Hot Seat Interviews

Friday, August 05, 2005

Lauren Baratz-Logsted in the Hot Seat!


Talking with Lauren Baratz-Logsted




First, thanks so much for joining us Lauren!
Thank you, Lisa, for having me here! Since red is my favorite color, this is a good place for me to be.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born on July 6, 1962, and I'm very short. I live in Danbury, CT, with my husband and daughter. In 1994, I left my day job of 11 years as an independent bookseller to take a chance on myself as a writer. Between then and nearly eight years later when I got the first call from RDI offering me an initial two-book contract, I took jobs as a Publishers Weekly reviewer (I reviewed 292 books for them), a freelance editor (I edited nearly 100 books), a sort-of librarian and a window-washer to help pay the mortgage until my writing ship came in. I read and write every day and I love what I do for a living.

Did you always want to write?
I think almost my whole life I wanted to be a writer, but it wasn't until 1994, at age 32, that I finally had the guts to leave my day job and take a chance on myself.

How long did you write before you published? And how many books until you were published?
As mentioned above, it was nearly eight years between first putting pen to paper and The Call. The Thin Pink Line, my first book sold, was actually the sixth I wrote and I'd written a seventh before getting The Call. The first five didn't make it for a variety of heartbreaking reasons, the most notable one being when Falling for Prince Charles, a romantic comedy I wrote in 1997 about a cleaning lady meeting and falling in love with the real Prince Charles, was torpedoed in August of that year by the death of Princess Diana.

Can you tell us about 'the call' ?
It was odd. Earlier on the same day I got that first call, I'd received some very bad news about my daughter ( she's perfectly fine now, thanks ) so here was this phone call I'd been working toward for nearly eight years and all I could think to say was, "Can we discuss this some other time?" I'm sure my editor thought I was very odd.

At what point did you get an agent and what was that process like?
Since I initially was offered a two-book contract, negotiated that contract, and was offered a subsequent three-book contract all on my own steam, I'm obviously one of those authors who believes it's not necessary to have an agent to get a career. Further, a bad agent or a good agent who is bad for you can actually have negative impact and stall your career. That said, now that I finally have an agent I totally adore, I can see all the benefits when the system works like a dream. I would always counsel people to try to get a good agent first. But if you can't, then you can always do what I did. And, believe me, if a publisher offers you a contract, you'll have no trouble finding agents afterward. I should point out that before selling my first book, I had 2.5 agents, who were not good for me in a variety of ways. The worst was probably the man I like to think of as Agent .5, whom 'd been working with on my seventh novel. I showed him The Thin Pink Line and he said he thought the book was hysterical but that this kind of thing had been 'done too much already' (can someone please tell me the last dark comedy about a fake pregnancy they read?) and when I further asked if he'd be willing to just submit it to the one editor at RDI on my behalf, he declined, saying one of his reasons for saying no was that he knew for a fact that editor was not interested in books with a London setting. Immediately, red lights went off in my tiny brain and I asked him if he'd mind, if he'd feel I was stepping on his toes if I submitted it myself. He gave me a very scathing, "Well, if that's what you want to do with your time." And the rest, as they say, is publishing history. Or my publishing history, at any rate.


How did you get the idea for your first release THE THIN PINK LINE? And did the title come from you or later in the process?
I had been married nearly ten years as of late May 1999 and thought I would never get pregnant. And then ' poof!' I got pregnant. During the first three months I was home, so sick that all I could do besides watch Donnie and Marie (do you sense my desperation here? ) was pull myself out of bed just enough times a day to keep up my daily walking and writing. The thought occurred to me, not too long into the thing: 'What if some woman, some slightly sociopathic woman, was making up the whole thing, just to get attention?' So I started to write, unsure myself all the while if Jane Taylor would in fact be able to keep up her charade for the entire nine months. As for the title, it was there from the beginning.

How long did it take you to write the sequel?
Please don't hate me, but the first draft of Crossing the Line took 28 days. I've always written fast first drafts, but in the case of crazy Jane Taylor and all her cohorts, I feel I know these characters so well that it's easy to come up with new adventures for them. It's actually harder to make them shut up, since I already have ideas for three further books involving them.

Do you write full time?
Yes. I am one of the universe's lucky people.

What is your writing schedule like?
My ideal writing day begins with me getting up very early and, after getting in my daily walk, hitting the computer until my daughter gets up. After she's off to school, I'll work for the next four hours until it's time to pick her up. If I'm working on a novel, as soon as my husband comes home from work, I'll let him take over with our daughter while I get a few more hours in. I also don't like to take days off when I'm in the midst of a book; it gives me too much anxiety. I think that's about it. Oh, and one other detail for my ideal writing day: I have to feel good about what I've produced at the end of the day. And it would help if, while I'm toiling, I got a call saying a movie was definitely being made of one of my books or to say I made a best-seller list somewhere.

How can readers find you?
They can find my books in bookstores everywhere or online from the usual suspects. To keep up with my tour schedule and what's coming next etc, they should go to http://www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com/ where they can also find a link to send me email if they're so inclined.

What writers inspire you as a reader both past and present?
Jane Austen, the Brontes, Arturo Perez-Reverte. Sena Jeter Naslund, Nick Hornby. I've been reading 100-250 books per year since the age of 10, so it's hard to create a short list of favorites, but those authors certainly factor in. Also, Emily Giffin wrote a fantastic first novel, Something Borrowed, that I greatly admired because the heroine does a very unsympathetic thing and yet the book succeeds. I think in real life, as in literature, there are few pure heroes or villains and I prefer reading and writing books that reflect that. Most of us, I think, are flawed human beings, occasionally capable of brief flashes of brilliance or bravery.

What comes next for you?
Following the release of A Little Change of Face on June 28, I have two more books coming from RDI: How Nancy Drew Saved My Life (July 2006), which is about Charlotte Bell, a young nanny who, having been burned by one affair with a married ambassador boss in NYC, accepts a new position with the U.S. Ambassador to Iceland. Once in Reykjavik, history begins uncomfortably repeating itself as she finds herself falling for Ambassador Edgar Rawlings. But where is Mrs. Rawlings? And, oh, by the way, is there a madwoman in the attic? Part Charlotte Bronte, part Bridget Jones, part Nancy Drew, How Nancy Drew Saved My Life is about the choices we make the first time around and the choices we make the second time around; and Chick-Lit: A Love Story (July 2007), a modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice about a successful writer of ' you guessed it!' who crosses swords and hearts with the Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times Book Review. Oh, and on September 1 of this year, I've got an essay called "If Jane Austen Were Writing Today" featured in a collection of stories and essays called Flirting with Pride and Prejudice, edited by Jennifer Crusie and published by Benbella Books.

Will you be doing a multi-state book tour?
I['ll be signing copies of A Little Change of Face at Book Expo America and doing some local events. But this time out, I'm focusing most of my promotional energies on radio plus doing online interviews and a lot of guestblogging. That said, it's always worth people checking out the website periodically to see if I've added any dates in their neighborhood - you never know!

The characters in your books, are any of them close to your own personality or completely the opposite?
Well, Jane Taylor, the heroine of The Thin Pink Line and Crossing the Line, is something of a sociopath, so I hope I'm not too much like her! But I do think I share her self-awareness of her personal flaws and her devotion to those she really cares about. Anyone who has read the books can readily see that while Jane is often self-involved and small-minded, she'd throw herself in front of a train to save her best friend David and a few others. As for Scarlett Jane Stein, the heroine of A Little Change of Face, Scarlett and I share little in common in terms of the details of our lives, but I share her ambivalence about her physical appearance. I am by no means as attractive as Scarlett, but like her, I seesaw between wanting to be seen as beautiful and wanting to be loved for myself. Because of that, I've spent most of my life downplaying whatever positives my outer appearance might present.

What happened after 'the call'? Did life change?
I always like to say that success hasn't changed me yet! Shortly after the publication of The Thin Pink Line, I did buy a new car, but that was only because the car I'd been driving was a 20-year-old Peugeot and my drunken mechanics said there was not enough rubber bands or duct tape in the world to keep it gong anymore, and the car I bought was modest. I do write fulltime now for a living, something I wasn't able to do before, which is lovely. And it's nice not to have friends or family look at me pityingly anymore, with expressions that say, "Poor, deluded fool she thinks she might actually get one of her books published some day."

After the success of book one did you feel pressure to have book two be great or relief that made writing easier?
I can't say that I felt pressured. It was a great feeling to finally be in the game! Of course, having book two be a sequel, there was some concern that I'd just be rehashing old ground ( sequels can be so disappointing! ) and I even tried to get my publisher to put on the cover the words "Definitely Not a Sequel," which they declined. But for those who've read both books, they know the second represents a whole new adventure for wacky Jane and deals with a different theme: the first is about people wanting things without really understanding what they're wanting while the latter is about the joys and perils and responsibilities of cross-racial adoption. If reviews are anything to go by, nearly everyone liked the second book even more than the first, perhaps because acerbic Jane is kinder and gentler in it, and I myself think that while the plot of The Thin Pink Line is more original ' crazy lady fakes an entire pregnancy! ' the writing in Crossing the Line is tighter.

Any final words?
Yes, two things:
1) If you're a reader and you love a particular writer's books, then buy those books. It's the way writers get to go on having careers.
2) If this is truly your dream, to be a writer, never give up. It took me nearly eight years from the time I left my day job to the day I was first offered a contract. In the intervening years, I taught myself how to review books professionally and wound up reviewing nearly 300 titles for Publishers Weekly; taught myself how to edit books, and freelance edited nearly 100 books; did freelance writing for various publishers and washed a lot of windows, all to pay the mortgage while pursuing my dream. I also wrote seven novels, The Thin Pink Line was actually my sixth, before selling my first. But when I finally hit, it was big: a two-book contract, with an additional three-book contract offered before the first book even came out. The Thin Pink Line is now out in 10 counties and has been optioned for a film. At any point during those nearly eight years, when nothing was selling, I might have given up. There were certainly plenty of moments when I wanted to. But I didn't. So if you don't hear anything else I say, hear this: If this is truly your dream, never give up. The only person who can ever take you out of the game is you.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Susanna Carr in the Hot Seat!

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Talking with Susanna Carr
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Tell us a little about you if you will. Who is Susanna Carr?
Die-hard romance reader and slightly obsessive romance writer. Prefers alpha heroes over beta, also fun and sexy stories over dark and dramatic. When not reading or writing, can be found haunting bookstores, libraries, or surfing on the web. An introvert who can snark fluently. Addicted to Diet Coke and 80's music. Will drop chocolate to get her hands on the latest Jayne Ann Krentz, Jennifer Crusie and Penny Jordan books.

Did you always dream of being a writer?
Yes, I knew since high school that I wanted to write romance, but I managed to talk myself out of it. However, while I was trying to pursue a business career, every choice I made gravitated towards writing. Once I made the conscious decision to become a romance writer, it took a while to make that dream come true.

What authors did you read and feel motivated by when you were trying to make it as a writer yourself. I know there are so many great authors. Are there any that impacted you even at different times in your career?

I remember when I first read Janet Dailey's THAT CAROLINA SUMMER and I was wowed by the brazen heroine. I wanted to read more about women like her. I wanted to write those kinds of heroines! And then I read Susan Napier's SECRET ADMIRER. That's what did it. The high-octane sensuality, the premise, the plot twists. Everything was oh-so-good. I was so motivated after reading that book.
There are lots more authors and specific books that really impacted me as a reader and writer. I talk about them here http://www.susannacarr.com/rec.htm on my website.

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Tell us about 'the call'...the day you knew you'd made it.
My first Call was when I sold a romance to Heartline Books, a small press in the UK. My Call with Brava came via an e-mail because I didn't give them my phone number, thinking the info would be superfluous for a partial. I was a total dork both times. You can read about the events here http://www.susannacarr.com/susanna.htm#note.

Did you get an agent before or after you received 'the call'?
I didn't get an agent until after I turned in my fifth novella with Brava and my editor was talking about buying some of my single-title ideas. Although I had a literary attorney go over my contracts, I knew I wanted an agent. I kept my eye on Jenny Bent of Trident Media Group during this whole time, tracking her performance with other romance authors, before I approached her at an agent appointment during a local conference. I've been represented by her for a little over a year now.

How many books did you write before you were published?
I wrote about forty short stories, five novellas and five category-length books before I was published by Heartline.
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How do you feel about critique groups? Do you participate in one?
I haven't been in a formal critique group. I've done critique sessions at my local writers group and while I got some good feedback, it's a hard process because a lot of trust is involved. These days I have two fellow writers and my twin sister look over my work, but I'm very specific on what I want them to look at.


What was the best thing you ever did for your writing career?
The best thing I ever did was make it a top priority without excuses. Sounds simple, but believe me, it wasn't, and there are still days when it's a struggle.
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Tell us about your most recent release and then what comes next.
My first single title, CONFESSIONS OF A "WICKED" WOMAN is a June 2005 release. It's about a sophisticated woman trying to hide her good girl tendencies while she's stuck in a small town, unaware that everything she does makes the reformed bad boy sheriff sweat. He can't decide whether to drag her across the city limits or drag her into his bed.

I also contributed in the BEACH BLANKET BAD BOYS anthology, another June 2005 release. My novella "Sister Switch" is about a woman switching places with her identical twin on her wedding day.

Up next is LIP LOCK, my December 2005 release about a woman who can talk her way out of any situation, but goes tongue-tied whenever she's around the hero. And in January 2006, I'm contributing to the "Wicked" Woman Whodunit anthology, VALENTINE'S DAY IS KILLING ME.
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Do you write full time?
Yes, I'm at the point of my career when I don't need another job to pay the bills. Of course, there's a lot of stuff I have to do without, but overall, it's worth it.

How long does it take you to write a full sized novel verses a novella?
I give myself six months to write a full-sized novel, and there have been times when I needed more than that. It used to take me a month to write a novella, but my last novella took twice as long to complete.

As a writer what is your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is defining my goal ( long-term, short-term, or even for my work-in-progress ) and focusing on it. It's hard to keep your head down and aim when there are a lot of distractions and doubts.
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How many hours a day do you write?
I'm not sure. Unless I'm bumping up against a deadline, my goal it to write ten pages a day. Sometimes that takes the entire morning, other times it'll take me until midnight.

Susanna Carr's work has been nominated THREE TIMES for The Quills Award in the romance category. This award celebrates the most popular and prestigious authors of fiction and non-fiction

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visit Susanna at: http://www.susannacarr.com/

Monday, May 09, 2005

Bobbi Smith in the HOT SEAT!

New York Times Bestselling Author

BOBBI SMITH

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Do you write full time?


I've been writing full time since 1984.


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If you do, how long did it take to get to the point where you could devote all your time to writing?



I sold the first book in 1982. I was working part-time in a bookstore then. When I got the second book- Forbidden Fires - done and out, I realized I really could make a career out of this. :)



When did you know you wanted to be a writer?



I knew I wanted to write when I was 10. I started making up stories about Bonanza.




How long did it take you to get published?



I managed to sell my first manuscript. Zebra bought Rapture's Rage rather quickly, compared to today's standards.


How long after the first book did the second take?



I got another contract shortly after turning in Rapture's Rage, and I've been under contract ever since.


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Were you discouraged at any time during this process?


I never got discouraged back then, because I had never ever really dreamed that I'd actually get published. Just the fact that a real NY editor was looking at my work thrilled me.


How do you pick yourself up and keep on going when the going gets rough?


When the going gets rough, eat ice cream!


When did you get an agent? And did you change agents often?



I was lucky enough that one of our customers at the bookstore where I worked was an agent. He agreed to represent me from the start. We parted company after a few years and I moved on to the Evan Marshall Agency. I've been with him for 15+ years now. He's great.


Do you have a particular routine when you write?



I go with my bio-rhythms. Mornings and evenings are my most productive times.
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What are your hobbies? How do you relax?



Hobbies - I love to travel, especially to do research for my books. That's fun!


How do you celebrate finishing a book?



It's always kind of anti-climactic when I get finished. What's really fun to celebrate is when you have a good writing day 10+ pages. That's when I want to jump up and down and shout!


Who are some of your favorite authors?




My favorite authors right now -- Hmm. That's tricky because I have so many. Debbie Macomber is awesome. Her angel books are too cute!


Has your writing been influenced by any particular author?




I have to say Woodiwiss was the author who encouraged me to start trying to write. I loved her early books.


Is there a particular genre you'd like to explore in the future?



Having just done Haven, I love the faith-based genre. I'm doing another one right now for next year.

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What do you like most about being a writer?



What I love most about being an author is actually seeing my books on the shelves of bookstores. It's so cool!



What's your least favorite aspect of the writing life?


What I like least is being alone all the time. I'm a people person, and I do miss socializing when I'm on deadline.


In which part of the country do you reside?




I live in Missouri

Are you married? Do you have any children?



. I'm married, with two grown sons and three perfect grandsons.

How do you balance real life with writing?


When I'm on deadline there isn't a balance to life. I completely lose myself in my writing. It's hard, but it's worth it.


Tell us about your upcoming projects?



Upcoming books - Kiss Me Forever, a re-release and the sequel to my bestseller Bayou Bride is out this month. Half-Breed Warrior will be out in August. I just got the cover and it's beautiful!


How did you come to be known as the Queen of the Western Romance?



I think RT dubbed me the Queen of Western Romance. I'm honored.


Is writing a Julie Marshall book any different from writing a Bobbi Smith book?



Haven, my Julie Marshall book, is a contemporary faith-based. We decided to use a pseudonym to let my readers know that it wasn't my usual historical. I hope everyone enjoys it!

http://www.bobbismithbooks.com/

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Mary Janice Davidson in the HOT SEAT!

The Interview.

Do you write full time?

Yes, I'm very lucky...my writing really kicked into gear with the Undead series, and I have a very supportive husband who gets good benefits at his job. I've been writing full time for two years now.

If you do, how long did it take to get to the point where you could devote all your time to writing?

Let's see...I started writing when I was 13, started submitting for publication in my early twenties, and quit my job when I was 32. I'm 35 now. So, it was a long apprenticeship!
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When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was 13. I loved coming up with stories for my friends to read. They'd wait for me before school, devour what I'd written the night before, then wait for me at lunch and read what I'd written that morning (as opposed to paying attention in class). Once I understood it could be a real job, I never wanted to anything else.

Who long did it take you to get published?

Years and years and years.

What was your first book published?

THE ADVENTURES OF THE TEEN FURIES, Hard Shell Word Factory...it's still in print over there, too! http://www.hardshell.com/

How long after the first book did the second take?

It was a gradual process, slowly building a fan base. By the time I was published by Red Sage (the Secrets books) I had a small following. That led to Berkley keeping an eye on me and asking to buy the print rights when my e-book, Undead and Unwed, was published.

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Were you discouraged at any time during this process?

Not really...I knew it would take years and years. And I love to write; it doesn't seem like work to me. I never quit, and looking back, that's my biggest piece of advice to aspiring authors: don't quit.

How do you pick yourself up and keep on going when the going gets rough?

That sort of thing is in my nature...my family has often had to go through difficult times (povery, joblessness, housefires, deaths, etc.). The thing is, life isn't pretty all the time, it's never wrapped in a nice bow. When things are rough you just...go on, I guess.

When did decide to invest in an agent?

When I had a contract offer from Berkley. I knew I wasn't up to negotiating the contract by myself, so I needed a clearer head.

Was the process long? And did you change agents often?

No, it was easy...took about a week, I picked my top three choices for representation, talked to them, and hired the one that impressed me the most: Ethan Ellenberg. That was almost 3 years ago and we're still going strong. He's great.

Do you have a particular routine when you write?

In the morning, while the kids are in school, I try to do stuff like this : interviews, e-mails, fan mail, etc. In the afternoon, I usually write the books I'm working on (I like to write two books at a time, in case I get stuck on one). Often I'm done for the day by 3:00 or so, but many nights I'm still writing at 10:00 p.m.

What are your hobbies? How do you relax?

Reading and cooking! Before it became my job, my favorite hobby was writing. I love trying new restaurants and going to the movies, too.

How do you celebrate finishing a book?

I take a break for a couple of days, maybe nap a little, but since I'd rather write than do almost anything else, I'm always anxious to get started on the next project.

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Who are some of your favorite authors?

John Sandford, Michael Creighton, Ann Rule, Margaret Mitchell, Olivia Goldsmith, Carl Hiaason, Andrew Vacchss

Has your writing been influenced by any particular author?

No, my voice is pretty unique, I'd like to think. You know...sloppy, immature...those other guys are all pros.

Is there a particular genre you'd like to explore in the future?

You bet! I'm dipping my toe in the mystery genre next year. No romance, no sex scenes, and lots of dead bodies. I can't wait!

What do you like most about being a writer?

The flexibility (beyond being able to do my favorite thing from my own house...in some cases, my living room!)

What's your least favorite aspect of the writing life?
Waiting to get paid. New York publishing houses are horrible about paying on time.

In which part of the country do you reside?
Minnesota, yay!

Are you married? Do you have any children?

Yep, been married 13 years with 2 children, 9 and 5.

How do you balance real life with writing?

At the end of the day, no matter how much I love it, writing is just a job. And like any job, you've got to find the middle ground. If my kids are sick or an emergency comes up, of course the job has to take a back seat. That's just how it is. I think it's all a matter of keeping perspective.

Tell us about your upcoming projects?

Well, in July the third UNDEAD book comes out, UNDEAD AND UNAPPRECIATED. In August a young adult novel, JENNIFER SCALES, comes out which I co-wrote with my husband. And in October, REALLY UNUSUAL BAD BOYS comes out, it's my first sci-fi/time travel book! I'm very excited.

Tell us what it was like growing up as an Air Force brat?

Chaotic, exciting and, at times, miserable. It was really exciting starting a new school every year...and really awful sometimes to leave that school at the end of the year. I was always the new kid, so after a while I got used to it, but there were lots of times I wished it had been another way. I did grow to love house hunting and unpacking. Still don't like packing, though. Yech.

Considering the wonderful books you create, how can you say you have no imagination?
I think I'm credited with more than I have! Many of my characters are amalgams of people I've met in real life. So I can't take the credit for "making them up". And I put things that happen to me in my books (e.g. Mother in Law Jeopardy, the game Caitlyn's customers are playing in her salon...a friend of mine actually plays that; I had never heard of it). Maybe it's not so much having a good imagination, as having a good memory. :-)MaryJanice Davidson Ó 2005






TEN REASONS TO BE IN AN ANTHOLOGY
WITH LAURELL K. HAMILTON
by
MaryJanice Davidson

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I've been ridiculously fortunate lately, having been approached to write novellas for not one Laurell K. Hamilton anthology, but two (CRAVINGS was out in July; BITE, with Laurell, Sookie Stackhouse, and Angela Knight, was out in December). So I thought I'd touch on what it's like working with the woman who thought up discrimination against lycanthropes, warrants to stake vamps, and raising the dead as a way to pay the rent.

1) The money. Of course, the money. Come on. You know that's the first thing you thought. Heck, it's the first thing I thought. Okay, that's not entirely true. The first thing I thought was, "Berkley wants me to be in an anthology with Laurell K. Hamilton? Why? Did she lose a bet?"
So, yeah, the money's great. And the print run's great. You know you're playing with the big boys, that's for darned sure. Let's put it this way: I was offered as much for a hundred page novella as I was for my first single title...which was three hundred and sixty pages. And it wasn't because I'm such a fabulous writer, either. It's because Berkley knew the thing would sell like crazy and we'd all earn out our advances and then some. And they were right.
2) The free ride to the New York Times Best Seller List. That was a good one. It was extremely weird to see my name on that list. And I owe it all to Laurell! I'm not so foolish to pretend I got there by myself but hey, it was really fun hanging onto her coattails.
3) The subsequent hike in my own book sales. UNDEAD AND UNWED, my first vampire single title, did very well, especially for a debut paranormal that no one knew how to market...it wasn't really a romance, it wasn't horror, it sure wasn't literature, it wasn't true crime, and it wasn't a cookbook.
UNDEAD AND UNEMPLOYED came out one month after CRAVINGS...and made the USA Today list for three weeks. BITE comes out in December...and I have a werewolf single title, DERIK'S BANE, out in January. I'm pretty happy about the timing, to put it mildly.
Would my solo projects have done as well without the boost from CRAVINGS? Eventually. Probably. Er, possibly? But I'm more than happy to give credit where credit is due, and an awful lot of readers bought CRAVINGS and liked "Dead Girls Don't Dance" enough to keep an eye out for my next book.
4) Name dropping. Telling people you're in an anthology with Laurell K. Hamilton is like those old E.F. Hutton commercials: everybody listens. Even if they don't read her books, they've heard of her. My dad, who usually sticks to Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler, had heard of her; he'd bought Guilty Pleasures way back when and liked it. Many many many people (except for Dad) have not heard of me, and didn't until they bought CRAVINGS.
5) Getting back at the cheerleaders. I'm married, very happily married, and my legal name isn't hyphenated and I didn't keep my own name...I'm from North Dakota, we're kind of old-fashioned. But my books are all in my maiden name: Davidson. I insist on it. I've always insisted on it. So the girls who were mean to me (and you know who you are, Penny Wagner and Jenny Smith and Leah Bang) can see my name on the New York Times list (thank you again, Laurell) and deeply, deeply regret being mean to me. Hiding my clothes during gym class was really immature, don't you think, girls? I bet you never thought I'd still be obsessing about it...and writing about it...when we were in our mid-thirties.
How pathetic is that? I doubt Leah and Jenny and Penny have spared me a thought in twenty years or more and why the hell would they? But still: I use my maiden name. And thanks to Laurell, a ton of people have seen it.
6) Food on the table, a roof over our heads. This is probably a good time to mention these points are in no particular order of importance. Because food shouldn't come before revenge. Probably. But the thing is, without a steady income from my books, such things could become an issue. My husband, wonderful man that he is, went to Harvard...to get a degree in Public Policy. So he could work for the state and run for city council, neither of which pay very well but score big in emotional dividends. So: Harvard debt, McDonald's salary. That's fine, I knew when I met him that he wasn't in it for the money. Just like I knew that I was.
7) Let's see, is there any other way to alienate you guys? I've talked about cash, petty vengeance, and name-dropping. I guess I should bring up my views on politics, religion, and abortion and make it a clean sweep. Or maybe I should quit while I'm behind. Yeah, I'll do that instead.
So instead of ten reasons, there's only six. But I guess the moral of the story is, if you want to make money, and see your name in the papers, and settle old scores, when they ask you to be in an anthology with Laurell K. Hamilton, say yes.

--MaryJanice Davidson
maryjanice@comcast.net