Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in seventeen different languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.
Amy Harmon has written eleven novels – the USA Today Bestsellers The Bird and The Sword, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as From Sand and Ash, The Law of Moses, The Song of David, Infinity + One, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her latest novel, The Queen and The Cure, book two in The Bird and The Sword Chronicles, was released May 9, 2017.
FULL INTERVIEW for Jeri’s Book Attic
1) What is the first book you read that comes to mind?
Why is it so important to you?
The very first book I’ve read? Wow. I don’t know. It was so long ago. I think about Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables fame. She was one of my earliest friends, and I still see her that way. She was smart and passionate and competitive, and she loved words. She had great imagination and great heart, and I wanted to be just like her.
2) What made you start writing books?
As a voracious reader, I was always looking for the kind of books I LOVED to read, romantic, epic love stories, with characters that I could fall in love with. Writing has always been my creative outlet, but writing a novel is daunting. I don’t know what made me take the leap initially—I just remember wanting to see if I could do it. I kept at it, bit by bit, and finally finished, with no idea of what I would do to get it out to the world.
3) How much of you and/or your surroundings is a part of
your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious
decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself
in one of yourcharacters and it wasn’t planned?
I don’t always recognize myself in my characters, but I recognize my voice, my feelings, and my convictions in the paths my characters take and in the plot lines and the dilemmas in which they find themselves. It’s hard to separate the character from the story because I believe the characters ARE the story.
4) What author/actor or musician do you ‘fangirl’ over?
Oh gosh. I would really, really like to meet Brandon Flowers of the Killers. I would really like that. I love his voice and his vibe and I think he’s cute. On second thought, it would probably be better if I never meet him.
I don’t know if I have any authors I fan over. If a book is wonderful, I rarely think of the author at all, which is as it should be. A book should breathe on its own. I want people to love my books. I don’t need them to love me. So it is truly a compliment, as far as I’m concerned, when my books are loved and no one thinks twice about the fact that I wrote them.
I have several actors who I think are delicious and/or fascinating. I would love to see if there is more beneath the surface. Maybe get stranded on an island for a week or two and see what makes them tick. But I’ll keep my fantasies to myself. LOL.
5) What does your perfect writing day look like?
Do you plan when and how long you write,
or does it happen without planning?
My perfect writing day starts early in the morning (ha ha ha) with comfy clothes, a cold diet pepsi, and something to nibble on. Preferably rain and quiet, with maybe a little ambient music on to get me in the zone. No interruptions, nowhere I have to be or no time that I have to stop. That rarely happens. But a girl can dream.
I have four kids and I work from home, so most of the time I just have to commit to sitting my rump down every day and doing my best to hit a word target in between the chaos. I always take a little time off between projects too, just to avoid burn out and to give my family a little more of my attention.
6) What genre is the most intimidating when you think
about writing in it? Explain why!
Historical is the most intimidating because it is so exacting and grueling. You can’t just sit and write when you are writing historical. Everything must be authenticated and researched. It is the hardest writing I’ve ever done.
7) What do you like to do when you are not writing?
What do you think your profession would be
if you were not an author?
I’m a mom, so that takes up so much of my non-writing time. But I love to read (surprise, surprise) and I love music. I used to be a teacher, and I was good at it, so if I wasn’t writing, I would probably still be teaching.
8) What is the most touching reaction you have ever
received from a fan?
There have been a few times when my readers cried upon meeting me. Those times are incredibly humbling, because usually they aren’t crying because of ME, but because I wrote something that touched them deeply, and their tears are an expression of that. That’s always cool.
9) In your opinion, what is the most important
feature a book needs to have?
Soul. No matter the genre, the book needs to have heart and soul, and so many don’t. The soul comes from the characters, and if they are one dimensional stereotypes, the story will be as well.
10) What is the most difficult part of writing a book,
(including the preparations and after-publication-process)?
The hardest thing for me is getting started and being persistent. It is a grind to write a book. It is bliss to finish, but that bliss is short-lived because eventually you have to start again. It’s like this mighty gearing up and then once you have begun, making yourself stick with it and see it through. It’s hard.
11) If you had the chance to influence the questions
people ask you in interviews, what question is the most
annoying and you would love to never hear again?
What question would you really like to answer that you
have not been asked yet, and what is your answer
to that question?
“Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?”
That is the most annoying question. Everyone asks it, and no one really cares what the answer is. The truth is, ideas and inspirations rarely have a definitive source. They are simply a spark that you might not even recognize at the time. That spark triggers a small flame, and suddenly there’s an idea and you’re not even sure where it came from. I liken stories to weaving a tapestry. Thread by thread, the story is built.
I’ve never had anyone ask me what I regret about being an author. Like anything else in life, I’ve made mistakes and missteps along the way. I think my number one regret is that I didn’t use a pen name or a variation of my name. I feel very vulnerable and exposed a lot of the time. Social media is frightening and people try very hard to destroy or harm each other who might have different viewpoints. I don’t feel like I can express myself honestly and must constantly guard what I say and feel because without fail, my opinion won’t be popular with someone, and I’ll get blasted or unfriended or shamed. I don’t like the way people engage with each other in this day and age. The discourse is so ugly.
12) Name three characteristics of your writing style
that are important yet different from other authors.
I tend to write in layers – parables, so to speak – so everything is meaningful. I think that’s why fantasy suits my writing style. I also write in a certain rhythm, and get into a rhythmic flow with the words I choose and discard. I will stay on a paragraph until the tempo of the language resonates with me and with the tone of the story. I also think I put more emphasis on love stories rather than romance, and that sets me apart from some of my contemporaries.
13) Which of your characters seems to be the most
independent, and has taken on a life of their own?
I hope all of them. Truly. If they don’t live and breathe separate from me when I’m done writing a story, I know I haven’t done my job. I do think Bailey Steen has burrowed himself into the hearts of everyone who has read Making Faces. Maybe that has given him more life than the others, simply because he is so loved.
14) Every author probably has a favourite character
they have created. When you look back on the
books you have written, which character would
you like to meet if it were possible to do so?
(name / book) What would be the first
question you would like to ask him/her?
I don’t have a favorite character. I really don’t. I worked so hard to love and give life to every one of them, that I can’t choose. I would, however, love to sit down with Moses and watch him paint. Of all my characters, he was the one who tried the hardest to make me hate him. Luckily, I persisted.
15) What do you want tell your readers at the end
of this interview?
Thank you for reading my stories and caring enough about them, and that you want to read this interview!
Heat It Up by
But as their charade, and then their attraction, develops into something deeper, the past comes back, threatening to destroy them. They must decide if their feelings for each other are strong enough to survive—or it will be game over.
was nine years old and became addicted to the Famous Five series (Edith
Blyton), I’ve wanted to be an author. But it wasn’t until I became a
stay-at-home mom that I finally went for the goal of becoming published.
I used to want to write historical romance (even though I sucked at
social studies and history), but I knew I wouldn’t be able to write in
that style. At that point, the early Harry Potter books had gained
popularity and I tried to write a middle grade book. Except my
characters were more interested in romance and sex than they should have
been for that age. So I switched the book to YA…and eventually I went
on to write adult romances.
your surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a
conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of
your characters and it wasn’t planned?
little bit if me in all of my main characters, but it’s a different
piece of me each time. Usually it’s not planned; it just happens that
I would love to be able to write it, but not everyone can write like
Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or John Saul. It takes skill to scare
of my fans brought a delicious cupcake to the Romantic Times Convention
last year and surprised me with it. It made my month (and the
acknowledgement of This One Moment).
promotion. I love coming up with the teasers and being creative when it
comes to swag, but beyond that, I quickly grow bored of it. But how
about we don’t tell my old manager that from when I used to be a
pharmaceutical sales rep. lol
balancing my writing with my family. I’m a full time writer, but I don’t
get eight hours a day to just write due to family obligations.
interviews, what question is the most annoying and you would love to
never hear again? What question would you really like to answer that you
have not been asked yet, and what is your answer to that question?
hardest questions I’ve been asked that often make me cringe are the
ones about my favorite characters that I’ve written. That’s like asking a
mother which of her kids is her favorite.
to be asked about my top writing influences. For that I would say Kylie
Scott, Jill Shalvis, Colleen Hoover (among many others). Each has an
element about her writing that appeals to me, be it emotion, sexiness,
would say all of them, but probably more so Mason Dell from the Pushing
Limits series. While working on the second book of the series (My Song
For You), his personality took a life of its own. Fortunately for him he
gets his own book (I Need You Tonight), which releases May 2017.
ever let anyone tell you that you’ll never succeed at whatever you want
to achieve. My high school guidance councelor told me not to think
about university because I would never succeed there. I went on to prove
him wrong. I have a Masters of Science in exercise physiology. The
ultimate revenge. LOL It’s why I have ‘believe’ tattooed on my wrist.
Pennsylvania, Georgia and DC, and is now moving back to Pennsylvania. She is married and has a dog and cat. She loves reading anything that has a
romantic plot and just cannot get enough to read. She is fast
approaching thirty and happy as a clam with her life. She has an amazing
husband who is very supportive and they plan to travel the world together.
this book that I read as a teen that I stole from my mom’s library
pile. I loooved it. And I should not have read it. But ever since I read
itI knew that I wanted to be a romance writer. I believe it was called
To Love a Man by Karen Robards. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K0JFG4Q/
always writing about myself. Every female character has a little bit of
me. Hell, every male character has a little bit of me too. 😀 It’s not
always conscious but I know that I do it. What author/actor or musician do you ‘fangirl/fanboy’ over?
What does your perfect writing day look like?
up but in chair by 6 am and I write until noon, then lunch then I write
until my husband gets home. In my ideal world I think stop and have
family time. In reality I usually work into the night. 😛
not sure, quite honestly. They are all somewhat intimidating. I try
very hard just to keep my head down and write and not get worried.
like to do a lot of things. Swim, hike, play DnD, hang out with my
friends. If I was not a writer I would probably go back to teaching. I
taught at a community college.
write characters like I know them. Because I do. I am sure other very
good authors write that too, but to me that is what makes me stand out.
don’t just write stories I want to read. I listen to my fans, get to
know them, listen to their lives and then I write stories I know they
want to read too.
bet all of these things apply to really good authors, but I also think
they make me different because I think I interpret it differently. Which of your
. characters seems to be the most independent, and has taken on a life of their own?
He is my favorite. My baby character. I’ve wanted to write him for
years. Even since I was in high school and one of my friends came back
from Iraq without his arm. I knew I wanted to share the story of a
military veteran and amputee. Oh, and that guy was one of my first
crushes in high school. LOL.
you so much for reading. You can email me, im me, facebook friend me,
whatever you want. I’m happy to get to know each and every one of you.
Thank you so much.
Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes romantic crime fiction and
emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and
families through real-life trials. Born and raised in Grosse Pointe,
Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her
husband of thirty-three years. After attaining a BS in Nursing, Theresa retired to raise four wonderful children and write.
important to you?
came to mind. I’m dyslexic and couldn’t read until the third grade, and
even then it was a struggle. The Black Stallion series showed me how
worth it the effort was and it opened the magical world of living
somewhere else and experiencing something else and I FINALLY got a
horse—even if it was just in a book.
start writing books?
had children, I’d write about them and their escapades in my annual
Christmas letter and friends and family got such a kick out of my
stories, that I thought it was cool I could entertain them that way. But
it wasn’t until my fourth baby was born, that I wrote that first book.
being a stay-at-home mom is a laudable profession, I felt
underappreciated, and living for my kids and husband was sucking the
life out of me—all my fault by the way. So I started learning the craft
and business of writing, and it saved my sanity. Writing was a
wonderful creative intelligent outlet and it fed my soul and made me a
much happier person and better mother and wife.
you and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence
based on a conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize
yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned?
little of me in all my characters. That’s the great thing about writing I
get to express my sexy, evil, mean, mischievous, catty, warm-hearted,
brilliant, funny parts of my personality through the various characters,
but they all still have their own unique personas too and do and say
things I’d never do or say.
books that writers friends claimed is very much like me—and that was a
shock, because I hadn’t intended it at all, and I could see how they
would make the comparison. No, I’m not going to tell you who it is. A
girl’s gotta have a little mystery J
long you write, or does it happen without planning?
Seriously? I’m a former control freak—of course I plan. Okay,
so…recovering control freak. Every morning, I get up and skim my email
while eating breakfast, then sit down and read what I wrote the day
before to get back into the swing of things, then plot out the next
scene in this chart I developed to make sure each scene has a strong
purpose and accomplishes several things—like advances the plot, shows
characterization, sets up something, and ends with a good hook.
I break to go to gentle yoga or take my pup on a long walk, eat lunch
and then write another few hours. That’s the goal at least.
historical writers ‘cause they can’t change the facts of history and
harder yet…they’ve got to know all the historical facts and get it right
or those readers know. They are savvy readers and seemingly unforgiving
of factual mistakes.
are not writing?
not an author? I have a ton of hobbies. I love hiking, playing
cards, playing games with my family, reading—of course—traveling,
playing tennis, skiing, creating mosaics with my wet tile saw,
crocheting and reading some more. If I hadn’t become an author, I
probably would have done well in the business world.
had a couple of fans tell me they had to stop reading Just Destiny
because they were crying so hard the page was blurry and they needed a
break. They were emotionally wrung out–in a good way.
very touched that I was successful in drawing them into the story so
that they sympathized with the characters to that degree. I reassured
them that there would be a happy ending.
is very, very subjective, but for me…the writing’s got to be good. As
an author, pretty picky, but if the writing isn’t good, it’s very
unlikely I’ll be drawn into the story or care about the protagonist, and
if those two things don’t happen, there’s no point in my reading the
story and I’m going to put it down.
difficult part of writing a book, (including the preparations and
for your work. Writing the book is the easy, fun part, but who wants to
write a book and not share it? Not many people. Who wants to work so
hard to create a great book and make no money at it? Writing and
publishing are not for the faint of heart.
different from other authors. The only thing that might make these
characteristics different from other authors is that they’re all
included in the same book. Most authors will have these characteristics
in their books, but perhaps not ALL of them in the same book.
- I write
very complex plots and characters because life is messy and I like my
books to be as realistic as possible—yet will always give the reader a
- Whatever writing elements I put in my books, I do it to
the best of my ability. For instance Silent Sentry has romance,
suspense, and mystery, aspects. It also has a lot of factual information
with regards to the mafia, Detroit’s decline, the engineering behind
Gianna’s invention, Prometheus, etc. Each genre has it’s own conventions
and expectations and I worked to master each. I want to make sure I do
all of them to the best of my ability.
- I write books that draw the
reader in and make them feel things. Most readers are vested in my
characters and stories.
Tiffany attended the University of Missouri – Columbia, attaining two degrees in History and Social Studies Education. After working many years as an instructor and consultant in the Information Technology field, Tiffany now writes full-time.Tiffany loves to read and has been reading romance novels since she was way too young to read such things. She has an unhealthy obsession for all things Doctor Who, prefers Pepsi to Coke and Absolut to both, thinks men who drink girly cocktails are wusses, has learned to never stop believing in her beloved St. Louis Cardinals, and can recite the entire scripts of When Harry Met Sally and Apollo 13. George Washington is cool, Bon Jovi still rocks the house, and Bruce Willis is the ultimate alpha-male hero.
Married with two wonderful daughters, Tiffany and her family make their home in Kansas City, Missouri, not far from where she was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri.
Hidden Staircase. It was my first “real” book and began my love affair
with reading. I devoured the Nancy Drew series and my character Kathleen
Turner in the Kathleen Turner Series was an homage to Nancy.
got really frustrated with Janet Evanovich and Stephanie Plum. I love
that series, but grew frustrated as a reader that Stephanie never would
choose a man—Morelli or Ranger. So I decided I’d write my own love
triangle series of five books and the heroine would choose the right man
at the end. So I did.
characters. There has to be something for a reader to be able to
understand and relate to in the main character. That creates empathy and
attachment and helps the reader enjoy the story more, in my opinion.
been so very fortunate to have met some lovely authors that I’ve read
and admired for years. Eloisa James is a wonderful, gracious lady, as is
Lisa Kleypas. I had an unexpected dinner with them at RWA and it was
one of the highlights of my life. I’ve also fangirled terribly over Lee
Child, with a terrible case of diarrhea of the mouth even as I was
telling myself to shut up shut up shut up! But he was gracious as well and tolerated my star struck verboseness.
definitely have to plan to write. I have two kids and as all moms know,
when you’re at home, there’s a million things that call for your
attention. From laundry to groceries, errands to cleaning. So my typical
day is up at six-thirty to get lunches ready for school, have my
coffee, scroll through email, and get the kids off to school. Then I
work from about nine until five or later, though if there’s a deadline
looming, chances are good I’ll have my computer on my lap for twelve
hours a day, seven days a week.
urban fantasy or paranormal. It’s one of my favorite genres to read and
I can’t imagine having that kind of creativity! I’m in awe of those who
can create whole worlds that suck me in.
like to spend time with my kids, I love to travel, and reading is
always high on my list of guilty pleasures when I should be working. Lol Before I was an author, I was a network engineer and worked as a system administrator and consultant.
received an email from a fifteen-year-old girl who told me she hated to
read because she was dyslexic. She’d decided to start trying to read
more to help her in school and read my Kathleen Turner Series inside of a
month. Her parents were stunned that she was able to do this and she
told me I’d helped her discover a love for reading because of those
books. It brought tears to my eyes because reading is truly one of the
most amazing pleasures in life and I’m humbled and honored that I was
able to help her find some books that spoke to her.
Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or do you periodically
recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned?
think there’s a bit of myself in all my characters because otherwise,
it’s incredibly hard to find their voice. The most difficult character
I’ve ever written was Ivy in the Tangled Ivy Trilogy. She is very
different from me, especially in the first book, but even she has shades
of Tiffany in her character.
I also try to write locations that I’ve spent some time in, just
because it’s more authentic and I can convey my love and feel of the
place more accurately.
I can start lots of books, but pulling together the plot into a good
conclusion and wrapping things up is the hardest part. I especially like
to continue my characters stories in multiple books, so saying goodbye
to them is hard. I grow attached to my characters.
If you had the chance to influence the questions people ask you in
interviews, what question is the most annoying and you would love to
never hear again? What question would you really like to answer that you
have not been asked yet, and what is your answer to that question?
don’t know if there’s ever an annoying question, though some may get a
bit repetitive if I’m doing a lot of interviews. Question I’ve not been
asked that I really want to be asked…I’m sorry to cop-out but I don’t
think I have any! Lol!
adore love triangles. I love playing with more than one hero, usually
the anti-hero, and incorporate that a lot in my stories. I think life is
usually more complicated than just one love interest, especially if I’m
writing a series that takes place over time. People change, events
change, and relationships reflect that.
also write first-person romantic suspense, which isn’t that common. I
used to not even like first-person. The first book I read told in that
manner was Twilight. Then I read the Southern Vampire Mysteries (Sookie series) and Stephanie Plum and was hooked.
from the Kathleen Turner Series. That series was my first and those
characters—Kathleen, Blane, and Kade—are very dear to me. They often
appear as “Easter eggs” in my other books, a wink and a smile to readers
who’ve been with me since the beginning.
you for reading and following my series. Romance readers are amazingly
loyal and voracious. I hope they like the last book in the Risky
poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, cooking, listening to music,
singing, swimming and art – particularly photography. Amanda is a bit of a chocoholic and is slightly obsessed with office supplies. She has many ideas for stories so keep an eye out for more work from her.
I read on my own that comes to mind is On My Honor by Marion Bauer. I was in
fifth grade. I know that I’d read books on my own before that but this is the
first one I really remember. I think because it was about a pretty intense and
serious situation. I remember talking to my teacher about it. From then on, the
more intense books were the ones that I often gravitated toward. Maybe that’s
why I remember it. Because it helped influence the books that I like to read
don’t really come up in my books a lot. (Unless you consider having books
present in both my life and my books my surroundings.) As for how much of me is
in my books, that varies. With My Heart is Yours Sam is a character that I do
consider to be a lot like me. It wasn’t necessarily intentional (although I
think that it may have been subconsciously) but when I noticed it while writing
I just ran with it. In the book that I’m working on now I did not at all set
out to make any of the characters like me. They just came to life in my head.
But reading through the books now I do see similarities to myself in each of
them. I don’t think that it’s anything that anybody else would notice, though.
know if you meant exclusively fiction but I’m going with memoir/autobiography.
The closest that I’ve come to writing straight out about my life is my poetry.
I just don’t relish the idea of sitting down to write openly about the events
in my life. I explore those things through fiction. There really isn’t a genre
of fiction that intimidates me. Whatever story comes to my mind, I’ll write it.
definitely have to be characters for me. Plot is important but for me characters
are the most important. I’m a very character driven reader. Sometimes, even if
I don’t like the plot, if I love a certain character I’ll keep reading. Whether
it’s a stand-alone or a series.
been interviews that many times yet so this is really difficult. This might be
unreasonable but “What inspires you to write?” Honestly, I have no idea, I just
have to write. I can’t NOT write.
surprisingly, I haven’t been asked if music plays a part in my writing process
and I would love to be asked that. The answer is yes, it plays a huge part in
my writing process. I always listen yo music when I write or edit or am
brainstorming/outlining. For the trilogy that I’m working on now I made a
playlist for the series that I listen to while working on it. I still end up
adding songs to it. It helps get me in the right frame of mind. I have certain
songs for certain scenes that I’ll play over and over again whole writing them.
I can even remember what song I was listening to while writing a certain scene
if for some reason it really sticks out in my mind. A scene that I deem pivotal
to the story.
most difficult question on here. Having things that are 100% different from
every author out there is hard but I’ll list a few things I find important
about my writing.
emotions to connect my characters with my readers.
shy away from the darker stuff in my writing.
condescend my readers with staying away from more serious issues which sort of
goes along with not shying away from darker things.
very few people have met yet. His name is Trent. He popped into my head pretty
much fully formed and entirely took on a life of his own. When I sit down to
write these people his words just come out of my fingers to the screen without
nearly as much thought as the other characters.
from My Heart is Yours, I think that that would have to be John, Sam’s older
brother. He took on a life of his own. I love him way more than I initially
expected to and would love to write more about him.
you so much for taking the time to read this interview!! I hope that my answers
were interesting. If you take the time to buy and read My Heart is Yours thank
you so, so much!! I’m working with someone on a non-fiction anthology of mini
memoirs from people with the same rare condition that I have so keep an eye
out. I’m also hard at work on a YA Paranormal Romance Trilogy that is
definitely darker and much different than My Heart is Yours. I love it so much.
I hope to be able to share it with you soon.
Abby Niles is the author of the contemporary MMA series, Love to the Extreme, and the paranormal series, The Awakening. She is also the author to the geeky romantic comedy, Defying Convention, where Live Action Role Players (LARPers) set out to teach their favorite author a lesson, but end up playing matchmaker instead.
Abby lives in North Carolina with the love of her life and their combined gaggle of kids. When she’s not writing, she’s trying to catch up on an endless pile of laundry and find time to get some much needed reading in.
definitely not the first book I read, and it’s not just one book, but
it’s a series that made me love to read. It took reading from being a
chore to being something I loved. And that was The Sweet Valley High
series. I discovered the series in 6th grade and I discovered I loved
romance because I couldn’t get enough of Elizabeth and Todd. From that
series, I moved on to meatier stories. By high school, I was reading my
surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a
conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of
your characters and it wasn’t planned?
me in every one of my stories. When you’re writing from a deep place,
part of yourself is going to slip onto the page. Some stories have more
of me than others (EXTREME LOVE for example), but every one of them have
some of me in it.
historicals. I LOVE historical romance. I wanted to be a historical
romance writer. Even tried my hand at it. I wasn’t very good. You really
have to know your stuff to write in that genre. It’s like a different
level of research. The clothing, etiquettes, surroundings…everything has
to be researched. I bow to historical writers.
don’t think a book can thrive off just one feature. You’ve seen reviews
that says the romance was hot, but there wasn’t any conflict so the
book was just meh or steaming hot love scenes, but the plot sucked or
good plot, but no chemistry between the H/h. So a book needs a whole
bunch of important stuff to be complete.
the chance to influence the questions people ask you in interviews, what
question is the most annoying and you would love to never hear again?
What question would you really like to answer that you have not been
asked yet, and what is your answer to that question?
ones like the one below, lol. I wouldn’t call questions like that
annoying either. I don’t find any of the questions annoying. More like
they put me on the spot and I get uncomfortable with comparing my
writing to other writers. J
interviews so I’ve been asked all kinds of questions. One thing I don’t
think I’ve been asked a lot about is earlier books I’ve worked on, maybe
things that have never been published.
OMG. Yes, I have. And, OMG. It sucks. I’m glad I’ve kept all of my
earlier work so I can see how far I have come as a writer. My voice
isn’t even the same. You can tell I was trying to find it.
that would have been my hero Luke Evans from DEFYING CONVENTION. Gah,
he was difficult. Defying Convention is romantic comedy set at a sci-fi
convention. This was supposed to be a light-hearted read. Luke was
anything but light-hearted. He fought me in every. Single. Scene. He was
angrier than he was supposed to be. He refused to be brought down a
notch too, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why he was so
damn angry. What I had in mind didn’t justify that amount of pent-up
writer. You should have control. I did not. The character did. Times
like that, I just go with it, because it’s usually leading to something
I’m not seeing yet. Luke eventually let me in on why he was so
angry, and yes, he was justified…and it was much better than what I had
in mind. So sometimes, your characters know best.
too big to keep inside. I’d never had an urge to write; I was simply
creative, I suppose. While riding along in a car with my sister, we’d
see a couple in the car next to us and I’d make up an entire story about
where they’d been and where they were going, what was happening in
their lives. My stories were always humorous, and my sister told me I
should be writing screenplays. I’d shrugged that off. But then I read
this book that she’d insisted I give a shot. Twilight. I’m sure there
were just a million groans at that mention since everyone thought they
could be a writer after reading the series. However, what happened with
me was that it made me thirsty for more—more adventure, more romance,
more happily-ever-after. Soon after the books ended, I found a Twilight
fan fiction sight, and my thirst was renewed once more. While reading my
first fan fiction story, I had an idea for one of my own. So I wrote
it. And then I wrote another one, and another, and another, and one
more. The feedback I was getting on those stories was very encouraging.
The next thing I knew, I was being published.
and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories?
how it’s possible that our surroundings aren’t absorbed into the story.
After all, writers write what they know.
conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of
your characters and it wasn’t planned?
I know. However, I’ve learned that writing is therapeutic for me. Often
times I write a character’s dilemma and then the resolution is
eventually revealed. It’s then that I sit back and think, “Huh, I’ve
just solved my own issue.” They say it’s easier to see resolutions when
you’re on the outside of a situation looking in. My characters might not
have exactly the same issue, but it’s apparent to me that it’s very
similar in so many ways. I suppose I’ve subconsciously worked it out
under the guise of it being someone else’s problem, thus removing the
emotional attachment, of something of the sort.
or musician do you ‘fangirl/fanboy’ over?
her Arcana Chronicles series, Kresley Cole. I’m in love with that story
and completely invested. Karen Marie Moning is the cream of the crop for
me, though. She’s the only person I’ve actually gotten sweaty palms
interruption, of course.
does it happen without planning?
schedule. If anything throws a monkey wrench in my day, the writing
isn’t going to happen. I “plan” to write Monday through Friday, from 8
AM through 4 PM, but that doesn’t always happen. I’m getting to the
point that I’m going to have to turn off all phones and social media
alerts, and issue apologies afterward. That, or maybe I should start
working third shift hours while everyone else is fast asleep 😉
Man, you’ve got to get the facts right or your whole story is blown, and
readers will call you out for errors. I live in the present, so do my
characters, but historical romances are beautiful.
you like to do when you are not writing?
knees, but I love living in a fantasy world. I will devour a good book,
usually PNR. I’m always looking for suggestions on my next read.
you think your profession would be if you were not an author?
the whole cubicle in an office thing. Though it wasn’t so bad, I really
think my fascination for what makes people tick would lead me into some
sort of therapist career.
have ever received from a fan?
she’d had put on the top of her foot with an emotional, meaningful line
from one of my books. That’s permanent, you know? So yeah, I was
touched. And so was she, apparently, though her ordeal was much more
needs to have?
needs to have a beginning, middle, and resolution—a reason for their
behavior and a “come to Jesus” moment, if you will. It’s fine for a
couple to meet, overcome obstacles in their way, and then fall in love …
but for the characters to grow individually while also bonding with
their love interest is simply magical and fulfilling.
most difficult part of writing a book, (including the preparations and
drowning in published books, especially with the ease of self-publishing
now. It’s extremely difficult to find a way to make your book stand out
from the rest. You know the readers will love it if they give it a
chance, but getting them to pick it up over another is not an easy thing
want convey to readers is how important it is that you review books and
talk about your favorite stories to your other reader friends. This is
part of the whole marketing difficulty I mentioned before. There is no
greater marketing tool than word of mouth. Readers pay attention to
reviews. They listen to your opinion and pick up suggested reads from
those they trust. So, please . . . spread the word to anyone who will
listen. You have no idea the impact it will make.
C. L. Parker is
a romance author who writes stories that sizzle. She’s a small-town
girl with big-city dreams and enough tenacity to see them come to
fruition. Having been the outgoing sort all her life—which translates to
“she just wouldn’t shut the hell up”—it’s no wonder Parker eventually
turned to writing as a way to let her voice, and those of the people
living inside her head, be heard. She loves hard, laughs until it hurts,
and lives like there’s no tomorrow. In her world, everything truly does
happen for a reason.
to mind? Why is it so important to you?
Love by Colleen Hoover. I read it not so long ago and was totally blown away by
this heart wrenching story about not one, but two great loves. The way Colleen
Hoover writes her romance stories, is captivating. She handles the big issues
in her book, but in a way that totally mesmerizes you. I think Ugly Love was
the first book to pop up in my mind, because it was one of the books recently
that made me cry and at the same time, made my hart leap because there was so
so much I could learn from that book as a writer.
books. I think as many of us book nerds that can’t go a week without falling in
love with a new story, will recognize, I found that I was surrounded by these
characters and stories that I didn’t read in books, but just happened to live
within my head. When my first daughter was born (I’m a mom of two beautiful
little girls), I thought about the things I found important and one of the
things I would like to give my children, is the believe that they can make
anything happen, if they just believed in themselves and did the work. At that
moment I realized I was sort of a phony, because I secretly wanted to write
down the stories that I lived within my head, but my own fears of failure kept
me from doing the thing I loved. I had to (wo)man up, so to speak. Now, when my
girls are old enough, I can without a doubt tell them to always follow their
dreams like I did with my writing, because when you follow your heart, you know
you’re walking on the right pad and nothing can compare to that feeling that
comes with doing what you love.
is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or
do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t
but people that know me really well, sometimes come up to me and say things
like: ‘When Dan said this or that, I could totally hear those words coming out
of your mouth.’ So it’s not some conscious decision but I guess every one of my
stories has a little bit of me in them. I like to write about characters that
aren’t perfect (perfect people scare me, if you must know) and that learn from
their mistakes. I think that’s human nature and that’s why people recognize me
and maybe sometimes a little characteristic from themselves in the stories.
Jennifer Armentrout and more recently on Elle Kennedy and Kristen Callihan. I
love their new adults. I’m totally in love with the whole jock / bad boy / good
guy vibe that’s going on in the books by Kristen and Elle. I binge read their
books (Game On series and Off Campus series) in a week and a halve or so.
Huisman (the Dutch actor who plays Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones and Chris
Hemsworth when he’s on doing his Thor-thingy.
like? Do you plan when and how long you write, or does it happen without
luxury to plan a full day of writing. It’s more that I sneak some writing time
in when ever the opportunity arises. Mostly, I write in the evenings, lounging
on the couch.
you think about writing in it? Explain why!
so I think writing the true stories is the hardest. It’s not your story,
meaning that someone else is trusting you with their story and it’s your job to
capture that person and his or her event or life in the most truest form. You
have to stick to the story that the person is telling you, but you also have to
trust your skills as a write and write the best possible version of the events.
writing? What do you think your profession would be if you were not an author?
(binge)watch series on tv. I love going to the movies or going out to dinner
with my husband or with friends. I adore my girls and love to spend time with
them. I must have watched Frozen a couple of dozen times by now and lived
through the reenactment of that fairytale more times than a person probably can
stand without losing their minds.
policy maker for a municipality and I’m a freelance journalist.
have ever received from a fan?
story made them think about their own issues and the way they were dealing with
stuff in their lives. It made them think. I found that touching because the
story reached out to that reader on a level that made them assess their own
writer is going places with her writing’. I loved that one as well! I really
hope she’s right.
important feature a book needs to have?
there is no story worth reading.
writing a book, (including the preparations and after-publication-process)?
You’re at about 2/3 of the book and the self doubting begins. Shall I ever
finish this book? Is it going to be the story I hope and think it could be? Or
is this the point to just give up.
It’s like being the new girl in a group of friends. You don’t know the people
you are spending so much time with and investing so much energy in that well
and yet you know that there is something there that makes them special and
worthwhile. It’s that process of getting to know your characters and the story
you are writing, that makes it scary and absolutely amazing at the same time.
Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet
different from other authors.
I’ll just stick with the things readers say in their reviews and the stuff my
publisher and editor say. Most readers find my writing takes them in to the
story, that the power’s in the details. Some things in the beginning of the
story may seem unimportant, but later on all these pieces of the puzzle fit
think my books reveal a little of the Dutch culture and way of living. The
directness of the Dutch people and their proud way of trying to live their
lives without accepting any help, then realizing there is no shame in asking
for help when you need it most.
‘good’ or just ‘evil’. Everybody has a story which contains of many many
layers. By peeling back those layers, you can find the true beauty in a person.
most independent, and has taken on a life of their own?
Heat, as the very ‘hands on’ and fun colleague of Lynn. But there’s more to
Steve than meets the eye and he was very persistent in telling me his story.
Steve’s not the fun and easy going guy he wants people to believe, there’s a
bitterness inside him and a guilt that’s eating at him.
book, which will be published by Storm Publishers next year (2016). The English
title is going to be ‘High Gear’.
end of this interview?
this opportunity and for wanting to interview me! I love the way bloggers and
writers are interacting these days and have the utmost respect for all you
bloggers and readers out there, formulating thorough opinions about books and
helping us writers get better.
story and find themselves wanting to learn more about Steve.
history and culture; this interest is reflected in her choice to often use British spellings for words because she likes them better.Holly likes exploring how a character’s personality changes and adapts as they are introduced to new experiences that are challenging. She also enjoys creating worlds and tales that are deep and complex that are driven by a solid story, yet have intense erotic elements.Much to her chagrin, Holly has many interests and has a hard time keeping up with them all. She enjoys cooking and has made wine with friends; she likes gardening, drawing, reading, video and board games, dancing, eighties music and yoga, to name a few of her more regular preoccupations.
She welcomes comments and questions at her website: http://www.hollyblackstone.com