Fellow RWAC member Kelly Boyce just updated her blog with a discussion of a movie she'd like to see. So, I'm going to play monkey see, monkey do. I stumbled across the trailer for Steven Spielberg's new movie, War Horse, the other day. Of course it sucked me in - the cinematography looks beautiful and the World War 1 setting hooked me. I made up my mind that I'd like to see it - unless it had a tragic ending. I did a little searching and found out it doesn't. So, I'll probably take it in over the holidays if it's in the theatres here.
It's always amazed me that the bond between humans and animals can run so deep that they will accompany us through the worst hell we can create. I'm looking forward to seeing this. People of blogland, are you planning on seeing any movies over the holidays?
As I’ve said before, I belong to an absolutely awesome chapter of Romance Writers of America. A few weeks ago I had a chat with Tara MacDonald, one of our members who has a marketing background and an up-and-coming company called Charlie Mac Productions, about possible promotional ideas for Shattered. I was floored when, a few days later, Tara got back to me with the news that she wanted to use my book as a test case for her company and promote it for me. She lined up fellow RWAC member Shawna Romkey and Richard Black from Rich Graphics, and in less than two weeks they had a new website in the making, promotional materials created and a signing arranged at the perfect venue – the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in downtown Halifax. All I had to do was show up.
This is the entrance to the Explosion Exhibit. Fellow RWAC member Julia Smith, a talented photographer as well as an author, snapped me surrounded by history. She took all the other photos here as well. We had a lovely fruit wreath by Fruitful Expressions and gingerbread cookies from Sweet Smiles Pastry Cafe – which proved very popular with one guest in particular, who made off with an armful. One young guest told me that she liked eating gingerbread men, but didn’t like smelling them. To each his own – I love the smell of gingerbread, and these were delicious. The reading took place in the museum’s small craft gallery. Liam and Alice’s world felt very near as I talked about what life was like in wartime Halifax. I chose to read the scene from Shattered where Liam and Alice dance for the first time, and Liam has his first encounter with Alice’s brother Carl. RWAC members Pat Thomas (my amazing editor) and Michelle Helliwell also came out in support. Here’s the whole crew after the reading. From left to right we have Tara, Michelle, Shawna, Me, Pat and Julia. And here I am signing copies by the museum gift shop. I confess I’m an introvert. Even after years at the front of a classroom, speaking to an audience takes energy, but talking about the history behind Shattered and reading from the novel here, surrounded by graceful masts and sails and with the museum’s Explosion exhibit close by, was a joy. The Beatles said it best...there’s nothing like a little help from your friends.
Hosting other authors on my blog is something I'm resolving to do more of in the coming year. I'm starting today by featuring author Sara Trimble, who I met a couple of years ago on Writing.com - a great place to connect with writers, by the way. Sara's a busy young mom who somehow finds the time to pen novels. She and I also share an appreciation for the simple things in life - she's a country girl to the core.
Sara is new to the world of publishing, though not to writing. She has one published novel, two in the final stages of revisions and a stack of stories ready to work on. She's also venturing out of her comfort zone of Romance to work on a new suspense novel, which she hopes to have done by December 1st. When she isn’t writing, Sara spends her time with her three children and her husband Justyn, hanging with friends, and just enjoying life. You can find her at her website, follow her blog, tweet her, or find her on Facebook. She loves to hear from her readers so send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone is participating in NaNo, feel free to buddy her at youngmomx3. Don't forget to check out the new movie trailer for her debut paranormal romance, Heart Over Mind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws0EXm5tsI8
What got you interested in writing?
The very first time I remember being excited to write was for Halloween in 4th grade. We had an assignment to write about a spooky event and I ended up writing a five page story when everyone else had only written two paragraphs. My teacher loved it. Apparently though, I've been wanting to be a writer since I was six. I have a 1st grade folder that my teacher created for us. In the section “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I put creative writer.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since I was little but I didn't start trying to make a career of it until January of 2005.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Don't try to be just like everyone else. If you have an idea for a story, don't abandon it just because it's different than what your favorite authors create.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Unfortunately, I have and currently am. I'm still at that stage that I've yet to figure out how to beat this horrible scenario.
To you, what are the most important elements of good writing?
Great, believable characters. I think without strong, diverse characters, the book won't do much.
Tell us about your latest book.
Right now, I'm deviating from romance to try my hand at suspense/thriller/mystery. Gemma Davis, FBI, is called to the end of the world, Bayou Point, by her ex-fiance, when an arm is found inside the stomach of an alligator. DNA results show that the limb belonged to a young girl who'd gone missing four years prior. Claude worries at the find, as there are still sixteen other girls, approximately the same age and type, still missing.
Gemma agrees to visit and gets in over her head when she discovers a sinister secret about the town, and it's occupents, that could end up getting her killed. Nothing and no one is as it seems. The deeper she digs, the worse the outcome gets for the missing girls. Who is taking them, and why? How is that they've never been seen or heard from since their disappearance? And how were these intelligent, careful girls, all kidnapped without one single witness.
Gemma has to probe carefully to answer these questions and solve the case. And she has to watch her back in the process.
What comes first for you, the plot or the characters?
To me, plot comes first. I like to develop my plot and then the scenario tends to cause the characters to evolve into who they'll be.
What books or authors have most influenced your writing?
Lindsay McKenna, Caridad Pineiro and Patricia Cornwell really influenced the type of writing I wanted to do. I enjoy each of these wonderful women's books and would love to be as successful as they are.
Are you working on anything at the present you’d like to share with us?
I started writing my new book In the Bayou for NaNoWriMo, which is when an author tries to write a 50,000 word book in one month. I knew I wouldn't be that successful, though I'd have loved to, but I did get a lot done on it and think it will be a great book when I'm finished with it.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to spend time with my three children, go fishing, hunting or to the river with my husband, and spend time with friends. I try to enjoy each day of my life. Everyone I know tells me I live the life of a typical country song and I can't say I'd change one bit of it.
I'm a teacher, an amateur musician and, for over thirty years, a writer. I fell in love with words at a very early age, and the affair has been life-long.
Glimpses of the past spark my imagination. There's an archaeologist buried in me somewhere. I'm currently working on a series following the McShannon family as they put down roots and find love in the old world and the new, against the background of the American Civil War. Along with this series, I'm writing a story set at the time of the Halifax Explosion in 1917. I'm really enjoying delving into the history in my own backyard.
I write for children as well as adults. When I'm not writing I garden, play guitar and spend time with my DH, our cat Emily, and our dogs Chance and Echo, the most spoiled Duck Tolling Retrievers on the planet. I live in Nova Scotia, in my opinion the most beautiful place in the world.