I’ve had some concerns by readers who are primarily print readers that the coverage at Dear Author has been too focused on ebooks. When I asked the readers what they were interested in seeing, they responded that they would like to know more about print debut authors. We developed a little questionnaire and every Wednesday at 10:00 AM CST (as long as we have content) we’ll post the questionnaire answers along with links to the author’s site and a buy link to her book. I hope this helps people discovery new books. Now, on to the answers.
Name of debut release: Liquid Lies
Release date: 07/03/2012
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
2 sentence summary: As a water elemental and future head of her family’s business selling glamour to humans, Gwen would do anything to protect her people’s secrets. When she’s kidnapped by a hired mercenary—who is just the kind of gorgeous, forbidden human she’s always craved—she uncovers the terrible secret behind her business, and her only ally is her abductor.
Genre: paranormal romance
Characters: Gwen, a smart, aggressive, and devoted water elemental, is determined to climb the corporate ladder of the family business to the very top. She’s agreed to an arranged marriage to keep the elemental bloodlines strong, but starts to question her race’s culture when she meets Reed, a human without magic.
Reed kidnaps people for money, but he doesn’t like it. The adrenaline rush, power, and money associated with the work have sucked him into addiction. The job chose him, and it’s since forced him into a solitary existence. When he’s hired by mysterious clients to kidnap Gwen, a woman he’s already met and desperately wants, he believes he’s given a chance for redemption and escape.
What makes this story different: While elemental magic isn’t a new concept, in LIQUID LIES, the corporation using this magic to act just beneath general human awareness gives the story, I believe, a freshness. I’ve also been told that the source of the elemental magic stretches the boundaries and definition of paranormal romances … in a good way.
Is this a series?: This is the first book in The Elementals series.
Why you wrote this book: I came up with the idea for this book before I got involved in the Romance Writers of America (RWA), so I hadn’t heard the tongue-in-cheek saying attributed to publishers: “We want the same, only different.” I had just decided that writing straight sci-fi/fantasy wasn’t for me. I knew I wanted to layer intense physical and emotional relationships over a secret magical world in modern America. I was trying to focus on being distinctive, so I just wrote what I thought was super cool–something that I would love to read but hadn’t yet seen in the marketplace–and what I thought would stand out. I love vampires and shifters (can’t live without J.R. Ward or Ilona Andrews), but coming from a broader speculative fiction realm, I kept thinking that limiting paranormal romance to a handful of magical possibilities wasn’t tapping a deep enough vein–that there were so many more avenues to explore. So I found one and wrote about it … however, I had no idea that “different” had a longer, harder road to “yes, I want to publish you.” I just happened to find a wonderful editor (Cindy Hwang) who loves unique stories and has achieved incredible success in promoting them.
The idea for this book sprouted from a random scene that just came to me: a tough human mercenary is being ripped away from the hot magical woman he was hired to kidnap, and even though she and her world scares him, he doesn’t necessarily want to go. So I thought up a whole system of magic and circumstances–and a sexy love affair–that would surround that scene.
Why is this your first published book? How many did you write before? LIQUID LIES is my third completed manuscript. The first was an epic (and I do mean epic, at 280,000 words) fantasy that will never see the light of day. The second was an atypical time travel romance that I’m still fiercely proud of, and hope to get into readers’ hands someday.
This is my first published book because, I believe, when I wrote my previous novels, my focus was scattered. Once I realized that paranormal romance/urban fantasy was my true home, I studied the genre and its successes, and honed my stories and weird imagination to fit it. It was much easier to pursue my goal once I had my audience and market firmly fixed in my mind.
What’s your writing process? It goes something like this:
1. Idea bombardment! An image, chunk of dialogue, situation, setting, etc. just comes to me.
2. Fill out character description and motivation sheets. Plot/outline as much as possible. (I use a combination of Cherry Adair’s character outline, the five steps of character development as described in THE ANATOMY OF STORY by John Truby, and Michael Hauge’s Story Mastery.)
3. Write the book from beginning to end, no editing. This “zero draft” is toxic, unfit for human consumption. It’s complete, however, which I think is the most important step in this whole process.
4. Slather the zero draft in editorial post-it notes (so I don’t line edit at this stage).
5. Re-do outline. Rewrite the whole damn thing.
7. Send to beta readers.
8. Rewrite/revise based on feedback and middle-of-the-night gut feelings. At this point I revise one POV at a time, working through the entire manuscript beginning to end with one character then going through again with the others. This cements voice, and keeps personality and emotions consistent.
9. Read the whole thing out loud to check for continuity and mistakes.
10. Send to editor.
11. Drink heavily.
Your next published book. Either A TASTE OF ICE, the second book in The Elementals series, coming January 2013; or a novella to be included in a new Berkley Sensation paranormal romance anthology tentatively titled UNBOUND, whose release date is March 5, 2013.
The last book you read that you loved. THE RELUCTANT NUDE, by Meg Maguire. It’s brave, visceral, unique, and spectacularly written.
The last book you read for research. BECOMING A CHEF by Andrew Dornenburg (for TASTE OF ICE). I also took cooking classes for further research.
The romance book character you most identify with. Probably Beth from THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE. I’d like to think I have Beth’s positive demeanor and outlook on life, her sense of humor, and her capacity to love hot, quirky men in period dress.
You can check out more about Hanna Martine and her books at http://hannamartine.com