Archive for September, 2007
September 12, 2007
Presenting GABRINA GARZA!
Hotclue: Welcome to my little home away from home, Gabrina. Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
Gabrina: I’m so glad you invited me over! Hotclue, I just love what you did with the place–it’s much more organized than my real and/or virtual home! Well, if you want to know about me I’m fairly regular other than my unnatural obsession with independent league baseball and my love of dogs. In fact, I have a pointer/hound attempting to lick my wet hair right now since he’s got some sort of weird shower fresh fetish. (Yes, I will shower again to get the dog saliva off.)
H: I hear you have a sideline rescuing dogs and cats. What got you started doing that? What’s it like at home when you rescue a whole passel of dogs or cats? About how long, on average, does it take for you to find them homes? Have you ever not been able to find a home for any of them?
G: I got started in rescue after seeing a listing for 8-week-old lab puppies being put to sleep. I drove a total of seven hours to pick up the puppies, an adult male lab, and a beagle/basset hound mix. People don’t realize why they need to have their pets spayed or neutered until they see for themselves a wiggly little puppy who will be put to sleep. Rather than just tell others they should do something about it, I do transport runs and volunteer my time at adoption events every week. It’s an incredibly satisfying but often frustrating experience. There really isn’t an average time for adoptions. Sometimes a dog you’d never expect to go gets adopted when you walk in the door. The pointer/hound I mentioned has been adopted and returned three times now. He’s a very laid back and curious guy, but he’s been adopted by people who just didn’t meet his criteria. I’ve had him for eight months now; he’ll either find his forever home or live with me forever. And just in case you want to meet him his name is Fieryo from the book and musical Wicked.
H: Tell us about your writing time. How do you manage that, with a full time job, two sons, a husband and all your animals?
G: You forgot my biggest reason to slack off, which is baseball. I do a lot of writing at night and sometimes early in the morning. Because of my real job I’m often away from home for up to sixty hours in a week, so that doesn’t leave me a lot of time. I do mini outlines while I’m in the car–at red lights and train crossings, and at baseball games when I think of something I want to add or need to do. It’s funny where ideas strike you and what sort of notes you have. Today I found a note I’d left for myself that just said “Snavely. Kitten wax.” That’s all it said, and for those of you wondering what in the hell that means I’ll tell you in April when the book comes out.
H: Is your family supportive of your writing?
G: The better word for it is tolerant. I can’t even tell you how many times on vacation someone would yell for me to turn off that (insert word here) computer. They’re starting to understand it’s a career, especially after all of the stories I’ve sold this year to magazines and to book publishers, so it’s nice to finally have something I absolutely love turn into more than just a crazy hobby or a dream. I think they all know that even though I went to school for a career in the medical field, I should have stayed with writing since it’s where I ended up anyhow.
H: Where do you like to write best?
G: Somewhere close to my foster cat Jack, who either enjoys the soothing sound of typing or the heat from my laptop. I have a microscopic desk in my room which I swear some day I’ll turn into an actual office instead of a partial toy room and canine lounge. I used to write downstairs while sitting on the couch but something about Spongebob doesn’t quite do it for love scenes. Now I’m surrounded by my dogs and foster dogs and the occasional cat that wanders in to see if I’m sleeping yet since my head and pillow are prime real estate.
H: I’ve heard you described by a reporter as a “writing machine”. Do you like to do newspaper interviews? What is your ideal reporter like?
G: You must think you’re interviewing someone important with a question like that! I honestly do much better with interviews when they involve talking about my foster dogs than I do my writing. My ideal reporter is someone who comes up with interesting questions.
H: How do you plan to market your new book, THE COUNTESS OF SUBURBIA?
G: COUNTESS is my first full-length novel at Amber Quill Press. It’s set in Northwest Indiana, where I grew up. As far as I know, other than A CHRISTMAS STORY there aren’t many books about my area. I wanted to do a book set here since I love the people and all the stuff to do. I had a lot of fun adding in landmarks and making up a few places to add variation. All my friends who came to visit from out of town got to take the Countess of Suburbia Tour, which I might turn into a bus tour in a few years. Get your hotels booked now, folks!
H: What was your inspiration for COUNTESS? How long did it take you to write it? How long to sell it?
G: It was actually supposed to be a short story for a contest, but after I finished the first chapter I went back and read it, cracked myself up, and thought this isn’t a story. It’s a beginning to a story. From there it just sort of happened, which really isn’t a fascinating story in and of itself, so let me make something up and I’ll get back to you. It took me about a year to complete from first draft to final draft and then another two years before it sold. It sat at another publisher for quite some time, so I had a lot of confidence in it well before AQP contracted it. (Okay, I thought about it and I’m back. I’ve decided to let my readers guess as to my wild adventures with handsome British photographers, which led to the humorous and sexy romance between Miranda and Garic. I can say no more.)
H: Tell us something about the book itself.
G: It’s funny in parts, sad in others, but most of all I hope readers find it honest and real. Once I started to tell people about the premise, I had lots of women say “Oh! I’d read that! My (husband/boyfriend/fiancé) cheated on me and I would have loved to have bought a billboard to tell him we were through!” There are a lot of women who have gone through divorces and breakups similar to Miranda’s, and I tried to give her as much uncertainty and heart as women in that situation feel. Should she go back to him for the sake of her kids? Is she able to go it alone? There is romance, but it’s also about finding your spirit after you have children and a failed marriage.
H: How would you prepare yourself for a radio or television interview?
G: Lots and lots of Crown Royal, obviously.
H: Does criticism bother you personally?
G: Yeah, for a bit, and then I get over it and figure out how to change what’s wrong or hopefully not make the same mistake twice. My beta reader Jax can tell you how many times I’ve maybe argued just a tad but then gone back and made all the changes she thought needed to be done. I haven’t had any scathing reviews, so either I’m giving them the slip or I’ve done something right.
H: Why do you write?
G: Because I really hate folding laundry and doing dishes, and after a full day of working for a laboratory that serves over twenty hospitals, I just want to sit down and disappear into my own little world. I keep saying I want to take over the world and by creating new people and places, I’m one step closer. Well, in the imaginary sense at least.
H: What’s your favorite genre to read?
G: I’ve read everything this past year from historic romance to suspense thrillers to fantasy. I like character driven stories and a little humor added, especially since at work I devour audio books.
H: When was the very first moment when you realized you were going to be an author? How old were you, where were you, what set it all in motion for you?
G: I’ve pretty much been writing since I was a fetus. My mom laminated my very first book, which I wrote in third grade. When I received a typewriter for Christmas it was sort of like Ralphy in A Christmas Story where it was the only thing I wanted–and luckily I didn’t shoot my eye out. When I really got serious about writing I was in high school. My English teacher, Mrs. Weiss, who sadly lost her fight with cancer, inspired me to become a writer. She used a poem I wrote to summarize “Romeo and Juliet” in classes after I graduated, which was the first time anyone had ever said they thought what I was writing might be worth reading. I’ll never forget her and I thank her for giving me that extra push and a little confidence to do what I wanted to do.
H: Tell us where we can get your books.
G: Most of my books are available at http://www.amberquill.com/AmberHeat/bio_Garza.html with an older release at www.lulu.com/gabrina . You can win free copies of my books at my website if you enter my contests. Each month I have a contest and sometimes I even give away bigger prizes, like gift cards for free gas. Bookmark it because ya never know what I might have going on!
H: Is there ever a time when you just can’t write, no matter how free your time is at the moment? Have you ever had serious writers block? If you did, what did you do about it?
G: Yes, I get very distracted by dogs, email, instant messaging, and porn. Well, okay, not porn. But I have a very busy household and a demanding job, so it’s always a matter of telling myself to go ahead and goof off for thirty minutes, then get to work. Whenever I feel like I just can’t get a chapter done and I have no idea if I can go in the direction I intended, I leave the story alone for a bit and work on something else. Even if it’s only for a few hours it helps clear my mind, focus me on a different, sometimes clearer channel, then I can go back, reread what I’ve got, and figure out why I’m stuck. I’m doing that for the book I’m writing now called ONE LAST KISS. It’s a vampire erotic romance and for the last two weeks I’ve been frozen. Tonight I have an idea where I’m going, which came to me during a baseball game. How exactly blood sucking undead fits into baseball is beyond me, but I’m going to have to dedicate that book to the Railcats!
H: What’s your favorite, the first draft, or the editing to perfect it?
G: First draft. I hate reading, rereading, rereading, read again, change this, read it over, find another mistake, and read it again until I want to bleach my eyes. The first draft, though flawed, is the most fun because it’s new to me and I get to see my characters develop beyond that initial thought of “Hey, wouldn’t it be really cool if…” By the time it gets to galleys I’m usually far enough removed from it where I can go back and enjoy reading it. So I like the beginning and the finished part, the middle is where I cry and moan.
H: How did you prepare to write your first book?
G: You have to prepare? Crap! I need to jot that down. Hold on a second.
H: Tell us about your website and blog and discussion group. What’s the link? Do you do it all yourself?
G: My website is slowly evolving from mass chaos to organized mess, sort of like the universe in general. I’m doing it all myself right now. You can read excerpts, enter my contest, subscribe to my newsletter, or join my bulletin board by logging onto www.gabrina.com . The bulletin board is just for group discussions and general debauchery. I’m gathering an army of literate people to help take over the world. Join! Join right now! I also try to keep my blog updated though when I go back and reread the archived posts it sounds like I’m drunk since one message is “Yay! Book comes out tomorrow!” and then right below it is a message about a dog being put to sleep at a shelter. This coming week I’m going to just type in a bunch of words and see if I get lots of hits to it. It’ll be something like banana splits, hand job, voyeurism, royal crown, i love tanner townsend, and my dog is named doyle just to see what happens. No real message, just key words people might search for.
H: How do you manage two young kids and a husband and a house and pets and a life? Have you had to give up anything you really didn’t want to?
G: I tie up the husband (not in a kinky way, we’ve been married for 9 years and married people don’t do that!), lock the kids in the dog kennels, and write all day long. Before your readers call the cops, I’ll be honest and say I really have no idea how I ever get anything done. I have a very helpful family and they want me to succeed so they do everything they can to help me out with the kids and with taking care of my husband, who is completely helpless, which makes it so easy to just tie him up because he never sees it coming!
H: Do you have any major hobbies? What do you really like to do for entertainment?
G: I used to be a lot of fun and go out to movies, live music, etc. but right now I’m managing my time down to the minute. One day I hope to be fun again. For now I’m just a writer.
H: What bothers you most about the publishing world? What do you think can be done about it?
G: You know it’s just very hard to be a new writer and hope to sell books without spending hours and hours of time promoting. People with day jobs and families I think have it the toughest since you can’t spend all of your time writing or you miss out on family, and if you don’t write you don’t make money, and if you don’t make money, you can’t cut back on your hours at your real job so you can stay home and supposedly spend all day writing. I have to budget my time, which I’m no good at doing. If I have the slightest reason to slack off, I always consider it, which is why I’m often up well past my bedtime writing.
H: What are all of your currently upcoming books, titles, a short description, genre, pub date if you have it.
G: My September 2007 releases are COUNTESS OF SUBURBIA, a contemporary romance set in Northwest Indiana about a suburban mom who tells her cheating she wants a divorce by buying a billboard. (The e-book is already available, the print book will be available any day now at Amber Quill Press and soon at Amazon.com.) My erotic romance for September, ALL WET, is part of a series called CIRCLE OF FRIENDS. It’s a heat level 3, the hottest Amber Heat offers. I love the cover of this one! You can see if for yourself here http://www.amberquill.com/AmberHeat/AllWet.html All three stories in the trilogy are about high school friends who reunite as adults and have a lot more fun than they ever did in class. In October 2007 I have two more erotic romance books coming out, the first an adult fairytale called JAX AND THE GIANT’S BEAN STALK. You can probably guess what it’s about! Later in October I have my first gay erotic romance called TAKE ME OUT. It’s the first in a trilogy of baseball related m/m books and it’s about two independent league players who start out as roommates by accident and discover they have an attraction neither of them can deny. I have more books coming out at Amber Quill Press from December until February of 2008 and throughout the summer of 2008, so keep a look out!
H: In your heart of hearts, where all things secret are kept, what do you expect to be doing in five years? Details, please. 😉
In five years I hope my work schedule eases. I love what I do for a living outside of writing and hope to have a little more time to myself to focus on my career as an author. I don’t know if I’d ever quit my real job since it’s the only time during the day where I’m usually alone in the car and able to either listen to books or just focus on the road, but it’s mentally draining at times (I work for a lab and handle very time sensitive specimens…that’s all you want to know). In the meantime, I’m enjoying my son starting his first year of soccer, the dogs coming in and out of my house, and all the hectic but rewarding aspects that come along with being a writer. It’d be nice in five years if I had an actual office overlooking a nice meadow or wetland but somehow I imagine in five years I’ll still be at my microscopic desk with Jack sitting next to me and hopefully my dogs, who are getting older, still laying around wondering just what in the world is so interesting about that glowing box their mama is always staring into at night.
H: If a budding author asks you for writing advice, what’s the most important thing you’d want to tell her?
G: Check out Beth’s website because she lists all sorts of great tips! I’d also say join a critique group, read everything you possibly can in the genre you want to write because there is nothing worse than hearing someone say they want to write a book about this powerful ring and the most unlikely hero who must destroy it to save the world. That was called “Lord of the Rings” and it’s already been done. Learn what’s out now, what’s been done, and how you thought it worked or didn’t work–and why. Then when you sit down to write, it should make it easier to find where your plot holes are located and when your story is dragging.
H: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us that we haven’t covered?
G: The animal rescuer in me says have your pets altered! No, that cute little kitten is not guaranteed a home because 75% of cats born are put to sleep–so don’t let your animals breed and if you need help, ask a rescue if they can assist in getting your pets fixed low cost. I’d also like to say I’m donating 100% of profits this quarter from SEX BETWEEN STRANGERS to animal rescue, so check it out at www.gabrina.com/books.htm and click the link to buy. You get a book to read, animals get a second chance.
Gabrina, thank you for all the trouble you’ve taken to answer all my questions. It was great having you here and I hope your success in the future is all you dream it will be.
Folks, I have to apologize for my long absence, but life interferes sometimes. Actually, the truth is, I told Beth I was going to spend the summer on Count Babbalallapaloozo’s yacht, and she threw a fit and refused to be here if I wasn’t at least part of the time. She said she wasn’t about to sub for me all summer while I had all the fun. (The witch!) So even though we’ve both been neglecting you shamefully, we love you all, you KNOW we do! I’ll be back next week with, among many other things, a peek at my adventures this past summer. We’ll leave the porch light on for ya and the apple pie (which Beth will bake) will be warm!
Love, Hotclue Herself