Who said three’s a crowd? Today we have a combined interview with three RWA authors:
1. Welcome to the RWA Author Spotlight Jess, Lexxie, and Vivian! Can you tell us a little about your new anthology?
Bandicoot Cove is a four book anthology set on the fictional, tropical Bilby Island just off the Queensland Coast. The books are red-hot, contemporary ménages, and the stories takes place during the opening of a luxury resort on the Island… Bandicoot Cove. While each book stands alone, all four stories have overlapping characters, and these characters weave in and out of all the books.
The first book, Exotic Indulgence, written by all three of us, is being offered by Samhain Publishing as a free read.
Book 2, Paradise Found, is Viv’s contribution. Tropical Sin, Book 3 was written by Lexxie. And Jess rounded off the four book series with Island Idyll.
All the books are available now for download at your favorite e-bookstore. The three individual novellas will be released as one print anthology, Tropical Desires, in 2012.
2. What are you currently working on?
Jess: I’m just finishing up with the sequel to “Island Idyll”, titled “Office Affair”, and then I’ll be doing more work on the second book in my “Speed” series, “Color of love.”
Viv: New stories in the Granite Lake/Takhini Wolves series and the Six Pack Ranch series. Tossing back and forth between contemporary and paranormal worlds keeps my job exciting and fresh.
Lexxie: Where do I begin? LOL I’ve just finished edits for “Ty the Sexy Dragon”, my upcoming rom-com dragon-shifter tale. That means I now have to get back to the sequel to Tropical Sin, the edits on “Dare Me”, the next book in my horror-romance series based on the Seven Deadly Sins titled, “Molten Pride”…yeah, I need time to stop.
3. Do you have a writing schedule that you follow? What is a typical day like for you?
Jess: I write when I can. Usually while the kids are at school, but often at night after they’ve gone to bed. You ever tried to write erotic romance with a 7 year old and a 10 year old tearing around the house? It’s not so easy!
Viv: Oh boy. Well, the last year has been very much -not- a schedule as I was traveling with the family. A typical day involved anything from writing at the beach, while sitting at a picnic table or doing edits as my husband drove. I learned to work around the commotion. However, now that we’ve landed in a house again, I’m trying to work toward my ideal situation. More of a 9-5 with new writing in the mornings and edits and all the other parts of the writer’s life in the afternoon.
Lexxie: I have two girls, one seven going on sixteen, the other four going on twenty-one. I write when they go to bed…after I spend some time with my husband, folding laundry, ironing, cleaning the house…I usually start writing around 9pm and stop somewhere around 2am.
4. What do you love most about being an author?
Jess: Losing myself in someone else’s world. Creating someone else’s world. Ooh, and falling in love over and over again.
Viv: Writing—having new ideas spring to life on the page. No, editing and seeing the raw world turn shiny and brighter, no…wait…it’s the people that you get to talk with and spend time with. Like other authors and readers and… Face it. I love it all.
Lexxie: Too hard to answer. Everything. Including the insane sleep-deprivation and the little voices that whisper strange things all the time in my head. And no, I’m not nearly as insane as I sound…well, maybe a little bit ;)
5. Do you have a favourite book on the craft of writing?
Jess: Nope, but I do refer often to my notes from a course I did in Romance Writing. I also rely heavily on critique partners to improve my craft.
Viv: I only have one book on writing. Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Personally, I’ve found out more about how to write by reading excellent authors than from reading how-to books, but that has more to do with how I learn than the fault of any craft books.
Lexxie: I devour Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Valerie Parv’s “The Art of Romance Writing”. Can’t function without them.
6. Name three traits you think are a ‘must’ for a great hero in a story?
Jess: Sex appeal (coz let’s face it, we all want a sexy hero), confidence and the ability to put his heroine first.
Viv: For a man to be truly heroic he has to be willing to give it all. Since I rarely write life and death situations, that doesn’t mean leaping in front of bullets or speeding trains. It means whatever is important to the heroine becomes important to him—there’s nothing better to me than a man who finds a way to support and be there for his lady without taking over her life.
Second and third? Have to be a sense of humour and a sense of adventure. I like my heroes to be guys you want to spend time with outside the bedroom as well as in, and someone without a sense of ha-ha doesn’t cut it.
Lexxie: Understated intelligence that feeds a cheeky, sardonic wit, all wrapped up in a powerful, menacing threat to anyone who may even be stupid enough to contemplate thinking about harming the woman he loves.
7. How much time do you spend on self-promotion? Do you enjoy this part of the job?
Jess: Truthfully? I’m terrible at promotion. But I do love to chat on Twitter and Facebook, and I try to blog regularly. (Er, I try. I don’t always succeed.) But when it comes to spreading the word about an author or a book, it’s the romance bloggers who carry a huge amount of clout. Contests are another good means of promotion, and (if you’re interested) International Heat – a group blog Lexxie and I belong to – is currently running a contest to win a Kindle. (See below for links to International Heat and more info about the contest.)
Viv: Depending on what’s happening with releases I tend to do big promo in spurts. I vary what I do for each release-sometimes a blog tour, sometimes an extra blogger giveaway of ARCs or interviews. Weekly I usually spend a couple afternoons working on getting the word out about stories. But the best hint is to write books that people want to talk about. Readers sharing that they enjoyed a book is both enjoyable and the best promo around.
Lexxie: I suck at self-promotion. Truly. Thank God for Twitter (although if you follow my Twitter stream I’m pretty certain I spend more time tweeting about Dr. Who, Colin Firth, my girls, my cat, my own stupidity than I do my books). I do think it’s vital however, and try my best to do more of it. There are amazing readers out there with amazing blogs, and I’ve really discovered how amazing the both can be for helping someone who sucks at self-promo like me.
8. Do you think it’s valuable for authors to have a critique partner or group?
Jess: I think it’s essential. No writer should be without the support, guidance, help and honesty of a good critique partner/critique group.
Viv: Yes, and no.
The yes is a simple answer: sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees, and another person looking at your work with fresh eyes can be the total kick you need to discover the right path.
The no is a specific situation I’ve heard of—writers who spend so much time trying to get their books to meet their CP/group expectations that they lose own voice. Ultimately, each book is ours. At some point you have to write what you want. A good CP or critique group will point and ask questions, and then encourage you to find the story in your own way.
Lexxie: Yes. Unless it’s Jess or Viv. Then I feel utterly inadequate. LOL Actually, it truly is valuable. Even if you completely disagree with their critique, the very fact someone apart from you has read your manuscript and shared their opinion opens you to a different way of thinking or approaching you work. And sometimes you are just too damn close to your work to see your hero is being an utter jerk.
9. What is your number one writing tip for aspiring authors?
Jess: Have fun and write what you want to write.
Viv: Have fun. Don’t get me wrong, writing is a lot of work—hard work—but the shiny moments should buoy you up during all the labours. Surround yourself with people who made it fun and thrill to see you shine. I want to write for a long long time, and that’s far too long to be miserable.
Lexxie: Always write. Carry a note pad with you and write. Doesn’t matter if you think what you’ve written is bad, if the words aren’t on the page (or on the screen) the book will never exist.
Find out more about the books:
Exotic Indulgence (a free read!)
Paradise Found by Vivian Arend
Tropical Sin by Lexxie Couper
Island Idyll by Jess Dee
Thanks ladies for shining bright under our Author Spotlight! :)