Friday, February 03, 2006

Want the real scoop?

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?

I'm posting early because we're having severe thunderstorms. So if my presence today seems spotty, blame it on the weather and my satellite internet service.

When you’re reading an author bio, interview or attending an author’s chat, what interests you most? What about the author are you hoping to learn? Something about the author’s personal life? His/her writing process? The behind-the-scenes story of their latest books?

I’d have to answer “all of the above.” I find author bios fascinating. For instance, Dean Koontz, who is probably my hubby’s favorite author, has written under many pseudonyms, including Leigh Nichols. Leigh Nichols? “She” wrote amazing category romances! Imagine my delight when I learned Leigh = Dean.

Another example: Joseph Wambaugh. He’s written a lot of police novels and screen plays, including The Onion Field and Glitterdome. I “discovered” him in the ‘70s and learned that, like me, he had a degree in English. He also graduated from law school, then joined the LAPD. So he writes from training and experience. I’m sure many of his characters are based on real people, or perhaps he uses composites of himself. That stuff interests me.

I guess we all know that John Grisham is an attorney. But did you know that he mortgaged his house to buy all the first run copies of The Firm to push it to best-seller-dom? He considered it an investment in his career. I’d say it paid off handsomely.

So share with me today on this topic. What interesting surprises have you uncovered about your favorite writers? What interesting facts would you like to know about your favorite LSB authors?

Post your questions here. The winner gets answers to her questions from the LSB author of her/his choice. I’ll commit to get you the answers you seek as long as the questions are reasonable (i.e. Do NOT ask an author’s weight or bank account balance!*g*).

Come on! Join in the fun. Authors are readers, too, so jump right in to the discussion.

Vanessa Hart

37 Comments:

Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

I adore reading the "About the Author" page at the ends of books, so much so that I feel cheated when there isn't one! It's great to feel like you've made a personal connection with the writer of a story you enjoyed.

I heard today that for every minute that goes by, 21 Nora Roberts books are sold. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, that is just mindboggling.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Bec said...

I learned that Michael Crichton wrote boring old physics textbooks before he ever wrote Jurassic Park.

Oh and I learned that one of my favourite Aussie authors Derek Hansen was an 'ad man' before he wrote his first novel and that the very thought of so many words frightened the life out of him.

I recently read an anthology of Garth Nix short stories too and in it he explained what he'd been doing at the time the story was written, what had inspired him and how the story eventually came to be...I loved that!

11:31 PM  
Blogger Mahaira said...

Well, Venessa, like you, I love to know everything. bio, process and any interesting and wacky habits.

The behind-the-scenes story of the books interest me most. I love to know what inspired the story and how did the characters develop in the authors imgination.

For example, Candice Hern's webpage has everything I want to know from cool historical references to behind-the-scenes stories and great contests. I would be in reader's heaven if every autor out there includes info about their books as she does. When she was writing the 'The Bride Sale' she found a print, showing exactly what she had envisioned, with the wife perched on a platform, above the other "livestock", with a halter around her neck.

Linnea Sinclair is mad about 'cats' and she'll be really happy if you give her anything resembling cats.

A different sport figures in each of Twist Phelan’s legal-themed Pinnacle Peak mysteries and it was interesting to know that as a part of her research, she tried her hand at all three sports.

Ok, Here are my Qs for LSB authors, if you choose to answer them:
* Were you a good writer as a child? Teenager?

* How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? Where do you draw the line?

* Which three people, throughout history, would you invite to dinner and what would you serve?

Mahaira

11:43 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Mahaira said "Ok, Here are my Qs for LSB authors, if you choose to answer them:"

* Were you a good writer as a child? Teenager?

I fell in love with writing in a high school creative writing class. The teacher told me I had talent and in her class she had a what she referred to as 'the wall of honor'. Only the best papers were displayed on the wall. Almost every paper I wrote went on the wall. I was hooked.

* How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? Where do you draw the line?

~smiles~. There is a little bit of me and the people I know in every book, every character. I draw the line where it needs to be drawn depending on the development of the story.

* Which three people, throughout history, would you invite to dinner and what would you serve?

Mae West - I'd serve chocolate dipped strawberries and champagne. I'd spend the evening getting her to tell me all about the men in her life.

John Wayne - I'd serve steak and baked potatoes. Most likely I'd spend the evening just staring at him. I had a crush on Mr. Wayne in my younger days, thought he was the perfect example of a man.

God - I'd serve cream of potato soup and animal crackers. I'd ask him one question - Whats the funnies joke you've ever played on mankind?

That's it. I reserve the right to revise my answers in the morning when I'm more awake. It's 12:23 am on the west coast and it's wayyyyyyy past my bedtime ~grinz~

Michelle Hoppe
www.michellehoppe.com

3:23 AM  
Blogger LSB Author, Darragha Foster said...

* Were you a good writer as a child? Teenager?
****Yes. Writing has been all I've ever wanted to do, be, etc. I wrote my first real book at age 10.

* How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? Where do you draw the line?
****Way too much, I'm sure! Line? What line? I don't need no stinking line!

* Which three people, throughout history, would you invite to dinner and what would you serve?
****I think I'll toss out an open invitation and see who shows up. I'm serving pot roast. I like using my slow cooker.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Vanessa Hart said...

WOW, we're off to a great start! Bec, I think we talked about Michael Crichton on one of the loops, didn't we? He is also an MD and his first book (Under a pseudonym of Jeffrey something-or-other) was A CASE OF NEED, a medical thriller turned into a movie, THE CAREY TREATMENT, starring James Coburn and Jennifer O'Neil. It's actually pretty good, although my very favorite Crichton book is Jurassaic Park. Before I ever knew there would be a movie, I was riveted by that book!

Okay, Michelle, go back to sleep. You're supposed to wait to answer the questions until I pick a winner and he/she chooses you to interrogate *LOL*LOL* But I do so appreciate your blogging with us, awake or not! **Grinz back at ya!**

Mahaira, you've given me some authors to check out. Based on your post, I'm going to re-do my website! Thanks for the tip and thanks for blogging today.

Kate, as for Nora Roberts, she is so good and so successful I'm simply overwhelmed by her!

I'll be in and out today, depending on my connection and the weather. Here in Florida it's thundering and lightning. It stormed all night...so hubby says. I slept right through it! zzzzzz

Nessie

8:24 AM  
Blogger Sherrill Quinn said...

Mahaira asked:

* Were you a good writer as a child? Teenager?

I remember in sixth grade our teacher used to give us an opening line and tell us to write a story. Something like "It was a dark and stormy night and..." I seem to remember that many of my stories ended with the dreaded "...but it was only a dream." So, as a child, I was a horrible writer. :) I don't remember doing too much writing as a teenager, but in college I got straight As in Advanced Composition, if that counts. LOL

* How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? Where do you draw the line?

I think there's always a little bit of the author and/or people she knows in these books--we are drawing on life to an extent, after all. There's a little bit of me in every heroine, or a little bit of what I'd like to be. But I do draw the line at making characters recognizable to others.

* Which three people, throughout history, would you invite to dinner and what would you serve?

Wow. I don't think I could narrow it down to 3. There are a lot of bad people I'd like to talk to and ask "What were you thinking?!?" and writers who I'd like to ask, "How do you come up with this stuff?" LOL

8:31 AM  
Blogger Vanessa Hart said...

Sherrill, I, too, want to know where writers come up with some of the stuff they write. I met Lisa Gardner (she writes dark, edgy suspense i.e. THE PERFECT HUSBAND, THE NEXT ACCIDENT, etc) and she's so young, sweet, and cute! I asked her how she could write something like THE PERFECT HUSBAND. She laughed and said something to the effect that you don't have to break your arm to know it hurts like hell. *LOL*

Nessie

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This from Cyndi, who's unable to post:Interesting topic, Nessie~! Stay safe today.

I'd like to answer Mahaira since she just asked a question I wrote about
2 days ago in my own website blog.

The heroine I'm writing now is more like me than I realized, and it's
odd since someone else created her. Then I was asked to write the next
in the series, telling her story. Wild, huh?

Was I good writer as a child? Yes. In hs I received the only A+ from
the most demanding English teacher in creative writing. I can't beleive
I didn't think about becoming a writer then. **eg** I stayed on my path to
be a fine artist--something I thought I wanted since childhood. I still
love art, but should have majored in art history. Maybe I could have
found a job.

Three people coming to dinner? Joan of Arc, Jim Carey and Ghandi. I think we'd have an interesting dinner conversation, don't you?

9:25 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Nessie, I always read the author bios at the end of a book and love to find out where the author lives. For instance, if the book took place in Kansas, and I read later that the author is a NY City native, it fascinates me.

While I loved Jurassic Park, my favorite Crichton book is Timeline.

Dee S. Knight
www.deesknight.com

9:31 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Vanessa wrote: "Okay, Michelle, go back to sleep. You're supposed to wait to answer the questions until I pick a winner and he/she chooses you to interrogate *LOL*LOL"

Oh man, Nessie, now what? You wants I should think up new questions for the winner? Or, I could write the questions and the winner could answer them, ~shaking head yes~. What do you think? Good idea, right?

~putting serious face on~ I do apologize to Mahaira, I guess I wasn't supposed to answer your questions yet and from all the posts after mine, it appears I've created a run on question answering this morning. I'm sorry that you will find out three things about some LSB authors without the thrill of victory! LMAO!

No seriously, I messed up, I'm willing to take my punishment - Nessie send a flogger with the cabana boys.

Michelle

10:18 AM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

* Were you a good writer as a child? Teenager?

Define good. I wrote. I wrote teen-angst, melodramatic crap. It was terrible. Just...terrible. Oh the horrors of being a teenager. A lot of my anger & pain went into those tragedies. I was nuts. I like to think I write better now.

* How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? Where do you draw the line?

Well, I haven't picked up a gun and killed anyone yet so I'm doing good. There's quite a bit of me in the stories. I personally see myself as a lingerie model who can wear red lace underwear (*snort*). Oh. You mean emotionally. Quite a bit is me. Every time I write a dark scene, I pull from the reserves so I don't do a half-assed job of it.

* Which three people, throughout history, would you invite to dinner and what would you serve?

History. That's like the past right? I don't know. I'd have my brother cook either way because grilled cheese (which is pretty much all I can handle) just isn't cool for a historical figure.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Jenna Howard said...

Now if you said current people I'd suprise no one by saying Vin Diesel and serving myself. Right? Right? And I'd leave it at only him because that would mean 3 meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yum.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Mahaira said...

Ack! I have created havoc on the LSB blog. *ducking my head and hiding my face*

It is great to know all that stuff about you ladies and the other great authors. People make it a point to dig out trivia on actors so, it is a good idea to know something about our fav. authors.

I have more Qs up my sleeve and would ask away in case I am the winner. *Just wishing*

Mahaira

11:51 AM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

Mahaira, those are great questions. I'll keep my answers to myself, since I guess you have to officially win the contest. (Looks like you might be a shoe-in, though!)

I am in the process of making my author website and it'll have behind the scenes info about my writing. Deleted scenes, anecdotes about where I got the idea for this and that. I may even have short stories that show the characters "as they are today." I thought I was being unique with this, but I guess there are really no new ideas out there!

1:30 PM  
Blogger Meljprincess said...

I blame this on Dee. LOL!

Will one of you fabulous authors send me a naughty charm? We'll call it a Valentine's Day gift for poor me.

Poor me. Monday I went without heat for about 5 hours, Tuesday I had to take kitty to the vet, and Thursday I went to the dentist only to find out I had a massive cavity. He filled it. Not really the cavity I had in mind to be filled but my entire jaw doesn't hurt anymore.

Show me the love all you SExy authors!

2:11 PM  
Blogger Dakota Cassidy said...

Were you a good writer as a child? Teenager?

I always had good marks in English. I was in high honors classes all through HS, but I never considered writing as a career. I was going to be a professional cheerleader. LOL

I'm serious, I didn't write a thing but the grocery list before two and a half years ago.

* How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? Where do you draw the line?

Oh, tons of me is in every heroine I write. I'm just as snarky in RL as I am in the cyber world and in my books. I have NO LINE. LOL. I will use almost anything within reason.

* Which three people, throughout history, would you invite to dinner and what would you serve?

Hmmm, I dunno that I'm all that intedrested in having to cook. I would however, invite, Elvis (think jungle room stories, LOL)Ghengis Kahn, cuz well, he likes meat and the last spot I'm leaving open, cuz I hope John Cusack reads this and can be lured and we'd go to McDonalds. I just know Elvis would love a good happy meal. LOL

Dakota :)

2:12 PM  
Blogger Rae Morgan said...

I'll wait until Nessie calls a winner. :) I don't want her mad at me.

And meljprincess, ahhh, hugs coming your way. I hate sore teeth. Ugh, just thinking about what you've gone and are going through gives me sympathy pangs. And sorry your kitty was sick, too. Hope all is better.

Rae

2:19 PM  
Blogger Vanessa Hart said...

Hey, everybody, we can change the rules mid-stream! I wasn't sure all of my author colleagues would be so forthcoming. The prize was an experiment of sorts.

Michelle,Kate, Rae, no harm done! Go ahead and post your answers to Mahaira's questions. I will, too. That way, we all win!

Nessie doesn't get mad. What's to get mad about? This is fun and I'm learning good stuff about my favorite authors!

Anybody else have questions for us authors?

2:35 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

LOL...Nessie you's such a push over.

Mel, I'm sorry your having such a rough week. Naughty charm...hmmmm
we need Vesperia, she's the only one I know with tea leaves, crystal balls, and a book for charms.

What exactly do you want charmed?

Mahaira said...
Ack! I have created havoc on the LSB blog. *ducking my head and hiding my face*

~smiles~ don't hide hon...I for one think havoc creating is a fine art and one to be proud of.

Michelle

2:55 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

I put lots of personal information on my website--even a picture of hubby when he had hair (I can barely remember that long ago, but there was a time...) Of course, he uses our wedding picture to prove I used to have a waist, the wretched man!

And Michelle--you who started the chaos--I followed Nessie's instructions. (sticking tongue out).

Meljprincess, you poor dear, email me off line. Sweet Dee has a surprise for you. (dsknight@deesknight.com)

Dee

2:56 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Dee said...
And Michelle--you who started the chaos--I followed Nessie's instructions. (sticking tongue out).

~oh~ did you see that. Dee, I'm shocked LOL...

And, I thought it was havoc not chaos. Hmmm, getting dictionary.

Michelle

2:57 PM  
Blogger LSB Author, Darragha Foster said...

I was a damned fine writer even at an early age.

So far, due to my open invitation, these three people have come over to see if the pot roast is done. They're milling about my kitchen sniffing the air like bloodhounds.

Samuel Clemens
Leif Eirkisson
Shigo Kingo (samurai)

3:04 PM  
Blogger Vanessa Hart said...

Hey, at SEx, chaos + havoc = FUN!

Nessie, who's trying to answer her questions ....

3:08 PM  
Blogger Vanessa Hart said...

My answers:
* Were you a good writer as a child? Teenager?

Yes, English was always my best subject and I scored strongest in English on my SAT. I've written as long as I can remember. Next to reading, writing is my favorite thing to do!

* How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? Where do you draw the line?

It's natural to draw from my own experiences and those of people I know. I draw the line at making any character an obvious imitation, though. I use composite characters, using pieces of several real-life people. I'd never want to expose anyone's secrets or cause embarrassment by making a character too recognizable.

* Which three people, throughout history, would you invite to dinner and what would you serve?

My parents and my paternal aunt, if they were still alive, would make me happier than any famous, important guest I could imagine. I'd cook all their favorites, including black eyed peas, broccoli, oven-fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. Oh, and some cornbread. What fun that would be! **sniff, sniff**

Nessie

3:24 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

I could have said "havoc" Michelle, but I'm an independent woman and chose a different word to express what you wreaked.

I really think it's all Mahaira's fault, actually. Or we can say it is. (wicked grin)

Nessie, that's wonderful, the people you'd invite to dinner. And, you true woman of the South, that dinner sounds fine. I'd like to meet your parents and aunt, too. Is there another place at that table? I'm not historical, but I'm old...

Dee (who maybe had too much sugar at her lunch out, and is now going to compound the problem with caffeine)
www.deesknight.com

3:33 PM  
Blogger Kayelle Allen said...

* Were you a good writer as a child? Teenager?
I always loved writing. Once I got positive attention for it, I was hooked. By the time I was 18, I knew I wanted to do it professionally, but it took me 30 years to begin fulfilling my dream.

* How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? Where do you draw the line?
Oh, my. True confession. You know those little snippets in the front of books that begin "any resemblance between..."? Well, I'm here to tell you that's only there to keep people from being sued, LOL. We all write from what we know to a certain extent. It's how well we transform them and bring out their best / worst qualities and blend them with ideals that makes them unique.
I draw the line at anything that would be recognizable to others or would embarrass that person. I'll let you in on a secret though -- the feline Kin in my books who purr and growl when they make love are just like this... hmm... on second thought, maybe I better not tell!

* Which three people, throughout history, would you invite to dinner and what would you serve?
King Arthur, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon. Serve? Forget that - I'd hire someone to cater and worry over the menu so I could pay attention to these amazing men.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Kayelle Allen said...

Mel, my friend! I am ouchers with you on the dentist. Just had work done too. Cyber hugs!

3:59 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

I really enjoy reading the author's bio. I have read vio's where the author would say something about previous jobs held before finding their way to writing. I can recall one saying she worked on cars! So its always interesting to see past and current types of jobs the authors have and how they may or not be related to their writing.
Regarding an author's site, I love when they have series, like a vamp series, its really detailed in like the universe vocabulary and all that they use in the book. Same with futuristic/SF. It really helps to have something to go back to while reading the books. Plus its good to read before starting them!
I love visiting authors sites! I've found many authors I'd never have a chance to read if I didn't look them up after seeing them post around.
Cathie

4:25 PM  
Blogger Vanessa Hart said...

ATTENTION BLOGGERS! The winner of the drawing gets a BONUS question for the author of her choice. I say "her" because so far I see only a couple of non-LSBers posting, both women, right?

So be thinking of your bonus question but don't post it until / unless you win the drawing, okay?

Nessie

4:31 PM  
Blogger snowflake said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

It's great to find out something about the author of the book you've just read. On author days though my favourite part is finding out what books are out & available and which are wip/coming soon - and the prizes & contests, of course!

what are your WIP?

4:32 PM  
Blogger snowflake said...

Even as a child, when I read a story that astounds me, inevitably I would wonder about the author and the roots of the story and characters. It's wonderful that many romance authors are so friendly and accessible.

4:34 PM  
Blogger snowflake said...

I learnt that Sherrilyn Kenyon is called AG (Author Goddess) by her fans and that the dark hunter prequel was written while she was in a hospital. I also learnt that the subsequent prints of Judith McNaught's Perfect had a correction made and answered a question that's bothered me everytime I reread my copy (How was I to know I could simply pick up a reprint and find the answer?) LOL

4:50 PM  
Blogger Vanessa Hart said...

It's wonderful that many romance authors are so friendly and accessible.

Are you kidding, Jenny? Just try to shut us up *LOL*

Nessie

4:55 PM  
Blogger Meljprincess said...

Thank you all for the sympathy in regard to my HOLY tooth. I know I was prayin' in that chair while he was drillin'.

Michelle, I want to lead a charmed life. *G*

Oh, goody! I get to e-mail Dee in secretions. I'm not telling anyone what we talked about. Na na na na na...

10:28 AM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

Were you a good writer as a child? Teenager?

I can only go by my grades, which were great, so I suppose I was a good writer. I did have one English teacher who praised a sci-fi story I wrote and said I had talent. Just goes to show you what influence teachers have.

* How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? Where do you draw the line?

I think quite a bit goes into my heroines. I tend toward stories with women who are unsure of themselves as women, who perhaps are unused to male attention. You've heard of late bloomers? I don't feel like I ever bloomed. My Wallflowerhood still haunts me, even though I'm now married with kids. So, because that's such a big part of who I am, it comes out in my stories.

* Which three people, throughout history, would you invite to dinner and what would you serve?

This is a really tough question. I would like to have them to dinner separately so I can focus on them as individuals.

First, I think it would be fun to dine with Jane Austen. I think she'd be great at conversation and it'd be a kick to see what she would wear.

Second, I think I'd invite Gene Kelly. I would maybe set up a temporary dance floor in my living room and hope that he could twirl me around a little and make me feel like Cyd Charisse in Brigadoon.

Lastly, assuming we could communicate, I'd like to have dinner with Michelangelo. He fascinates me so much that either he or his work has shown up in my stories. I have several chapters of a book written about a Italian who helped restore the Sistine Chapel. The heroine wants him to come to Vegas and paint a fresco in the hotel she works at. One of these days I'm gonna finish that sucker.

As for menus...that's just way too much thought for me on a Saturday morning! I take cooking very seriously and I'd have to really scour my recipes to find something appropriate and impressive for each guest.

1:07 PM  

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