Welcome, Kay! I have a few writers lined up from Astraea Press but I think you are the first, so a huge welcome. Once we are done with the interview, why not tell us a bit about this new and exciting publisher?
1) What is your writing routine?
The specific hours are not set in stone. I have a medical transcription contract, which takes up 6-7 hours of my day, a couple in the morning and then again in the evening. Sometimes that becomes problematic when I can't disengage from an idea I'm working on in Fictionland.
2) Which author/s inspire you to write?
I have a list of favorite authors that goes back years. Right now, for romance, I still buy everything Tori Carrington writes, as well as Jill Shalvis, Nora Roberts, Kat Martin. Inez Kelley over at Carina Press is great. And Lisa Anne Vance has a nice style. But for other reading, I stil like Tom Clancy, Nicholas Evans, and Nicholas Sparks. Clancy is good for action and political intrgue, and The two Nicholas guys have a way with complicated or controversial relationships.
3) Which is your favorite romance subgenre to read?
Contemporary or contemporary suspense. I like a good emotional story with twists and complications and deep heroes/heroines. To write? I write contemporary with a lot of emotion. I tend to find myself bringing in some kind of social statement to a lot of my reading, like drunk driving, or teen pregnancy, and in the case of Heartsight, it was threefold--the stigma of being a divorced mom, the mental retardation of the child with Down syndrome, and the Marine who felt he had no productive place in the world now that he's blind.
I don't think society as a whole means to be negative about such things but sometimes people don't realize that their attitudes might be perceived as negative. Who would think that a Marine who was blinded in battle might not feel sorry for himself but instead might long to still be productive?
4) How do you deal with criticism/rejection?
Not everyone is going to like what I write, just like they won't agree with other aspects of my life. I would hope I'm big enough to wish the person criticizing well and just move on.
5) What do you expect from an editor?
I expect honesty and integrity first of all. After that, once you have a good relationship, everything else falls into place. Thankfully, I have a great editor in Stephanie Taylor at Astraea Press.
6) Tell me about your latest release:
It came about when I wondered whether I could write a blind hero. I started doing research and toyed around with different scenarios. I did research on things like extreme sports in which the blind participate, and I gained a new understanding and respect. To swim blind? Or would you let someone blindfold you then take you rock climbing? I initially was going to have just the hero and heroine and he would need to rescue her, but then I decided to raise the stakes and make it a small child who was mentally impaired.
7) Tease us with a blurb or short excerpt
With a moan and a mighty crack, one of the swaying telephone poles next to the road lost the battle to stay erect in the teeth of the snapping wind. As the pole bent in the middle, three wires popped in succession to become giant snapping bungee cords of arcing electricity. The scent of ozone clung briefly then was cleared away by Emily's snarling, sticky breath. Trish froze, mesmerized by the light show. Then the wires began to descend, heading with the precision of stabbing fingers directly for them.
Trish shrieked as terror spiked her adrenaline. "Run!" She pushed Dan to the left, across the street from the dancing showers of blue-white sparks.
He stumbled, touched a hand to the ground and regained his footing before she got a hand out to help him. The electrical lines hit the wet ground, protesting mightily when they made contact. Though not standing in the puddle, they were on wet ground and Trish felt the thrum of the electrical charge in the bottoms of her feet. She half pushed, half pulled Dan further up the street, not stopping until she no longer felt the tingling.
8) Which is your favorite character in the book?
I like the child, Bella, Why? Because she just rolls with the flow. She loves. That's it.
9) What are you working on right now?
I am working on a story about an older, washed up panter, who meets a younger, fresh artist and helps her find her inner artistic spark. Of course there will be complications... I've set it on Mackinac Island, in my home state of Michigan, which is a prety special place to me, a very unique spot with a lot of history...and fudge.
10) Your biggest piece of advice to aspiring novelists?
Don't quit. If you feel blocked, write anyway. If your current WIP stops working, switch to something else, skip the scene and go to the next, work on plotting, editing. But don't give up. And when you get rejected, which you will--it's part of the business--don't let that set you back. A story might not be right for one publisher but you never know, it might be perfect for the next. Oh, and best advice I can give: Find critique partners. They will be great for bouncing ideas off of, and they will find holes in your work that you missed. Trust me, there are ALWAYS holes and places where your story can be better.
11) Where can readers find you?
Heartsight is being sold through Astraea Press at www/astraeapress.com.
It will also be available on Amazon. However, for every copy sold through the Astraea Press website, $2 will be donated to the USO Wounded Warrior Program, from March 1 through June 1, 2011.
Great interview, Kay and a fantastic premise for your story, Heartsight - I think this is one I might be buying myself! Great stuff - over to you guys for questions and comments....