Convention of Statesmen

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Interview with Candace Salima

I ran into this interview on "Running with Quills" the blogspot for several famous romance writers. I adapted it and am answering the questions from my perspective as an author. At the end, I will tag several authors to do the same. The questions are good --

Which book would you like to see made into a movie and who would your dream cast be?

Oh, without question, it would be "Out of the Shadows Into the Light" . . . always and forever Romantic Suspense will be my favorite genre although I do dip into other genres with my other books.

"Out of the Shadows Into the Light" would make a great, sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat movie. As to the cast, wow, if my wishes were met without a blink of an eye, it would be as follows:

Caroline Duncan: Sandra Bullock
Slade Taggart: Matthew McConahey

Yeah, that's who I'd like to see.

Do you think that most romance novelists marry their ideals?

I don't know. Certainly if they are happily married, as I am, the heroes take on the qualities of their husbands, if not the physical appearance. In "Out of the Shadows Into the Light" Slade has the qualities of my husband and a hybrid appearance of my husband and brother.

If there was one thing you could go back and change in your writing career, what would it be and why?

I would have started much sooner. I wrote and published my first book at the age of forty. I wish that I hadn't spent as much time on trying to get an independent film production company financed and started writing books much sooner.

Has there ever been a book you've written, that you wish now you hadn't?

Book, no. Movie, yes. My very first screenplay had a lot of technical and structural difficulties. As I have studied and honed my skill as a writer over the years and looking at the first screenplay -- oh yeah, right into the round file.

For all the Storymakers...if you weren't writers, what would be your dream job?

I would be a bookstore owner. I would create something like Nora Roberts wrote about in her "Face the Fire (Three Sisters Island Trilogy)" of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy. Cute little cafe, great bookstore with art and knick knacks . . . the closest I've come to that is my bookstore on my website, Renewal. But one day, regardless of how successful I am in the future (and here's hoping I eventually have the kind of career Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz and Kay Hooper have) I will have that little bookstore that will be a "home away from home" for all my shoppers.

Do you reread your own work? And, if you are doing a series with follow-up from previous books, do you reread differently?

After having re-written a manuscript at least 20 or 30 times, no - I do not reread my work. I'm thoroughly sick of it by the time I'm done, no matter how good it is. And when I'm doing a sequel, yes, I list all the characters, their bios and a synopsis for each one of what has occurred so far in their fictional lives. Then I write the new one.

Has turning your art into your "job" in anyway detracted from the joy you take in writing? Have you ever felt like you had to do less than your best to meet a deadline?

A little. But still, there is a burning desire within my heart that cannot be extinguished by editors, publishers, deadlines and life.

I felt like I could have done a much better job on "13-0: Reflections of Champions". My publisher was pushing me so hard, initially only giving me four weeks to get the book done, that it was virtual impossibility. I had to track down the players of BYU's 1984 National Championship Football Team, then I had to convince them to talk to me! That was not an easy task. Eventually, I was able to track down 20 or so -- if I'd been given the time to do the job I wanted to, I would have tracked down every living player who would talk to me and interviewed them.

All in all, the book turned out great. I was pleased and very privileged to be able to write the book and bring their stories into the public eye.

Is there one book you've written, that you wish now you could have changed something major?

Oh yeah, see the above question and answers. As good as it was, "13-0: Reflections of Champions" could have been much, much better.

What are your top ten romance novels you would take to the beach?

I'd have to go with series --- while I like stand-alone novels, I much prefer a series. When I travel I always take one or two of these ten series or books. If I was headed to the beach --- hmm, I'm at six already with these two.
Those right there probably put me right over the top. I would just as easily take any of Iris Johansen, Sherryl Woods, Sharon Sala, Maggie Shayne, Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick or more.

What comes first, characters or plot? What happens when it's characters first? Does the plot just flow naturally from a discovery of those characters, or do you find it difficult to weave a story together to fit the characters you want to write?

Usually, for me, the title of the book comes and then I build a premise around the title. In fact, that is how it always works for me. Then comes the plot which is developed through a basic outline and then serious research. Research will change the plot. Once the plot is relatively solid, although remaining fluid, I then start building the characters using Dr. Taylor Hartman's "The Color Code: A New Way to See Yourself, Your Relationships, and Life".

After all this, then I begin to write the book.

After reading all the Storymaker blogs for a while now and learning what hectic schedules you all keep between your writing and other activities, how do you find time to read other authors books? Is there one particular author that you ALWAYS read no matter what? What is your favorite book of all time?

I don't read as much as I used to. I used to at least get in a book a day. Now I'm lucky if I get four or five a month. But I am always first at the store on the morning of release dates for Nora Roberts (and J.D. Robb), Jayne Ann Krentz (and Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle), Linda Howard, Iris Johansen, Kay Hooper, James Rollins and Chris Stewart. I never miss them. Ever

In other markets, I never miss Matthew B. Brown, Willard Boyd Gardner, Jeffrey S. Savage, Hugh Nibley or Dean Hughes.

My favorite book of all time? Oooh, that's a hard one. If I ever think of one, then I'll do a blog on it and review it.

When you don't want to sit in the chair and write…what do you do to make yourself sit there? Duct tape? Crazy glue?

I have to tune out the world. Every single day, I sit down at my computer and work for a minimum of four hours with my writing. Then the remainder of the day is spent in marketing and other business. Duct tape does fix everything --- hmmmm. But seriously, it really requires a tremendous amount of discipline to write every day. It doesn't matter if you're turning out good stuff or bad. I deleted almost everything I've written in the last year. With the two books I'm currently working on, only four chapters survived of the one and six of the other. So I have to just keep plugging along because I can't wait to see what happens to these characters.

If a person had never read any of your books, which one would you want them to read first and why?

"Out of the Shadows Into the Light"- it's my romantic suspense and I absolutely love the story and the characters. Although I'm very proud of my other work, Shadows remains my favorite.

Do any of you work on more than one project at a time? I find myself doing this more and more lately and it's about ready to drive me insane. All these people just keep bumping around inside my head.

Yes, I do. I have four books I am currently working on. Two fiction and two nonfiction. When I get stuck with one, I minimize it and pull up another and work on that one --- it keeps my brain and creativity fresh and I invariably figure out the problem of the first while working on the second. Although, RaeAnne Thayne's tip of writing longhand has proven to be a marvelous tool for getting over the block.

Is there a novel (famous or otherwise) which you wish you had written?

I can't think of one right off hand. I just want to write and publish more.

How do you organize research? Do you try to do it all ahead of time?

Yes, I do most of it ahead of time. I have files full of different types of research which are at my fingertips. I then plot the story on index cards and tape them to the walls of my home. (Yes, I have a very patient and loving husband.) Then I can locate plot problems that I can rectify by simply moving the cards around and following suit in the manuscript. With the index card system I can see where research is lacking as well and get that done before I continue.

What happens when you run into something that you need to look up before you can finish the scene? Do you just type {research blah} and keep going, or stop then and look it up, or some other option I haven't thought of?

Sometimes I stop and do more research, make a note in the manuscript or just type what I'm looking for into the internet and grab the answer.

Do any of you find that having a clear notion (such as a map) of the area you're setting the story in is worth the time it would take to set it up?

Absolutely. Setting is critical. There are so many conflicts that can come up if you are fully aware of the setting.

My question to all of you is, do you find the ancillary activities inseparable from being a professional writer a welcome balance and counterpart to the intense concentration of actually writing, or just a distracting pain in the neck?

Sometimes its a welcome balance, but most of the time I resent the time away from my writing. I do everything else to make money and promote my work so that I can keep writing. I look forward to the day when I am so famous that I am making enough to replace a full-time job and can just write, write, write.

I now tag every single Storymaker to answer these same questions and post them on their blogspots, websites or both. Tag, you're it!
Interview with Candace Salima Interview with Candace Salima Reviewed by Candace Salima on Friday, July 20, 2007 Rating: 5