you can do it any place. It’s portable. I spent years getting uprooted as a Navy wife, and it’s hard starting over all the time. This is something I wish I had done sooner, but at least I’m doing it now.
  3. Beginning writers look to published authors for advice, so what words of wisdom can you give new authors? Well, I’m still a new author. This is my first release. I have other stories written, but other than some short stories in a college journal, I have not been previously published. I’d say, keep at it. Don’t give up.
  4. Do you have one particular character in your current novel that you just love? Besides my main character, I have several I really like. Sebastian, the vampire in the story, is probably one of my favorites. He was a lot of fun to write.
  5. Social media takes up a lot of an author’s time, but it’s crucial to expanding our readership. Can you tell me which social media platforms you prefer to use when connecting with your readership? This is a hard one for me. I’m building my following, so I try to hit most of the major platforms. I connect with a lot of people on my personal Facebook page, but I restrict that to people I know. Pinterest is a lot of fun, but Twitter and Instagram seem to be the best spots for me to connect with potential readers.
  6. How do you want to be remembered as an author? I write stories I hope people will enjoy and that will resonate with them in some way. I don’t need to be remembered, but if one of my characters makes a difference in someone’s life, then I’d be happy.
  7. What new stories/projects are in your pipeline? The next story in the Sleepy Hollow Hunter series is a priority. I also have an SF short story that may be dusted off to become part of a group anthology in the spring. That’s plenty for me at the moment.

 

Sheri QueenSheri Queen received her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She grew up in the Hudson Valley region of New York—an area she loves to depict as a backdrop for her stories—and enjoys traveling to new places where she is constantly discovering inspirations for her writing. In particular, she loves visiting old graveyards.

You can follow the author at:

www.sheriqueen.com
Twitter: @SWQueenFlemming
https://www.facebook.com/SheriQueenAuthor/
https://www.facebook.com/SheriQueenBooks/

Goodreads
Amazon Author page

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Book Tour: Even Villains Go to the Movies by Liana Brooks

It’s that time again: One of my online author friends has released another book. This time it’s the second in a series, the first of which, Even Villains Fall in Love, I reviewed last year.Even Villains Go to the Movies - Liana Brooks Here’s the blurb to what looks like a great follow-on tale:

When your mother is America’s Superhero Sweetheart and your daddy’s the Number One Super Villain, you grow up feeling a little conflicted.

Angela Smith has superpowers—nothing that will ever make her comic-book famous—but her ability to psychically sense and manipulate the emotions of people around her has drawn unwanted government attention. Forced to choose between her quiet life as a teacher under constant surveillance or the life of a rogue, she chooses the latter. She plans to hide out in sunny Los Angeles where being a blue-eyed blonde won’t make anyone bat a false eyelash.

Silver screen star by day, superhero by night, Arktos is a triple-threat. He can fly, freeze anything, and see glimpses of the future, all of which he needs to keep the city of Los Angeles safe, but which does nothing for his social life. When a frightening vision of an explosion leads him to rescue a damsel in distress, he finds himself trading Shakespearean insults with a rogue.

Angela knows just how dangerous well-intentioned superheroes can be: one tried to kill her family when she was young. Arktos knows he should hand the rogue over to Company justice; it’s not safe for someone like her to be in the middle of a fight.

But they can’t seem to stay apart. And together, they just might be able to melt all the obstacles standing between true love for a hero and a villain.

To celebrate her new release, Liana has been on a virtual book tour since the 11th. I get to close out her stops with an interview that lets you in on some of her quirks.

Tights Angela is wearing in the opening scenes.1. I just got to read chapter 1, and I know you’re obsessed with socks. What socks do you imagine Angela is wearing in the opening scenes? (Pictures are welcome, too.)

In my mind Angela is a quintessential flip-flop girl, but I suppose for school she’s be wearing something more conservative, a skirt with tights perhaps. And she’s a math teacher with some youthful quirks so I imagine she’s wearing THESE tights from ASOS.

2. Does the kind socks she’s wearing change as she makes the cross-country move? (More pics…) 😉

Angela’s keeping a low profile as she’s fleeing across the country, and she’s the type who wouldn’t worry about riding the bus. But the bus is definitely a place for closed toed shoes, so Angela’s going to have her favorite socks at the ready Apple  socks, these constellation socks because she’s wishing on her lucky star, and of course her kick butt BLAMMO! Socks because she’s getting off the bus in L.A. ready to fight and rebuild her life.

3. Tour visitors are getting to see an excerpt and a blurb; I’ve gotten to see a little bit extra. What prompted your idea of a hero trying to fly under the radar in this story?

I think this is a reaction to what happened in EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE, the whole family realized how dangerous it would be if the children were exposed. Angela grew up knowing that people would want to not only use her, but kill her, and she’s also a little bit scared of her own power. Angela is terrified of what could go wrong, and so I had to put her in a situation where the right thing and the easy thing weren’t the same thing. She has to face her fears to save people she loves. Isn’t that the definition of being a hero?

4. Also, the Hollywood setting is something a little different from any other of the stories you’ve written. How much research did you have to do to get it to where you’re satisfied it represents the reality you wanted to share?

First, I need to thank the marvelous David Voderberg for answering a plethora of questions. Second, I need to apologize for twisting reality so much for the purpose of fiction. I did a great deal of research: maps, licenses, looking at how auditions worked (but not actually auditioning because there was nothing locally), looking at a lot of behind-the-scenes footage… but in the end I had to use only the highlights because the timeline of the book didn’t allow for Angela to take years to find her way onto a movie set. Her career path is not realistic, but it works for a daughter of Doctor Charm.

5. How many more books are you planning for in the Heroes and Villains universe?

I think my editor and I talked about doing seven books total, and then maybe doing the eighth book as Tabitha’s story. I actually wrote that a year ago, and people have been winning a chapter of it by changing their social media avatars to the cover of EVEN VILLAINS GO TO THE MOVIES, but it wasn’t good enough for my readers yet. Some books need a little more time to cook than others.

6. Who’s next on the roster to get a full-length book?

The next book has the working title of EVEN VILLAINS WANT THE TRUTH and it’s Delilah’s book. She appears briefly in EVEN VILLAINS GO TO THE MOVIES, you’ll see her towards the end, and she has an interesting life. You’ll like it. Promise.

7. It seems recently there is a greater appreciation for minions in fiction-land (I’m thinking of “Despicable Me” here), though for me, the first minions I’d encountered were the ones your Dr. Charm manufactured. If you were to use something like http://minionslovebananas.com/minion-maker/ what would your personal minion look like, be named, and do especially for you?

A minion named Meanwhile (Meanwhile, back at the ranch…) who could wash dishes, fold laundry, and change diapers so I had more time to write. I don’t care what it would look like, but I strongly suspect it may need eight arms to keep up with the chores.

8. This is your 6th release. Do you feel like an old pro yet?

I like the tradition where everyone goes and buys my book. Otherwise, no, I haven’t had enough serious releases to come up with a tradition. Maybe I’ll go buy myself some new socks. 🙂

10. Is there anything you hope your readers will take away from the series that might not be an obvious moral?

When you encounter a masked man, your first order of business should be to take his mask off, and always make sure your stolen motorcycle has a full tank of gas.

11. Author’s choice: What question should I have asked that I missed?

I think you hit all of the questions you needed. Great job! This was a fun interview.

 

Thanks for stopping by, Liana, and good luck on your latest release. For the rest of you… There’s a giveaway and I’m posting the links for you to be able to find Liana and all her books:

 

*Social Media*
Website – http://www.lianabrooks.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/LianaBrooks
FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Liana-Brooks/278779308851471
Tumblr – http://lianabrooks.tumblr.com/
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18620101-even-villains-go-to-the-movies
BookLikes – http://lianabrooks.booklikes.com/

*Buy Links*
Breathless Press – http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=15&products_id=22
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Liana-Brooks/e/B007S9DB2A/
Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/liana-brooks
All Romance eBooks – http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html
Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?Query=liana+brooks
iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/liana-brooks/id476454626?mt=11

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Author Interview: To Katie With Love author Erica Lucke Dean

Erica Lucke DeanAs a follow-on to the book review I did Tuesday, let’s get to know Erica a little more…

1. You attended the University of Pittsburgh. How did you choose that school, and did you know then that you wanted to become an author (I’m guessing so, from your major)? I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. Even in elementary school I wrote stories. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write the next best seller.

2. Was there anything in particular about your education (major) that serves you well in your writing now? I think the only thing about my major that truly helped was the exposure to different genres and authors. Reading a lot is what helps your writing. That’s my opinion, but I don’t remember learning anything specific that carried with me…other than good grammar.

3. You blog daily about your travails on your farm. Do you ever regret moving out into the countryside? Sometimes I miss a quick trip to a bookstore or a coffee shop, but generally, no. I love waking up and looking out over the rolling hills at the mountain views. I love the quiet. The friendly people. I can visit the city anytime I want to. But I’m glad I live in the country.

4. What was the impetus that allowed you to decide you would be able to give up your career as a banker? Basically, the stress was getting to me. My husband told me to quit and just write. I don’t think he realized what he was getting himself into.

5. How much of your experience shines through your main character, Katie? Katie is very much a part of me. She got my epic clumsiness, my awkward, “foot in mouth” syndrome, and my propensity to obsess over a guy.

6. You produced a long-running webfic series about vampires. Do you plan on revisiting that story in novel form? Or will you create a new “season” for the series soon? I’ve been plotting the next Daywalkers adventure for months, but can’t seem to find the time to write it. I know I owe the fans more snarky vamps, and I promise I’ll get to them soon.

7. Given the widely divergent genre of your first published novel to your webfic series… Do you have a preference? Will you produce a paranormal romance for publication? I love them both. My next novel is actually a paranormal romance. It’s not filled with vampires, but it’s definitely a slight departure from Katie.

8. You also have a background in poetry. Would you ever release a book of poems? How did you find out about my poetry? Do you have a spy? Haha…I don’t know if I’d ever do a book of poems. I haven’t written poetry in some time, but I won’t rule it out.

9. Do you have plans with your current publisher to produce more novels in the “chick lit” genre? Or would you consider additional relationships with other publishers? Or even going indie? I’m in the process of writing a few books in the chick lit/romance genre. I love my publisher, so at this time, I’m not making any plans to move. I don’t think I’d ever go Indie, just because I like having the support system, but like anything else, I can’t see the future, so I can’t rule anything out.

10. What would you consider a successful release? I’d find it pretty successful if the people who read my book enjoy it. That’s really what it’s all about. I could sit here and say, “Oh, I want to sell millions of copies” and sure, who doesn’t want to sell a million copies? But ultimately, I want people to enjoy the book. That’s the most important thing to me.

11. Author’s choice: What question did I not ask that you think I should have? You didn’t ask me what my deepest, darkest secret is. But it’s probably best, because I probably wouldn’t tell you anyway. I mean…deep, dark secrets are pretty sacred. They should be kept hidden until you’ve had at least three drinks…

And, since I know you’re all excited about the possibility of winning a copy of her debut novel, here’s the Raffelcopter one more time:

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Author Interview: Sarah Cass

sarah-cassI’m elated to introduce you to another one of my crit group members, who, today, celebrates the publication of her first novel, Changing Tracks. In honor of her achievement (and to start the romance of the weekend of my 15th wedding anniversary!), and to kick off her publicity tour in style, I’ve invited her for a mini-interview, complete with a sneak peek at her story and writing. Take it away, Sarah Cass:

 

1. What’s the first piece of fiction you remember writing?

Oh, sure. Start out with a tough one 🙂 Let’s see. I know I wrote some stories in elementary school, but I don’t remember anything specific. Same with high school – I remember the mopey poetry of a teenager, and a play I wrote with my friends for a project. I tried a few times to write something more in depth, but without the consistent availability (or capability) of computers like we have now, that whole hand-written stuff annoyed me.  So…the first thing I clearly remember writing was a piece of Cats: the Musical fanfiction. Yeah, I mean it.  And yes, I have a really poor memory if I can’t remember anything before that, because I know I wrote plenty in high school.

 

2. How often do you have to battle the guilt monster for writing when your family is waiting for your attention? Do you have trouble finding work-life balance?

All. The. Time.  I openly admit I have an internet/computer addiction.  I am currently making a concerted effort to be off the computer more, usually logging off before the hubby gets home from work so we have dinner and family time together.  This current level of self-restraint came from the fallout of editing insanity earlier this month.  I’ve always had trouble finding that balance, but I’m working pretty hard at managing to find it now. I do better scheduling myself and having to-do lists to cross off, but it doesn’t always work.

I’m open to any tips anyone has to offer, too. LOL

 

changing-tracks3. How long did it take you to draft Changing Tracks? How much longer did it take for the remaining four in the series?

Hm. That’s a trick question, isn’t it?  For the first (very rough) draft it took me about 3 months to write the original trilogy in the series…once I got started.  The first couple of chapters were written and half-way abandoned for about 3 months…and then I picked them up again and within 3 months had written the entire 3 books 1st drafts. Once I decided to turn them into something I wanted to try and sell, it took another 2 years to re-draft, edit, and re-write again until I was happy with them.  Books 4 & 5 were originally written as one mega-novel because I couldn’t say good-bye to the characters. That first draft of approximately 175k words took me about a month to write. I haven’t officially edited them to fit into the re-drafted world of the original trilogy yet, but I’m estimating two months per book.

 

4. What will be the hardest part of saying goodbye to Jane and Cole?

I don’t even want to think about it. I adore Jane & Cole. I even have some more book ideas for them fluttering around in the back of my head. Books that may never see publication, but they are still there. I don’t know that I ever can say goodbye to them. I have met new characters that I adore, and  started to build new worlds that are amazingly fun, but Cole & Jane still reside in my head. They’ve been amazing to work with and watch grow. I love her strength and book-smarts, I love his constant growth into a better man…not to mention his looks…those eyes.  ~sigh~

 

5. Can you share an excerpt here?

You betcha.  In this excerpt, Jane and Cole just had a brief argument after she kneed him in the groin. She ate some crow and apologized so that she could ask a favor of him. Once the door is open for her to ask, she hesitates…and this moment of conversation occurs. I love it because it shows she’s not afraid to tell it like it is, even with full-on amnesia…and Cole…well, he just gets her.

Jane stepped back. She used the moment someone crossed between them to gather her thoughts. With a sharp exhale, she turned away and leaned on the hitching post.

He leaned on it right next to her. “It ain’t gonna help you to—”

“Please don’t.” Desperation laced into her voice and she groaned in frustration. Burying her face in her hands, she took a deep breath. “I’m so tired of this.”

“Of what?”

“Knowing nothing.” Before he could interrupt, she blazed ahead. “Knowing no one. Not even myself.”

“Seem to know enough to speak your mind.”

“Does that bother you?”

“Well, you are a woman.” He eyed her appreciatively. “And women should keep their mouths shut. They don’t get opinions.”

“Just because you own the women you bother to keep company with and they must do as you say doesn’t mean they lack opinions. Just means you lack the fortitude to listen to them.”

“If you’re trying to curry favor, you ain’t on the right path.”

“You just said it doesn’t bother you I speak my mind.” She leaned toward him. “Is it you don’t care for my opinion? Or you don’t like hearing the truth?”

Matching her stance, he eyed her from top to bottom and back again. A grin spread across his features. “You don’t get intimidated easy. Good way to get yourself killed. Most men around here don’t mind looking or touching, but they don’t want a woman saying what she thinks.”

“Thanks for the advice.”

“That mean you won’t take it?”

“I’ll take it under advisement.”

“So no.”

 

6. Now that you’ve broken through with your first published novel, how long will your readers have to wait for the next one?

Not long! I’m thrilled to say that I have another novella coming out in April with Secret Cravings Publishing. Masked Hearts was my first foray out of Jane and Cole’s world in about 3 years. I really enjoyed Minnie & Roy, and researching the world they came from, basing Roy on a real living person was a new challenge for me. Especially when the person I was researching disappeared from any public knowledge after a certain age – which of course left me open to turn him into what I wanted. 🙂

On top of that novella, I have a short story, An Uncivil War due out in an anthology in March called HerStory (Pagan Writer’s Press).

And for something different, I have another short story Eternal Asylum, that should be out in 2013 in the horror anthology Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past. No official release date on that yet, but Siren’s Call Publications will be releasing it this year.

 

7. What kind of release schedule are you planning on over the course of the next few years, as your writing career picks up?

I’m still waiting on word, but I’m hoping that Secret Cravings will pick up the rest of the Dominion Falls Series and put those on a 3-4 months schedule to keep me busy throughout the year.  While I’m waiting on word for that, I’ve started work on 2 new books. One is a slow burn, the other is taking off and I’ve already planned it as a series. I have to admit I’m loving the new series, it’s more Urban Fantasy than romance, and each book will me much more ‘stand-alone’ than my Dominion Falls books.  The heroine, Rose Red is one badass chick. She rocks my socks…and I hope to sell her book and the concept for at least 3 more in the series before the end of the year.

 

8. Will you ever get back to your stage career, do you think?

Oosh…you sneak, getting this question in there. To be honest, I really don’t know. I want to, I dream of it some days.  I miss the stage, the lights, the cake makeup, the amazingly talented people I got to work with. I miss it all, except the crazy amount of time we put those shows together in; the fact that I didn’t see my husband or son for approximately 5 weeks while rehearsing because I’d leave for the theater right from work.

Theater is amazing, and (almost) every show was worth the work and time I put into it – but it just doesn’t fit in my life right now.  If I ever reach a place where it could, I’ll probably try again.

 

9. What else would you like to share with your readers regarding your chosen genres and style?

I don’t choose genres. I choose characters – and they lead me to genres. Cole & Jane, nymphomaniacs that they are, demanded romance.  Minnie & Roy, sweet couple that they are requested the same. I love historicals; I love the old west. I’m gaining an appreciation for the Civil War – but I’m not restricted by the past. When Red popped into my head – I found myself researching fairy tales to fracture, and steampunk of all things. Steampunk? I’ve never done it before, but I’m loving every minute of it. My latest piece is turning out to be contemporary (unusual for me) – not to mention fantasy with dragons and phoenixes and I have no idea what I’m doing, but it’s a wild ride.

For me, the story pushes me where I go.  I’ve been published in horror with a flash piece, and have a short coming out this year in the same genre.  While I favor historical western (cowboys and whores and adventure and fun!), I’m not bound by it. I’m an organic writer and go where the story pulls me.  Sometimes that means a story crosses genre barriers, and I just go with the flow. I like not being able to narrow down a genre with 2 words.

I hate restrictions – and to me genres are restrictions, so I ignore them. I pants the hell out of my stories 95% of the time. I like being surprised and taken for a ride. It means my readers are going to be taken for a ride too.

 

For anyone who likes historical/western romances, run, NOW, and buy Sarah’s debut. Her blog is worth a visit, too, for her commentary on Redefining Perfect. 🙂

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