Thank you to author Rachel Brimble for featuring me on your blog today! In case you missed the interview and want to learn more about yours truly, I recapped it here.
What is the best and worse thing you have learned from an editor/agent?
I must confess that I entered into the publishing process with an optimistic naivety. I thought my manuscript was in excellent shape and wasn’t expecting many comments from my editor. To my surprise, every page came back red-lined. I realized I had forgotten some basic rules of grammar. And apparently I like to use run-on sentences, so she added semi-colons. A lot of them. I’m not a fan of semi-colons but I trusted her judgment, so these pesky punctuation marks are as much a part of the book as the characters I so painstakingly created. Aside from a grammar refresher, the best thing I learned is that I can’t assume my readers know what I know. Working in the advertising industry there is some lingo that is second nature to me, but I ended up having to explain what it meant. Also, just because I introduced Rachelle’s character on page 59 doesn’t mean my reader will remember her when she reemerges on page 115. I’m so close to these characters that I take for granted readers will know who they are.
As for the worst (or possibly best) advice that I received was when my editor commented on one of my love scenes. To quote verbatim: “It’s not recommended for people to keep condoms in their wallets, as they can get broken or weaken in wallets, so you might want to rephrase this.” If that is what my readers are thinking about during that scene then clearly I haven’t done my job!
What is your typical day?
I work part-time, so my typical day depends on if I’m in work or mom mode. On my work days I wake up at the crack of dawn, get myself ready, and then wake the kids and get them ready. I make a mad dash for the train because I live in the burbs and work in the city. My day involves a lot of meetings, which means I don’t start actual work until the end of the day. Around 6:00 I make another mad dash for the train. Once I’m home I scarf down dinner and then help the kids with homework, baths, and bedtime. Around 9:00 I clean up (aka putting unopened mail and such in an ever-growing pile), pack lunches, and shower. If I’m lucky I’ll sneak in some time to write before I get in bed at 11:00, which is way too late so I wake up exhausted.
Scenario 2: I “sleep in” until 7:00 am. I get dressed (in much more comfortable clothing) and then get the kids ready. We seem to be on schedule, but inevitably time slips away and I end up rushing to get my daughter to school. Then I bring my son on an errand, usually a Target run, before we need to be at one of his activities. We come home, have lunch, play, and then it’s time to pick up my daughter from the bus stop. Then we’re off to our next activity. By the time we get home I need to prepare dinner and I still haven’t gotten a chance to straighten up or do laundry. So these wait until the kids are in bed, by which time I’m too tired.
Perhaps my days aren’t that different after all. They both involve me rushing around like a mad woman and feeling like I never have time to tackle all of the things on my to do list. Either I’m a mess or my house is a mess. But I wouldn’t have it any other way because I like being busy. It keeps things interesting!
What do you read while in the midst of a project? Or don’t you?
I do read even when I’m in the midst of a project. I love reading because it provides a great escape and can serve as inspiration, sometimes in unexpected ways. I read a variety of genres, but Romance is my favorite. The only problem with reading while I’m writing is that I start comparing my style to that author’s. Doubt sometimes creeps in and I get the urge to scrap what I’ve written. But I tell myself that every writer has a unique voice so I must stay true to mine.
What do you do with a paperback once you’ve read it?
Like my protagonist, Lexi, I prefer paperbacks vs. eBooks because I like holding onto something tangible. I tend to get immersed in what I’m reading, so it’s helpful to flip ahead and see how many more pages are left until the next chapter. I’m guilty of the “just one more” page approach, which inevitably turns into many. Likely another reason I stay up way too late.
Once I’ve finished a book I loan it out to my friends. Books are meant to be shared and enjoyed, not collecting dust on a shelf.
Are you nervous about friends reading your book?
Yes, but more so my coworkers and family members. I’m not worried that they won’t like the material, I’m worried about how they will think of me once they read the material. Let’s just say I wrote the book after finishing the Fifty Shades series, so I felt compelled to take my intimate scenes up a notch, or two. It’s mortifying knowing people are reading sex scenes that I imagined and described in detail. While I felt it was important to show this development of my characters, people think it’s inspired by my love life. It’s not, for the record, though my husband would like me to say otherwise. 🙂
What things inspire you to write? Location, music, film or even in a book?
I must admit, I’m an eavesdropper. People reveal the most interesting things in elevators, on the train, and around the office. I’m like a sponge, absorbing these snippets of conversation. I use them to inspire my writing. For example, I overhead a girl telling her friend about a recent date where the guy got so drunk he forgot about her and left—not only the bar but the bill as well. That guy will be making an appearance in book #2!
What’s next for you?
I’m in the midst of a follow up to my debut novel, Out in the Open. While it’s not a series, per se, I will weave in some of my favorite characters. Titled I Should Have Said Yes, the book follows Tara Winters, Lexi’s younger sister, on her journey to finding “the one.” It’s a candid and entertaining look at a singleton’s dating journey when she must say yes to any guy who asks her out because of a pact. Bonus: readers will learn about Jake and Lexi’s fate along the way.