Her interview and contest details follow. :)
Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.
FALLING HARD, Carina Press
IRON SEDUCTION, Ellora’s Cave Quickie
HOWLING SACRIFICES, Ellora’s Cave Quickie
THE MORNING AFTER, Ellora’s Cave Quickie
THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY, Samhain Publishing
BRAZEN GAMES, Ellora’s Cave
FAR FROM BROKEN, Holiday Anthology with Carina Press
CAGED, Agony/Ecstasy Anthology with Berkley Heat
J.K. Coi is a multi-published, award winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She makes her home in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and son and a feisty black cat who is the uncontested head of the household. While she spends her days immersed in the litigious world of insurance law, she is very happy to spend her nights writing dark and sexy characters who leap off the page and into readers’ hearts.
How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newspaper?
Ideas can come from all of the above! It’s turning them into something viable, that I can successfully make into a story that will hold my interest (and hopefully the interest of my readers) for up to 90,000 words…that’s the trick! It takes more than just a flicker of an idea to make a story, but at least that gets me started and then it becomes a matter of building on it with more and more layers. It’s both the hardest and the most fun part of the process.
Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?
When the muse is uncooperative, I find I have the most success getting back into the groove by forcing myself to just keep going. Even if what I write is crap and will have to be self-edited later (with extreme prejudice) as long as I keep at it, things will come back into sync eventually. But if I stop entirely and do something else, my mind and body are like “hey, this is much easier. Why am I wasting my time doing all that hard work anyway??”
Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?
I have a whole host of talented and creative people at my disposal in the form of my Romance Writers of America chapter. If I ever have a question about anything—publishing, craft, social networking, etc.—they’re the people that I go to. I was so lucky to have found them, and in fact, I’m glad that now I sometimes get to be the person who people go to for information!
What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?
I’ve taken a number of workshops over the years, and while I think that the best way to learn about writing is to do two things: READ and WRITE, the ones that I would recommend to absolutely everyone are by Margie Lawson (http://www.margielawson.com/lawson-writers-academy-courses). I’ve taken two of her workshops, including her Deep Editing program, and she is wonderful at showing the writer how to recognize when their own work is missing something.
What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?
I want to thank my son for inspiring me. When he was a baby (not too long ago) I remember being at home thinking that it was an awkward time. He was old enough to be going to bed early and sleeping through the night so that he didn’t need me every two hours for feedings and changings and cuddling, etc. But of course, it’s not like I had any social life. I was still stuck at home every night…and the television shows sucked big time. Although I’ve written since I was in elementary school, it had been a long time. But being a mom gave me that little push that I needed to get back into it. After I started writing, though, it was the online community that I met which kept me going. I really appreciate all the support I’ve gotten from the many different writers I’ve met over the years.
Have you ever used songs for inspiration?
Yes! I LOVE music! Usually, I just have a generic playlist on in the background while I’m working. Something to keep me in the mood of the story, but music was such a large part of writing FALLING HARD that I had a really hardcore playlist that was very specific to the tone of the book. It included songs like Misery by Maroon 5, Love the Way You Lie by Eminem/Rhianna, I Don’t Wanna be in Love by Good Charlotte, When They Come for Me by Linkin Park, and Dance With the Devil by Breaking Benjamin (I know, it sounds really depressing, doesn’t it??) The thing is, that book was so darkly emotional, and Gabriel was such a hard character to write. (Truthfully, he’s not an easy person to like, either—although there are reasons, and once I came to understand where he was coming from, I really fell in love with him). However, the darker, harder music helped me to immerse myself in him while I was writing.
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 do read a LOT of paranormal and urban fantasy, which is what I write. I think that’s why I write it, because it’s usually what I want to read. But I also read a TON of other genres. Everything from straight horror to contemporary and historical romances, and the odd biography. Basically, I’ll read anything that has strong characters. If it influences my own writing in any way, I hope it’s for the better. I think it’s important for writers to read in order to keep improving.
What is your process from idea to first draft?
When I have an idea, I have to think about it for, like…ever. I can’t just start writing until I have a good idea where I’m going to go with it. I have to be sure that I can turn the idea into something that will carry all the way through. Then when I start writing, I write in a very linear fashion. I have to go from start to finish. I’m not the kind of writer who can write scenes out of sequence. I AM the kind of writer who ends up editing a lot as I go. I try not to, but it always happens anyway. It makes for a longer process from beginning to end, but when I’m done the manuscript is pretty clean and I usually only have to give it one more read-through.
Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?
I love to help other writers. I offer my services as critiquer extraordinaire when I can, and I’m always up for brainstorming, character naming, titles, or whatever else! I’ve received so much help and support from writers throughout my own career that I hope I’ll never have to turn someone down who honestly wants my assistance.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Every time I get an email from someone who has read and loved one of my books, I feel such amazement that something I’ve created has had an effect on someone else’s life, even if it’s only because they passed a few hours lost in my world instead of having to do laundry! It makes me want to continue writing just to make sure that people all over the world won’t ever have to do laundry again LOL
If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?
I would really LOVE to go to China and walk along the Great Wall. Then I’d travel to Egypt and visit the pyramids. After that I’d relax in Italy for a few weeks and eat lots of homemade pasta before going to Paris to soak in the ambiance from the most romantic city in the world.
Although I love my home, there are SO many places throughout the world that have stories of their own to tell. As a writer (and a history major) I want to see them all! Scotland, Russia, Africa, Spain…
What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?
Gabriel, the hero of FALLING HARD, is a difficult person to like because he’s had a difficult past and he’s a rock star, with all of the selfish, egotistical failings of many rock stars. He has a quick temper and a serious potty mouth, and he doesn’t trust easily. BUT he’s also loyal, very strong, and he really wants to do the right thing. I wanted readers to see that he was far from perfect, but to look beneath that and find there was someone who would love FIERCELY.
In a bit of a twist, Amelia was the protector of the book, the one charged with saving the day. But she was also thrown out of her element, and she had to keep it together for both their sakes. I thought it was important that she be strong and be able to adapt, but also be feminine and vulnerable.
I’d love to answer any more questions that might pop up in the comments, but I’ll also take this opportunity to say thank you to the ladies here at Sweet N Sexy Divas for having me as their guest! I really appreciate the opportunity!
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