Posts tagged ‘Online Writing’

Interview with Respected Author Amy Romine


As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A Charlie’s Angel. And am totally serious… so then I wanted to be a cop. Then an actress on a cop show (see a pattern here?), and then, finally, a writer. A Marine Biologist snuck its way in there too along the way. Basically I have always craved adventure and drama. It took me a little while, but eventually I figured out how to have everything I wanted. I needed to write.

 

What inspired you to write your first book?

I wrote my first book because of a crush. It was a fantasy of a ‘what if’ scenario. I still have it and the hero of my story will always have a special place in my heart.

 

Do you have a specific writing style? I would say yes, but to be honest I don’t know. I guess I do, although I wouldn’t know how to explain it. I just write.

 

Has your environment/upbringing colored your writing? Yes and No. I am a child of divorce and I suppose that has fueled a lot of the fantasy. I come from a family of strong women, so all of my female characters are strong women. So in that aspect, yes it has.

 

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? Very carefully (lol!). Titles are tricky, my current release, Serenity Lost, is one in a three book series that in fact started as one book. When we decided to split it into three I had to come up with three new titles! I struggled with the three titles for a while until something fit, and here we are. I think the three titles I have selected reflect what is happening in that particular part of the series. Don’t know what I mean, guess you have to read and find out. To be honest, sometimes finding the title of a piece is instantaneous, other times it is a struggle. Depends completely on the book.

 

How much of your work is realistic? I am very conscious of anchoring my story and characters in reality, although I will totally use dramatic license when called upon. I try to stay within the realms of the believable, although I may bend it a little to suit my needs.

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Action sequences. We have a love hate relationship. I love to put them in…hate to write them. Although, thanks to my awesome editor, I have gotten better.

 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Nothing. And I am even surprised by that answer. I can honestly say the Trust Me series is exactly how I imagined it. I am in love with the story and the characters. Everything about it, to me, is perfection, and I am very proud of it.

Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?

My writing has opened so many doors for me already. I will follow the path and see where it takes me!

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Write what you know. Write what sparks your inner muse, your passion. Stay true to it and the rest will come.

 

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

On occasion, yes, and I write my way through it. I just keep writing until the spark hits and then I am back on track.

 

How did you deal with rejection letters?

Rejection is always hard. I tried to look at it as it was one more step towards yes!

 

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

First, dialogue. You can tell the whole story with dialogue alone if you are good enough. The other note that stands out in my favorites is a center, a core to the piece. It is called the theme, but I don’t like the term as it scares people. What is your story about? Beginning, end, down to the nitty gritty. When you figure it out you stick to it. Every line, and description, is attached to your core and it is the glue that holds your prose together.

 

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

Plot and characters are always fun and I don’t have a set formula perse. When I have an idea, I work out a loose interpretation of it in an outline. From there I start writing…the characters, the expanded plot and where it goes just grows from there. It may be a little unorthodox but it works.

 

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

A thesaurus, access to Google, a notebook, and a plethora of pens. For me, along with my computer I am set.

 

How long does it take you to write a book?

Beginning to end, including rewrites and editing, approximately six months.

 

What is your work schedule like when writing?

I write everyday, no excuses.Usually from 6:30am to 8am and then from 8 pm to 11 pm during the week. Weekends are as much as humanly possible (working of course around 3 kids a job and a so-called life)

 

What are your current projects?

Books 2 and 3 of the the Trust Me Series are in final editing at Ecstasy Books (Book 2 is due to be released in Dec 2010).

I am working on the rewrite of my second series, currently untitled, which I hope will premiere in 2011.

I have also become a contributor for the Red Lipstick Journals, an erotic blog anchored by some of the best erotica writers in the market right now.

Last, but not least, I have become a contributing editor at Bella Online for their Prime Time TV category.

 

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Well, Book 2 and 3 of the Trust Me series get seriously twisted. While Rebecca struggles with her feelings for Eric, the stalker keeps escalating until the unthinkable happens, ripping everyone’s world to shreds. In Book 3, not to give too much away, but let’s just say an old face comes back to haunt Rebecca, and a string of unexpected events soon follow!

 

My new series is centered around the meeting of Jack Tucker, local celebrity player and Dallas Radio personality and the love of his life, FBI Agent Kate Weiss.

Jack has everything he needs, a life, a career, money. A complicated life wasn’t worth the energy in Jack’s eyes. Why make it harder than it needs to be?

Kate is recovering from an undercover operation gone wrong. Her physical and emotional wounds still fresh. She stays with her mentor for a few weeks, helping out at his radio station.

Take these two independent souls, throw in a little intrigue, a dash of conspiracy, and you have the makings of an edge of your seat thriller!

 

What is the last book you read?

I just finished Earthwalker by Julie Achteroff. What an amazing story, absolutely loved it!

 

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

Diana Tregarde from the Mercedes Lackey novels She is a pychic and a romance novelist! All of my dreams rolled into one!

 

Tell us about one of your worst habit or quality?

Too nice. How can you be too nice? You don’t learn how to say “NO.” I overwhelm myself by not saying no.  I have gotten better though…

How do you tackle stress and define stress?

Stress. Funny you should ask this, I am going through a very stressful time at the moment. Stress to me is chaos. Now, I don’t mean regular chaos. I mean the train is running full speed off the track and you keep pulling on the broken brake in the hope of a miracle. I am a self-admitted control freak and I can handle a moderate amount of chaos in my life (I do have three kids after all, and choose to be a writer), but when real stress is one mess after another piling up, a girl can only handle so much!

 

If you were an animal what kind of animal would you be?

A house cat. I would love to be lazy all day!

What is your favorite color?

Green. To me it is the color of life.

 

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?

Yogurt, four gallons of milk, five bottles of Vault, hazelnut creamer, roast beef, and swiss cheese.

 

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional who would it be?

Too many choices! Aghhh…Audrey Hepburn.

 

What was the last movie you went to see?

Cats and Dogs 2.

 

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

According to my kids Super Hugs and Super Kisses. Oh, and shape-shifting into a Hippo.

 

Finally, you know there’s a HUGE work up on Vampires lately. So: Vampire Diaries, True Blood or Twilight, and why?

True Blood definitely! Out of the three it is the most realistic. I do enjoy the other two, I watch the Vampire Diaries but my favorite is True Blood.

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Interview with Jen Knox, Author of Musical Chairs


Jen Knox writes both fiction and creative nonfiction.  She never writes poetry, not on purpose (she asked me to include this detail), but she enjoys reading it. Jen is a graduate of Bennington‘s Writing Seminars and currently works as a Creative Writing professor at San Antonio College and Fiction Editor at Our Stories Literary Journal.  Jen is here today to answer a few questions about her current title, Musical Chairs and her experience as an emerging writer.

Jen, tell us, what compelled you to write a memoir?

 

Jen: Hello.  I didn’t want to be bothered with plotlines.  I’m kidding!  I wanted to tell my story because it’s a hell of a story, and although it’s a hell of a story, it’s not unique. Teenage girls, especially those who are prone to depression or anxiety, have it tough to begin with. There is a lot of confusion during this time, and when a person is depressed, the desire to ‘escape’ is prevalent. If undiagnosed, however, the dilemma compounds.  It’s common to seek escape. My family wasn’t perfect, no, but I was not abused. Yet, I was sure that my life would be better, if only I got away from my parents. My memoir is about the tumultuous journey that follows this decision.  Honestly, I did not set out to write a memoir. When I began writing, when I returned to college, I wrote fiction. Meanwhile, my personal stories were surfacing in the characters. Once a phenomenal teacher introduced me to the art of essay and memoir, I decided to give it a shot. Memoir is a tough genre, but incredibly rewarding.

 

In telling your story, has it made life easier or more difficult for you?

 

Jen: Interesting question. I can’t say my life has become any easier, but I do feel as though the process of memoir writing, if taken seriously, allows more perspective on the past.  I have received quite a few unsolicited diagnoses from readers.  I suppose they might’ve been solicited, in a way, seeing as how I chose to publish, but either way, I had some really interesting responses.  One man accused my father of molesting me, he said it was the sub-text he had read in the book.  This did not happen, and so for my father to read this review was incredibly painful.  Moreover, I have had quite a few people accuse me of being an amoral person, a person who “needs Jesus” or some other sort of saving, and this can be a little tough to take.  The truth is, I’m very happy now, and I wouldn’t trade my decisions for anything.  My memoir was important because it gave voice to my younger self, a girl many other girls may relate to.  And the positive feedback I’ve received, those who’ve told me that they have a similar story but are ashamed to share it; those who tell me that I am a tough girl for having the courage to change my lifestyle; those who have also abused alcohol or drugs, they make up for anything negative others might say.  They are my audience.

 

What is your favorite color?

Jen: Gray-blue, like the sky just before it storms.

Did you experience writer’s block during the writing process? If so, how did you overcome it?

 

Jen: No. I wrote the draft in a summer. It took five years to revise and refine. I did have many days in which I didn’t want to revise though, but it’s my feeling that if a writer hires a ghostwriter for a memoir, it shouldn’t be considered a memoir.

 

What advice can you give to those who suspect that they too could be suffering from some form of mental illness?

 

Jen: Talk to someone you trust. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone, then write it down. Record how you feel and when you are most depressed, and then bring this information to a reputable psychologist. I am not a huge advocate of quick fixes, and I highly suggest that a person who wants a lasting cure to pay close attention to how the mind works; study for yourself. The fact is, depression is not a rational thing, and so you cannot fix it with a quick, rational cure. It takes time and support. There are support groups and physical tools that will help, such as regular exercise, that helped me immensely

 

What was the most difficult part of the writing process for Musical Chairs?

 

Jen: Figuring out which scenes to cut and which to include. It seems that a memoir would be easier to write than fiction, because the story is already there. But life doesn’t follow a clear narrative path, and therefore a writer must impose one–this is no easy thing! The structure of memoir requires a lot of reworking and adjustment in order to maintain integrity and best tell a personal story.

 

 

Did you ever feel that by distancing yourself from your family, you might be able to avoid mental illness?

 

Jen: No. I feel as though distancing myself from my family did give me more appreciation for them, but I was a depressed little kid; it was with me long before I could name it. I strongly believe that mental distress, to a certain degree, is chemical. This doesn’t mean that a person cannot find a personalized cure, and it doesn’t mean I advocate medication as a quick fix, but it does mean that it’s not wholly sociological.

 

 

How long did it take you to research, write and have your memoir published?

 

Jen: Five years, in total. A few months of writing; years of fact-checking and research; more years of revising.

 

 

What do you hope that your readers will take away from your book?

 

Jen: I hope that they will better understand what it is like for a young girl to deal with depression. I hope women will read this book, and chose to tell their own stories (in whatever way) rather than staying silent. Behaviors repeat if we don’t address them, and the dangers that exist for a teenage girl will not go away. Awareness, however, can decrease a girl’s odds of endangering herself.

 

 

Do you have any new books planned for publication in the next few years?

 

Jen: I plan to release a collection of short stories in early 2011 with All Things That Matter Press.  It’s entitled To Begin Again.  I am currently working on a novel entitled Absurd Hunger. I hope to release this one in 2012, but I’m not sure this is realistic.  We’ll see.

 

 

Thank you, Jen, for your time.  Musical Chairs can be purchased at Amazon.com at: http://amzn.com/0984259422

Check out Jen Knox’s website and blog:

http://www.jenknox.com

http://jenknox.blogspot.com/2010/08/personality-punctuation.html

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