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Saturday, December 17, 2011
Welcome Author Rosalie Stanton
I am from a little town in Missouri that has delusions of being much larger than it actually is. While I am at times embarrassed by how much this region fits the stereotype, I do love the comfort of hailing from a smaller place. It has a “where everybody knows your name” feel, while at the same time boasting enough size and industry to help avoid the people you might not want to run into every day.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your career?
When I was in the sixth grade, I fell in love with history—particularly ancient Egypt—and dreamt of becoming an archaeologist. Though I eventually relinquished the dream, I held onto my interest in history. That in accordance with my strict religious upbringing gave me an appreciation for learning about ancient cultures and belief systems, which eventually bled into a fascination with how those elements of superstition, folk stories, and urban legends established the paranormal genre we see today.
Tell us about your latest book. Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
My latest release, Know Thine Enemy, is a dark paranormal erotic romance. I began working on this novel over two years ago. Izzie, the heroine, was exceptionally difficult to locate, and my hero, Ryker, wouldn’t take any substitute. Once I found my footing, though, and once Izzie made her presence known, it was easy to see where the characters were leading me. There were some enormously difficult scenes to write, but it is a labor of love. And easily the work of which I am the proudest.
I am sitting on two other completed manuscripts, though one has been submitted for publication consideration. In the meantime, I am attempting to catch up on my editing duties while simultaneously working on Book 3 in the Sinners and Saint Series, as well as tossing around a few other ideas.
Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
This happened recently, but wholly by mistake. And since the event itself is in a work that hasn’t yet been released and deals with a large spoiler, I can’t say much. Though perhaps that is a disingenuous example, as I had planned a particular plot twist, and then something similar occurred in early 2011 that captivated me as well as most everyone I know. It was large enough to make me second-guess whether or not continuing with my intended plot was in bad taste. However, with several months having lapsed and the novel not slated for release until sometime in 2012, I think my caution was more emotional reaction to the event and displaced guilt at having intended to write something and then watching it happen.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
I find sex scenes challenging, especially since the intention is to stimulate the readers while remaining realistic and original. There aren’t many original ways to write sex, and those remaining will be gone by the time you read this interview. If I struggle, I fear a reader will be able to see through it, therefore pulling them out of the scenes/story and diminishing their enjoyment. This is one of many examples where my inner perfectionist plays against me. I have started a new technique to write these scenes where I get the skeleton of a scene written, let it sit, then go back and try to add heat. Sometimes that’s the best thing you can do: give yourself a foundation before going back and adding the structure.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Patience is a virtue. Some new writers will get a slam-dunk right out of the starting gates. Others will not. A book’s sales don’t reflect on the book’s quality, and honestly, there’s a good measure of pure luck when it comes to the publishing side of things. You might have a manuscript turned down by every publisher you’ve ever heard of, and then receive a contract offer from a large pie-in-the-sky publisher to which you only submitted as wishful thinking. You might strike it rich with your first book, then watch your second flutter in the wind.
There are many things you can’t control about the industry, least of which onto whose lap your manuscript initially lands. Yet for as much as you can’t control, there are a number of things you can. Exposure is key. Get yourself a website, a blog, a Facebook account, and a Twitter name. Read other authors’ work and give them thoughtful feedback. No one here is egoless, and if you love someone’s book, do them a favor and let them know. Ease yourself into the community, and that karma will loop itself around.
Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Yes, I do, though someone once told me there was no such thing as writer’s block. I still have to refrain from tracking that person down and slapping them silly.
Writer’s block can stem from many things. The most recent bout I experienced came shortly after my debut novella was released. I thankfully had a healthy stock of work ready for submission, so I didn’t have to focus too much on writing at the time. For an author, being unable to write is a terrible feeling. I was depressed because I wasn’t writing and I wasn’t writing because I was depressed; also, at the time of this writer’s block I was holed into a job that drained all other aspects of joy from my life. I changed jobs, slowly emerged from my depression, and began writing Lost Wages of Sin.
The most important thing is don’t force it. Go for a walk, take a bath, target the source of unhappiness around you and do whatever you can to change it. Writer’s block is typically symptomatic of something else. For me, ultimately, it was a part of a large problem. Once I changed jobs and alleviated the stress I experienced during the day, I found myself able to focus on other matters during my free-time.
Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
Well, my favorite author would be Pamela Smith Hill, as she’s my auntie. Though our familial relations makes me a bit biased. She is an excellent author, though, and I heartily recommend all of her work.
Outside the family, I am partial to Stephen King, whose work is so commercially successful I think it is easy to overlook its literary value. I am also a huge fan of JA Saare and Sarah Ballance; these ladies have a way of weaving words and emotion, creating characters and world-building I envy. Any author who makes me want to write by reading their work is among my favorites.
I am also heavily influenced by Aaron Sorkin, best known as the screenwriter for The West Wing and The Social Network. He has a way with dialogue unlike any other writer I have encountered, and if mine is half as good, I’m over the moon.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
Usually with a bite of chocolate. Then it’s time to ask “what’s next?” So they didn’t take this manuscript. That doesn’t mean they won’t take the next one.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A beta reader or crit partner you know, trust, and who will give it to you straight. You don’t need ass-kissing, you need structure and criticism. Someone who will read your manuscript and help you pinpoint the warts. Also, once your novel has been accepted by a publishing house, every writer needs an editor who takes away the delusions that every word typed is a gold nugget. Most importantly: writers need a sense of humility. Good writers evolve their style as they learn new things; bad writers tell themselves they already know everything. A real writer never stops growing.
Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
It all depends on context, since the line blurring just enough and too much is ever-changing depending on the situation. Most people know porn when they see it, yet it’s possible the story calls for a scene that isn’t erotic it all, rather blatantly pornographic. The question is: would the story be as powerful without this scene or without this scene as is? Would the level of violence be adequately portrayed with less description? If the scene can do without it, perhaps it can be toned down.
Granted, if you’re writing an erotic romance, you’re going to have erotic content. That’s just the way it is. To define the line between eroticism and pornography would, again, depend on the project and how that sex scene relates to the story.
What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
Hey, what happens in Vegas…you know the rest.
Don't forget to give us links to your website etc.
Blurb: He’s a vampire with a story. She’s a woman with a past.
The second Ryker spots the girl with midnight hair, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye. She boasts the title of vampire hunter, but something’s off, something’s missing, and that something pulls him close…until backing off isn’t an option.
For years, Izzie has lived for the night, outrunning ghosts from home that seem to find her wherever she lands. Alongside her friend and mentor, who rescued her when she was at her lowest, she destroys creatures she once thought couldn’t exist. But Izzie doesn’t have what she needs to be her best, and doesn’t know if she ever will...or if the life she has is the one she wants.
When a shadow from Ryker’s former life surfaces to collect a forgotten debt, vampire and hunter are thrust together in a strange world of eroticism and servitude. They must trust each other if they mean to escape, but when trust turns into something more, the real enemy becomes harder and harder to pick out.