Christine Ashworth graciously agreed to hop on over to my blog, and the awesomeness couldn’t be contained in just one day. So here’s part two of the juicy goodness. Leave a comment and win one of Christine Ashworth’s ebooks! No, really, leave a comment, get an ebook, that’s my motto! See below for more details! Back to our talk:
AARON: Back at the start of your writing career, back before Twilight and True Blood, you were thinking about writing a paranormal romance, but an editor from a big house said that the whole paranormal romance thing was never going to catch on. When should we listen to industry professionals, and when should we back away, screaming in horror?
CHRISTINE: Ah, yes. That was in 2002 or maybe 2003. I regret listening to that person then, and actually it was a prevalent notion at the conferences I went to, not just from one person. But I was so green. I think you should always listen to industry professionals so you know what their mindset is – and then write what you damn well feel passionate about. You’ll be spending months, if not years on your books and in the worlds you create. If you don’t love them, you’ll get sick of them and won’t do your best work. If you don’t do your best work, your readers won’t love the books, either. For pity’s sakes, don’t write to the market. Write what you love. Period.
AARON: You said some books you can write in 9 weeks, some in 9 months. What do you think the difference is? Does it have anything to do with the amount of coffee you drink?
CHRISTINE: My first book took me nine months. I was working a Day Job at the time, but I had other writers there who encouraged me. I toddled off to my first RWA conference in 2002 (unemployed at the time) and pitched that novel, to which the Harlequin Assistant Editor said, um, no. But if you have anything else, I’d love to read it. So I went home, and my second novel was written in 9 weeks. I got a revision letter for that one, but they eventually passed.
Since then, those two time frames seem to hold true. What makes a difference about how fast I write depends on three questions. Do I have a handle on the big conflict? Do I have a handle on the tone of the book? Do I love these characters and the situation I’ve put them in? If I can’t answer yes to all of those questions, the book takes much longer to write because I’m flailing about and second-guessing myself. That first draft can be such a bitch. Rewriting goes much, MUCH faster!
So the short answer is, yes, how long it takes me to write a book is entirely dependent on the amount of coffee I drink.
AARON: Christine, I want to be very public about my love for you. Yes, a deep love. You wrote for years, hammering out books, but not really revising. Yeah, guilty. I love me a first draft. But now that’s changed for you. Why do you now prefer the re-write to the mad dash of the first draft?
CHRISTINE: Aaron, I will go public with my oh-so-deep love for you as well. Your book The Never Prayer is such an amazing novel. I fell hard during our phone call, all those years ago. Plus you’re just so darned pretty, and talented, and funny, and fun to hang with.
As far as revising goes, I learned to love it when Liz Pelletier (now owner of Entangled Publishing) edited my first Crescent Moon Press novel, Demon Soul. Her first pass was agonizing, hysterical, snarky, and so spot on. I learned then that I could go in, change up a scene or a plot point or a character arc to make it shine. Her nudges got my brain working to solve the story issue in a new and different way. The whole book is so much better now than it was when they first bought it. I learned so much from Liz and I’m still doing my first drafts with her comments ringing in my ear.
AARON: In Your Caine Brothers series, you wanted sexy demons. Well, who doesn’t want their demons sexy? Tell us about your unique solution to the sexy demon problem.
CHRISTINE: Most people think demons are evil. Well, they’re not. I read this article on demons from that source of all knowledge Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon). Ancient Greece called them daimons, and the word was used to denote a spirit or a divine power. I knew I could work with that. Unfortunately, organized religion along the way has bastardized the word to mean something inherently evil or “fallen”.
But there’s no changing popular conception, so I mixed in some Fae blood with my demon blood, and put them both into very human vessels. Hence, the Tribred conceit was born. The Caine family is one of a handful of Tribred families in the world; they have the gifts and the curses of demon blood, Fae blood, and their human blood. Learning to keep the three sets of genetic and organic impulses working together can be a challenge for my characters, but for me it meant that no one could tell me I was doing it wrong. So there’s that!
AARON: You said you have the common writer’s defect of procrastination. If you could switch out your procrastination for another writer’s defect, which would you choose and why? You can have mine. I work on too many books at the same time. I keep trying to do three, when I can only realistically do two. But back to the question…
CHRISTINE: I already have that defect! I’m working on three books and two plays right now, so yeah – doing too much but having a blast. Regarding another writer’s defect – I think I’m pretty safe on sticking with my own defect. The other ones I can think of (and am drawn to) involve copious amounts of alcohol and/or drugs and sex, and I’m just too old to go down that road at this point. Nothing sadder than an old alcoholic, and I really don’t want to be that person, lol!
AARON: If you could go to Taco Bell with one of your characters from the Caine brothers series, who would you choose, what would they order, and why? Why to both questions. Yeah, I know, but I love Taco Bell. It’s another one of my writerly defects.
CHRISTINE: I love me some Taco Bell! Um, I would choose Gregor Caine (from DEMON HUNT) because it would be so funny to see him sitting there in a three-piece suit. Plus he would hem and haw and finally order a single fish taco and a Dr. Pepper. He’s not really a Taco Bell fan; he’s more of a Baja Fresh fan, but he’d order out of politeness. One of the best things about writing his character was helping him loosen up!
Thanks SO much, Aaron, for Skyping with me, and for and having me here on the blog. I had a fantastic time! I’m hoping we can Skype again. Sending huge hugs to you across the airwaves. Give my best to your family! (Did I mention my hubby and I just celebrated our 33rd anniversary? Get OUT! I swear, I married while I was still in the womb. Honest. Because I can’t be this old!)
So today or yesterday, if you leave a comment, I will randomly pull a name and send you a free ebook from Christine! So if you commented yesterday or if you comment today, you double your chances of winning! No, I won’t pinch you ’cause you ain’t dreamin’.
And a HUUUUUUGGGGGEEEE thank you to Christine Ashworth for rockin’ the party, rockin’ the party right!