Interview with Guest Author Lilly Cain

Hello everyone! Please help me welcome Lilly Cain to the blog today.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am from Nova Scotia, on the Eastern Shore of Canada. I have two beautiful, tall, smart daughters, a big family nearby and a comfy house and a tiny cottage in the middle of nowhere that I share with my parents. I have an evil cat (aren’t they all?) and three horrible little hamster rat things. Shudder. Although my bio says I am a wild woman that is just something I play at, in truth I am a quiet nerdy gal who loves sci-fi movies and a good romance.

2. When/how did you know you wanted to write?
I’ve been writing a long time but only became a serious writer after my second child was born and my then husband decided to leave. After I recovered somewhat, I took to writing as a means of therapy, and it helped, especially when I needed to give someone a very bloody ending, LOL!

3. How long did it take you to get published?
I decided I wanted to publish in 2008. I work hard and wrote a book that will never see the light of day. Then I wrote another. The spring of 2009 I sold Dark Harmony, my first book, at the RT conference in Florida and it was published January 2010.

4. What’s your favorite part of being an author?
I think it is exploring things that I am curious about – the research and the writing allows me to do that. Sometimes that means exploring an attitude, sometimes it means finding out about Celtic mythology. 🙂

5. Tell us about your newest release, UNDERCOVER ALLIANCE.
Undercover Alliance is the third book in my erotic sci-fi series, The Confederacy Treaty. It’s not quite the end of the series, there is one more, but it is action filled, both in bed and out, as the humans and the Inarrii – the alien representatives of the Confederacy – come closer to a peace treaty that could save our world. In this book we meet an Inarrii warrior whose career is on the out – she was injured in an earlier book and no one expects her to survive. She’s given one last tour of duty as a bodyguard for one of the paper-pushers of the treaty on the human side. She figured it’s a pity post, and perhaps it would have been except the man she’s sent to guard is actually an undercover human spy sent to protect the treaty from the inside. But word leaks and he’s a target, with only his Inarrii bodyguard there to save him…

6. What inspired The Confederacy Treaty series?
Strangely I was watching NCIS, and found myself a little disappointed with the plot (it happens, even to the best of shows) so I started to play what if. What if the girl accused of treason was innocent? What if she fell in love with her accuser and he with her while they tried to prove her innocence? What if he could read her mind? See what she saw? What if they were in outer space?? This became The Naked Truth, which is the second book in the series. After I’d completed a rough first draft I realized there was an earlier story to write, and that it would become a series.

7. Which has been your favorite book to write?
I think Undercover Alliance was my favorite. It was kind of a James Bond experience for me, writing the action scenes and the sex scenes. Lots of fun!

8. What are you working on now?
Right now I am doing something a little different – a series of very short novellas for Carina Press that are light, contemporary erotic romance. The series is called Bad Girls Know… and book one is called No Reservations. 🙂

9. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?
What I tell every writer is…Read, Write, Read, Write…repeat. Make writing and reading (lots of genres!) a big part of your life.

Undercover Alliance 
The Confederacy Treaty Book Three
By Lilly Cain
Carina Press

Sarina is scarred. Her L’inar, the curving nerve lines that enable Inarrii to experience their full sexuality, were severed in battle and she can no longer reach completion. Until she accepts a job as bodyguard to the human ambassador John Bennings, and is astonished to discover that they share a mental bond—a mirrored pathway of thoughts that will allow Sarina to climax.

When John’s the target of an attack and they are forced into hiding, he’s not sorry to be in close quarters with the compelling Sarina. They explore their erotic connection, and John is happy to demonstrate that humans have more sexual skills than Sarina thought.

To prove that she is whole and rejoin her Inarrii clan, Sarina needs John to bring her to climax in public in accordance with tradition. With a roomful of Inarrii and humans watching, will John be willing to perform as Sarina needs—and will their public display make John vulnerable to another attack?

About the Author:

Lilly Cain is a wild woman with a deep throaty laugh, plunging necklines and a great lover of all things sensual – perfume, chocolate, silk! She never has to worry about finding a date or keeping a man in line. She keeps her blond hair long and curly, wears beautiful clothes and loves loud music. Lilly lives her private life in the pages of her books.

Lilly lives in Atlantic Canada, although she spent eight years in Bermuda, enjoying the heat and the pink sands. She returned to her homeland so she could see the changing of the seasons once again. When not writing she paints, swills coffee and vodka (but not together), and fights her writing pals for chocolate.

When not living up to her pen name, Lilly is a single mom who loves reading and writing, dabbling in art and loving and caring for her two daughters. She loves romance and the freedom erotic fantasy provides her imagination. She loves the chilling moments in her novels as much as the steaming hot interludes. Her stories are an escape and a release, and she hopes that they can give you that power, too.

Media Links:

Website –
Publisher (books also available on Amazon etc, and available as an audiobook at
Group blog –
Facebook –
Twitter –

Interview with Ronda Thompson

Here is the last of my interviews for now, which occured with Ronda Thompson one of paranormal romance’s great authors.

Ronda Thompson

Thank you for taking the time to interview with us. Ronda’s newest release is Midnight Pleasures which came out in November 2003.

1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?

RT: I think writers are born. I wrote my first poem in the second grade. My mother still has it. I was always scribbling down poems and short stories as I grew up. In high school, I wrote for the school newspaper. I guess I always knew I wanted to be a writer.

2. How long did it take you to become published?

RT: Four years to make my first sale once I began writing seriously, but six to actually see books on the shelves with my name on them.

3. Who are some of your favorite authors?

RT: I have so many favorite authors. I’m an avid reader and have been for years. The authors who got me hooked on romance novels were Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwiss and Barbara Cartland to name a few. Today I read all genres of romance and my favorite authors are Madeline Baker/Amanda Ashley, Christine Feehan, Claudia Dain, Shannon Drake, Maggie Shayne, Rachel Gibson and the list could go on and on and on.

4. Who do you count as your literary influences?

RT: Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Diana Gabaldon, and again this list could go on and on, too.

5. How do you feel about fans doing fanfic and/or rpg on the web based on your or other author’s works?

RT: To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I know some authors don’t like having their work copied in any form and I believe copywrite laws protect them if they want to go after someone, but other authors say they feel as if it’s an honor to be singled out and to have influenced people so much with their characters that fans want to see their stories continued. I’ve never seen one of my stories used in fanfic, so that’s probably why I don’t know how I feel regarding the matter.

6. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

RT: Dedication and persistence is the key. Very few people sell their first novel, or their second or third or fourth. Rejection is hard for anyone to take, and there is a lot of it in this business. Once you make your first sale, there are still very tough issues to deal with. Writers love to write, but few love the business end of writing. My advice is to look at the business end realistically, but at the same, do what most of us have done and just reach for one goal at a time. Write because you love to write.

7. Many authors are doing strictly e-books. Do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

RT: I don’t think we will ever see the end of real books. I hope not anyway. I love to smell a book, touch it, look at the cover, turn the pages. I know environmentally e-books are a better choice and we may be moving toward that due to those concerns, but I hope we don’t have to worry about it for a long time.

8. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

RT: It depends on the book I’m writing. If I set more than one book in the same area and time period, then the research time is basically cut in half. If I’m doing a paranormal where I get to create a world, then that’s great. But if I’m doing something that really needs to be historically accurate, I spend probably six months doing research, depending on the project.

9. Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 yrs? If not then what?

RT: Yes, I do. I love romance and know I will always remain true to the genre. I also like Children’s literature and could see myself writing for that market.

10. How has being recognized in public affected your daily life or has it?

RT: Well, the great thing and the not so great thing about being a published author is that most people don’t know what you look like. It’s more of a thrill to say your name and have someone recognize that rather than your face. I’m not famous enough for it to have changed anything really, except maybe the way I feel about myself. I look at all the framed covers on my office wall and it gives me a deep feeling of satisfaction. I know the percentage of authors who submit a book and actually get it published is very small, so I feel very fortunate, and very proud that I had the dedication to see my dream through.

Interviewed by Sarah on 2/3/04.

Interview with Diane Taylor (follow-up)

Diane Taylor (follow-up)

Hi, Diane. It’s great interviewing with you again.

1. You just recently were published. How does it make you feel?

DT: Well, actually, they’re not published yet. They’re in the works. But, Truthfully? I’m on cloud nine! Having all this hit me within a 4 week period is kind of overwhelming. I’m still waiting for it to sink in. I love it.

2. Did you have any rejections before you were finally able to get published or was it fairly easy?

DT: Actually, no, I havent had any rejections. I was talking with a friend of mine from who goes by the name of LadyA and she hooked me up with Gail. Editor for Triskelion Publishing. Four weeks ago last saturday, I sent her my first book, just to show her what my writing style was like.

2 hours later she gets me on Yahoo Instant Messenger and says, “What would you say if I told you I wanted your book?”

And that’s how it all started.

3. How long does it take for you to write your books?

DT: Truthfully? It depends. If I was really ambitious, I could pound out a 50k word book a month. But I am definately NOT that motivated. However, once I get on a roll, I can usually get a story out in a month. Shorter novels take a bit less time. I think the hardest part is going over it and spell checking your work.

4. Is there any character in your books that you can really relate to?

DT: I think I can relate to all my leading lady characters. I put a little bit of myself into each one to make them more.. Real, I guess you’d call it. They’re all part of me, yet they’re their own personality. The trick is getting the character to work with me.

5. What is your favorite part of writing?

DT: Actually, my favorite part of writing will come when I can see it up for sale. That will be the favorite part. But, right now, it’s Finishing the books. That is the most satisfying part of writing anything, I think. That time when you can honestly feel that you’ve put your all into the book and take your fingers off the keyboard… after you save the document, of course..

It’s definately a feeling of accomplishment.

6. Getting back to your books coming out soon. Tell us a little about what to expect from them.

DT: Well, I think I can try and hand you some of the goodies to expect from my books:

Shadow Demon is a paranormal/political/romantic suspense type book. It’s got a bit of everything. Assasins, Yakuza crime lords, Old Money that can buy anything *they think*, along with a Goddess that likes to pop in at odd moments in the book and startle the @#%$ out of the main character.

As the blurb for this book goes:

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. For Terri Montegard, it’s a Death Warrant.

Posedon’s Heart is pure fun. As you can guess, it deals with the Greek God, Poseidon. Toss in a mentally and physically scarred underwater Archeologist that hates arrogant, macho, testosterone driven men, and you’ve got an explosive romantic story that is sometimes funny, sometimes serious. But hey, what’s one without the other. eh?

The blurb:
Poseidon has lost his Crown and his Trident. Now, he’s about to loose his Heart.

Those are the two that are in the revision stages. The rest, well, I have a few left to write before the end of the year. However, I’m going to keep the info bits to myself. However, Here are the names of the books to look for after the two above:

Lion’s Eye
Bardic Flame
Dracul Diamond.

7. When and where can we purchase your books?

DT: Poseidon’s Heart will be on the list for August at the following addy:

Shadow Demon is still in the revision process and will be out asap.

The rest are still in the WIP (Work In Process) stage.


Thanks again for letting me be interviewed. Good luck on your own efforts, Sarah. I know you can do it.

Interviewed by Sarah on 7/13/04.

Interview with Diane Taylor

Diane Taylor

Today and tomorrow I’m posting the interviews I did with Diane Taylor. At the time I did this, Diane was on the brink of getting her first novel published.

1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?

DT: I’m not entirely sure, exactly. I started out writing dark, gothic poetry when I was younger. I still have those poems hanging around my room somewhere. But I’ve always wanted to write at least one book. Something I can point to and proudly say, “I wrote that!”

At first I wanted to compile poetry into a book and try it that way. But now, I’m writing stories in the hope that at least one of them will be accepted into the great wide world of publishing. *grin*

2. How long did it take you to become published?

DT: I’m not published yet. I’m still working on polishing up the stories I do have out there.

I take that back. If you want to call having adult fan fiction posted on an over 18 story website, then yes, I’ve been there, done that. Hehehe. Other than that, I’m still working this part out.

3. Who are some of your favorite authors?

DT: Oh boy! you sure you want me to answer this one? hehe Okay, here we go. I have a lot of them, almost too many to list. I’m an ecclectic reader. Mercedes Lackey, Iris Johansen, Dara Joy, Christine Feehan, Laurell K. Hamilton, Sandra Hill, Nina Bangs and Johanna Lindsey are just a few of the ones I love to read. Oh, let’s not forget Nancy Collins. Like I said, I’m a pretty ecclectic reader.

4. Who do you count as your literary influences?

DT: I’d have to say my Mom, first of all. She’s the one who, even when I was a little kid, had an up-to-date library card. Always told me that if I didn’t know about something, to go to the library and look it up. Don’t get me wrong, she’d help me anyways, but she’s the one that turned me into a book addict. And now, as I’m writing, she’s always there on the Yahoo Messenger, supporting me.

After my Mom, I’m not entirely sure. I think all my favorite authors have a hand in guiding me as well with their stories. I get a feel for a storyline through them and I run with an idea that I have in my head.

5. Do you have a specific schedule in which you write?

DT: Schedule? What’s that? hehehe Actually it’s my Muse who makes his own schedule. Sometimes I’ll sit down and stare at the screen before calling up an online game or two. Other days I’ll be on a roll and belting out a storyline left and right.

It’s my Muse, I tell you.. it’s all HIS fault! *grinning*

6. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

DT: In a word? Write! No matter if it’s just a bunch of words on a screen. Write. Even if it’s just one creative sentence on a blank piece of paper. That is the best advice that one author can give to another. Write down your thoughts, feelings, ideas. Maybe find a picture or an item that you have around the house and write a short story about how it got there. But still, write.

7. Many authors are doing strictly e-books. Do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

DT: Hard cover and paperbacks will always be around. There will never be any such thing as the end of real books because there are too many people who like to have the feel of an actual book in their hands as they sit, curled up in a chair with their coffee or cocoa or whatever. I’m one of them. I like getting lost in a book.

E-Books have their place in the universe as well. Sometimes a real book is too bulky to take somewhere while the e-book reader is flat and easy to carry with you.

It’s a toss up. Personally, if I’m given a choice, I’ll take real books. Others may choose E-books. It’s a preference each person has.

8. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

DT: Actually, I write and do research at the same time. It’s kind of fun that way. If I’m up to a part in the book that I need some fact to go with the fiction, I open another window and go digging. I’ve been known to find the tiniest factoid in a remote corner of the Internet Universe that melds perfectly with what I’m doing at the moment. Then there are other times when I find a ton of info that would work on a sequel to the book I’m writing at the moment. It’s really kind of fun to see what interesting things I can come up with while writing stories. It’s great.

9. Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 yrs? If not then what?

DT: Actually, yes. I do see myself writing in the same genre ten years from now. Romance, Adventure, Intrigue, paranormal, with a slight sensual bend. Yep. That’s my type of genre.

My husband thinks I’m insane, my brother thinks I’m warped. But hey, it works! *evil grin*

10. Do you have any future projects? If so, tell us about them.

DT: Well, as of the moment, I have three pieces in the works:

The Montegard Files: Shadow Demon
Terri Montegard is a photographer hired by her half-sister to photograph her and her wealthy and politically correct Fiance’ Cosar Mentari on their trip to Kamakura Japan. Tragedy strikes when an explosion rocks a celebration, killing Cosar, her half sister, and leaving her severely injured. As she is healing, she is plunged into a world of the Yakuza, of the mechanations of a Wealthy Patriarch, Corruption, and murder. The only one who can keep her sane through all this is the one man that the Japanese call the Kage Oni. The Shadow Demon

Lion’s Eye
Jessie Brightman is an Empath and Telepath. Plagued by sensual visions of tawny golden eyes, a rumbling purr and the feel of fur against her skin, she seeks out a friend who mysteriously drags her off to see a shaman for help. Told to follow the urgings of her dreams and given a mysterious stone to wear to help her on her way, she finds herself on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, fighting for her life against a huge lion. Gravely injured, she is rescued by a mysterious man that seems to draw out her primal side. As she heals, her attraction to the mystery man will endanger them both. And the only thing between a bunch of corrupt federal thugs and the abyss of death.. is the Lion’s Eye.

This last one doesn’t have a name yet. But I’m working on it.
Follow Diane Taylor * Yes, I used my real name in this story* as she gets caught up in a sensual and erotic affair with Stephen Samios, an author and poet of some of the darkest and wickedest topics you could ever sink your teeth and hands into. An independantly wealthy and famous man, they encounter each other in a pool hall. Actually, that happens only after she gets her face sliced open by a drunk and faints in his arms. But hey, how romantic can you get? This story will take you from the streets to LA, to Castille de la Luna just outside of Barcelona, and various other locations. Trust me, It’s going to be fun. I haven’t decided where it’s all going to end up. But I’m sure my Muse will help me out.

Interviewed by Sarah on 2/8/04.

Drive by blogging…

Okay, okay… so here I am… doing a little drive by blogging regarding something I’m quite thrilled about! Today at The Deadly Vixens we have an interview with RWA Seattle’s President and published author, Shelli Stevens, as she explains what it’s like to be an RWA chapter president and an author.

Also, as you can tell, it’s the end of the month. Yikes! Where did January go? I still have the rest of today to make my February goals and try to get as much done on my monthly goals as I can, and tomorrow, I’ll see what I’ve achieved and/or made progress on. I hope you’ve accomplished all you’ve wanted to this month!

Anyways, I’ll see you over at The Deadly Vixens. *winks*

Interview with Theresa Scott

Theresa Scott

Thank you for taking the time to interview with me.

1. How were you inspired to become an author?

TS: I read a Johanna Lindsey story and from there, I started to read every romance I could get my hands on. This went on for about two years. I absorbed the books. Then, of course, I wanted to write one. I sat down and figured out a plot and started writing and didn’t show it to anyone until I’d written a few chapters. Then I took a weekend workshop at a regional conference and Debbie Macomber was my teacher. She encouraged me and… I just kept going!

2. Did it take a lot of rejections for you to finally get published or was it pretty easy for you?

TS: I find now that I was published fairly easily. My first book was picked up by Dorchester Publishing. Nowadays that is a rarity. I am currently in a hiatus in my career, however, where the publishing is not coming easily, so, moral of the story is I guess you pays now or you pays later… At some point in a writing career you will have to work without outside reinforcement, like being recognized as a writer, or being published, or getting great reviews, to cheer you along. Whether that is at the beginning, middle or end of your career differs with each person. And don’t forget that much in a publishing career is out of the writer’s hands. We can do the work and make sure it’s the best book we can write, but we can’t control if it will be bought by an editor or readers.

3. How do you find out all of the information needed on the Native American legends and myths?

TS: My BA degree was in Anthropology. I learned to research while gaining that degree. I find the best information is from the anthropological studies, and not necessarily on the internet. I’ve spent a lot of time reading books! I’ve also interviewed Native American people. I find that was often the most helpful and I continue to prefer to interview people on any number of topics. It lends a depth I need for the story.

4. Do you write your stories out with pencil and paper first or do you work straight on the computer?

TS: I like to sketch a story out longhand on a yellow legal pad first. That way, I get to play with the ideas. I’ve also discovered 3 X 5 cards are wonderful for getting your scenes down and then you can move the cards around until you get your story flowing the way you want it to. I get to the computer fairly quickly, however, and work from an outline, typing as I go deeper into the story.

5. How long does it take for you to write books?

TS: Usually 9 months to a year.

6. Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

TS: I look at it more in terms of story-telling. E-Books, published paperbacks, movies, they are all mediums for the storytelling. People want stories. We learn so much from them. We use them to guide us through life’s torturous pathways. I think that story telling is never going to go away. It may change or the structures may change but there is always going to be a demand for stories.

7. Is there anyone that you can think of that influences your writing?

TS: There are probably so many influences I can’t name them all. Influences are all around me, from newspapers, movies, and other people, to ideas that one gets. I like Christopher Vogler’s ‘The Writer’s Journey.’ Joseph Campbell. Movies. I think earlier on in a career, writers are more influenced by a role model. After a writer has gained some skill and experience–when they get their own voice–a writer may shy away from reading others in an attempt to keep their own voice more authentic.

8. Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?

TS: Ideas can come from anywhere. It is our individual unconscious that needs to be open to the stimulus of something outside or inside of us. Dreams, a chance word, an idea. A question about life. Any number of things. Bottom line is I think that the ideas come from what we call God, or the Universe, or one’s Higher Power, or whatever you want to name the Great Mystery. I do not use people whom I know for my characters. I stay away from that. Besides, how can I really know another person? Real life events can be fun to write about in a story, but again, I write fiction so I would change the details, or give it different ending.

9. Do you have any projects you are currently working on?

TS: I am currently working on a screenplay and a contemporary novel.

10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

TS: Ah, advice… yes. Hmmmm. The story is the thing. What I’ve found is that a writing career takes a lot more work and effort than I ever thought it would. I’ve found that I meet wonderful people along the way. I’ve found that I learn a heck of a lot about myself and how I look at the world. I’ve found that if you persevere in writing stories, it can be very rewarding for the writer as well as for the reader.

Interviewed by Sarah on 3/10/04.

Interview with Robin D. Owens

Robin D. Owens

Her books are absolutely wonderful! I definitely recommend reading them.

1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?

RDO: I wrote as a child. The only story I vaguely remember (fortunately) is one about two friends on a spaceship, one with long, curly black hair to her hips and the other with long, curly blond hair…I wrote bits and pieces of ideas/scenes for a long time, then put most of my creativity into a relationship, when that broke up, I decided to do something for me and took a writing course from Cassie Miles/Kay Bergstrom. Kay continues to read and critique all my work.

2. How long did it take you to become published?

RDO: LOL, I prefer not to recall exactly how long it took me to get published, but I think it was between 8-9 years.

3. Who are some of your favorite authors?

RDO: Favorite authors: Jayne Ann Krentz (Jayne Castle), Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Elizabeth Lowell, Jasmine Cresswell, Maggie Osborne…

4. Who do you count as your literary influences?

RDO: Literary Influences — see above…also, Mary Stewart, Andre Norton, Tanith Lee.

5. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

RDO: As a person with a library degree I don’t DARE research a book beforehand. I have books at my desk (Celtic mythology, botany books and the Herbal Tarot for naming characters, Welsh dictionary, French dictionary, Crystal and Gem, Castles, etc.). When I need something I usually research it that week and usually online. Many times I contact people. I believe the nanotechnology took me about two weeks for Heart Thief, but I’d been interested in it for a long time, so I knew something of the science.

6. How long does it take for you to write books?

RDO: It varies at how long a book takes. I’m usually working on more than one at a time. I’ll say between four and six months for a rough draft, then it’s revise, revise, revise.

7. I really enjoy reading your books. How did you come up with the idea for your series about Celta?

RDO: Thanks for the compliment on the Heart books. Celta is defined as I go along (though by the end of HeartMate I had about 20 pages of notes, more now of course). Actually, I usually get ideas from physical objects. I was playing with a bloodstone pendulum and thought of a man who might use bloodstone dice to foretell the future, especially his True Love. But it would have to be in a culture where a man doing divination wouldn’t be seen as sissy or weak. So I had him make the dice, but being a jeweler might be seen as a sissy job too, so I had him forging swords. It all fell together. I’d wanted to see a Celtic society in books, so I made one up. I don’t pretend to be an expert and form my society on Celta by what feels right to me personally.

8. Are you ever influenced by something you see and think, that would go great in a book?

RDO: I am influenced by EVERYTHING. What I see, hear, touch, smell, taste, feel, think. Others’ experiences. Books, movies, music, news, what my cats whine at me and how they act, readers’ comments, reviews, critique buddies especially. Everything. What I put down on the page is something I got from somewhere…I recall when the penny dropped about doing cat familiars. My scruffy tom, Maddox, was lurking outside the door of my office, waiting for another cat to come out (my office has no door). I said, “Maddox, please don’t pounce on Diva.” As if 1) He could understand me. 2) He would listen to me if he DID understand me. 3) He would bother to modify his behavior. He was a CAT.

9. Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

RDO: I am sure ebooks are here to stay, but haven’t a clue when they will become more popular than paper.

10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

RDO: Determination is more important than talent. Like I say in my dedication of HeartMate: To All Struggling Writers, Never Quit. Never Quit…and I was very careful in that dedication — I meant myself, too.

Thanks for the opportunity to talk about my craft, and the excellent questions.

Take care,

HeartMate, 2002 RITA Winner Best Paranormal Romance
“I loved Heart Thief!” Jayne Ann Krentz

Interviewed by Sarah on 5/1/04.

Interview with Penelope Neri

Penelope Neri

Thank you for taking the time to interview with me! It was great talking to you.

1. How were you inspired to become an author?

PN: Perhaps it sounds a bit trite, but I think my first inspiration to become an author started way back, when I first learned to read. I suspect now that I had a form of dyslexia as a child, although such things weren’t diagnosed in those days. It seemed as if everyone else in first grade could read, except me! I felt so left out, because I knew I wasn’t stupid!

I was about seven or eight when I finally began reading. Once I knew how, I read everything in sight! By the time I was eleven, I was reading books for adults. At that time, it seemed to me that being able to write a book for other people to read was the most exciting thing anyone could do. (I was right! It is!) That’s one reason I was delighted to be asked to contribute to Leisure’s ‘Love’s Legacy’ literary anthology.

2. Who are some of your favorite authors?

PN: I enjoy so many! Historical biographies by Margaret George, great epic ‘place’ books by Edward Rutherford, (London, Sarum, etc.) psychological suspense from British writing duo Nikki French, history/adventure by Wilbur Smith, Mary Stewart, Rosamund Pilcher, Binchy, Nora Roberts, and so many others!

3. How long did it take you to become published?

PN: My first book, Passion’s Rapture, was accepted on its third submission by editor Pesha Finkelstein at Zebra Books (now Kensington). It took about eighteen months to write it, and another eighteen months to find a publisher. I was very lucky.

4. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

PN: Research is an ongoing process as I write, so about six months or so. I also enjoy watching movies with a similar locale, time period etc. to my current work in progress. This helps me to absorb the feel of a time or place.

5. What inspires you to focus on past eras?

PN: My love of history and the quirks of various cultures and time periods!

6. What do you do in preparing to write a story?

PN: I read ‘all around’ the people, time and place I’m interested in, such as travel books, non-fiction history books, even cook books and recipes. Sometimes I get a bit carried away and my research spills over into the family meal-planning. When I was researching Scotland, my kids were afraid I’d expect them to eat haggis! (boiled sheep’s intestine stuffed with oatmeal, spices, onions and minced meats.) Once I’ve absorbed enough of the atmosphere and flavor of the people/period/location to write about a time or place comfortably and knowledgeably, I begin.

7. Who do you count as your literary influences?

PN: I was raised and educated in Suffolk, England, so my influences tend to be classical British authors such as Dickens, Shakespeare, etc.

8. Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

PN: I hope not. There’s nothing as comforting as lugging around that special title you can’t wait to read, then curling up with it in a comfortable nook somewhere, and losing yourself for a few hours. Of course, you could do that with an e-book and a ‘reader’ too, but I’m not sure the experience would be as personal, somehow. Hopefully, there is room for both e-books and traditional books in the market.

9. Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 yrs? If not then what?

PN: Who knows if I’ll even be here in 10 years? I’m getting pretty ancient! If I am, though, I’ll probably still be writing. I can’t seem to give it up. I’d like to move into the romatic suspense genre, and perhaps from there into mainstream suspense/mystery genre.

10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

PN: 1. Find a well paying job or someone to support your writing habit first !!! Seriously, despite my own good fortune, getting published is usually a long (often frustrating) process. I was tremendously lucky. That said, if you are committed to becoming published…

2. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it! Go for it! Use every moment of your spare time to write, research, and polish your manuscript. If you don’t have time, MAKE time. Trust me, if you want it badly enough, you will find the time somehow, even if it’s fifteen minutes here, twenty minutes there. Those minutes spent writing add up. Plotting can begin in your head while you’re riding a bus, train or the subway, or washing the supper dishes. In a few months, a page a day, or even five pages a week, will become 300 pages. That’s a book!

3. Don’t talk about your book too much while you’re in the writing process. I think sometimes, too much talk can drain the ‘juice’ out of an idea, and steal some of the writer’s enthusiam and excitement, which ideally, should show through in the actual wiring, instead.

4. Set your goals and follow through by making sure that everything you do contributes to reaching them. For example, craft a plot that you would want to read yourself, one that would be suitable for a genre that you know, enjoy, and are very familiar with–then give it that unexpected twist to set it apart from the rest.

5. Study the market and any current/upcoming books from the list published by your chosen publishers.

6. Get yourself a current copy of the Writer’s Market Guide to find out if you need an agent, or if you can submit unagented work to your chosen publishers. This point is very important. Knowing whether a publisher will or will not accept unagented submissions will save you precious time.

7. Try to discern trends in the genre, which I’ve found start to show themselves about one year to eighteen months or so before a certain topic (Scotland, Vikings etc) becomes ‘hot’. You, as the writer, have to be eighteen months ahead of those trends!

8. Decide what the editors are looking/not looking for, then craft a plot that meets and exceeds the publisher of that genre’s requirements. That way, you won’t waste precious time sending a great horse to the wrong stable!

9. If, despite your best efforts, you receive a rejection letter that includes any suggestions from an editor, stop everything, act upon those suggestions and resubmit, ASAP. (Editors rarely waste precious time in offering suggestions unless something tweaked their interest.)

10. I really believe that by setting goals, working towards them and visualizing a positive result you can achieve just about anything. Oh, and good luck!

Interviewed by Sarah on 3/12/04.

Michael J. Lore interview

Hello everyone! Here is the second interview I have to share with everyone. Hope you enjoy!


Michael J. Lore

Thanks for agreeing to interview with me. It’s been a great experience.

1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?

MJL: Oddly enough, I never thought of myself as a writer. Despite the fact that I did do a lot of creative writing as a child. For instance, during my middle school years, I would use song titles to create funny short stories. And, during my high school years, I produced endless amounts of rap and song lyrics. At that time, I was dreaming of becoming a rapper. Around the birth of my first child, I began to write poems. But most of these were to amuse my wife. So, I didn’t make the connection of creative writing equals writer. None of my high school English teachers ever mentioned it to me. I don’t recall any of them saying that my writing was anything other than average. But, all of that changed when I reached college. My English professor told me that my stories were very entertaining. He told me that my approach to telling a story was different. And he suggested that I keep all the papers I’d written in his class and considering publishing them one day. Then a little light went off in my head. Because, I’d once had a job selling books. And from that I saw first hand that books could generate money. But, at the time I didn’t consider writing a book. But, now that my professor had validated my writing abilities, I began to think of a way to write a book that I could sale. I believe it’s at that point that I became a writer.

2. How long did it take you to become published?

MJL: Years. Because, I never got positive feedback from any established, traditional publisher. Either nicely or harshly they all told me that they were not interested in taking on a new and unknown author. So of course, I got frustrated and took my mind off writing. Then I noticed what was happening in the rap world. That small unknown artist were shunning big time record companies’ rejections and making there own music. Producing it themselves. So then my mind flashed back to writing. I figured that if they could self-publish, I could self-publish. And I began to look around for a company that would allow me to do that. And that’s when I discovered AuthorHouse. And I decided to give it a try. I believed in my book. So I decided to put my money where my mouth was.

3. How long did it take for you to write your book, Live, Laugh, and Love: The Golden Moments of Life?

MJL: In all truth and honesty it took about a year and a half. Which is way longer than it needed to take. You see, I didn’t have a real direction with the book. I knew that I wanted to write a story about my relationship with my grandfather. And, after the funeral I began to tinker with a plot and a main character. But, many of my first drafts of the characters and story lines were too personal. They were too much like my grandfather’s actual life and the things we really did. And that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to capture his spirit. I didn’t want to write a biography. So I kept playing with the plots and thinking and thinking. Add to that the fact that I was only writing in the evenings. After everybody else had used the computer I would go on it and write. So I wasn’t spending a lot of time writing the story. But, that wasn’t a big problem because I still didn’t have a plot that I liked. Finally after about a year and change I thought of a plot that I liked. Which, once again was totally different from what I’d written. So I discarded all that I’d wrote and started over. From that point, it was about another four to six months for me to complete the manuscript which was somewhere around 90,000 words.

4. Who are some of your favorite authors?

MJL: I’m really not an avid reader. When I was young I did read a lot. But the older I got the further I got from reading. So I don’t really have a favorite author. You see, I’ll go to read a book. Get distracted. And never get around to finishing it. However, I do admire and strive to be like those few authors who’ve created a story that they’ve been able to successfully build into a multi-entertainment empire. Like Gene Roddenbury did with Star Trek, and like George Lucas did with Star Wars, and like Tyler Perry is doing with Madea.

5. What do you do in preparing to write a story?

MJL: Research. I want the reader to believe that the story is real. Even though it’s fiction. I want the story line to be so real and imaginable that the reader forgets it fiction. For example, if I’m writing about a Miami street party that happened in 2003. I’ll go back and look for reports of an actual Miami street party that took place in 2003. Then, I’ll bring elements of that event into the story. In that way, some readers will read the story and say hey, I remember this party. That person really did perform at that party. And then they’ll sit back and ask themselves, is this story real? I thought this book was fiction, is it really real? And that’s what I want my readers to do. I want them to be fully entertained. And by offering them a blend of reality and fiction, I can accomplish that. So the big thing for me is research. I want my story to seem so real that my readers begin to believe that it is.

6. Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?

MJL: So far, all of my story ideas have come from my personal views of the world. For instance, I’ll be talking and joking with my friends and family about something. And they may be saying that’s so true or that’s funny or they’ll hit me with the old your crazy comment. At which point, I’ll think to myself that the rest of the world might enjoy hearing about my view on this matter as well. Then I’ll write a synopsis of what the story would be about. At that point, I’d show it to them and see if it generates the type of response that I want. If it does, I’ll set it aside to be created when I get a chance.

As for basing the characters on people I know, the answer to that is yes and no. My characters are based on blends of human personalities. Sprinkled with flash viewpoints and reactions of some people I know. But, with characters you have to remember that we’re all humans. And as such, the personality types we have as individuals are not exclusive to us. For example, I’m not the only person who dislikes raw garlic and believes that exercise is torture. And so, I could generate a character who like myself hates raw garlic. And doesn’t care for running marathons. Yet still wants to have a lean and sculptured body. A character who like the rest of us is filled with self conflicts and certain insecurities. A character who is human. Just as human as the rest of us. Somebody the reader and the world can relate to.

As for the events, most of them are real life events. Either based on my own life or somebody else’s. For example, my grandfather was seriously wounded in World War II. But he wasn’t shot eight times on Hagushi Beach. Likewise, a co-worker’s girlfriend did show up at the job and destroy some things. But, nobody was savagely beaten and hospitalized. None the less, the reader can still relate to it. Because you see it on the news daily. Everyday somebody goes to work and hurts somebody. So it’s very believable. In fact, there’s a chapter where a drug addict tries to escape the police by jumping from one roof to another. And, low and behold about a month ago, there was a police pursuit where the suspect, who was believed to be high on illegal drugs, tried to escape by jumping from one roof to another. And, I’ll bet you that if you let enough time pass it will happen again. These things keep the story feeling and seeming real. Sort of like magic is. You know it’s not real, but it seems so real when the magician makes the building disappear that you go off wondering if such a thing could really be done. You begin to believe that it’s real. At that point, you’ve been entertained. And you’re pleased with the magician’s performance. And the magician feels as if he or she has accomplished something.

7. What is your favorite part of writing?

MJL: Creating the story. I love the initial creation process. Because, initially I’m in total control. What I decide goes. The characters will behave and perform as I tell them to. Things will happen when and how I want them to. It’s me, the pen, and the paper and nobody else. Now I’m aware of the fact that I can go off the deep end in some of my stories. So, I’ll write a part and then show it to my wife or my family or my friends and see how they like it. See if it sounds possible and how does it make them feel. What’s their reaction to it. I love that part of the writing process.

8. Do you have a specific schedule in which you write?

MJL: Yes. When I’m writing a story I tend to work on it Monday through Friday from about 10:00pm until about 1:00am or 2:00am. Or until my sentences stop making sense. And on Saturdays I’ll try to write from about 8:00am to about 2:00pm, take a break and come back to it in the afternoon. On Sunday, I try to take a break and resist touching the computer, with all of my might. It’s very easy to become obsessed with writing to complete the story. And my wife will point that out to me. If she sees me spending too much time with the story she’ll let me know, and then I’ll try to back off of it a little. But, there are those moments when the story is just flowing and before you know it it’s 4 o’clock in the morning.

9. Do you have any projects you are currently working on?

MJL: Yes. Currently, I want to make the book available as an audio book. And, I’m researching how to get that done. It’s new territory for me, and a chance to learn about something new. As well as expand the book’s audience. I also have several other stories that I’d like to write and I have to figure out which one to go with.

10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

MJL: If you’re waiting for somebody to validate your abilities as a writer then you’re setting yourself up to be frustrated. If you feel that you have a good story, go ahead and write it. Once you’ve finished it look for a publisher. Treat it like a job application. The more applications you fill out the sooner you’ll get a job. And likewise, the more publishers you submit the book to, the sooner you will get published. But, if you feel yourself getting frustrated and can’t seem to find anybody to publish your book. Then don’t be afraid to publish it yourself. You’ve got two choices; keep showing it to publishers and praying for them to like it or publish it yourself. A lot of people don’t want to have to be bothered with promoting the book themselves. So they seek a traditional publisher who they believe will do everything for them. But that’s not the case. Either way you go, traditional publishing or self-publishing, your going to have to promote your book. If you want your book to sale, you are going to have to get out there and tell people about it. Now if the book is good, it will be easier to do that. Likewise, if you have a good publicist and marketing team, it’ll be even easier to do. But one way or the other, the success of the book is going to depend heavily on your willingness to talk with people and tell them about your book. Now if you’re really fortunate, you’ll come across somebody who can talk about the book for you. And, then all you’ll have to do is sign autographs and shake hands. But at the end of the day, I believe, it comes down to getting the word out there. Now, there are some cases of people who’ve self-published and generated so much buzz about their book that a traditional publisher steps forward and wants to republish the book. They still have to keep talking about the book. Because, the publisher wants to turn profit. But it becomes easier and more productive when they do talk. Because, the traditional publisher will have relationships established with certain media outlets that will give your talks more expose. But it still comes down to you. So I say keep writing and letting the world know about your writing. Because, there’s bound to be somebody out there who likes your style of writing and story telling.

Interviewed by Sarah on 5/29/05.