Monday, November 8, 2010
Interview with Christine Bell
www.chrisbwritin.blogspot.com and I guarantee you'll leave with a grin on your face. I'm so glad that she found a break in her busy life as writer, maid, chef, chauffer, therapist, wife, mother of four teen boys and two dogs (whew!) to join us today. Christine is holding a prize drawing for one of her books. Just leave a comment and you'll be entered into the drawing. The winner will be announced this Thursday.
1. We all know what expert multitaskers mothers are. Top that with contracts from three different publishers! What advice do you have for new or aspiring authors on how to avoid contract conflicts, manage deadlines, and juggle writing time with family life?
It’s actually four now, which is so exciting and overwhelming at the same time! Family comes first, always, but right now, until I’m where I want to be, everything else is on the back burner. I used to sing in a band, bowl on Monday nights, and considered myself a student of poker. There are only so many hours in the day, and since writing is my absolute dream, I put the rest aside. I can do those things once I’ve earned some vacation time. Making deadlines is top priority for me, same with making sure I know what my contractual obligations are etc. I want every publisher and editor that I work with to WANT to work with me again. To actively say, “She was on the ball, and we want to do business with her.” Needless to say, because I have a full time job, a husband, kids, a house to take care of, etc. I don’t get a lot of sleep! And you know what? That’s okay, because I am having the time of my life right now.
2. Wow! You're definitely prolific. Who needs sleep when you're having fun ;). Do you tackle a synopsis before or after you've written your story? Any synopsis survival secrets?
Bleh, after. And no. If you hear any though, send them my way, k?
3. Ditto on the bleh, LOL. Has your writing method changed out of necessity since becoming published?
Because I have a goal in mind (I’m trying to make sure I have either a Chloe Cole or Christine Bell release every month) and because I have more than one editor that I want to keep happy, I’ve had to buckle down and really try to make sure I’m writing all the time. Before I was published, I could kind of write something, take a few weeks off and just read craft books, take workshops, putter around with ideas. Now, as soon as I hit send, I am compelled to crack open another document so I don’t get behind schedule. The method is the same though: An idea, usually a situation comes to mind, then the characters, and then a quick and dirty outline (which always changes as I go). I edit constantly, and start at the beginning every time I open the document, so by the time I’m done I have a pretty clean manuscript. Lather, rinse, repeat :op
4. What's your quirkiest writing habit? What's your favorite deadline-crunch-time (pun intended) snack?
I write in bed almost exclusively. I can’t write with a lot of background noise and with four boys, neighbors kids over half the time, two dogs etc. there is no other quiet place in the house. I have this big, sit-uppy pillow that I use and set the laptop on my lap and go! As for snacks when I write, chocolate and coffee, simultaneously. I also love those little peanut butter pretzels.
5. Which promotional method (blog, tweets, forum networking etc...) do you credit with bringing you the most readers?
This is a tough one because if authors want to succeed, they have to be out there promoting their work. It’s absolutely necessary in today’s market, so I think it’s ALL important, and the sooner you start, the better off you are. Before you even get a contract, you should get involved with forums, network with other writers, tweet, and I would even recommend getting a website. I’m going to say right now, as a relatively new author, I probably get most of my readers through blogging, guest blogging etc. I think a website is key though, especially as your backlist grows. If I like an author’s book, I’m going to go to their website and actively seek out more of their work. As the months go by and I look at my blog stats more and more of my page views are coming from my website link. And I love Twitter though because it gives you “facetime” with readers. So yes, do it all!!!
6. Well, as I said above, you have a wonderful blog. So far you've written two books in your Wolves of Pray series, Pray and Awakening. What 'personality' traits do real wolves have that make for great human heroes? Is it their strength, loyalty, or something else?
Hmm, that’s a new and interesting question! Well, everyone knows how strong the bond between a wolf and their mate is, so that’s one trait that definitely lends itself to romance. Also, there is that feral dangerous quality that so many women like in an alpha hero. They are really beautiful creatures. I went to a wolf sanctuary in Lititz Pennsylvania and was amazed at how intelligent and gorgeous they were. Fascinating.
7. I agree. Wolves are amazing creatures. There seems to be a spirituality about them. But on a lighter note, in Awakening there's a brief reference to Little Red Riding Hood. Let's say you're up for an on stage role in the production of Little Red. Which character would you try out for - Little Red Riding Hood, Granny, or the Big Bad Wolf?
Probably Little Red Riding Hood because the red cape is sort of mysterious and sexy, and would look FABULOUS with my new boots!
8. LOL! I can just picture you on stage in those boots! And now to your audience of readers and fellow writers...apart from not giving up, what's the one thing you did as a writer that you feel played a critical role in helping you get that first Call?
I put in the time. I know by a lot of people’s standards, it happened really fast. About 7 months from the time I wrote my first manuscript to my first contract. But that time was very intense. I would stay up all night reading about writing, thinking about writing, taking seminars and working with my crit group. And then, and this is key, I wasn’t afraid to put my work out there. I submitted and submitted and kept on submitting. You have to be a little fearless, really honest with yourself about your work and make sure you kinds of grow a little shell around you, because if not, it’s going to be a long, painful haul! Every R should motivate you to do better. Every R with feedback should be cherished.
Fantastic advice and inspiration, Christine. Thanks so much for being here today.
Don't forget! Christine is holding a prize drawing for one of her books. Just leave a comment and you'll be entered into the drawing. The winner will be announced this Thursday.
Blurb: The Wolves of Pray Book 2 - The Awakening
Disillusioned but resolute, Chandra has finally summoned the courage to leave her morally corrupt wolf-pack and join the Wolves of Pray, Montana. Her new pack is a perfect fit, and life would be grand if only Sean Mulaney wasn’t such a distraction. When the tension between them really heats up, Sean proposes a unique solution to the problem. Chandra is torn. She wants to be more than just a “friend with benefits”, but if she refuses Sean’s offer, she might blow her one chance to convince him that she can rock his world and fill the empty space in his heart.
As the sexual tension between them crackles, they each need to make a choice. Is Chandra willing to risk, not only her heart, but her newfound comfort and security within the pack on a long shot like Sean? And will Sean let love in, only to risk having it taken away again? Especially when he knows there is still a killer on the loose.
You can find Christine and read excerpts at:
The following links are intended for mature audiences only.
Find Christine's/Chloe's books and upcoming releases at:
The Wolves of Pray Book 1 - Pray www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/pray.htm
The Wolves of Pray Book 2 - Awakening www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/pray-awakening.htm
Captive Audience www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/captiveaudience.htm
The Guardian www.cobblestone-press.com - November 19, 2010
The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale www.carinapress.com - Spring 2011
Unwrapping Lily Ellora's Cave - December 9, 2010
Naughty Godmother www.ellorascave.com - Coming Soon
Three to Tango www.loose-id.com - (with L.C.Chase) Coming Soon