MEET THE AUTHOR EVELYN SOLA

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

Introducing Evelyn Sola, queen of the writers.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

I am working on Takeoff. It’s the third novel in the Take series. The other books are Takeover, Takedown, and Takeoff. I don’t have a release date yet for the last book, but I’m hoping for June. It’s with the editor right now.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

I like how the male main character does not take himself too seriously. He’s kind of silly and fun. The heroine doesn’t know how to take him sometimes due to the ridiculous things he says and does.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

Two of my main characters were the main characters in Takeover. Most of the other side characters were in previous books, so I already know them. They were easy to write, but I did introduce the hero’s family in this book, and it’s always fun drafting new people. I think that’s my favorite part of writing, creating characters and giving them a backstory.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

Like I said, they were side characters in Takeover. I didn’t really intend to write their story. I just threw them in. The heroine in this book is the sister to my heroine in Takeover. The main characters in Takeoff met in that book, and they had a lot of chemistry. He was interested right away, and she shut him down. Readers have been asking for their story ever since.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

I never really have much of an outline. I always have my trope and I go from there. My plan for every book is the same. I want to keep the readers turning those pages. I want them to feel something toward the main characters, whether it’s love, anger, or rage. As long as readers are not bored, they will keep reading. I also want to make people laugh, so I do my best to throw in humor where I can.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

I take a day or two off from writing. I’ll also read the story again from the beginning and start my self-edits. That usually will give me ideas on how to keep it going.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

No. I just start typing and see what comes out. I can always edit or delete it if it’s not good.

  • What is your writing snack?

No particular thing. It’s whatever is available to me at the moment.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

I have a husband and two daughters. I spend as much time with them as possible. I also love to travel, even though Covid has put a stop to that.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Summer. I love the heat, and I love the beach.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I love contemporary romance. Sometimes I take a break from reading it, but I always come back. I love to read about a couple’s journey to their happily ever after, and I love a happy ending.

  • Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

I don’t, but it’s a good idea. My goal is always to entertain.

  • What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

I don’t listen to music while I write. I usually have The Office on in the background or the ID channel. Sometimes Dateline.

MAY QUESTION OF THE MONTH

May is full of hope and new beginnings what do you hope spring brings you?

I hope May brings me lots of fresh ideas for books and more hours in the day to write them.


GREAT NEW BOOKS

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MEET THE AUTHOR GWEN HERNANDEZ

Gwen Hernandez
  • You have just won a book award at the best hero book awards. Have the hero of your last book in explain your last book and introduce you.

Hi, there. I’m Todd Brennan, former Air Force pararescueman, and current security specialist for Steele Security. In Gwen’s last book, I was tracking a killer in the Montana mountains when I literally bumped into a beautiful woman named Lindsey Garcia. I saved her from a deadly fall, and from the kidnappers on her trail, and planned to get her back to civilization for help. The bad guys had other plans. We ended up sharing a tent in the wilderness and got to know each other better, and she changed my life in the best way possible.

Gwen Hernandez, the author of my book Blind Trust, was a military brat and spouse, so her books often feature military heroes and heroines who must overcome danger to find true love. She was a programmer and manufacturing engineer before she started writing, and now she feeds her inner geek with book research, and by teaching others to use writing software called Scrivener.

She lives in the Los Angeles area, where she and I both recently relocated.

  • Tell us about your last book’s heroine?

Lindsey Garcia is an accountant from Los Angeles. She’s smart and strong and introverted. When she and her best friend are kidnapped, she figures out a way to escape to go for help. Todd saves her and teaches her how to survive in the wilderness, and she learns that she’s tougher and braver than she ever knew. And she falls hard for the handsome redhead.

  • In your last book what was the hardest part write? What was the easiest?

The hardest part for me is usually the very beginning, but this time it was the final showdown. I completely rewrote a big chunk of the second half of the book, but it was worth it.

The easiest part was Todd and Lindsey getting to know each other while on the run. I loved them as a couple, and I enjoyed immersing myself in my travel photos and research of that part of the US. Plus, it was fun picking my outdoorsy son’s brain about camping and backpacking.

  • Did you plan this book at the beginning of the series or not till it was time to write it?

This book wasn’t planned until…ever. It’s just how I work. It’s not the most efficient process or the fastest, but I love the challenge of it.

  • How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I have no idea! I often start with a premise or some vague idea of what I want to write about, usually triggered by a news story, magazine article, conversation, or a TV show. In this case, I was toying with having the heroine be some kind of whistleblower, and maybe having a militia group in the mountains. That latter part is how I ended up choosing Montana as the location. I’d also recently been on vacation there, so the landscape was fresh in my mind.

Once I start writing, I almost always veer from the original “spark,” and this book was no exception. The villains’ and their motives changed, but the setting stayed in Montana, and the opening scene came to me while I was doing a writing exercise to get the creativity flowing.

  • Are you a plotter or a discovery writer? Have you ever tried writing the other way? What happened?

I fall heavily on the discovery writer side of the scale, as you can probably tell by now. I have created plots for quite a few of my books, but it ends up being an exercise to get me started writing before I change almost everything about the story, lol. I usually end up starting the book several times until I land on a story premise that has the tone I’m looking for, and feels like it has enough conflict and potential to sustain a full-length novel. I used to think I lacked ideas, but really I just find it hard to choose one.

  • How do you make time for writing?

I’ve gotten to the point where I actually block out writing time on my calendar now. Most days, it’s the first work thing I do, before checking email or social media or doing other business tasks. That way, no matter what happens later in the day, I’ve worked on my book. I try to write again in the afternoon or evening.

  • Do you have rituals or habits that you follow in order to help you write? What are they?

This is something that I should probably be better at given the way I’m wired. I do have a favorite writing chair, and I often write best listening to music in the background. Figuring that out was a total surprise because I always thought I preferred silence.

But, honestly, once I’m in the flow, it doesn’t matter where I am or whether there’s noise.

  • What is your favorite drink while you write?

Hot mint green tea.

  • How long does it take typically to write a first draft? What types of things make it take longer and what types of things will help it take less time?

For a romance writer, I’m on the slower side. Manuscripts have taken me anywhere from four to 18 months. I think I’m actually getting slower. *cries* The environment of the last few years and losing our family dog, have been especially hard on my creative brain. When we have a lot of travel or visitors, that’s definitely a distraction, but the good kind.

If I knew what made writing go faster, I’d do more of that! Being more consistent about working on the manuscript even when I don’t know what happens next helps. I try to “touch” it every weekday for two to three hours, even if it’s just reviewing the last scene, brainstorming, or doing research.

  • What house hold chore do you love and why?

Love is probably too strong a word for any household chore. 😉 But, there is nothing more satisfying to me than creating a clutter-free space. Disarray and mess stress me out.

  • What was your first non-writing job? Did you like it why or why not?

Unless you count my very first job at Mcdonald’s in high school, my first full-time job out of college was as a programmer for a company that did phone surveys. Coding is a fun mental challenge, and is often an iterative process, much like my writing process. I liked the project-oriented nature of it too, regularly getting something new to work on. More writing parallels! But I didn’t enjoy the tight timelines we were given or the stress of working up to 16-hour days when a deadline loomed.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing that is not a wi-fi dependent activity?

I love to get outdoors. Hiking, biking, and jogging at the beach are some of my favorite activities. I also love to travel or play tourist in my own area. And I’m always in the middle of reading a book.

  • Do you believe in luck?

Absolutely. Though I think it often takes hard work to be in a position to take advantage of it when it comes your way.

MARCH QUESTION OF THE MONTH

WHAT’S AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW?

My own personal pot of gold would be a long life with good health until the very end. And the ability to write a little faster.

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Freewriting It’s For Novelists Too

Free Writing is the practice of writing within a prescribed structure. Which means no outline, no note cards, no notes., or editorial oversite. In freewriting, the writer follows the impulses of their own mind, allowing thoughts and inspiration to appear to them without premeditation.

Freewriting was started by Dorthea Brande in 1934 in her book “Becoming A Writer.” Peter Elbow also gave Freewriting a push in 1973 in his book “Writing Without Teachers.” Most recently Julia Cameron which I have mentioned before popularized in her book “The Artists Way.”

 I first became familiar with the concept of freewriting in my first writing class in college a lifetime and a half ago. I had a professor who in her writing class had us free write at the beginning of every class. The result was a loosening of the writing wheels and confidence to write that I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise. Here is what she would have us do: she would have us write for the first five minutes of every class. There is sometimes an assigned topic I think I don’t remember anymore I think there was an assigned topic because I remember I wrote things that were too personal. I never would have written them without her prompt. But once the clock began,began, you couldn’t stop for any reason you had to keep writing. She would collect the papers not to grade them, but to make sure we were making progress. That we were opening our thought processes and our creativity was beginning to flow. That was 1996. I’m sure my professor was influenced by Julia Cameron I know I was.

I had no idea that Freewriting first of all was formally a movement and second was formally anything at all. I thought it was just something my mother did every morning at 4:30 AM and that I tried, but swear I don’t have time for. But to know that it goes back as far as 1934. It makes me wonder how much science is behind the art of freewriting.

The technique is simple enough and cheap by anybody’s standards. You just write and keep writing for a predetermined amount of time. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. You can, if you are so disposed, edit or read it looking for glints of your psyche or your next novel, or you can just put it in a drawer and never look at it again.

Writers use this as a way of collecting their thoughts and ideas on a topic. By writing on a topic and then going back and looking over their writing, looking for the gems in what they have written and using that as fodder for the next stage of freewriting. This freewriting and going back again and freewriting process yields good ideas when the ideas stop, then the free writing stops. You may have information on many aspects of the same topic that will melt together to make an incredible piece of one writing effort.

Like any skill set, the abilities required for effective freewriting will increase with practice. The first time you attempt to freewrite, you may end up with some unusable material. But with writing practice and a little healthy self-criticism, you can use your early freewriting practice to refine your technique.

There are fifteen emotional advantages to freewriting:

  1. Reduces expectation of perfection
  2. Provides unimpeded release of thoughts and emotions
  3. Brings out emotional blocks and emotional barriers to success
  4. Helps develop good healthy habits
  5. Builds self-confidence
  6. Offers blank slate for 100% honesty
  7. Provides practice in releasing self-judgment and judgment of others
  8. Increases creativity and inspiration
  9. Uncovers thoughts and ideas you never knew you had
  10. Assists in sorting through difficult situations
  11. Acts as a forum to be truly authentically you
  12. Allows you to be more present in your day-to-day interactions
  13. Fosters a greater sense of clarity and focus
  14. Changes your perspective on challenging situations
  15. Increases awareness of patterns and themes in your life

There are also three writing advantages to freewriting:

  1. Creative expression. Many writers use freewriting as a way to find unexpected inspiration.
  2. To heal writer’s block. Writers who feel in a style rut, or even those who actively experience writer’s block may benefit from a freewriting exercise as part of their formal writing process.
  3. Speed. Freewriting is typically faster than other types of drafting or outlining because you are simply writing without a strict form and without organizing your thoughts.

How to Freewrite

  1. Just write. When it comes to freewriting first drafts are repositories for ideas, however vague
  2. Gather topics beforehand to avoid using outlines. Freewriting doesn’t mean that you don’t have an idea about your topic or story.
  3. Time yourself. If you are experiencing writer’s block commit to getting something on the page in the first sixty seconds.
  4. Combine freewriting with traditional outlines or notes. Start a project with a considerable freewriting session. Use that information as formal notes or as a topic for more freewriting.
  5. Bring ideas to your freewriting sessions the most effective writing has thematic and narrative consistencies and starting with a germ of an idea may help you bring it all together.

I did my first freewriting in about twenty-five years. I had forgotten how beneficial it is I had forgotten the advantages of learning what you know about a subject before you start your research and then threading it all together. It’s been a long time since eng101. I’ll be adding free writing to my writing practice.

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