When I began this series with the very first post, I told myself (and all of you) I would never tell you how to write. It’s not for me to say; I have been writing something or other since I could hold a pen in my hand, which gives me roughly 22 years of experience on the subject, and I still don’t feel qualified to give advice.
I have, however, received a lot of advice on writing, much of it unsolicited, some of it useful. Lately I have seen a lot of posts by bloggers, authors, etc. containing lists of rules for writing a successful novel. Rules for avoiding elements, things that are overdone in writing, things new writers do wrong… you name it, and there is probably a list out there for it. It’s a thing now, people want to know the secret. How did you do it?…
Every day I scan the daily list of Kindle Free deals. This one caught my eye:
**2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter Finalist**
Dan Jenkins returns from death for a chance to live again. The bodies of killers are his rides.
Before he’s kicked out, Dan needs to stop his hosts from hurting anyone else. It’s one of the rules if he wants more rides. More rides means more movies and fishing trips, and more of those little apple pies they sell at gas stations and convenience stores, because they’re just that good.
For a dead guy, it’s a pretty good gig…until someone changes the rules.
Lots of books sound good, but most do not pass my page one test. I usually go for at least a chapter, then skip ahead to see if it gets better. Novice writers often fail to build momentum until the third chapter or so. I…
“Shattering Halos, my “firstborn,” has been in the making since December 2011. I pumped out the first draft in a month. Then I spent eighteen months rewriting. Revising. Polishing—polishing—POLISHING! Long story short: if you were inside my head right now, you’d be scared because I’m all over the place. For me, to be able to see my own work published, in the hands of readers, and on a daily basis receive happy messages from someone who loves it, is just mindboggling. I love my life!”Sunniva Dee
As you all know I’ve recently branched out into interviews! I love it. People seem to enjoy my take on poking the bears—(cough) authors, so here we are again!
I know some of you are wondering, but Logan, aren’t you a horror concierge? A gun toting gangster wanna-be aficionado? Yes to all of the above, but I do enjoy reading just about everything under the sun. With only a few exceptions, I am a book lover. I luffs them like I luffs cakes and pies. Mmmmm cakes and pies….
So here we are with the current new Jenny from the block in NA and paranormal romance. That’s right folks, it’s the Hollister genre (as I lovingly call it) with a bit of spice, because…supernatural!
Sunniva, we are so excited you came to speak with us today! I know you are a pretty energetic person so tell me, are you doing cartwheels right now?
Sunniva: Yes! Cartwheels! *glances around suspiciously*
Are there candid cameras?
*makes note to add candid cameras*
I know that Shattering Halos is what we all came to hear about, but first, have a seat, take a glass of wine and let your hair down girl!
Give us the low down on behind the scenes. What type of things, vices even, keep you ticking? Outside of writing, like, what makes you have such a gorgeous glow? And don’t tell me you are an angel for reals unless… (gasp) are you?
Sunniva: No, seriously. ARE there cameras in here? I always have my hair down and wine keeps me going. I think it’s sooo good for you. (Moderation, schmoderation.) To the angel part: let’s not ask my husband. He might mention horns. Or hissy-fits. Unless he’s trying to be diplomatic.
Hissy-fits are right up my alley! Keep things passionate I always say.
Okay. One more thing before we jump in. Is your house filled with angel knick-knacks? And do you ever wear wings and a halo to spice things for you and Mr. Dee?
Sunniva: As soon as I get home from my day job, I change into wings and a halo. I have yet to find a good halo that doesn’t hurt after a couple of hours. Plus…on me, they tend to fall off after a while. Shatter, even. Sometimes they don’t fall off. In which cases Mr. Dee has to…uh, remove them.
*blushes* Well I did ask, didn’t I?
All-righty then! It’s on to the interest of the hour _Shattering Halos!_ Oh my-oh my-oh my (this is what I say throughout most of your scenes). I don’t know how you manage to make your male characters extra spicy, but I hear that in this first of the series you gave a lot of ladies the swoon emoticon.
First, give us a low down overall of your book!
Sunniva: OK, SPOILER ALERT! I will now go into detail on everything worth knowing in Shattering Halos. After this, you can write an essay about it in school, kids, and never have to read it. No, I’m kidding. Basically, I wanted to write a story about angels. I wanted them to be total studs who plopped into ordinary girls’ lives. I didn’t want these girls to have special powers or be descendants of something supernatural. They needed to be regular humans, like you and me. Then, I wanted them all to get into tons of trouble together and have a nice, spicy chemistry as they did. And voila, you’ve got Shattering Halos.
That makes an unusual amount of sense for my show.
Tell us about how you come up with such hotties?
Sunniva: Oh, that was the easy part. I have lots of imagination, and like most writers, I’m big on people-watching. All I needed was to piece together the perfect guys from traits and features of people around me. There are a lot of charismatic people out there!
Sunniva: *thinks really hard* BOTH!!
Let’s say I’m looking for an angel with some snark. Where would I find such a creature?
Sunniva: *raises hand and jerks it in the air* Oh-oh! I know! Pick me!!
That would be my Cassiel. He’s snarky, hot as hell, and absolutely impossible to resist. Ask Gaia.
Since I have a no abs policy, can you give us a brief descript for all our potential future Sunniva-lovers out there? Neck up! (I know, I know ladies, sorry.)
Sunniva: Oh, goody! Well, both of Cassiel’s ba… Sorry. Neck and up, you said. Rewinding.
The Shattering Halos’ boys are fallen and celestial angels. Cassiel (even from the neck and up) is sex personified and the devil in one hell of a stunning package, while Gabriel is eerily beautiful with a disturbingly perfect personality. One of them loooves to drive girls crazy. (Guess who?) The other can’t begin to fathom the reactions he draws.
And yep: together they’re dynamite.
Ok-so. Gabriel: good guy
Cassiel: fallen angel
If there was a broadcast warning for this book, what would it be? Warning this book:
Sunniva: Watch out for… uh… stuff…coming your way in this…book here!
From zero to Fifty Shades how hot would you say the steamy scenes in your book are?
Sunniva: Now that I’ve finished the sequel, Stargazer? Probably at Forty. God, I don’t know. I’m actually number dyslexic, so I might be wrong. Maybe it’s Five??!
Question, can I borrow a halo for my weekend out?
Sunniva: Yes, but as I mentioned, they’re not all that comfortable. I’m actually acquiring a small factory in the Netherlands where they’re already working on much better prototypes. I’ll keep you posted—I’m definitely in need of venture capital for “Halos-R-Us” anyway, and I know you’re dying to get rid of some cash.
This sounds like the type of thing I need to buy stock in ASAP!
Characters. Do they take on a life of their own, or do you orchestrate and really guide them along?
Sunniva: Every time I think I can tell them what to do. It doesn’t last long, though, for them to do their own thing and even shock me. I’ve had readers tell me that no, what the characters are up to is my fault, but really that’s not true! Sometimes they just use me. Use me, I say! *sniffs loudly*
*hands tissues out* What? I’m not crying. I’m just allergic to this…laptop.
Now that I think about it though, mine seem to need an extra amount of guiding. Maybe that’s my problem, hmm?
This is me and mine…
Where did you get the idea for this story?
Sunniva: I wanted to recreate exactly what Stephenie Meyer did in Twilight but with angels. Bwhaha! Sorry. I have to stop messing around. The truth is, though, that Twilight inspired me to start writing it. Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens fueled me in the revision stages for the hot chemistry and the unpredictable, flawed nature of her “heroine.” My stories come as I go. It’s like telling a fairy tale to a child on the fly. Then comes the hard work of going back and rewriting it into something that actually makes sense.
Closet Twilight lover right here! While I’d never try and write something like it I wish I could. Don’t hate…besides, I’d have like… guns…blood and stuff.
Sunniva: Oh, I am picturing your version. So. Vividly… *muffles a shriek*
For people out there just starting out in this author gig, do you have any advice?
Sunniva: Like my old high school teacher wrote once as a comment on an essay I turned in (free translation from Norwegian:) “It’s a long, hard road to become an author. If you want it bad enough, you’ll make it. Just don’t give up.” On a side note, I didn’t know I wanted to become a writer at the time. Needless to say, Mr. Rydning pops into my head quite a bit these days.
So…it’s really weird being asked to give writing advice. I instantly want to say this…
Fun fact: Nearly every writer I know (myself included) deals with imposter syndrome. Sadly, that does not mean we buy ridiculous outfits from thrift shops and pretend to be the reigning monarch of Khazibekustanzia. It means that we stare at the laptop screen and wait to read an email that says…
Most writers spend most of their time thinking that they mostly suck at writing.
We tend to believe that everyone else has it figured out and that at some point (if we can just crack the NYT bestseller list!) then we’ll also feel like extra special unicorns. Except it doesn’t actually work that way. We just go right on doubting ourselves.
So why am I sharing this? It’s not, y’know…inspirational.