I answer the following four questions, then tag three others. Here we go!
1. What are you working on now?
I'm wrapping up Redemption, the fourth book my Blood and Honor romantic suspense series, about two warring Mafia families in Italy. This book is about Antonio, who readers first met in Revenge. He's a flirty bad boy and has been a reader favorite from the beginning. In this book, we learn about his past, see him struggling to adapt to his new role in the family, and find out what happens when Bianca, the one woman he's never been able to forget, walks back into his life--just as everything in it is blowing apart. An even bigger problem? Bianca's brother wants Antonio dead, and it's not clear whose side she's on.
A lot of romantic suspense books star cops, firefighters, or military heroes. I love the genre, but I wanted to do something a little different. I also wanted to set my first series in Italy, and I love Mafia stories, so it seemed like a no-brainer to set a story in that world. I hadn't quite counted on the depth of research I'd end up doing, or the difficulties of writing about a country that I love but haven't lived in for any significant amount of time. Nor had I bargained on how complicated it is to write what's essentially a family saga as well. This idea originally started off as one book. Now it's a five-part series! But I'm having a blast writing it, and I'm really going to miss it when I'm done.
3. Why do you write?
I started out writing romance novels (well, more like novellas) when I was a teenager. I'd write stories starring me or my sisters or friends and whatever rock stars we happened to be in love with at the moment. My sister and I later wrote a historical romance (still starring all our favorite rock stars, but behaving as we imagined they would during the Regency period). That story had twin princesses in it who (of course) are kidnapped by handsome highwaymen, who (of course) weren't really highwaymen... I think you can imagine how the rest of that went!
In college, I studied writing, but despaired of ever authoring the next Great American Novel. I'm just not that kind of writer! And though I later took a number of stabs at writing a book (usually some kind of thriller or suspense story), it wasn't until almost two decades later that I realized I'd better actually get off my butt and finish something, or being a writer would never be more than a dream. I also looked myself square in the eye and admitted that I loved romance novels. I'd quit reading them some time in my early twenties (I thought I ought to read something less frivolous), but I'd always been attracted to love stories, the more romantic, the better. So I got hooked up with Romance Writers of America and went back to my first love, romance!
All of this is a long way of saying that I write because I've always pictured myself as a writer. It was the only job I ever thought I'd have. I took a two-decade detour into computer software (where I worked as an editor and writer), but creative writing always owned my heart.
4. How does your writing process work?
I didn't used to outline or plot, but now I do. Partially because writing suspense kind of demands it, and partially because I got tired of writing and then tossing out half a book every time! I still can't make myself write a very detailed outline, but I'll have at least a dozen pages with chapters, scenes, and as much detail about each scene as I can think of, including lines of dialogue. I also spend some time brainstorming beforehand with my critique partner, the awesomely talented Kristine Cayne, and I try to develop GMCs (goals, motivations, and conflicts) for each major character, as well as mini bios that provide the highlights of significant (often formative) events in their lives leading up to where they are now. In other words, I like to know where their damage comes from and what kind of baggage they're toting around. Because then I get to torture them with it later! (I'm evil like that.)
Thanks again, Nancy, for tagging me. This was fun! :)
So here are my choices (victims?) for who to tag next!