Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sizzling First Encounters

I'm at Pepper Basham's blog today sharing the first encounter between Mary and Luke in Courting the Doctor's Daughter. Hope to see you there!

http://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/sizzling-first-encounters-with-janet-dean/

Blessings, Janet

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We have a winner of Love on a Dime!!!

Congratulations to Pat Jeanne Davis, the winner of Cara Lynn James' debut, Love on a Dime!!!!
Cara will be in touch, Pat. Thanks everyone for your interest in Cara's book.

Blessings, Janet

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I'm thrilled fellow Seeker and good friend Cara Lynn James is visiting Cup of Faith today. Cara's sharing some of her writing process and giving those who leave a comment a chance to win a copy of her wonderful debut, Love on a Dime. I love to read and write historicals and I find the setting of Cara's novel, Newport, RI during the Gilded era, especially intriguing. On a visit to Newport a few years ago, I was blown away by the "cottages." Mix in a heroine who is a dime novelist and a fetching cover and I'm hooked!
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Please describe your typical day. Do you need a jolt of caffeine to get going? Or are you up and at ‘em kind of gal?

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I need one or two small lattes in the morning to get going. It’s such a great way to start the day! It puts me in a good mood which is important since I’m a night owl. The morning is a beautiful, quiet time, but I always feel groggy in the a.m. Of course I have to get up early just like everyone else. I’ve noticed the every-day world seems to follow the schedule of the early birds more than the night owls. Sigh. I work for a few hours in the morning, some in the afternoon and usually in the evening as well.

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Do you have a word count you try to fulfill each day? Any tips on productivity you care to share?
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1,000 words a day is my minimum word count. My optimum word count is 1,500 words. I usually get it done or at least come close. Since I’m a rather slow writer I try to write every single day. Occasionally I take a day off, but not often. I’m also trying hard to increase my productivity and I’m making some progress. The terror of missing a deadline is a strong motivator! I can’t whip out a great book in a matter of a few months. I sure wish I could.
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How do you keep from being overwhelmed with writing, promotion, family responsibility, and still have time to smell the proverbial roses?
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Sometimes I am overwhelmed. Then I take a deep breath, pray for serenity, and buckle down to work. If I let myself really think of all the things I have to do in too short a time, then I have the tendency to panic. I have to settle down and take one thing at a time. I’m sure taking a walk would be healthy and relaxing, but I’d rather read a chapter or two in a great novel than torture myself with exercise. (I do try to take a walk several times a week. But I can find excuses—it’s too hot and humid, it’s raining, we might have a thunderstorm etc.) Eating dark chocolate also improves my state of mind.
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Some writers love plotting, some like writing that first draft, and others enjoy researching or digging into the revisions. What's your favorite part about writing a book?
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I enjoy researching. I can get lost in research and won’t surface for hours. I also like to plot, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. Plotting takes a lot of thought and planning. If I plot in too much detail I lose interest in the story. But I do need some sort of a road map. Getting lost or veering down rabbit trails scares me. I hate to write and toss all those wonderful words. But I’m frugal and save them for another story. Still, it’s much faster to get the story right the first time—but it’s not always easy.
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If I’m ‘in the zone’ I love to write without editing. But sometimes the words won’t come. That’s when I find writing a first draft to be frustrating and oh so slow. I also enjoy editing. At least the words are already on the screen. Finding exactly the right word is fun and satisfying, but sometimes time consuming.
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When starting a new project, do you tend to begin with a time period or event and create the characters to live it, or do you start with characters and then find their story?
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I start with a time period, location, character types and a situation or hook. Then I flesh out the characters as I find their story. A story never comes to me without a lot of thought. I develop it as I start to take notes. The characters tell me their story as I write about them, but before I begin the actual manuscript. As I write the book the characters become clearer and more real to me, so I’ll have to revise and change my original plans somewhat. I outline although not in great detail.
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How much of yourself you write into your characters?
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I try to keep myself out of the story. I don’t think I’d come across as sympathetic enough for a heroine. Maybe I could be the sardonic sidekick or quirky old aunt.
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How do you choose your characters’ names?
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Since I write historicals I have lots of fun with names. Many turn-of-the-century names are funny sounding to our modern ears and I like to use them, but not for my heroes and heroines. I looked up baby names popular during the 1890s and 1900s and the girls’ names especially seem old fashioned now and not very appealing. But there are a few I like such as Alice, Elizabeth, Lilly, and Charlotte. I wouldn’t name my heroine Bertha, Hazel, or Edna, but they were popular back then too. I usually choose the first name first and then try to match it with a last name. I keep a chart so I don’t have more than one or two names beginning with the same letter.
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What’s your favorite way to spend leisure time?
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Reading is my favorite hobby. I don’t have much time for any other hobbies, although I used to crochet and quilt and sew. If I had a lot of time and money, I’d travel. Reading is so much cheaper. I also love to try out new restaurants, go camping and lounge on the beach.
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How can readers find you on the Internet?
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Thanks for giving us a peek at your writing process, Cara! Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Love on a Dime.
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Janet