Happy First Monday in December! What better way to ring in the holidays than to have the wonderful and talented author Jennifer Shirk here to dish on her writerly life. To make things merrier, she'll be giving away one of her books to a very lucky commenter. Trust me, her storytelling will draw a smile on your face. If you haven't already, check out her fun and informative blog Me, My Muse, and I. Rumor has it, she bakes wicked good cookies. Getting in the spirit? Let's get started!
1. When it comes to careers, backgrounds, and experience, romance writers are definitely an eclectic bunch. I think the variety adds richness to all the romance novels out there. You earned a degree in pharmacy before you became a published romance writer. Was there always a writer in you itching to come out? What was the catalyst, and was it difficult to embrace a new 'identity'?
Was there a writer itching for me to come out? Um...NO. In fact, when I told my mom I was going to write a book she looked at me strangely and said, “But you don’t like to write.” LOL
I guess like any writer, I first started out as a reader. I found myself mentally rewriting stories to the way I wanted as I was reading them. So I decided to put my pen where my head was and sit down and try my hand at writing my own. Luckily, there is an enormous amount of helpful information through the Internet.
2. We're definitely lucky to be writing with today's technology at our disposal. You have two books out, The Role of a Lifetime and Georgie On His Mind, each with a different publisher. What were you doing when you got the first Call? Was the second Call just as exciting?
My first call was actually an email. Not typical but still VERY exciting. When I got my second call from Avalon Books I had just come home from an exhausting day of teaching Vacation Bible School. There was a message on the answering machine from the editor asking me to call her back. I still haven’t erased the message. :) So yeah, the second call is JUST as exciting.
3. I had a grin on my face the entire time I read Georgie On His Mind. You have a gift for drawing out the humor from the psychology of human relationships, and yet you balance it well with all that wonderful conflict and character torture (insert evil romance writer grin). Your characters are very real and easy to relate to, and I think they make us laugh at ourselves (and at our friends and family...shhhh). If I started describing your voice as funny and sassy...what would you add to that?
4. If you had to do one of the following, what would it be? Karaoke, stand-up comedy, poetry recital, or kidlet story time at the library?
Easy peasy. Kidlet storytime at the library. I love anything to do with kids! Adding books to that mix is a bonus!
5. On a more serious note, do you tackle a synopsis before or after you've written your story? Any synopsis survival secrets, or a favorite synopsis writing resource?
Well, honestly it depends on the story. I wrote the synopsis of Georgie on His Mind when I was about halfway through writing it. With my most recent wip, I only have four chapters written and I cranked out a synopsis the other day. I sometimes need to see how a story will all play out on paper and if the flow makes sense or not before I proceed. Plus, I think it’s good practice for me to write a synopsis first in case I ever want to sell on proposal alone.
I don’t use any synopsis resources since I kind of have the hang of them by now. When you’re writing romance, the main thing is to clearly identify your heroine’s and hero’s GOAL, MOTIVATION and CONFLICT. So make sure what you have in the synopsis centers around those three things and how they change or are affected throughout the story. Anything else in the story doesn’t need to be mentioned unless it affects the G, M, or C. For example, I mentioned the subplot of Kendall and Brad in ONE sentence of my synopsis because it explained why Brad didn’t want his sister missing out on a special relationship like he had done and why he asked Walt to watch over her in the first place.
6. Great advice! You have an amazing blog, and you've amassed a loyal following. How do you manage your social networking with writing time and family life (we can all use tips :))?
Gee, I could use some tips myself! I used to blog 5 days a week. Then I joined Facebook and I went down to 3 days. Then I joined Twitter and went down to 2 days a week blogging. That seems to be the perfect number to balance being social and having a good amount of time to write and get things done around the house. I tend to blog or be on the social networks early in the morning and then whenever I’m taking a writing break or have a few spare minutes here and there. So far, that seems to work.
7. What's your quirkiest writing habit and favorite deadline-crunch-time snack?
I clean a lot for my writing breaks. I think it’s because I’m sitting for so long I need to get moving somehow—even if it’s lugging a vacuum around. LOL My favorite all time writing snack food is Tootsie Pops. They last a long time, have chocolate in the center and won’t leave a mess on my keyboard. :)
8. What's the one thing you did as a writer that you feel played a critical role in helping you achieve your goal of publication?
Joined a critique group. Without them and their knowledge I would still be clueless. They taught me what G, M and C was and why I needed to purchase extra large rubber bands. LOL
9. And finally, if you had the perfect Rx (prescription, for anyone raising a brow) for unpublished writers struggling towards their goal, what would it be (other than ones the DEA might object to, LOL)?
Read Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon. Join a critique group, and the RWA and your local RWA chapter. Those four things will put you miles ahead of the pack.
Thanks so much for hosting me today, Rula!
GIVEAWAY: As a bonus for your readers and since Christmas is around the corner, I’ll be giving away one of my books--either The Role of a Lifetime or Georgie on His Mind-- (winner’s choice) to some lucky commenter!
Contest Note: Leave a comment on here to be entered to win. Contest will end Wednesday, December 8th at 11:59 PM (EST). Winner will be announced Thursday, December 9th.
Good luck and happy reading!
Thanks for hanging out here today, Jennifer!
Check out Jennifer at:
Find Jennifer's books at: www.amazon.com
Georgie On His Mind: ISBN 978-0803477827
The Role Of A Lifetime: ISBN 978-1605041599 (also available in e-book format)
Blurb: Georgie On His Mind
Georgie Mayer has no boyfriend and rarely goes out. In short, she needs a life. Since she's graduated college and returned back home, her brother's protectiveness has been in overdrive, and she hasn't been able to have any fun, never mind get a date.
So what's a poor particularly attractive girl to do in a situation like this? The only thing she can do: find him a woman!
He'll thank her for it in the end. That is, if his best friend Walt Somers would stop interfering with her plans. The handsome pharmacist has made no secret that he doesn't approve of what she's up to. Unfortunately, having Walt hanging around does strange things to her mind, and suddenly she can't help but take a healthy interest in him. But how can Georgie entertain thoughts of the two of them together when Walt still treats her like his best friend's little sister?