Like most authors, my writing has had its twists and turns. I dabbled, cringed at my dabbling, gave up, started again, etc., etc., etc. But, I'm an avid reader. Several years ago I heard about the Romantic Times Convention and decided it sounded like fun. The first year I went as a reader, but the enthusiasm of the authors I met, gave me the incentive to pursue my hidden dream of becoming published.
The second year I went, I checked the box for "Aspiring Author" and even pitched a book idea. This year I'm finally going as "Published Author!" South Seas Seduction was released March 13 of this year.
One of the biggest questions I think authors get asked is "Where do you get your ideas?" For me ideas are everywhere. I'm always playing the "What if" game. What if a character finds a note in a couch she recently bought saying someone needed help. What if she decides to help? (I actually found a note tucked in a couch I was looking to buy at a store - bam - story idea. It wasn't a note asking for help.) Sometimes I get ideas watching or listening to people in restaurants, stores, on walks. My problem is I don't always have something to write my ideas down on, and then forget them.
I'm a cross between a plotter and a pantser. When I get an idea for a book, the characters come to me pretty quickly. I do a character chart for each one. I do a very rough outline of the book - the beginning and end - and start writing. As I'm writing I get ideas on where the story should go to get to the ending. Many times my characters change as I'm writing. I once had a woman I pegged to be a nasty person. Part way through the book, I realized she wasn't. I had to change where the book was going. Most of my characters are people I've never met, but I once wrote a short story where one of the main characters ended up being too similar to one of my siblings. My critique partners actually recognized her and suggested I change the character, which I did.
The idea for South Seas Seduction came while I was on vacation in the Caribbean with some friends. I was on the beach, reading a book, I believe it was one of Shayla Black's, when the sound of three men and one woman playing in the water distracted me. They were simply horsing around, splashing water at each other. In the horizon, I saw a plane flying toward land. Suddenly I had this idea. What if a woman was stranded on a deserted island with three men after a plane crash? I originally had the story set in 1963, but my editor had me make it a contemporary.
I wanted three men who were different, but the same in how they treat women - with respect. Jack, who was the pilot of the plane, is an adventurer. He can be crass at times, but I love how he cares for Emma and helps her to grow as a woman.
Emma is a protected daughter of an ambassador. She'd gone to private schools all her life and was never allowed to travel alone. She's shy, naïve, but somewhere along the way she becomes feisty and in charge of her life. She is one character that changed as I wrote the book. I liked that about her.
What I like best about writing is getting lost in my characters and plot. I love coming up with new ideas and plots and trying to see what trouble I can get my characters in. And, of course, I love coming up with the Happily Ever After ending.
What I like least about writing is the editing process. By the time South Seas Seduction was in print, I believe I read it at least eight times. It's frustrating when you think you've caught all the mistakes and find one more during your last sweep of the manuscript. Then I wonder if I should read it a dozen more times.
I also don't like it when I can't figure out how to get a character to do something he/she doesn't want to do. When that happens, I walk away from my desk, and think about something else. I'm always amazed how the problem solves itself - or the character solves the problem.
Since I have a full-time job, I try to write during my breaks, in the evenings after work, and on the weekends. I'm not married and don't have children, so I have a little more freedom than someone who does. I turn on instrumental music, get my rear in the chair and write. When the weather is nice, I like to take my laptop outside on my deck, or go to a park and write. Since I live in Wisconsin, this means during the winter months, I'm cooped up inside. By March, I long to get outside and write. The book I just sent to my editor (she wants me to change the title, and at this point I don't know what it will be), was mostly written while I took a camping trip. There was just something about being in the woods that helped me write the book. Not surprisingly, part of the setting for this book involves the outdoors.
Advice I would give beginning writers is never give up. Getting published can be frustrating, and at times writers feel like it will never happen. During that time, learn your craft. Write, write, write. Read what other authors have to say about writing. But most of all, never give up. The most valuable tip I have received about writing was to read my rejection letters and file them away. Don't let them get me down and learn from them.
How about a blurb for South Seas Seduction:
Sheltered all her life as the daughter of an ambassador, Emma Labonte boards a small plane on a trip from Australia. One hijacking and a plane crash later, she finds herself on a deserted island and stranded with three different yet equally sexy men. With no hope for rescue, the four begin to carve a semblance of a life in their tropical setting. Closeness breeds curiosity, and naive Emma begins to wonder what it would be like to be loved by these three men. The adventurer Jack, Toby the intelligent doctor, and shy English professor Steve--each carve a special place in her heart. When her three men launch seduction in the South Seas, how can she resist?
The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/wildcatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=200_156&products_id=1039
Amazon: Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/n6wgqhu
Barnes& Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/anita-kidesu
How can readers contact you?
Thanks, Anita! Any questions or comments?