My special guest for Valentine's Day, is romance author Tess MacKall, who is here to talk about her latest book, Twelve Days of Love.
1. 1. Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why? I’m a single Mom, with two girls over eighteen and a boy in eighth grade. For a while I was just the average soccer mom, and then one day I decided I needed to fulfill my lifelong dream of writing. All bets were off then. LOL Laundry piled up, appointments were forgotten, and the kids started looking at me kind of funny. But they’ve adjusted in the past four years and all is well—sort of. I feel most at home in writing contemporary suspense, but I’ve also discovered a voice for paranormal. I like shifters. I’m also working on a historical western that is coming together quite nicely too.
2. 2. Tell me about your current book which you are promoting. I’m very proud of my Valentine’s Day novella, Twelve Days of Love. It’s a unique spin on the Twelve Days of Christmas—only Valentine’s Day style.
- How long have you been writing? My writing ride started about four years ago and I’ve loved every single second of it. It can be frustrating but oh so rewarding as well.
- What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book? I think like everyone else I fell in love with romances. I read what my mother was reading, and it simply became a true love of mine. The career that I chose to feed my family with, lol, never gave me half as much pleasure or satisfaction as writing. Inspiration? Well, I’d been thinking about it off and on for years. But honestly? I think it all came about as part of the frustration I was feeling in my personal life. I seemed to be “just” a Mom. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but I needed something that belonged to me and me alone. An outpouring of my creativity and a way to release that. And besides, I love making that great big Alpha do what I want him to do. LOL
- Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process? For the most part I don’t write outlines. But I do have a couple of works in progress in which I’m using an outline. Both ways seem to work for me. I will point out, however, that the outlines seem to be needed for longer works where my writing is concerned. Novellas? Not so much. My writing process seems to key in on a first line. From that first line everything after simply flows. If I’m stumped with those first few paragraphs, then I know I have to rework that first line.
- What comes first: the plot or the characters? Plot. Definitely plot. I always develop characters who fit the plot. From there I concern myself with location and all the flavoring that goes along with it.
7. 7. Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why? Unfortunately, the character that would fit isn’t yet published. She is in a work of erotica that I consider to be my best work, but it’s not quite right for publishers it seems. That story may be destined for the world of self-publishing. We’ll see. But in that work, there is a woman who struggles with who she is and how she uses sex to make herself feel alive somehow. I think there is a part of her in all of us. And I don’t mean that anyone uses sex that way, but she is filled with self-doubt and has made some mistakes along the way. She possesses a multi-faceted personality and struggles to find love.
- What was the hardest part of writing your book? With Twelve Days of Love I think the hardest part was finding the right home for it. Ellora’s Cave became its home, ultimately, and I’m so incredibly pleased by that. Not every publisher is the right fit for a book. I had offers but held on to it until I felt comfortable with where it was headed. As for writing it? It was a fun book to write. The characters have great personalities and the banter between them is fun and will tug at your heartstrings for sure. The only real issue I had was ending the story. It was one of those I wanted to go on forever. Oddly enough, it started as a free short read but wouldn’t let go.
9. 9. Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you? No research was required for this book at all. The setting for it is about an hour and a half away from me in an area I’m very familiar with. And it’s a contemporary story so no struggle with details from history or with world-building. If my writing mojo is working, lol, I can put out about two thousand polished words a day. I self-edit as I go. So one draft for me, basically. Doesn’t mean I don’t need an editor on the other end, though. Every writer needs a second pair of eyes—a good editor. For Twelve Days of Love I think it took me about a month and I didn’t write daily. It’s about 38K in length.
- What are some of the challenges in your writing process? Being in the right frame of mind. There are so many things that go along with writing. The marketing/promotions end of it all can be very distracting. There are always details that must be taken care of and that sometimes takes away from my desire to write. Sometimes it seems as though I have the burning desire to get words down on paper just when I’m needed elsewhere—like at a school activity or in the kitchen making dinner. LOL
- Describe your writing space. I write in a large alcove at the end of my hallway. The space is about 12 X 12. The walls are textured and are a peach color with the wood trimmed in bright white. There is one window and the floors are heart pine with a natural finish. I also have a daybed in the room where I lie down for twenty or thirty minutes to relieve the occasional headache. Lots of shelves for reference books and books I’ve read or am trying to read. I also have a large rag rug in the center of the floor. My desk is like the Holy Grail. No one touches it. LOL
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Read, watch action movies, and cook. I like to walk when the weather is warmer, too.
- What books or authors have influenced your writing? There are so many. I think I’d have to begin with Kathleen Woodiwiss, however. I still love bodice-rippers. Lol And then there would be Amanda Quick/Jayne Krentz, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb and Patricia Cornwell.
14114. What do you see for the future of publishing and e-books? I started saying about three years ago that this industry was going to grow so quickly it would be hard to keep up. That more and more traditionally published authors (print) would be coming over to digital publishing. And that’s happened. I don’t think anyone can really wrap their head around the boom this industry has become. I remember saying how I looked forward to the day that textbooks were in e-formats and heavy book bags would no longer be necessary. The textbook industry is just now beginning to get into e-formats but that day is coming. We live in an on-demand society. It’s much easier to click for a book than run into the local bookstore and browse—albeit that’s kind of nice. For the immediate future, I think we’ll see less and less hardcover runs but paperback will remain in good shape. I could be wrong about that, of course. lol However, pricing is one of the things driving the e-market. Hardcover books are just so incredibly expensive. If the price of the more popular e-readers comes down further—to say $99.99—the industry will be unstoppable. There will be an e-reader in every house.
- What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for release? Right now I have books available through Ellora’s Cave, Pink Petal Books, and Whiskey Creek Press Torrid. In the next couple of months readers can expect to find another release from Ellora’s Cave entitled Strip Down which is a contemporary-suspense novella.
16116. What is your marketing plan? I like blogging. It’s a great way to connect with readers and develop a following. There is nothing like one-on-one interaction with readers. I also belong to several Yahoo groups where I network with authors and chat. And, of course, there is always advertising.
17117. What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? Hone your skills as a writer. Know all the rules of writing. The written ones and unwritten. Choose your publishers wisely. Be patient. Don’t expect overnight success.
18118. Where can people learn more about you and your work? Stop by my website: http://tessmackall.com Also I can be found every Monday at Three Wicked Writers Plus Two http://threewickedwriters.blogspot.com And along with two other erotic romance authors—Regina Carlylse and Natalie Dae—you can receive once a month news about all my new releases and writing in general by joining our newsletter—Risqué—which launched this month. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/risquenewsletter I’m also at The Three Wicked Writers Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/threewickedwriters and at The Midnight Seductions Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/midnightseductions Thanks so much for this amazing interview. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being your guest.
Book Title: Twelve Days of Love
Genre: Modern (contemporary)
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Blurb: Eden Riley left her high school geek days far behind. Or so she thought. But when she returns to her hometown and comes face to face with the local heartthrob, sparks ignite like a chemistry set on crack. Super smooth Nick Lancaster sets her nerves a-jangling and thrusts her libido into overdrive. But can the former geeky girl overcome her insecurities and jump his sexy bones?
Nothing suits former jock Nick more than sparring with the one-time nerd. He’s just itching to get up close and personal with her high velocity curves and tangle with her on the nearest bed.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching all bets are off when Cupid draws back his bow and Nick has only twelve days to convince her she belongs with him, in his heart and on his bed.