Over the past few months, I’ve featured several authors on my Friday blog posts. I did this mainly to help authors in their promotional efforts since my book reviewing time is currently very limited.
For a while, I’ve been putting the author interview feature on the back burner as I try to deal with some other things that have been going on in life and as I try to work on my own writing and editing (which is really my first love, far above and beyond blogging).
If you’ve sent me an email with the answers to the interview questions I have published on the site, thank you. I have seen it. I’ve just been ignoring it until such time as I was better able to devote more of my time and attention to focus on. I apologize that I have not yet gotten back to so many of you.
I think it’s high time I got back to doing what I said I would do. I said I would feature authors, and so I should. And I’m going to again. Starting next Friday.
To get things rolling again (and getting something up and active on my blog), I’m going to post an interview I conducted with myself. I hope you all find it to be entertaining and informative, and not too annoyingly self-serving. Thanks!
This particular interview concentrates on my novella, Believe in Me.
1. How did you get the idea for the book?
This novella actually got its start because I was responding to an open submission call from Entangled Publishing for a holiday-themed novella collection entitled “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree”. The idea was to take one line from either that song or “Santa Baby” and center a romance story on that line. I accepted the challenge.
My pick was “Santa Baby”, and I picked the line, “Let’s see if you believe in me”. In fact, that was the full working title of the novella for quite a while. One of my beta readers (or maybe more than one) advised me against it. I took her advice.
Anyway, I started wondering why someone in a romantic relationship would need to say that to someone else. The most obvious thing I could think of was broken trust, and nothing breaks trust in a relationship like infidelity (even if it’s only assumed). So…the germ of the story idea was born, and the rest of the story naturally progressed from there.
2. Which came first, the title or the book?
Obviously, as I mentioned before, the title did. In a sense, anyway. The working title came first, and I centered the story on the title. This is one of the very few times I have done that. I’m notoriously bad about coming up with titles to fit my books. I almost always wait until the last possible second to come up with what I think is a decent title. From now on, I think I’m just going to let my friends help me with titles. I have a few who are much better at it than I am!
3. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?
This is the story of Trina Gray, a high-powered career woman who comes home for the holidays at the urging of her mother. What she’s not suspecting, though, is that her mother has invited her soon-to-be-ex husband to spend the Christmas holiday with them.
The minute she sees Walt, Trina runs back out the door. She can’t deal with the anger and other emotions that come immediately to the surface at the sight of him. She goes to her friend Mim’s bed and breakfast where she runs into her old high school boyfriend, Kurt. Kurt and Trina talk and discover that they still have feeling for each other after all these years, and the sparks start flying.
Believe in Me is, ultimately, a story about the rebuilding of important relationships – both romantic and family relationships.
4. What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?
I’m definitely interested in writing a romantic thriller. I’ve written a thriller and I’ve tried my hand at writing romance (although this particular work borders on women’s fiction). I would love to combine those two together. I enjoy reading books in that genre, so I’m sure I would enjoy writing one.
5. If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?
Men who cheat and the women in love them. 😉
Just kidding (sort of). In all honesty, I’d like for there to be a much more positive spin put on the topic than that. The whole idea of this story is that it takes two people to have a successful relationship – two people who are communicating openly with each other and who are willing to work to make things right.
Love is more than just warm, gushy feelings (or intense sexual attraction) – especially within a marital relationship. I should know. I’ve been married for five and a half years (I know that’s not much to some, but many marriages don’t last even that long). The point is: Sometimes I don’t feel all warm and gushy toward my husband. Truth be known, sometimes I don’t even like him very much. But I’m committed to him, and he’s committed to me, and so we’ve stayed together against all odds and we will continue to stay married until one of us dies.
And, even in the face of something cataclysmic, you can make the choice to repair the relationship. Forgive (this doesn’t mean you excuse the behavior) and move on, and don’t let anything break up your marriage (as long as it doesn’t endanger your life, like spousal abuse).
6. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?
My favorite part, honestly, is the editing/rewriting phase. I love going back and reading what I’ve written. Sometimes I don’t even remember how good certain bits were. I don’t always remember the bad parts either, but it seems that those aren’t as prevalent as the good parts. I guess sometimes it does pay to leave your “inner editor” on.
I’m also developing a fast fondness for cover design. 🙂
My least favorite part of the process would have to be the planning phase – before any real writing takes place. I know that a certain amount of planning has to be done. I just can’t stand to do it. It drives me crazy, especially when my characters often take the story in a completely different direction from where I planned ahead of time that they would be going. It makes me feel that the planning part really isn’t that necessary at all – except when I act under that assumption, things turn out very badly!
7. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of and why?
I really love the flashback scene (which takes place in Trina’s memory) where Walt and Trina are talking in bed after the first time they’d made love. It’s so romantic. In fact, it’s one of the most romantic scenes I’ve ever written.
Well, it’s practically the ONLY romantic scene I’ve ever written, but I think I did it very well…with a little help from my friends. 😉
8. Which fictional character do you have a secret crush on?
I’ve always been a fan of the dark, brooding Victorian type. Think Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. Or Jane Eyre’s Rochester. There’s something about those Brontes and their taste in men that I can really identify with!
9. Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
Actually, several years ago I wrote a flash fiction story about an old man giving his grandson marriage advice just before he walked up to the altar and said “I do”. A pastor read that story and wrote to me, asking if he could use it in his marriage counseling sessions. Just the thought that my words were going to be used to help other people in that way? Amazing!
More recently, though, I had the opportunity to hand sell books at a women’s clothing store. Just being with all the other women there was so much fun. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I’m going back to do it again on May 11 (which is one of the reasons I need to buy several hard copies of this book)!
10. What’s up next for you?
I’m currently (in addition to improving this novella) reworking my first novel, Shadows of Things to Come. I’m hoping to re-release that book the same time I re-release this one, on May 1. >>UPDATE<< It’s available NOW. Only $3.99 for the Kindle version. To buy, click here.
I’m also finishing up the first historical fiction novel I’ve ever written, The Fading Sun, which is Book One in a trilogy that I’ve named Sunset’s Hope. I would really like to self-publish this one too, but I’m not quite sure. I might shop it around a little bit before I definitely decide to go the self-publishing route. I do, however, like the freedom and control that come with self-publishing!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little interview. If you’d like to connect with me, please do consider following me on Twitter and becoming my fan on Facebook. Also, I’d love to hear what you think of this interview or the blog in general. I can’t improve this blog if I don’t know what’s working and what’s not. Thanks so much!
Mishael Austin Witty