Saturday, January 24, 2015

Meet Romance/Mystery Author Rebecca Grace--"Where Romance Lives, While Danger Lurks."

Rebecca has been writing stories since she was ten years old. Through high school and college she often wrote stories in a spiral bound notebook, and from the beginning she found she loved combining romance and intrigue or mystery. The first story she completed was about a rock star who was kidnapped, along with a teenage fan. Her love of writing took her in the direction of a journalism degree. While she first envisioned herself as a newspaper reporter or sports writer, she ended up as a broadcast journalist. Eventually she ended up working in a number of TV newsrooms around the west. Most of her time was spent in Los Angeles, where she worked for all three major network affiliates. 
Her writing still involves romance and mystery, hence her slogan, “Where romance lives, while danger lurks.”  Her latest book is BLUES AT 11, a romantic mystery set in the world she knows so well – TV news.  It revolves around a television anchor woman, Kimberly delaGarza, who finds herself suspected of killing her ex-boyfriend. Suddenly her fame is working against her. Jealous former competitors are happy to see her in trouble, her best friend is out of the country and the one man who might be able to help her is a man she dumped for her dead ex.  

About BLUES AT 11
Kimberly delagarza is a familiar face in Los Angeles. She can be seen nightly on the evening news. She drives a fancy car, lives in a house on the beach, and wears designer clothes. But now she is no longer delivering the news—she has become the biggest story of the day. The TV anchorwoman is suspected of murder.

No one believes she didn't kill her louse of an ex-boyfriend after he dumped her. Her next picture may be on a wanted poster, and her next home may be the Big House, with a wardrobe consisting of orange jumpsuits. The only man who can help her is a man she once wronged...
Purchase BLUES AT 11
The Wild Rose Press                            
A Chat With Rebecca
If you have 2 hours free time tonight, what would you rather do? Why?
If I have free time, I would probably write. I love to be able to lose myself in a story I am inventing. It’s kind of like daydreaming, but doing it on the written page.
What kind of books do you love to read? Why?
I read a lot of mystery books, romance and romantic suspense. I am a big fan of Janet Evanovich and her Stephanie Plum series because of the mixture of romance and the mystery.  But I also enjoy Brenda Novak, Cindy Gerard and Sandra Brown.  On the straight mystery side, I enjoy Harlan Coben and his domestic thrillers, I’ve long been a fan of John Sandford and his Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers books and Robert Crais and his Elvis Cole.
What type of music do you enjoy relaxing to?
I’m afraid I never moved past the 70s and early 80s in my musical tastes.  I still love the oldies, whether it groups like Foreigner or the Eagles, and not to age myself or anything, but I was one of those crazy girls who was screaming at the movie theater when the first Beatles movie, “A Hard Day’s Night” came out.
What is your stress buster?
My stress buster is to play video games. Games like, Zuma, Tetris, Candy Crush, Spider, all calm me down.
What is your favorite food? What food do you seek when you’re sad, sort of a comfort food?
Chinese food is a good comfort food for me for several reasons. Going out for Chinese food alone usually means writing time. One of my favorite things to do when stuck on a scene is to head over to P F Chang’s with my notebook and write. It doesn’t hurt that one of the closest restaurants also has an absolutely majestic view of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. But it’s not just when I’m stuck on a scene. If I want to celebrate, I order a split of champagne.  And then  there is cheesecake -- strawberry cheesecake or blueberry cheesecake. Sometimes pumpkin cheesecake does the trick.  It’s probably good that the nearest Cheesecake Factory is more than ten miles away.
Describe yourself in one word.
I would say I am optimistic. I like to look for the good side of situations and in people.
If a fairy grants you one wish and one wish only, what would it be? Why?
Wow, so many things come to mind. But probably what I would want is a cruise around the world to see all the special things we have in our world.
What’s your biggest regret in life?
Probably not following through on my writing possibilities many years ago and then waiting so long to really work at getting published. Back in the early 80s when I finished one of my first fully edited books I submitted to Harlequin and got rejected. I think I might have submitted elsewhere too, but the Harlequin rejection letter is the only one I still have. When I read it over now and look at the editor’s notes on the manuscript (and yes, back then they actually would make notes) I realize I should have taken that book and re-written it and re-edited and maybe I would have gotten published sooner. I  let the  rejections get me down and stopped pursuing getting published. I never stopped writing, though and eventually I did go back and submit and eventually got published.
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
I’m not certain if it was adventurous or stupid, but twice when I decided I needed a change in my life, I simply packed up my belongings and moved more than a thousand miles away to cities where I’d never been and knew no one without a job and without a safety net to get me back home if I didn’t like it.  Fortunately, I fell in love with both San Diego and Seattle, and within weeks of arriving in both places I was able to find a job working at TV stations.
What makes you happy/sad/disappointed/frustrated/hopeful/angry? (Pick one)
What makes me happy and hopeful is the ability to write. As long as I can keep telling my stories, I am happy.
What are your wildest dreams/fantasies/kinks/quirks?
My wildest dream is to go back in time.  I’m not sure where or when, but just to go back for one day and be able to live in another time just to see what it was like.

Your Writing
When did you write your first book? How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote my first novel back in 1978. It was a very bad romance novel about a professional football player and the daughter of the man he replaced as quarterback.  I think I worked on that off and on through college and finished it five years later. I kept restarting it
Did you encounter any obstacles in writing? What are they? How did you overcome
I had problems finishing my first books. I kept going back and starting them over
And rewriting from scratch. My first few books were never published and I cringe when I reread them today.
How did you feel when you received your first contract? What did you do? Any celebratory dinner, dance, event, etc to commemorate the occasion?
I couldn’t believe it.  After so many years to finally have a publisher who wanted to distribute my writing – wow!  I was out of town at the time, visiting my brother so the whole family went out to celebrate. The only problem was that when I came back from that trip, I lost my day job. In a way it was great because it allowed me to focus full time on writing.
Any writing peeves, things you wish you could improve on, things you do with exceptional talent?
I have a problem with having too many ideas in my head at once and then I want to get started on them. The end result is I always have a bunch of stories going at once, and I think it keeps me from totally focusing on finishing just one faster.
What kind of books do you love/hate to write? Why?
I love to write books with mystery and romance in them. I started out writing books that were purely romances, but then I found I like that hint of danger and ever since I have had trouble not killing at least one person in my books or giving the protagonists a mystery to solve.
What do you think about editing?
As a journalist, I’ve spent so much of my time editing, I know it’s a necessity, no matter how good a writer might be. Nothing is perfect the first time around and good editing can make even the best writing better.
Where and when do you write? Tell us about your favorite work place and time. Any special reason?
Most of my writing is done in my home office at my computer. However I will write anywhere and anytime. I have tons of little notebooks that I carry around in my purse or keep in my car so that no matter where I am and what I’m doing I can write if something strikes me. I keep the notebooks with me because I’ve been known to write on the backs of receipts, grocery bags and any sort of paper I can find if I don’t have one handy.
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story? How do you go on from there? Maybe you can give us an example with one of your books.
Usually it is the story idea that comes to me first, but it can also be the character. In my newest book, Blues at 11, I got my inspiration for the story from an afternoon I spent drinking with gal pal as we lamented my break up with a long time boyfriend. We started playfully thinking of ways to do him in. I was working in Las Vegas at the time and we wanted to bury him in the desert. About halfway through the afternoon the bartender finally came over to us and playfully mentioned he wouldn’t tell the police when they found the body that we were the culprits. And that was the start!  But this was also back during the time of OJ Simpson when the LA media that I’d just left went into a total frenzy over his fame. It took me a couple of years but I finally put it all together
What books can you recommend to aspiring writers to improve on style, character development, plot, structure, dialogue, etc?
I am one of those people who is aways looking for how-to books on writing. I have so many,  but I think one of the best is Stephen King’s On Writing.  It not only talks about things a writer needs to know—the writer’s toolbox—but  it’s a good behind-the-scenes view of how a struggling beginner went from starving writer to mega best selling author.
What is your must-have book for writing?
There are two books I have had on my desk for years. I had them when I worked as a journalist, when I worked as a public information officer and now they are on my desk where I write every day.  They are the  Associated  Press Style book and Strunk and White’s Elements of  Style.  When I am editing I also have Browne and King’s Self Editing for Fiction Writers and The Writer’s Digest Grammar reference book.  I find that with these books readily available to me I can manage almost any problem I run into. 
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up if you want to get published. These days there are more opportunities than ever. See my above question about my big regret. It took a boyfriend who was also trying to get published to push me back into the fray, but I’m glad I made the renewed effort. It took 3 years from when I started re-submitting to finally get a contract. 
If you don’t know where to start, look around for writing groups near you or groups that offer online workshops. There are plenty of them out there, with members who are willing to help beginning writers. Spend some time with those writing groups. Often they offer sessions or online lessons on writing. And if you are in a small town where you might not find groups, then get on the internet and join an online group.  Some of my earliest help in learning how to write came from the online group, Kiss of Death, a mystery-suspense chapter of Romance Writers of America.  They offer online workshops on writing and that idea has taken off. There are other online groups out there too, like Savvy Authors. I have taught for Savvy for four years as well as giving online workshops for other groups.
  But most of all, never stop writing!
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