Friday, March 18, 2011

20 Questions with author Ari Thatcher

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.


Celtic Rhythm (In Ellora’s Cave Flavors of Ecstasy II)


Death by Sex

Kyle’s Redemption

Maui Heat

Maui Rekindled

Honey and Heat (Anthology of all novellas except Celtic Rhythm)

Coming Soon: Demon of Desire

Ari Thatcher began writing as a child, but the world told her she needed a real job. She discovered motherhood didn’t pay well, dabbled in daycare, diesel mechanics and clerical work before finally accepting she had to write. When she’s not writing, she enjoys watching auto racing, quilting and spending time with her daughters and their husbands.

How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?

Sometimes it’s a conversation or something in the news. Sometimes dreams, but most often the characters show up in my head and I have to talk to them and find a setting that will put their personalities in biggest conflict

What is your process from idea to first draft?

I start with characters, names, personalities and if they are shifters or whatever. I use Kathy Lloyd’s conflict grid to see where they are going to bump heads and what they fear. That gives me the black moment, which I plug into Michael Hague’s Six Point Plot Structure. I work out the turning points of the story, flesh out scenes that need to happen in between. Sometimes I write the synopsis at that point, others I detail chapter by chapter. But I’m learning I write a lot faster when I can glance at the plot structure and know what has to happen next.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

Sometimes just burying myself in housework, quilting or crocheting frees up my mind and I can work out the problem. Or I walk the dogs. One of my best methods is brainstorming with my daughter. She has no desire to write but has some great ideas!

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

I don’t know that I have one. I have a few peers from a critique group who are at the same spot in their careers, and they help a lot, or authors on my publisher’s loop.

What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

I’ve taken some great ones and some that didn’t move me forward at all. It’s a risk you take. I became much more disciplined after taking Shelley Bradley/Shayla Black’s Storyboarding workshop. I don’t use all her methods but that’s how I developed my own routine to be able to sit down and whip out a story.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

Kristin Daniels. She was one of the critique partners I was using while trying to polish old MSs that really don’t need to see the light of day. She mentioned a submission call at Ellora’s Cave and I decided to try and write for it, also. Neither of us sold for the themed anthology we aimed for but both stories were accepted for Cavemen anthologies. She kicks butt as a CP!

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

I currently have a novel in the works inspired by Saving Abel’s “New Tattoo”. The premise, characters and hero’s secret all came to me while waiting in line at the bank’s drive-up teller. Road trip, anyone?

Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

On occasion, I’ll turn on music but I write more when it’s quiet. I tend to sing along with whatever is playing. I have been writing a lot this week with NASCAR racing in the background, though!

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

I read Regency romances more than anything, and my contemporary heroes often speak funny because of it! I will finally try my hand at a Regency story soon. In the meantime I often have to open a contemporary or paranormal book to get the voices in my head talking right.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

I can’t think of anything beyond critique partners. I think having an experienced eye reading your work and telling you honestly what needs improvement is vital to getting published.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Death by Sex made it to #11 on Amazon’s Best-Selling Erotica list! I didn’t think to print it out until it had slipped to #12. But I have it printed for inspiration when my ego is weak.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

Oh, this is a constant thought process for me. Some would go to a variety of charities, but I think most important would be to start a business locally to create jobs. I think that would have a much larger ripple in the universe.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

Finish your book. Don’t second guess it, rewrite it before you get to “The End” or let the inner critic tell you it’s junk. Once it’s written you can hack it to pieces, or shove it into some hidden folder, but you will be a better writer for having finished.

If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

My totem is a black wolf. I think where I connect is their tendency to run alone but with strong family/pack instincts.

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

If skill were not an issue, I would have gone to Broadway. I sing but have three left feet, and hate crowded cities, so I didn’t pursue theater like I wanted. And in truth, writing is my first and best choice for a career!

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

Again, skill plays into it. I’d love to drive a race car on one of the major tracks.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

My heroes are alphas, even when in some cases it’s a covert aspect of his personality. And they love with all their beings. I write to a female reader, so my heroines aren’t always kickass. Some are insecure and have to believe in themselves. I think trusting in her ability to do what she needs to is what makes a heroine strong, but her journey is often finding that strength.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

Everyone who wanted a family would have one and no one would lack in basic needs like food and housing.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

Ah, but here’s a secret! I do have super powers. I can wipe out evil with the keying of a fight scene. I can make love the ruling force in the world. And I can give a reader somewhere hope that her life is better than it appears, that she will find her own happy ending. There’s only one thing more powerful than hope and it’s love.

“I’ll call you.” That’s the last thing Gabe said fifteen years ago as Maggie prepared to fly home from a summer in paradise. When he didn’t call, she packed away the memories of their sexual romp and relegated him to vacation-fling status.

Now, as the ink on her divorce papers dries, Maggie returns to that Maui resort hoping to find the carefree woman she once was. When Gabe walks out of the waves on her first afternoon at the beach, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or run away. Hot, crazy vacation sex with no strings attached would be the perfect remedy for her bloody divorce.

Gabe thinks of Maggie as the one who got away, and he’s not about to let it happen again. The passion between them is as fiery as ever, but is it hot enough to rekindle the romance he knows they could share? He’s got one week to prove to her it is.

Excerpt: (PG)

The sound of waves lapping against the sand worked as well as a massage at loosening the knots from of her body. Settling back against the sand chair, she released a slow, steady sigh. She should have done this years ago.

A few young men rode their boards in the surf, maneuvering the small waves for the longest ride possible. A pair of girls, teenage or a few years older, splashed closer to shore. At some point, Maggie would go in the water, but not today.

She slid lower in the chair, only her shoulders propped up above the sand. A nap would be so heavenly. Her eyelids were heavy. Letting them drop, she stuck the base of her glass in the sand so it wouldn’t spill.

The waves continued their lullaby, only an occasional voice in the distance breaking the peace. She lifted her face to the sun, the heat purifying her soul.

Just before she dozed, she suddenly opened her eyes. A dark-skinned god rose from the water, a board tucked under his arm. She sat spellbound, watching his approach. Water rolled off him, sprayed off his short black hair when he shook.

Maggie licked her lips as her eyes traveled up his long body. His wet shorts clung like a second skin, riding low on his narrow hips. A bare, flat abdomen made her fingers itch to stroke it. He had swimmer’s shoulders, broad, strong, well defined. Damn, picture that arched above me in bed…

That was another thing she hadn’t come for. Sex. Men in general. She’d had enough of one man in particular to last this lifetime and the next few. Still, just once, it would be so tempting to have a man like the surfer between her legs again.

The water god smiled, his teeth bright against his dark-chocolate complexion. Her heart stopped. It couldn’t be. He couldn’t still be here after, what, fifteen years. No, he’d gone back to college when summer ended. Just as she had.

And he never called like he’d promised.

Closing her eyes, she forced the image of Gabe Brashiers out of her head. Maybe she should have picked a different resort. One without so many memories.

Focusing again on the beach, she saw the man in question walking toward her. As he grew closer, his features became clear. Dear God, it was.

Her heart jumped. “Gabe?”

BUY LINK: http://arithatcher.com/maui.html

Also on that page are links to the free prequel, MAUI HEAT


Tina Donahue said...

You dabbled in diesel mechanics? Bet you're glad you're writing now, huh? :)

Wonderful excerpt, hon, hope you burn up the net with your sales!

Redameter said...

Very nice excerpt, you kept my interest. Old loves are the best, I should know I married one myself.

Love and blessings

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I am very interested in the conflict grid you mentioned and I hope, when you get the chance, you'll share that with the group. Loved your excerpt and wish you every success with Maui Rekindled. Great interview answers, Ari.

Delaney Diamond said...

I love reading reunion stories. They're always so hot because of past drama and emotional baggage between the characters.

BTW, I like that you don't only write kick*ss heroines. There's nothing wrong with showing a woman can be vulnerable, and strength comes in many different forms.

Good luck with your release!

Michael said...

Sounds great Ari!

Much success!

Ari Thatcher said...

Thanks for having me, Tina & Sarah, and thank you all for commenting. Sarah, I'll go share that grid right now!

Fiona McGier said...

I love reading the interviews...we interact with each other here, but don't really get to know each other until Sarah's questions make us reveal ourselves! Have you ever written a story that involved cars/racing? Since you are interested, I just wondered.
Good luck with sales of this book with the very hot cover!