Diva Interview

Diva Interview: Author Helena Hunting

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 in Diva Interview | 0 comments

Diva Interview: Author Helena Hunting

Diva Interview: Author Helena Hunting Today we welcome Helena Hunting to the blog. She’s the author of the Clipped Wings series and the upcoming Pucked. Both have been fantastically popular when they were published online. Hunting is now taking her work into independent publishing. I wanted to speak to her today to find out how she ticks. Also, I’m a pretty big fan, so my this interview is totally for my own benefit. Just kidding. 😉 Thank you for visiting the Write Divas today! You have had some great success with your Clipped Wings series. It’s largely an angst-filled romantic drama, for your new book Pucked, it’s a complete turnaround; a romantic sports comedy. Can you tell us a little bit about it? The writing process? Back in to 2009 I was finishing up the first draft of Clipped Wings and decided I needed to start another project. I had about ten chapters to go in Clipped Wings, and it was depressing as hell. If you can believe it, the original version was more depressing than the published one. I figured my best plan would be to write something totally different, swing the pendulum as it were, which is how Pucked was born. I started Clipped Wings with an idea of where I wanted the story to go, but I didn’t create an outline, which I’ve now learned I can’t do. Not unless I want the story to be half a million words. That’s a lot to edit. For Pucked, I outlined the entire mess and tried my best not be a complete squirrel while writing. It worked for the most part. The original draft was only 180k versus the psycho-ness of Clipped Wings which was 430k pre-machete. As for the writing process, I went through all the scenarios that would embarrass the hell out of me. Then I took the worst of them and wrote them into a book with a superhot hockey player and an awkward, kinda weird female protagonist. And of course there’s sex. Hot sex, embarrassing sex, sweet sex. There are also references to beavers. Pucked was a Twilight fan fiction called The Misapprehension of Bella Swan. What have you done to it to get it ready for independent publishing?  I cut the story by almost half and reworked the back end. *snicker* The awesome thing about fanfic was the ability to post as I wrote. I’d finish a chapter, have it betaed and voila, post! With a serial, you can get away with a little (or a lot) of repetition because your readers only get about 5k at a time. Those overused phrases and crutch words aren’t as much of a glaring issue in short bursts. When you put it all together in novel format, those issues become much more apparent, so the hackity-hack becomes a necessity. In revising and renaming Pucked—because let’s face it The Misapprehension of Violet Hall (regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players) was way too long—I combed through and cut out as much of the superfluous stuff as I could without compromising the integrity of the story. Because I’m close to the story, content editing is essential. I wanted to make sure the vision I had still worked in this new, different medium. It’s been quite the process and I’ve loved it. Violet Hall in Pucked is a big departure from your character Tenley Page in Clipped Wings. Which character was harder to write? They both had their challenges. Tenley was difficult because she was so broken, and so bogged down with guilt. With a character whose emotions are bottled up, it was sometimes a challenge to get inside her head and express exactly where she was psychologically. Pain can be painful to convey authentically. Violet is a ridiculous character. She’s fun and awkward and silly, which makes her easier to write at times and more difficult at others. It’s hard to pin down serious moments with her because she’s always deflecting with sarcasm. But there’s growth in learning how to deal with real problems instead of hiding behind jokes and...

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Diva Interview: Author Janine Cobain

Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in Diva Interview | 0 comments

Diva Interview: Author Janine Cobain

Diva Interview: Author Janine Cobain This year I’m showcasing indie authors in the Diva Interviews. Whether you’re well-known or just have released your first book, I want to talk to you! It’s the Write Diva thank-you to all authors out there for all of your hard work and perseverance. Today’s interview is with Irish author Janine Cobain.  Tell us a little bit about yourself and your books (other projects). I’m fortysomething mother of three and grandmother living in Belfast with my husband and two of his children. I work full-time, have a huge crush on Michael Fassbender, and writing has become the most fabulous housework avoidance strategy. After all, “Could you load the dishwasher for me, please? I’m writing!” is a grand and plausible excuse.  A couple of years ago, I became involved in a friend’s project when he was looking for test readers for his manuscript. Volunteer by Gary McElkerney was an incredible read, and being involved in the editing and publication process, it rekindled my interest in writing. I became a guest reviewer for a book blog, and the more I read, the more I wanted to write. My debut novel How Will You Remember Me? is the kind of book I love to read, laden with twists of fate and serendipitous moments. It’s more than a typical romance; it also has strong themes covering friendships, hurt and loss, and asks does everything happen for a reason. With contacts made at Volunteer’s book launch, we filmed a promo trailer for HWYRM?. While on set, a couple of actors asked if I would be interested in writing a short film for them. “Feathers” is now in post-production and being screened at Queen’s Film Theatre this March in Belfast. I love scriptwriting, and currently I’m working on the adaptation of my own novel, and Volunteer by Gary McElkerney, as well as a number of other short films. Wow! That sounds amazing! It looks like you have your sights set. What is your inspiration while writing? Do you draw from your personal life? Life; the people I’ve known, the experiences I and others around me have had. I think it makes sense to write what you know. You want your reader to feel your words, not just read them. By documenting the emotions – even if the scenario is different – it engages people who have had similar feelings, they empathise and connect with you. So true. Can you share with our readers any sage words of wisdom for anyone looking to publish their first book? Just do it!  These days the route to publishing is far less harrowing than it once was. I know there people have strong views on traditional publishing verses self-publishing, but I firmly believe that the option is professionally verses unprofessionally. As a reader, what matters to me is the story; not how it came to be on the ‘shelf’. Also, my book was for me and I’m at a place in my life where I don’t need the validation of a ‘traditional’ publisher; I love my book, it seems others do too. That’s good enough for me. The Write Divas are editors, so we value editing more than most people. Tell us how your editing process goes. Who is your editor? What do you love or hate about editing your books? I am my own editor, and editing your own work is one of the hardest things to do! I wrote the majority of HWYRM? in a short burst over a month or two, and then, as I was tied up organizing an event, left it sitting for a few months. When I picked it back up it was almost unfamiliar, which helped enormously! I also connected with another author over Twitter, and we had a I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours moment, reading each other’s manuscript and making suggestions on what could be improved. I received a lovely e-mail today from her – Sarah Carlson – to say she has signed with a New York based literary agent, thanking me for my input, support and encouragement, as she...

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Diva Interview: Author M.A. Stacie

Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in Diva Interview | 0 comments

Diva Interview: Author M.A. Stacie

Diva Interview: Author M.A. Stacie Hello, M.A.! Thank you for visiting the Write Divas. We have known and worked with you for a long time, and it’s always such a pleasure to have an author such as you talk to us and our readers. Can you tell us about yourself? I always say I have three sides to me: There’s the “mum” side as I have three boys and spend much of my time running around after them. They amaze me each and every day. Then there’s the “runner” side. I’m one of those very crazy people who runs outside no matter what the weather, every damn day of the week. I discovered running three years ago. It helped me lose 130 pounds, and it really did change my life. Many books since then have been plotted out while on a long run. Lastly is my “author” side. I’m very serious when I’m writing, which isn’t how I usually am. My husband refers to me as a bundle of contradictions. I quite like that. It’s always good to be multidimensional;) I have worked with you on a couple of books Unwritten Rules and Beneath the Surface. Both of these books are based in America. What I love about you is that even though you’re an English author and not living in the States, the reader would never know from your work. What do you do as an author, with books set in the United States, to help capture authentic American culture? I think it helps that the UK has so much US television. Much of the shows my family and I watch are from the US, so pop culture is easy to follow. I still get stuck on certain words or phrases, but I have so many American friends that I can pester for help. There are parts that will be picked up by my editor as something that wouldn’t be said, and I constantly learn from those points. I doubt that will ever change as language evolves and slang alters over time. What amount of research do you do for each book? Google is my best friend when I start plotting a book, especially street view. I can pinpoint my characters location right down to an address. I spent a lot of time virtually roaming streets and towns to find the right place. I do this with books I write that are set in the UK, too. I just like to have the image to refer back to. I’m the same with what characters look like. I base all of them on a specific person. It helps when writing about their appearance. What attracts you to write these types of books based in the US? Truthfully, it wasn’t something I started doing intentionally. When I began writing my first book I wrote about my character’s apartment as opposed to his flat, and it went from there. I was curious to see if I could write the entire book set in America. I was quite willing to go back and alter it if it didn’t work. I was very shocked to find that it did work—with a few tweaks from my editor, of course.  After Unwritten Rules, I’ve written books in the UK and US. I usually start writing and see where my thoughts take me. What types of characters do you like to write the most? I go through phases. For a time I liked writing a wounded hero (Unwritten Rules),and then I did a complete change with most of the men in my Reluctance series who were very alpha characters. I do have a real soft spot for a hurting, scarred male. I like unravelling the story of his past slowly and plotting his gentle change. What advice do you have to authors out there looking to break into the American market? Just write. Write your story your way.  I always think your writing will be clearer—cleaner, if you stop worrying about doing it a certain way or trying to write for certain people. I enjoy writing what I...

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Diva Interview: Author Alexandra Richland

Posted by on Nov 26, 2014 in Diva Interview | 0 comments

Diva Interview: Author Alexandra Richland

Diva Interview: Author Alexandra Richland I haven’t read many historical romances. That was until I read the first book by Alexandra Richland a few years ago. Starlight tells a story of a young woman making her way in old Hollywood in the early ’50s. The amount of knowledge, research, and understanding of the era truly impressed me as a reader. Richland really captured the essence of the time and it showed so well in her writing. I asked her to visit the Divas today and share with us a little about herself and her books. Hello, Alexandra! Thank you for visiting Write Divas. Will you tell us a little about yourself? Thank you so much for approaching me for this interview! I’m a huge fan of Write Divas and thrilled to be featured on your blog. By profession, I’m a registered nurse with a pediatric focus, and I work at a downtown Toronto hospital. Nursing wasn’t my first university degree. I attended the University of Toronto for six years and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and then a Master’s Degree in Organic Chemistry. While I enjoy mathematics and science, I missed the human connection that is absent in laboratory work. Therefore, I decided to become a nurse. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I love my job. It can be very difficult working with ill children, but overall, it is very rewarding. As someone with a deeply rooted interest in medicine, writing seemed like a peculiar pastime. However, I’ve always been a dreamer. It wasn’t until six years ago that I realized the stories I had constructed in my head could be written and fleshed out into proper novels. I had never considered writing before, but as soon as I started, I couldn’t stop. The words flowed so easily. I had many ideas I wanted to explore in the genres of contemporary and historical romance, and I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity and ability to bring them to fruition, as well as have people all over the world embrace my books. What draws you to historical fiction, specifically historical romantic fiction? I’m a classic film fanatic, and the 1950s are my favorite time period. I love the clothes and the simple, idealistic approach to romance in films in the early part of the decade. I’m inspired by the classic romances of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, James Dean and Pier Angeli, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, and the fictional romances between Natalie Wood and James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, and Eva Marie Saint and Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront. Sure, Janet and Tony, Debbie and Eddie, and Jimmy and Pier eventually broke up (Natalie and Robert also divorced, but remarried less than ten years later), but in the first years of their relationships, the media portrayed them as the perfect Hollywood couples—which appeals to the hopeless romantic in me. It is this kind of idealistic romance that I chose to focus on in The Starlight Trilogy. I am drawn to the idea of soul mates and an everlasting love, and the T-shirt-and-jean-clad rebel tamed by the virtuous ingenue. Setting the story against the backdrop of classic Hollywood allowed me to combine my love of classic films with my fascination with the timeless romance. I also enjoyed channeling my favorite actors, Marlon Brando and James Dean, and my favorite actress, Natalie Wood, into my main characters, Aidan Evans and Elizabeth Sutton. It was my dream project! The Starlight Trilogy takes place in Hollywood. What kind of research did you do to write books set in this era? My love and interest in all things classic Hollywood over the last ten years provided me with a solid factual foundation on which to base Aidan and Beth’s fictional Hollywood lives. The way the studio system worked, life at the studio, what filming a movie was like, studio contracts, the 1950s Hollywood social scene… I possessed a lot of knowledge on these subjects. Therefore, I hardly had to conduct additional research. I did take some liberties to...

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Diva Interview: Author Shay Savage

Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in Diva Interview | 0 comments

Diva Interview: Author Shay Savage

Diva Interview: Author Shay Savage If you’re reading this blog, you probably read a lot of books like me. I’ll be honest, most of the genres I gravitate toward incorporate some sort of romance or erotic themes. It could be suspense, mystery, thriller, western, what have you, as long as I get a good romance out of it, I’m good to go. I especially love when a female writer can really capture the male mind. It’s a hard thing to write from a man’s perspective and not slip in too many feminine traits that give him away to the reader that the author is a woman writing a man.  So when I came across Shay Savage’s books, I was very excited. Not only does she write great suspenseful thrillers with her Surviving Raine and Even Arden series, but she gives great perspective into the male psyche. Savage is the first author in a long time that I have read that truly can embody a male’s point of view and deliver it in a very effective manner for her readers. So naturally, I had to interview her. Hello, Shay! Can you please share with our followers a little bit about yourself? Of course!  I’m Shay Savage, and I am the author of nine published books with the tenth soon to be released.  When I’m not working on a book, I spend a lot of time in the gym bodybuilding and trying to eat clean (though I don’t always succeed).  I’m a big soccer fan—I’ve played and coached.  I love all things science fiction, horror movies, and animals—especially marine life.  In former work-lives, I’ve been a psychologist and a manager in the corporate computer world. I try to eat clean too, but fail! Haha! Talking about your books, you write from the male perspective, what led you to want to write from entirely a man’s brain? Why is it a preference? What do you find different from writing or reading a male POV than a female? My first nine books were all from the male perspective, though the tenth, titled Alarm, will actually be from a woman’s point of view!  We’ll see if I can pull that off! Most of my friends are guys, and I seem to identify with them more than women.  Generally speaking of course, guys seem to be a bit more straightforward in their thinking, simpler (in a good way), and maybe even a little more primal.  I think there are a lot of women readers out there who really want to hear a male perspective, which is why I chose to focus in that area.  I believe men are just as driven by their emotions as women, but women don’t always pick up on the whys.  Men don’t usually focus on communicating those feelings and are more likely to demonstrate what’s going on in their heads than say something about it.  Being in a man’s head when I write gives readers a better perspective on men’s motivations… I hope. I think it does. What qualities do you think a good male lead should have? What qualities do you think the female lead needs to balance the character development between the pair? I think that depends a lot on what you consider “good.”  Good is very subjective, and I’m going to define it here as “interesting,” which is good because it is what a reader wants—an interesting character.  Interesting characters have serious flaws, but the ability to overcome them (if they choose to do so).  They have fears, they make mistakes, but ultimately do what they believe needs to be done from their standpoint.  They have a dark side.   I think it’s my job to make the reader understand why my characters do what they do, and sympathize with them regardless of their transgressions. Finding a woman to balance such a character (and maybe any man) is tricky.  I think the main qualities she has to have are patience and understanding.  She has to be able to see the motivations through the mistakes.  She has to be capable...

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Diva Interview: Author Emme Burton

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Diva Interview | 0 comments

Diva Interview: Author Emme Burton

Diva Interview: Author Emme Burton   Writing a realistic romance can be a quandary for many writers. Oftentimes authors pacify their readers rather than writing a romance that they feel fits their characters. Note to readers: Not all romances are happily ever afters or wrapped up in a neat bow. There are love triangles, break-ups, miscommunications… So how do you, as an author, write a realistic romance in the land of white knights, alpha males, and damsels in distress? I asked author Emme Burton to answer a few questions and give us her take on writing a realistic romance in today’s indie market. Thanks for visiting the Divas today. It’s always a pleasure to invite new authors to the blog, especially authors in my hometown. The Divas have gotten to meet you recently and loved your charming personality. Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and your books? I’m a retired army brat.  I traveled all over the world for the first 13 years of my life and attended 13 schools.  I tend to make friends quickly.  I talk to everyone I meet (I’m the annoying person that will talk to you in a grocery line.)  I believe being uprooted and moved around so much as a kid is responsible for my need to connect with others.  I was an early reader.  My mother caught me reading the labels on cans in the cabinet when I was 4 and quickly got me hooked on storybooks.  I LOVE a good story.  I like to read them, watch them, hear them. I have always written.  I used to write plays and recruit the neighbor kids to act them out in my garage. I wrote a screenplay for the TV show, The Love Boat, when I was in 7th grade.  My first crack at romance! I put writing on hold when I went to college, got married and had kids, but the stories have been rolling around in my head the entire time.  About two years ago I decided to write them down and make more room in the noggin for new stories!  My major in undergrad was theatre performance.  That’s probably where my love of creating characters really came to a head.  Creating the backstory, the quirks–I loved it. My books?  I would consider them New Adult that addresses real life issues.  Mental Illness.  Sexual Abuse.  Family struggles. Better Than Me is the first book in the Better Than Series.  It introduces the reader to Biz Davis, a college senior with some secrets and regrets.  She meets two guys when she returns to school in the fall.  She wants to avoid relationships, but finds herself involved with both of the guys. Fix It For Us (Book #2) is a continuation of the story, as Biz finds love.  It delves into keeping a romance alive and fresh while facing demons from the past. What do you think are the elements or building blocks to writing a romance novel? It’s probably different for different writers.  Mine generally start with the characters.  I can visualize them.  I write out character sketches.  What they like, don’t like, movies they would watch.  Sort of like a Facebook profile.  I like to write about places I’ve been and then change them a bit so there will be real places in my stories and places that are fictionalized but from someplace I’ve seen or researched. Once I have well thought out characters and a “stage” for them to play on, the story starts evolving. The kernel of the story, for me, has to be an overarching obstacle.  That’s what drives the action. I’m a big fan of characters growing and developing. If things ever begin to feel comfortable for the characters in the writing, I know it’s time to “mix it up.” I also like twists.  Elements touched on earlier coming back later in the story. While I write I can see the story like a movie.  I do the same thing when I read. What characteristics must your protagonists have in order to make them as...

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