Happy Thursday, Scribesters! It’s an especially Happy Thursday for me, Suze, because after our freak October snowstorm and multi-day power outage, my neighborhood has been restored to full capacity. Thank you, O Great Electricity Goddess!
Please welcome triple RWA Golden Heart finalist/double Daphne Du Maurier finalist Joan Swan, whose debut novel FEVER will release on February 28, 2012 from Kensington Brava. Joan is generously giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky random commenter, and a handmade custom FEVER bookmark to five more. (Check out that cover, romance lovers — you KNOW you want a bookmark!) Contest ends Friday, November 4, at midnight EST. Take it, Joan!
How do you battle the doubt monster? Doubt Monster: the nagging feeling that your prose is terrible, your plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.
I respect the doubt monster. It’s taken me a long time to get there, but I’ve learned that if that doubt is creeping in, my subconscious is trying to tell me something. If it’s whispering, “Your plot is silly.” I take a harder look at my plot. If it’s nagging, “Your characters are insipid.” I say, “Er…um…hold on, let me look that up…” *tick tock* *tick tock* *gasp* Flat, dull and uninteresting? I say, “How rude! Get out of my way. I need to smack a few characters into shape.”
Now, if it’s saying things like, “This is drivel, no one will buy it.” Here’s how I approach that:
1) Go to a movie
2) Take a walk on the beach
3) Buy myself something pretty
4) Get a massage
5) Generally kick myself in the ass, tell myself to take a pill, suck it up and get back to the freaking keyboard already
Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you? Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before?
Every story. Every time I contemplate a new story, I push myself to take it a step further. If what I just wrote was sexy, I want the next one to be sexier. If what I just wrote was dark, next one has to be gritty. This one had three povs, next one will have five.
What story haven’t you told yet that you want to tell? What is holding you back?
I have a contemporary story I want to tell. A sexy, sensitive cowboy; a feisty, independent horse trainer. A small town with lots of history. A secret…or three.
A trilogy, I think, the other two books stemming from the sexy, sensitive cowboy’s two brothers: sexy, secretive and sexy, saucy.
The only thing holding me back is this too freaking short 24 hr day, the human need for sleep and the pesky needs of husband, children, pets, day job… Ah, the trials and tribulations of daily life.
What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?
That I got this far. This industry is truly brutal. If I didn’t feel compelled to write, if I didn’t know this is where I was meant to be, I would have dropped out of the race a long time ago.
What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?
I’d be a publicist. I’ve discovered that I love the promotional avenue of publishing. The website design, advertising, coordinating blog tours, organizing interviews, etc. I mean…for someone else—coordinating and scheduling them for someone else. J
They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere. What is yours? What is it about? What makes it terrible? Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?
FEVER is my 10th novel. This could take a while because I feel that all my past stories are salvageable to some degree. And I’m completely impartial!
Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book. How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?
Torture. I don’t let them off as easily as Jane.
What made you decide to write romance? Who are your favorite romance authors?
I write romance because I can’t seem to NOT write a romance into a story. When I read, I prefer suspense or thrillers with a romantic thread. But when I write, romance seems to take over a lot more of the book than those I read. And I could never answer that second question…I’d have to commit hara kiri because I could never name them all—and they’d all be favorites for different reasons.
Your book, FEVER, will release on February 28th, 2012 Tell us about it.
Oh, I love FEVER…even two years after writing it, fully rewriting it once, rewriting the second half again and editing it…I don’t know how many times.
FEVER is the first of the Phoenix Rising series.
The overarching series plot broils around a government conspiracy after the explosion of a military warehouse injures a team of seven hazmat firefighters, killing one. The contents of the building, extremely confidential and dangerous radioactive chemicals used by the Department of Defense in secretive scientific experiments, have inflicted the team with various paranormal abilities. Abilities the government wants to study covertly. Abilities the team wants to understand and expose. With military advancement and national power at risk on one side and personal health and freedom at stake on the other, each group is fighting for precious stakes.
FEVER is about one of the seven firefighters, Teague Creek, convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, framed by a government threatened by his prying questions into the warehouse explosion. Teague has been denied an appeal, lost the daughter he lived for, and the career as a firefighter he loved. With no hope left, he plans an escape. But his plan goes wrong when the woman he kidnaps as leverage to get his daughter back turns out to be someone else. And this woman quickly clues into the abilities he tries to hide, creating a bond neither can afford while they’re on the run from both the cops and undercover operatives who want Teague silenced. This time, permanently.
What was your biggest mis-step in your writing career so far?
Not connecting with writers and readers sooner. Not taking the career seriously sooner.
My first final in the RWA Golden Heart was in 2006. When I was notified, I was polite and pleased and said thank you. The woman on the phone was clearly disappointed, saying, “You’re the only person I’ve called today who hasn’t screamed.” And all I could think was, why would I scream?
I didn’t understand how important RWA was. I didn’t understand how much a final placement in this contest could have meant for me at that time if I’d pursued it. I didn’t understand how important relationships and networking is in this business until very recently. I let a lot of time and a lot of opportunities pass me by.
Do you have a word-related pet peeve?
Oh, I have a lot of pet peeves, but words aren’t typically among them. Wait, wait…yes. I really, really hate the word ain’t. Really hate it.
What is your junk food of choice?
It would be easier to tell you what’s not my junk food of choice: anything green and leafy.
Love: jelly bellies, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, spice drops…this could go on for pages.
What’s next for you? Can you give us a sneak peek?
I’m having a lot of fun with a new paranormal that ventures deeper into the genre, exploring witchcraft, demons and true evil. It’s complicated, dark, gritty and sexy. Very fun!
Here’s a little unedited, never-before-seen excerpt of the WIP:
Delaney didn’t wait for an invitation. She pushed her shoulders back and rounded the doctor, stopping on the threshold.
Beckett wasn’t sitting on the gurney or pacing the room as she’d expected considering his itch to leave. He was lying on the gurney on his back, one filthy black cross-trainer dirtying the crisp white sheet with soot, the other foot crossed over the opposite knee. He wore only jeans. Dark jeans. Unbuttoned. And above that unfastened button stretched a canvas of bronzed skin tight over a lean torso. A torso mottled with collections of furious bruises and marred with raw red gashes that had been glued back together. One forearm lay over his forehead, the other hand holding a notebook at arm’s length directly above his face, where he appeared to be studying notes. His biceps were as equally bruised and scraped and as equally sculpted as that chest.
Delaney stepped into the room, but kept a healthy distance, unsure what to expect. “Chief Beckett.”
The arm on his forehead jerked down and his head swiveled toward her. His face may have taken the hardest hit. She couldn’t even tell what he truly looked like with all the swelling and bruising. And another few lines of super-glue stitching made him look Frankensteinish. But his eyes were…beautiful. Big and brown and warm. Outlined in thick black lashes. Accented with heavy black brows—one of which sported another nice gash.
He squeezed his eyes shut, winced and brought a soot-blackened hand to his forehead. “Holy f***.”
“Don’t touch your face until we get those cuts covered,” Garner said, moving closer. “And I told you, no sudden moves.”
“Then don’t flash a piece of a** like that in front of me.”
Delaney tightened the cross of her arms and the clench of her teeth.
Garner cast her an apologetic look. “Like I said…” Then turned back to Beckett, helping him as the man struggled into a sitting position. “This is Agent Shaw from Special Crimes. She’s here to work with you. Considering your condition, Chance, I think it would be in your best interest to keep your mouth shut for a while.”
Delaney turned to Dr. Garner. “If you drug him into oblivion, and only if you drug him into oblivion, I’ll take him off your hands.”
Thanks, Joan! I can’t wait for FEVER. It’s available for preorder here from Amazon, and here from Barnes and Noble. Don’t forget to comment for your chance at Joan’s great giveaways today. For more information about Joan, see www.joanswan.com.