When about asking someone for GOOD ADVICE where do you go? Who is your go to person!? My go to person is Melanie, #NerdGirlVamp and Cianna, #NerdGirlSunshine. It’s funny to think of the 3 of us together in a partnership, well no actually it’s not. We work well together. We are all just different but strangely the same… Hmmmm… Nevermind, I don’t really know what I was getting at other then when I need advice I go the Big 3 thread on FB and ask. Usually it’s the spelling of some word that EVERYONE knows how to spell or what color shirt should I wear to the book signing (Black).
When Alexis told me the subject of her talk I had to think of who I WOULD WISH my unlikely source for advice would be?? Hmmmmm… I don’t actually know. Alexis talk is so cool! I enjoyed reading it! I hope you enjoy it too!
♥ Gladys #XOXOtheNerdGirl #NerdGirlOfficial
Picture it, RWA at Orlando Swan and Dolphin Hotel, August 2010 *in my best Sophia Petrillo voice*
It was my first RWA gathering, the big one. I have had a helluva week, going to varying seminars and talks, getting to meet people I consider legends (I shook Nora Roberts’ hand & meet Sarah from Smart Bitches! Come on now!). I was having a blast. I’m at the banquet at the end of the event, sitting next to soon-to-be-YA-superstar Brigid Kemmerer and we’re watching the speakers while eating decent rolls.
Brigid and I were discussing our upcoming books and I had just told her that mine was due out any day now when LeeAnn Lessard, my publisher, walks by and mentions in an offhand way, “Oh, by the way, your book just went live.”
Needless to say, massive freak out to follow that needed to be contained, and quickly. I politely excused myself from the table and beat a hasty retreat for the door, where I could freak out, squee, and call my mom while not frightening those around me or interrupting dinner for everyone else.
I lit a smoke while I was pacing, trying to get my mom on the phone, when I heard a voice behind me.
“Pardon me, do you have a light?” It’s a lovely English accent, male, and I turn around with my lighter out to offer it to Lee freakin’ Childs. Yeah, Jack Reacher’s creator, that Lee Childs. Now my eyes got great big and my already truncated vocabulary, I’d been reduced to ‘SQUEEEEEEE!’ and very little else, shrank further.
I texted my mom, “Lee Childs, kitchen table?” That was the last place I’d seen the latest book she’d been reading. My mom’s got a serious three to five book a week habit.
I shoved my phone in my pocket to be polite, and I’d thanked him for the talk he’d given on working on suspense novels and character development. He was fun to listen to and had great advice for new authors, in addition to being surprisingly easy on the eyes.
While he and I were making small talk, my phone buzzed in my pocket. My mom responded, “Doing laundry. Yes. Why?” That explained why she didn’t hear me call, she was in the basement dealing with socks and underwear.
“Standing next to me.” It was the truth and I knew it would tickle her.
“You lie!” was her only reply, and I giggled because I could see her face in my mind.
Mr. Childs asked what I was laughing at, so I told him that I had texted my mom to inform her that I was standing outside smoking and having a chat with him. “She’s a huge fan, and actually, your latest is on my kitchen table.”
He grinned broadly. “Your mother is a lovely woman with discerning taste. Please tell her I said so.”
I laughed and told him I would. He let me have his autograph for my mom and a picture and then he asked why I’d been so agitated when he first approached.
What he said next is something that I will never forget. “The lovely thing is that it’s always that way. Doesn’t matter if it’s your first or your 21st. Enjoy it. It’s a wonderful feeling. Congratulations.”
We finished our smokes and headed back inside, but I will always remember how cool he was, this fiction titan, to a wee newbie who couldn’t come down from my freak out long enough to blink.
Even better, he was correct. Give Me Shelter is my third book, with the fourth, The Ex File, due out in February. Every time is just as magical and nerve-wracking as the first, and I love every second of it.
Alexis is a writer with a couple of day jobs. Working for two different police agencies, it’s a juggling act to find time to write.
She is also an aunt, godmother, avid cyclist, serial hobbyist, ghost hunter, and collector of stray animals. Her husband is a loving, patient man.
The author of Imminent Danger, Undercover Seduction, and Give Me Shelter, she has three more novels coming out in 2015, The Ex File on February 7th, Dead & Disorderly on May 23rd, and Bulletproof Princess on August 8th.
Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?
I started writing as a little kid. I loved stories, I’ve always loved telling stories. I love that words can paint pictures. It’s a powerful feeling knowing that you can evoke emotion from just shapes on paper that form thoughts. It’s kinda nuts and I love it.
My first full book was a novel that will never see daylight. I was an angst-ridden high school girl who wrote an angst-ridden epic novel (400+ pages!) about vampires and demons. This was in the early 90s, well before such things were cool.
My first published book came from me spraining my knee getting off the plane at De Gaulle Airport. My first trip to Paris, something I’d always wanted, and I managed to jack it up the moment my feet touched French soil. I was still walking badly and in pain when I came back two weeks later, because I told them I wasn’t going home unless they shipped me air freight and not breathing, and the longer the pain stayed, the angrier I became. I was walking one night, late, with my cane, and I’m thinking, “I present a pretty inviting target for a thief. I mean, hobbled, slow. The only thing they don’t know is that I’m so mad right now, I could gleefully chew steel. That would probably be the worst mistake they’d made all day.” And the character kind of emerged from that.
Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
Jackie Collins, all day long. I love her stuff. I do. Lucky, Chances, Lady Boss, all of them. I was never discouraged from reading anything, regardless of age propriety, because my parents figured that books = learning and they are all for learning. I was a literate kid, I had summer reading lists in elementary school from the parents containing all the classics, but she just blew the contemporary novel world wide open for me.
Tami Hoag, because she gave me my first book boyfriend, Jack Boudreax. It was really the perfect storm for me because Cry Wolf came out around the same time I was fully embracing my love for Gambit. It’s a fantastic story with wonderful dialogue, hot sex scenes, and a great deal of suspense. I loved it, still love it, and own more than a couple copies (they keep disappearing on me for some reason).
Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be? Have they been in your head for a long time?
Eli is a product of geek culture, unabashedly. He is his own man and comfortable in his own skin, which makes him fun to write.
Bex is an example of life with no home training. She lacks the social controls that a lot of people get by having good role models in life. Most of what’s she is, she learned by herself. She’s damn good at her job, but very rarely politic.
AR is the product of a Norman Rockwell family. He is from Greenwich, CT. Two parents, upper middle class life and lifestyle, good schools. Very vanilla and whitebread until he meets Violet and really begins to live.
Violet has had as difficult a life as Bex, easily. She’s young, but unbroken, with all the intelligence and emotional impenetrability that comes with that. She wasn’t looking for anything but a way out, and at this point, absolutely anything can be fashioned into a way out.
The characters come and go, but once they’re in my head, they stay for the duration. Bex is the one I relate to most, because smart =/= well-behaved, and she is quite the example of that. Eli, I could live in his head, because Geek is my native tongue.
Q. What motivates you to write?
I need the space in my head. It’s at a premium, honestly. I get a story up in there, and it’s like spray foam, it takes up all available space. If I write, then the foam goes away a bit at a time, leaving me with my quiet brain once again, at least until the next foam bomb comes along.
Right now, I have several stories in queue beyond the ones coming out next year. I’m working on something substantially fluffier than I normally write right now, and I have other stories in mind, outlined, or partially written, that I plan to work on once I’m done with the current one.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing?
I have this fear every time I finish a story that it’ll be the last story I finish. I’ve been lucky to keep pushing, but the fear still lingers with each publication.
Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That I shouldn’t been too hard on myself, but keep working anyway. I’m my harshest critic, driven by my fear of not finishing anything, and when Chapter 11 sat, barely touched save a few sentences on my laptop for close to six weeks, I was definitely working myself up to a full blown freak out. I was writing maybe a sentence a day for a bit, which is wholly unreasonable in my mind, but when I finally finished, it was the one that my beta readers responded to the most.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
I am constantly asking ‘Why?’ and ‘What if?’ I have a drive to understand the world around me, and to understand human interactions. Maybe it’s because I have been known to be very bad at it, I don’t know, but I have that social scientist side of me. From there, the pictures kind of paint themselves in my head.
Occasionally, my ideas come from dreams or straight up out of the blue, but those are rare and make me completely grateful for the voice recorder feature on my phone, because whereas before the idea may have time to flitter away, now it can be caught immediately and expounded upon later.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
I’ve been blessed with a ridiculously supportive network of family and friends-who-are-family. Most of the friends I have, I’ve known since childhood, and the ones I’ve picked up along the way are equally awesome and they all know that I have goals and aspirations. They’re so supportive, I can’t possibly be grateful enough.
Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?
Hang with it and keep doing it. You only get better through practice, and it is *all* practice. You get absolutely nothing you want in life if you don’t take the shots, and you get nothing from sitting still. Luck is nothing but karma in work clothes.
Q. What book(s) are you reading now?
I just finished up Heart of the Matter by La Quetta, loved it. Also working my way through The Psychopathology of Serial Murder, it just depends on the day.
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