Welcome, Victoria, I want to start with sharing some insights into your general writing style, then delve a little deeper to get your thoughts on the Paranormal Romance genre as a whole.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? My working theory is that, if you watch children carefully, they will show you who they really are by the time they are eight or nine. At that age I had two stacks of legal pads on my bed. One I used to sketch glamorous evening wear. The other I used to write my own BobbseyTwins novels. I did spend a few years as a designer of glam dresses and was copied by the biggest names in the business. I had a big following in the Northeast, South America, and Europe and still see some of my dresses show up in the movies. So I checked that off the list and did it until I was done. Now I’m writing.
You were definitely gifted with the creative gene. How do you keep track of plot elements or twists? I start with a skeletal outline then copy it to a second document which I call my “extended” outline. That’s the one that gets fleshed out and will eventually become a book. I have to have it because I often wake up in the night with a thought I want to include and need to be able to plug it into a story “timeline”.
Have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it? Are you glad you did (or didn’t)? The answer is yes, but the someone was one of the characters. My Familiar Stranger started out to be a different story. My heroine was supposed to end up with the character of my choice. I was about 80% finished when another one of the guys (characters) started insisting it was him! I let him make his case and finally had to agree, but it caused a lot of overhaul.
Have you ever suffered from “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”? Honestly I don’t know exactly what it is or how it feels, but I suspect it’s just a matter of stepping on the conduit between our minds and the creativity that is always flowing freely and available to everyone – just like stepping on the garden hose. I’m into creativity on several different fronts including art, music, and writing fiction. When I need a dollop of inspiration, it’s always there for me – KNOCK ON WOOD !!!!
My process is that I get completely quiet and completely still, close my eyes, and simply say, “Bring me a melody.” Or plot point or whatever. Fill in the blank. This method is as reliable as my belief that the sun will rise tomorrow in the east with or without me. I should add that a lifetime of “seeking” is a factor in the sense that I have been practicing meditation for twenty years and can achieve a state of concentration fairly quickly. I recommend it for creative pursuits of any kind.
I truly envy you that ability. I’d go so far as to call it jealousy.☺Let’s move on to writing PNR. What’s your paranormal element of choice? If pressed, I guess I would choose to write about magic, but my reading preference is probably earthy, sex-starved, one woman werewolves.
Is there any area or element of this genre you read but will never write about? At various times I have read about ghosts, but it’s unlikely I will write about them.
How do you research the paranormal elements in your story? Spent my life researching. Now I just write. I had formal academic training in parapsychology in the eighties and worked as a professional “metaphysician” and hypnotherapist (including past life regression) in the nineties. It was part of my job to read lots of non-fiction on these subject and to study with masters on the subject. A lot of the scifi and fantasy influence began with preadolescent reading of fiction that had been written for adults.
Many people feel the PNR genre is on the way out. Do you agree? Are there any changes you’d make to stay on the cutting edge of this genre? Will you change genres? I think that will be true if more authors don’t stop the vamp-by-number, more-weres-the-better rehash and try for something different.
Before I started writing I spent two full years reading every PNR that had enjoyed any success to find out what had already been done, then set out to create something new. I get a lot of feedback that starts by saying, “I don’t really know what genre to put this in…” I love comments like, “She explodes stereotypes.”
Also, I’m writing true Paranormal Romance. It’s not paranormal suspense or paranormal mystery or paranormal thriller with a love interest back story. The romance is the main plot for me. And romance is never going to be on the way out.