Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 158 - 13 Questions For Christine Wells, Author of Sweetest Little Sin - And a Book Giveaway!

Hi Julia! Thanks so much for having me on your blog today.

1 - If the Twilight series could be described as The Notebook meets Dracula, how would you describe Sweetest Little Sin?

I'd describe it as James meets Jane (James Bond and Jane Austen, that is!)

2 - Christine - that is brilliant.

We first meet Jardine and Louisa as secondary characters in The Dangerous Duke. Were you expecting the reader reaction to this couple?

I expected a few people to complain that Jardine and Louisa's romance wasn't resolved in The Dangerous Duke and I was prepared to do a novella or a free short story to give Louisa and Jardine their happily ever after.

Funnily enough, I didn't get complaints at all, but I did receive an amazing number of requests for their story. I was thrilled when my editor agreed to let me do a novel-length sequel.

I specifically singled them out in my review of The Dangerous Duke!

3 - Louisa is self-described as being not much of a beauty. But of course to Jardine she is one - and more. Is it difficult to write a non-glamorous heroine in the romance genre?

Louisa finds it rather bemusing that despite her ordinary looks, Jardine still thinks she's stunning and he's convinced that every man who looks at her twice wants her.

I loved writing Louisa because she was such a strong character. Her lack of glamour in the looks department didn't bother me at all.

4 - Jardine verges on being cruel at times. How did you manage to bring out the hero lurking inside him?

Well, he's never cruel to Louisa, except when he's trying to save her by pushing her away. I think that's the key, that he puts her interests first, no matter what.

He's ruthless, but I love it when men are ruthless in pursuit of a worthy goal. I always think that is the kind of man it takes to fight true evil.

5 - Is there a fictional character you've written who carries a lot of Christine Wells inside?

Short answer - No! I find writing characters is a bit like acting. You don the skin of whoever you're playing - writing - at that particular time.

Of course, some of my values and opinions must creep through but I don't think any of my characters are like me. How boring for the reader that would be!

6 - Which character was the hardest for you to get a solid handle upon?

The villain in Sweetest Little Sin, Radleigh, wasn't easy. It's difficult to make secondary characters three-dimensional as you have less air-time to give them. Plus, he was one sick puppy, so he wasn't easy for me to write.

7 - Which has been your most challenging book to write, so far?

They are all challenging! I think the only one I can say really flew along was Wicked Little Game. But each story presents its own challenges.

I don't think you ever stop learning and feeling like you're reinventing the wheel. It's what makes writing novels so interesting... and painful!

8 - Do you have a critique partner? If so, do you meet face to face? Or do you work online with one another?

I used to critique a lot but my critique partners and I got published at around the same time and it became difficult to co-ordinate around deadlines.

Denise Rossetti, who writes wonderful fantasy romance for Berkley and erotica for Ellora's Cave, is a CP who mainly helps me with plotting these days. We get together every now and then, face to face, as she lives in my town and she grills me about my characters and story. I'm an auditory learner so I find it helps to talk out problems with Denise.

Then Anna Campbell, who writes utterly compelling dark and sexy historicals for Avon, usually does a complete read-through critique of the full manuscript before I send it to my editor and vice versa. This seems to work well.

9 - How would you say juggling writing and motherhood differs from juggling another sort of career with parenthood?

I'm lucky that writing is more flexible than many other kinds of job. You do have to be more disciplined, though, because it's so easy to let all the domestic responsibilities eat into your writing time.

Those who have jobs outside the home at least get to leave their children in someone else's care while they do their work. If you write and stay at home, you don't have that luxury. You have to do double time and it can be very hard to focus, especially with babies and small children who don't understand the blood or fire rule!

This year is the first time I've had my younger child at kindergarten two days a week, so I now have some uninterrupted writing time. Yippee!

10 - Do you have any tips on keeping social life temptations from wreaking havoc with your contract deadlines?

Become a hermit. It works for me!

Seriously, I have the 'no vacancy' sign up when it comes to friends. I say no to anything that doesn't involve close, dear friends.

Unfortunately, that means I don't hang with the school mothers for coffee after school drop-off or go to my husband's work functions unless he really wants me to be there. A lot of acquaintances have fallen by the wayside but that's the price you pay. When my boys are both in school, I'll have more time for a social life.

11 - Do you have any other creative outlets besides writing fiction?

I love cooking, especially baking. I'm not sure if that's terribly creative as I do tend to follow recipes, but it's the closest I get.

I'd love to take painting lessons one day. I have very little natural aptitude but I'd like to learn.

12 - If you could have a fantasy dinner with any three writers, living or dead, and ask them about their creative processes, who would they be?

Dorothy Parker
Georgette Heyer
Jane Austen

I think somehow these ladies would disdain to discuss their processes, but it's my fantasy, isn't it?

13 - When did you realize that it was not only possible to be a published author, but that it was in your grasp?

That's a good question and I'm not sure I know the answer. I think perhaps it was when I had a request for the full of the first manuscript I wrote (which is now under the bed). Until then, I wasn't sure if what I was writing was like a 'real book'.

LOL! That's great to hear for those of us still polishing things off to send away.

Joining the Romance Writers of Australia was a huge boost. Reading about everyone's 'call stories' there was tremendously inspiring. I thought if they could do it, so could I!

I'm a member of Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, and the support there is indescribable.

Julia, there's one more special treat - I've got a signed copy of Sweetest Little Sin to give away to someone who answers the question:

What is your creative talent or hobby? If you don't have one, what creative talent would you like to have?

Can't wait to read everyone's answers. Thank you so much for stopping by, Christine!

Cheers - thanks for having me!

Remember to join me next week when I review Sweetest Little Sin and announce the winner of the giveaway.

Denise Rosetti says As for creative hobbies - apart from driving a certain critique partner insane by being difficult about her plots - I'm a first class knitter.

Bev Petterson says Enjoyed the interview, Christine and congratulations on Sweetest Little Sin!

Julianne MacLean says The book looks wonderful! Today - drum roll please - I am going outside to plant some shrubs. I see Julia falling out of her chair, cuz she knows how much I hate gardening.)


Denise Rossetti said...

Hi Christine and Julia!

Congrats on a Sweetest Little Sin, Christine. Readers are going to adore it, I guarantee!

As for creative hobbies - apart from driving a certain critique partner insane by being difficult about her plots - I'm a first class knitter. You probably didn't know that, because I don't have time to do it any more. It used to be my watching TV activity, but I don't do that any more either. *sigh*

Christine, I forgot to tell you, I did a little blog post singing your praises after you bailed me out my deep depression the other day.


Bev Pettersen said...

Enjoyed the interview, Christine and congratulations on Sweetest Little Sin!

Janet said...

Great interview, Julia! And thanks for introducing me to Christine - sounds like an author I'm going to love.

Creaive talent or hobby - besides writing, I weave. Can't wait to get my loom set up in my new house and get something warped on - watching strands of wool intertwine into a blanket is magical!

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Julia, thanks for having me on your blog today!

Hi Denise! Great to see you pop in here and thanks for the congrats!

Yes, I did know you're a champion knitter. I think I've seen one or two of your creations, too!

Aren't you lovely to blog about me? I'll pop over and have a look.

Christine Wells said...

Bev, glad you enjoyed the interview and thanks for the congrats!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Janet, thanks for dropping in. Oh, I love the idea of weaving. It must be very satisfying to see a pattern slowly taking shape. I bet you come up with some great ideas for writing while your hands are busy.

Anne MacFarlane said...

Ooh. James Bond meets Jane Austin? That got my attention.

Great interview. Can't wait to read Sweetest Little Sin. Nice title.

Julianne MacLean said...

The book looks wonderful! Here's my answer to the question: I write.

Although today - drum roll please - I am going outside to plant some shrubs. I see Julia falling out of her chair, cuz she knows how much I hate gardening.)

I am Harriet said...

Wow- how interesting!
Great interview!

Have a great Thursday!

Julia Smith said...

Denise - I loved your blog post about your friend Christine 'slapping you around the chops' when you needed some writerly reassurance. Very touching how your readers felt moved to share their feelings about their own deep friendships.

Bev - The book is delish. Especially Jardine.

Janet - I would love to see some of your weaving. *batting eyelashes* Future blog post?

Christine - Looks like we may have a party over here today!

Anne - 'James meets Jane' - isn't that fab?

Julianne - *picking myself off the floor* You've gotta warn people...

Harriet - I'm really enjoying doing interviews here at A Piece of My Mind.

Joanna D'Angelo said...

What a great Q and A!!! Christine - so lovely to "see you" again. ;) yay! I so want to read your latest book - sounds amazing! I had to laugh about you being a hermit - and not having a social life. People think writers lead glamorous lives but we don't - we spend most of our times sitting in front of our computers and living in our heads.

Julia - great questions! Always love your posts. ;)

Jennie Marsland said...

Wonderful interview, you two! The book sounds amazing. As for hobbies, I paint a bit and play guitar a bit. I used spend a lot more time on both, but they've taken a back seat to writing. I only wish there were more hours in the day!

Cate Masters said...

Wonderful interview, ladies! I love complex characters, too, and love that you crafted your secondary characters so carefully too. Congrats on your release, Christine, and best wishes.

Pamela Callow said...

Hi Christine and Julia,

Congrats on your latest release, Christine! I love the juxtaposition of characters you've created. My creative hobbies *used to be* quilting, baking, playing piano. Now all the creative juice is put into my books :)


Celticlibrarian said...

Creative Hobbies?

I haven't been feeling very creative lately, but usually I posts, poems, fiction, songs...

I hope to get back to that soon.

Shelley Munro said...

Hi Christine and Julia. Christine, congratulations on your new release. It sounds wonderful, and I loved the James meets Jane description.

I love to cook, and according to my husband I'm quite good at it. I love baking cakes, muffins and cookies, but do a lot of vegetarian stuff too. I recently received a chef's jacket and I put that on when I cook. It makes me feel important! (There's a photo of me in my chef jacket on my blog a couple of days ago)

Christine Wells said...

Hi Anne! Glad you liked the 'high concept pitch'. Thanks for dropping in!

Christine Wells said...

Julianne, lovely to see you! Yes, I'm almost ashamed to admit it because so many great authors love gardening, but I don't like it at all. Correction: I don't DO it at all! Good luck with your planting!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Harriet! Thanks for dropping in:)

Christine Wells said...

Julia, thanks so much for having me on today. It's been fun!

LOL on picking you up off the floor. What about you? Do you have a creative pursuit besides writing?

Christine Wells said...

How lovely to see you here Jojo! Thanks so much for dropping in.

Well, I do go out when the moon is blue, but yes, when I'm on deadline my friends don't see much of me!

How's that book coming? I can't wait to read it!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jennie! Painting, writing, playing the guitar. Wow you are multi-talented! Do you find you get ideas for your other creative pursuits while you're doing one of them? I think Janet's weaving would be great for that.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Cate! Thank you so much for those kind words. Great to see you over here:)

Christine Wells said...

Hi Pam! Wow, this is like a reunion! Wonderful to see you here.

Quilting, baking, playing piano? Another multi-talented woman. Can't wait till "Damaged" comes out! Not long now.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Celticlibrarian--sounds like you have a flair for all different kinds of writing. I hope the creative feeling comes back to you soon. I know I'm never quite happy (OK I'm a total cow to live with!) when I'm not writing.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Shelley, clearly you're being too modest about your cooking! It sounds to me like you're a Master Chef and someone gave you the jacket to prove it!

I have one of those poofy chef's hats somewhere, but that was clearly a joke!

Thanks for stopping by!

Joanna D'Angelo said...

Christine - I need a good kick in the (capri) pants from you! ;)

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Christine & Julia! What a great interview! I always love hearing about how stories come to be, & I especially love it when secondary characters become so rich & compelling that they need their own story!

I'm so looking forward to SLS, Christine!

Susan Sey said...

Oh, forgot to say---creative pursuit outside of writing?

I used to take Irish dance. I was really terrifically bad at it, but I loved it. One day when the kids are bigger & I have more discretionary time, I'll get back to it. Hope I can still jump around by then. :-)

jo robertson said...

Great interview, Julia and Christine! I've been waiting for Jardine's story a long time. My local Borders didn't have it!! So it's on its way from Amazon.

I used to do a lot of scrapbooking and making greeting cards, but writing now takes up so much of my time, I've given all my materials away.

What's the blood or fire rule? I assume it's like my "Don't bother me unless you're vomiting or spurting blood from an artery."

I totally forgot about the fire thing :-D.

Christine Wells said...

Jojo, consider yourself (metaphorically) kicked! C'mon! I wanna read it!

Beth said...

Hi, Christine and Julia! What a great interview! I can't wait to read Sweetest Little Sin. I've been dying for Jardine and Louisa's story *g*

I used to have more creative pursuits such as counted cross stitch and sewing but now am limited in time so I've narrowed it down to scrap-booking and making bead jewelry. Next I'm going to try wire jewelry :-)

And I love to cook and bake but like you, Christine, I tend to follow recipes. It's still fun though ;-)

Christine Wells said...

Susan, thanks for the lovely words--actually I think my secondary characters tend to steal the show if I'm not careful! I can totally see you doing Irish dancing and I hope you do get back to it! I imagine it must be a great workout.

Christine Wells said...

Yeah, Jo, the blood or fire rule was coined by Nora Roberts, I think and means exactly that! You know, a lot of things go by the wayside for writing, don't they? Writing is so time-consuming and brain-consuming, too. Sometimes with that and family there just isn't room for anything else. Interesting that when writing becomes a job rather than a pleasure you feel like you need something else to relax after the thing that used to help you relax. Hmm, did that make sense?

Christine Wells said...

Btw, thanks for looking for my book in Borders, Jo. It looks like the distribution might have been a bit delayed this time, from purely anecdotal evidence!

Christine Wells said...

Beth, I know that a lot of authors do scrapbooking and bead jewelry. I bet you get a lot of ideas that way. The wire jewelry sounds like a real challenge.

Thanks so much for visiting! I hope you enjoy SLS!

Julia Smith said...

Christine - I sing in a choir as another creative outlet. A kind of creative crosstraining thing for me. And I love photography as another outlet, which I feature on my blog regularly. Which takes us to my blog, which has been an absolute joy for me for the past four years. I especially love seeking out the artworks which I feature on my Sidebar Art Gallery every month, and the Friday feature I'm now doing called 5 on Friday - which showcases five pieces of music and which was started by my blog friend Travis - has quickly become the highlight of my week.

Julia Smith said...

Joanna - Thanks for dropping by! Funny about the glamorous writer life thing. A writer must have started spreading that rumour.

Jennie - Ah yes...more hours in the day. That's what I've been doing for years, squeezing more hours by sleeping less. And now my acupuncturist says 'Get more sleep.' Hmph.

Cate - Complex is the word for Jardine and Louisa!

Pam - Hey, I didn't know you quilted. My sister and my grandmother are both quilters.

Celticlibrarian - Poetry and songs? I'd love to read some of those.

Shelley - I'll have to go check out your chef's jacket!

Susan - I'm finding Jardine highly compelling! And Louisa is a wonderfully ascerbic heroine. And hope you get back to Irish dance in the future. I was lucky enough to work in a theatre where Riverdance played for a summer run, so I really got a chance to enjoy it.

Jo - I used to scrapbook in my photo albums a lot, but I've gotten away from that since I got my digital camera and have online photo albums. I miss it sometimes - I found it so relaxing.

Beth - Hmm...your jewelry does sound awfully intriguing!

Christine Wells said...

Wow, Julia, you are multi-talented, too! Choir, photography and writing. I did notice the art and photography on your sidebar. You have interesting pieces there.

And oh, yeah, the writer's life is sooo glam! [she says with a swing of her feather boa] I think that totally misses the point of the best thing about being a writer--being able to communicate a story to people without actually having to talk to them! LOL Kidding.

Julia, I'm sure Beth's jewelry would be fabulous. Last year at RWA in DC I went on a quick shopping expedition with her to the nearest store to buy flip-flops. The store was as big as a postage stamp and had very little in the way of shoes, but Beth came out of there looking a million dollars!

Cassondra said...

Hi Christine! *waves madly*


I've been TRYING to do something creative very nearly from the cradle, and I've tried a bunch of different stuff. I dunno that I've even gotten good at anything. :0/ And I've certainly NOT mastered anything. I've tried painting, and I still love that--trying to get better at watercolor--and songwriting, which I think I'm actually best at, and a ton of other stuff from landscape design (in which I have a degree) to macrame (which I was very intense about in the 8th grade).

So I've settled on writing novels...and the jury is still out on whether I'm any good at that or not.

Hmmm...I guess I've spent my whole life trying to pursue something creative! And I have the money to show for it! SNORK!

We'll see whether the world wants my novels or not. Still working on that one.

Lovely post!

OH, and HI DENISE ROSETTI!!!! *waving madly again*

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Cassondra, thanks so much for stopping by! You continue to amaze me at all the creative pursuits you do brilliantly--and you forgot one, which is writing the most amazing blogs! (Check Cassondra out on Romance Bandits, her blogs are brilliant!)

I am looking forward to the day your books are on the shelves. I know that you'll hit big!

Chiron said...

Wonderful Interview! Your book sounds like a delight. :-D I'd also love to be at the dinner with Dorothy Parker. Wouldn't that be a thrill!

--Chiron O'Keefe
Weekly motivation for writers at The Write Soul:

Julia Smith said...

Comments for this contest are now closed. Thanks everyone for playing!