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Monday, January 23, 2012

Welcome Author Veronica Scott

  Where do you hail from and what do you love most about your hometown?
I lived in upstate New York until I was twelve, in the middle of a large game preserve, so I had a lot of room to play and dream and make up adventures! It was a bit isolated but beautiful. We lived next to an abandoned blueberry farm and close to a lake where my grandparents had a summer cabin so there were always a lot of fun things to do.

·         As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your career?
used to want to be the first woman on Mars but I think that dream went away when I hit the high school trig and physics classes! I didn’t really want to be an astronaut, however, I wanted to find a way to travel to a wildly different place and have adventures, you know? I started writing when I was a little girl, because there weren’t enough movies and books about the kinds of things I wanted to experience. So I created my own. The day job is in the business world for a major aerospace research place, so I found a way to keep my hand in just a little bit with outer space. I never stopped writing fiction though and someday I have that dream of being a fulltime writer. Writing as the day job=heaven!

·         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 book is also my first published work – Priestess of the Nile, a paranormal romance novella from Carina Press, released on January 23rd as an e book. It will also be coming out as an audio book. Set in Ancient Egypt, around 1500 BC, the book tells the story of Sobek the Crocodile God. Drawn to his abandoned temple on the banks of the Nile by an enchanting song, he’s even more captivated by the sight of the singer herself. Appearing to her as a man, he learns she is Merys, a descendant of his last priestess. Though he desires her greatly, Sobek believes Merys deserves to be more than just his mistress. But the rules that govern the Egyptian pantheon forbid anything beyond a physical joining of a Great One and a human.
Merys is attracted to the handsome stranger, who arouses passions in her that no man ever has. But with no dowry and no hope of ever leaving her village, she dares not dream of the future—or love.

Sobek takes every opportunity to visit Merys, taxing his resolve to leave her pure. When he saves her life, their mutual desire must be sated. But of course in the world of paranormal romance nothing can be uncomplicated, the gods have rules about such romances, the goddess Isis is very unhappy and so the couple face many challenges along the way.
Priestess of the Nile is one in a connected series I’m doing, all set in the same general time frame. I’ve completed two more novels and a short story, which are in various states of editing and submission so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. And working on the next novel as well! I really enjoy the time period, especially with the paranormal twist.

·         Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
Not so much for the Egyptian paranormals, although I have picked up tips for the battle scenes from some of my ex-military friends. I also write science fiction romance and I have taken inspiration for some of the events in those books from modern times. Like many writers, I love research and will go far down the rabbit hole, one fascinating fact leading me to another, until before I know it, I’m notwriting anything, just immersing myself deeper and deeper in the reference books.

·         Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
It’s hard to find enough time, with the day job and a long commute on California freeways! One of my bigger challenges as a writer was to teach myself to build in enough stage business and description to establish the scenes for the Readers, not to have talking heads for page after page. I also have a long list of what I call “bad words”  - things like the lazy adjectives that end in “-ly” – which I go back and delete in one of my editing rounds, replacing them with more varied descriptors. And the word “that” must be imprinted on my brain, as many times as I use it! My number one offender to prune away from the rough draft!

·         What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Write. You must write. Every day.  Don’t give in to doubt, don’t edit every paragraph the minute you’ve finished it. It can be very useful to talk to other writers, read the blogs, go to conferences, network…but in the end it comes down to you and the writing. You’ll need and benefit from beta readers and critique partners and an editor but there have to be words first.

·         Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Knock wood I’m not plagued by this often. When I am, I step away from the laptop and listen to music. Music really supports  and refreshes my creativity. I also like to do plotting while I’m making the long commute to and from work. (But yes, CHP, I do pay attention to the traffic!)

·         Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
This is a hard one to answer because I enjoy reading so many genres, BUT if I could only have one set of books on my kindle on a desert island, I’d take Nalini Singh’s backlist. I love her Psy Wars series and the Guild Hunter series, reread them often. And of course I could get her new releases for my kindle on that desert island by wireless, right? I’d be very sad to be left without all my other favorites though. I might have to swim back to the mainland!
Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey were probably the strongest original influences on me, when I was younger, showing me the wonders you could create and then share with others. It helped that they were women and that their books were not “tech heavy”, like a lot of straight science fiction. Their writing “gave me permission” to spread my wings.  I’ve always said that I hoped someday I’d find my Witch World or my Pern, as a writer.

As far as Priestess of the Nile goes, there were two terrific books I read many years ago – Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton and Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise McGraw – both set in Ancient Egypt, which stayed with me. I always wondered what happened next for those characters. My love of all things to do with the time period stems originally from those novels.

·         How did you deal with rejection letters?
I must admit there’s a flash of sadness – authors are human. But publishing is a business and my manuscript won’t be right for every publisher or their readers, for a variety of reasons. If I was fortunate enough to receive feedback with the rejection, I give it careful consideration, try to incorporate the suggestions and I genuinely appreciate their having taken time to provide it. The sheer volume of submissions that editors and agents receive these days is astounding so they don’t have much time to comment on something being rejected. So if they do, it’s meaningful. Then I send the manuscript out again, somewhere else. You just have to believe in yourself, keep writing and keep submitting! One thing I’ve definitely learned is you should always have multiple manuscripts out on submission. Try not to have all your eggs in one basket. You can’t just have the one perfect manuscript and rest on your laurels, at least not in the romance genre.
I didn’t actually ever have a rejection letter for Priestess of the Nile. Carina Press was the first publisher I sent it to and they bought it!

·         What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
I need a quiet place to work where I won’t be constantly interrupted and a computer because my longhand is scribbly. I can’t even read it!  I’m pretty much a seat of the pants writer so I haven’t tried many of the tools that I’ve heard discussed. I’m almost superstitious about my writing process! I do swear by my copy of  the J. I. Rodale Synonym Finder.

·         Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
I think each author has to decide what works for them and for the story they’re telling. I don’t naturally write gore so I’m pretty high level on that. You probably won’t find me describing wounds in any detail, if the evil minions tear off someone’s head I won’t be supplying too many sound effects or slo mo exposition. I’m kind of the “flesh wound in the arm” school of thought by nature.  I have read books with pretty high levels of gore but the story and the characters carried me along and it was fine.
I definitely include erotic content in the Egyptian books – my hero and heroine won’t reach that Happily Ever After moment at the end without one or two hot sexual encounters. They have strong feelings for each other and they act upon those feelings in the course of the story.

·         What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
·         I can’t really think of anything too weird since I do most of my research in books or online. I love to go to museums to look at the actual artifacts from my Egyptian time period. I’d certainly be willing to go down inside an ancient Egyptian tomb if the opportunity ever arose though…!
·         Don't forget to give us links to your website etc.
·         My blog: http://veronicascott.wordpress.com/
·         On twitter as @vscotttheauthor
Buy links  Carina  Amazon Barnes & Noble


Robena Grant said...

Hi, Veronica. What a nice interview, and the chance to get to know you a little better. I envy your childhood upbringing, that sounds wonderful. Also, congratulations on your first published novel. That is a gorgeous cover.

Christine said...

Hi Veronica! The novel sounds fantastic, and wow what a cover! So today is your release day? I'm squeeing for you!

Anonymous said...


Nice cover and sounds like an interesting world to shape a book in.

And I bet every one of us has a private list of "words I have to go back and change"

Lynne Marshall said...

Great interview Veronica. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - you have a gorgeous book cover. Now that you've got your first book published, Aren't you glad you aren't the first woman on Mars?

Roz Lee said...

Great interview! So glad you were able to channel your intergalactic travel dreams into a writing career!

Veronica Scott said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments! Re the cover, which I too totally love - Frauke at Croco Designs just did a fabulous job at capturing the feel of the story. And indeed I *am* glad not to be on Mars after all - much more fun to be a writer! Glad it turned out that way (oops, must delete "that" LOL)!

Janie Emaus said...

Congrats on your release.

Laura said...

lol re: "that"! My bad words are "just," "only," and "really." Boy do I like to use those. And not just only in my novels, but in my blog comments too! Really!

Beverly Diehl said...

Congrats, Veronica, on the release. Now that I don't enjoy a Regency romance, but bustles and corsets are so done.

I'm intrigued by the idea of one tied to ancient Egypt and its myths and legends. Have to admit, Susannah Leigh's Wine of the Dreamers is still one of my favorite books.

(now off to download Priestess.)