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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Interview with Camryn Rhys

Where do you hail from? What do you love most about your hometown?
I’m from the West, and I adore the space. I love having the giant sky and the clear air and the distance to travel. It’s quite comforting to be surrounded by so much space. It’s a challenge.

    As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be—in turn—a rockstar, a lawyer, a WNBA star, a teacher, and a writer. In one part of my job, I am sort of a rockstar. And in the other part of my job, I’m kind of a writer, so I would say that my childhood dream gave me some clarity and made me want to never give up.

    What do you do for fun?
I really love television. I can’t tell you how many TV pilots I’ve written and re-written. I watch the way they create stories, and I want to create stories like that. I learn a lot from TV writers. Someday, I want to be one of them.

    How has your environment/ upbringing colored your writing?
We are all products of our environment and our upbringing, and our writing is a product of us. So I would say that my writing is completely colored by how I grew up. Some of it, understandably, is about what I read growing up. The first books I remember loving were romance novels, but I grew up with a very academic family, so making the choice to write romance novels was sort of unexpected. In fact, I was published in literary fiction before romance fiction, and assumed I would be writing litfic my whole life. But after awhile, I just couldn’t do it. The construct was so artificial, and I wanted to write what I loved. I have always been inspired by the stories of how people fall in love, so romance fiction was a natural fit for me.

    Tell us about your latest book.  Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
My current book (that’s available for sale) is called THE BARN DANCE, and it’s the story of reunited lovers whose bodies want to be together, but whose minds are convinced they shouldn’t. It’s an erotic romance with food and cowboys. So much fun.
What I’m working on right now is a set of erotic romances that revolve around celibacy. Some are m/f and some are ménage. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

    How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
Actually, just before I submitted the book, I changed the title from “WIP 3” to “The Barn Dance” because that was what it was about: a couple who go to the Barn Dance. I never expected them to keep that title, because I’d been told that your editor always changed your title. So much for that! No one ever asked me what I wanted to call it. They just kept the title I put on it. So that’s what it was called. J

    Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
Not really. I tried it once, but it just didn’t work for me. I changed it so much that it wasn’t recognizable anymore. But I’ve always wanted to, for sure!

    How much of your work is real? How much is fantasy?
None of my work is real. It’s all 100% fiction. Even my characters aren’t completely based on one person. They’re all conglomerates. And all my storylines include some kind of real-life experience of mine, but it’s always at least relatively disguised.

    Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Finishing. I’m definitely one of those people who gets caught up in the middle and then wants to change everything. I consistently have those headache moments where I think, this is horrifying and I need to change ALL of it. But I have to push through it and figure out how to end. My editor always helps me with the bumps. That’s what a great editor will do! J

    What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Finish the book. It took me a long time to have the confidence in my writing that I could finish a book and that is the absolute most important part. You can’t sell what you don’t finish. So put your butt in the chair and finish the book!

    Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Oh, all the time. I write through it. If I don’t know what to write, I start to write something else. Because if I don’t, I have to wait for inspiration to come. I just have to treat it like a job. And even if I don’t feel like writing, I still have to write. I set a goal to write at least 2K a day, and I get it done.

    Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
My favorite authors are all poets and playwrights, and I feel like the art of poetry has influenced my writing quite a bit. I adore T.S. Eliot and Gerard Manley Hopkins, in addition to David Whyte, who taught me the value of reading aloud. I love the word placement of poetry and the punch of the stage, so I love these two arts and still immerse myself in it.

    How did you deal with rejection letters?
Honestly, I haven’t gotten many, because I am a complete chicken. I know I should be submitting more, but I don’t handle rejection well. I take criticism pretty well, so if I can at least get feedback about what didn’t work, then I’ll adapt. But just the slushpile query rejections are hard for me because I never know why they rejected it. I’m learning how to do it, though.

    What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Stamina. You have to be able to work and then write, and treat both the same. It’s as important for me to treat my writing like work as it is for me to treat my job like work. Otherwise, I’m just a hobbyist.

    Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
Well, I write erotic romance, so I don’t know that I have a line. I don’t typically do gory description, but not because I don’t like it. I just don’t write murder, typically.

    Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
Definitely. I have a whole shelf of mythology books and cultural legends. That’s where I go for inspiration when I get stuck.

    Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
I think my very first romance, which was a Scottish historical romance (from the second Scottish interregnum). And it’s HORRIFYING. It will never, ever be published. But I adore those characters and really would love to be able to rewrite it someday to make it palatable. It was my first book, and I made all the classic first book mistakes. I also think I’ve found my voice here in contemporary writing, so I’ll probably stick with that for awhile.

    What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
Well, it’s all sex-related, so I’m not sure I should talk about it. Pretty sure this interview isn’t x-rated. But as an erotic romance author, I do have to say to my boyfriend, “um, honey, can you help me out with this scene for a second?” To which his reply is always enthusiastic. Or at least compliant.J

    Where can we find you on the net?
http://camrynrhys.blogspot.com or http://dirtybirdauthors.blogspot.com or @camrynrhys on Twitter, or my Facebook author page. Or Google +. I am a social media whore. J Find me anywhere.
    Where can we find out more about your books?
http://breathlesspress.com or on my blog. Thanks so much for having me!THE BARN DANCE: Mindy Edwards can't bake to save her life, but with no where else to go, she returns to the one place she'd avoided for six years. Her boss's son, Leo—still strictly off-limits—doesn't help her starved libido, and what's a girl to do when she could barely keep her job as the cook?
Leo Fortiss has never quite gotten over his first love nor did he expect her to return and pretend they didn't have a heartbreaking past, but that didn't mean he couldn't save her from all the other cowboys--who definitely weren't after her burnt buns and horrid cooking. He proposes a trade: he'll teach her to bake bread if she'll come to the big Barn Dance with him.
Mindy accepts, but when things heat up in the kitchen, she finds history repeating itself. Will she run or risk her heart a second time? 

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