Monday, September 27, 2010

Giveaway and Q&A: Annie Solomon! [Closed]

About Annie:
A native New Yorker, RITA-winning author Annie Solomon has been dreaming up stories since she was ten. After a twelve-year career in advertising, where she rose to Vice President and Head Writer at a mid-size agency, she abandoned the air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps of her professional life for her first love—romance. An avid knitter, she now lives in Nashville with her husband and daughter.

Hi, Annie! Welcome to Rex Robot Reviews, we're so glad to have you here. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Two Lethal Lies?
First off, let me thank you for reading and reviewing my book. I think yours was my second review, and I really enjoyed your site—especially the mad crazy green Rex Robot background.

Okay, inspiration. Believe it or not, the book bubbled up out of a story on General Hospital. Yes, I know...  I am that shallow. What can I say, I’m a fan. Anyway, GH has a lot of bad guy heroes and one of them had a one-night stand with a “good girl.” When she became pregnant, he agreed to keep the paternity a secret because his violent, mob-centered life could endanger the child.

So...what’s gonna happen when the kid grows up twenty years from now (or in soap years, 2 or 3) and discovers who his/her real father is? That was my story. It morphed quite a bit from that—largely under pressure from my editor, who thought the character with the secret was more interesting than the character trying to uncover the secret—but that’s how the whole thing started.

Did any of your characters become a challenge for you during the writing process?
I had trouble figuring out who the heroine was.  I knew my hero was going to need help, and I had to find someone who would be willing to give him that help—even if it put her at risk. My first idea was to use Hannah, the plain-jane lawyer. Hannah is a bit of a curmudgeon and I had fun pitting her against my hero. But I got to a certain point and just couldn’t see her putting herself in legal jeopardy. That’s when I discovered Neesy, my Madmen-inspired, amply-endowed waitress. Once I found Neesy, everything fell into place.

Do you think having a critique group is an essential part of the writing process for a writer?
I wouldn’t use the word essential. I think it depends on the individual writer and her process. I will say that a critique group has been a valuable tool for me. It has provided structure for getting work done, perspective outside my own, and much-needed social interaction. If you’re thinking about joining a critique group, it has to be the right group for you, with the right skill level for where you are with your writing and career. And it has to mesh with your process and personality.

I have read and loved Two Lethal Lies, but how do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you may receive?
I confess that I’m not great at handling them. Many times my husband has threatened to throw my computer out the window because I tend to pay more attention to the bad ones than the good ones. But reviews are part of the territory and I have to remind myself that everyone’s entitled to their opinion…even if it’s wrong. LOL!
What is your favorite aspect of writing within the Romance genre?
Hmm…I guess the overall community. Especially the readers, who are passionate about the genre, and the writers, who are the most supportive bunch out there.

Where is your favorite place to read and write?
Funny, but I’ve had an interesting experience with that. I wrote my first 4 books in a tiny, junk-strewn office. Then I did something to my back and couldn’t sit there anymore. By the time I got my back under control, I couldn’t face that place. I wrote Dead Shot mostly on my screened-in porch. Then One Deadly Sin was written in Panera’s. I wrote Two Lethal Lies in a bunch of places at home, but mostly indoors at the kitchen or dining room table. I’m starting to think that every book has its own place and when I’m done with one I have to find a new place to write.

What book would you say has influenced you the most? Why?
That’s a tough one because there are so many. As a kid I loved Edward Eager’s magical adventure books like Half Magic and Magic by the Lake. I like the Victorians,  Elliot, Dickens, etc. I loved Richard Adams’ Sharduk and Watership Down. Anything by Anya Seton or Mary Stewart--whatever took me away to a different world, be it magical or historical.

So, what comes next? Any other releases or works in progress that you are excited about?
As you can see from the above,  the books that excite me tend not to be romantic suspense, which makes it weird that I ended up writing it. But I finally decided to try my hand at something different. I can’t say much about it—largely because I’m still confused about what IT is. I’ve been calling it an earth-based, post-contact, futuristic something-or-other, and I guess that will have to do until I figure it out. Hopefully I’ll get it all out of my system and return to suspense.
Do you have any upcoming events? If not, where else could readers find you? 
I’ll be at the Southern Festival of Books, October 8-10 in Nashville. I’ll be doing a panel on the romance genre along with several other writers. If you miss that, or are back east, you can see me at the New Jersey Romance Writer’s Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. I’ll be doing a workshop on plotting the romantic suspense called Love and Murder. If you’re planning to be there, stop by and say hello. And if you can’t get to either of those, please say hello on my Facebook Author Page. I just started the page and I’m still under the thrall of Facebook. Or if, like me (until a couple of months ago), you’re still resisting the pull of social networks, email me.

Thank you, Annie, for taking the time to speak with us today! Anything else you would like to say to our readers before you go?
It was truly my pleasure. Oh—one more thing before I forget. I’ve got lots of fun, behind-the-scenes stuff up on my website, including some deleted scenes, a tour of the Disney tunnels and recipes for hot chocolate—which, as you know, my characters are always drinking in Two Lethal Lies.  I hope some of your readers will stop by and enjoy!

Thanks again, and good luck with Rex!

Read my review of  Two Lethal Lies

What's up for grabs?!
Two Lethal Lies to 2 Lucky Winners!
-U.S. & Canada Residents Only
-No P.O. Boxes, please.
-Contest ends 10/04/10
-Winners will be posted, you have 48 hours to shoot me an e-mail with your address!

How to Enter:
~Blog follower (New/Old)
~Valid E-mail Address

Extra Entries:
~RT Contest for +4


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