Monday, December 10, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays with Gina Black


Today on Make-Believe Mondays I am thrilled to be able to introduce my American Title II sister, Gina Black. Gina's first book, the Raven's Revenge, just came out and we are all celebrating its release.

Debra: Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Gina: Creativity is everywhere. It's in fragrant flowers growing in a neighbor's garden, a cat's purr, a red balloon tied to a wrought iron fence, a hot cup of black tea with just the right amount of milk and sugar. To keep myself creative I take walks. I ride the bus to and from work. I watch people. I also indulge in knitting--a good time to work out plot points (unless I'm working on an intricate lace pattern!) and enjoy the feel of the soft fuzzy yarn (or smooth silk, or shiny bamboo). I firmly believe that the more we create the more we *can* create, so it's important to stay in practice. Specifically with my writing, I've found that I'm more creative if I write every day.

Debra: Yes, it becomes a way of life, a way of looking at everything around us and then inspiration is found everywhere we look, in everything we touch.

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

Gina: Yes, usually as I'm starting to fall asleep. Kidding. Kind of. My stories actually germinate in the dark recesses of my mind for quite some time before I start to write them. I don't do character sheets, although I usually work out the main plot points before I start writing. The main character usually comes to me first. When I stop deciding things about them and start hearing what they have to say about things I know they are taking over and it's time to start
writing the book. In THE RAVEN'S REVENGE, the hero, Nicholas, was right there from the very beginning, but Katherine, the heroine, took a lot more work and didn't appear as fully fleshed out until maybe the fifth revision.

Debra: Your process is so much like mine, the main character always coming first. (And I do believe that writers write even in their sleep even if they don't realize it.) ;-)

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

Gina: Books have always transported me to other times and places. From Dr. Suess' Mulberry Street, to A.A. Milne's 100 Acre Wood, stories have always given me worlds to visit and friends to cherish. Jo March, Laura Ingalls, Tom Sawyer, Elizabeth Bennett. Each in their own way
kept me company and helped me grow up and make choices for my life as they had for theirs. So many books were (and continue to be) part of my life I can't narrow it down to one.

Debra: Oh, there are so many to list, aren't there? Just when I think I have thought of them all another author answers this question and I think, oh yes, that one too. How can I have forgotten that one? lol

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?

Gina: I thought long and hard about this, but I couldn't come up with anything I would do differently than what I am doing now.

Debra: That is a wonderful thing to hear because it says you are right where you need to be, following your bliss.

Gina, thank you for coming to do the interview here at Make-Believe Mondays, and thank you for being such a wonderful supportive AT II sister.

Everyone, please visit Gina at her blog: http://www.theginachannel.com

and her website: http://www.ginablack.net

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Make-believe Mondays With Maya Banks


Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Maya Banks.

Debra: Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Maya: Lots of daydreaming!

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

Maya: I often have to propose a story to sell and then go forward with a different story until the “time slot” for the proposed book comes up, so I have a whole lot of people running around my head at any given point. It gets crowded in there and they like to talk to me at night when I’m trying to sleep. I get up often to write down entire passages of dialogue because if I don’t then it’s gone and I can’t get it back.

Debra: Oh, yes. That's why an author has to keep pen and paper nearby at all times. Many people keep dream journals as well. 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?

Maya: I dream entire books. Not kidding. I’ve had a couple where the dream was like a movie or as though I was reading a book. Other times I’ll just dream a snippet and it’s so powerful that it stays with me the entire next day. I’ve built stories around that “feeling” or that idea represented in the dream. I probably get more ideas from dreams than any other avenue.

Debra: 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?

Maya: I love to daydream. I love to night dream. As stated above, most of my ideas are from dreams. When I get stuck in a story, my solution is often to go to bed and lay there in that hazy place between sleep and waking and let my mind go free. I love to play the what if game. I love to dream big. The act of creating a story, a whole new world, is addicting. It’s a wonderful experience to share that creation with readers because then they get to step into that dream world for a few hours.

http://www.mayabanks.com (website)

http://www.writemindedblog.com (blog)

Maya, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers. (Note to my readers: Make-Believe Mondays will be on holiday until Dec. 10th. Readers who wish to see my itinerary can visit my other blog on http://www.myspace.com/debraparmley

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Monday, November 05, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With J.A. Konrath

Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest
is J.A. Konrath.


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


J.A.: I'm doing NaNoWriMo (National
Novel Writing
Month, www.nanowrimo.org)
and hope to start and
finish Jack
Daniels Book #7. It will be tough,
because
every weekend this month I’m out
of town, doing book
promo. But I
promised myself if I don’t make the 50k
word quota, I’m shaving my head and
posting a video of
it on YouTube.

Debra: Now that would be something to see! Great motivation. ;-)

J.A.: I’m writing this one without an outline, but I have a

pretty good idea where I want it to go. Basically a lot of sex, a lot of violence, a race against the clock, and a Super Suprise Shocker Ending. (Note to self: Think up some sort of Super Surprise Shocker Ending.)

Debra: Well, I can't wait to see what you come up with.

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?

J.A.: In a recent short story I used the sentence “His false teeth
slupped out from between his lips.” The editor made me change it to
“slipped,” the grahzny bratchny.

Debra: hahaha. And slupped was such a good word. I can even hear
that happening. Slipped? Nah, too quiet. Sounds like they snuck
out.

J.A.: As a fiction writer, my goal is to tell the story in the best way possible. Sometimes that

means playing with grammar, or words, or POV. In several of my books, I’ve ha chapters that were only a sentence or two long. In my new book (AFRAID, coming 2009 from Grand Central) I don’t have any chapters at all---there are no breaks. In my next Jack Daniels book (FUZZY NAVEL, coming 2008 from Hyperion), I describe eight hours in real time, hopping into the heads of eight different characters.

If it makes the story better, I do it, rules be fricked.

Debra: Thank you God, for authors who know how to play.

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?

J.A.: Funy you should mention that, because I've done it. Twice.
On JAKonrath.com, you can download two of my unpublished books for
free.
The first, ORIGIN, is about the US Government holding Satan
in a secret underground research facility. The second, THE LIST, is
about clones of Thomas Jefferson, Joan of Arc, Abe Lincoln, Jack
the Ripper, and others, in a plot to start WWIII.
Neither sold
because they crossed too many genres, containing elements of
horror, thriller, sci-fi, and liberal doses of romance and humor.

Of course, your localbookstore doesn't have a

SciFi/Horror/Humor/Thriller/Romance section, so the books didn’t
sell. Or maybe they didn’t sell because they suck. Download them,
read them, and let me hear your opinions. You can also (for a
limited time) download a free ebook version of my first Jack
Daniels thriller, WHISKEY SOUR. That also straddles genres (funny
mysteries and scary thrillers) but it fits nicely in the
Mystery/Thriller section, so no one complained.

Debra: I will definately look for them and I doubt very much that
they suck. (But it is nice to hear another published author say
that because I think we all feel that way sometimes about our
work.) And how cool that your first book is available to all. So,
you heard it readers, and here's your chance to test an e-book if
you've never tried one!

J.A., thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to
share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

J.A.: Thank you! But next time, I get to ask the questions…

Debra: Sounds Like a fair deal. ;-)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Marie - Nicole Ryan

Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Marie Nicole Ryan.

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

Marie- Nicole: Funny you should ask. I'm working on a MS that my editor just rejected! Seems I'm guilty of using a similar plot device from a previous book AND I have a secondary plot that's just competing for prominence with my main suspense plot. So it's back to revising and reworking the MS. I'm also working on the sequel to the rejected MS, so I have to get the first one right.

Both are romantic suspense stories set in Nashville at a PI agency, Music City Investigations, run by a blended family of siblings. Each of the family members will have his/her own book, but none of them will see the light of day if number one doesn't suit my editor.

Debra: Oh that sounds interesting. Nashville is just down the road from me.

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Marie - Nicole: One thing I always do when I write is have music in the background. Most of the time, I listen to light classical and New Age music because it's so calming and inspiring. Other times I just have to take a break and read, read, read. Taking time for me is another way I keep my creative cup filled, for example, lunch with a friend. I don't have a lot of responsibilites except to myself so this is easier than for most writers. My son is an adult and out on his own, and I gave up my day job last year. Watching the news is always a source of story ideas whether good or bad.

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

Marie- Nicole: Yes, and it's difficult to define how it happens or how I know, but when it happens I know. Sometimes in the editing process, I change wording in a character's dialogue, and all of a sudden it hits me that "Nick" would say it this way not that way. Another way I know is when my body language starts mimicking the character's movements. I'll be writing dialogue and my shoulders will twitch or shrug and I know the character is speaking through me.

Debra: Oh, that is fascinating. Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

Marie-Nicole: You can check my web site or blog and I'll include the links below. My current release is Too Good to be True and it's available at Samhain Publishing.
My next release is Love on the Run, and it’s due out November 2nd, also from Samhain.

http://marienicoleryan.com

http://marienicoleryan.blogspot.com

http://romanticsuspense.blogspot.com

Marie- Nicole, Thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Barbara Baldwin

Today on Make- Believe Mondays our guest is Barbara Baldwin.

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

Barb: I just had an historical – Silver River Love – released by Whiskey Creek Press on October 1, and I’ll have another historical – Song of my Heart – out in December by Samhain. So, I am currently taking a short break to do some marketing and regroup. Right! Don’t
ever believe an author that tells you that! In the midst of all that, I am working on a short story for Valentines about a retirement home full of vivacious old biddies who think they are matchmakers!

Debra: Now that sounds like a lively retirement home.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Barb: Everything around me can spark an idea – a song on the radio, a conversation, or a road sign. The best way to keep creativity flowing, though, is to surround yourself with good writing friends. I have two different groups, one is a critique group and the other is a hometown group with interest in writing. Every time we meet, I always go home fired up to write!

Debra: Yes, songs do that for me too. And sometimes it's one line of an overheard conversation.

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

Barb: Many times I’ve re-read a section and honestly don’t remember writing it. The dialogue is strictly character driven! That’s why I ended up with a 4-book trilogy (that’s not a misprint.) I started writing books about the McVicker brothers, and by the third, which was suppose to be the last, I had so fallen in love with them I couldn’t let them go. Their mom lives in Boston, and of course they visit periodically. I swear I could get off the green line and walk right to her house! They become so much a part of my life.

Debra: Yes. They become the people in our books, not just characters. And isn't it great to be so in the flow you look back and think, did I write that? :-)

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?

Barb: I have great dreams! When I’m just on the verge of waking, I think, “this would make a great novel”, but then I can’t remember it!! But that’s not to say there aren’t pieces of my life in all my books, especially my travels. I don’t travel to research setting, but often once I’ve been somewhere, it ends up being the setting because I like it so well.

Debra: Oh, that is when a dream journal might come in handy. This happens to me too, but sometimes I can catch them.

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

Barb: All the Black Stallion books! And Perry Mason!

Debra: 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?

Barb: Every writer creates from the heart, and I can’t imagine not writing. Yet all my stories are different – historical, time travel, contemporary. And the level of sensuality is also different. It’s not so much ME writing “sex” but it’s what happens in the characters’ relationship that determines how much love making there is. As long as there are readers that love a good happily-ever-after, I will keep writing romance.

I just started a group, in case any of your readers would like to join. It’s sometimes hard to keep up with all the technology, so at least you won’t be inundated with useless stuff. It’s just a place to muse, and talk writing. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MoodSwingsWithBarbaraBaldwin
I also have a website which shows the variety of books and genres I share with readers:
http://www.authorsden.com/barbarajbaldwin
I hope you’ll all visit soon!
Barb

Debra: Barb, Thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Angela Steed


Today on Make-Believe Mondays, I'm pleased to introduce my friend, Angela Steed.

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

Angela: My latest work is a paranormal story about a vampire - a four hundred year old man in denial of who he is. He believes he was cursed by the mistress who turned him. As he learns about a cure in a certain family bloodline, he waits in the shadows of night until the time is right to fulfill his destiny. Little does he know that the one holding the cure for his illness is the woman he cares about most.

I actually wrote it about four years ago so it's finished. I'm just doing a rewrite to make it less horror fiction and more enticing to the romance genre. It's kind of sad to do because I love this story - but I'll admit it needs a bit "revamped" for love and not gore.

Debra: Sounds like a major rewrite and sometimes that is harder than simply writing a new story. Especially when dealing with two different genres. But some stories just won't let us go.

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative well filled?

Angela: First of all, that's a great line by Mr. Bradbury. I think when authors first start "tipping", sometimes they make a mess. I know I have a few. The trick is to clean it up, start again, and work until you get something beautiful. A perfect cup of java would be wonderful!

Debra: Yes, we need to give ourselves to permission to be messy, to play with the writing.

Angela: Music has been a huge influence on my life and my work. My older brother is the one who really got me into music as a child. I used to listen to his 8-track tapes, showing my age there, of John Denver after school. When he was out with his friends, I'd sneak into his room and play his Van Halen records, get my tennis racket out and play air guitar like I was some rock star. Hehe, I'm not sure if he ever knew that.

Debra: Well, if he reads this, he will know! Ha ha ha.

Angela: Another creative addition is the real world itself. There are so many stories going on that it's absolutely unbelievable! I research news sites every day and read about incredible people. There is unlimited product for an author to write about. Mix it in with little unworldly things, and wa-la -you've got your next paranormal novel. My saying is, "the more you look around at the real world, the fancier your mind will be."

Debra: I like that saying.
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Angela: They come to life before I start writing! I visualize, kind of like a movie, the way they act, sound, and the things they say from beginning to almost the ending. In 1080 Kiss was a lot of fun to create their disagreements and listen to their arguments like I was actually there. Sometimes I wanted to smack them both. I really get into the story. :)

Debra: Yes, makes you wonder who is in charge then, doesn't it? ;-)

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?

Angela: I respect authors that have that kind of perseverance to write a new language. I've always thought it's be interesting to do, but I never have.

Debra: 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?

Angela: Absolutely! I have always had the wildest dreams. Indeed there are many scenes throughout my books that have been dreamt. For instance, in 1080 Kiss there's a part where the main character, Morgan, is dumped by a jerk at a look-out point on top of the snowy mountain where the story mainly takes place. She's about to freeze to death and becomes worried that there are wolves tracking her. She breaks down and calls Vince, her love interest, to come pick her up, but he swears there are no wolves on the mountain. When they're both back in the truck ready to leave, they find the wolves, standing where she's sat waiting on him, eyes shining in the headlights. That scene is one of my favorites.

Debra: Oh, I like that scene! We should always listen to intuition.

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

Angela: I read the Darksword Trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman when I was a teenager. I fell so much in love with the story, that I spent my entire time at the school library reading. It inspired me more than any other book that I've read before or since.

Debra: 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?

Angela: A romantic comedy sci-fi horror called My Zombie Boyfriend from Outer Space. Actually, the thought has been rolling around in my head for a while. I might just get started on it after I'm done with my vampire novel!

Debra: Yes, I think you should!
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?

Angela: Don't ever give up on writing if that's what you love to do. It is endless, the possibilities when writing fiction. Whatever your mind can think up, write it down. And never, ever give up on your dreams.

Debra: Good advice. Angela, thank you for joining us here on Make-Believe Mondays to share a bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Angela: Thanks so much for having me here. I really enjoyed answering your questions.

Debra: It was my pleasure.

Angela: Add me as a friend on MySpace:
http://www.myspace.com/angelsteed
I’ll be having a contest soon, so subscribe to my blog as well.

1080 Kiss will be available November 1st. Check back mid-October at http://www.blacklyonpublishing.com to pre-order.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Annie West


Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Annie West.

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

Annie: Hi, Debra, and thanks so much for having me on your Make-Believe Monday.

Debra: It's a pleasure to have you here.

Annie: I'm currently working on the story that I hope will be my seventh book for Harlequin Presents. No title as yet - it keeps changing! It's about a heroine who believes she will never earn the love of a good man and a hero who has loved and lost and never expects to find love again. Of course they're both wrong, as I insist on a happy ending! At the moment I'm immersed in their growing passion and confusion as they grapple with their preconceived ideas and face their feelings for each other.

Debra: This is the kind of love story most of us can relate to. It's wonderful to see that risk taking rewarded in the end.

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing when to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Annie: I wish I knew for sure because I'd certainly do lots more of it! I'm only now beginning to get a feel for this and to realize how important it is to have time when I'm not focusing on the current or next book. I need time to allow my mind some freedom to enjoy what's going on around me. Things that I find help are reading (of course), simply relaxing in the sun, getting outside and active - like walking by the lake or the sea or tackling the garden, talking to friends or family, traveling, going somewhere different - to a play, a concert, a new place I've never visited or trying something entirely new!

Debra: Getting outside and away from the computer is vitally important.

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

Annie: There are several moments when this happens. Often I'll start a book and not know the story. I have a scene playing in my head and I have to get it down on paper. It's such fun. Even though I don't know the details of what will happen later, those characters are incredibly real to me. I may not know exactly why they react in certain ways, I'll often discover that over time, but I do know how they react, how they feel. It's a wonderful, fabulous and utterly inexplicable. I see and hear them right from the start. It's as if I've opened a door in my mind and there they are, real and fully formed.

Later on in the story, I get more details of their history and their futures and then I have a more complete understanding of them. It's fascinating as sometimes small points I've included in that first scene turn out to be integral to their story and I hadn't even known it!

Debra: Sometimes it's very much like meeting the new next door neighbor.

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?

Annie: I can't remember ever dreaming about one of my books, but I do know there's something powerful about the subconscious working while I'm asleep. You know those niggling plot points that can cause so much trouble? Often you can resolve them by chatting with another writer friend and brainstorming ideas. Another way that has worked for me is to sleep on it. Literally. I spend time thinking about the issue and why I need a different solution and then put it aside. Often I'll wake in the morning with some new insight to the problem that allows me to go forward with the story. The results can be quite stunning.

Debra: Yes, the subconscious is incredibly wise. It's amazing.

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?

Annie: I've always been a reader, an avid, totally-absorbed-in-the-story reader. It's one of the great joys of my life when I find a book - a new world - I can dive into and explore. I believe that imagination is as crucial to readers as to writers because we create this new reality of the book in our minds

My only message is to wave hello to fellow readers and to ask that you take time to think about how you might encourage other people, particularly younger ones, to discover the joy of great books too. It's a wonderful thing to share.

Annie, thank you for joining us here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Annie: Debra, it's been a real pleasure. Thank you!

Debra: You're welcome. I'm so glad we finally connected.

Please pop over to visit Annie at her website to find out more about her stories and her life as a writer.

http://www.annie-west.com

Monday, September 10, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Art Noble


Today on Make-Believe Mondays I am pleased to introduce my friend, Art Noble. I am going to start out a little differently, beginning with Art's Bio, because it is so fascinating.

Born in Los Angeles, Art Noble grew up in Key West where he lived for four years in the Hemingway Home. He is the son of internationally known artist, Van Noble, who opened the Hemingway Home as an art gallery before it became a museum. He still writes under the Hemingway lamp he acquired when he moved from the home.

Noble holds a BS in Ocean Engineering and an MBA. Professionally, he was an adventurer on the cutting edge of technology, an executive engineer and a teacher. Like scores of other poets and authors, he has acquired and held many jobs including technical writers and commercial diver in the offshore oil field. This gives him an eclectic view of life. He ended his diving career as an Associate Professor of Underwater Technology at Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach. His poetry is published in South Florida publications, The Armadillo Anthology, Underwater (trade magazine), and read on National Public Radio.

Noble has appeared as a bit actor in movies and made commercials. After his participation in the H-Bomb salvage and the first 650-foot saturation dive, he made an appearance on the Today Show and his photograph appeared in National Geographic.

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

Art: The Sacred Female, set in sunny Fort Lauderdale, FL, is a novel of spiritual sexuality. It is the story of Richard and Jeanne, who literally bump into one another and start a dinner relationship that develops much further than either of them had intended. It is the story of how love changed them in way they would never have dreamed possible. They travel this path together as Rich unknowingly skirts involvement in a dangerous criminal enterprise and Jeanne's business grows beyond her expectations.

At times, erotic and sensual, The Sacred Female is about intimate connection between partners and explores both arcane aspects of female anatomy and physiology as well as the significance of finding a mutually spiritual path through sexuality.

Debra: What I've read so far was quite interesting. I'm looking forward to finishing the book.

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Art: This is a self-published book and I work on painful feet in the hot sun to pull together living expenses. The rest of the time I am marketing the book, so my muse went on vacation. I'd like to join her.

Debra: I hope you will be able to join her soon under a cool, shady palm tree.

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

Art: My characters are alive when I begin. Their character and faces develop in the book.

Debra: 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?

Art: Yes. I have a non-grammatical Swifty in this novel that fits perfectly. I'll let the reader find it.

Debra: Oh, fun. Something to search for.

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?

Art: The names of the characters came from dreams.

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

Art: The Tom Swift and Hardy Boys series; Kipling; Edward Ellsberg. Later Robert Rourke and Hemingway.

Debra: I would suspect you know Hemingway's works quite well. Kipling was also a favorite of mine.

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?

Art: A Journey to Heaven.

Debra: Now that would be a wonderful story to read.

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?

Art: I am the strange combination of Engineer/tech writer and poet. Most of my imagination is in word usage, book structure and situational events. The book is written in sonata form, which may be considered imaginative. Commercial diving, designing a seaplane ramp for a private residence and the sexual ectasy in the book are all a part of my experience, except for the female side. I had that explained by a female and related it to the best of my ability.

The Prologue and first five chapters of the book may be viewed at
www.myspace.com/asacred female
along with reader comments about the book.

Debra: Art, thank you for joining us here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Lisa Logan


Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Lisa Logan.

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

Lisa: That would be A GRAND SEDUCTION, an intrigue packed with schemes, seduction, betrayal-and murder. Four women decide to help one of them escape her marriage- and ironclad prenup-by setting up her lecherous husband with a phony affair. When their plan succeeds, they offer this "help" to other desperate housewives . . . and before long they've made a business of seduction.

I started the book for National November Novel Writing Month, then got sidetracked getting VISIONS out the gate and a couple of short stories published. I recently started on AGS again, and it's about two-thirds complete. It's been great fun to write!

Debra: It sounds like a fun read as well.

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Lisa: How true. As a wife and mother, keeping that cup filled is challenge enough without adding writing to the mix. The problem, I think, is many of us take stress in, rather than letting it bead off like water from a newly waxed car. Stress should frame the good in our lives, the way parted clouds showcase the sun. It shouldn't become our focus. When I stay true to that, simple things like watering my patio garden or a breeze during my walk fills me. I also do a lot of focused visualization and meditation.

Debra: I like this image of stress beading off and your suggestion to meditate and focus on simple things. Excellent advice.

Lisa: Letting it out onto paper - that's the other trick. Truth is, when I'm feeling stressed or upset nothing will pour out, good or otherwise. I've never been one to shed my angst onto paper. So keeping filled and staying positive is doubly important to my craft. Whether all the good stuff comes out . . . I suppose my editor would beg to differ! But is is my goal.

Debra: Tapping that vein is never easy. Each author has to decide whether to pour angst onto the page or hold it in and we all have different comfort levels. Staying positive is also important to building a writing career.

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

Lisa: As a matter of fact, yes. It's no accident that my slogan is Writing in My Wildest Dreams - dreams, interpretation and dream programming have been interests of mine for many years. The premise for my novel Visions came from a dream, as have several scenes from a variety of my works since.

I stumbled across the idea of programming my subconscious to write by accident. When I was new to fiction I learned a writing exercise, where you look at an ordinary object amd come up with as many desciptions for it as possible. I started doing this everywhere I went - flower vases on the desk at work, salt shakers in restaurants, etc. Soon, my mind did this on auto-pilot, whether I wanted it to or not. A portion of my brain had dedicated itself to crafting. This even works while I sleep. So now, when the daily grind keeps me away from my writing desk, I focus on scenes that need doing or problems I need to write my way out of as I settle down to sleep. Took some practice and doesn't always pay off, but my dreams will often take over. It's been a very useful way to get around my severly limited writing time.

Debra: Fascinating. I've been intrigued by the role dreams and dreaming plays in writing fiction for quite some time.

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

Lisa: I read with a passion as a child. Of course, the usual titles come to mind - A Wrinkle in Time, The Phantom Toll Booth, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Jonathan Livingston Seagull - you name it. But I have to give a special nod to an author that really pulled me in and kept me there - actress/singer Julie Andrews. I read her book Mandy so many times that the cover fell off, and it stayed with me throughout adulthood. I actually named my fifth child after the title character.

Debra: I had no idea Julie Andrews was also an author.

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?

Lisa: I can't say I'd write anything different. The stories that come, come without any thought of what the market is looking for at the time. I'm Writing in My Wildest Dreams, after all, literally and truly!

Debra: 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?

Lisa: Pay attention to your dreams - your subconsious may be trying to tell you something important! In fact, I'm now doing a regular blog feature on lisalogan.net about it. Readers can post their dreams for a free interpretation of common dream symbols.

Also readers can visit me on MySapce at
http://myspace.com/authorlisalogan.

Debra: Lisa, thank you for joining us here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Lisa: Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you and your readers . . . and may all YOUR wildest dreams come true.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Meg Allison

Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Meg Allison.

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

Meg: I'm working on a paranormal romance that includes a gifted medium as the heroine and a dream-walking demon-slayer as the hero. If you can picture Adrain Paul in black leather or tight jeans, then you have a good idea what my hero looks like.

Debra: Yes, I can picture him quite well. ;)

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

Meg: Most definately! I can visualize them in my mind as well as hear the words they would say. They become very real individuals to me.

Debra: 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?

Meg: In a way, yes. I've had dreams that helped me work through a troublesome plot point and gave me a new direction to take a current work in progress. It's amazing the way the mind can solve problems even while you're unconscious.

Debra: Yes, it is amazing what can happen if we give the subconscious a chance to work.

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

Meg: I adored Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. I also enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time and The Phantom Tollbooth. I read a great deal as a child and those are just a few that stand out in my mind.

Debra: Those are wonderful selections.

Meg, Thank you for joining us here on Make-Believe Mondays to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Visit Meg at http://www.megallisonauthor.com

Make Believe-Mondays will be on break next week, from Aug 11th to the 22nd while I am in Scotland researching my next book. We will resume on Sept. 3rd with an interview with Lisa Logan.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Brenda Williamson

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

Brenda: By day, I'm working on the edits for A DESPERATE LONGING, a romantic suspense that comes out August 14th from Samhain Publishing. It's about a woman that was attacked by a stalker and is a bit nutty until she meets a man that she falls in love with.

Debra: Now I am curious about what way she is nutty. LOL Guess I'll have to wait and read the book, right? ;)

Brenda: By night, I'm writing a story about an empress that is pleasured by eunuchs because her husband has neglected her, but this is unfulfilling. Then her husband dies and she meets a man, that really satisfies her.

If it’s not obvious, I write a lot of erotic romance.

Debra: Well, yes... LOL

Brenda: At this very moment, I'm working on three things: a) plotting and starting to write the fourth book in my demon-hunting soccer mom series, DEJA DEMON, b) finishing a proposal for a new paranormal romance series, (which DESPERATELY needs a title), and c) putting together a proposal for a project that I'm hoping will come to fruition, but is still in such an early stage that it may not get off the ground. Fingers crossed! (Okay, a quick amendment ... the proposals are out the door! Yay! So now I'm focusing on the demon series, working on the next book and updating the series bible.)

Debra: So many manuscripts so little time. :) Congrats on getting the proposals out.

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Brenda: I think Bradbury is right and it's not something that you actively do. Your cup is always being filled simply by being in the world around you. Going to the store, playing with your kids, reading books, taking long walks, sitting in a dark theater with a bag of popcorn! I think with regard to storytelling in particular, so much creativity spins off of the simple question: What if? If you're open and let yourself go from there, you can come up with any number of wonderful takes to tell!

Debra: That's the big question...the "what if?"

Brenda: The harder part, I think, of Bradbury's quote: tipping over and letting the good stuff out. I think that's what stymies a lot of potential authors. I know that I had hundreds of false starts in fiction, and a lot of that stemmed from a basic shyness in my personality. I wanted to write, but I didn't necessarily want to reveal myself. And even if you're writing about superheroes or psychotic killers or demon hunting soccer moms, a little bit of you will always seep into a story. It wasn't until I was finally able to get over that hurdle of letting other people (my mom, my friends) read my stuff, that I was able to step back and seriously think about trying to get it published.

Debra: Yes, sometimes we have to write through the messy part to get to the gold.

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?

Brenda: I've woken from dreams and went straight to my computer to write down everything I remember. Unfortunately, I don't always capture the tone that the dream has and I ended up with nonsense. But some bits of the dreams always work into a new story.

Not really. I tend to remember my dreams, and if I do remember them, they're usually more Lovecraftian than I tend to write. :)

Debra: And that would be a different kind of story. LOL

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

Brenda: Oh my gosh, yes! I was so influenced as a kid. Madeleine L'Engle and A Wrinkle in Time and it's sequels, Half Magic and all the other books by Edward Eager, Paul Zindel, Paula Danziger, Judy Blume, Zilpha Keatly Snyder, E.L. Konigsburg, Shel Silverstein. Man, I could go on forever!

Debra: So could I. :)

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?

Brenda: I already use the wildest imagination. I write what I like, figuring someone out there will have the same taste I do. My wildest story has yet to find a home. It borders taboo and is about a tiger shape-shifter in the tropics, cursed by a voodoo priestess. A woman is ship wrecked on his island and while the tiger in him wants her for sexual breeding, the man in him falls in love with a woman.

Honestly, I'm writing them! If you look at my book history, you can see that I've had a very varied past within women's fiction. I've been very fortunate that the ideas I've pitched have sold. That's not to say there haven't been rejections along the way - there most definately have - but I don't feel like there's some story out there that's the book of my heart just waiting for the market to open up and let me write it.

Debra: I'm always pleased to hear an author say she is using her imagination in the largest way possible and not allowing the market to shrink wrap it.

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?

Brenda: Just that it's important to follow your dreams!
I'd love to hear from readers. I'm online at my website, http://www.BrendaWilliamson.com

Chat with me at http://www.groups.yahoo.com/BrendaWillamsonRomanceParty/

And on MySpace: http://www.myspce.com/BrendaWilliamson

Brenda, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Thanks for having me!



NOTE TO READERS AND SCHEDULED AUTHORS:

Make-Believe Mondays will pause August 11th to the 22nd while I travel through Scotland. We will resume on the 27th.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Tracy Cooper-Posey

Last weeks Make-Believe Monday interview was delayed as I was at the Antioch Writers Workshop and was unable to get on the internet long enough to load the interview. But I'm pleased today to be able to finally introduce my friend, Tracy Cooper-Posey.

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

Tracy: I’m concentrating on two manuscripts right now. I have a historical romantic suspense novella with Ellora’s Cave that will be released on July 4, and I’m building up promotion on that one at the moment. I’m very pleased with that one…it has a fabulous cover – one of those covers that grabs you. I was very pleased to see it.

The other manuscript is a mainstream romantic suspense that Harlequin MIRA have asked to see. I can’t say a lot about it right now, of course, but it’s proving to be a lot of fun so far.

Debra: Can't wait to see that cover.

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Tracy: My first impulsive answer to this was “I haven’t got a clue!”. I’m usually so damned busy, I don’t have time to court the muse and lure her in. She just has to be there when I sit down at my laptop, or I’ll write the damn thing without her.

But I think that’s my answer right there: I have a very full life (too full!), one that includes three teenagers at home, one living in Shanghai, a husband that is juggling two careers and a day job, my own demanding day job, plus promoting and writing my books. Two cats, Merry and Pippin, and a rock python, Sam. A house that refuses to stay clean and tidy, and an extended family that is spread across every continent in the world except Antartica.

I also workout daily.

With all that, and the dozens of people I interact with in the flesh and on-line, and just watching the way the world works...the ideas come.

I’ve also grown very good at forced idea brainstorming over the years: Sitting with a pen and paper (lately, that has become a laptop and a blank new Word file), and making myself come up with new ideas.

It sounds like it’s a terrible way to build a story, but it’s actually a good way to tap into your creativity when life won’t give you the time to daydream and reach your ideas that way.

Debra: I am simply amazed at the many things you juggle and the way you pull it all off with flair. Such a full life must give you plenty of material to write about.

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

Tracy: Just about every author I met managed to suck me in. I was a voracious reader as a child – I grew up without television, and without children my own age, and discovered books around eight or nine years of age. Back then it was mostly Enid Blyton (an English writer of children’s adventures), but later on I branched out into almost every genre there is, including the adult titles.

As a result, for many years, I could never pronounce unusual words; I’d seen them in books, and understood their meaning and grammatical usage, but because no-one around me used them in conversation, I’d never heard them pronounced properly.

One of the strongest spells to grab me was Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. And not long after that I discovered Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, and Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave. Strangely, I rarely read fantasy these days. I go for more gruesome and realistic stuff.

Debra: Isn't it wonderful how books can enrich a child's mind in that way, words a child might struggle to pronounce such a stretch which expands a child's world? That's the beauty of language.

Tracy, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Meg Winston

Today on Make-Believe Mondays I'd like to introduce my friend, Meg Winston.

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

Meg: A dark, edgy little urban fantasy about the Wrath of Hell and her idiot apprentice. I'm a sucker for a happy ever after and these two just spark each other off the page, so it's been a joy to write. Tons of conflict, all of it smoldering, and a lot of black humor, which I love. Crazy sisters on smiting sprees, angry gods running amuk, lifelong secrets, and The Fates banning her from love...it's been loads of fun to write.

Debra: The crazy sisters smiting had my attention before you went any further. (Having one sister, I can just imagine the trouble they might get into.) LOL

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Meg: Music, Google, forums, and my own filthy imagination. I consider every day research, which gives me a nifty excuse to look into all the wild and crazy things I'd never do, haven't done, or whatever in the name of ficton.

Debra: So many of us are armchair adventurers, playing that what if game.

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

Meg: The point at which they misbehave. At first they're nice and bidable. Do what I tell them, when I tell them. No snarking, no...anything. Then, out of nowhere, they'll say/do/think something stupid that requires me to work around their stupidity.

Debra: When they start talking back you know you're in trouble. ;)

Some very famous authors have played with the 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?

Meg: I make up forms of existing words to suit what I'm working on. My gut tells me which root word best puts across my message, then I'll adjust the prefixes and suffixes until it suits the form grammatically required to make sense. Unfortunately, the resulting word isn't always an accepted part of the language. An example? Spot it if you can...*g*She blogged incessantly, spurred by diatribal vanities and the security of silent audience.

For the record, there's nothing I love more than finding someone who knows the language well enough to catch me when I do this and call me on it. I had a prof in college who caught every single one, even ones I didn't realize were actually words. What's more, he supplied acceptable forms, including grammatically correct synonyms. Obviously, I loved his class indescribably. I'm also terrified to let him read anything I have written since. *g*

Debra: He sounds like an excellent professor. I have always admired authors who are brave enough to play with the language.

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?

Meg: Dreams? Nope. I bring my characters out to play when I daydream, but the stuff I come up with at night is woefully uninteresting.

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

Meg: Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne series. *sigh* Gilbert Blythe. *double sigh* The first book I ever got a library fine for was the eighth of the series, Rilla of Ingleside. Not that I'd lost it, but I couldn't find a copy in any of the bookstores near me and I didn't want to give it up because I was having serious re-reading joneses. The librarian and I compromised. I proved I still had the book and paid like $1 to "rent" it for the rst of the school year, which gave me a few months to order it from W. H. Smith.

Debra: Ah, yes. Anne of Green Gables. I read every single one of those. What a lovely thing for the librarian to do, and thank you for sharing that story. I wonder if she knows you are now a published author. Librarians are unsung heroes. I wonder how many of them nurture young readers in this way in between their quiet shushing.

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

Meg: I'd want to explore my characters beyond what I can do now. Just because they're perfect for YA doesn't mean they don't grow up to have fabulous erotic romance situations. Also, just because the first in the series is a romantic comedy, that doesn't preclude a subsequent story from being dark, or vice versa. Basically, I'd like to blur the line, take characters between subgenres within a series.

Debra: That's an interesting idea. And the YA readers might follow you there as they grow up with the characters.

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?

Meg: My day job requires me to live by facts, to somehow absorb those facts and release them back into the world as a story. For me, it's less about dreaming myself a tale than it is about letting myself form the facts to release a different sort of story. Every story hangs on a conflict, some piece that doesn't jive with the expected, and no matter what sort I'm writing, I rely on my imagination to find that twist and make it a hook worth following. Everyone has that potential, but I've noticed a lot of people simply don't apply it as often as I do. I'd love to see more people find the random and absurd in everyday life - that's what makes it such a joy for me.

Debra: Meg, thank you for joining us here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Please visit Meg at www.myspace.com/megwinston

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Rene Lyons

Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Rene Lyons.

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

Renee: I'm working on finishing up The Awakening, which is my first endeavor with Tease Publishing. Also, I've started Eternal Sin, the fourth installment of the templar Vampire series for Samhain and an untitled book that's the first in the Order of the Rose. That one I plan on shopping around to an agent.

Debra: Plenty of stories in the works, then. Fingers crossed for you on the agent search.

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Rene:
For me, it's all about mood. I play music. I look at certain art. (Luis Royo is my favorite artist) or I just watch one of my favorite movies such as Kingdom of Heaven or Braveheart. One of those things usually works!

Debra: You are right about mood being essential. Music and art calling forth those responses and the creative flow.

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


Rene: Oh my God, all the time! My books usually play out like little movies inside my head that I then try to write down as accurately as possible.

Debra: It's funny how so many of us do this, those little movies playing. For me it's like a daydream sometimes.

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

Rene: When I was really young it was The Last Unicorn. As I grew up and discovered romance novels, I have to go with Saving Grace by Julie Garwood. That book just drew me in and to this day, hasn't let me go.

Debra: Then I simply must read that one.

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?

Rene: I've done that with my Templar Vampires. With them, I've found my imagination. I plan on going further with their world with the Order of the Rose.

Debra: I look forward to reading it.

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?

Rene: Never be afraid to write what you feel. You'll never know where it might take you!

I'd love to hear from readers. I'm online at my website,

http://www.renelyons.net

At my blogs: http://renelyons.blogspot.com/ and http://doubledarkness.blogspot.com/

My Forum (with Stella Price): http://renelyons724.proboards91.com/

And on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/renelyonsauthor

Rene, thank you for joining us here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing wi our readers.

Rene: Thank you for having me!


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Make-Believe Monday break this week

Make-Believe Mondays is on break this week, but I will direct you over to
http://www.titlewave.blogspot.com/
where my Title Wave Sisters and I are blogging about our offices.
Today was my turn.

Make-Believe Mondays will resume next week.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Antonia Pearce


Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Antonia Pearce.

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

Antonia: I'm working on a number of projects right now. I have an erotic suspense with paranormal elements trilogy called, Nemesis: The Legacy, Nemesis: The Wraith and Nemesis: The Successor in the works, also and erotic contemporary called, "Rub Me Right," and erotic paranormal called tentatively, "Windward Destiny" and a Celtic/Gael inspired Medieval fantasy with a working title of "Sword." When I become blocked on one story or get an idea for a scene for a different story, I have to switch. Unfortunately, the only way I can stay true to one story is when I am meeting a tight deadline.

Debra: Yes, it's a great way to keep from getting blocked. And it's always nice to know I'm not the only one who works on multiple manuscripts in this way.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Antonia: Reading books, watching people around me, movies, music, just living life. I never have a problem coming up with
a new idea for a story, unless the parameters for that story are extremely narrow or center on something I know nothing about. My husband says I "do the 'what if' scenarios." Yes, duh, I'm a writer, that's how I write my stories. Years ago, in my other life, I was a nurse. If you are a nurse and don't plan for contingencies your patients could be in real trouble and how would you know what those might be? I'm a "what-ifer" and proud of it!

Now, letting "the beautiful stuff out," that's the real trick, isn't it? As I said before, I have no problem getting halfway through a story. Then I'll usually hit a wall and I have to push a bit to get going again. I don't outline, but I do always know where I want to go.

Debra: Those murky middles that so many of us strufggle with. "What if" is the way all my stories start too. :) I agree it is a thing to be proud of.

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

Antonia: Oh, absolutely. I have used characters, concepts, plot devices or even whole scenes that I got from a dream. The trick is getting them in the computer before I forget the details.

Debra: Yes, that's the tricky part. Holding on to them once we wake.

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

Antonia: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett was quite memorable. The imagery of that story stays with me today. Also, the Bobbsey Twins mysteries, the Trixie Beldon mysteries, the Nancy Drew mysteries. Also, the Cherry Ames nurse series. I was always in an imaginary world, LOL. Usually hunting for a real mystery. Then I discovered Georgette Heyer, Barbara Cartland, and Gothic romances when I was about eleven or twelve…

Debra: The Secret Garden is a wonderful story.
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?

Antonia: One I love to explore is the death experience. Is a dead character really finished? Or can they stay in the story? What is death? What are ghosts? My fantasy story, "Sword" pretty much pushes the boundaries with this. Plus, it has the whole Celtic/Medieval ambiance going on and lots of horses, swords and sword fighting. I adore swashbucklers and paranormals, so this is going to be my version of that combination.

Debra: Very interesting questions to play with. Oh, I can't wait for that one!

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?

Antonia: Control your internal editor. It can stop the creative process dead in its tracks. Don't let that cool dream or that great story idea go to waste because you tell yourself it's dumb, or you think person X might not like it. Also, you have to be willing to let your imagination do its job. It's a scary thing to do and you may face criticism from critique partners, reviewers, editors, etc. No question about it. You are putting yourself out there on a limb. You have to learn to sort through the negative things and use the constructive points to improve your writing and marketability and put the rest away.

I'd love to hear from readers.

I'm online at my website, http://www.antoniapearceromance.com

At my blog: http://antoniapearceromance.blogspot.com

And on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/antoniapearce

Debra: Antonia, that is such excellent advice. Thank you for joining us here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Antonia: Thank you again for inviting me, Debra! What great questions! It's been a pleasure visiting with you and your readers.

Debra: Thanks, Antonia. It has been my pleasure as well.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Janice Maynard


Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Janice Maynard.

Janice, first tell us a little bit about the manuscript you are working on now.

Janice: I just turned in a book at the end of February that will be out in January 2008 - tentative title "The Perfect Ten". It's about three female cousins who own a shop called "Lotions and Potions". When hunky, wonderful men suddenly start showing up in their lives, the women wonder if a new lotion they have created just might be an aphrodisiac!

Debra: Oh my. Women would swarm to a store that had a lotion like that. ;)

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

Janice: My characters walk around in my head like a movie. When I am in the midst of writing a book, it is sometimes hard to sleep at night, because when I close my eyes, I keep writing dialog and scenes in my head...

Debra: I understand that. I'm more likely to get caught up in the writing at night, too. Sometimes it's better to just stay up and get the words out.

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

Janice: As a child I read anything and everything! I loved Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys. The entire Little Women series... some nurse books about Cherry Ames. And an older author called Maud Hart Lovelace who wrote the Betsy, Tracy and Tip books. I really enjoyed the Five Little Peppers books...the Borrowers series...

I could go on and on!

Debra: Oh, I had forgotten about the Borrowers. What a fascinating series that was. So imaginative.

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?

Janice: I truly love writing "plain old" romance. Boy meets girls with really hot scenes and a happy ending! Although I enjoy reading many subgenres such as Erin McCarthy's vampires and Mary Janice Davidson's Betsy books, the stories I most love to write are about that magical journey for a man and a woman who are falling in love! People like you and me. :)

Debra: I agree. There is no better story than that magical journey of falling in love.

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?

Janice: One of the best part of being a writer is finally getting to tell the stories that I've imagined for so many years. That's magic!

Debra: Janice, thank you for joining us here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Janice: Thanks for including me in Make-Believe Mondays!

Please visit Janice at www.janicemaynard.com and www.vampsandscamps.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays Announcement

Today on Make-Believe Mondays, we're taking a break from our regular schedule so I can make this announcement.

My first novel, Desperate Journey, the American Title II manuscript, just sold to Samhain Publishing and I am thrilled!

One of my friends once asked if I had answered the Make-Believe Monday interview questions for my own interview for the day when I sold my first book. I hadn't thought of that, or of who I might get to interview me. :) I'll schedule my interview for the week the book first comes out, but since I don't have a publishing date yet, I don't know when that will be. I'll keep you posted. ;)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Make-Believe Monday with Melissa Mayhue

Today on Make-Believe Mondays I'm pleased to introduce my friend Melissa Mayhue. Melissa writes for Pocket and her first book is coming out in July.

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

Melissa: Right now I’m working on the third book in the Daughters of the Glen series. The first – THIRTY NIGHTS WITH A HIGHLAND HUSBAND – is due to hit the shelves in July 2007. The second – HIGHLAND GUARDIAN – is slated for November 2007. This third book, tentatively titled SOUL OF A HIGHLANDER – is a time travel back to 13th century Scotland, just like the first. And like both the other two, it’s set in a world of where Faeries, both good and evil, walk among us. I’m enjoying writing this book because my heroine appeared in the first book, and the hero comes from the second book. It’s almost like a reunion!

Debra: Highlanders and faeries, well I can't even begin to tell you how I'm looking forward to reading these books.

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

Melissa: My characters come alive from the first moment I envision them. I ‘see’ them before I ever write the first word. But, I do have to admit, they constantly surprise me. I’ve had more than one character who just refused to be what he was originally written to be. As a result, I’ve had to learn to be flexible with my characters and their stories!

Debra: And as some of your characters are faeries, I wouldn't be surprised if they played tricks on you as well. ;)

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

Melissa: I was an avid reader from the moment I learned to read. To me, there was nothing better than escaping into a whole new world within the covers of a book. I loved the entire Nancy Drew series and had every single story. But the first book that I loved enough to read over and over and over was THE MOONSPINNERS by Mary Stewart. Though I haven’t read it in many years, I still have an old copy on my bookshelves.

Debra: Oh, I loved that book! Wouldn't mind getting my hands on a copy of it as well.

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?

Melissa: I honestly don’t think I set out to write to meet any categories or expectations, other than my own. I write what I like to read. When I finished the first book, it was difficult for me to describe what category it fit into exactly. It’s a little bit historical, a little contemporary, and a little suspense, with a little magic and a healthy dose of Faeries. Oh, and of course there’s the time travel. Thank goodness for the all-encompassing category of “Paranormal!” And when you’ve got characters that spend part of their time in the world of Mortals and part of their time living in the Realm of Faerie...well, I think my imagination is already engaged here!

Debra: I agree. And the stories sound wonderful.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction?

Melissa: I believe reading is all about imagination and dreams. I want a heroine I can identify with and a hero I can fall in love with. To me, if I’ve invested hours of my time in reading a book, when I turn that last page, I want to be happy and feel satisfied that things turned out the way I wanted them to. I can find enough sorrow and controversy in the newspaper or on television, or just in everyday life. When I sink into a book for a good read, I want a Happy Ever After. My goal as a writer is to deliver that!

Debra: Yes, we all need a bit of dreaming. Everyday life is hard enough. The joy a good story can bring to the reader is a great gift.

Any other message for our readers?

Melissa: I’d like to invite everyone to stop by my website [www.MelissaMayhue.com] where they can read a sample from each of the first two books. And by all means, if anyone has questions or comments, don’t hesitate to drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you! Also, my new MySpace page is taking shape now. Feel free to visit there, where I’ll try to keep the latest information on my books and writing updated. [www.MySpace.com/MelissaMayhue].

Debra: Melissa, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Melissa: Thank you, Debra! I think it’s wonderful that you offer this spot for readers and writers to connect. I’ve loved being here today.

Debra: Why thank you, Melissa. It has been my pleasure.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Make-Believe Monday with Diane Whiteside


Today on Make-Believe Mondays our guest is Diane Whiteside.

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

Diane: I’m currently working on Bond of Fire, Volume 2 of my Texas vampire trilogy. It’s Jean-Marie St. Just’s story, a Frenchman who’s loved only one woman and has waited almost two hundred years for her. But to save his family, he may need to do the one thing she can’t forgive: kill her sister – who’s trying to murder his brother.

Debra: That sounds like an exciting story.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Diane: Music and meditation keep me relaxed and happy enough to let my muse bubble up.

Debra: Relaxation is important when getting into that creative zone.

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

Diane: Always. A story’s starting point is always a high-emotion scene. But I can’t really begin to write until the characters are banging on the inside of my skull, desperate to get out and onto the page. That’s when I can see and hear them, just as if they were standing in front of me.

Debra: What a great image. I can just see it.

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?

Diane: Alas, no. I do like to play with words from very obscure languages, though.

Debra: What fun!

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?

Diane: Visuals rarely come to me from dreams but words frequently do. I actually once unlocked a very complicated plot this way, coming up with three major plot points for the backstory, which sent the book spinning forward.

Debra: How interesting. I hope you keep a notepad by the bed.

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

Diane: Zane Grey, JRR Tolkien, Georgette Heyer, and Elswyth Thane. I can still recite entire passages and see their worlds in my mind’s eye.

Debra: It's wonderful how some stories stick with us this way.

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?

Diane: It would definitely be a futuristic space opera with pirates, based on the 17th-18th century world. Swashbuckling to the max!

Debra: Oh, what fun! I hope you write that one some day.

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?

Diane: Trust them. Don’t edit or dilute them. They’re the greatest source of creative power.

Debra: Such excellent advice.

Diane, thank you for joining us here on Make-Believe Mondays to share a bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Diane: Thank you for letting me join you, Debra!

Debra: It was my pleasure.

Readers may visit Diane at www.dianewhiteside.com