Interview with superwoman Renee Grace Thompson

This woman is a force to be reckoned with – four kids, a loving husband, a full-time job and the woman can write! I’m lucky enough to work in a very close critique circle with Renee and am proud to call her friend. Insightful, kind and generous at every turn, Renee is also insanely talented.

Her writing is so smooth I almost always forget that I’m even reading. Something magical happens when I read her work. Everything just slips away and time disappears. She deals in dark subjects that delve to the heart of the human condition, but there’s so much humor and light and kindness at the heart of her characters that it’s impossible not get swept up in her world.

Renee lives in the Midwest with her husband and four kids. She worked as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist for over many years, but now manages her family-owned business. Her spare time is spent hovering over her laptop, trying to transcribe the romance novels playing out in her head. There are several going on at once though, so keeping up with them is hard. She hopes to have her first novel published sometime this winter.

Renee can be found at:

https://twitter.com/ReneeGraceauth

http://reneegracethompson.com

So without further ado, I bring to you, Renee Grace Thompson!

Me: Okay. Let’s dive right in. I’d love to know your secrets. Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?

Uh, no. None that jump out at me. With a job and a family of six, basically, I do what I can when I can. Ideally, I would say to spend time alone and immerse yourself in your characters’ minds and feel what they’re feeling as the scene plays out. In reality, that’s really hard to do when you’re watching the clock because you have to take Little Johnny to baseball practice or attend a dinner meeting for the day job.

You can’t do much about family and work obligations, but one thing that I recently tried is using scents to put me in the zone. I’d heard about a writer who wore a different perfume with each book she wrote. This was the scent of the female main character of that book, and it helped her delve into the character deeper. I modified this idea and got a fragrant wax kit with a floral scent. My series seems to revolve around roses, and I really do think it lifts my spirit as I write. I find it comforting and motivational.

Really! I’ve never even thought to do that. In addition to motivational scents, do you have a favorite motivational phrase?

Oh my. The list could go on and on and on. I have an entire book about Mother Teresa that’s filled with her quotes that I love. She was an amazing woman and made everything so simplistic. Her words are humbling, yet motivating all at once.

But the first phrase that comes to mind is “To Thine Own Self Be True.” This can take on so many meanings, depending on the situation. But it’s important to be your own person. You’ll never be content if you don’t stay true to yourself. To me that’s the key to life. I actually recite this phrase to my kids all the time as they are now at the age where bullying is an issue and they struggle with wanting to do their own thing but feel the need to conform to the group.

I just know you’re a wonderful mom. Those are wise words. Is that how you knew you wanted to write? How did you decide to become a writer?

Two years ago. I’m a chronic daydreamer, and after reading a novel that I didn’t necessarily enjoy, the proverbial light bulb went off in my head. Seriously. I didn’t know that feeling really existed, but I had the old clichéd epiphany. I thought to myself that my daydreams were better than that book I’d just read. All I had to do was transcribe what went on in my imagination. And with the ease of indie publishing these days, there was no reason for me not to. And so it began. It was really that simple.

That’s a bit how it was for me too. Like the flipping of a switch. The decision may have been simple, but I know well what comes after is harder. So you plan to self-publish. I’m looking into this now myself. Where do you see publishing going in the future?

I try not to speculate on that too much, because I’m not privy enough to know what’s going on behind the scenes in the publishing houses or Amazon. I don’t think traditional books will ever go away, but I do think ebooks will continue to evolve as technology continues to develop at a rampant pace. Amazon has been king of ebooks for several years now, but just like every great thing, it will eventually lose its luster and the other competitors such as Nook will gain a bigger portion of the market. It will be interesting to see what happens, that’s for sure.

More wisdom! When you’re actually in the story and writing away. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

Yes. Actually, I leave it for much longer than a month. I write another entire novel, and then I go back and edit. Several months pass, and other characters and scenes are much more prominent in my mind, so seeing the “stewing” novel is a big eye opener. Some parts are so bad I can’t believe I actually wrote it. Other parts I think “Ha! Now that was clever!

Ah! So true. Fresh eyes are invaluable and no one can do that as well as the author themselves. Thank you Renee! So much fun chatting!

Interview with the hilarious RA Winter!

I am so proud to announce this interview. RA is a writing buddy of mine. She’s had a hand in almost everything I’ve written, and she writes comedy like no other. Her romances are always sweet and poignant, and the laughs just keep coming.

RA Winter began her writing career under her married name, writing genealogy books. However, her love for reading romance novels intruded in on her daily activities. She started writing “Little Sparrow” and fell in love with her characters and is writing many more books in the Romantic Western series, ” A Kiowa in Love”. Each one of Grandfather’s grandchildren will have their story told, as will Grandfather himself.

RA spent many years travelling the world and has lived in many different countries. Turkey, Egypt, Germany, and Jordan, have all been called “home” at one time or another. She’s even been employed as a Federal Agent. Now you can find her quietly living in Pittsburgh, Pa, with her husband, writing her next novel about Grandfather and Lilly, a lively story where Lilly’s dead husband’s ghost haunts her, tormenting her at every glance.

FYI… Dingle eats him in the second chapter but can’t keep him down, or out of the spaghetti sauce. Paranormal humor at its best; romance stilted by two opposing forces. An Italian ghost and a Native American spirit come head to head. Who will win? Due out in the fall of 2016.

Me: RA, thank you so much for sitting down with me! You’re fairly prolific. The first story I read of your was Sarah and John’s love story in Reddress Two Wives, and I’ll never forget it. What are your next plans? What are your ambitions for your writing career?

RA: To make people laugh and feel good about themselves and the world around them. There is so much going on in people’s lives these days. They need to regain the laughter and lightheartedness they had as youths.

Me: I love how simple you make that sound, when it’s actually incredibly profound. Is that how you started writing? What motivated you to become an author?

RA: I used to read a book a day, then complain when they were over. I wanted more. My husband was like, “Why don’t you write one then it will never end?” Well, it hasn’t ended yet. I’ve fallen in love with my characters and created a family. Now, they won’t leave me alone!

Me: Sounds like a wise hubby! Do you read a lot? Do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

RA: Either honestly. I use more ebooks these days but I do have a full library of formal books at my house.

Me: A full library! Of what? What do you read? Who do you love?

RA:  I’ve always loved Jude Deveraux. Her series are wonderful and just what I love to read. But, honestly, I will read anything put in front of me. My library is full of works from classics to off the wall ‘odd’ stuff. Reading is breathing to me. I just have to do it.

Me: I love Jude Deveraux too. She was one of the first Romance writers I ever read. It took a while for me to switch over to contemporaries, and then thrillers and then paranormal, and now I’m back to the same, read anything wherever you talk about. Does that inform your characters? When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?

RA: I developed them first and let them grow as a person. I have to have a lot of their life’s events already figured out first but I allow them the leeway to grow. I plot their history then imagine how they would react. Culture, age, gender, and life all contribute to our actions and I try to make my characters true to their upbringing.

Me: It really shows, too. They all feel so real. And so loving. It’s a big family with silly hijinks but mostly they just feel so loving and full and real. Like the family we all wish we had. Thank you so much RA! Always a pleasure spending a bit of time with you!

 

Find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Author-RA-Winter-1520444794880512/

Twitter @RAWinterWriter

Follow her blog at https://rawinterwriter.wordpress.com/

Find her books on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ERCBSUC/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

Read about her books at http://rsch881.wix.com/a-kiowa-in-love#!the-kiowa-in-love-books/cnec

Little Sparrow, A Kiowa in Love is a sensual romance, about finding love after loss.

Painted Girl, A Kiowa in Love is a ‘cleanish’ romance, that deals with PTSD.

RedDress Two Wives, A Kiowa in Love is a raunchy read with lots of humor.

Interview with Francisco Cordoba

I am so pleased to share my recent conversation with stellar author, Francisco Cordoba! It’s always fun to sit down with a fellow writer and pick their brains – and this was no exception. I love his fun, sexy style, and his quirky characters and vivid settings.

 

A passionate romantic and obsessive equestrian, Francisco Cordoba has been writing for as long as he can remember. However, it’s only in the last few years, since completing his Master’s Degree in Linguistics, and suffering regular chastisement from his wife, that he has dared to fully unleash his muse. He loves writing about romance, relationships, adventures and sex.

Francisco lives a largely reclusive life tucked away in an old farmhouse, somewhere, with his wife, teenage son, four cats, two dogs, horse, ducks and chickens. He freely admits to loving them all, although he refuses to allow more than three bodies to occupy his bed at any one time. His six-book slightly erotic, paranormally romantic, mysteriously suspenseful, thrillingly adventurous, and possibly fictional debut series, The Horsemen of Golegã, will be self-published soon.

I was lucky enough to get to ask him a few questions.

 

Me: What is your favorite movie?

Francisco:  Hmm, that’s a really good question. There are many movies I like, so picking one is a real challenge. In fact, it’s more than I can manage, so I’m going to pick three. Maybe then you won’t mind if I don’t answer the why part of the question in too much detail. In no particular order my three favorite movies are Witness, Dead Poet’s Society and The Bridges of Madison County.

Witness was fascinating to me on several levels. There’s the age-old bittersweet story of a romance that cannot be. There are bad guys. There’s a protective hero and an attractive heroine. I have two favorite scenes in the movie: the barn-raising, and at the end where the little boy rings the bell and the community recognizes the alarm and comes to investigate and help. I’m completely fascinated by the whole community working for the common good thing, because I’ve never actually experienced it. For me, it’s a fairytale I would like to come true, so it’s alluring.

Dead Poet’s Society is again a bittersweet coming-of-age movie. Robin Williams is one of my favorite actors. I love the concept of carpe diem and remembering the excitement and despair of being on the cusp of life.

The Bridges of Madison County, well bittersweet again – I’m identifying a theme to my movie-watching enjoyment. Again, the impossible romance. That movie is a brilliant realization of how a story of just two ordinary lives, untouched by car chases, explosions, iphones or zombies, can be utterly compelling.

Me: What is the easiest thing for you with your writing?

 

Francisco: Writing when the mood is upon me. When the words flow freely from my mind to my fingers and I feel like nothing more than a conduit. At those times, writing is the easiest thing in the world and all I need is a keyboard and time.

Me: Is anything particularly challenging in your writing?

 

Francisco: Wow, I’m not sure how to answer that. Challenging content? I suppose I could say that writing place descriptions is something I find challenging. I’m more a dialogue and exposition kind of guy. As to content in terms of topics and subject matter, I think I’m pretty comfortable writing most things. Early on, I was squeamish about writing emotions that went deeper than the odd smile. I could write anger and negative emotions, but deeper love and the feelings around that were a challenge because I was afraid someone would read what I had written! That’s a bit self-defeating for a romance author, so I got over it–mostly.

Me:  How long on average does it take you to write a book?

 

Francisco: How long is a piece of string? I wrote 165,000 words, a novel still waiting for an ending, in 3 months. But the major problem with that is it’s not complete. I wrote the first drafts for 5 Horsemen of Golegã books in about 3 months and by the time they’re published they will have been in edits for another 6-8 months. I can write a 10,000 word short in a week, or a month. Really, it all depends. With time, space and the muse upon me, I can get the words out in a timely fashion. Are they the best words? That remains to be seen.

Me:  What advice would you give to your younger self?

 

Francisco: For heaven’s sake stop fucking around and get on with it, you fool.

 

I love that last answer. It’s so true. So much of writing is just do it!

Thanks so much Francisco for giving me your time! And to everyone else for reading!