Is it just me, or does the ‘know’ in “Getting to Know You” seem to carry a slightly biblical connotation in this context? …It’s probably just me.
Anyway *coughs awkwardly* WELCOME friends, to my version of the official LIKE A VIRGIN blog hop!
Hopefully, it will only be the first of many more to come, as I’m sure this contest is going to catch fire and be in demand from this day forward. Until the end of days. (In other words, fasten your metaphorical seatbelts Rhiann and Kristina. Cause you’re about to be infamous.)
Now, without further ado, here are the questions, and my (mostly serious…ish) answers:
How do you remember your first kiss?
Like much of my youth, the memory of my first [real, consensual and non-kindergarten based] kiss is obscure and a little awkward. I was seventeen years old (practically a spinster, by Nicholas Spark’s standards) and attending a state competition for DECA–aka the Distributive Education Club of America: where the “cool” kids dress in suits and talk about theoretical financial management and fictional business plans. For fun.
The boy’s name was Joey Something Or Other. He was from a different school in another town, another district, and he was fascinating to me by nature of the fact that he was foreign and exotic–i.e. a tattooed lacrosse player from North Oregon. (So basically, he was like the John Snow of Oregon.) We flirted for a few days, and then finally the night before the conference was over, I made my move. (And by “made my move,” I mean I walked casually up and down the hallway of our hotel about half a dozen times before finally happening to run into him just as he came out of his room.)
Luckily, he followed me to the secluded alcove by the vending machines, and while writing my phone number (which deep down, I think I already knew he’d never call) on his outstretched hand in purple Crayola marker, I experienced my first kiss accompanied by the dulcet whirring of a Coca Cola machine. (My husband will probably tell you that, in his medical opinion, this event was the catalyst of my lifelong battle with Diet Coke addiction.) As for the kiss, it was quick, wistful, and basically over before it started. In fact, I don’t even think the kid knew that it was my first. I never told him, and he never asked.
Actually, now that I think about it, I’m realizing that this is one of the ten million reasons I LOVE to write fiction. Because IMO, every girl deserves to have an EPIC first kiss story. Mine wasn’t, but that’s okay, because in my little fantasy world there’s no shortage of first kisses. Or contemporary, sexy bad-yet-actually kind of good boy John Snow types. Rawr.
What was your first favorite love song?
That would have to be a toss-up between I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy / Faith Evans and Always Be My Baby by Mariah Carey. And no, I don’t want to explain why. (The embarrassment is still too fresh.)
What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day?
Lately, I’ve been creating an iTunes playlist for every WIP and just shuffling through it before I begin. There’s something so evocative about music, and no matter how hard I try, once I start to associate a certain song with a specific WIP I can’t shake that connection ever again. (So, I have to be really careful about which songs/artists I select for which stories.)
Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?
Oh, that’s an easy one. Suzanne Brockmann. I mean, I read probably a few thousand books before I discovered her in college, and I’d taken a few stabs at writing short stories (and yes, even a really overwrought fantasy novel or two–because who hasn’t done that when they’re a pre-teen LOTR fanatic?) But I always had a Plan A in mind, a “real career” that I wanted to pursue, whereas for a long time writing fiction remained firmly in the “hobby” category. In college though, I had this roommate who introduced me to romantic suspense for the first time. Together, we discovered this amazing little used trade-in bookstore in the next town over, and I became OBSESSED with reading everything Suz had ever written. That’s when it really hit me, that I wasn’t a “book browser” anymore. I had started to read fiction like it was my JOB. And eventually, I noticed a change in my non-fiction writing, for the better. In 2009, I interviewed Suz for an article I was writing for a publication about mothers who also write blogs and such. (BTW, if you haven’t read this interview yet, you absolutely should. ESPECIALLY if you’re a stay at home mother/writer or work from home writer who struggles with helping your friends and family understand what you do all day.)
To date, this is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given: “Take your writing and your career seriously—and other people will, too.”
That day, I started to think about my writing in a whole new light.
In my opinion, that’s what separates a good writer from a GREAT writer. It’s like watching Olympic Swimming vs. a bunch of little kids splashing around in a pool. When you see someone operating at that level of awesome, you can’t help but be INSPIRED. And because we’re human, some little part of us will either go “Wow, I could never do that in a million years” OR “You know what? I’ll bet I could do that.” I saw someone doing something I wanted to do, and doing it WELL. And I realized, the only real difference between her and me, was that she had decided at some point to take her writing SERIOUSLY. And the rest of the world eventually followed, along with some pretty bad ass NTY Bestseller books.
Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with?
LOL. I’ll let you know when my first book gets finally revised. As most published writers will probably tell you, the first book you ever write is seldom the first one to make it to the finish line. Hence, my personal strategy of “WIP Hunger Games.”
For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting?
For my first book, it was definitely plot. And IMO, that was one of its biggest obstacles when it came to revision. Because I’d been so hung up on writing what I felt at the time was the most EPIC PLOT TWIST EVER, I lost sight of a few things that are actually MORE important in the grand scheme, particularly if you’re planning on continuing your novel into a series. (After all, it doesn’t matter how awesome the plot twist is if no one cares about the characters it’s happening to, right? Case in point: Grey’s Anatomy. How many characters did that show epically kill for the sake of plot before you started to STOP caring? For me, it was about three.)
What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing?
Scrumtrulescent. (As in, “this book was so scrumtrulescent I can barely move.”)
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16 thoughts on “Like a Virgin 2013: “Getting to Know You” Blog Hop #LV13”
That’s great that you used the Urban dictionary for your word. I did have to follow the link as I knew not it’s meaning! Now I’m all learned and stuff.
It originated from a Will Farrell skit on SNL, actually. The Inside the Actor’s Studio persona with Alec Baldwin. If you haven’t seen that one yet, you should YouTube it IMMEDIATELY.
Scrumtrulescent is possibly the greatest word I’ve ever heard of. Clearly I should be watching more Will Farrell. And thank you for this epic quote: “Take your writing and your career seriously—and other people will, too.” Love it.
As awesome as both you and the word “scrumtrulescent” are, aren’t you setting yourself up for disappointment (and a subsequent life-threatening Diet Coke O.D.?) Unless of course you send ARCs to the Will Farrell fan club, which might not be a bad idea.
Why you got to stomp on my dreams, Rhiann?
I think I’d like to get a hold/hand/whatever on the Jon Snow of Oregon. 🙂 Yum!
Yes, every girl deserves an epic first kiss! Always Be My Baby is one of my favorites. I miss classic Mariah Carey, her new stuff just isn’t the same.
I can’t write without music either. And scrumtrulescent! Awesome word 🙂
Yep, I got caught up in the most EPIC PLOT TWIST EVER hole too with my first ms. Now, I get to rummage through all of the turns and dips and try to see if there’s anything there worth keeping :p By the way, I love your first kiss story…the whirring of the Coke machine really set the scene for me! Awesomeness.
PS: is it weird that I vividly remember that I bought a can of vanilla coke, but I can’t remember whether or not there was tongue involved? Seriously, I think I might have a coke problem.
“Take your writing and your career seriously—and other people will, too.”
I periodically have to remind myself of this because it truly is one of the most important bits of writing advice there out there.
I’ve been looking forward to this post, missy. Mariah Carey, huh. Now I know all your secrets. I think my second kiss took place at the National Chess Championships. Geeks unite! And I, too, enjoy a good John Snow. I really think his name works better as a verb, don’t you? Can’t wait to see who you pick next week. Bring on my infamy.
Love your description of your first kiss! Ha – it actually sounds pretty epic! LOL on the diet coke. 🙂
Great post! I’m going to go check that interview out now. 🙂
Nice to “meet” you Veronica. I loved your answers, especially the habit of creating a playlist to accompany each project. I have a similar habit of watching like-minded movies (not while I am writing, of course) for each WIP. Your comments about taking your work seriously is perfect! Thanks for the reminder.
Good luck, Cindy
That is an excellent piece of advice. One I struggle with. Thanks for the reinforcement, and congratulations on your agent!
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