I had done some script writing and arrangement of scenes in my previous career as a music and theater teacher, so writing in some capacity or another is something I've always been involved in, but I realized I wanted to write fiction full-time when Big Girls Do It Better started really taking off and people were asking for more, and I was really getting some awesome feedback. That's when I realized it was fun and I was really touching people's lives, especially with the subject matter of that book.
It really depends on the book, honestly. The Big Girls and Rock Star book are shorter, so those really only take a week or two, but full-length novels like Falling Into You or Wounded generally take about a month or so, sometimes more, sometimes less.
I generally write from about nine in the morning till three or four in the afternoon, sometimes closer to five, six or seven days a week.
Aside from the fact that I have to music going, I'd say the fact that I write completely chronologically, like I start on page one, and that's the first page of the book. I don't rearrange scenes or chapters, like ever. Even flashbacks or jumps forward or back in time happen naturally, as do POV switches. I also never outline anything. I don't do notecards or flowcharts or character bibles, I just keep it all straight and let it flow.
A neighbor actually first mentioned the idea to me. I'd heard about self-publishing as an idea, but like so many other people, I thought it was a vanity-press kind of thing, for grandpas who want to record their story for their kids or something. I hadn't realized it was something you could make money doing. So then I started researching Joe Konrath's blog and realized it was a legitimate profession and that I could do it and make a living writing stories, so i gave it a shot.
Everything i've published, with the exception of Biker Billionaire, is based on real life events. I've said in other interviews that the manner of Kyle's death in Falling Into You is a real-life event. I think having stories based on things that have really happened make them more believable and more immediate. Plus, I've had a pretty interesting life. As for information, I tend to rely mostly on internet research.
My first book was a paranormal romance under a different pen name, about a year before I started the Jasinda Wilder stories.
Well, I have five kids, so that tends to take up most of my time. Plus, writing is only about 30% of the self-publishing workload. Social media and emails are roughly about 60-65%, and technical stuff like formatting, editing, and uploading is the other 5-10%. So when I'm not writing, I'm answering emails, Facebook, and Twitter, which is an all the time thing.
They are 100% supportive.
I learned while writing Delilah's Diary that the scenes from Twilight that happen in Italy were filmed in a city called Montepulciano. I picked that city at random based on travel reviews and some online photographs, and then read on someone's blog that Twilight had been filmed there.
I have published, including Falling Into Us and the omnibus versions, 26 titles. I think my favorite story and characters, honestly, is Wounded. I just love that story, and I love Rania and Hunter. That's another book that was not based on any events from my own life, going back to an earlier questions.
Not much help, maybe, but honestly, just write. Keep writing and keep writing and keep writing. Write scene by scene, is another piece of advice. Think of a book a series of scenes that tell one whole story.
Oh my god, I answer a hundreds of emails a day, at least half to three quarters of which are from readers. They say all kinds of things, usually variations on how they liked the book, or telling me a story from their lives that connects to my books somehow. Those are my favorite emails. I LOVE hearing about how readers identify and personally connect with my stories. Those emails make my day. Touching lives is a huge part of why I love this job so much.
Absolutely. Most of my books have "adult" themes, simply because that's life. Life is messy, life is beautiful and sexy and complicated, and that makes good fiction.
A good story needs, most importantly, strong, believable, attractively flawed characters. Characters drive the story. Make them fascinating. Give them flaws, nothing too ugly or awkward, but things that can propel a good story. Then, you need a plot that works. It doesn't have to be complicated, but it needs to feel real and believable.
I always wanted to be a teacher, which is what I did for fifteen years before I started publishing.