Willa Edwards has dreamed about being a writer since she was four years old. When she picked up her first romance novel at fifteen she knew she’d found her place, and she’s never looked back.
She now lives in New York, where she works with numbers at her Evil Day Job and spends her nights writing red-hot tales of erotic romance. When she's not at her computer, you can usually find her curled up in bed with her two furry babies, her nose pressed to her e-reader.
Buy Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/midnight-mirage
Find me Online: www.willaedwards.com
Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/willa.edwards
How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?
I come up with my ideas all kinds of different ways. It’s often joked about in writing circles that writing a book is like giving birth to a baby. It’s painful, it’s difficult, but in the end our so proud of it, you love it more than might be natural. For me getting an idea is like a conception. It’s a variety of images, ideas, concepts and character traits swirling together until they make one complete idea.
This happens when my brain is most at rest, the least cluttered with what I have to do, what blog needs to be written, what chapters need to be completed, what tasks need to be done for my day job. The most common places for that are in the car rides back and forth from work and the shower. Something about both those places lets my mind rest and ideas to conform and float to the surface.
Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?
Hearing other stories is my number one inspiration, especially real stories of love. When I feel my inspiration flagging, I watch television, a good movie or read an awesome book in the same genre as I’m writing. When I do that my mind usually starts spinning, thinking about all the ways I want to change the story to improve it or make it my own.
If that doesn’t work, especially if I’m stuck on a really specific problem, then usually a good long nap will help. Naps are like magic. They can heal and solve any problem.
What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?
I think writing workshops are great, and have taken a few great ones, but I think they should be used sparingly. Some people take every workshop in the world to improve themselves, and while I think that’s great, it takes time away from the only tried and true way to improve. To write. I try to take workshops on what I view needs to be improved, or what I’ve an editor says I have issue with in a rejection letter or critique. Not just take whatever comes my way.
I would definitely recommend to anyone want to write erotic romance, if you get the opportunity, to take Angela Knight’s Introduction to Erotic Romance. Not only is it an unbelievably informative workshop, but Angela is amazing, and very giving of her time for questions and help of any kind you need.
What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?
I’ve been inspired by the strong women in my life. My mother and my grandmother. From my mother I learned to follow my passion. To work hard and keep striving until you get what you want. From my grandmother I’ve received unending support, and understanding. I dedicated Midnight Mirage to my grandmother. I still haven’t written the right story to dedicate to my mother. It would have to be really special to honor her with.
Have you ever used songs for inspiration?
I often use songs for inspiration. A song coming on the radio while I’m writing a certain work can often change the work, give me a different impression of the characters or another plot point. I have a soundtrack for each story, songs that remind me of the characters or their conflict. You can listen to the soundtrack of each work on my website.
I’ve also had several works that have been completely inspired by a song. My August release, Whatever You Want, Sir, was inspired by Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel, and features a very sexy pair of high heels, just like the song.
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?
I always have some noise going on while I’m writing (excepting if I’m writing first thing in the morning, because that can wake up the fur babies and then my writing time will have to be put on hold to feed them). But I don’t tend to listen to music, I usually watch movies or television.
It’s funny how this sometimes informs my stories or characters. In one work, that I don’t know if I’ll ever return to, I didn’t even realize I wrote a sword fight into it, like the movie I was watching, until twenty pages later. I’ve also had a few characters changed or evolve similar to a television show character I was watching. When I notice it, it makes me laugh, but I think it has only improved or deepened the characters or story.
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 a bit of everything, my own genres and others. I have such a voracious reading appetite I couldn’t discriminate like that. And I get some great ideas by reading other genres and thinking, how could I change that to fit my brand, or genre.
I think the more I read the better I become as I writer, especially the more I’ve gotten into the publishing scene, now I can see the great qualities of someone else’s writing and try to adapt it into my own writing, in my own way. But I don’t feel that reading someone else’s work can ever change my style or voice. I’m very comfortable in my own writer’s skin.
What is your process from idea to first draft?
My works always start as a little germ of an idea, usually a what if question that floats into my head. Like what if a woman wasn’t interested in monogamy, what type of love story would she have? Or what kind of men would be not only be interested in a ménage but actually capable of sustaining one regardless of general opinion? These questions float through my head until the characters and the plot find these questions, sometimes in long strains of understanding and sometimes in small pebbles of inspiration.
I wait until the words start to form in my head, then I hit the page, writing away until I have a complete draft. I don’t write chronologically, but instead write whatever comes to me as it arrives. Rarely do I write an outline, and I only do minimal character charts (which is actually a pretty new addition to my process and still kind of choppy).
I always consider myself the first reader of my work, and I want to be just as surprised as my readers by what happens next.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Getting as far as 14th on the bookstrand bestsellers list has really been a source of pride for me. Especially as a new author to Siren Publishing, it’s a huge honor to be so accepted by readers and my new publisher.
If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?
The first thing I’d do is quit my day job. I’d love to buy a business, maybe a publishing company, do things my own way.
I would love to give money to charity as well. I’d pick charities the help people to better themselves. Single mothers trying to take care of their children and work, or families in unindustrialized countries trying to improve their situation. I’d also love to help out rescued animals, my own little fur babies were rescues, and I’d really love to promote people adopting rescued animals over buying animals from breeders or pet mills.
What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?
My best advice to new writers is to try new things and find our own path. I wasted a lot of time trying to do what I thought writers did, trying to write how I thought writers write and trying to write what I thought others would approve of. It wasn’t until I tried to do my own thing and follow my own drummer that I really started to be not only successful in my writing, but love doing.
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?
I’ve always love owls, so if I were to pick a mascot I would choose an owl. They are very smart, like me, and they enjoy the night time, which I do as well. My nick name at home has always been night owl, because I always stay up the latest and sleep in past everyone else (usually because it was the only way to get any time alone). And they often wear glasses, which I do too.
If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?
I’d love to own my own business. To be my own boss. This bad economy has taught me a few things, and one is I’d like to be in charge of my own fate and not allow an employer’s the power to determine my place. Maybe run my own publishing company, bookstore or marketing agency.
I’d love to work for an environmental protection company of some kind. I don’t have any idea what I’d do, because the only thing I really know they need is engineers and if I could have done that I would have right out of the gate (my family is full of engineers, including my grandfathers, that’s right plural, both my parents, my little brother, and many of my cousins, I know my mother would have loved for me to be an engineer. Though she’s happy with my choice to follow my own passion). Protecting the environment is very important to me. I’m always telling people to shut off lights, save paper, water or Styrofoam cups. I’d love to be able to do even more to help our planet.
I would love to do something with animals. I’d be a horrible vet. I don’t do well in emergency situations, or with blood or other bodily fluids. Maybe I could run a shelter or organize a foster system for animals. Something to help them find homes with people who will love and take care of them. As each one of them deserves.
If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?
I’d love to tour the world. Spending months if not years in some places. I think it would take me a year to see everything in Paris and to tour Italy. I’ve wanted to go back to Ireland, England and see Scotland for some time. I’d love to see New Zealand and Australia. I’d also love to take my friends and family with me. It would be a pretty lonely trip without anyone to share it with. But that would take a lot of money and a lot of time, so I would definitely have to be extremely wealthy before the trip even started because no more money would be coming in during that time (except maybe some big royalty checks).
What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?
My favorite characteristic to add to my heroes is passion. Passion beyond the heroine. Passion in their profession or his family. I don’t think anything is sexier than a man filled with passion.
For heroines the number one characteristic is determination, the ability to go after what they want. Whether it’s in work, family, love or the bedroom. I think there’s nothing sexier than a woman demanding what she needs, especially from the hero (who is usually more than happy to give it to her).
If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?
My first wish would be to make people more open minded. For people to longer care about how people love, whether they’re of the same sex, or different colors. To not care what people do, or write.
My second would be eliminating money so everyone could follow their dreams, and no one would have to waste their life or talent in a job they hated.
If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?
I’d love the ability to clone myself in five other people. One to go to work, one to clean and cook, one to do promo for me and write blogs, one to run errands for me, and one to spend time with friends and family, so I could write. And then I could switch out with some of them when I was in the mood (but I’m afraid the maid me and the errand me would be stuck, because I have no interest trading with them).