Welcome Christine! That is one of the best and most entertaining bios I've ever read! :) Please tell us about your upcoming release. Do you have a review you could share with us?
It comes out on April 25th, and I am so excited because I LOVE these characters.
And I do have some early reviews from Netgalley useres. My favorite is from Joyfully Reviewed.
Awesome! Congratulations! (By the way, I love your cover!) What inspired this story?
Gosh, I wish I knew, lol! It almost never really happens for me like that. It’s always the characters that come first. I’m usually just sitting around and a character comes to mind. The plots just sort of fill themselves in as I write. Secondary characters (Bacon, Gilly and Devlin-the Loony Duke of Leister) came to me first. Then Stormy’s voice rang in my head. She’s so funny and sharp and dry. Once I knew her, the story kind of flowed around her.
What is your writing process like?
I’m a total pantster, so my process is…well, I don’t have a process. I just have characters that start to sort of nag me, usually at inopportune moments, lol. Then I just start writing and it comes out. One time, my husband did say something to me that directly resulted in a book. It was an Ellora’s Cave release (by my erotic romance alter-ego Chloe Cole) called Naughty Godmother. Hubby and I were sitting around talking plots (because that’s what people who love writers have to do in their spare time, lol) and I told him I wanted to write about a fairy godmother who sort of helped nerdy guys get in touch with their cooler, sexy side etc. And he said “Ooh, cool. She can be a Naughty Godmother. Maybe she used to be in teeth.” And I was like “Wait, what?” and he said, “You know, she just got promoted. She used to be a Tooth Fairy and this is the next step up.” That’s all I needed. I got out my laptop and wrote it. It was a lot of fun. And I guess I’ll give him double the credit because the sequel, Tempting Trent is coming out on the 22nd.
Oh that sounds like fun! Congratulations on your other new releases! How do you choose names for your characters?
I love naming characters. It’s like my most favorite thing! I truly believe you can almost tell a story in a name. You can almost know a character just by reading a really well constructed name. I am a huge fan of Charles Dickens, and he is positively lethal at it. For instance, take Ebenezer Scrooge. What a great name, right? Without reading another word, you can almost visualize him. I am certainly no Dickens, but I try not to just slap a name on for the sake of it. I think of who my characters really are. So in this book, Stormy Gale is an adventurer, she’s unpredictable and sort of shakes things up wherever she goes. Her brother Bacon is lovable and simple and without guile. In Naughty Godmother I have a fairy named Holly Tucket. She’s clumsy and funny and cute at a button and it just fit.
I love the title of your book! Did you choose it and if so how did you do it?
I did! And I knew I wanted it to have Stormy’s name in the title. I had gotten as far as The ____ Tale of Stormy Gale, and during and impromptu brain storming session, my husband said “Twisted!” It was PERFECT, because there are a lot of nods to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in this book, so I loved the play on the words twisted and twister (tornado). I was ecstatic that Carina Press loved it too.
Which element of story creation is your favorite?
Ooh, good question! I actually think plots are highly overrated. At the core of it, there isn’t a story that hasn’t been told a thousand times. A plot is secondary, maybe even tertiary (because I think voice is more important than plot too), when it comes to entertaining people. The story is in the characters.
Take the movie, The Matrix. A conceptually ambitious story about…err, I don’t know, whatever it was about. The fact is, I couldn’t care less. Why? Because Keanu Reeves was like a walking mannequin; totally lifeless and unappealing to me. I didn’t care whether they unplugged him or plugged him in, or whether he was The One, or Not The One or whether he saved humanity. They could have set him on fire and I would have been like, “Where’s the marshmallows?”
Then, take Ellie, the wife in the Pixar animated film Up. She’s in the movie for all of ten minutes and I wept when she found out she couldn’t have children and sobbed when she died. Because she was so full of life, so real, so nuanced and quirky. A CARTOON CHARACTER.
Don't get me wrong, you need a good hook. But it's your CHARACTERS that will keep them hooked. If your readers love them, they'll follow them anywhere. Or nowhere. I’ll meander along for seventeen books of Stephanie Plum doing the same stuff, book in and book out, because I love her. I love that she eats olives and peanut butter. I love that she blows up cars and eats more than one donut in a sitting. Do I remember what the plot of the last book was? Not really, because it was pretty much the same as the previous five. But do I care? Not really. Because when I’m reading, Stephanie Plum feels like an old friend and I’m just happy to enjoy the couple of hours we get to spend together. So, to my mind, it’s IMPERTATIVE that your audience can connect your characters. Because if not, who cares if they find the Wizard and get back to Kansas? Who cares if their ship sinks and there aren’t enough lifeboats? Not me.
I definitely agree with you on that. Can you share with us “the call” story?
My call story is actually kind of funny! Rather than recreate the wheel, I’ll just copy and paste my blog post from that day. Mainly because I think you can *hear* my excitement and lunacy just from reading it!
“They want to publish my steampunk romance novella, The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale! My whole body is shaking right now. They want it, Angela James just called me. From Carina Press. On the telephone. And she said it was her and I said “No it's not.” And she said yes it was. Then she laughed. Then I said, "Wait, you don't call with bad news do you?" and she said that no, she didn't. And then she told me that they want to publish my book. At which point I burst into tears. I wish I was kidding about that part, but I'm not. And then I babbled on and on about how I almost emailed her to get it back because of all the goofy dialogue tags and stupid adverbs and how I am taking her editing workshop. I came across very cool, suave, you know? Anyway, it's scheduled for release spring 2010. And I am STILL freaking out!!!”
LOL! I read that sometimes and laugh because I remember just how I felt at that moment. It was probably one of the top ten moments in my life.
Wow, that is wonderfully emotional! Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
Probably nothing earth shattering that hasn’t been said, but these are a few of the things I think can’t be said enough:
Get a copy of On Writing by Stephen King
Find a crit group or at least two CP’s who are at the same level as you are as a writer.
Be willing to listen to constructive criticism.
Did I say don’t quit? DON’T QUIT!
Wonderful advice! What’s next for you?
Let’s see, well, I have Tempting Trent coming out on April 22nd with Ellora’s Cave. I also have an anthology project I am working on with three amazing authors that will come out in June on Amazon. And, as always, I’m writing my head off! I’m working on novellas for two of my e-publishers, and I’m also writing my first paranormal single title that I hope to pitch at RWA Nationals in July.
Would you like to ask readers a question?
Absolutely! Are you like me, where the characters make you come back for more? Or is it flowing prose, or maybe intricate world-building that sucks you in? What makes you all fall in love with a book?