Monday, March 22, 2010
Welcome to Lisa Pietsch's guest blog
Welcome Ms. Pietsch to Love Romances and More, thank you for joining us.
Thanks for having me - this is pretty exciting for me.
Did you always want to become a writer?
No. I wanted to be an actress. My parents convinced me I couldn't make a living in the arts and needed a trade so I joined the Air Force. I showed them! I'm having a blast in the arts now.
What is the most, and the least interesting fact about writing?
The most interesting: I get to make love to some of the most exciting, charismatic and gorgeous men who never existed.
The least interesting: My space bar is broken and I often have to double-tap for a single space.
How did you celebrate your first release?
I went to Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas and drank a few hundred pesos worth of margaritas.
What was it like to see your book in a bookstore?
Do you have a special ritual for celebrating a book release?
I put on some Pitbull and do the dance of joy with my sons. They're five and two so we get pretty crazy.
How did your family react to the fact that you write romance novels? Have your family read your book?
They probably think it's just another phase. My brother buys my books which is pretty cool. My parents don’t even have email so the idea of an e-book is bizarre to them. My husband's family is very supportive and my mother-in-law reads my books even though espionage really isn't her bag. What is most important to me is that my kids dig it and my husband is my greatest promoter.
Most authors are also avid readers. Is this the case with you? If so, who are some of your favorites? Have any influenced your writing?
Absolutely! Ian Fleming and Cindy Gerard are my two great faves. They've definitely influenced my writing. I love what Ian Fleming did with words and Cindy Gerard is brilliant at torquing up sexual tension.
Do you feel each of your characters live with you as you write? Do their lives sometimes take over a part of your life? Can you name an example? Do you have living role models for your characters?
Most definitely! There are times when the stories hit me like a tidal wave and all I can do is write and breathe. An example is during NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org) last year. I started a new character and everything about him just flowed. I couldn't stop writing about him. My initial plan was to kill the character off but I'd grown so attached to him and where he took the story that I was in a funk for days over how to keep him.
I do have living models for my characters. Every major character has an actor or actress already "cast" for them and the characters themselves are usually loosely based on someone I know or have known.
What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Tension and the journey.
Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters?
I don't really. They usually come to me in dreams, fully formed and determined to be written the way they want to be written.
Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Jay Stanstead is my favorite so far because he was such a surprise.
“Jay Stanstead was a career man in the British Special Air Service (SAS). He had spent twenty years jumping out of planes, cut more throats than he cared to count and drank more pints than he could remember. He'd invested his money well and had a comfortable retirement courtesy of the crown but his life was missing something he couldn't live without - action.
On the suggestion of a mate, he met with an American named Brock Benjamin who ran a private military company that specialized in providing freelance work for guys with a certain type of military experience. Jay's type of military experience. Jay enjoyed the freelance work and made a good reputation for himself.
One day, Brock called him and two other men in for a look at a special job. Brock showed them a photo of a woman and explained that she was an international businesswoman who needed a personal security specialist, a bodyguard.
No woman, real or photographed, had ever made Jay's heart stop until that day.
Jay wanted this client. He had to have this client.
The pay was excellent and the conditions were guaranteed first class.
All three men expressed an interest in the job.
Brock stood, smiled and announced he expected to see one man in his office in ten minutes after they'd worked it out amongst themselves who would take the job.
Jay broke the bones of good men that day to be a bodyguard, to be Sarah Stevens' bodyguard.”
Excerpt from The Lonely Road, Book#4 in the Task Force 125 series.
The most challenging has been Vince Hennessee. He changed type on me in the middle of the series and took the story to a whole new level.
*Adult language in this excerpt
“Sarah walked into her apartment and closed the door. She pulled her phone out of her purse and dialed Vince.
Those sons of bitches are going to answer for this.
The more Sarah thought about it, the angrier she became.
Where the hell do they get off scaring my dates away like a couple of big brothers puffing up their chests?
She called Will.
He picked up on the first ring. "Sarah, you okay?"
"I'm pissed. Where's Vince?"
"We left the club about fifteen minutes ago. He was going straight back to his place."
"Great. I'll find him."
Sarah hung up before he could say anything. She left her apartment, stomped down the hallway and punched the elevator button.
Son of a bitch.
When the elevator didn't show up immediately, she ripped open the stairwell door and ran down the two flights of stairs to Vince's floor.
She banged on his apartment door like a cop ready to bust a drug dealer.
Vince opened the door within seconds wearing a casual smile. "Hey, sweetheart."
A flash of pink silk caught Sarah's eye. She looked past Vince to see a beautiful brunette in pajamas lounging on his sofa.
Rage boiled beneath her skin. Every muscle in her body tensed with anger. She glared at him but he seemed oblivious as he smiled at her.
She didn't try to stop herself as she threw her whole body into a hard punch to his stomach.
Vince wasn't expecting the hit. He braced his hands on the doorframe, bent slightly into himself and stepped back before recovering. His face was red and he looked genuinely surprised when he looked up.
His voice boomed. "What the hell was that for?"
"Don't sweetheart me, you bastard! You get to bring women home whenever you like, but I finally find a nice guy to go out to dinner with and you and your flunky, Will, have to fuck it up?"
He shook his head and grabbed her arm. "Now hold on a minute!"
Sarah cut him off. "No, you hold on!" She shook her arm free of his grip. "Let's get something clear here. We may work together but my off-duty time is mine." Sarah turned without waiting for a response and stormed down the hall. Behind her, she heard Vince's door slam shut.”
Excerpt from A Taste of Liberty, Book#2 in the Task Force 125 series
Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Definitely character driven. They come up with some totally unplanned but pretty cool plots.
Where do you get the inspirations for your books?
The characters come to me in my sleep (another reason I really need my eight hours every night) and the plots usually come from foreign news sources.
Do you find it difficult at times to write love scenes?
Yep. I'm a big fan of the buildup and then fade to black.
Do you have a problem with deadlines and have you ever suffered a writers block?
Only when my computers die. My laptop died the day I received my first round of edits on my first novel. What a nightmare! I’ve never suffered a writer's block. If something isn't flowing I set itaside and move on to something that does.
Do you prefer stand-alone books or series (As a reader or a writer) ?
As a reader, I love when an author comes up with a great character (or characters) that can move through a series.
As a writer, I put so much of myself into my characters that I find it difficult to let them go after only one story.
If you could change places with one character from your book, who would it be and why?
Sarah Stevens! Have you read The Path to Freedom? She's got a primo life!
What is your favorite book from the books that you have written so far? Who are your favorite hero and heroine, and why?
The Path to Freedom is my favorite because of what it represents for me. It was my debut novel and one of the best learning experiences of my life. Sarah Stevens and Vince Hennessee are the heroine and hero in The Path to Freedom.
Would you like to give another genre a try?
You betcha! I have some exciting ideas for a paranormal series based on the Fallen Angels.
Which book was the hardest to write and which the easiest?
The second, A Taste of Liberty, was the most difficult because I had such great reader response from the first, The Path to Freedom. I didn't want to let my readers down.
The easiest was the fourth because I just let the characters go where they wanted and they created some very interesting sub-plots and storylines of their own.
If you could choose one of your books for a movie, which one would it be and who would you pick as the cast?
I would choose The Path to Freedom in hopes that a movie franchise might be born. All of my books came to me as movies in my head so it would be very exciting to see them become movies on the big screen.
Sarah Stevens...Megan Fox
Vince Hennessee...Vin Diesel
Will Adams...Grayson McCouch
Brian Allen...Hugh Jackman
Jason Williams...Seann William Scott
(Yes, I am aware that this would be a wildly expensive movie!)
What do you feel is the most important aspect a new author should remember when writing/creating their own stories? Any advice for aspiring authors?
Just write the story you want to read. If you get too wrapped up in market trends you become a participant in the book mill mindset. It should always be about the story first.
Writers write - and fear no one when you try to sell your story. Rejection weeds out the people who aren't serious about being published. Stick it out and you'll be published.
Have you ever been nervous over reader reaction when a new book come out?
Oh, heck yeah! I heard from some fantastic people who loved The Path to Freedom. They bought my book and that's huge to me. The last thing I want to do is disappoint them.
How much does reader response mean to you over your books? What do you hope readers get from your books after they read them?
If a reader reads my books and feels they got more than their money's worth then I did it right. If they want their money back then I’ve failed.
What season is your favorite and why?
Winter. There is nothing better than snow piling up outside and a nice fire in the fireplace inside.
What would we find on your bookcase if we looked? What is one of your favorite authors?
You'd find the complete works of Ian Fleming, back issues of Foreign Affairs and National Geographic, about 40-50 foreign language dictionaries, workbooks and texts. Silhouette Bombshell books (they never should have killed that series), Jackie Collins, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Og Mandino, W. Clement Stone, Lynn Andrews, The Celestine Prophecy and several hundred more. I don't have a single bookcase. I have an entire library.
What was the last book you read (e or print) and did you like it?
Prime Evil by Heather Long. Loved it!
What makes a good book to you?
How much the author bleeds and sweats on it. How much magic they leave on the page. Did they pull me in?
How does reader feedback matter to you?
It's a gauge of how well I'm entertaining them, something I desperately want to do. Getting a good note from a reader is better than a royalty check.
Are you ever nervous when a new book comes out?
If you could travel through time to visit a special time period or famous person, what or who would it be and why?
I would want to meet Ian Fleming. As to the reason why - two words - James Bond.
What character out of all your books is the closest to your personality?
What is your favorite movie of all time? The one where you can watch it and still get affected at the same spots each and every time?
The Transporter. Seriously.
I love watching Jason Statham move. He's like a dancer when he fights and if I could put that style, finesse and fluidity on the page I'd be the greatest writer ever. The scene where Frank Martin fights the big guy thrills me every time.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things would you have with you?
Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, Hugh Jackman, Oden Fehr and Daniel Craig.
What is your favorite way to relax after a hard day working and writing?
Margarita on the rocks, no salt.
Do you listen to music while you are writing and if so what music is it?
Yes! Daughtry, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Black Eyed Peas, Pitbull, Rob Thomas, Shakira, Sisters of Mercy, Eros Ramazzotti - it's a fairly ecclectic mix and what I listen to really depends on what sort of scenes I'm writing.
Big congrats to your latest release, can you please tell us something about the book?
Thank you! In this story, Sarah Stevens finally has a life. Instead of the same old life with no man around who is worth the energy, now she has three. One she loves but cannot have, one she can have but cannot love, and another who wants her and doesn’t care if she loves him. What’s a girl to do?
Are you working on anything right now, and can you tell us a teaser about these projects?
The manuscript for Book#3 in the Task Force 125 series, Freedom’s Promise, has been completed and should be published by Sapphire Blue Publishing in a few months. In this instalment, the team has to go off on their own to rescue a friend and tie up a loose end. When they put all their resources together, they come up with quite a plan.
Jason turned to face her. "Yeah?"
"Are we going to be able to do this?"
His eyes wrinkled with the laughter he was probably holding in. "Any monkey, even an Air Force cop like you, can mount an M-60 to a chopper, Sarah."
Sarah found no humor in the joke today. Her shoulders sunk and she shook her head. "That's not what I'm talking about."
His voice dropped a little deeper when he spoke. "I know, Sarah." He grabbed her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. "Never, ever allow room for doubt in your head, your heart or your gut. We've got the best equipment and people in the business right here on this little sandbar. Always remember, who dares wins."
"Where have I heard that before?"
"Okay, so it wasn't original but it is appropriate. It's the British SAS motto and its every bit the truth. Have you ever heard of the SAS failing at anything?"
Sarah gulped back the frog growing in her throat. "No."
"Exactly." Jason shook her shoulders. "We're the heroes, Sarah. Don't forget it. We're going to save Vince, kill the bad guys and then we'll all live happily ever after."
"How can you be so sure?"
Jason placed his hands on either side of Sarah's head and pulled her close until their foreheads touched and their eyes were just inches apart. "Because the alternative is unacceptable and because we have this." He walked over to the covered helicopter and pulled the tarp away from the nose.”
Excerpt from Freedom’s Promise, Book#3 in the Task Force 125 series
I’ve written Book#4 in the series and will be sending it to Sapphire Blue Publishing shortly. Sarah Stevens finally comes into her own in this story.
"You enjoy this, don't you?"
"Private jets, sable coats, the best hotels, limousines, a gorgeous bodyguard and the opportunity to kick a little ass once in a while." She grinned. "What's not to enjoy?"
A smile crept across Jay's face and the corners of his eyes creased. "So you think I'm gorgeous?"
She felt the familiar flush rising through her cheeks again and shrugged. "You aren't an eyesore."
He picked up his paper and opened it. "Nah, I'm bloody gorgeous."
Excerpt from The Lonely Road, Book#4 in the Task Force 125 series
I hope to have the last three books in the Task Force 125 series completed by the end of this year for publication in 2011. I should also mention that I will be writing a free short story between each novel in the Task Force 125 series. The shorts will be about the team members and while not necessary to the overall series storyline, they do give readers insights into the characters that they might not otherwise get from reading just the novels. The free short that follows The Path to Freedom, entitled “Sarah’s Summer”, is available on my website now and the short that follows A Taste of Liberty should be available in April.
Thanks for having me here!