When did you start writing and what was your inspiration?
I actually never planned to become an author. I was a COO (Chief Operations Officer) for a marketing company when the economy tanked a few years ago and my husband suggested I finish the ‘book’ I had been messing around with for over five years. It really wasn’t a book. It was just a more fleshed out story for my D&D (Dungeons & Dragons, yes, I am that old and geeky!) character. So, wha-la! The Goddess of Fate was born and so was my new career since it seemed that story opened Pandora’s Box inside my head.
Seeing more and more authors going the “self-pub’ route. Thoughts?
I jumped on the self-pub band wagon early on after doing a ton, and I mean a ton, of research on the pros & cons of self-pub vs. traditional publishing. There weren’t as many small press publishers around in 2010 compared to what we have out there now, so most of my research revolved around big publishing houses. I weighed the pros & cons and realized I could do a lot the behind the scenes work myself (formatting, ISBN/Copyright registration, tax laws, marketing, book cover creation, booking conventions, building and maintaining a website, etc.).
I had to start my own publishing company just for tax purposes, but since I don’t publish anyone else, technically, I am still a self-pub author. Being a self-pub author is a full time job and I think this is what new authors who decide to go the self-pub route forget. It involves more than writing a good story and a few clicks. It’s a business and to be successful in the self-pub arena, it has to be treated that way.
How much thought do you as an author put into your cover, cover models etc. And has that changed since you started writing. If so, have you or will you go back and re-do covers you’re no longer pleased with?
I have had total control over my covers since I started. Originally, I used CreateSpace cover templets (and still do to some extent) and public domain photographs because I could not afford to purchase stock photos or covers when I first started out. Now however, I have a steady cover artist who creates my covers, but I still have complete control. Usually, I will find the cover art (stock photo model pictures) and send them to my guy along with a very detailed description of what I am looking for. He sends me a few mock up covers and two or three emails later, I have my cover.
As for going back to re-do covers that I no longer like, I haven’t really done that to re-release the same novel. I have somewhat mixed feelings about re-releasing a novel that hasn’t changed just to update the cover. As a reader, I know I look at covers and tend to remember then more than a title or author. Because of this, I have bought novels that I have already read because the cover was changed/updated. I wasn’t too thrilled the few times I did this and the last thing I want is for my fans to feel like they were misled because they bought one of my books based on a cover they hadn’t seen before.
However, I have had new covers created for bundles that I release, but I make it very clear at the beginning of the blurb that the stories have been previously published separately.
When writing, what comes first? The characters or the plot?
The characters most definitely! I usually ‘see’ them and they show me a scene from their story. 9 times out of 10, that scene isn’t even sexual in nature. Sometimes, I am not even sure where the initial scene they share with me is going to end up in the book. In fact, the Mad Dogs are especially bad for doing this.
“Did I hear you say our name?” Markus barges into the room. “She did say our name, right B?” Markus looks at Brian for confirmation.
“She did.” Brian grins at his mate.
*Both Mad Dogs plop down and make themselves comfortable as if they were invited to be interviewed too.*
Markus and Brian, of course it’s the two of you that show up for this! I will make you a deal. If you let Brenda do this interview WITHOUT you butting in again, (And no puns intended there) then I will give you guys your own interview. And it can be a “nothing off limits say what you want” kinda thing. Will that work?
*Markus and Brian share a wicked grin before looking back at Crystal*
“Sweet, that will be fun!” Brian laughs.
“Oh’s gonna loose his shit,” Markus practically cackles. “I can’t wait!”
“We’ll let you finish interviewing Brenda now, Crystal,” Brian smiles and gives Crystal a wink.
“But if we don’t hear from you soon, we know how to find you!” Markus added in a mock threatening tone.
“Leave her alone, M. C’mon” Brian tugs Markus to his feet and pushes him out the door. “Talk to you soon!” Brian gives Crystal a small salute and follows his mate out of the room.
So, now you see what I mean? The characters just show up out of nowhere and take over. It can get a little crazy. Especially, when characters from two different universes show up at the same time or when one character seems to know everyone. *cough* Nick. But at least he doesn’t just drop in on me unless he knows one of the other guys already have my attention.
As for the plot, I usually know the beginning, the middle (turning point), and the end. The rest is all up to the characters and all I can do is hope they know what the hell they are doing!
If your characters could come to life and be a real human, which one do you think you would get along with best and which one would drive you crazy first?
I think I would get along with Brew (ICE Agent, Ryan Brewster in Not for Sale & Highest Bidder) or Wolf (Arson Investigator, Lucas Wolf in Fire & Ice) because they into the leather & kink lifestyle. I think we would have a lot to talk about and I am sure we could teach each other a few things. *wink*
As for who would drive me crazy, I think that would be either Oh (the Mad Dogs team leader) or Knight (I.N.E.T. Agent, Michael Knight). Both of these guys have anger management issues and get pissed off over the slightest and usually the stupidest things. Oh more than Knight because Oh really, really, hates me and of course I have to spur him on.
How much if any of your story line comes from real life people or events?
I wouldn’t say my stories comes from real people or events. However, my characters unquestionably share many of my experiences, especially when it comes to the leather & kink lifestyle. I don’t think Brew, Wolf, Slade, Hunter, or El has ever done anything that I haven’t done in real life when it comes to kink. I can say the same about Flame, Brostowski, Malone, and Carmichael when it comes to EMS and firefighting.
What is the most intense scene you have ever written? Did you find it difficult writing that scene?
Wow. The most intense scene and the most difficult scene are actually two different scenes for me.
The most intense was a play (kink) scene between Austin and Wolf while they were at Wolf’s house. The level of Austin’s masochism and the amount of pain he gets off on is scary.
The most difficult scene for me would have to be when Slade watched Hunter cook up the drugs that Slade was going to be injected with against his will. This one was hard since I am an addict, even though I have been clean for over twenty-eight years. It was hard to watch that scene play out because it was like taking a trip down memory lane for me. *shiver*
How many times do you read what you wrote and think “where the hell did that come from?!”
ALL the time! In fact, it’s like after a story is written and I set it free upon the world, my mind wipes it from my memory. I am sure my fans remember more about my characters and their stories than I do. I always have to go back and read the last book in a series or universe when new characters show me who and where they are.
Frankly, it’s a little unnerving that I can’t remember most of the details of the stories my characters have shared with me. However, according to my shrink (and yes, I do have one for my bi-polar and borderline Schizophrenia – medically, I really DO hear voices), this is a ‘healthy’ coping mechanism for me.
Wow, what a note to end on, huh? I guess now you all know more about me than you probably ever wanted to! Hopefully, none of it scares you off!