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|Interview with Rebecca Anderson|
Baby-boomer/Scorpio Rebecca Anderson has her feet firmly planted in reality Ö
while her mind, spirit and soul freely wander about in various worlds of
fantasy. While she wouldnít blink an
eye if an alien, a ghost or Merlin appeared at the breakfast table, she
wouldnít let the event stop her from taking the clothes out of the dryer before
they wrinkled. |
She and her Prince Charming of thirty years have raised three children, a dog, a cat and two birds, and are now surprised to discover that ďThe Empty Nest SyndromeĒ is a good thing. Who can complain about having more time and energy for romance, the inalienable right to spoil their grandkids, and the freedom to travel?
A long-time member of Romance Writers of America and her local Inland Valley and Orange County chapters, Rebecca is constantly developing new stories. Her work has placed in the Orange Rose contest and won first place in the Midwest Fiction Writers contest. Glass-Slipper-dot. com, published by ImaJinn Books, is her debut novel. † Her second novel, Wizardís Moon, also published by ImaJinn, will be out in January 2002.
Rebecca Andersonís debut novel GLASS-SLIPPER-DOT.COM is the story of a modern-day Cinderella, three witches, a cruel stepmother, a sexy stepsister and a hunky FBI agent/Prince Charming! For those who enjoyed the age-old fairytale, this book is a must read. † Rebecca certainly adds a wealth of twists to an interesting plot and makes it even more intriguing, exciting and very romantic. When she expressed an interest in having a Heart to Heart with me, I was delighted to have a chance to learn more about her! Read on to hear what she had to say.
"Romance is about personal growth where the woman always wins, and I love that."
Jacqui: When did you first start writing? What made you want to become a writer?Rebecca: † Iíve been writing as long as I can remember. † Iíve written poetry, journals, short stories Ö itís always been a creative outlet for me. Then I won a writing contest in fifth grade and I was hooked. † Hey, when someone says youíre special and makes a big deal out of it, it has a big impact on you. From that point on I felt it was okay to write Ö I felt validated as a writer. † It took me many years to reach my goal of publishing, but I had a lot of life happen in between Ö I had other things I wanted to do too. But I never gave up the dream.
Jacqui: Did you always know you wanted to write romance novels?
Rebecca: † Not at all. Although Iíve always loved romance novels, and I love to write about potentially strong women who become empowered and learn to love, I also have a few mainstream novels roaming around in my head. The first books Iíve actually put to paper just happen to be romance novels. † I donít feel tied to any one genre Ö but I do love romance. Romance is about personal growth where the woman always wins, and I love that.
Jacqui: † How many books have you published till date?
Rebecca: † Glass-Slipper-dot.com is my debut novel. † Iíve written several novels and even won writing awards with one of them, but this is my first published novel. † And itís a really exciting even for me. † Iím not working on another book for ImaJinn Books, which will be out in January 2002.
Jacqui: What satisfies you about your writing?
Rebecca: † So many things. Drawing on life experiences to create worlds, characters, plots Ö then weaving them into a story Ö itís just plain old fun. Then thereís the crafting of the story into a smooth structure that someone else can actually read, and hopefully enjoy Ö itís tedious, but soooo satisfying when it works! †Of course, itís also great when someone reads your work and says, ďWow, this is great!Ē and starts talking about your characters as if they know them. † Who wouldnít like that?
Jacqui: † What and/or who inspires you?
Rebecca: † I get inspiration from reading, watching movies, and just watching life going on around me. At least three times a day I see something happen and say to myself, ďNow that could be a great story.Ē
Jacqui: Do you have a preference for one setting over another? † Why?
Rebecca: The settings I use depend entirely on the mood of the story, so I guess I donít really have a preference. I wrote a ghost story that had a stormy, seaside setting. † Glass-Slipper-dot-com is a romantic comedy, and LA worked great for that. My next book is about a modern-day wizard, so Iíve set it in a mythical Avalon-type realm. I think of settings as characters, so I like to develop strong, but unique places.
Jacqui: What do you find comes to you first - the characters or the situation/plot for a new story? Once the basics are in place, what do you do next?
Rebecca: Most of the time the story idea comes first. Then I plot out a rough sketch of a more complete story. † I belong to a great Plot Group who helps to brainstorm at this point. Then I develop characters. Of course, as I get down to the actual writing, I donít feel tied to my original sketch, but it does give me some kind of guide to follow. † Otherwise I might sit in front of the computer and stare at a blank screen for hours at a time!
Jacqui: Of all the books you have written, which story or character is your favorite? Why?
Rebecca: The character Iím working on at any given moment is always my favorite. † Right now Iím working on a troll for my wizard story, and heís such a funny, foul, conniving, ugly, pathetic little thing that I canít help but like him. Although heís not the villain, heís a major pain in the rear for the couple in the story.
Jacqui: †† Have you created any secondary characters that you'd like to feature as the main character in a book yet to be written?
Rebecca: † Two of the secondary characters in Glass-Slipper-dot. com will most likely have another book Ö there have been several requests. † The wish-granting Good Witch, Mirabelle Saintly, and her Good-Witch-in-Training, Gus Gustaufson have many other stories waiting to happen.
Jacqui: How important is research in your writing?
Rebecca: † Not as important as with the Historical writer, but still important. You want the details to be accurate. For example I contacted an FBI agent to make sure Daniel in Glass-Slipper-dot. com stayed true to what an FBI agent would do. And I had help with the computer technology. For my next book, Wizardís Moon, Iíve done an incredible amount of research into Arthurian Legend and mystical races of people Ö especially the Picts and Tuatha De Danann. I want the reader to think Ö ďthis could have happened. Ē
Jacqui: What can your fans look forward to in the next twelve months from you?
Rebecca: Wizardís Moon comes out in January 2002. Then Iím hoping to continue the wizard family series with two more, but that will depend on my publisher.
Jacqui: In your writing career, have you received any awards or nominations for your work you'd like to tell your fans about?
Rebecca: With a book called Christmas Spirit (a ghost story) I won both the prestigious Orange Rose contest and the Midwest Fiction Writers Contest. † Iím still really proud of that book, although I havenít found a publisher for it yet.
Jacqui: What did it feel like to sell your first book?
Rebecca: † Surreal at first. Then when reality hit, I laughed, I cried ÖI celebrated big time. † Itís been a long-time goal, so it was pretty darned exciting!And very validating!
Jacqui: Who has influenced you the most in terms of developing your personal writing?
Rebecca: † Gosh, thatís a toughie. So many people have touched my writing life, and all of them have made an impact. † My Orange County chapter of Romance Writers is the most supportive, giving group, and through the workshops and friendships there Iíve learned to write MY stories.
Jacqui: What is your writing schedule? Could you briefly tell your fans about a typical day in your life?
Rebecca: † I usually write four days a week (or more if Iím getting close to deadline). † I try to start writing at 9: 00am and finish up around 3:00. Thatís the average. I have a busy personal life, so I donít spend as much time writing as some other writers I know. † I love writing, but I also love holding my grandbabies and visiting with my grown children Ö and spending time with my husband.
Jacqui: † What would a perfect romantic evening or weekend constitute of for you?
Rebecca: † I have to tell you, I have--hands down--the most romantic husband in the world. He has come up with some incredible romantic getaways. Walking on the beach in the moonlight on some quiet Caribbean island is number one on my list. The warm breeze, a gazillion stars, the sounds of the water, and my hero at my side Ö what could be better?
Jacqui: What type of author are you? Do you plot and plan the story before you actually sit down to write it, or are you more of a "fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" writer?
Rebecca: † I plot and plan, then re-plan and plot some more. † Once I have a strong feeling for where I want to story to go, I start writing. † But if the characters or plot take an unexpected turn, I usually go with it. ††
Jacqui: † Is there anything in particular, like music, etc., that helps you get into the mood to write?
Rebecca: † I have about a hundred CDís in my office. † I play anything from Christmas music to Enya, depending on the mood of the scene Iím writing. I even play the Dixie Chicks when Iím writing a humorous scene.
Jacqui: Almost every author at some point or another, suffers from writer's block. † Have you ever had that problem? † How do you deal with it?
Rebecca: Someone told me years ago that you should always have several projects going at once. † That way when one is giving you trouble, you can just pick up something different and work on that for a bit. † When you take a short break from the problem scene, you can usually go back to it refreshed and get a better perspective. † But if you stop altogether you can get off your schedule--and for me thatís dangerous. † Itís difficult to get back. I donít believe in waiting for ďinspirationĒ either. † If I did that, Iíd only write about two days a month.
Jacqui: What is the best advice you have ever received in regard to your writing/career?
Rebecca: † Something quite simple, really. † That if you want to publish, then you have to sit yourself down in your chair every day and write. Talking about it, planning for it, and dreaming about it just isnít going to get you where you want to go. Just do it!
Jacqui: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Rebecca: Besides the ďJust do it,Ē advice, Iíd have to say, learn your craft. † The style will come. The plots and characters will show up. But you have to know how to put them down on paper so that someone else can understand and identify with it.
Jacqui: What is it about the genre and sub-genre you write that inspired you to choose it over all others?
Rebecca: † Romance novels are about empowering women, and thatís an important issue for me. Iím a bit of a feminist in that way. I want my characters to have it all and find the love they were meant to have. † As far as the Paranormal sub-genre Ö Iíve always been fascinated with myth and legend as well as those psychic and paranormal events that are outside of our scientific understanding. I love to take those unknown elements and say, ďWhat ifĒ then develop a story around it.
Jacqui: † Have you seen an evolution in your writing? How or when did it come about?
Rebecca: † I hope Iím still evolving. I started with smaller stories and now Iím writing bigger books. † Iíve learned to weave more complex sub-plots in with the romance, and thatís fun.
Jacqui: Have you dreamed of writing a particular type of story or even a story in a different genre that you haven't done as yet?
Rebecca: I guess I already answered this one. Yes. † I have a lot of stories running around in my head. Some day a family saga, or mystery may take shape on paper.
Jacqui: † What is your most favorite part of being a writer? The least favorite?
Rebecca: The best thing is that I set my own schedule. If I want to take an afternoon off to be with my grandkids, I can indulge. † I donít do it often, but I have that option. †† The least favorite part is trying to get your work published. † Sometimes you donít hear from an editor for months at a time Ö itís very frustrating.
Jacqui: How do you handle life's interruptions?
Rebecca: Thatís always a toughie. But, they do happen Ö and more often than any of us would like. I just have to push myself to get back on a rigid schedule as soon as possible. † Then, once I re-establish one, I can relax a bit.
Jacqui: What quality do you most admire in a person?
Rebecca: † Honesty. I guess I have trust issues, but I want to know that I can believe what a person is saying. †
Jacqui: If you weren't a writer, what would you be?
Rebecca: Iíve got to do the Whinny The Pooh thing here and tap my forehead and say, ďThink, think, think. Ē†† Iíve always been fascinated with archeology, so maybe an archeologist. † But then, Iíd just come home from a dig and write about it. †
Jacqui: What is the most romantic city or place for you?
Rebecca: An ancient city in Sicily called Taormina. High on a hill overlooking the incredibly blue Mediterranean, it is a fairy tale city complete with an ancient Roman amphitheater. If you stand at the top row in the amphitheater, you can see the sparkling Mediterranean as well as the active volcano, Mt Etna smoking in the distance. † You canít help be feel romantic when surrounded by such incredible beauty.
Jacqui: What do you believe are the three most essential ingredients in writing a Romance novel?
Rebecca: † A strong conflict between the hero and heroine. † Strong, sensual images. † Personal growth of the characters that culminate in a happy ending.
Jacqui: What are some of your hobbies and do you ever incorporate them into your characters' lives?
Rebecca: My husband and I love to travel and to hike. Iíve used many of the sensory images from my travels in my books.
Jacqui: † When is your birthday?
Rebecca: † November 15th.
Jacqui: Do you have your own list of favorite authors?
Rebecca: † Sure. Marion Bradley (Mists of Avalon), Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Barbara Wood.
Jacqui: † Do you have an autograph tour coming up? Could you give us an itinerary?
Rebecca: † I just finished a tour of signings and Iím in the planning stages of future signings. I guess the best thing for anyone to do is visit my web site to check out the signings I have coming up.
Jacqui: Do you have a web site? If so, what is the url?
Rebecca: † Yes. www.rebecca-anderson.com
Jacqui: How can fans get in touch with you?
Rebecca: † At the above web site. Or they can e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. † Or they can snail mail me at: PMB 268, 231 E. Alessandro Blvd, #A, Riverside, CA 92508-6039.
Jacqui: Rebecca, interviewing you has been truly wonderful. Thanks so much for your time!
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