Sunday, June 9, 2013
Behind the Scenes: Author Process Interview Series Featuring Caitlin Ricci
Hello Caitlin Ricci and thank you, for stopping by on my blog today for my Behind the Scenes: Author Process Interview series. I hope you found my questions thought provoking and I hope my readers will find a glimpse into the author's mind thought-provoking and educational.
1. What type of software do you use to write? On what type of device do you do your writing? (example: laptop, tablet, phone, paper/pen, etc.)
Whether on my desktop or laptop I’m always using Google Docs and Write or Die.
2. Do you have a writing routine? How often do you write?
I write full time so after my fiance leaves for work in the morning I get started writing and barely stop until he comes back home. I don’t write on the weekends or evenings but I’m usually plotting during those times.
3. When you sit down to write about how many words do you write in one sitting? In a day? In a week?
Write or Die is set for 1,000 words every half an hour for me. I usually sit down for about four hours in the morning before I take a break and then I do a few more hours of writing in the afternoon. So in a day I typically do around 5-8k or more depending on how much research and plotting I have to do. When a story is flowing well I can get a novel done in a week. Sometimes it takes me longer though if something isn’t working or if I get edits tossed back to me.
5. Do you use outlines? Are you a pantser or outliner? Can you do both?
I do both but usually outlines are reserved for longer pieces or co-authored works. Outlines are more of just general guidelines though so I can always go away from them. They’re more just notes of what I want to see happen in a book and the most logical order of those events.
6. What atmosphere do you need to write in? Music? Silence? Any particular snack or drink?
Water or iced green tea and Pandora set to my classical station are what works for me the most.
7. How many works-in-progress do you have stored on your computer right now?
Somewhere in the 40s or higher I believe. But I try not to have more than five current project focuses going at a time.
12. How do you feel about the "write what you know" saying? True?
While I agree that people shouldn’t write things that they aren’t familiar with or haven’t researched well, I think that stretching myself as an author is fun and rewarding. While each character has some part of me, I’m certainly not all of them and that’s part of the fun of being a writer.
16. How many re-writes do you do prior to submitting a story?
It depends on the story. If something doesn’t feel right then I do a few minor changes until I like it. But other than that I don’t re-write before I submit. I do edit but I don’t pour over the piece. By the time I finish with a piece I’m ready to move on and so I do. The edits and re-writes I do are as I’m going. I’m one of those writers that when a story isn’t working for me during the process I have to go back and really work with it until I like it again and can work on it.
18. Are you ever worried about offending anyone with a character or plot choice? How does that effect your writing?
No. If people are offended that’s fine. I write for me. That I make a living off of something that I love is a huge bonus and I’m grateful for the readers that make that happen. But I learned early on that I can’t please everyone and there are always going to be people that don’t like one of my stories for some reason or another. That’s fine and I appreciate their opinions and the criticisms I’ve learned from since first getting published last year. Those reviews help authors grow.
24. How do you deal with rejection letters?
Read them, take what you can from them and move on. Always have backup publishers ready to go and keep the synopsis you had to write to begin with.
25. How do you feel about reviews? Do you read your reviews? How do you move on from a horrible review?
Some reviews are helpful and those usually come from reviewer blogs. I don’t go on goodreads unless I’m reviewing someone else’s work for my own blog. Everyone has an opinion and that’s what a review is. Don’t look at them. Your publisher will get the ones from blogs and then notify you. I ignore the hateful, personal attack type of reviews which blogs rarely do so that’s another plus for them. If there’s something helpful to get from a critical review find that one spec of information, save it and then move on. Nothing will hurt your writing mojo than a horrible review and the stress and lack of motivation is not worth it in the least.
26. Do you have a blog and/or website? How do you think having a blog and/or website helps you? (Feel free to include links.)
I do. www.CaitlinRicci.com and my blog can be found on there too. I like being able to have everything in one place and connect with readers and my site helps me do that.
27. How many publishers are you published with?
Five. They’re all different and offer me specific things that I’m looking for with each story. Because of their diversity I know who I’m going with for a story before I’m done with it and if my first choice doesn’t accept it I’ve got others that might and that are familiar with me and my work.
28. Do you think more publishers is better, or is it better to stay with one? If you are published with more than one publisher, did you start with one and then move to another? How did that work? Or do you plan on being published with multiple publishers?
You should always have more than one because each publisher has their own fan base and going through different publishers allows you to broaden your reader base.
29. Are you self-published or published through a publisher? Which experience do you prefer? Why?
Both. I prefer a publisher because there’s less risk but self-publishing offers ultimate control and it can come with some very large rewards.
31. Are their any characteristics of an editor that make them more likeable to you?
I like an editor that is professional while still having fun. A bit of snark and some wit make the process a lot easier. I don’t need to be loved but I absolutely must be respected. Sometimes new authors are afraid to stand up for themselves with a bully editor. They don’t need to put up with that.
34. Any tips on writing a synopsis?
Keep it short and interesting. No one needs to know about all the side plots at first glance unless they directly impact your characters. Go through your manuscript and pick out the points that are most critical to understanding your story. If you have those points and can flesh them out so that they don’t look like bullet points anymore then you’re good. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Writing Genres/Heat Levels
38. What genres do you write now? What genres would you like to write/branch out to in the future?
I write every pairing and every genre but historical and I have an idea for one of those coming up so by the end of the year hopefully that’ll be changed.
40. Heat Levels. What heat levels do you write? Can you write multiple heat levels? Are their any heat levels that you feel uncomfortable with?
I write every level from YA to sweet romance to BDSM. If there is a heat level that I don’t write it would be one with extreme BDSM including pain to the point of torture and blood play but many publishers don’t accept those stories anyway.
41. If you write romance, do you write M/F, F/F, M/M? What about group scenes or threesomes?
I write every pairing including trans*. I have written and will continue to write menage stories but they aren’t what most of my characters tell me that they prefer.
Writing: Types of Stories
44. What length of stories do you write? Do you find certain lengths of stories sell better than others? Do you prefer to write a certain length over others?
I’ve written everything from a 3,500 word short for an anthology up to a 100,000 word super novel. Books in the 30-60k range sell the best and readers seem to feel more satisfied with them. I let the story take me where it wants to go. Some stories I know won’t be longer than 10k, others I already know are novels before I ever start typing.
45. Free reads. Do you think they bring in more readers? (Feel free to include a link.)
I do. http://www.caitlinricci.com/free-reads.html they’re all available here. I like free reads because they let readers try out a writing style before deciding to buy a book.
47. How do you feel about series? Do you think they sell better? Are easier or harder to write?
Series will always sell better and I enjoy writing them because I get to have longer story arcs and explore the other characters that come in contact with my original pair. It becomes like getting coffee with an old friend and I enjoy the time I get to spend in their world while writing stories in that series.
49. What type of formal training have you had with writing? Do you think it has helped or hindered you?
None. Writing isn’t a formula and the people I’ve talked to that got their degrees in writing don’t seem to have nearly as much fun with it as I do. There seems to be this preconceived notion that to be a full time author you need to have a degree in writing. That’s not true. If you want to take a class, go for it. But its not required and in the end take what you learned and put it to your own voice. Those people are miserable because they’re trying too hard to stay inside the lines.
Writing Support Groups/Forums/Nanowrimo/Networking
53. Have you done nanowrimo or any variation of nanowrimo? Do you think it helped or hindered you? Do you plan on doing it in the future?
I do nanowrimo each year because I like competition. I write more than the requirement though in far less than a month so while it isn’t a challenge, it is fun.
57. Do you have local writers in your area that you network with?
I do. I’m part of a Colorado gay romance author group and we do events together throughout the year. This month we’ll actually have a booth at the Denver Pride Fest.
59. Conferences. Have you gone to any? Plan on going to any? What conferences would you recommend to go to, or to avoid?
I have. They offer different things to different people so I won’t say that any are good or bad. It’s all up to what you’re looking for. The one I’m most looking forward to coming up is RainbowCon 2014 http://rainbowconference.org.
Thank you everyone for hanging out with me today and I hope you had fun and learned a little bit about what it’s like being me.
This collection brings six talented authors from the Centennial State together under one title, all offering their take on what it means to be Out in Colorado. These stories explore the cultures and mores of the state as only native authors can, each bringing a unique perspective on the diverse peoples and changing attitudes that are quickly coming to define this state in transition.
First, in Something Old, Something Blue, Justin Pauldino, the adopted son of Denver's Italian mob boss, is a one night stand kind of guy and likes it that way, until his latest bed partner, Michael Blu, upsets his applecart world enough to make him consider settling down. When Justin decides to put his best foot forward with Michael—a third generation attorney, whose father and grandfather have an unpleasant history with Justin's adoptive father—Justin's world is turned upside down when his good intentions set in motion a series of events that will change his life forever. Then, Joey Graham has demonstrated his Casual Brilliance and landed the job of his dreams out of school; the only catch is that he has to move to Colorado to do it. Fortunately, Joey's got a new coworker who's more than happy to introduce him to everything his new home has to offer. Next, in a yearly tradition, five friends had gotten together in a cabin in the winter mountains of Colorado, but one of them has been lost for years. This year, all five friends will be back together and discover secrets that will change their lives forever, in Spirit's Fire.
In Take a Bow, Brandon's daughter's wedding is approaching quickly, and the nervous father realizes that if he is to keep from embarrassing his little girl during the father-daughter dance, he needs some lessons pronto. But the gorgeous and charismatic dance instructor, Crispin, has Brandon too distracted to learn when all he can think of is dragging the man down for some dancing of a more horizontal sort. Next, stuck in an abusive relationship with the cultured and sophisticated (and closeted) Ethan, a relationship that is quickly spiraling downward, Trevor feels Frozen, lost and left behind as everything spins on around him. When a sudden turn of violence forces Trevor to face the tragedy that his life has become and make a hard choice, it could be the awakening he needs, or it could be the last decision he ever makes. Finally, being an otter shifter, though fun, comes with its own set of problems for Lon, not the least of which is the need to be in his shifted form for at least a few hours every week. This biological imperative threatens his budding romance with University of Colorado adjunct professor Corey when an accident in the back country leaves Lon unable to make his shift without revealing his furry secret, in Slip/Slide/Snow.
Caitlin was fortunate growing up to be surrounded by family and teachers that encouraged her love of reading. She has always been a voracious reader and that love of the written word easily morphed into a passion for writing. If she isn't writing, she can usually be found studying as she works toward her counseling degree. She comes from a military family and the men and women of the armed forces are close to her heart. She also enjoys gardening and horseback riding in the Colorado Rockies where she calls home with her wonderful fiance, their dog and Blue Tongue Skink. Her belief that there is no one true path to happily ever after runs deeply through all of her stories.