Goodreads: Ask the Author

The following is from a questionnaire I answered on Goodreads. For those without a Goodreads account (and perhaps for the sake of posterity), I wanted to share it here on my blog, as well. You can view the original post on Goodreads here.   
How do you deal with writer’s block?
To combat writer’s block, I make sure I have the whole story carefully outlined – every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed, so to speak – ahead of time. This way, I always know what I’m sitting down to write; it’s been planned out. All I have to do is expound. It prevents me from getting stuck in the story, and is a great hedge against writer’s block.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?
This is sort of like asking, “What’s the best thing about breathing?” LOL. I write for the same reason I breathe – because I can’t control it, it’s like a natural inborn function for me, and if I don’t do it, I’ll die. (Okay, I won’t die, but it often feels that way.) My only means for making sense of my life and the world around me, the only way I can free all the powerful voices & characters within who are scrambling for attention and shouting to be heard, is to write. I believe writing is a form of creation and life-giving. And stuff. So, I’d say the best part about being a writer is the way it connects me to life – living it, giving it, sharing it and understanding it.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Rule #1: Read EVERYTHING. It doesn’t matter what. Whatever you’re interested in, just read, read, read.

Rule #2: DON’T. GIVE. UP. Ever. Never say die. If you’re anything like me, you may be rejected, criticized, humiliated and disappointed over a hundred times. But stay hungry. Fight with everything you have. Keep on editing, rewriting, and submitting, over and over. Don’t stop. You cannot fail if you never give up.

Rule #3: Embrace all criticism. It’s there to help. Fix and change whatever you’re told to. Be flexible and receptive.

Rule #4: Always remember (as countless agents & publishers will always infuriatingly remind you in their rejection slips) that the industry is subjective. There’s a market for every genre and writing style & level. You just have to find the best match for YOU. That may be like finding a needle in a haystack, but with tons of relentless hard work and a few persistent prayers, you will find the one. Just keep looking.

What are you currently working on?
Two more adventure/romance novels, and possibly one novella. After that, I’m tempted to try my hand at something completely different. Or not. 🙂

How do you get inspired to write?
The movies and books that captivated me in childhood & adolescence often inspire my stories. But above all, love inspires me. I adore watching two characters fall in love, especially when it’s unexpected… for them or for me! I enjoy entwining romance within all my adventure-style plots; romantic love is my never-ending inspiration.

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
My most recent published book, THE DUCHESS QUEST, was inspired by Anastasia Romanov. I was fascinated by the idea of the last Grand Duchess having survived her family’s execution (although sadly, we now know, she didn’t). Simultaneously, I also had an idea about a trio of men who must journey together, but they can’t stand each other. One morning, I combined the two concepts together, and the idea for my first book was born.