I LOVE Christine Pope. I know I love a lot of people, but in all honesty Christine I so down to earth you can’t help but love love love her. And I say that with a bunch of hearts a fluttering around my head! I enjoyed her topic “In Praise of the Older Heroine” because I am pushing 40 in a couple months (and get reminded of this fact by my dear daughter Erys) and I got baggage AND I AM PRETTY INTERESTING!! lol… I hope you enjoy this installment of Nerd Girl’s Indy Author Talk! I did. Her Witches of Cleopatra Hill series AND Sedona Files Series are on my TBR files and I am tickled PINK that they are so close to the top!!! YIPEEEEEEEEE!!!
♥ Gladys #XOXOtheNerdGirl #NerdGirlOfficial
*****In Praise of the Older Heroine*****
Lately, a lot of my books have featured young heroines. That wasn’t something I intentionally set out to do…more what the plot called for, especially with the first three books of my Witches of Cleopatra Hill series. But when I wrapped up that trilogy, I realized there were lots more stories to be told about the various characters in the witch clans described in those books, one of which was the romance between Lucas Wilcox and Margot Emory, who had secondary roles in the original trilogy, but who get their own book in Sympathetic Magic.
Both Lucas and Margot are in their late thirties, so their life experiences are very different from those of Angela McAllister, heroine of the first three books, who’s twenty-one when the series starts out. When you first meet Margot, she doesn’t seem like a very pleasant character – cool, closed off, sometimes judgmental. However, I knew even when I was writing her as seen through Angela’s eyes that there was a lot more to Margot, a woman who’d suffered some serious disappointments in her life.
It was actually a lot of fun writing someone who had baggage, who was unwilling at first to take a chance at love again, especially with a man from a rival clan that had been their enemies for more than a hundred years. Margot has a lot more life experience, and knows what it feels like to have to put aside her own wants and needs for the greater good of her clan. Because she’s had to spend so many years putting herself second (and sometimes last), she’s built some high walls around herself, walls that Lucas has a tough time tearing down.
In writing her character, even though of course her experiences are very different from mine, I still related to her struggles and was able to draw on things I’ve learned over the years, some of which I’m not sure I would have understood as clearly as a younger writer. That’s not to say that younger authors can’t write older characters, only that I think when you have some life experience under your belt, you can bring additional insight to the struggles and conflicts of someone who’s approaching forty, someone whose life hasn’t turned out exactly the way she expected or wanted.
And it was also fun to have a heroine who was still seen as desirable, even though she wasn’t in her twenties anymore. These days, forty is the new thirty anyway, and I think it’s a positive thing to show that it’s not the twenty-somethings who have all the fun!
Buy Links ~ http://tinyurl.com/n5xzkj5
A native of Southern California, Christine Pope has been writing stories ever since she commandeered her family’s Smith-Corona typewriter back in the sixth grade. Her short fiction has appeared in Astonishing Adventures, Luna Station Quarterly, and the journal of dark fiction, Dark Valentine. Two of her short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Christine Pope writes as the mood takes her, and her work includes paranormal romance, and fantasy and science fiction/space opera romance. She blames this on being easily distracted by bright, shiny objects, which could also account for the size of her shoe collection. After spending many years in the magazine publishing industry, she now works as a freelance editor and graphic designer in addition to writing fiction. She fell in love with Sedona, Arizona, while researching the Sedona Files series and now makes her home there, surrounded by the red rocks. No alien sightings, though…not yet, anyway!
Q ~ When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve been writing since…forever. I think I wrote my first short story when I was around five or six. It was about a little girl catching Santa coming down the chimney and then discovering that he was actually an alien (so I guess I’ve had aliens on the brain for a while…). My first full-length novel was something I wrote when I was eleven and involved a high school girl getting kidnapped by aliens and getting involved in a huge galactic war (I was kind of obsessed with Star Wars at the time). But if you mean my first “real” book, it was mostly my attempt at writing a contemporary romance and seeing if I could do it. I sold that one (Fringe Benefits) to a small press but have since gotten the rights back.
Q ~ What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
Growing up, I read almost everything because my mother was a huge reader, and so we always had books lying around. I read tons of fantasy and science fiction, and then lots of romantic suspense and gothic romances, especially books by Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. I think Mary Stewart especially influenced me, because I loved her engaging first-person narration and lush local details. I don’t always write in first person these days, but it’s still the type of narrative I enjoy the most.
Q~ Tell us about your characters and how they came to be? Have they been in your head for a long time?
In general, I let books percolate in my head for quite a while before I actually start writing them. I’m always writing, but when I finally sit down to write the first draft of a book, the characters, especially the lead character, have been in my mind for months. That helps me get into their head space quickly, which in turn makes that first draft go a lot faster. As far as how they come to be…well, that varies from book to book. Sometimes I think up a scenario, and the characters evolve to fit into it, while other times a character will just sort of come to me, and the plot falls into place around her. And actually, for both the Witches of Cleopatra Hill books and the trilogy I’ll start writing next month, I dreamed about them first.
Q~ What motivates you to write?
Paying the bills! (I’m kidding…sort of.) I’ve always loved to write. Even when I took a lengthy break from writing some years ago, I eased back into it by writing fanfiction. That helped firm up my writing muscles, so to speak, and I realized then that I’d always write, no matter what. But now that the publishing landscape has changed so much in the past few years, I can do what I love and make a living at it, which is a dream come true.
Q ~ What is the hardest part of writing?
Getting a routine. Making sure you sit down and write something every day. Sometimes life gets in the way, but I try not to skip more than a day if I’m first-drafting. I do try to take a break in between books, if only for a few days, since that helps me clear my head to get ready for the next one. If I let too much time lapse, it’s that much harder to get back to work, which is no good with a release schedule like mine.
Q ~ Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
The first three books of the Witches of Cleopatra Hill series are closely connected, and must be read in order, which isn’t something I’d really attempted before. I have other series, but they’re made up of books that can be read on their own, since they share a world more than any particular characters (although sometimes characters cross over from one book to another and have secondary roles). But writing three in a row, where the main character arc/love story had to run across three books, was more of a challenge. I was a little worried about how people would react to the cliffhanger-y aspects of that format, but the response has been really positive. It’s actually a format I’m going to use for my next trilogy as well.
Q ~ Where do you get your ideas?
All over the place. Sometimes from something I’ve read or seen on TV, sometimes from my dreams…and sometimes I’m not even really sure…they just sort of pop in there. The hard part is finding time to write them all
Q ~ What does your family think of your writing?
They’re all very supportive of it. Although it’s funny – it’s my husband’s side of the family that are really my rah-rah supporters. They’re big fans of my books. I don’t think any of my brothers or sisters have actually read any of them. ;-) I’m sure my mother would have, but unfortunately she passed away right before my writing really started to take off.
Q ~ What is the best advice you would give to aspiring authors?
What you’ll probably hear over and over again is that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And it’s so true. Yes, there are a few people who get lucky and have a fabulous first book that sells like crazy, but it’s not the norm. Keep writing, keep practicing your craft. Join critique groups, whether online or locally. Be open to suggestions. Write what you love. You’ll hear people talking about writing to the market, and in certain ways that can be smart. But if you’re writing something you don’t enjoy writing, it’ll show, and you’ll burn out. Be a joyful writer. :-)
Q ~ What book are you reading now?
Something called The Djinn Connection, by Rosemary Guiley. It’s research for my next series…and something I don’t recommend reading if you’re in the house by yourself, especially at night!
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