Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Please welcome my guest, Rebecca J. Clark

Today I'm interviewing Contemporary Romance author Rebecca J. Clark.  Here's a little bit about her before we start the interview.

Rebecca Clark has wanted to write romance novels since she read her first Harlequin Romance at age 11. When she’s not writing, she works as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor, where she teaches Pilates, Turbokick®, Zumba®, and yoga. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of 24 years, two kids, a German Shepherd beast who thinks he’s a lap dog, two cats, two rats and a gecko. In her not-so-abundant free time, Rebecca enjoys reading, watching Criminal Minds reruns on TV, and doing absolutely nothing. 

Welcome Rebecca, I'm so glad you could join me. 

   How long have you been writing and what made you decide to pursue a writing career? 
       I’ve always wanted to be a writer—well, since I was about 11 anyway. That’s when I read my first Harlequin Romance and was hooked. I saved all my babysitting money and bought every book in that line as it came out each month. My grandpa referred to them as “I Love You Truly” books. LOL. It took many years before I wrote my first book—I knew I couldn’t write about love until I had experienced it. And I didn’t experience it until I was about 22. Then life got in the way—marriage, non-writing career (graphic design at the time), kids. When my oldest was two I finally decided to pursue my writing dream. Then it took many years after that before I sold my first book.

  I love the name your grandfather gave the Harlequins.  Do you have a writing routine?  Where do you usually do your writing? 
       My day job has really crazy hours—sometimes I work a triple shift (I’m a personal fitness trainer and instructor). So my routine varies depending on the day. I think I’d be more productive if I had a set routine. For instance, if I could write from 1-3 p.m. every afternoon. Sigh. Someday. As for where I write, I have a nice little office to write in…but I prefer setting up my computer on the dining room table. It doesn’t feel as dark and closed off. Once a week I take my son to Seattle to skate (he’s a sponsored skateboarder), so I park it at my favorite Starbucks and get a few hours of uninterrupted writing in.

  I'm in awe.  I couldn't imagine working a triple shift.  I write at the dining room table too for pretty much the same reasons.  Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do? Any plans in the future to write in a different one? 
      I write straight contemporary because that’s what I love to read. I also love, love, love romantic suspense, and I have a couple of story ideas that include a suspense plot…. We’ll see.

 Who is your favorite author?  (I know, an unfair question.  I couldn’t name just one myself.)
      Totally unfair question! But I will give a shout out to my two ultimate favorites: HQN author Laurie London (cuz she’s my sister) and Avon author Candis Terry (she was my first writer friend, first CP and still one of my BFFs).

  How cool that your sister is also a romance author.  How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate? 
      The only thing that works for me is BICHOK. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Then I keep my fingers moving. Sometimes (often times) I write things like, “This is stupid. I have no idea what comes next. My hero is an idiot.” Then I start brainstorming on the screen, asking myself “what if” questions. Sometimes, I might write pages of this self-talk/drivel, other times it’ll just take a sentence or two before I figure out the scene. Back to BICHOK—I find I get writer’s block way more often when I’m not writing every day. So I make sure I write every day. Period. Otherwise, I have no one to blame but myself.

  I love how you deal with writer's block.  I find I also get writer's block more often if I don't write everyday.  Do you have a critique partner or partners?  If so, do you think they help more in terms of moral support or in terms of line editing, brainstorming, etc?
      I have two CPs—both my favorite authors I mentioned above. But, unfortunately for me, I don’t utilize them as much as I should. When I do, it’s mostly for moral support (they often assure me, “No, you don’t suck.” “No, your story idea isn’t the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”) and for brainstorming. I also belong to a plotting group with the fabulous Cherry Adair, my sister, and about 8 other writers—we call ourselves the Cherry Plotters.

  I think we all need those same reassurances.  What’s the best writing advice you were ever given? 
      Can I share two? 1—Write every day (see my answer to number 5). 2—Don’t write for the market unless you can write really, really fast; otherwise, by the time you finish that book, the market will probably have changed.

  Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.  
      Her One-Night Prince is a Cinderella story about a shy and sheltered woman who wants to go back to her class reunion a changed woman. She just needs a little help from the hero first.

   Sounds interesting.  Can you tell us a little about your next project? 
       I am working on a sweet short story for The Wild Rose Press (one of my publishers), and a spicy follow up to my first book, Borrowed Stilettos. I hope to have the short story submitted next month, and the other by summer. But I’m a slow writer, so we’ll see on that.

Anything else you’d like to share? 
       Like my heroine, Lydia, from Her One-Night Prince, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side (used to be really, really shy, too). I have a blog for shy writers called Once Written, Twice Shy. So if any of your readers fall into that category, I’d love for them to stop by. http://shywriters.blogspot.com

Thanks for the great interview, Rebecca.  Now let's learn more about Her One-Night Prince.


Blurb: Her One-Night Prince is a Cinderella story about a woman’s dream to be something she’s not for just one night at her class reunion.

As all fairy tales go, however, happy endings don’t come easily.

Shy and sheltered Lydia St. Clair is uncomfortable around men, so she advertises for a gay man to be her date and revamp her style. Mitch Gannon answers Lydia’s ad and he’s perfect for the job--he’s handsome and, even more important, he’s charming.

Unbeknownst to Lydia, Mitch is straight and answered the ad as the unwitting victim of a practical joke. Before he can reveal the truth, Lydia is convinced he’s her fairy godmother, ready to transform her into the belle of the ball. And Mitch, prince that he is, doesn’t have the heart to set her straight.

Excerpt:
With a firm hand against her upper back, Mitch propelled Lydia out of the bar and out the door. She peered back through the windows and could just make out that waitress standing behind the bar and staring out at them. 

“She’s beautiful,” she said, turning back to Mitch. Something about that woman signaled a déjà vu of sorts in her mind, but she couldn’t quite put a finger on it.

“Who? Edwina?” He glanced into the pub. “Yeah, she is.”

Edwina’s showstopping figure and stunning looks caused Lydia to self-consciously smooth back her boring, pulled-tight-into-a-bun-as-usual hair. She couldn’t imagine a woman like Edwina ever advertising in the gay personals. She couldn’t imagine Edwina making a boob of herself by assuming Mitch worked at a gay bar. 

With the heel of her palm, she bonked herself in the side of the head a few times. “Just shoot me, will you?”

Mitch pulled her hand away from her head. “You’re too hard on yourself, Lydia.”

For a moment she zeroed in on the feeling of his large, warm hand holding hers. It felt good, like it belonged there, which was a crazy thought. Reality returned, and she pulled her hand from his grasp. 

“What in the world was I thinking?” she asked. Her skin burned from embarrassment, or the heat of summer, or his touch…or all the above.

“It’s understandable you’d assume I worked at a gay bar. I mean, you think I…er…”

She waved her hand back and forth. “No, no. That was just plain stupidity. What I meant was, I had this grand notion of you helping me out and transforming me into the belle of the ball. You know, Queer Eye my style or something.” She wrapped her arms around herself despite the warm air and strode down the alley. If a sinkhole opened up in front of her, she’d gladly fall into it. 

He jogged up beside her as they reached the sidewalk. “I don’t know about the clothing and hair stuff,” he said, “but I could certainly give you advice on men.” He cleared his throat and coughed. “I mean, since I’m a, ah, man.”

“That’s okay. It was a dumb idea. Besides, I don’t want advice on men. It would be pointless.” She pulled black-framed sunglasses from her purse and exchanged them for her regular glasses to block the blinding glare off the sidewalk. 

Mitch didn’t respond right away, so she knew he silently agreed with her. Finally, he asked, “Why would it be pointless?”

She had about a million reasons. “It just would be.”

Buy links:


 
 You can learn more about Rebecca at any of the links below:
Twitter @rebeccajclark

14 comments:

  1. Great interview ladies. Hi Becky! I wish I had an office, but I'd probably do what I'm doing now, writing at the dining room table. There's just so much room and I can see everything in the house. Love the excerpt.

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  2. Glad you enjoyed the interview, W.Lynn. It seems there are quite a few of us who write at the dining room table. I like having the room to spread out my research notes and such but hate having to gather it all up when I'm done writing for the day. Thanks for stopping by. :o)

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  3. Thanks for having me here today, Katherine.

    *waving at Lynn!!!* My office is really pretty with lots of books. But it's kind of dark and my chair faces away from the door. So I feel kind of claustrophobic when I'm in there. However, it's nice to have for those times when I need to write while the family's home. They're less likely to interrupt if the door is closed.

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  4. Just when I thought I was tired of author interviews I read this one, and loved it. I like your ideas about writers block and about not writing for the current market. Will take a look at your shy writers blog too. I started reading my Aunt's and Grandmother's Harlequins at an early age too but received a negative response to that, so I really love that your Grandpa called them "I Love You Truly" books.

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  5. *waves to Becky* Just wanted to say how proud I am of my sis. This book rocks! And I can attest to the fact that she works A LOT! I hardly ever see her unless we actually make plans way in advance. It's amazing she can even find the time to write. But if she can, anyone can!

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  6. Great interview, Rebecca! I love your writer's block cure. Same thing for me. Congrats again on your release!

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  7. You're welcome, Rebecca. Thanks for being such an easy person to interview and for your great responses.

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  8. Gayle, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. I never knew if my grandpa was making fun of me by calling my books "I Love You Truly" books, or just being funny. But he described himself as "a gay blade who could really cut the mustard," so... He was quite the character.

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  9. Hey Laurie--back atcha on the pride thing. :)

    I do work a lot. But I also stink at time management. That'll be one of my New Year's Resolutions--to not waste so much time doing things I really don't need to do.

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  10. Shelli--thanks so much for stopping by today. :) I appreciate seeing all these friendly faces.

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  11. I read Her One Night Prince in the early stages of its existence and I loved it! It's now on my Kindle waiting to be read again (as soon as I get off this darned book deadline). I think I'm going to have to take your Writer's Block Buster to heart or I'll need someone to write me an absent note for school!

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  12. Rebecca, I enjoyed reading your interview and learning things about you that I didn't know! I think you are amazing to do as much as you do and write, too. Your new book sounds like a fun read.

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  13. Candis, you are awesome for stopping by. This book wouldn't be this book if not for your early guidance. :)

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  14. Linda, thanks so much for commenting. As you might remember, yours was the very first writing book I ever read. So I guess I need to say "Thank you." :)

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