Okay, getting in to some meatier questions this time around!
Question: How do you get inspiration for your characters and plots?
Answer: The simplest answer is: I am an avid reader. Some of you wonderful readers are absolutely ravenous in the books you consume and it astounds me. I’ll send out an ARC and a few hours later people will be emailing me back telling me they (usually) loved it. I’m always dumbfounded. I feel like I’m a fast reader, but wow.
I do read, and I read a lot. Ever since I was younger, my parents (both big readers themselves) have worked to instill the love with me. At first they would take me to the library every two weeks. I had to take out ten books. I could pick ANY ten that I wanted to read, but I had to get ten. I don’t remember exactly when, but at some point ten became a meaningless number because I would be getting as many as I could. Again, at some unremembered time later, we stopped going to the library.
That’s what I started my own collection. One of my most vivid memories of reading as a child is my father reading to me the Chronicles of Narnia. I peg that moment/series as what sparked a lifelong love of the fantasy genre. From there I moved in to the Hardy Boys/Tom Swift. It gets worse. (Well, better in my eyes!)
I gobbled all those up, and in some of the Tom Swift books there were talks of spaceships. When I was about 12 or 13 I received a copy of the original Star Wars Trilogy on VHS. I was a lost cause after that, I’m sorry! I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction to this day. The bigger the book, the better (Usually!). I’m still hoping that one day I can meet Steven Erikson (Author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series) or Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files & Codex Alera series), as they are some of my favorites.
This extensive reading has allowed me to bring a wealth of ideas and crazy schemes (I’ve had to pull back on a lot of the things I’ve originally thought about putting into my books!) to my own books that I think don’t get brought up as often by other romance authors. To me though it just makes everything more entertaining. If you want more traditional, I’m sorry! I like my action, and romantic suspense combined with the paranormal elements is much more up my alley. There’s plenty for everyone though.
I’m sure there are other things that help, but reading a wide variety of books gives me lots of inspiration for characters of my own.
Question: What does a typical work day look like?
Short Answer: There is no typical work day.
Longer Answer: There is no typical work day.
Every day is different. Most days I try to be up and working for some time between 8 and 9am. I spend half an hour or so on various author forums, social media, and if I’m not feeling overwhelmed, email. (Sorry ARC team, I’m not replying to your emails cause I’m writing this…love you all though!). After that, I start to write.
Depending on how my muse is functioning, this gets divvied up into three or four sections. If the words are flowing, I try to do three chunks in a day. I will do two chunks, usually with a thirty minute break to get up, walk around, get some water, check my phone for texts and messages from friends and such, send my partner an ‘I love you’ or something because he’s so awesome but still has to go to work every day, and then get back to it.
After two chunks (Three if I’m splitting the day into quarters) I break for lunch. This is one hour. I eat, and usually watch some home renovation shows while I’m doing so, and then it’s back to work. After I finish the last chunk of writing, I’ll spend some more time on social media, emails, and marketing. I do a lot of Facebook advertising and also on Amazon as well, which you need to stay on top of or else it can get out of hand.
All told I usually work for roughly 8 hours a day. I write 6,000 words a day in 3 x 2,000 or 4 x 1,500 word sections. Once I’ve done that, I call it a day. I’ll go read a book, do chores (ugh) or go to the mall after, depending on how hard it was to get everything done. (Retail therapy? Yes please!). I do this with the expectation that I’ll repeat it seven days a week. But I will take time off. If I need a day to go see my parents, done. Or if we want to sneak away last minute to go stay at a hotel, waste money at a casino and get drunk on over-priced wine, we do that too! It definitely allows me some freedom, but only because I treat it like what it is, a job.
It’s a hell of a fun job, but if you don’t take it seriously, then you aren’t likely to see the success of it either.