How far do you plan ahead?
I don’t plan ahead—I’m a complete “pantser” (somebody who writes “by the seat of their pants”). I am trying to learn more on how to use a storyboard or detailed outline to help me plan my stories out. In the past, using any kind of structured method was muse-icide, making my creative spark shrivel up and skulk away.
But there’s always hope. CTRWA (Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America) recently held a special event I attended, with NYT best-selling author Cherry Adair as the speaker. Cherry gave a pretty good pitch for overcoming storyboard fears. When I write my next book, I’m going to try plotting with storyboards again, remembering to breathe deeply as the ugly empty boxes stare me down.
What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
What I wanted to be as a child is what I wound up being – an author. I remember writing stories back in elementary school. I hid these early drafts in a desk, too shy and insecure to share them with anyone else.
In my early teens, I mustered up enough courage to tell my family I wanted to be a writer. My family prides themselves on being pragmatic, so I wasn’t surprised when they told me to go back to the “profession pond” and reel in a weightier fish.
Being good in English, my family encouraged me during my college years to go to law school. I did that, and have been an attorney for almost twenty years. I have no regrets, since I probably did wind up with more financial stability, and I am able to manage my time well enough to still write creatively.
It is a heck of a balancing act, though. Especially since the needs of my family (husband, plus two boys) has to come first. I do feel like the quintessential juggler. If a writing career doesn’t pan out for me, I can always take up a circus gig.
Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in, or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?
Some of my favorite authors are in my genre (full-length, single-title, contemporary romance), such as Kristan Higgins, Laura Moore, and Rachel Gibson. As an added bonus prize, it is true that reading books in one’s own genre makes for better writing.
That said, however, I don’t always read contemporary romance. Some days, I’ve got a hankering for paranormal books instead. I’m a big fan of Chloe Neill’s “Some Girls Bite” series, always waiting for the next book to come out. I have also read all of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series.
My taste is even more full-blown – I am a big fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and these books really blur established genre lines. (Watching the Outlander saga play out on Stars is too much fun. Somebody bring popcorn, please!)
Do you, or have you, belonged to a writing organization? Which one? Have they helped you with your writing? How?
I am a proud member of the Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America (CTRWA). I went to their classes for about seven years before I finally mastered their techniques enough to get my books published. Without their classes and support, it wouldn’t have happened.
My other writing support system is a Yahoo group loop with other Soul Mate Publishing authors. Any questions any of us have, we throw on the loop for people to chime in and lend a hand.
What is your favorite dessert/food?
Butter pecan ice cream. Excellent, but deadly for one’s hips. In any case, I do like to infuse a little bit of myself into my characters, so I make butter pecan ice cream one of my heroine’s favorite foods, too.
Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
Stephanie Lang’s successful career as a television producer can’t give her everything she wants out of life. Her personal goals of writing a romance novel, and finding true love, languish. Emotionally scarred by her fiancé’s affair with her cousin, she doesn’t have the confidence to go after either goal again. At least she has professional confidence to fall back on; she is ready to produce the company’s next hit show. But when her boss reveals what the show is about, a survival documentary starring a sexy, modern version of Crocodile Dundee, Stephanie’s life is turned upside down. Colin Brandt, billed as “The Evergladiator,” will tackle Florida’s Everglades with just his bare hands and a knife. Stephanie, instantly attracted to handsome, rugged, enigmatic Colin, worries he will not survive his twelve day odyssey. If he does, he’ll win a million dollars. If he fails, his beloved family’s farm will go into foreclosure. Can Colin conquer the Everglades? And can he conquer her heart?
Do you have any other books coming out?
Yes, I recently signed a contract with Soul Mate Publishing for a second book, DIARY OF A YOUNG LAWYER. It is (of course) a single title, full-length, contemporary romance. I don’t have a release date yet, so I’ll have to sit and stew in my excitement for a while.
Thanks so much, Marian, for having me on your blog! I’m very grateful for the opportunity to reach out to your readers.