Monday, January 30, 2006

Make-Believe Mondays With Cie Adams

On this Make-believe Monday I'd like to introduce Cie Adams, one of my friends from RWAonline. Cie pairs up with Cathy Clamp to write paranormal romance for TOR. Their first book, Hunters Moon, is winning awards and they have contracted for several more books.

Cie, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Cie: It's a paranormal, but a little "lighter" than my usual stuff. I think I got so tired after the last book that my subconscious decided I needed a break. (LOL) The world is very much our current world, where very few people believe in magic and Fairie. But it does exist. This book will have a very kick-butt heroine who is half human and half-Sidhe who stumbles into a very nasty plot that she and the hero work together to foil. I'm having an awful lot of fun with it!

Mark Twain said, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?

Cie: My main problem is that I have some ongoing health issues, so I have to be very sure not to get too stressed, to eat well, exercise, and sleep. All those "boring" things add up and really make a difference. Because if I'm not well, I'm not able to think clearly, let alone creatively.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Cie: Generally they fall into my head fully formed. I know it's weird, but to me they are "people" and I just happen to be looking in on what's happening to them at a given point. The plot can be nebulous, but the people are who they are – and I can't change them any more than I can change the people at work or the grocery store in my real life.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Cie: Once upon a time, when I was very young I created an entire alphabet and was working on a language. I've also created worlds when I've written fantasy or entire cultures for the paranormals. That's one of the things I love best about writing. I get to play pretend and get paid for it!

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Cie: I have for short stories, but not the books. Honestly, I'm not sure where the books come from. The imagination just creates them out of thin air as far as I can tell.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Cie: It's funny, as a child I moved into adult books right away. It was only when I got older (late adolescence and adulthood) that I re-discovered children books. I remember loving "A Wrinkle in Time" all the "Borrower" books and "Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth" and so many more.

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Cie: Ironically, not much different than what I currently write. I've been very lucky in that I apparently have very mainstream tastes. (LOL)

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Cie: Wow. Well, I don't know if this counts, but(Quoting Freud) – "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." A lot of people assume that if a character you write has certain attitudes, so do you, or if they come from a troubled background, you do too. Not so. As I told my Mom – "Happy backgrounds tend to read kind of boring. Characters need conflict." It takes all kinds of characters to create a believable world and believable conflict – which means that some of them are bound to have characteristics that don't reflect the writer's beliefs at all. So don't hold me to blame for my character the serial killer!

Cie, thanks for joining us here on Make-believe Mondays to give us a glimpse into the creative life. I can't wait to see how you combine the "real world" with faerie creatures.

Visit Cie's website at to learn more.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Make Believe Mondays With Katrina Kittle

I'm pleased to introduce my dear friend, Katrina Kittle, on this Make-believe Monday.

I met Katrina at the Antioch Writers Workshop several years ago when I was in her fiction workshop. Katrina has written two books for Warner and is now writing for William Morrow. Her latest book, The Kindness of Strangers will be in the stores on February 1st and I'll be one of the first in line to buy it. Katrina writes characters who are so real they could live right next door and her characters always touch my heart.

Katrina, first tell us a little bit about the manuscript you're working on now.

Katrina: I'm struggling to keep momentum going on the my fourth novel--currently titled My Beautiful Disaster--while I gear up for the release of my third, The Kindness of Strangers. The fourth book is still in "baby stages" and close to the end of a first draft. It's hard for me to talk about a story until I finish a first draft. It's almost as if I don't really know what it's about myself yet. But...all of my novels have started with some kind of social issue I care about, and then I try to build a story around that issue that raises--but doesn't necessarily answer--questions surrounding that issue. This book I jokingly call the "marriage book." I'm interested in the purpose of marriage. Lots of people say it has no purpose today, that the reasons for which marriage was created no longer apply. Hmm. I DO believe there's a purpose for marriage and I'm toying with articulating that. So...this book deals with marriage, flawed and successful (not that those are mutually exclusive), gay marriage, divorce, body image, eating disorders...with lots and lots of horses and a visit to Africa thrown in! That's all I can say at the moment. I'll keep you posted.

Since I've heard some of the stories of your visit to Africa, I can't wait to see how this book turns out!

Mark Twain said, "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?

Katrina: Years ago, I'm so happy I discovered Julia Cameron's fabulous book, The Artist's Way. She talks about "artist dates" and how we need to take our artist selves out to play for this very purpose: to fill the well. It's a constant struggle--we so often scrimp on time for ourselves in order to take care of others--but I try to keep my artist dates. The idea is that you go out to play in some way, whatever your heart desires. You don't need to justify it or rationalize it, and it should never, never be some virtuous thing you feel you "should" do. I keep a list of things I'd like to do, and I keep my eye out for those odd little happenings in the paper. I've danced to show tunes, gone to a class on coyotes in the Ohio area, hiked in the woods, wandered through greenhouses, strolled around in cemeteries, gone by myself to interesting little coffee houses to read poetry books or trashy magazines (sorry Lucy!) I bought on a whim, watched a draft horse pulling competition, went to the opening of a Peace Museum, colored in a coloring book, made a collage out of magazine pictures. The idea of experiencing the new is important. There's a quote (I don't remember who said it) that goes: "Each time you experience the new you become open to inspiration."

How right you are about taking care of others and the need to take care of the inner artist. I especially like the way you stay open to the unplanned adventure, to the new. Inspiration is just waiting around the next corner, isn't it?

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Katrina: I was a a voracious reader. LOTS of books pulled me into their worlds, and I'm so, so grateful. I absolutely adored the Nancy Drew series. She was smart and strong and could do EVERYTHING (it's really kind of ridiculous, all the bizarre talents she had--she could speak a bazillion languages, do ballet, ride horseback, do circus stunts on horseback, had skill in archery, row, run, do gymnastics, play tennis, swim, perform any kind of medical service needed...the list was endless...). I loved her competence! And she was always cool and the epitome of grace under pressure. I would pretend to be her and would play for hours this way. But I was a huge lover of anything with ghosts or the supernatural or magical in them. Anything where animals and humans could talk to each other was right up my alley!

Katrina, thank you for joining us here on this Make-belive Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers. May your days be full of new and unexpected adventures and your creative well always be full.

Visist Katrina's website at and look for her new book on Feb. 1st!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Make-Believe Mondays With Lucy Monroe

I'm thrilled to introduce my dear friend and mentor Lucy Monroe on our first Make-believe Monday.

Lucy writes wonderful romances filled with heroic men and modern women and she writes for three publishing houses. Berkley Sensation, Harlequin Presents and Kensington Brava. On my most recent visit to her website I counted 51 books!

She truly is an amazing author, so let's find out what she has to say about creativity and imagination.

Mark Twain said, "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?

Lucy:For one thing, you can't stay creative if all you do is create. So, taking time off from creating is a must for me...just not an easy thing to do. I also love to read magazines...not gossip rags (yuck), but stuff like "The Smitsonian", "Architectural Digest" and "Harper's Bazaar", etc. I've just recently taken up knitting and a rousing game of Perquacky with my family can be very creativity enhancing. I also read tons, both fiction and nonfiction, but romance is my favorite. I re-read my favorite authors over and over again and I think that helps me write better. Learning in cockpit as they say. But it fills up my creative well to sip at someone else's.

What a lovely thought. I can just picture authors visiting each other and dipping down to gather that cool clear water before sipping. Creative works can nourish the soul that way.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Lucy:Usually before I ever type the first word in their story, but sometimes they are nebulous beings that only become concrete after I've really settled the first 50 or so pages of their stories. They always do become concrete and very real to me at some point in the process though.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Lucy:I get lots of story ideas from dreams and find that I dream more vividly (and remember my dreams better) when I'm not writing. So, clearly, I've got to get better about taking time off if I want more story ideas to buzz around inside my brain. My agent calls it thinking time...for me, it's dreaming time.

Lucy, thank you for joining us and sharing a glimpse into the creative life of an author. May your dreams be plentiful and your well always full.

To learn more about Lucy and the many stories she's written, visit