August 17, 2008

Guest Blogger Donna Marie Rogers/Liza James

So, tell us a little about yourself? What is your typical day like?

Oh, boy, probably pretty boring, actually...LOL I get up when my kids wake me up and make us all a cup of tea. I turn on my computer, check emails, try to get some writing done. Watch TV (I’m a TV junkie, have been since I used to race home to watch the Three Stooges & Little Rascals hour *G*), cook, clean....wow, it’s even more pathetic saying it aloud!

When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?

I started writing in my early twenties, but I was never able to get more than halfway through a manuscript before giving up and starting a new project. I actually quit writing for several years because I’d burnt myself out, and also some people scoffed that I’d never get published anyway. I took it to heart and gave up. Heck, I couldn’t finish a manuscript anyway, I figured. But in early 2004, I sat down at the computer and decided to give it another try. Eight months later I typed ‘The End’ of the first draft of There’s Only Been You, which releases October 10th from the Wild Rose Press (in print April 2009). I wrote the second book in the series, Meant To Be (which is in edits with TWRP), and then a short erotic romance, which is the first story I sold.

How did you break into publishing?

I wrote what was supposed to be the first chapter of an erotic novella. A friend thought it read well as is, so I sent it to the Wild Rose Press’ senior editor, Diana Carlile, hoping for some comments or suggestions. She really liked it, but asked for some changes to the ending. So I revised, and she offered me a contract. I can still remember how crazy excited I was...LOL

What influenced you to write?

I fell in love with romance novels after reading the Wolf & the Dove by the late Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Hundreds of books and a couple of years later, I felt compelled to write my own story. The thought of being able to end a story the way I wanted to was heady. Of course, I quickly found out it’s a lot easier to write a novel in theory than to actually sit down and write one. *G*

What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?

I write romance. Mostly contemporary, although I have one historical erotic short story, and I’m working on a full-length paranormal right now.

What motivated you to write your current book?

The hero of my WIP is introduced in another of my books, and I just completely fell in love with him and knew he had to have his own story.

How much time do you devote to writing each day?

I try to write for a few hours each day. I have small children, so sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not so much...LOL

Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.

My newest release is Golden Opportunity, a contemporay western novella (Miniature Yellow Rose) which released from the Wild Rose Press on August 6th. Here’s a blurb:

James McMillan is a third generation owner of the most prosperous horse ranch in Golden, Colorado. When a gorgeous little filly shows up at his door waving what she claims to be the deed to his brother Reese's half of the ranch, James is skeptical. But the document turns out to be authentic. According to his lawyer, Reese sold her his forty-nine percent of the Double M during a poker game in Atlantic City. Now, not only does James need to find a way to get back those shares, he needs to fight his growing attraction for his luscious new business partner, who turns out to be a lot more than just a pretty face.

Having been on her own since she was a teenager, Angela Roberts has never wanted anything more than the security of a real home, preferably one far away from the city. Her dreams come true when the chance to own half of a Colorado horse ranch falls into her lap. If Reese McMillan is too blind to appreciate what he has, that’s his loss. Only she hadn't counted on the hostile reception she receives from his devil of a brother. Surly as a bear, James McMillan is also much too handsome for her peace of mind. Refusing to be intimidated, Angela sets out to win him over by proving she has what it takes to help him run the ranch—and ends up losing her heart to both.

And on October 10th, There’s Only Been You comes out in e-format with the Wild Rose Press. This is the “book of my heart”, so I just can’t wait! I’ll post a blurb for There’s Only Been You as well:

Sara Jamison has no clue where Mike Andrews has been all these years, but she knows where she's been—busy raising their son, Ethan. Two weeks after Mike accused her of cheating and disappeared from her life, Sara discovered she was something she never expected to be—an unwed pregnant teenager. But with the love and support of her annoyingly alpha-male family, she's managed to make a good life for herself and her young son. She even owns her own business, Sara's Bakery, which she's built into a thriving success. Sure, she works too hard and her social life is nonexistent, but for the most part, she's content.

Until the day Detective Mike Andrews walks into her bakery and back into her life...

What are you working on now?

The paranormal I mentioned, tentatively titled Love Heals All. This manuscript won Karin Tabke’s First Line contest last May, and the final judge, Hilary Sares of Kensington, requested the full. I hope to have it finished by the end of next month. Here’s a blurb:

Mia Grey is having a hard enough time keeping her own unique healing abilities in check, never mind those of her mischievous fourteen-year-old sister, whose recently discovered she can makes objects fly across the room using nothing but the powers of her mind. Mia’s realizing it’s not so easy keeping a teenaged witch on the right path while running her small convenience store/bait shop full-time. And her brooding, much-too-gorgeous-for-her-peace-of-mind new neighbor sure isn’t helping since she can’t seem to stop thinking about him...

Jack Sutton spent the last seven years of his life behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit. He has few friends, even less family, and would like nothing more than to be left alone. He rents an auto garage in the quaint little town of Shelbyville, Illinois and just starts to settle in to small-town life when he’s stabbed late one night and left for dead. He wakes the following morning with a throbbing head and an aching gut. The good news is, he’s alive. The bad news is he seems to have woken up in an episode of the Twilight Zone—with his beautiful new neighbor playing the starring role.

How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?

I started out as a complete pantster, but I’ve evolved into a plotter. Not to say my stories don’t stray from the plot I’ve mapped out...LOL I believe a story has to be character driven to work. I try to make sure my characters don’t do or say things they normally wouldn’t in the name of plot.

If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be? And Why?

It would be my biological father. He died before I had a chance to find him, so I’d like to chat with him for an hour. I have lots of questions for him.

Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.

I’ve been blessed with some really wonderful reviews. Welcome To Redemption, which I co-wrote with Stacey Joy Netzel, has received amazing reviews including a 4-1/2* star from Romantic Times BOOK Reviews. And I’ve already received a Reviewer Top Pick for Golden Opportunity from Diana Coyle of Night Owl Romance.

What is your all time favorite book?

A Kingdom of Dream by Judith McNaught closely followed by Honor’s Splendor by Julie Garwood. Well, Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss is up there, too. And I really loved Rainbows and Rapture by Rebecca Paisley...I could go on forever...LOL


What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

If you’re truly serious about writing, don’t quit. It’s so easy to get discouraged and want to throw in the towel. We’ve all felt that way at one time or another. But If you’re as passionate about writing as I am, please don’t give up. Eventually you’ll realize your dream. J And learn your craft. Read craft books, articles, take in workshops. You’ll learn a little something new every single time.

How do you like your fans to contact you?

I write romance under my maiden name, Donna Marie Rogers, and erotic romance under the name Liza James.

Please visit me at: http://www.donnamarierogers.com/ and http://www.lizajamesauthor.com/

I’m also at Myspace: www.myspace.com/donnamarierogers and www.myspace.com/lizajamesauthor

Email me at DonnaKowal@gmail.com I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for having me, Anna!

9 comments:

Margay said...

Awesome interview, ladies! And what great advice for aspiring writers, Donna! Thank you for that.

Helen Hardt said...

Wonderful interview, Donna! It's always fun to learn new stuff about my "loop" friends.

Helen
www.helensheroes.blogspot.com

Lara Dien said...

These all sound wonderful, Donna. The paranormal especially sounds intriguing--I love clueless men who don't mind figuring it out LOL

Lara

TamiC said...

Great interview! I now have advice if I ever want to try writing, but I think I will just stick to being a reader!! Have a great day.

Liza James said...

Thanks everyone! Tami, sometimes I very much miss the days where my biggest decision was which book to read next. LOL That was before kids!

Lara, Helen, I'm glad you decided to check out my interview. :-) Margay, if I inspired you in anyway, I'm so happy!

Margay said...

You sure did.

angelgrl said...

always love the little tit bits you learn in these interviews
thanks for the tit bit ~grins

hey and always a sucker for a cowboy yaknow
Angela

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Hey, Donna, great interview. :)

Sweetsnan said...

Hi, Donna,

What fun! I'm just catching on to this blogging stuff - great interview! I really enjoyed the excerpts, too -
Nancy Sweetland