This week I’ve got a great interview to start off the new year. Please welcome the awesome author of some really great romances, Sherri Hayes!
SJ: Every writer has some sort of process. Give us a glimpse into yours. Do you meticulously outline? Do you write depending on what calls are out there?
SH: Thanks for having me on your blog Selah
My writing process is all about letting the story tell itself. I spend almost as much time thinking about the story, and talking it out, as I do writing it.
Before I ever put a single word into my computer, I’ve spent dozens of hours thinking about the characters and their backgrounds. It’s difficult to write a story about people you truly don’t know, so I have to learn them, their motivations, their likes and dislikes—like the back of my hand—before I can write their stories.
Once I feel confident that I know my characters, I sit down at my computer, and begin writing. I do, typically, have a general idea of the direction I want to go in, but there is always a possibility that will change. There have been scenes in every single one of my stories where I will plan for things to go one way, and instead, they go another. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but it also keeps things exciting for me as an author. I’m along for the ride, just as my readers are, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
SJ: Bonus question – Do you put on a cape and do a chant before hunkering down to work? Sacrifice anything? Along with your process, what’s your quirkiest writing habit?
SH: My quirkiest writing habit is most likely that I talk out my characters motivations. Especially if I’m getting to an emotional part of the story, I like to vocalize what’s going on with the character, how they are reacting, and why. I’m sure anyone who saw me doing this would think I’d lost my mind entirely.
SJ: Are you a meticulous planner or do you believe in the muse? Where do your ideas come from? Do they filter in through your dreams? Do they show up at inopportune times and whap you upside the head? Do they result in a shady deal with a dark power?
SH: I get ideas for my stories from everywhere. Sometimes, it’s something I see on television, or hear in a song. Behind Closed Doors started with a random idea about the hero, Chris, being a builder. My husband is a woodworker, so I encounter builders from time to time. As I said, it was a completely random thought, but it turned into not only Chris, but his three brothers as well. The second book in the Daniels Brothers Series, Red Zone, is set to release February 7, 2013.
SJ: bonus question – If your muse had a physical manifestation, what would he or she look like and how would she or he act? Is it a sexy superhero version of Callisto? A sharp-tongued rogue? A reptilian alien? Do they have a catch phrase?
SH: She’s most likely be a stern teacher type, tapping a ruler against her leg, and telling me I need to focus and write more.
SJ: What’s the book/story that’s closest to your heart? Is there a piece that you clearly feel is a piece of you? Do you play favorites?
SH: Stephan and Brianna of my Finding Anna series are closest to my heart. I think that’s partly because I’ve spent so much time with them over the course of writing the series, and also because of the subject matter. When Brianna hurts…I hurt. When Stephan’s heart is breaking…mine is too.
There is a piece of me in all my characters. I think that’s what makes them real to me, and how I’m able to relate to them.
SJ: If you could only write one genre ever again upon pain of being sacrificed to Cthulhu, what would it be and why?
SH: I only write romance, so that’s an easy one for me to answer. If I had to pick a sub-genre though, that would be tougher. Right now, I write both romantic suspense and BDSM. I enjoy both of them for different reasons, so it would be hard to pick only one.
SJ: What’s your biggest frustration as a writer? What do you consider the downside, or is there one? Is there any cliché that makes you want to wring people’s necks?
SH: While I hate edits, I wouldn’t really call them a frustration. I’d say my biggest frustration are those negative reviews where the reviewer blatantly got something wrong, or missed a plot point in the story entirely. As the author, it is generally frowned upon if you respond, so instead of trying to correct the reviewer, you have to try and ignore it.
SJ: If you had to be stuck in one of your own books/stories for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? If you had to stick a loved one in one of your own books, what would it be and why? An enemy?
SH: All my books are set in the present, but if I had to pick, I’d probably say my Daniels Brothers Series. I love that family, and the brothers make things loads of fun. I’d bring my loved one along with me to spend some time with Paul, Chris, Trent, and Gage.
An enemy? Slave (Finding Anna, Book 1). I’d stick them with Ian for a week. That would be punishment enough.
SJ: Do you think it’s possible to develop a sure-fire recipe/formula for success as a writer? Would you want to, or does that compromise the art or the fun of it?
SH: I’m not sure if you’d call it a recipe/formula, but I was given the advice once to write what you like to read. I think that’s solid advice, and if I follow it, I won’t go wrong. If I can’t read the story and have it draw me in, wanting to read more, then I need to go back to the drawing board and start over.
SJ: Everyone has words of wisdom for young writers, so I’m not going to ask you about that. With a few unknown writers becoming success stories, a lot of people seem to think it’s an easy career choice. What would your words of wisdom be to these people?
SH: If you’re writing for fame and fortune, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Write what you love, and love what you write. Everything else will come as it is meant to.
SJ: It seems like everyone likes to gang up on certain genres as being inferior, less meaningful, or cheap entertainment (especially if it’s speculative in nature). Make a case for the genre you write.
SH: Romance is no different from any other fiction genre. It is about leaving the world you live in and transporting yourself into another for a time. Good stories, whether they are romance, science fiction, fantasy, or anything else, are a study of human nature. To make the characters relatable, the author has to understand human interaction. At its heart, that is what I believe draws most readers into a story, and that is what romance thrives on.
SJ: What do you want people to instantly think of when they hear your name or your work mentioned?
SH: Sherri Hayes writes sensual romances with lots of heart and engaging characters that make you want to root for them.
SJ: Please tell us about your latest/favorite work or a little bit about what you’re working on right now. It’s plug time, so go for it!
SH: Right now, I’m gearing up for the release of the second book in my Daniels Brother’s Series, RED ZONE. The first book, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, was released last February. It tells the story of Chris Daniels, a divorced homebuilder, and Elizabeth, a woman who is looking for a fresh start. The two have a lot of trust issues, but find a connection neither are sure they want at first.
Elizabeth Marshall spent the last nine years doing all the things she was supposed to do. She went to a good college and married a man with a promising future. Elizabeth even had a nice house in a respectable part of town with the promise of 2.4 kids in her future. From the outside, everything looked picture perfect.
Then one night, the world she lived in came crashing down. Six months later with her husband dead and her friends gone, Elizabeth moves to the small town of Springfield, Ohio to start a new life where no one knows who she is or about her past.
Christopher Daniels enjoys the simplicity of his bachelor life. After his divorce three years ago, he swore off women. He has no desire to change that philosophy.
When Elizabeth Marshall moves into the apartment below his in the small Victorian house, she makes him reconsider the motto he’s lived by for the last three years: women are trouble. She is everything his ex-wife is not, and it doesn’t help that she is his wet dream come to life.
He is determined to resist her charms; however, when someone sends threatening messages to Elizabeth, he finds himself in the role of protector. Can he protect Elizabeth and still resist the pull she has on his body and his heart?
RED ZONE continues the series, and we get to know the youngest of the Daniels clan. Gage is a professional football player, and a bit of a ladies man. When FBI agent, Rebecca Carson, is called into protect him from a stalker, sparks begin to fly.
Available February 7, 2013
After a case ended badly for Rebecca Carson, she’s losing her mind sitting around her apartment waiting on her superiors to allow her to return to work. Since she was a teenager, the only thing she’d ever wanted was to join the FBI. Now, that dream was in danger.
Gage Daniels has made a pretty good life for himself. A nice house. A career he loves. As a professional football player, he’s used to getting almost everything he’d ever want with just the snap of his fingers. This includes women. A well-timed smile is usually all it takes to attract the opposite sex, especially in Nashville.
When a stalker threatens Gage, the team owner calls an old friend, Rebecca’s ex-partner Travis Hansen, to help protect his star quarterback and find the person responsible. Hansen offers Rebecca the job, and she jumps at the chance. It’s work, and it will get her out of her apartment. How bad can it be?
Posing as Gage’s girlfriend, however, isn’t as easy as it seems. The man is relentless. Rebecca must work to protect Gage while staving off his advances. She’s there to do a job, nothing more. The last thing she wants is to be another notch on a hotshot athlete’s belt.
As the stalker continues to up the ante, Rebecca finds it harder and harder to keep her distance from Nashville’s star quarterback. He isn’t what she expected in one of the city’s most notorious playboys. Now all she has to do is keep him safe until they can find his stalker, and hope she doesn’t lose her heart in the process.
Social Media Links:
Website – http://www.sherrihayesauthor.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Sherri_Hayes
Blog – http://www.sherri-hayes.blogspot.com/