Happy Friday the 13th! I’m often asked questions about being an author and my particular writing process. I’ve been sitting on some of these questions for a while, trying to think of the best way to answer them. You know, something pithy and fun. I finally opted for simple honesty. I hope you enjoy!
1. What is your favorite book?
I don’t favor any one particular book. In fact, I’m not a big believer in “favorite” anything. I tend to do things by mood, so whatever I’m in the mood to read is my go-to of the moment. I’m also a little eclectic with it comes to reading. (Same is true for music, TV, movies…) Some things on my keeper shelves are titles from Lora Leigh, Rhyannon Byrd, Pamela Clare, Tami Hoag, and Lexi Blake, all the way to J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown. I even count some non-fiction among my favorites. I don’t have the chance to read as much as I used to, but I still find things I love every so often.
2. How crazy does it drive you when more than one character is demanding his/her story, and how do you choose which one gets their story told? Whoever is the loudest?
It’s happened, absolutely. The most notable case was between Hunter and Logan, the Edgington brothers in my Wicked Lovers series. Logan couldn’t wait to get his story out there. He yelled, hopped up and down, kept me awake with everything he wanted to do to win Tara back. Hunter didn’t want to talk at all. Before I started the book, he hadn’t met Kata, so he had no reason to be eager. As far as he was concerned, there was nothing wrong with him. Can you see me rolling my eyes here? Anyway, I exerted my will (a fun thing with two strong-willed Doms) and wrote them in the order I originally intended, refusing to put Logan ahead of Hunter on the schedule. They both grumbled, but I’m pretty sure my way was the right way.
3. I always love to hear where authors get their inspiration for books and characters.
I would say my biggest inspiration is music. I’m always listening for something new or finding fresh meaning in an old favorite. I write with music playing, and whether that’s alternative, classical, pop, or new age, there’s always something blaring in my office if I’m creating. Really juicy plotting time is in the shower, while I’m driving, or when I’m talking shop with other writers. Lexi Blake and I bounce ideas off one another really well…often with a bottle of wine.
4. Who is your favorite author, and is your writing style similar to theirs?
The answer to this question is much like the answer to #1. Since I don’t really do the whole favorite thing, I can’t pick just one. I’ve been influenced by a lot of people—not just authors, but family and friends, music, even where I live and the places I visit. I think it’s important, however, for an author to sound like themselves and no one else. I don’t want to be known as the person who imitates one of my peers. I once attended a writing class where the instructor said that a reader buys an author’s book over another because s/he is buying that author’s world view. That’s always stuck with me, so I think it’s important to present mine, and no one else’s.
5. The question I would ask is do you enjoy writing as much as we enjoy reading?
It depends on what day you ask me. LOL! Some days are lovely and beautiful. I’m in sync with the characters, and it’s a fabulous, almost symbiotic relationship. Then there are days where it’s like groping in the dark while walking barefoot over hot coals. And much like Forest Gump’s theory about life being like a box of chocolates because you never know what you’re going to get, the same is true of writing. When I sit down in the morning, I’m braced for greatness or frustration because one eventually leads to the other and back again. But if I plod ahead a little every day, I finally finish the book and I’m happy with the finished product. When I hear from lots of you with your reactions, any difficulty I experienced is worthwhile.
Did I answer your burning question? If not, leave a comment and I just might answer in a future blog… From among the thoughts left here, I’ll draw one for a special prize: A signed copy of the first book in any series I write. (U.S. only please.) Can’t wait to hear what interests you!
**Congratulations to the winner of the first Ask Shayla! blog contest, Heather Avilla!! Rachel will be reaching out to you via email and coordinate delivery of your prize. Thank you so much for participating in Ask Shayla!!**