This week on Author on the Couch,
I conduct a session with
Veronica is giving away a $5 gift certificate to Sephora for one lucky person who leaves a comment!
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Veronica: About fifteen years ago, I worked as an international tax manager at Ernst & Young. Having just returned from a rotation in London, my workload was less than than most of the people in my department, so I was one of a group of employees let go during a downsizing. My whole sense of self up until that point had been my career, and then it was gone.
I needed to reinvent myself, but my husband moved a lot for his job at that time, and I couldn’t find a career that fit our lives. I made myself a promise that I would focus more who I am than what I do. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m more confident about myself than I’ve ever been. It doesn’t matter whether I’m an attorney or a writer or a mother or a wife. I’m me. And that’s more than enough.
Me: “…focus more on who I am than what I do.”–> Yes. Yes. Yes. So powerful and so true. And where your true focus should be. I don’t know why we lose sight of that, but so many of us do.
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Veronica: I can usually see multiple paths to my goals. I’m willing to work long hours to make things happen. I also understand that luck sometimes bolsters my ability to move toward my goals and unforeseen barriers can slow them down.
Me: What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Veronica: I’m very sensitive about how others view me. Not a good trait when everyone on-line is free to tell everyone else in an anonymous way exactly what they think about anything. Because of this, I’ve become more conservative in the manner I put myself out in public. Is this for the better? I don’t think so, but I’m as open as I can be for now. In addition, I’ve learned to focus on constructive book reviews and ignore reviews that attack me as a person, and not the book I wrote.
Me: What was your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest, on cloud nine, flying high? What happened?
Veronica: From December 2013 to March 2014, I sold most of the books I’d written to three publishers, and I obtained my dream agent. This moment in time made all the hardships in writing worth it. Now that I’ve released almost seven books, the old doubts in my ability, the struggles to write, and the feeling that I’m on a never-ending treadmill taunt me. These feelings, however, don’t slow me down anymore. Instead, I remember that hard work does pay off, and I have that solid memory to keep me motivated.
Me: Wow! What a whirlwind few months that had to be! So exciting. And your dream agent is also my dream agent–>Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary! We are two lucky gals to have such a super awesome agent lady!
What was your low point as a writer—a time when questioned your path as a writer, a time when you felt really crappy about your writing? What happened? How did you get over it?
Veronica: When I wrote my first novel, I was convinced it was a work of art. And then I submitted it to contests and received some pretty harsh critiques. After I stopped sulking about the mean judges, I thought about their comments. They made sense. I had no clue about deep POV, showing versus telling, and even how to use the past tense correctly.
The blow to my confidence was the best thing that could have happened to me. I took craft classes, worked with a critique group, and read everything I could to make my books better. Two years later I sold seven manuscripts. The first, however, one remains under the bed.
Me: We could be twins! I went through the exact same thing. I suppose many writers have too when they first started out.
Which of your characters are you most like? Why?
Veronica: I tend to have Simon Dunn’s confidence and sense of adventure, although I’m not much of a killer. I love Henry’s world filled with books and academia. While he’s a full professor in anthropology, I was an adjunct professor at a small college in Massachusetts and loved the experience. I dream of living in a small college town next to a campus. What I don’t have, but would love are the language abilities of Alex Northrop and the computer skills of Cassie Watson.
Me: How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Veronica: I tried to write books many times since high school, but never wrote past the third chapter. The plots became too complicated, and I didn’t have a strategy for finishing them. One year I decided to try NaNoWriMo, and I wrote about forty thousand words of a novel. I finished 80K by the end of the next January. Once one book was completed, I had the confidence to write more.
Me: How many books have you written? How long does it typically take you to write a book?
Veronica: I’ve written a total of nine books since 2012 and am close to finishing my tenth book.
It takes me about three to four months per 80 K word book if I write full-time.
Me: What’s the most painful part of the writing process for you?
Veronica: When I lose faith in my ability to tell a compelling story, it delays my writing. I generally take off a few days and refocus on the plot if that happens. I find that the more I understand where the story is going, the better I can pour myself into each scene.
Me: Tell me about Your Novel TRUE DECEPTIONS.
Temptation. Seduction. Murder. It’s all part of the game…
After his partner was murdered, Simon Dunn was done with MI6. But the cold, violent world of British intelligence never lets anyone go free. Now Simon has been blackmailed into a new job…with a beautiful new partner who’s going to get them both killed.
Robotics expert Cassie Watson is a newbie field agent with as much sophistication as…well, a pacifist, vegan computer nerd. Now she’s abruptly thrust into the cutthroat world of espionage with a partner who is as cold as he is brutally-and brutishly-handsome.
But when their mission is betrayed from the inside, Cassie will be forced to place her life in the hands of the one man who’s anything but trustworthy…
Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from TRUE DECEPTIONS.
Headquarters had provided so little background on her new identity that she was unsure what to say to fill in the gaps in conversation. “This is a so romantic. Remind me again where we met?”
“At a party in Miami,” he replied.
“I love Miami.” She did love Miami and had spent a few months there for General Atomics.
“That’s right, you know everything about me. What’s my favorite ice cream flavor?”
“You don’t eat ice cream…but you do allow me to coat you in it and lick it off.” His voice deepened as though he could taste it, taste her.
I love this interaction between Simon and Cassie. Cassie is still learning what her role will be in the field and trying to act as Simon’s lover. She’s in way over her head, and Simon pushes their interaction together to show just how unprepared she is.
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Check out this week’s Manic Monday: The Success Principles.
Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending…after torturing them for three hundred pages.
*this post was formatted by Manny Goodman