07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Do I know?

I've never been much of a blogger. It's not that I don’t want to blog, I just can’t ever think of something to blog about that won’t have the reader’s eyes glazing over. Oh, and there’s also the whole…gotta have a title that’s also a song lyric thing before I start writing. (You’d have to read my other blog to get it.)

So, even though we’re given a topic to write about here at Romancing the Genre, for the past week or so I’ve been sitting at my computer trying to think about something to blog about that isn’t repetitive of what the other Genre-istas are saying. Yeah, I know, I’m a writer. I’m supposed to know what to write about, but really, it’s not as easy as you might think. Writing not only takes talent, it takes patience and a very active imagination. Hey, two out of three ain’t bad. And, there’s my song!! Haha

Anyway. As every author will, as has, said, the first piece of advice given to a new writer is “to write what you know”. Now if I’d taken that advice literally I’d have never written anything interesting, much less salable. The first book I wrote (coming soon to Decadent Publishing) was about a serial killer…uh..nope, I’ve never been one of those. The second book was about a woman whose Ex is stalking her using black magic….okay, that one is loosely based on an Ex whom my friend claimed was into black magic (which is where the very active imagination came in). And my current work in progress is about a woman searching for her pregnant sister, who has vanished. (thankfully I’ve never had to live that nightmare) So, basically I’ve had to learn how to research in order to get in the know.

Now, when I wrote my novella Her Will His Way I didn’t have to look hard fro what I knew…which was nothing. By that I mean, my character Anita is Mexican but knows nothing about her heritage or how to speak Spanish….I could definitely relate to that. My mother chose not to teach us Spanish or much of anything about our heritage. Heck, half the people who’ve met me don’t believe I’m full blooded Mexican….must be that Texas accent that throws them off.

There are times I regret not being able to speak Spanish (especially when someone assumes I can and starts chattering away thinking I know what the heck they’re saying). But, as Anita in Her Will His Way says to Antonio, “just because I don’t speak Spanish doesn’t mean I’m any less a Mexican.”

I have to say though, writing this book was also quite a step out of my comfort zone. The editor who had originally requested it had three stipulations. (1) The story had to be contemporary. I generally like to kill people in my books. (2) The story had to be erotic. *gulp* I can write a hot love scene…and boy howdy did that active imagination come in handy here! And (3) the story couldn’t be more than 65 pages. Yeah, that may sound like a lot….but when you’re used to writing 350+ pages….boiling it all down into 1/3 of that ain’t easy! I somehow managed to do it all though and I’m pretty proud of the results. Of course, now my husband and I will occassionally get those funny looks from readers who think I’ve written what I know.


Linda Lovely said...

Someone asked me last night (with raised eyebrows) if a certain section of my book was autobiographical. I laughed. Told 'em to keep guessing. How do you respond?

Terri Molina said...

Usually with a polite smile and an evasion of the question. haha

Judith Ashley said...

Great post! I'm sure when I'm published I'll have some raised eye-brows as I do have some 'hot' scenes. But I imagine most questions will be about other aspects of my story. I do wonder when I'm reading an author how much is research and how much is based on 'what she knows' and when it comes to love scenes...how much is from memory and how much is from imagination. Keep 'em guessing seems to be the best answer.

Maria Zannini said...

For some reason no one has ever asked me if the sex scenes from my books come from first hand knowledge. LOL.

And I've written some steamy ones too.

I'd like to think they're too polite to ask.

Tam Linsey said...

Not repeating what the other Genre-istas say is a difficult task for those at the end of the month, to be sure. You did well. I enjoyed learning a little more about you and your writing.

Sarah Raplee said...

I've never been asked that question, but I think I'll smile and say, 'Of course." If they're rude enough to ask, let 'em be jealous! LOL