Monday, July 12, 2010
Interview with Gabi Stevens, Author of THE WISH LIST
Fiction Flurriers, please welcome author Gabriella Anderson, writing as Gabi Stevens. Her current novel, THE WISH LIST, was released in May 2010. The author has graciously taken time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us about her new trilogy, "The Time of Transition Series," published by Tor Books.
Fiction Flurry: Thank you so much for taking time to chat with us, Gabi!
Tell us about your trilogy. I noticed your main character will change for each book, but all three characters find themselves in the same basic role, that of newly tapped fairy godmother. Will Kristin from The Wish List play a role in the next two books in the trilogy?
Gabi: The trilogy covers the Time of Transition, the time when in the Arcani world, a change in leadership happens along with a change in the fairy godmothers, who are a connection to the Groundling world. The outgoing godmothers retire from the job and new ones take over. This time someone is trying to take advantage of the Arcani world’s vulnerability to establish his own power. And since the godmothers work in threes, I needed three heroines to finish the story. THE WISH LIST is Kristin’s story. She appears in the second book, but SPELLBOUND is Reggie’s book, and TOIL & TROUBLE is Stormy’s although everyone will play a bigger role in the third book to finish out the story that arcs over the three books.
Fiction Flurry: How long have you been with your agent, and how did you establish your relationship?
Gabi: Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency has been my agent since February 2009. She is a savvy woman with great connections in the publishing world. I queried her—you know, followed her guidelines, and sent off a cold query— and she asked to see the complete and loved it. She sold it by the end of March 2009. We talk on the phone and e-mail each other.
I’m excited to say that she pointed me to a publishing opportunity in a book about GLEE. My essay will appear in FILLED WITH GLEE in November of this year. Yeah, Marlene’s pretty cool.
Fiction Flurry: What are your writing habits? How do you keep focused on your writing while balancing the needs of your family and a teaching career?
Gabi: It isn’t easy, I’ll tell you. Now that it’s summer, my days are devoted to writing (I’d like to say I was disciplined, but, hey, I’m the creative type). But seriously, I try to write every day. Unfortunately. my most creative juices flow at night. I am such a night owl and the world doesn’t work that way. During the school year, I get up at 5:30 just to get my daughter off to school and myself ready for the day. I’m at school at 7:30 every morning. And I’m a sleeper—I need lots of sleep. So by 8:30pm I’m starting to get ready for bed. I want Winston Churchill’s schedule. He’d work until 2 am every day and wake up at 10 am. I could do that. But enough whining.
I make writing a priority. Even when my children were small they knew I was a writer and needed time to work. My family supports me one hundred percent. I couldn’t do it without their encouragement and willingness to suffer through a less-than-immaculate house and pizza for dinner. There are times when I have to put the writing aside to grade essays (Why do I assign those things?) or tests, but I try to do something professional every day. Every single day. When I don’t I start to miss it.
Fiction Flurry: Your most recent novel represents a change of direction in your writing, doesn't it? What was your motivation to change genres from historical romance to paranormal romance?
Gabi: Actually it isn’t much of a change. I was a Golden Heart finalist in paranormal romance years ago. I have two favorite genres in romance: paranormal and historical. Many people believe that once an author is published her career is made. It isn’t that easy always and sometimes you have to start over. While I still hope to get back into historical someday, I had to restart my career and doing that in a different genre seemed to be a better idea. But I’ve always written paranormal.
Fiction Flurry: When conceiving a new novel, would you consider yourself more plot-driven or character-driven in the initial stages?
Gabi: I don’t believe you can separate the two. The plot much have a compelling character to carry out the action, and a character must have a plot or we’re stuck with a book about navel-contemplation. Having said that, I love plot. I don’t like books where the characters ponder their fate, examine their emotions overmuch, wallow in self-pity. My favorite stories are high-adventure—think The Princess Bride, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, etc. At the beginning of writing I focus more on the plot, but I go back and do character work.
Fiction Flurry: Do you read your reviews on Amazon? (They look really good for The Wish List!)
Gabi: I do. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. But honestly, I don’t want my voice to appeal to everyone. I’d rather have some people (okay, a lot of people) really like my stories and a few people not get my appeal at all. The reviews that really bother me are the ones that are in the middle. Sometimes the readers have good comments, and I’m not egotistical enough to believe I have nothing to learn.
Fiction Flurry: Who are your favorite authors?
I have so many that I can hardly answer. I always leave someone off, but here goes: Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Agatha Christie, Jasper Fforde, Julia Quinn, Connie Brockway, Teresa Medeiros, Christina Dodd, Jill Barnett, Jennifer Crusie, Jodi Thomas, Celeste Bradley, JK Rowling…oh the list goes on…
Fiction Flurry: What advice do you have for writers just starting out?
Gabi: Read. Write. Repeat. Seriously. Read everything and anything, If you don’t like something, analyze why you don’t like it; if you like it, examine why. But read. And read more. And write. You can’t be a writer without writing. So write. Oh, and learn grammar. Sorry. I love grammar and language. You have to understand how English works and how to construct a sentence. And then you can learn to break the rules.
Other items of importance:
Join a writers’ group. Great wisdom is out there. And you are not alone.
Remember that this is a business. A creative business, but a business nonetheless.
In the words of my first agent, there are three things you need to make it in publishing: talent, luck and persistence. You only need two of the three, but one must be persistence.
Read everything you’ve written aloud at some point.
Thank you so much for having me here today. I’ll be hanging out, so if you have any questions for me feel free to ask.
Fiction Flurry: Thank you again, Gabi, and we wish you much success! Check out Gabi's websites and blog at:
Please leave a comment or ask Gabi a question. We'd love to hear from you. Also, come back to Fiction Flurry tomorrow to get details on a special giveaway from Gabi!