Today Josee is joining the SkylarVerse, and she’s giving us her deepest, darkest secrets…about writing!
Why/how did you start writing romance?
I actually didn’t start writing romance – I started writing women’s fiction, but since part of most women’s lives is romance, I guess it was inevitable. I started writing women’s fiction because I truly do believe that women have two comings of age – the first when they’re teens or in the early twenties, the second much later, in their forties or fifties or even later. That’s when I see us becoming the women we were always meant to be and I love writing about that transition.
Who are some of your favorite romance authors?
Oooh, tough question. I’ve just recently (I know, it’s pathetic) started reading Nora Roberts and I love her romantic suspense. In fact, I guess I’d say almost all of my favorite romance authorites write romantic suspense – Suzanne Brockmann, Jayne Ann Krentz, Nora Roberts. One of my favorite romance novel is an old one – Judith McNaught’s Someone to Watch Over Me. I reread that novel sometimes twice a year. Linnea Sinclair, who writes great science fiction – space operas – and great romance. Marjorie M. Liu is a fantasy writer whose romances always keep me in the story. As I read somewhere between 350-400 books a year, I have a whole lot of favorites, so I’ll just stop there.
What inspires you? Movies, music, other authors, etc?
Just about everything inspires me – right now I seem to be on a kick of starting with song titles. I’m writing a ten-story serial – Part Time Lovers – where every story is a Stevie Wonder song title. I’m actually often – more often than not, I think – inspired from a phrase. I might find it in a newspaper, hear it on a radio interview, see it as a piece of graffiti on a wall. I’m a movie addict, so I often grab something from a movie that gets me started on a story, an image, a character, a theme. And other authors? Absolutely, they’re my inspiration. My writing friends, who keep writing under the toughest of circumstances; the writers who tell the stories of hanging in there for years before they got published; my friend Rosemary who at 80 years old decided she didn’t have time to wait for the publishers to buy her books so she self-published.
Do you have a favorite place to write?
Not right now. Because my schedule this summer has been incredibly complicated, I tend to write when and where I can. In the mornings, I often write a few pages in my favorite coffee shop, at lunch, I write in an empty boardroom in whatever office I’m working in. If I could write anywhere I wanted, I think I’d write in the lobby of the Aquatic Center down on the beach. They have little tables and chairs in the lobby, it’s hot and humid and smells like chlorine, there are kids screaming in the pool below, but for some reason I find it very soothing. I’d write for an hour and then have a swim or take an Aquafit class and then write for another hour while my hair dried. In fact, now you’ve made me think of that, I think I’m going to start that when the pool opens back up in September.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing?
This year I’ve learned that the chances of me ever having a schedule are practically non-existent, so the most challenging thing right now is dealing with my non-schedule schedule. It meants I’m learning to write in small increments and trying to fit two or three or four small blocks into each day. I used to be able to write for a whole day – that happens so rarely now that I’m not sure I’d even be able to do it anymore 🙂
What do you do to set the “writing mood”?
I almost always begin by re-reading the previous few pages of what I’m working on. If I’m at home alone, I might read it out loud, if I’m out – which as you can see above I mostly am – I read it to myself and then I write by hand to get me started. I use a very particular pen and a very particular type of paper and that seems to be all I need to get me into the mood. If I’m at home, I might light a candle and make myself a pot of herbal tea, but it’s not necessary.
What are you working on at the moment?
What am I not working on at the moment. I’m two-thirds of the way through the ten-story serial Part Time Lovers. It’s a connected series of stories about a website – not a relationship website but a place where people can find a partner just for now – and the two people, friends since grade school, who run it. I’m really enjoying writing it. I get to write lots of great sex scenes but more importantly, I get to write ten stories about people finding each other. And I kind of feel like Dickens. I’m also working on some serious revisions to a women’s fiction novel for an editor who has asked for them. Once I’ve done those two things, I’m going to write the first novella of a three-novella trilogy set in San Francisco in the 1920s, the Summer of Love, and the present day. Once that’s done, I’m going to do some minor revisions to the first two books of a five book series. After that? I’m going to write a women’s fiction book with a little magic in it. I figure that will probably be somewhere in October.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“You can’t be afraid to slay the dragon.” (Mark Messier)
There are two reasons why this is my favorite quote – first, I love Mark Messier. He took my beloved New York Rangers to the Stanley after 40-odd years (yes, I live in Vancouver but I come from a hockey family and when I was a kid there were only six teams – my dad picked first, my brother picked second, and I had to choose between Boston, Chicago, Detroit and New York. I’d just read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn so of course I picked New York). But more importantly, it reminds me every day that I can’t be afraid of success, that I need to take risks and to believe in myself and my writing.
Blurby goodness: Part Time Lovers
Mercy’s feeling blue because her business—and occasional sex—partner Jules is walking around looking like a cat who just stole a pint of cream. But she’s not a woman to wait for something to happen, she’s going to make it happen. When she finds a post on Part Time Lovers from two men who want, finally, to show their love for each other and need a woman to facilitate their night, she’s in. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s going to learn a whole new side of herself. She going to learn that she loves watching.
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