To be a good author, you have to read....a lot.
Over the next few months, I’ll be showcasing some of my favorite authors on the website. These are some very talented ladies and I enjoy reading their books (when I’m not working diligently on Fat Bodyguards). I’ve been a fan of the Real Vampire series since I started reading it four years ago, so I’m excited to share Gerry’s interview with you.
This month (January) you announced the title for the next Real Vampires Book (#9). Has it gotten easier or harder to come up with titles?
Gerry: Definitely. Because I decided early on to always use Real Vampires in the titles. It's been tough, and my editor likes to emphasize Glory's issues with her weight. Double whammy. But seems like we always come up with something. I was actually in a book store when the new title Real Vampires Know Hips Happen came to me.
What has been the most amazing moment of your career so far?
Gerry: Selling my first book back in 1998. I had already been writing for years and had been rejected by several major houses. Then Kensington bought not one,but two romantic suspenses from me. Wow. A close second was when I did the proposal for the vampire series and signed with my agent. I'd been trying unsuccessfully for as long as I'd been trying to get published to snag an agent and she is my dream agent. Believe it or not, it's harder to get a good agent than it is to sell a book!
Do you need music, coffee, aromatherapy, etc to help the ‘creative process’?
Gerry: Nope. I think about my book in progress all the time. I love music and sometimes inspiration comes from that, but it's not necessary. I'm not one who needs peace and quiet. I can write in an airport terminal or waiting in a doctor's office. I tend to shut out everything around me when I'm going strong on a book.
How much time do you spend writing versus editing?
Gerry: I love to edit. I tend to pour out my words then print and edit. I may go over a chapter a dozen times before it's right then have to rewrite at the end again. I don't mind that. I think Hemingway said writing is rewriting. It's always the search for the perfect way to say what you mean. The percentage of writing to editing is 25% writing, 75% editing.
Do you think mermaids are really the next big trend? If not, what do you think it will be?
Gerry: I gave up guessing trends long ago. I have a little of everything in my books, including a mermaid. Why not? I created a paranormal world where anything is possible. But my fans are there for the vampires and I don't forget that. To me, the vampire males are the sexiest paranormals out there. So far, I'm sticking with them. By the time a book is written and has gone through the production process, a year or maybe two have passed. The trend has waned and you are left behind. So it's best to write what you love. That's always been my agent's advice and I listen to her.
Who has been the most influential person in your writing career?
Gerry: I have a critique partner who influences me, Nina Bangs. She's the one who nagged me into trying my hand at a vampire book. That's who I have to thank for the success of the Real Vampires series. I was writing historicals and didn't see myself in the paranormal genre. Nina dared me and I couldn't pass that up, especially when I saw her success. So here I am.
What are a few of your favorite books?
Gerry: I read a little bit of everything. Lately I've been on a young adult kick. I read the Hunger Games series but am afraid it's too violent for me to see the movie. I read J.R. Ward's Brotherhood series in the adult section. I'm also a fan of straight mysteries and gobble up anything John Sanford writes. Gone With the Wind was the first romance I read, back in the day. But I always rewrote the ending and put Scarlet and Rhett back together.
Did you really stalk your readers at Barnes&Noble (as documented in your distractions post)? Did it work? What was their reaction? I’ve thought about doing it, but figured security (or a very stern bookworm) would walk me off the premises.
Gerry: I've never had a problem with security. In fact, I think B&N is happy to have authors there. I sign books when people break down and buy my books. I actually drag my buddy Nina forward too and she will sign when people buy hers as well. Readers love to meet authors but I never pressure anyone to buy my books, just point them out. I try to save the stalking thing for my release month. And I do check out to make sure my books are put out on time. It makes me insane when they are "in the back" several days after they should be on the shelves.
Any final tidbits of wisdom?
Gerry: My final word would be if there are any aspiring authors out there, I hope they will read my Perils of Publishing articles on my website at www.gerrybartlett.com. I've often said the secret to my success is persistence. I almost gave up writing in 1998 just before I got "the call" from Kensington Publishing. That call changed my life. But even after I sold three books, I went several years without a sale. Luckily I'm just stubborn enough and willing to change that I persevered and finally sold again. Will the market change again? If it does, I'll be flexible and change with it. I've gone from romantic suspense to historicals to vampire comedy. What's next? Time will tell, but you can bet I'll be there. (I highly recommend reading all of Gerry’s articles - they really helped me.)
Thanks for the interview!
Gerry: Thanks for the platform, Marita!