Tuesday, April 3, 2012

NJ Walters Guest Interview

Thanks NJ for visiting and doing the interview. NJ is a talented writer. Whether you like werewolves, vampires, contemporary, historical, or westerns, you'll find something you like. Her stories are always entertaining reads and very hot!

What is your writing schedule like?

I like to write first thing in the morning before my mind gets cluttered with the details of everyday life. I try to write five mornings a week, but most weeks it ends up being four days. In the afternoons, I’ll do promotional stuff, answer emails, update my website, blog, Facebook page, etc… I try to take weekends off, but I usually end up spending several hours each day on emails, groups and social media. As this is my full time job, I try to pace myself so I don’t burn out.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write! Don’t let anyone deter you if you truly want to write. This is a tough business so you’ll have to grow a thick skin. You’ll have more rejection than acceptance. You’ll spend months working on a project that no one might contract. But if you love writing you’ll do it anyway. I think it’s the best job in the world!

Are you seat of the pants writer or plotter?

I fall somewhere in the center. I’m not a plotter. I can’t write a long outline and work from it. I’d lose my excitement for the project. I do write character sketches before I begin and I map out loosely in point form where I want the story to go or if there are any specific scenes I want in the book. After that, I think about my opening scene. Once I have that set in my head, I start writing and let the book unfold. Every now and then I’ll check my rough outline to see if I’m still on track. Sometimes I will be, but other times I’ll have done a complete turn and headed in another direction entirely.

Do you have a character in one of your books that continues to haunt you at night or surprised you when you wrote the book?

I think one of the characters who surprised me the most was Stefan Dalakis from Stefan’s Salvation, book 3 of my Dalakis Passion series. Stefan is the youngest of three vampire brothers, and he was supposed to be the lighthearted one, the comic relief after the two intense older brothers. Stefan, however, had other ideas. He ended up being the most intense, the most driven of the three siblings. And the most deadly when someone he loves is threatened. He’s one of my favorite dark heroes I’ve written.

Do you write full time or work outside of the home?

I’ve been lucky enough to be writing full time since 2005. I took a deep breath and quit my day job back in May of that year and I’ve never looked back. I’m so grateful to all the wonderful people who have bought my books and supported me over the years. I hope it will last, but even if it doesn’t, I’ll always have had these years as a full time writer. It’s been awesome.

How do you balance writing for more than one publisher?

It’s always a balance trying to have a new book for each publisher while still finding time to write something to submit to a new market. I try to alternate publishers, when possible. But sometimes I’ll get on a series roll and write two or three books one after another. I did that for my Project Alpha trilogy. I wrote them one after the other. I got into the world and didn’t want to leave it. But usually I do alternate between publishers and series. It keeps the writing fresh and my interest high.

A lot of people think that genre hopping isn’t a good idea. What do you think?

I’m guilty of doing that. lol  It’s probably better to develop a brand as a certain kind of writer (western, mystery, etc…) I didn’t really realize that when I started my career and I’ve written contemporary, m√©nage a trois, erotic romance, paranormal, vampires, werewolves, a western and even a historical. Lately, I’ve mostly been writing paranormal romance with my Legacy series. And I’m also working on a new paranormal quartet for one of my publishers.

One of the reasons I love being a romance writer is that readers are willing to try any subgenre. I’m extremely lucky that my readers have bought my books no matter what genre I’ve written.

Do you write a novel straight through? Or revise as you go? Plan a whole series in advance? Or does the series evolve?

I write a novel straight through without revising. I feel that keeps me more open creatively because I’m not critiquing what I’ve already written. Each morning when I sit down at my computer I’ll reread the chapter I wrote in the last sitting to get my head back into the story. I don’t like to edit as I go as that just slows down my process. If I get ideas for scenes to add or things I need to check or change later, I start a list at the end of the manuscript and use that as a guide when I do my first rewrite.

I rarely plan series in advance. I usually write the first book and by the time I’m at the end of it I know if there will be more books featuring the secondary characters. The only series I’ve planned in advance were the Project Alpha trilogy, the Spells, Secrets and Seductions trilogy, and a new unpublished quartet I’m working on now. I knew in advance each series was limited and I wanted to keep each series tight. All my other series either ended when I felt the time was right or are ongoing.

Do you use Beta readers?

My husband is the first and only reader of all my books before I submit them to my editors. I figure he’s got a PhD in English so I should make use of his expertise. He’s ruthless with his red pen but he always has wonderful suggestions. He also leaves little comments sprinkled throughout the manuscript that always make me laugh. Makes it fun to revise a book.

Do your books have a particular theme or premise?

All my books have one thing in common—they’re all about the HEA (happily ever after), the relationship between the main characters as they both change and overcome obstacles in their lives. I’m a romantic at heart and I really want readers to care about the hero and heroine as much as I do. I’m very character driven.
N.J. has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Quinn's Quest excerpt                                                                    

From Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60928-720-7

He can give her anything and everything she needs—except a future.

Legacy, Book 4

Kidnapped and held in a crazy doctor’s underground laboratory, Bethany Morris only manages to escape because Chrissten, one of her fellow abductees, creates an opportunity—by shifting into a werewolf.

Bethany’s desperate for help, but who’ll believe her story? The police? That’ll just buy her a one-way ticket to a padded room—because here’s the kicker: she’s discovered she’s a half-breed werewolf. Her only hope is to find Chrissten’s brother.

Quinn Lawton’s long, grinding search for his missing twin has turned up nothing…until Bethany rekindles his hope. Something else catches flame too—her heat cycle and a searing attraction branded with the word mate. Yet with so much blood on his hands, any future he might offer is already tainted beyond redemption.

Desperate for Quinn’s touch alone, Bethany has no choice but to take Quinn up on his offer to quell her terrifying need, no strings attached. And hope that as the search for Chrissten intensifies, the battle with their personal demons doesn’t destroy their razor-thin chance at forever. 
The phone rang twice before it occurred to Bethany that the middle of the night might not be the best time to call anyone asking for help, especially not with the crazy story she had to tell. “Damn.” She thought about hanging up but she was committed now. She tightened her hand around the receiver.
“Yeah.” The voice was male and hoarse with sleep.
She cleared her throat. “Is this Quinn Lawton?” She prayed she’d remembered the number right. She didn’t know what she’d do next if this wasn’t Chrissten’s brother.
There was some rustling in the background and the voice was more alert this time. “No.” Bethany’s heart sunk. Maybe she’d dialed the number wrong. Before she could apologize and hang up, the man was speaking again. “Just give me a second and I’ll get him.”
Hope surged inside her. She hadn’t failed. The phone number was the right one. Her knees threatened to buckle so she sank into the chair that Margaret had vacated. Her stomach felt queasy and she was still very weak. She could still hang up the phone and let the police handle this. All she’d have to do is tell them she was kidnapped. No need to tell them about the rest of it. Quinn Lawton would never be able to find her. There was no way to trace the call back to the shelter.
She clutched the receiver in her hand and took a deep breath, knowing she could never do that. She was committed now. No turning back. Footsteps sounded through the receiver and she knew the man who’d answered was taking the phone to Chrissten’s brother, who was a half-breed werewolf just like Chrissten. Just like she was.
Bethany still couldn’t quite wrap her head around that one, but she was trying to understand it. She hoped Quinn had answers for her.
“Yeah.” The voice was low and gruff and masculine. Every cell in Bethany’s body reacted to the sound. The fine hair on the back of her neck stood on end. Her nipples contracted. Her breath caught in her throat.
“Who is this?” The voice was more demanding now, all trace of sleepiness gone.
Bethany forced herself to speak. “Is this Quinn Lawton?”
“Who wants to know?” She almost hung up on him. His impatience and arrogance bled through the phone line. But she’d promised her friend.
“Do you have a sister named Chrissten?”
“Where is she? Who are you? Where are you?”
Bethany was so startled by the angry outburst she dropped the receiver. She could hear Quinn yelling at her through the line. She grabbed the phone and hung up, panting hard for breath. He was one scary man.
She sat there for about thirty seconds before she grabbed the phone and punched in the number again.
“Hello. Are you there?” he demanded.
“I’m here.” This was for Chrissten, she reminded herself. And for yourself, a little voice in the back of her head said. You want to know more about who you are. What you are.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at you.” His low tones made her shiver and she wasn’t sure she believed him. Even his apology was short. A voice in the background was urging him to stay calm. She recognized it as the man who’d originally answered the phone. She was beginning to wish she’d talked to him instead.
“Umm, I need to talk to you about your sister.” She had to do this face-to-face. This wasn’t something you talked about over the phone. “Where are you?”
“I’m in Chicago. Where are you?”
Bethany was shocked to find out that help was close at hand. She hadn’t expected that, but would take it as a good sign that maybe her luck was changing. “Where in Chicago? I want to meet you.”
“Tell me about my sister.” His frustration was palpable and she almost blurted out everything she knew. But she had to meet him in person. She’d promised Chrissten she’d get help and that meant more than simply making a phone call. Plus, she was curious about him, about what he was. What she was.
“Where shall I meet you?” Bethany could be just as stubborn as he was.
“There’s a bar in Wicker Park. It’s called Haven. Meet me there.”
“When?” Bethany glanced at the clock over Margaret’s desk. It was half past four in the morning.
“Now. I’ll be waiting for you.”
“I don’t have any money to pay for a cab.” It was demoralizing to admit she needed him to pay for her to get there. She couldn’t walk, as she had no idea where she was going. Even if she wanted to take public transit she still had no idea where to find this particular bar.
“Just get here. I’ll take care of the cab fare.”
She sucked in a breath and said, “Okay,” as she exhaled. The quicker she did this the better for her peace of mind.
“What’s your name?” The urgency in his tone brought home just how desperate he was for news of his sister.
“Bethany. My name is Bethany. As of less than a day ago your sister was alive. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
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N.J.Walters said...

Hi, Kathy. Thanks so much for having me at your blog today!

Katalina Leon said...

Wonderful excerpt NJ! Quinn's Quest sounds exciting.

Maria said...

Great interview! I loved the excerpt from Quinn's Quest - Quinn and Bethany seem like a great couple together!

N.J.Walters said...

Thanks so much, Katalina. :)

Thanks, Maria. Quinn was stubborn, but Bethany was up to the task. :)

Mannouchka said...

Dear NJ and Kathy,
Thanks Kathy for receiving NJ on your blog I see you like to write early in the morning all your books are very interesting and good action
I wish you NJ and Kathy a wonderful Thurday and very nice blog

N.J.Walters said...

Hi, Mannouchka. Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out the interview. I am an early morning writer. That's when I get my best work done. :)

Savannah Chase said...

Fantastic interview and excerpt.

flchen1 said...

How neat, NJ and Kathy! Thanks for the peek at you and your writing, NJ! Does your husband write as well?

N.J.Walters said...

Thanks so much, Savannah!

Hey, Fedora. Yes, my husband is a writer as well. He's the first reader for all my books and has been since the very beginning.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi NJ, Thanks so much for doing the interview. I didn't see the comments. I think my blog wasn't refreshing or something.

You're welcome Mannouchka.
Glad you stopped by Fedora, Kat and Maria.
Hi Savannah, does sound like a great book.

N.J.Walters said...

My pleasure, Kathy. Thanks so much for having me on your blog!