Sunday, March 20, 2011
Interview--ROBIN WELLS 2
BIO: Author Robin Wells is an accomplished romance author, having written over a dozen titles for Harlequin and won the National Readers' Choice Award for her title, Baby, Oh Baby. She has also won the prestigious National Golden Heart Award from the Romance Writers of America, and her novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Before writing romance she was an advertising and public relations executive. Other titles include: Wild About You, Between the Sheets, Ooh La La, Babe Magnet, Plain Jane Gets Her Man, The Wedding Kiss, The Executive’s Baby, and Nine to Five Bride. She resides just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband and two daughters. Thanks for being here again, Robin. It’s a pleasure. The pleasure's all mine! Thank you so much for having me and for reviewing my latest book, Still the One. #1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career… Well, my friends call me Martha Stewart. I love interior design -- I'm always working on a project or helping a friend redo a room. I like to cook, and I enjoy having friends over for writers' lunches, girls' night out and dinner parties. I also like to paint abstracts, although I don't know what I'm doing and am not all that good at it. I go the gym at least every other day (I watch reality TV shows while I walk four miles on the treadmill--as long I'm exercising, it doesn't count as a waste of time. Besides, it's research!) I love movies and enjoy puttering in the garden in the spring and fall (forget the summer-- it's just too darn hot in southern Louisiana!). Once or twice a year, I teach a 5-week "How to Write a Novel" course through a local university. I really enjoy working with new writers. I'm active in my church and two local writers' groups. After three o'clock during the school year, my fifteen-year-old keeps me on the run with chauffeur duty. And, of course, I love to read--love, love, love it! I also have a fantasy of someday having the time to flip a house. #2- Your new release, STILL THE ONE, has more of a dramatic feel than HOW TO SCORE. Did you find it difficult to go from a humorous plot to a serious one, and what inspired the story? You know, I didn't really intend to write women's fiction, but that's how the book turned out. Maybe it was the stuff going on in my life; my mother had two bad falls, and my eldest daughter graduated high school and was heading off to college. I was dealing with aging parents and a half-empty nest...it was poignant time in my life. I was very aware of changes and the importance of families and connections, and I think that colored the book. It still has a lot of humor, but the story deals with some weighty issues. #3- You are an experienced author. Do you still feel the need to work with a critique partner, and what’s the experience like for you working with different editors? Before I was published, I belonged to a critique group, and it was immensely helpful. I'd encourage any aspiring writer to get into a group, because it helps you figure out what works and what doesn't, and the peer support is invaluable. My group disintegrated as people moved away, and I've worked on my own for about fifteen years. Just recently I've started working with Nancy Wagner (she wrote romantic comedy as Hailey North, but is now working on something grittier). She's funny, sweet, extremely talented and wise. We meet every other Friday or so, set goals for ourselves, and read each other's stuff, bounce ideas off each other or just provide mutual support. Nancy calls it our Mutual Accountability Society. I can get really, really critical of my stuff, and rework and rework it until I'm stuck and not moving forward. Giving it to someone else helps keep me out of that rut. I have been blessed to work with some really great editors who want exactly what I want: to make each book the best it can be. I'm working with Selina McLemore right now, and she's terrific. There have been times I knew something wasn't quite right, l but I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, and she would say "You need to change this"-- and then I'd have a smack-my-forehead moment. She has an unerring eye, and I really appreciate it. #4- When did you first know you wanted to become an author, and what goals did you hope to achieve? I wanted to be an author all my life. My dad was dean of libraries at Oklahoma State University and my mother was a public school librarian, so I grew up surrounded by books and the love of reading. As a little girl, I wrote a letter to the author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers, giving her my suggested plot for her next book ( I was a presumptious little thing!) --and she sent me back an encouraging hand-written letter all the way from England, scrawled in wobbly script (she lived to be 96, and was very elderly at the time). That just fanned the flame. I remember having a Mary Poppins-themed birthday party. As I grew up, though, being a novelist was such a closely held dream that I was afraid to put it to the test. What if I tried and failed? So I worked in advertising and public relations and told myself that someday I'd write that book. I decided to get serious about pursuing my dream after I had my first child. It made me think big thoughts: what did I want for her? Well, I wanted her to follow her dreams, and it made me painfully aware that I hadn't followed my own. Watching that little baby grow and change was like watching time fly, and it made me realize how easily my "someday" could turn into "never." So I dove into writing headfirst. My original goal was simply to get published. I was on a pink cloud when I got the phone call from my first editor, and I realized my lifelong dream was about to become a reality. #5- Assuming you get any time to read, what authors do you like to read, and were there any books that stand out from your childhood as favorites? I love anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rachel Gibson, Jennifer Crusie, and Jennifer Weiner. As a child, I loved Louisa May Alcott and, of course, P.L. Travers. #6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out? My website is robinwells.com. My next book is a work in progress, so I don't have anything on my website about it yet. I don't talk too much about books I'm writing, because that somehow depletes the energy I need to pour into the writing. #7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share? Just that I really value feedback from readers, and I appreciate sites like this one where books are discussed. Thanks so much for having me!