Earlier this month I was lucky to be invited to participate in a blog hop. A what? A blog hop! Someone answers questions about her writing process and then tags three more writers, each of whom answers the same questions on her own website, tags three more, and so on. It’s a great way to find out what other writers are working on and to be reminded that everyone else is suffering HAVING A BLAST with their writing too.

I’m thrilled to have gotten to “meet” Dr. Harrison Solow through this hop. I’ve linked to her answers below, as well as to three more amazing writers you should definitely be checking out, doing sexy satire, memoir, and nonfiction for kids. So cool! Without further ado…
What am I working on/writing?

I write contemporary erotic romance about strong, independent women who take the risk to embark on a new journey in their lives. My debut novel Above All was published by Ellora’s Cave on July 18th, so right now I’m basking in the post-publication glow and enjoying all the amazing pics and tidbits readers are sending me with croissants and cafés and beautiful mountain views to celebrate. [Oh, you want croissants and cafés and beautiful mountain views too?? Dig in! Amazon | Ellora’s Cave | B&N | Kobo | All Romance]

I’ve got a second romance in the works called How to Fall, about a Chicago teacher and an Australian television star who get together on a whirlwind adventure across southern Brazil. It’s got a lot of food and nature and definitely some scandal—if you’re going to be running from your past, why not do it in one of the most beautiful places on Earth? I’m really excited about it so hopefully there will be more news to share soon.

How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

The response to Above All since publication has been amazing. Readers and reviewers keep pointing to the same thing, talking about how the novel is incredibly hot but also has a strong story at its core. Some people sound surprised that a novel can incorporate both of those elements, as though a romance that sizzles must be lacking in plot. But it doesn’t have to be that way! I’d describe my work as erotica meets women’s fiction or adult contemporary. Above All has all the heat of an erotic romance with the story and engagement of a character-driven narrative. In my opinion, that’s the best of both worlds.

Why do I write what I do?

Some authors get hooked on romance when they’re young, but I came to it in graduate school. I was writing my dissertation on the romance plot in feminist utopian and dystopian literature and figured I should probably read some romance as part of my “research.” I found Anne Calhoun, Victoria Dahl, Megan Hart, and others, and these were not the helpless maidens desperate for a man that I’d been expecting. These books were challenging genre, convention, and male-dominated literature in much more creative, daring, and inventive ways than almost anything else I’d ever read. I’ve traveled extensively, love the outdoors, and have always been drawn to richly imagined fictional worlds. Romance lets me combine all these passions in ways that are creative and fun. I can’t imagine writing anything else!

How does my writing process work?

When I’m writing a first draft, I make sure to write every day. Even when it’s hard to find time, I try to keep that momentum going. I don’t have a specific time of day that I have to write, or a location, or any rituals surrounding it. I just get my butt in front of the computer and do it.

Once the first draft is done, I read through it and take notes on the big-picture issues. I type up a document of changes to make—not sentence-level edits, although I might deal with some of that while I’m rereading—but things like structure, scene changes, problems with characters, etc.

But I don’t actually make any of these changes. I close out the files and step away. I go work on something else, I take a break, I clear my head. I’m still too close to the story to see it as though for the first time.

A month or two later, I reread the manuscript and the list of changes. Sometimes I’ll agree with my impressions from that first read-through. Sometimes I won’t see the issues I thought were there. Sometimes I’ll see something glaring that I hadn’t even noticed before. I make a new list of edits and that’s the one I follow. After time away from the manuscript, I’m ready to dive back in.

I do a round of edits based on my notes, read through it again, rinse and repeat, until I’m ready to send to a small number of amazing beta readers I really trust. I collect their responses and, again, sit with their notes before I make any changes. If I’m going to be performing major surgery on my manuscript, I want to work out the problems in my mind and see if in a few days or weeks I still think the change is a good idea.

I think the most important thing with any process, though, is to do what works! Each book is different and I try to check in with myself and adjust along the way. As long as I’m getting words on the page, I’m happy.

You can see Dr. Harrison Solow’s answers at https://www.facebook.com/drharrisonsolow/posts/274856112698883.

Now I’m tagging three more!

G.G. Andrew writes sexy satire—romantic comedy that’s sharp and steamy. She is the author of SCREWING MR. MELTY, a tale of ice cream, awkward sex, and the world’s worst love triangle, and the horror geek short story CRAZY, SEXY, GHOULISH, which will be published in Wyrd Romance’s I HEART GEEKS anthology in early 2015.

On her website, http://www.ggandrew.com, she also hosts the popular Writers Who Read interview series, which features a writer each week geeking out over books and reading. G.G. herself is an obsessive reader, a compulsive writer, and a disordered housekeeper. She loves experiencing romance in books, movies, and television, and also has a strange affinity for the following: black licorice, British comedy, kindie rock, frozen concoctions, neon pink, devil humor, and your dad.

You can find out more about G.G. on her website or where she’s skulking on Twitter as @writerggandrew.

Kate McCahill is a writer and teacher whose essays and poems have been published in The Lowestoft Chronicle, Best Women’s Travel Writing, and the Santa Fe Literary Review. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Katie Ellison has an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Idaho. She is an author of childrens nonfiction at Penguin books and her essays can be found at Shenandoah, 5×5, 34thParallel, and others. She is the recipient of the Jacqueline Award for Prose from her alma mater, Wellesley College.