Today I would like to introduce you to Connie Wilson, writer of interracial romance. Hi Connie, and welcome to the blog today! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I always feel like I'm pimping myself off to a dating site when I write these things. LOL. I'll spare you the “I'm 35 and love candle light dinners and long walks on the beach” speech and say that I've lived in Michigan most of my life and have an almost 18 year old calico cat named Simone, who I think at this point is going to out live us all. Between her, my writing and my fantabulous support system, they are the only reason I'm as sane as I'm going to get.
I enjoy watching movies and reading. I'm really into reading books and watching their movies and seeing the difference between the two.
What made you decide to be a writer, and when was that?
I got serious about it when I was 19. I had story ideas in my head, had no idea how to do it properly, but I just started writing them down. It was through going back and saying “Hey, these aren't very good” that I started researching on how to make it better.
How old were you when you finished your first book?
I've “finished” a few, but never did anything with them. The first one that I finished that did something with, I was 33.
How long did it take you to write it?
Do you have any published works?
Yes. Two on Amazon – Learning the Hard Way and Northern Lights 1: Natural Order
Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? If so, how many times?
I haven't participated in NaNo in like two years, but before that, I'd done it 7 times with 4 wins – 3 of them consecutively.
What do you do to keep yourself going when you aren’t motivated?
I allow myself a a day or two break but then I go back and I read what I've written, fix grammar stuff I've seen and usually end up fixing dialogue or adding description and that gets me going on other ideas.
Why would someone like your book?
Because they're a new twist on something that's been seen a million times. There are no new ideas, only new spins on old ones. And I'd like to think that my spin hasn't been done before. The characters are strong, likable but not perfect. They have visible flaws that make them seem human.
How old were you when you wrote your book?
Being that I have just finished it, 35.
How long did it take you to write it?
This rendition of it, 4 years. It's been incomplete for about that long.
Did anything in particular inspire anything in your book, or anything you have written?
When this particular idea came about, I was looking to do something completely different than the fan fiction that I'd been doing at the time.
What is the title of your book?
The Wrong Side of the Mississippi
How do you plan on publishing?
My book is currently being optioned by Queen Midas Books.
Did you design your own cover, or have someone else help?
They will be handling that.
What format(s) will your book be available in?
Ebook and paperback
When do you expect your book to be released?
There isn't a release date yet.
What genre does your book fit into?
How long did you work on it until you felt like it was ready for publishing?
I've been working on this idea for at least 10 years. It's gone through at least three changes before I felt comfortable with writing it and getting it out there.
What else are you working on right now?
I'm really busy getting The Wrong Side of Mississippi ready to put out so I'm really focused on that for now.
Writers and Books that Have Helped You
What do you like to read?
I read anything that catches my attention. Usually I stick to romance but I've been branching out to some street lit and urban fiction.
Are there particular writers that you admire?
To completely contradict the previous question, my favorite authors are Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson.
What have you learned about writing from reading the books that you love?
To take chances. That it's okay to shake things up and step out of your comfort zone from time to time. James Patterson is known for his crime dramas but his book Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas is my favorite book and it's a love story written in second person.
If there was one author you could meet with and learn from one on one, who would you choose?
I would have to say James Patterson, simply because he's so versatile.
Advice for Other Writers
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
People find out I'm a writer and I hear “I always wanted to be a writer but I wouldn't know where to start”.. pick up a pen... or open a document and just start. Get the idea down on paper and worry about form and character and all that later. If you want to write, do it. Don't worry about if you're good at it. And then worry about the particulars. Read all the how to books and bone up on what to do that way. When I first started writing, one of my best friends told me to learn all the rules of writing so I knew when it was appropriate to break them.
Any advice for the editing process?
Ugh. I always think I'm a great writer until I edit. Before actually changing anything, read through it and make notes (though I end up making the grammar changes I see because I'm OCD and can't help it). Then make your changes and read through it again for more grammar changes or anything else you may see. And then have several people go through it because fresh eyes will see things you didn't. And read Elizabeth Lyon's “Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore”.
If you could do everything over (writing your book, or publishing, etc.) would you change anything?
I would have self published sooner. I was never confident enough in my ability to put myself out there but once I did it and people responded positively, my self confidence grew.
Is there anything particularly helpful you have found as you have written/edited/published?
Having a schedule seems to help move things along better for me.
What did you want to be when you were little?
I wanted to be an English teacher and then a social worker.
Do you plan on being a full time writer, or do you have other career plans?
At this point in my life, I intend on being a full-time writer.
How long have you been writing?
Honestly, my entire life. But I got serious about turning it into a career around nineteen. I started writing what is known now as fan fiction at 19 with the idea of eventually turning it into something more.
What do you write? Specific genres, ages groups, etc.
I write interracial romance. I have several young adult projects out but I will eventually focus only on adult romance.
Why that particular genre/age group?
I started writing the genre about seven years ago when there wasn't a lot of it on the market and I wanted to be different and stir things up a bit.
Ebook, paperback, or hardcover?
Ebook for now, but I've got something in the works now that will lead me to paperback.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently deep in the clutches of the editing process with my book The Wrong Side of the Mississippi.
What makes your writing unique?
I'd like to think that my characters aren't stereotypical. And I put a lot of my own experiences into my characters and my plots so it gives my books a unique spin.
Do have any writing rituals? Treats you have to have, places you have to be, etc.?
My area has to be completely spotless, there has to be some sort of back ground noise and I have to have some sort of flavored water.
What are some of your hobbies besides writing and reading?
I love to cook and I try new recipes a couple of times a week. If I don't get a recipe right the first time, I'm likely to try it three of four times that month until I have it right.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?
Yes. It depends on what type of scene I'm writing. Usually it's hair bands because well, I'm stuck in the 80s. But if I'm writing a sad scene or a more sensual scene then I listen to r&b or hip hop.
Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?
You can follow me on Facebook: Author Connie Wilson, Twitter: AuthorCWil and all three of my books have fan pages on facebook.
Thank you Connie for a great interview! It has been a pleasure getting to know you. Good luck with your work!