Genie is giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a $10 Powell's Bookstore GC to one commenter at every stop, so comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops)! The more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!
Genie was gracious enough to answer all my prying questions. Thanks, Genie!
Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?
As both a reader and a writer, I want a happy ending and I want good to win over evil. Romances have these two elements. In addition, there are so many subgenres within romance that I have the latitude to write a variety of stories. My latest release, LIVING THE LEGACY, has elements of suspense and action/adventure in addition to the central romance between the two main characters. This is the third book of my Legacy Series, which focuses on eight adopted siblings and their widowed mother, determined to continue the legacy of compassionate justice built by their policeman father before he was gunned down.
Each book focuses on one of the siblings and their love interest, and also uncovers part of the mystery of why their father was killed. (Their mom has her own story too.) Since each character is unique, each story is different. Some main characters find romance and danger when the story begins. Others are just starting a relationship when the book wraps up. Some of these books may lean more toward women's fiction, but the hero and heroine develop a relationship and the antagonist(s) receives a fitting comeuppance.
What research is required?
This made me chuckle because I'm doing middle-of-the-book research for one of my LEGACY books. I do a lot of research before I start writing, as well as research on topics that come up as the book develops.
Research comes from a number of sources, such as real-life experiences and the emotions related to those experiences. However, that only gives me an overall tone for the book or the character--then my imagination takes over. I grew up in a small town and my LEGACY series is set in a small town. There were some things I really liked about small-town living and other things that drove me to move to the big city. So my fictional town of Halo is definitely not a replica of the small town where I grew up. But I had great fun building this town. I even have maps with the streets laid out--before the town is blown up. :)
When I don't have real life experiences, I look for other sources. For instance, I've never been a policeman, but that's a big part of life for the O'Shea family of my Legacy Series. Fortunately, my local police department held a Citizen Police Academy that I was able to attend. While I was learning about the various departments, I also watched the officers who were talking to us or leading us through training exercises. Under the uniforms, there were many different personalities, just as there are in any occupation.
I also want to see the vulnerabilities and problems too. Not just for police officers, but for any career. So I look for newspaper stories of arrests gone wrong or attorneys behaving badly. I search the Internet for blogs written by bomb techs or watch videos of firefighters. Books written by someone retired--like a former pastor--can be revealing too. Retirees don't have to worry about losing their job, so they are more open about some of the funny happenings or near disasters. Another resource I use is the curriculum descriptions at colleges and speciality schools. What classes does a doctor have to take? How do you become an EMT? I also interview family and friends who work in different occupations. Um…can you tell I'm in research mode?
Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.
Courage wears many faces. It may mean taking out bad guys like Collin, the hero and police sniper in LIVING THE LEGACY does. However, courage can also mean comforting others when your entire town has been blown up and your knees are knocking, like small-town cafe owner Beth. It can mean rebuilding your business when all that's left are splinters of boards and a dream. Or, courage can mean stepping away from a career you've focused on since you were six years old when you realize your wife and unborn child are more important.
Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?
I love to use storyboards for my books. There are nine contracted books in my LEGACY series, so these storyboards take up an entire wall in my office. It's a great visual reminder of my characters, their personalities and what's important to them. Since I'm also a graphic designer, I design the covers for my books, and also have those on the storyboards. It's interesting to see how the covers develop from the first rough drafts to the final versions.
Plotter or pantser?
Detailed plotter. In addition to the visual storyboards, I also do boards that are mostly text for each scene and chapter. However, since there are so many books in my LEGACY series, I ran out of wall space. So the scene and chapter boards are on databases in my computer.
I want to clarify that being a detailed plotter does not mean I plot once and the story never changes. My plots are more like road maps. They lay out where I want to go and the basic route to reach that destination. However, I'm open to interesting side trips--and my characters always seem to come up with those!
Look to your right – what’s sitting there?
My printer--nearly buried with junk mail that needs to be recycled, and notes about "really important stuff."
Anything new coming up from you? What?
More books in my LEGACY series! LIVING THE LEGACY is the third book and, as I mentioned, six more are contracted to be released every other month through July 2013. So that series has been, is, and will be my life for awhile.
Do you have a question for our readers?
Do you have a preferred length for a book? Do you like a book you can read in one sitting? Or do you like to savor a longer book over several days or weeks? Or is length irrelevant once you dive into a story that captures your interest?
A reluctant sniper cherishes the innocence of a small-town woman, but their love may destroy them both.
As the fire crews brought the flames under control, Collin and other emergency personnel picked their way through what was left of Halo.
The blasts had sent dirt, rocks, and pieces of buildings hundreds of feet into the air. The explosions also took out phone and power lines, and ruptured natural gas pipelines, which resulted in the fires that destroyed most of the downtown buildings. Vehicles not used to evacuate were reduced to grotesque sculptures of twisted metal. The remains of the town were covered with a thick layer of water-soaked sand, dust, and ash.
Turmoil fisted in Collin's gut as he paused by the crater that used to be Beth's house. Jagged teeth of concrete gaped where the foundation once stood. Bits of charred boards lay scattered on the street. The refrigerator and stove were crumpled into a warped parody of what was once a kitchen.
He knelt and lifted a splintered piece of wood from the thick layer of dust that covered the rubble in the street. The broken and twisted string still attached identified it as a piece of Beth's cello.
Collin closed his hand around the debris until the painful gouging against the palm of his hand registered in his brain. Thank God Beth had been in Pendleton and not at home or at her cafe.
Collin stood for a moment and forced himself to breathe. Shoved away the thought he could have lost this beautiful, innocent woman before he really knew her, and let determination rise in its place. Beth would become part of his life. He would protect her from all that was ugly in this world and not let evil like Aaron Swaggerty ever come near her again.
My Web site: http://www.geniegabriel.com/
My LEGACY blog: http://oshealegacyseries.blogspot.com/