How and why did you get involved with The Hot Pink Typewriter?
Natalie Charles and Olivia Miles approached me (first through Twitter and subsequently emails) about this idea they had for a group blog. I was immediately excited to be included in this lovely group of talented authors I admire and respect. I also loved the idea of sharing our ups and downs, knowledge and experience and creating an atmosphere where we could meet and make new friends who enjoy reading and/or writing romance as much as we do.
What sub-genre of romance do you write and why?
I write steamy contemporary novellas and category-length romances, though I read across the romance sub-genres. I think I gravitate toward contemporary because of my years as a newspaper editor, where I focused on current events and pop culture. I just have to know what's going on now!
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? What prompted this interest?
I did. Some of my earliest memories are of reading fairy tales. But, while other girls my age pretended to be princesses, I wanted to be Lois Lane. I remember poking the lenses out of an old pair of sunglasses, wearing them and scribbling in a little notebook, then writing my stories on my Winnie the Pooh typewriter. Seriously, I was three or four at the time. I also had a weird obsession with red lipstick, but that's for a different blog post, I think.
Did contests play a role in your
writing journey? If so, in what ways did you find them beneficial?
And what, if any, were the drawbacks?
Yes. No Sweeter Love was actually published as the result of a contest. I didn't win, but the editor who was judging requested my manuscript. I also met a lot of my writing friends (The Hot Pink Typewriter ladies included) through online contests. Personally, I've not experienced any drawbacks with contests, but then again, I've never approached a writing contest as if it's a competition. Does that make sense? I can imagine contests being very frustrating if your only goal is to win – and then you don't. As long as a writer thinks of the contest as a learning experience and chance to network with other like-minded writers, then I don't see a drawback.
What point are you currently at in your writing journey?
I'm still writing. Still submitting. Still sitting on pins and needles and obsessively checking my email inbox. Writing and publishing is such an exciting journey. I'm enjoying the ride.
Describe what makes a perfect hero for
you. And what makes a perfect heroine?
I don't know why I think this is the hardest question. Ugh. I guess some of the basic must-haves for a perfect hero (at least for me) are strength, intelligence, wit and humor. Actually, those same characteristics apply to my heroines, as well. Together, I think they should bring out the worst and best in each other. Other than that, I just try to write characters that I can picture myself hanging out with. If I don't like them, who will?
What does HEA mean to you?
It means the hero and heroine are in love and will be together forever. I need more than the words “I love you,” though. When I'm reading, I need to feel that the relationship has been twisted, tormented and tested – that it went though an emotional zombie apocalypse and survived.
Where do you draw your inspiration
All around me. People, articles, conversations I overhear, beautiful scenery, etc. You name it. A great story can be found anywhere you look.
Name your five favorite movies/books,
or those that have influenced you the most and how.
Pride & Prejudice
Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, feminism, challenge to social conventions, a forbidden attraction, the crazy Bennet family and Pemberly. *sigh* What's not to love?
It's such a dark and passionate novel, and so progressive for its time. The push and pull of morality and sexuality, combined with the themes of gender and societal norms and expectations fascinates me. Every time I read Jane Eyre I feel like I'm reading it for the first time.
Gone With the Wind
I watched the movie before I read the book, and when it ended, I think I actually yelled at the television screen. I could not believe that Rhett and Scarlett did not get their happily ever after. I think I was severely traumatized and this could be the main reason I write HEA romance. I love the book, as well. There's a part where Rhett compliments Scarlett's eyes by comparing them to fish in fishbowls. I still die laughing every time I read that.
The Vampire Diaries
Teenage angst. Vampires. Love triangle. These books, but especially the television show, pushes all my hot buttons. Also, I have an unhealthy, and sometimes debilitating crush, on Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore. Make of that what you will.
The Walking Dead
This is probably my favorite television show. Aside from the fact that I'm equal parts scared to death and fascinated by zombies, this is one of the best-written shows I've ever watched. Want a crash course in character development? Take a day or two to watch the series and take particular note of Daryl Dixon's character arc. I. Love. Him.
Tell us about your greatest writing challenges and how you work through them.
I'm a perfectionist. I also edit as I write. This really slows down the writing process for me and can be very frustrating. I also go through bouts of my writing is crap, though I try to keep myself out of the doldrums for any length of time, usually by enjoying a cocktail or two, eating some chocolate or reading a great book. There's nothing like a little break to get your creative juices flowing again.
What’s the best piece of advice
you’ve ever been given?
“Prove you were there.”
When I was first starting out as a journalist, one of my first assignments was to cover a high-profile murder trial, and I was scared. While writing my article, I double-checked all the legal terms and quotes. I meticulously fact-checked every piece of information I used in my story, then I submitted it to my editor. She said: “this is great, but (oh, the evil but) you need to prove you were there.”
“You could've written this from your desk,” she explained. “Show me you were in that courtroom.” And then I understood. I'd gotten so caught up in the black and white of the facts that I'd neglected the color. What were people actually doing in that packed courtroom that day? That little piece of advice always pops into my head when I'm writing. Have I set the scene? Have I used all five senses? Are the descriptions vivid and accurate?
What are your hopes and aspirations for your career?
The world is full of dark and depressing news. Fear and hate and worry. I want a reader to get lost in one of my books, forget their fears and worries for a little while, and smile.