Friday, July 8, 2011

Selena Robins, Interview & Excerpt

About Selena Robins Witty, humorous, suspenseful, sexy--words used to describe Selena’s writing style. A chocolate guru, in love with her husband, family, friends, books & red wine, she dances with her dog, sings into her hairbrush & writes in her PJ's.
She carries a mini-tape-recorder with her at all times, because she never knows when a plot idea or piece of dialogue will strike her. As of yet, the authorities have not tracked her down, because of her tendency to get excited about creating new ways to dispose of a body, or inventing a new crime, while she's out and about and brainstorming out loud.

Selena is the author of the contemporary romance, What A Girl Wants, paranormal romantic comedy, Sabrina's Destiny, Short Story, Tempted by an Angel, and a children's book, Pippy's Wish.

Selena has posted a blurb and an excerpt of What A Girl Wants below after the interview. Please note: Excerpt is PG rated.
What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?
Selena: I always thank God first, who has blessed me with a creative mind and the gift of the gab and writing. My husband who pointed me to the door, author, Susan Peterson, who opened the door with her guidance and advice and my two friends and critique partners, Denise Agnew and Nancy Lauzon who continually shove me through that door.
What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?
Selena: Personally, I’ve taken one workshop, but it wasn’t on writing, it was given by a psychologist so that I could gain information on understanding the criminal mind to help me with my current work in progress a suspense/thriller. I’ve taught creative writing and have delivered workshops, and think that it’s important if a person will gain some confidence, understanding and guidance about not only their writing, but the publishing industry as well.
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?
Selena: I love a good book with a strong plot, sub-plots, characters I love to love and characters I love to hate no matter what the genre. I’m addicted to reading, and admire strong writing and a great story.
What is your process from idea to first draft?
Selena: I’m not a panster, so I outline and research first. Then I write most of the dialogue for each character, this helps me get to know them even more. Then I piece it all together, write, edit, polish before I move on. As I write the book, often times, I will change direction and add or subtract from the plot.
Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aid? How?
Selena: I’ve mentored a few writers and as I said, having taught creative writing classes, I’ve heard back from students who told me that something in the class helped them to get published. That’s the greatest reward a teacher can receive. My two critique partners always come to my aid, that’s why there’s a lot of trust between us, we pick each other up and even lecture each other when it’s needed.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Selena: My current release, What A Girl Wants was on the best seller list (number 2) for over 20 weeks at Collected Works Bookstore. Besides lists and good reviews though, it's the feedback from readers who have taken time of out their busy lives to email me and let me know how much they enjoyed the book. They laughed, they cried, they cheered and they want more. That’s the biggest thrill of being a writer.
If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?
Selena: First I’d make sure that we kept enough for our retirement, shared it family and friends and would have a lot of fun giving it away to different charities: Children’s Wish Foundation, Children’s Hospital, Women and Men’s Homeless shelters, Animal shelters, to name a few.
What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?
Selena: Read as much as you can. Read good books to learn and read books that aren’t that well written as well, as you can learn from others mistakes. Then, just go for it!
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?
Selena: I’m a dog lover. They love unconditionally, they’re fun, loyal, quirky (at least ours is), funny, they relax as if it's their profession, they play hard and they don’t sweat the small stuff. I think that pretty well sums me up some of my personality as well.
If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?
Acting - Singing - Dancing
If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?
Fly around the world with my husband.
What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?
Selena: Hero can have many flaws, but I feel one thing that he has to have is loyalty, a sense of humor, and the ability to accept his weaknesses, admit them, and move on and not take himself so seriously. He also has to have a passion—whether it’s his job, family or hobby, a political stand, his pet….it doesn’t matter, but he must be passionate about it.
Heroine should also share the same type of characteristics, plus, if she has endured hardship in her life, that she doesn’t let that define her as a person and wallow in it to the point where the reader just wants to smack her and has no sympathy for her (can apply to hero as well). Also, the too-stupid-to-live heroine should be avoided. You know the one….supposedly has no fear and ventures out into a dangerous situation, with no training, no weapon, no clue.
If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?
Selena: Only two? That’s hard to choose, because the way the world is now, there are so many things that need to be changed--- no more war, eliminate poverty, more compassion and less prejudice and hatred and FREE health care for everyone.
If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?
Selena: Besides waving a wand and changing the things in the previous question? I’ve always wanted to be Wonder Woman, wear those kick-ass boots, dynamite shorts, jewelry and that twirling around at a fast pace with music in the background. . .you can’t get any cooler than that.
Maddie is on a mission. She wants to have a tropical fling her friend, Alex, the man who turns her panties into an X-rated film festival and find her biological father to see if her gene pool has a deep end.
She never expected her mission would take her life down a drastically different path—albeit sexy—and reveal some deep and disturbing family secrets.
Complicated? Absolutely, especially when Alex discovers the real reason they were sent to Hawaii. . .
Side effects may include but not limited to, spontaneous, uncontrollable laughter, hot flashes & dangerous chocolate cravings.

Contents include: one kick-ass heroine and a sex-on-legs hero whose kiss could singe the eyebrows off a mannequin.
“A sexual what?”

Alex Donovan raised his voice louder than he’d intended on the patio of the Makana Island Bistro while having a late lunch with Maddie. He shook his head in utter disbelief. He was sure he had heard her suggestion correctly. However, his mind had frozen for a moment.

“Sexual boot camp,” Maddie said, refilling her glass with the carafe of red wine.

Baffled, he tried to focus on her bizarre idea. “Is this carnal academy for your piece?”

“Nope.” Saluting him, she gave him a salacious smile. “Private Saunders reporting for duty, Sergeant Donovan.”

“I’m going to need reinforcements for this one.” He held his wine glass out for her to refill it. “You called me sergeant a few weeks ago.” He drank some wine. “Mystery solved.”

She gazed at him from the top of her glass through her lush lashes. “Drill sergeant’s more like it.”

He grinned at her latest shit-disturbing lark. “You? Follow orders?”

“There is that.” She speared a tortellini and a meatball onto her fork. “But I’m willing to learn. Basic training shouldn’t take too long.”

He tilted his wine glass toward hers. “I think you’ve spilled one glass too many, Saunders.”

“I only had a few ounces.” She picked up a breadstick. “I can handle the heavy artillery.” Her lips formed a delicate “O” as she bit off a small piece. “Imagine what advanced combat will be like.” With her fork, she arranged two meatballs beside each other on her plate, pushed a tortellini between them and moved the breadstick back and forth on top of the tortellini.

Well, fuck me. That’s the first time his cock had ever twitched—minor movement, but still—over a plate of meatballs and tortellini she’d shaped into missionary position—however, the breadstick was a thin and pitiful replica of a dick.

In spite of his astonishment, the animation on her flushed face drew a smile out of him. “You finished molesting your lunch?”

She trailed a long, slim finger around her plate. “I spotted a shop not far from here—Adam and Eve’s Naughty Mart.” Her voice oozed with provocative suggestion. “Do you think they sell his and hers camo lingerie—”

“Men don’t wear lingerie.”

“We could still browse.” Lifting her glass under her upturned nose, she inhaled the wine. “I’m thinking we could use handcuffs, a whistle—”

“I don’t need props.” Shut the hell up, don’t encourage her. But damn, he was curious as to what she wanted to do with a whistle.

“You should be promoted to general then.” Her rosy cheeks lifted into a smile, reaching the mischievous glint in her eyes. “When do I report for duty? And I don’t have a problem going commando.”


Jessica Subject said...

A great interview! I'm a fan of Selena Robins and What a Girl Wants. There are scenes from that book I won't ever forget. :)

Tina Donahue said...

You wrote: "Hero can have many flaws, but I feel one thing that he has to have is loyalty, a sense of humor, and the ability to accept his weaknesses..."

How true - that's the kind of hero I like to read and write. :)

Selena Robins said...

@Jessica, thanks again. You've been such a wonderful, supportive fan. It is for readers like you that we writers want to write the best possible story we can. I am humbled each time you post about my book. :)

Selena Robins said...

@Tina, flawed hero's are so much fun to put through the wringer. :)

Adele Dubois said...

Selena--Meatballs, tortellini and bread sticks? Very clever. LOL!

Best of luck with your new release. I wish you many sales.


Selena Robins said...

Hi, Adele. These two characters were so much fun to write, especially the hero, because he had to endure a lot of her antics. LOL

Thanks for stopping by and for the well wishes.

Barbara Forte Abate said...

Terrific interview, Selena! Not just fun to read, but great tips and suggestions. Very much enjoyed.

Funny you mentioned the importance of reading books that aren't so well written as well as the obvious need to read all the really great stuff. In the years before my novel was published (also known as the "era of rejection") that was my reliable tonic after receiving yet another "NO" from the publishing world. Read a stinker of a published book to remind me how much I really needed to keep on hanging in there :-)

Fiona McGier said...

You'd like to be Wonder Woman? Seriously? With the boots and everything? Too funny!
Good luck with sales on a book that appears to be both funny and sexy.

Selena Robins said...

@Barbara, thanks for dropping by. I hear you on reading a stinker when you get a rejection, it's a good way to remind yourself that sometimes it's not the writing. I believe a lot of the times, it's having the stars all aligned at the right place, and many high profile authors have said the same thing.

I also read books that aren't that well written and study what I don't like in the book, so that I know not to do the same thing. If my eyes skim over a lot of text, I know it has to be yanked out even though it is sometimes painful to do so. LOL

Selena Robins said...

Thanks, Fiona! Sexy, funny, mysterious and with a twist that I'm told brings readers to tears, that's the mix I was going for when writing it.

Gotta love those boots. LOL

I appreciate the support and good wishes, thanks again.

Brenda Hyde said...

Funny and sexy go great together! I love the excerpt:)

Selena Robins said...

Thank you, Brenda, glad you enjoyed it and for stopping by.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I'm with you on free healthcare (actually it's not free--taxes ya know)because it isn't fair to make some pay exorbitant premiums while others pay nothing. Insurance companies dictate everything.
Loved your answers to your interview, Selena. Sorry it took me so long to get here.
I wish you every success with What A Girl Wants.

Selena Robins said...

Hi, Sarah, thanks for dropping by and for your good wishes.