Today I am very excited to welcome Elizabeth Shore to my blog. I've known Elizabeth for several years now and she's a very good friend as well as one of my most excellent critique partners. In addition, she is a fellow 2014 Golden Leaf finalist for her erotic contemporary romance, Hot Bayou Nights. Today I'm putting her in the hot seat to answer a few questions – about her, writing, and just about anything else you can think of.
And don't forget to come back tomorrow to read a steamy excerpt from Hot Bayou Nights! Now, on with the show!
When did the writing bug first hit?
I can't remember ever not liking to write, so I guess the answer is that the writing bug hit me in the womb. Haha! Seriously, I do remember when I first had the idea for writing romance. I was listening to a talk radio show and on it was a discussion about writing. The host of the program had brought up something about the romance industry and how those editors are always looking for new writers. It was a lightbulb moment, really. I suddenly thought, I could do that!
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I'm a plotter. I think about my characters, and the story around them, and how their relationship develops, and then eventually I come up with an outline. However, it's not at all chiseled in stone. I firmly believe that if you know your characters well enough they're going to tell you where they want to go and whether or not you've taken a wrong turn. It's perfectly fine to stray from the outline when your characters lead you that way. But I like having an outline just to remind myself what I'm thinking about for any particular story. I can't write every day because I have a full-time "day job," so when I can write I don't want to spend huge amounts of time reminding myself where I left off and what I'm intending to do.
Do your characters come first, or the story?
I've had it go both ways. I'll see or hear about an interesting person and start thinking, "I wonder how she'd react if this or that happened" and suddenly I'm thinking about a story. Alternately, I'll envision some kind of story and think about fascinating characters that will add dimension to the plot.
How much of your personal life inspires your writing?
My personal life is pretty unassuming, which is why I find myself thinking up fun stories! But certainly one's own life is influential in writing. We authors all bring something of ourselves in every story we write, I think.
What (else) inspires you to write?
I'm really pretty fascinated by people. Everyone has a story, and the more time you spend getting to know people the more you find yourself inspired by stories you could write. So, without wanting to sounds like a bad cliche, I'm pretty much just inspired by life.
What was the most valuable piece of advice you received when you first started your pursuit of publication?
Join an RWA chapter!
Where's your ideal writing space?
In my office, fingers on keyboard, cat on lap.
What's your average word count per day/week/month?
I try to aim for 3,000 words per writing session, but there are many times when the words just don't come. So I really just try to focus on writing something that I think won't end up in my virtual trash heap.
What's your favorite time of the day for writing?
I'm definitely a morning person. Everything is so fresh and filled with promise in the morning. My mind is clear and I'm ready to go. I love the nighttime, but not for writing ... :-)
How do you set your writing atmosphere – with music, lighting or something else?
I have to have something to drink by my side at all times, generally coffee. Sometimes I don't even drink that much, but there's something comforting about having the steaming cup there, like a faithful friend. I like my office to be filled with light, and filled with music. Depending on what kind of scene I'm writing, it's either soft classical or really loud metal. Hey, I'm a Gemini.
What's the same mistake you still find yourself aggravatingly making from your early days?
Wordiness. Why write one sentence when a paragraph will do?
When you hit that brick wall (as all writers eventually do at some point or another), how do you get through it?
One time when I was young I refused to eat the food on my plate at dinner. My mom, in an effort to make me understand about not wasting food, wouldn't allow me to get up until I ate at least some of it. I kind of apply that same effort toward brick walls when I'm writing. I just sit there, refusing to get up, until I've written at least something. That something more often than not leads to something more and I start knocking away at those bricks.
If you had the chance to do one day in your life over again, which day would it be? Why?
I wouldn't re-do any days because I like to live in the present. That said, it would be lovely to have the chance to speak to my mom again. We were very close and she died before I got published. I'd love to show her what I've been up to and hopefully know that I've made her proud.
A giant asteroid is about to hit the planet. What do you want to be doing at the moment of impact?
Spending time with someone I love and who loves me while eating Ben & Jerry's peanut butter cup ice cream without one single twinge of guilt.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Lots of it.
Beer/wine or hard liquor?
Beer. Gotta make my home state (Wisconsin) proud.
Chocolate or vanilla?
I'll stick with the aforementioned peanut butter cup.
What was the craziest out-of-character thing you've ever done?
Modeled nude for a sculpture artist.
How would you react if you lost your cell phone?
Egad. Even the thought of it makes me twitchy. So, I guess I'd get twitchy!
If you had the chance to offer advice to yourself as a newborn baby, what would you tell yourself?
Treasure this gift of life you've been given and leave the world in a better way than it was when you entered it.
What's the one thing you could never live without? (besides air, water, food)
Great interview, Elizabeth! Thank you for coming by this week. I gotta tell ya, some of your answers surprised me - and inspired a few more! lol But I knew damn well what you would say for some of the other questions! (cough - cell phone - cough) ;)
And of course, congratulations on being a 2014 Golden Leaf Finalist. I'm looking forward to celebrating with you.
Here's where you can find Elizabeth and Hot Bayou Nights:
Hot Bayou Nights Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press: