Meet Author Sidney Bristol

Is it hot in here or is it just my interview with Sidney Bristol? :) Please help me welcome today’s featured debut author and self-described “smut writer” who enters the erotica genre at a time of great excitement and an explosion in sales led most notably by ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’

Name: Sidney Bristol

Name of book: Flirting with Rescue

Book genre: Contemporary romance of the very hot kind

Date published: January 18, 2012

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave

What is your day job? IT Education Administrator

What is your book about? Two people, brought together by their passion for animals, fall madly in love.

Why did you want to write this book? I wrote this book on a dare. I kid you not. I wanted to be a swords and sorcery and horses kind of writer. The idea that I would write romance, contemporary romance at that, was hysterical. But, I put pen to paper and roughly thirty-six hours later I had the bare bones of what would be this book, and I had to write it. “They” always say to write what you know, and one of the things I know is horses, rodeo and what can happen when a person doesn’t want the best for an animal. I decided that if I was going to write a contemporary romance, I wanted to poke my finger at a dark secret. In this instance, I talk about horses, and their role in drug trafficking.

What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? Sex. I’d only written vague sex scenes before, and a big chunk of the story happens between the sheets. I wound up reading a lot of How To Write Erotica books to get a handle on how to approach it for the genre. I also did a lot of reading above my “comfort zone” to figure out what I would write. Writing sex and sexual tension is hard, because not everyone finds the same things alluring.

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Meet Author Rhiannon Ellis

After conducting each Debut Author Q&A, I find myself thinking: Hey, I really enjoyed this. I come away with a feeling of camaraderie, of finding a kindred spirit, and that was certainly the case with today’s interview with author Rhiannon Ellis. Laundry? Yep. Working on two books at once? You bet. Finding time that is quiet and uninterrupted to write? Lord, help us. Thanks, Rhiannon, for an inspiring chat.

Name: Rhiannon Ellis

Name of book: Bonded In Brazil

Book genre: Contemporary Romance

Date Published: March 25, 2011

Publisher: Camel Press

What is your day job? I’m a stay at home mom to my 2-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. I spend my days like most moms of young kids—cleaning, cooking, battling an endless pile of laundry—and cherish every second of it. Well, except for the laundry. I could without that. I love being at home with my kids and feel very blessed that I’m able to do so when so many moms cannot. My “day job” is something I don’t take for granted.

What is your book about? When the devoted daughter of a Brazilian vintner learns her family vineyard is about to be seized, she strikes a deal with a man she calls demonio to work as his maid to pay off her father’s debts. She soon discovers this man she despises has the ability to steal her heart… and the power to break it.

What was the most challenging part of the writing process? Finding time that is quiet and uninterrupted. When I’m working on a story, I try to write every day, though it usually comes in spurts as I revolve writing around my household.

What motivates you to write? It’s a passion that runs deep. I experience moments of inspiration—a good book or movie will do that—but I’m always “in the mood.” To write, that is. *wink, wink*

Did you experience writer’s block? When I wrote simply for fun, yes I did. Now that I write for fun and career purposes, I don’t. My mindset is this is something that has to get done—like laundry, ugh—so just do it. This works for me.

How long did it take you to write this book? 3 to 4 months. I was in a writers group while writing Bonded In Brazil—a fantastic learning experience, by the way—and we shared 10 pages a week. Sometimes I wrote at pace with the group, other times I flew ahead. I tend to go back and forth between two different projects. I’ll write in one manuscript, get a little burnt out and work on another until I feel fresh again.

How difficult was it to find a publisher? Not at all, but I already had an agent when I began writing Bonded In Brazil, which helped immensely. I originally wrote this book hoping Harlequin would be interested. They turned it down and because of the book’s length (per HQ’s guidelines), our options were limited. My agent came up with a list of wonderful smaller publishers. She began querying at the end of July 2010 and we got an offer November 2010 for print as well as e-book.

You already had an agent? When I finished Bonded In Brazil, I had agent who was representing another book of mine. So I queried her with my romance manuscript, and she offered a contract. Unfortunately, that first book never got picked up by a publisher. I’ve set that one aside and might take another look at it once I finish up a paranormal series I’m working on. Or maybe I’ll consider it good practice and let the dust collect.

What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? The biggest misconception is that writing is the hardest part. Yes, writing is work and takes skill as well as creativity, but landing an agent and/or publisher is the toughest part. I’ve read dozens of self-published books and have been shocked that these books were overlooked by publishers. There’s a lot of talent out there, but a novel gets turned down if it’s not marketable enough for publishing standards. I feel very blessed to have had agent and publisher interest—sometimes humbled because I wonder why I deserved it more than some other authors I’ve run across.

What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? Creating the characters, without a doubt. I’d say the same for any book I write… oh, and the steamy love scenes. Gotta love those, too.

Oprah has famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I’m leaning toward agreeing, based on my own experience. I have to wonder if the “opportunity” part is mostly luck, though. I feel like I’ve been given many great opportunities throughout my life in general, whereas others have not. Is this luck? Have I created them for myself? I truly don’t know. But I’m grateful, whatever the cause.

Thanks so much for having me! I really enjoyed answering the questions and am happy to take more (in the comments, hint, hint). I also wanted to add that I have a fabulous paranormal/shifter romance coming out in March through Cobblestone Press titled Dark Wolf Protector. Two books in one month—eek!

For more on Rhiannon, check out her blog or her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter.