I — Inquiry and Chronicles of the #CaliforniaDrought

Real quick, this is how Lake Tahoe looked in March. The water was getting closer but not reaching the Truckee River.

The mouth of the river (1 of 1)

Well big news, it just flowed over its natural rim and has reached the mouth of the Truckee River.

Wow just when I was thinking I was running out of time to do my Monday post and couldn’t think of anything, but when I signed in to start a long overdue visitation round for my blogger friends, I discovered to my amazement a comment from Sheri Kennedy who writes as Kennedy J. Quinn with an invitation to do this interview, tag a few other writers, and read her amazing interview! Her answers really are good; please do yourself a favor and read through them. Sheri does everything a hundred percent, and her interview is no exception. And Sheri, thank you for reading and mentioning The Last Straw. I’ve been meaning to get that book up here on my blog, but for now, here are my answers to your great questions

  1. If you could write full time, would you? Why or why not. If you already do, would you want to change that? Why?
    I write full time now, and I wouldn’t change it, I’m so grateful every day for getting to write fiction and my blog.
  2. Tell me about your favorite character in literature. Why are they your fave?Sherlock Holmes. He is so logical. I love logic and logical characters. I’m also a huge fan of Spock in Star Trek and Seven of Nine.
  3. How long did it take you to write your first book? How long to get it published? Six years (I was working at the time, and had a lot of learning to do!) I didn’t publish it.
  4. What do you think the best books have in common? Great question! I have no idea how to answer it! But for me a book is great when I lose myself in it, when I am more in it than in my life as I bumble through the rituals of the day thinking about the book the whole time until I can return to it. I’m reading one like that now, and it brings me so much enjoyment, especially since several friends are all reading it and we are talking about it.
  5. What do you like to eat or drink while writing?Organic unsweetened almond milk (yes I actually like it), nuts, water. When I’m really on a hot streak, slide it under the door. When I’m struggling I spend most of my time at the refrigerator grazing, with the expected consequences.
  6. Did you ever have one of your characters surprise you? In what way? If no, why not?Oh, I love this question because it just happened to me for the first time in the book that is coming out this month, Third Strike’s the Charm. The hero had a secret I didn’t discover until the end of the third draft. Then I knew why I’d had so much trouble with his character. I didn’t understand Jason Ward until then.
  7. Regarding writing environment: Quiet or Noisy? Alone or With Others? Indoors or Outdoors? Hot or Cool?Okay, both, both, indoors, just right. LOL! I’m picky about temperature and light, otherwise, I’m flexible. I LOVE long plane rides. I get so much done!
  8. Regarding preferred stories: Happy or Complicated? Fantasy or Reality? Character-driven or Plot-driven? Scary or Funny? Classic or Modern?Happy, reality but a dramatic version, mix of character-driven and plot-driven, funny, modern.
  9. Tell me about your favorite character in your work in progress. What’s your favorite thing about them?Devin York is an arrogant emotionally disconnected billionaire CEO who scowls and broods which is interpreted by others as being domineering and tyrannical but is really caused by the tragic death of his wife for which he blames himself. He’s emerged as a Gothic character set in contemporary times, and I adore him. He breaks my heart, makes me angry, and makes me laugh, sometimes on the same page. I am finding I love writing these over-the-top characters and am very grateful Devin arrived in time to save my manuscript from the previous hero… who was a lox.
  10. Why do you write?If I had a choice, I wouldn’t. But I’m incredibly grateful that I can and do. What can I say? It’s a love-hate relationship, like every good romance!

Okay, enough about me! Here are my questions to any writer who happens to read this but specifically for the writers linked at the end, should they choose to participate:

  1. What is your favorite project that you have completed? Why?
  2. If you had to pick one book to read while you were stranded for a long time on a desert island, what would it be?
  3. What do you do when you get stuck with a story or article to get unstuck about the story or article and going all the way to the end?
  4. Do you ever write with pen and paper? If so, why? If not, why not? What do you like more about writing on the computer or about writing longhand?
  5. Who is your favorite character in literature?
  6. Do you believe in “muses” or inspiration? If so, how do you cultivate the inspiration?
  7. What made you want to write?
  8. Do you prefer reading or writing fiction or nonfiction? Why?
  9. What book, author (including blogger and journalist) has most influenced or inspired you?
  10. What would be your favorite place to write if you could write anywhere in the world?
    Here’s some inspiration for that thought!


John Holland

Cynthia Harrison

Robena Grant

Margaret Lynette Sharp

Ann of Anroworld

Susie Lindau

Ann Sandler

Marie Tuhart

Leanne Cole






Author interview, Robena Grant, Desert Exposure

Today we have Robena Grant who has a cool book trailer for one of her romantic suspenses. Check it out… it really captures the mood of the novel.

Robena, welcome! What prompted you to get the book trailer made, how did you do it, and do you feel it is helping increase awareness of your book?

Robena Grant:

Thank you for inviting me, Nia. This is so sweet of you. Desert Exposure was my RWA®Golden Heart® finalist book from 2012, so it was special to me. I had not done book trailers for the first two books in the Desert Heat series. I had a friend who had hired GWExtra for hers: www.gwextra.com and I liked the result. I’m not sure trailers do anything toward selling a book though. : )

NS: This is the third in the series — how did you do the research to create the town of Almagro and the neighboring towns?

RG: I moved to the Coachella Valley in Southern California, which is a desert oasis, about eight years ago. I love exploring and became fascinated with the disparity between the poorer small farming towns butting up against the flashy vacation, golf-course-ridden bigger towns. I created Almagro based on my own town, but I moved its location further east.

NS: You created a villain that had real motivation and was three-dimensional. Kudos! Was that a deliberate effort and what made you want to spend the time to develop the villain instead of falling into the common pattern of making villains pure evil?

RG: Thank you. I believe there is good and bad in all of us. I’m interested in what might motivate a person to choose a life of crime. I wanted to show my antagonist’s good side through his loyalty to his family, his brother.

NS: Many of the minor characters were also richly nuanced. Did you work up character sheets for them? (Grandpa, Manuel, and Fernando?)

RG: I don’t do character sheets. When a character first appears to me I’ll flesh him/her out, try to figure out what makes him tick, choose one or two things that make him different from other characters in the story, and then I let him evolve as I write.

NS: Which leads me to my favorite question, are you a pantser or a plotter?

RG: I’m basically a pantser in that I think the story through as I walk, drive, exercise. Then I write a rough draft. With romantic suspense there has to be some plotting as you need to weave both the romance and the suspense. Plus there’s usually a subplot or two. : ) I focus on writing toward the major turning points.

NS: What is your favorite part about writing?

RG: The discovery part of having a character show up and whisper in my ear that they have a story to tell. Then discovering who he/she is, what they’ve done, and how I can do justice to their story.

NS: What is the hardest part about writing?

RG: For me it’s grammar. I still make ridiculous mistakes. I’m getting better at finding them, but thank heavens for editors.

NS: How long have you been writing?

RG: I started in the summer of 2000.

NS: I’m pretty close. I started in the spring of 2001. What are your dreams for your writing?

RG: To be a hybrid author. I adore The Wild Rose Press and I’m currently working on my fifth romantic suspense title for them. I hope we have a long career together. However, I have a couple of contemporary romances already written, and I’d love to secure a contract with a big house, just for the experience, and I’d also like to dabble in indie publishing.

NS: I see you are a nurse. Do you plan to ever try writing a medical romance?

RG: I retired from nursing in 1980. There are many medical stories in my head, but I’m not sure how they would sound on paper.  Medicine, technology, all of that has changed so much in thirty years that I doubt I’d ever get it right. I have friends who write for HM&B and there is a real art to the storytelling. Thanks again for hosting me, and I hope you and your readers have a great day.

Robena Grant
Robena Grant

To learn more about Robena please visit her website: www.robenagrant.com. Click on My Blog for her weekly ramblings on writing, interviews, and rants, or follow her on FB or Twitter.  Robena’s books are available at Amazon http://tinyurl.com/pdndrxr or through her publisher The Wild Rose Press: http://tinyurl.com/keymgfw