Monday, October 24, 2011

Interview with Em Petrova!!

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

You can find me at http://www.empetrova.com/

Skin Truth: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9525-skin-truth.aspx

Deux: http://www.breathlesspress.org/Book/305

Trois: http://www.breathlesspress.org/Book/290

Quatre: http://www.breathlesspress.com/content/quatre

Tattoo Dream: http://www.breathlesspress.org/Book/273

Silk: http://www.breathlesspress.org/Book/356

The Tempest: http://tiny.cc/78ydb

Runes: http://tiny.cc/rh5yl

Trefoil: http://www.eredsage.com/store/product859.html

Runestone: http://www.eredsage.com/store/Runestone.html

Forbidden: http://www.eredsage.com/store/Forbidden.html

Wilder: http://www.eredsage.com/store/Wilder.html

Market Place: http://tiny.cc/l1gch

Bound for Romance: http://tiny.cc/k7huy

My Sexy Valentine: http://tiny.cc/2w5ea

Isolde’s Wish: http://www.loose-id.com/Isoldes-Wish.aspx

Em Petrova lives in backwoods Pennsylvania, where she raises four kids and two feral kittens and pays too damn much for utilities. But seeing her sexy husband tromp out back with a chainsaw in hand is well worth the frustration of living miles from a mall. She adores writing sex scenes and anything paranormal. When she has the opportunity to mix the two, she’s in her element. You can learn more about her smutty reads at www.empetrova.com.

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

My stories begin with characters, not plot. The plot is usually derived from the type of characters who present themselves to me. I clean houses part-time, and you wouldn’t believe the voices I hear while scrubbing floors and dusting!

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

Usually a long drive helps clear my mind. The mindless activity helps me recharge.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

Anne Rice. No, we’re not on speaking terms, but I study her works and strive to find her chi.

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

As a novice, I took many, many workshops—up to four a month. I glutted myself on everything from deep POV to blurb writing. I took about ten workshops on pitches alone, but never could master it. Please don’t ever ask me to write a three-line pitch!

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

As a child, my mother let me curl up with my notebook and pen until the wee hours of the morning. She urged me to follow my dreams. Now, my husband supports me by not complaining too much when none of his socks are folded or the dinner is burnt after I’ve gotten involved with my work!

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?
I’m also a musician, so appreciate all music. I couldn’t live without my Tori Amos or Bush. When I start a new manuscript or am writing a difficult scene, music helps to center me.

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?

Always have my iPod going—sometimes when I have insomnia 24 hours a day!

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 all genres, from lit fic to sweet romance. I do read a lot of erotic romance because I love to support my fellow authors. There’s so much good smut out there! Who could walk away?

What is your process from idea to first draft?

In general, I’m a pantster, but I start with a characterization chart. I need to know my characters’ goals and desires, as well as what will break them before I dig into the plot. When I hit the saggy middle, I do plot scene by scene with something I call a ‘plotting wheel.’ This is like a bull’s eye with the story goal in the center. The rings around are broken into segments. Inside each segment is a bit of the scene that will push the plot toward the goal. It helps me over the hump, and then I’m off full speed toward the climax!

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

I love to help new writers. I edit for a small press, and I like the teaching moments the best—the places I can point out something that will not only make that piece stronger, but make their writing stronger next time.

I have a writing partner who pushes me each day. When we can’t connect via instant messenger to do writing sprints, we check in with each other. She also nudges me to reach higher with my goals.

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

When a reader contacts me personally to let me know she loved my book, I’m on top of the world.

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

I’d give a portion to the American Heart Foundation. I have a personal struggle with heart disease in my family. My grandmother passed away from it and I lost my daughter in 2000 to a heart defect. Recently I learned I have a severely leaking valve and will need it replaced. So this cause is very close to me. I even have a tattoo representing our struggle—a line from Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabelle Lee. “We loved with a love that was more than love.” It has two hearts—small and large to represent mine and my daughter’s.

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

Write, write, write, and learn your craft. Don’t give up. Everyone says that, but I had over 80 rejections on one manuscript before it was published. One more thing that’s really important is—don’t put out the first book you’ve ever written. It’s usually crap. LOL. Once you know what you’re doing, go back and rework it. Then sell 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?

Hmm. A kangaroo? I have five kids and carried them all in a baby sling, which is similar to a pouch.

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

Three careers? Hell, I can’t think of one. My best career choice has been to become a mother.

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

I’d like to sail around the world and spend decades learning about the people. And having lots of sex on the beaches. *wink*

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

A hero needs to not be too stupid to live. I recently read a very popular author’s work, and that hero needed to be knocked off! I swear! I kept stopping mid-sentence to scream at him.

A heroine needs to have a strong character journey, because we as women have them. I’m sure men do too, but I don’t live in their heads, so can’t tell you they think outside of sports, beer and sex.

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

I’d stop people from hurting children. And I’d have a Starbucks in my house with my very own hunky barista.

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

Elastic arms in multiple number. I simply need those to get that mountain of laundry folded while I’m writing!

Thank you for having me, Tina. This was a blast!


Tina Donahue said...

Driving helps me plot too, Em. I can't count the times I've been in the car, listening to music when an idea suddenly pops in my head that either makes my stories better or solves a plot point I couldn't get past. :)

Adele Dubois said...

Thanks for visiting with us at S&S Divas! Your book covers are beautiful and your books sound yummy! Best of luck with your releases.


jean hart stewart said...

Tell me more about the story wheel you use to jump start the middle? If you're temporarily stymied, where do you get ideas for the spokes? Sounds intriquing.. Great sucess with your books!

Brenda Hyde said...

Em, I have to tell you that I was reading the blog while doing a couple other things (I multi-task too much!) and I read your bio thinking it was the blurb for your new book until I got to the writing mention. The thing is I was really interested in the "book" I thought I was reading about-- kids, feral kittens, sexy husband. Shoot, it could have been a shape shifter paranormal romance! BAHAHaHaHa

Fiona McGier said...

Driving, sewing, baking, all of the things we need to do, but don't need to focus 100% on...those are when I "listen" to the voices tell me their stories. I'm glad to find out I'm not alone.