Monday, 21 October 2013

Chatting with the lovely and generous, Vonnie Davis!

Onwards and upwards with the author interviews! Thank you so much for everyone who contacted me over the last couple of weeks wanting to be added to my list of author appearances. I am really enjoying getting to know you all and sure everyone else feels the same. Anyone else wanting to be interviewed can email me at Okay, over to my fabulous online friend and Blue Ridge author, Vonnie Davis... A warm Virginia shout-out to all you Blue Ridge Literary writers. As country comedian and singer, Minnie Pearl, used to say, “I’m just pleased as punch to be here.” Did you set any goals for 2111? I set a two-pronged goal for myself. First, I wanted to improve at my craft. Second, I wanted to write two more books. I have one book and a novella under contract and am working furiously to finish book two. Which is your favorite genre to read? To write? I mainly read the genre in which I write. I’d be foolish not to. Right? How could I write a romance if all I’m reading are books on gardening and knitting? I also read political intrigue and spy thrillers, since I’m currently writing a romantic suspense series involving terrorists and governmental corruption. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? No. I suffer from writer’s fear. I can always write something. There are so many storylines bouncing around in my head that when I reach a difficult section in my current WIP, I can yank something else from my mental closet and work on it. For example, I currently have three historical romances and several romances involving older heroines nagging for my attention. A lovely gentleman in my writers’ group, who also happens to be a BRLA author—“Hi Jim!”—once asked me if I ever finish anything. I may have a touch of attention deficit disorder. Voices in my head? (gentle laughter) Oh, yeah. Getting back to that writer’s fear I mentioned. I will picture a scene in my mind for weeks. It plays out like a movie in slow motion. I can hear the dialog, see the characters, smell the aromas of the scene. I set up the scene chapters in advance with little tidbits of information dribbled in. Yet, when I am ready to begin writing it, fear steps in. What if I lack the ability to transfer the scene from my mind to the computer screen? What if I’m unable to get my reader to see and hear it the way I do? I tell myself to write one paragraph and then another; bare bones writing of just the dialog and action. Then I go back and layer in emotions and internal dialog. Then another layer of description needed to involve the senses. What are my characters hearing in the background (an old song on the radio, perhaps), touching (the velvety petals of a rose), smelling (beans burning on the stove), or seeing (passersby talking as they hurry along). Adding the senses to a scene strengthens it and draws our readers further into the story. They feel as if they’re there. What is the best part of the writing process for you? I love what I do. For years and years I dreamed of writing, yet lacked the self-confidence to actually work at it. There were many half-hearted attempts to put storylines to paper. It wasn’t until I met and married Calvin, who is also a writer, that I had someone to encourage me to write. He is my hero, and I put a part of his personality into ever romantic hero I create so they have a touch of his sterling character. I enjoy creating quirky characters who add a special dimension to a story. I like to write about families and all the dynamics within them. So I have several secondary characters who often add a comedic relief to the plot. What is the worst part of the writing process for you? Writing sex. The intimacy between two people is such a lovely part of one’s life, but writing about it is very difficult. I tend to focus on the emotions the characters are feeling rather than the mechanics. Still, how many times can you write about sex and make it sound different? If I’ve spend two-thirds of the book developing their relationship and showing the sexual tension, then I need to also write intimacy in a dynamic way that doesn’t let the reader down after pages and pages of building up to that point. I struggle big time with this. What is your biggest piece of advice to emerging novelists? Learn the power of point of view. Study the novels that have sucked you into the storyline. How did the writer achieve that? Read books on the topic and take online workshops on deep point of view. This will strengthen your writing. Your book will become a page turner—and isn’t that what we all want as writers? To have someone tell us they couldn’t put our book down? That is the highest compliment. To that end, friends, write on! Vonnie’s debut book, Storm’s Interlude, was named Best Read by Long and Short Reviews and garnered the Book of the Week award. It was also accepted into the Best 100 Romances Project of smaller publishers as well as eBook publishers.

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