An Interview with Roni Loren from Fiction Groupie
Most writers are avid readers — was there a particular author, though, who especially inspired you to pick up your pen and try your hand at writing?
In fifth grade, my teacher read us a chapter of A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle each afternoon before the bell rang. I remember being swept away by the story and the world the book created. It was killing me to only hear a chapter a day, so I went to the library and made my way through the whole series in record time. I decided then that being a writer was the coolest job ever. But I didn’t actually try to write a book until I was in high school when I decided fiction was may more interesting than my lackluster (read: nonexistent) love life. : )
Are you an outliner, a pantser, or something in between?
I’m a pantser who has outline envy. Before I start a book, I tend to flesh out my characters’ backstories and come up with the inciting incident. That’s about it. Then, I get to writing. As I go through the first draft, I save a new file with a new number every time I make a major plot change. For example, CrashIntoYou2, CrashIntoYou3. For my last book, I got up to file #15 before I even sent it to my agent. Then there were another three files before I sent it to my editor. So I really do fly by the seat of my pants. But I am determined to get better at planning ahead. I want to sell the next books in my series on proposal, which means I need to write a synopsis BEFORE I write the book. This is going to be a big challenge for me, but I hope it will help me be a more planned writer. I plan to use screenwriting (Save the Cat) techniques and outlines to get me there.
How do you handle writing goals — do you have daily goals? Weekly goals? Is your goal a word count or a certain length of time?
My son goes to preschool for four hours each morning. This is my sacred writing time. I don’t necessarily set word count goals because sometimes my muse gives me two thousand words, sometimes it’s more like 500 and forcing myself to a certain number is usually futile. But I promise myself that I will write (or edit) every day during that “work” time. Since I’m a busy mom, I look forward to those quiet hours so writing isn’t something I have to “make” myself do. It’s something I “get” to do. And if something interrupts that time, I get grumpy, lol. Writing is what keeps me sane — well, mostly sane.
How long did it take from you to go from having a completed first manuscript to acquiring a publisher?
I finished my first book (a young adult — yes, I’ve made a huge genre jump) in summer of 2009. At the time, I’d never read a writing blog, had only vaguely flipped through craft books, and basically had no idea what I was doing. I queried it and got some requests from some really great agents. But alas, the book (and I) needed a lot of work. I started blogging because that what I was “supposed to do”, but then I ended up meeting all these fabulous people and really getting dialed into the writing community. I read everything I could on craft, I started attending conferences, and I started on my next book — this time, a category romance. I queried that one and got interest from Harlequin. But their wait times on hearing back on a full are long, so in the meantime, I had this crazy idea for an erotic romance. I’d never written in that genre and frankly, was a little nervous about writing something that explicit. But the characters wouldn’t stop bothering me so I gave it a shot. I finished that manuscript in June 2010. I queried it, not even thinking I could really get an agent with an erotic romance, but giving it a shot before I went direct to some of the smaller publishers. In August, I landed agent Sara Megibow of Nelson Lit. By October, I had a two book deal with Berkley Heat/Penguin. : ) All before I heard back from Harlequin in my second book, lol. So the lesson in that is KEEP WRITING even if you are actively querying something. So, CRASH INTO YOU was my third manuscript and it took me about two years from starting to write to book deal.
Get dialed into the writing community, make friends, and find critique partners. Don’t query something that only people who are related to you (or who sleep with you) have read. : )
Quick tip for writers to make their writing better?
Could you tell us a little about your blog and what readers can find there?
This has become a bit of a loaded question because I now have three blogs plus Twitter *headdesk*. I think it’s an addiction. : ) At my writing blog (http://fictiongroupie.blogspot.com), you will find posts on craft, publishing, and my journey as I figure out my way through debut authorhood. On my author blog (www.roniloren.com/blog) you will find more romance-y type topics. Every Tuesday is Boyfriend of the Week day, and I feature (often shirtless) male celebrities for everyone to drool over. Then I recently started a Tumblr blog (http://roniloren.tumblr.com) where I post pictures that inspire my writing. And warning, because I write erotic romance, that blog is 18+ only. ; ) All these blogs feed into my main website www.roniloren.com so if you want to see them all, I hope you’ll stop by!
My debut novel, CRASH INTO YOU, will release from Berkley Heat in January. Here’s the blurb:
Could you tell us about your upcoming release and when it will launch? What are you working on now?
Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat—a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one Master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past.
Brynn knows what attorney Reid Jamison is like once stripped of his conservative suit and tie. Years ago she left herself vulnerable only to have him crush her heart. Now she needs him again. Back on top. And he’s all too willing to engage. But as their primal desires and old wounds are exposed, the sexual games escalate—and so does the danger. Their hearts aren’t the only things at risk. Someone else is watching, playing by his own rules. And his game could be murder.
I just recently finished book two in the series, MELT INTO YOU, which will be out next summer. So next on the agenda is writing up proposals for books 3 and 4.
Thanks so much for having me! : )
CRASH INTO YOU releasing January 2012 from Berkley Heat!
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