Ask a Mermaid: Best Advice From the Lagoon

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We’ve had many a successful author, agent and publisher come dip that toes in the lagoon. So, for today’s Ask a Mermaid, we thought it would be fun to revisit some of share some of our favorite advice from some of our favorite authors.

Ask a Mermaid is a monthly advice column for writers. If we don’t have the answers, we’ll find them for you. Send in your questions to Ask a Mermaid.

Darynda Jones

How do you balance your web presence (blogging, web site, interview) with your writing?

Badly. It’s really hard to come up with that balance and it’s a constant challenge for me. I will often spend more time on writing-related content than actual writing, and that is not how it should be. I’m considering therapy.

Hank Edwards

Writing sex scenes – agony or ecstasy?
Just like having sex, I need to be in the mood. When I’m in the mood, it’s amazing. When I force myself to write them, it’s agony. A lot of time I’ll do the “XXX” trick, marking the spot in the book and come back to it when I’m feeling a little more feisty.  ; )

 

Chuck Wendig

What are the three most important things every romance writer should know about the inner workings of the male mind?

Oh, Sweet Jeebus, you’re making me the standard-bearer for the male-mind? Uh oh.

All right. Let’s try this.

First, we do think about sex as much as everyone says. Sometimes it’s sweet. Sometimes it’s weird. Sometimes it involves eye-popping debauchery that we could never say out loud. (“A cowgirl uniform, a birch tree, and a bucket of… fresh mulch?”)

Second, we think women are complicated. And we think we’re deliriously simple. But secretly we also know that we’re just as complicated as you, and further, we’re not all that different but we’ve all been taught how different we are and that’s our default way of thinking. In other words: we’re full of shit and most of the time we don’t realize it, so, uhh, sorry?

Third, we like romance just as much as you do, but somewhere along the way someone probably told us that it was weird and so we pretend we don’t. You merely need to remind us with examples.

Gail Barrett

What’s your schedule like lately and how do you find the time to write such intriguing suspense stories?

Ideally, I start writing by 7am every weekday. I’m a very early riser, so by 7am I’ve had my coffee and breakfast, showered and answered emails, and am ready to go.  I take a brief exercise break at around 9am to wake myself up, and then a longer exercise break in the early afternoon.  I don’t do much writing after that unless I’m on deadline.  I’m much more of a morning person. I also work on the weekends, but usually I go for a long walk with my husband in the morning, and then write for a bit in the afternoons.

Francis Ray

As a highly successful romance author who has published more than 45 titles, what advice would you give writers breaking into today’s publishing industry?

Learn the genre, read widely, don’t compare yourself to anyone, and join a writing organization.

Megan Hart

Are the processes any different for you between writing your mainstream fiction and romance? 

Not really. I approach them the same way, how am I going to tell this particular story. What is important about it. What do I need to include (or not!) to tell the story in the best way possible.

Janet Evanovich

How often do you write and do you keep a set schedule? Do you ever start to get the shakes if you don’t write? 

Seven days a week — usually eight hours at a clip. I don’t get the shakes, but I do feel the hot breath of the next deadline on my neck.

Lori Foster

With the increase in e-books, digital publishing, self publishing and all the changes in New York, where do you see the industry going and what are you doing to prepare?

Nada. I mean, I leave that up to my agent and editor and publisher and publicist. I just focus on writing the best books I know how to write. From there, it’s pretty much out of hands!

Sarah Wendell

For the sake of this question, your best friend is single, what romance hero would you set her up with?

Ooh, tough question! I’d have to think about it, as there are so many very different heroes. It isn’t as if there’s one perfect dude for everyone and all the romance writers create books about him. Each hero is perfect for the heroine he’s matched with in each novel… so there’s no one perfect hero, alas.

Ask a Mermaid is a monthly advice column for writers. If we don’t have the answers, we’ll find them for you. Send in your questions to Ask a Mermaid.