Frequently Asked Questions
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
Writing snuck up on me. When I was young I kept daily diaries and told stories about imaginary friends. In high school and college I fell in love with doing research and writing long, detailed scientific papers. When I became a science teacher I was the first to volunteer to write grants and proposals. It all just came to a head when my health made teaching impossible. That's when I realized how much I enjoy writing fiction. I find great joy sitting at the computer creating worlds and characters and even greater joy showing them the path to true love.
I love logic puzzles and challenging mind games and this carried over to my reading. I prefer loosing myself in novels with complex story lines. A great suspense novel, where the author shifts the plot in directions I wasn't expecting, is a thrill ride from first page to last. When I began writing I discovered the most pleasure in creating complicated plots. I try to take my readers on an unexpected journey, sliding into a conclusion with a final twist I hope they don't see coming.
How did you settle on romance and more specifically, erotica?
I live stories I read. I fall in love with the characters and found romance the best "take me away" reads. They make me sigh. It was natural for me to write stories where two people struggle through difficult and perhaps life threatening circumstances and find true love in the middle of the complications. But I always wanted a few more juicy details about the relationship before the author "faded to black". My goal is to write wonderful romances with the bedroom door thrown wide open, where the reader can experience all aspects of the love story.
Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
Everything around me is inspiration. A line from a TV show or a song can start a whole "what if" scenario. A snippet of conversation overheard in the grocery store can start a landslide of ideas. From these little nuggets… whole stories emerge.
Do you write by the seat of your pants (pantzer) or do you plot your stories?
Total Pantzer. From the "what if " question I begin writing. Then I branch out and answer the questions that arise as I write. Eventually, the characters flesh themselves out and I figure out who they are and what motivates them. And I keep writing and branch out from there. I have certain scenes I "see" as I'm writing and I can write toward those scenes, answering questions all along the way. The twists and turns happen organically as the story unfolds. But in reality, though I don't write things down, a lot of the plotting is done in my head.
What's your writing schedule like?
A schedule? I'm supposed to have a schedule? No, I'm kidding. I try very hard to stick to some sort of schedule, but it's pretty loose depending on what's going on with my life. Normally, I sit down at the computer around 8:00 in the morning. Open email, drink coffee, surf the forums and visit MySpace, drink more coffee (did I mention it's decaffeinated?), answer more emails, blog, finish the coffee, eat a light breakfast and shower. THEN I'm ready to open my current story and start pounding out the words. Depending on where I am in the story this could change. As I get toward an exciting scene or the conclusion, often I skip the forums and blogging and go straight to writing. I am at my computer until late in the afternoon and again in the evening after dinner. Sometimes I'm writing, other times working on marketing. This is my job and fortunately my family respects my work hours.
I want to be an author. How do I go about getting published?
To become published you've got to really want it. The setbacks can be daunting. I've submitted chapters to writing contests and felt very confident with my entry, only to earn abysmal scores. I've sent partial chapters to agents and had them say I wasn't a good fit for them. I've received requests for full manuscripts and waited for a month only to be rejected. It hurts. It beats up on your ego and erodes your confidence.
Decide that nothing is going to keep you from reaching your goal.
Believe in yourself. Don't let others tell you "you can't" and if they do -- don't believe them. Tell everyone who will listen that you want to be a published author. Say it out loud. Don't keep your talent hidden. The more times you say it with conviction, the more real the dream becomes.
Write. Write. And write some more. Then finish something and submit it. Don't let fear of rejection keep you from reaching for your goal. Put yourself out there. No one will accept a manuscript sitting under your bed.