Thursday, December 01, 2011

Say hello to Romantic Suspense author Shannon Curtis – by Paula Roe

So when I put my name down for this blog date, I had no idea I’d actually be on The Pacific Sun, cruising around Sydney Harbour for three days.  And boy, are those ship-board internet charges a killer!!  So intrepid author I am, I found you a replacement me – namely, my good buddy and all-round lovely gal, Shannon Curtis, who graciously said yes to my frantic “hey, can I interview you?” plea (and I didn’t have to offer chocolate!)
So, Shannon...  tell us a bit about yourself
Well, I do so hate to go on about myself, but if you insist… Hmm, about –me?

Yeah, your journey to publication...
I would sooooo love to say I desperately wrote my first novel, Viper’s Kiss, in a café with a sleeping baby, or trapped in a house in the middle of a blizzard, but that would imply a) my first novel got published (it didn’t, Viper’s Kiss is my second novel. Alas, the first will meet with an unfortunate accident to ensure it doesn’t see the light of day), b) that I had time to write in a café with a sleeping baby  instead of catching up on sleep myself, and c) that it snows where I live. (It doesn’t. Not even a little bit.)

But seriously (because I’m always serious), my journey to publication involved a writing course (seven years ago), joining a writers’ association (RWAustralia, which is absolutely-freaking-fabulous), and I joined a local writers’ critique group, which is nicknamed “The Coven” on account of all the cackling we do at our meetings. Then I sat down and wrote. And wrote. I entered competitions (and would cheer or cry, depending on the feedback), and then wrote some more.

When I first started out, some fellow writers mentioned that writing short stories was a really good training ground, as it taught you to write concisely – but that it was also a very hard area to write for. So I wrote some short stories – and they got published. (I know, big shock.) Then a number of writers mentioned that writing sex scenes could be very difficult, and writing sexy short stories? Oy. So that’s what I did next. And they got published. If only those fellow writers would mention that writing the next breakout vampire ninja story is difficult, I could possibly work on that, too!

Aaanyway, to cut a long story short (told you I wrote short stories), I then submitted to Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first subsidiary, and they replied with a ‘Hell, yeah, let’s give you a blank cheque’. Okay, maybe that wasn’t quite what they said, but I know they WANTED to. (I’m a writer, I make stuff up for a living.)

Why romantic suspense?  What’s the appeal?
What’s not to love? Danger. Heart-pounding tension. Non-stop action. And really hot dudes who look great shirtless. Again, what’s not to love? I can’t seem to think up a story without someone getting murdered (a psychiatrist would probably have a field day with that, but I’d murder them in my next book…) I find it difficult to write a romance with two mature, well-balanced (or fantastically flawed) characters without somehow making them go through hell. I call it the Six Million Dollar Man effect. They have to face their worst fear, they have to struggle through what seems like insurmountable odds, be torn apart so that they are forced to rebuild – bit by bit. They have travel to dark places inside so that they can come out better. Stronger.  Maybe faster.

What sparked the idea for The Vipers Kiss?
I visited Washington University’s Odegaard Library, and was so taken by it, I started to imagine what it would be like to work in a place like that. Then my Six Million Dollar Man effect kicked in, and my imaginary librarian was suddenly losing her valued scholarly reputation, dodging bullets and finding creative uses for knitting needles.

And I believe you have more in the works..?
Yes, I do! The second book in my series is due out with Carina Press early–mid 2012, and I’m currently writing the third in the series (translate: sitting hunched over my keyboard, squinting by candlelight with bloodied stumps for fingers as I sweat bullets over each word). I’m also working on a short story for an anthology, with a proposed release date in May 2012. Busy. Oh, and there’s that vampire ninja story bubbling over in the background...

How exciting!  So how do you find time to write with the rest of your life going on?
I have no idea! I pretend I don’t have kids, but they keep finding me. I am not a domestic goddess, so I save time one would normally spend cleaning and invest it in writing (sure, the house looks like it’s holding a dust mites’ convention, but I wrote a BOOK!). Seriously (because I’m always serious), if you want to do something, or feel that you need to do something, you must make the time. Otherwise, it’s just excuses. I want to be a writer. So I write. I remember hearing about a very talented writer, Keri Arthur, author of the Riley Jenson series, who was holding down an incredibly challenging job as a cook, involving split shifts and overtime, and yet she still managed to pen (type, whatever) a number of novels. She became a bit of an inspiration for me. I kept thinking if Keri Arthur could write not one, but many books, with that kind of lifestyle, then I should quit making excuses and start writing. And it works. I think they call it the Nike approach. Just do it.
And it’s giveaway time!
I love time-saving tips.  My favorite is making everyone’s lunches the night before, so that it’s not such a critical rush in the morning. It also means I take less time out for lunch as I don’t need to make it - just eat it -  so then I have more time to write.  What’s your best time saving tip?

Lee will choose the best tip and the winner receives a pdf copy of Viper’s Kiss (we’ll need an email address to do so, so please keep your details updated!).

Multi-published author Paula Roe is fortunate indeed to have Shannon Curtis in her writing group.  Paula’s next book, Bed of Lies, is out with Harlequin Desire in February 2012, and Shannon Curtis’ second book in the McCormack Security Agency series will be available in May 2012.


Rachael Johns said...

LOL - on pretending not to have kids. I hear ya on that one :)

And LOVE that you wrote about a librarian. Best job I ever had!!

Leah Ashton said...

Awesome post, Shannon! And so, so serious ;)

I am the worst possible person for time-saving tips... um, other than ignoring house work.

Oh! Not sure if this counts, but a little program called Freedom that I discovered is a life saver for me. It blocks the Internet, so that the precious time I do have to write, I actually write :)