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Archive for May 25th, 2007

t1.jpgDo you consider yourself a born writer?

Some people know from when they’re very young that they want to grow up to write books. I wasn’t one of those people. I wanted to be an astronaut, but NASA wasn’t interested in wannabe astronauts who suffered from motion sickness. Although I always enjoyed creative writing when I was in school, I never considered it as a possible career back then.

How long have you been an author?
I’ve spent a good deal of my adult life authoring non-fiction articles, so I guess you could say that I’ve been an author all that time. If you mean an author of novels, I wrote my first manuscript 12 years ago. Was it worth the trees that sacrificed their lives for it? Definitely not.

You write in various genres—romance, mystery, romantic suspense, chick-lit. Which one is your favorite? Any themes which obsess you?
Remember the song lyric, “When you’re not with the one you love, love the one you’re with”? That sort of sums up the way I feel about the various genres I write. They’re all my favorites while I’m writing in them. But what I really like to do is write outside the box, so I often write in a combination of genres (which can drive marketing departments batty.) TALK GERTIE TO ME, my first published book, was a combination of romantic comedy, chick lit, and hen lit with a dollop of the paranormal, thanks to Gertie, the imaginary friend of one of the main characters.

As for themes, I’ve spent a good deal of my life as a designer, writer, and editor in the consumer crafts industry. So many of my books draw upon those experiences. However, I don’t know that I’m obsessed with any themes so much as I am with characters. I’ve met a lot of quirky people over the years, and they’ve become the inspiration for some of the characters in my books.

Tell us about your latest release. What is it about? What inspired you to write such a story?

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I think Dottie, one of the reviewers at RomanceJunkies, summed up LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION best when she described it as having “a bit of everything – wit, suspense, sensuality, romance, and warmth.”

Life has delivered one sucker punch after another to Emma Wadsworth. As a matter of fact, you could say the poor little rich girl is the ultimate poster child for Money Can’t Buy Happiness — even if she is no longer a child.

Billionaire real estate stud Logan Crawford is as famous for his less-than-platinum reputation as he is his business empire. In thirty-eight years he’s never fallen in love, and that’s just fine with him — until he meets Emma.

But Emma’s not buying into Logan’s seductive ways. Well, maybe just a little, but she’s definitely going into the affair with her eyes wide open. She’s no fool. At least not any more. Her deceased husband saw to that. Besides, she knows Logan will catch the first jet out of Philadelphia once he learns her secrets.

Except things don’t go exactly as Emma has predicted, and when Philadelphia’s most beloved citizen become the city’s most notorious criminal, she needs to do a lot more than clear her name if she wants to save her budding romance with the billionaire hunk someone is willing to kill for.

Remember how I mentioned that my first manuscript wasn’t worth the trees that sacrificed their lives for it? That manuscript came about because 12 years ago I had a dream that wouldn’t leave me alone. Each night it unfolded like the chapters of a book. After several weeks I decided to write the dream down. The next thing I knew I’d given birth to Emma and Logan and a 50,000 word manuscript that spanned three and a half decades. Over the years as I grew as a writer, I’d drag Emma and Logan out from under the bed and tinker with them and their story. I liked them too much to assign them to spend eternity with the dust bunnies. Eventually that 50,000 word romance that spanned 35 years was rewritten as a 95,000 word romantic suspense that takes place over the course of a few months. And that’s how LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION came to be.

How many books have you written? Have they all been released by the same publisher?
Tell us a bit about your other books.

I’ve written eight other books besides TALK GERTIE TO ME and LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION (which are both published by Dorchester Publishing), but so far those are the only two I’ve sold. The others, along with several proposals, are currently under consideration at several different houses.

In addition, I contributed a short story to a charity anthology that was released this past February by Freya’s Bower. All proceeds from the sales of DREAMS & DESIRES go to a shelter for battered women in Florida. I’ll have another short story in DREAMS & DESIRES, VOLUME 2 next year.

When working on a novel, what is your schedule like? How long does it usually take you to finish a full-length book? Do you edit as you write or do you cough up the first draft and leave the polishing for later?
My schedule varies because I still work as a designer, so my days are often dictated by whether or not I’m on a design deadline. Some days I don’t write at all; other days I write for 8 or 9 hours straight. It usually takes me around 6 months to write a book, but that can vary. As for editing, I both edit as I write and edit after the first draft is finished. I have two fantastic critique partners and an agent who’s great at offering editorial input. So my manuscripts might go through several rounds of revisions based on what they have to say about them.

Some writers listen to music or go for a walk when they feel particularly dry for ideas. Is there anything you do to spark your creativity?
I’m a news junkie. When I see a news article, human interest story, editorial, or even a letter to Dear Abby that I feel has plot or character potential, I cut it out and put it in my IDEAS file. When I get stuck, I read through the clippings in the file and usually find something that triggers my muse.

Technically speaking, what do you have to struggle the most when crafting a novel?

Usually, I have a pretty good idea who the main characters will be, the opening scene, and how I want the story to end. The struggle is getting from A to Z in a way that will make readers want to keep turning pages.

Fledgling writers often try to emulate their favorite author’s style. Did you experience this when you first started writing? If yes, who was your role model?There are authors I admire, but I don’t think I ever consciously tried to emulate their styles. Three of my favorite authors are Sandra Brown, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Janet Evanovich.

With so many books published, how do you promote your work and still have time to write, or vice versa? Do you follow a planned writing/marketing schedule? Any tips you would like to share with other authors?
Since I felt my time was better spent writing, I made the decision to hire a publicist who specializes in promoting romance and mystery authors. I believe it was money well spent. She already had the connections. I would have had to reinvent the wheel. And given that I’m already currently juggling three careers (besides writing and designing, I work as an associate for a literary agency), I didn’t think it made sense to add a fourth career to my schedule. After all, there are just so many hours in the day, and a girl does need her beauty sleep, right?

What I do on my own is take road trips to do stock signings. Booksellers love to have authors drop by to sign stock because autographed copies of books sell better than non-autographed copies. And whether your publisher has paid co-op dollars for placement or not, most booksellers will move signed copies to a more prominent location in the bookstore.

Any upcoming books on the horizon?
In addition to DREAMS & DESIRES, VOLUME 2, I was invited to contribute to HOUSE UNAUTHORIZED from BenBella Books. It’s a series of essays about the TV show and will be out this coming November. As for more novels, I’m hoping to be able to announce a few more sales shortly.

What frustrates you the most about the publishing world?
Hmm…best to keep that to myself .

Do you have a website where readers may find more about you and your work?Readers can visit me at www.loiswinston.com where they’ll find excerpts of my books, a video for LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION, articles about writing, links to other interesting sites, contests, and more. I also have an e-newsletter they can sign up to receive.

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