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26 May 2010

Rebecca Savage

It's my great pleasure to welcome Rebecca Savage multipublished author of contemporary romantic suspense, and best selling author of the year, 2009. (And I was fascinated to find when I read her biography at the end of this post, we share a common love of the Western writer, Louis L'Amour!)

HL: Hi Rebecca, It's great to have you here, first of all, tell us a bit about yourself and your writing. For instance, When did you start writing?

RS: I started writing in 2004 summer after I finished reading for fun for one year. I’d been going to college for five years and working on my Masters in History and wanted something fun to read, so I asked my friend who I always saw with a romance novel in her purse for a book to borrow. I loved it and was hooked. Should I mention that a month ago that very same friend announced she was divorcing her husband, then she ran off with mine. Hmmmm…such negativity. I’ll stop, LOL

HL: There has to be a good story in that, just waiting to be written, Rebecca. :) Hmm, moving swiftly on, LOL, what do you do for fun when not writing?

RS: Fun? What’s that? LOL Actually, when I’m not writing, I crochet or just live my life with friends and family. I am a teacher, so I’m busy with the high school kids, plus I teach college at night on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I coach Mock Trial, National History Day and Model United Nations Teams, and I sponsor the German club because I teach History and German. I also do Vacation Bible School and Church Camp and Christmas Programs and…you get the picture, right? Plus, I have two foreign exchange students this year. Ugh!

HL: Phew! I'm in awe! You are some busy lady! I'm amazed how you actually find time to write. Talking of which, what comes first: the plot or the characters?

RS: Characters drive the plot. If people aren’t who they are, they do the things they do. Besides, I’m a pantser.

HL: I absolutely agree. If I didn't have my characters to tell me what happens next I'd be lost! :) I'm sure everyone is dying to know about your latest release - what do you think readers will enjoy about it

RS: My latest release is Guard My Body, and it’s about a librarian with a wild side who helps out her sister and her partner, CIA operatives. She wants to live her sister’s wild life for a bit and act out the stories she likes to read. It’s a bit much for her at first, but she’s tough and smart and falls for the bad boy. Who wouldn’t like that? The bad boy should do it for everyone reading this story: a biker…and they meet in a biker bar. :)

HL: Wow, that sounds amazing, Rebecca. Now for something I love to know about my interviewees - have you a favorite actor/hunk

RS: I think there are several actors I could hang out with an be perfectly happy, but…hmmm…do I have to pick…ugh…so many men… so little time: so: How about Brad Pitt if I stick with someone my age, or…I wish Heath Ledger was still around...

HL: Yes, I think you might have a queue behind you there, LOL! If someone were to play one of your characters in a movie, which character and what actor would it be and why?

RS: For the gals, if you’re tough as nails and have an attitude, you could choose any of my characters, but sometimes you have to have a death wish too. I write heroines who are assassins, sniper, or people being stalked. Life expectancy is questionable…but there’s always a happy ending so…you know how that turnsout. :)

For the guys, if you’re as sexy as my heroes….play any part…and I want to meet you…and stare…a lot :)

HL: What have you learned about writing since you were published that surprised you the most?

RS: I’ve learned that the competition if ridiculously fierce. Seriously, you all need to stop writing so the supply is low and the demand is high and they’ll buy stuff and that’s it .:)

HL: *Grin* Now there's an idea"! What’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

RS: I’m a pantser, so I sit down and know the basic story line and my characters and go from there. My process hasn’t changed but style has because I’ve learned what not to do: no passive voice…and lots of other 'dos and don'ts'

HL:Tell us about your writing environment, for instance do you listen to music when you write and if so, what kind of music – or do you find it distracts you?

I like it perfectly quiet when I write…and when I sleep. I kill anyone or anything that comes within miles of me when I am ready to focus and pen:) Okay, not really. I’d never actually kill anyone…:)

HL: LOL. Lastly, a question just for fun. If you could be any animal, which one would it be?

RS: Tiger…Well, anyway, that’s the first one that came to mind. They’re beautiful and I’d like to be. They’re tough and they’d eat their young if they got mad enough, and they’re fast and energetic and strong…I like those qualities.

HL: Yes, I agree the tiger us a beautiful and charismatic animal - and unfortunately one of the endagered species of this world. Let's hope we don't lose this wonderful creature, Well, Rebecca, it's been a privilege to have you as my guest, and I wish you continued success with your books -

Rebecca Savage’s Publishing Journey

An avid reader can become a prolific writer. Such is the case with me. I started out in my teens reading Louis L’Amour. I have one hundred ninety of his paperbacks and fifteen of his books bound in leather. I read them all, loved them and saved them. I only read one romance during my teens, titled The Daring Deception. Lately I’ve tried to find it so I can buy it, but I haven’t been successful in my attempt to locate it. I only want it for nostalgic purposes, since I had no idea I’d eventually become a romance junkie and writer. In essence, that book was my romantic beginning.

I never read another romance until 2003 when I graduated with a Masters in History and decided to read something for fun. A friend of mine always carried a romance novel in her purse and read constantly. I borrowed a couple of books from her, and the rest is history. I was hooked.

I read all kinds of romance, but only write contemporary suspense/intrigue. I had a top secret clearance in the Air Force when I served as a Morse Code operator/supervisor, so I seldom have to research, yet. I’ve done a bit of digging to confirm things I already suspected to be true, but mostly I write from experience or imagination and stick to the facts as much as possible.

I read books from August 2003 until May 2004, and I was lying on the couch reading one day and thought, “What would I write if I wrote a book?” I like action movies that make you think, a story with a good plot with a hero and heroine trying to figure out what’s affecting their lives, bringing them together, and pulling them apart. I started there. I decided to write a suspense/mystery, since neither the reader nor the characters knew who was after the hero/heroine, although sometimes both the reader and characters do know who the villain in my works is, but the villain is allusive.

So, all those books I read, and still read, were a learning process, just as everything else in my life has led up to where I am now. I was a good student, a good military leader, a good reader, and I hope I’m a good writer. Only time and sales will tell.

I wrote a trilogy in summer 2004 while off for the summer from teaching. I wrote another trilogy in summer 2005. I joined RWA in October 2005, after searching for a publisher on the internet and seeing advice to join organizations like RWA and local chapters. That’s how I ended up at CRW, but not until March 2006. Teaching slowed down the process. Darn those daytime jobs.

CRW taught me so much. My first meeting I learned writing is a business and how to write a query/synopsis. I had no idea there were such things. I also learned how extreme the competition is. I had no idea so many writers existed and wanted to be published or what a game it is. I learned it’s all about persistence and taking the steps to get there. I also learned I’m a fly by the seat of my pants, character driven writer, not a plotter.

After joining RWA/CRW I went back to those first six novels and began self-editing based on things I learned about craft: voice, passive, throw away words, POV, etc. I started submitting to agents, editors, and publishers. I took any and all advice from the rejection letters and fixed anything I was told was wrong.

I didn’t start working with Critique Partners or judging or reviewing for magazines until this year(2007). I wasn’t ready, even though I might’ve thought back then I was. I had to climb the ladder. I had to learn craft and even technical programs. I had no idea what track changes on Microsoft word was. I know. Seems silly, huh? Like everyone should know these things.

When I first started coming to meetings, I thought I was so writing illiterate, and I was. Terms most writers are comfortable with totally escaped me. I didn’t know what POV was, or lots of other things. I didn’t go to college to be a writer. I wasn’t an English major. I’d never been a journalist. I worked on a Masters in History. So my background was foreign to what most successful writers have under their belts.

That didn’t stop me. I just kept plugging along. I had no idea how long it’d take. I thought I’d submit and get published. End of story. Boy, what an eye opener the past few years have been, and when I moved from South Carolina and could no longer attend CRW meeting, I joined MORWA in St. Louis, Missouri.

I landed in a few writers’ woes and pitfalls along the way, but my writer friends have shown me the right way to do things. I submitted to an online agency, and it turned out to be bogus. I paid eighty dollars for my stuff to be looked at, and they tried to weasel me out of more. Thank goodness CRW stopped that mistake.

So my fist pitfall was a hoax agency, and then I contracted with an e-publisher that went out of business, but just kept my work and didn’t tell me anything. Come to find out, my editor was holding my ms, and after the ninety days – thank goodness for that clause – she emailed me and told me of the issues within the company. That company no longer exists.

I was allowed to pull my work from their company and resubmit elsewhere. I did. I got a contract for the trilogy I penned in 2005. I signed with The Wild Rose Press: Fueled By Instinct, Cloaked In Assassination, and Destination Ever After.

My other trilogy wasn’t ready yet. It was my first attempt at writing, and I’d worked on it, but it took a lot more tweaking to ready it. Now I’ve published it with Champagne Books, Guard My Baby. and the first book released in January 2009 and made the bestseller list for February 2009 and is listed as Best Book: Coincidence, Combustion, and Consequences are the three titles in that trilogy. I also have a book published by Double Dragon/Carnal Desires: Guard My Baby

In the meantime, I wrote another story in 2006 after joining CRW. I submitted to Harlequin and was asked for a full ms. The editor liked it, but not enough. I sent that story to an agent, along with a note saying Harlequin asked for a full. When Harlequin rejected, she did, too, but she asked to meet with me in Dallas at nationals.

I wrote another book after RWA nationals and submitted it to her. She liked it and asked for me to fix a couple of things. I made the changes and resubmitted. She asked for one more thing. I fixed that, too. She asked for one more thing, and I’m in the process of doing those changes now and will resubmit soon.In other words, it’s all about not giving up. I suppose there’s a time to quit, but as long as a writer is not at a stand still – work on something else while going through the process of one edit – then it’s not a bad thing to take awhile working and dealing with a possible agent/publisher."Never let anything hold you down. Rise above it."

Website: www.rebeccasavage.com
Email: rebeccasavage@rebeccasavage.com
Email: grgiall@yahoo.com