Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Author Spotlight - Veronica Scott

This week's Author in the Spotlight is Veronica Scott whose debut novel Priestess of the Nile went on sale through Carina Press last week.

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What is your writing process?
I’m very much a seat of the pants writer. I may do a short outline, jot some notes on characters but then I just plunge in and let the characters tell me what happens next. Often when I start a book, I have the beginning, the ending and a few big scenes in mind and the rest of the plot has to unfold as I go. I’m almost superstitious about my creative process, and would be afraid to rein it in too much with tools! I don’t always write the book in order either. Sometimes there’ll be a scene I’m really eager to write and I’ll go out of sequence and tackle it. Works for the movie industry so I’m ok with it.

Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?
(Hard to resist shoe shopping! Now if you’d said grocery shopping....) Writing is like breathing for me – I have to do both to live. (Sorry for the melodrama). I have a fulltime day job and a long commute, so when I get home I’m happy to be able to sit and write. It’s a treat! On weekends or holidays I try to write for a few hours in the morning, since I’m most creative then. I don’t set myself goals, like number of words or pages. I just write until the inner muse says we’re done for that session.

Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
Oh, I WISH. Not the most dedicated exerciser, plus I have bad knees. I do ride my exercycle every morning. I take long walks at lunchtime on the day job, which is located in a hilly area. We have stairs at the house so I definitely count my umpteen jillion trips up and down as exercise. I’m really bad about staying on the computer for long stretches of time. My daughters bought me an ergonomic office chair for Christmas!

Do you believe in writer's block?
Knock wood, I’ve had very little trouble with writer’s block but I’ve known writers who do struggle with it. If the words aren’t flowing for me, I’ll step away from the laptop and go listen to music. I also like to drive and listen to music and think about plot issues. The freeways are my friend then!

Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?
I’ve never done that yet. I do like to drop little fun things into my books as inside jokes to my daughters. I made the family cat a minor character in one WIP. I had another character specifically diss green beans because my daughters won’t touch them with a ten foot fork. There was a very famous battle in Ancient Egypt that I used liberally in a WIP. Thank you, Pharaoh Ramses, for leaving very detailed accounts of your victories!

In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
Well, I’m still revelling in having that first book published! On the good side, I never dreamed I would find such a tremendously supportive group of people as my fellow authors. I’ve learned more from them in the last six months than I ever knew before. Readers, reviewers, editors – more wonderful people! On the down side a little, it’s amazing how much time a writer really has to spend on the promo. You have to be careful to keep yourself writing the creative stuff, not get too distracted.

Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?
Turns out I am a twitteraholic. Who knew?! I’m always on twitter, you can find me at @vscotttheauthor. I have a Facebook page and a blog. I post regularly to my blog, I also participate in Six Sentence Sunday (where writers post just six sentences from a WIP or other writing and you can hop around reading all the fun excerpts) and I do giveaways. I visit other blogs when they’re kind enough to invite me (being with the Minxes today is so much fun!) As yet I haven’t gone to any conventions or done a book signing (where I’ll have to sign a bookmark for you actually, since the book is e published) but I’m looking forward to the experiences.

What is your top promo tip for other authors?
First that you have to do promo. Following that, my actual specific tip would be to find at least a couple forms of social media that you are comfortable with and then participate regularly. Twitter and blogging turned out to be my favorites so far.

What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned a great deal during the editing process. My Carina Press editor Alison was so helpful in making suggestions about pacing – let the characters and the Readers stop for breath a few times along the way! She also helped me develop more layers for the emotional journey Sobek and Merys are on, by foreshadowing certain events earlier in the novella, enlarging on some of the secondary characters because their reactions to things showed more about the main characters. I learned the word “that” is apparently imprinted on my dna because it is the single word I overuse most and have to prune away!

What was the most fun part of writing this book?
I love research and you can literally lose yourself for hours in researching anything to do with Ancient Egypt. But mostly I enjoyed telling the story.

And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?
Since he’s the Crocodile God, he always wants to be somewhere warm and sunny. I think he’d take Merys for a long cruise down the Nile.

About Priestess of the Nile:
Egypt, 1500 BC

Drawn to his abandoned temple on the banks of the Nile by an enchanting song, Sobek the Crocodile God is even more captivated by the sight of the singer herself. Appearing to her as a man, he learns she is Merys, a descendant of his last priestess. Though filled with lust, Sobek believes Merys deserves to be more than just his mistress. But the rules that govern the Egyptian pantheon forbid anything beyond a physical joining of a Great One and a human.

Merys is attracted to the handsome stranger, who arouses passions in her that no man ever has. But with no dowry and no hope of ever leaving her village, she dares not dream of the future—or love.

Sobek takes every opportunity to visit Merys, taxing his resolve to leave her pure. When he saves her life, their mutual desire must be sated. But can a love between a human and an immortal survive the ultimate test of the gods?

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Priestess of the Nile is available at Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks. You can find out more about Veronica at her blog, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Sally Clements said...

Great interview, Veronica, and thank you so much for going minxy for the day! Congratulations on your debut.
I had a giggle at your overusing the word 'that'. It's one of my writing problems too, I now highlight all the 'that's' when my ms is finished and go through them to see if I can cull any. I've definitely got better at not writing them as I go along, but as usual, some other editing horror takes their place - in my case it seems to be AND with my current ms, so I'm busy editing those out...Sigh...

Rachael Johns said...

Great interview. Your passion for your story is obvious and I can't wait to read it :)

Veronica Scott said...

I'm SO excited to be here! (Always wanted to be a minx - my Editor takes that word *out*, says they didn't HAVE them in Ancient Egypt. Ha, sez I!) Thanks for giving me so many fun questions to answer & reveal where Sobek would want to honeymoon :-)

Lacey Devlin said...

Priestess of the Nile has a seriously gorgeous cover, Veronica! Although the crocodile makes me want to scream at her to run but I think that's the Australian coming out in me :) It sounds like a really fantastic book!

Veronica Scott said...

Thanks Lacey, appreciated the comment about the cover! WEll, I'd probably be leery of a Nile crocodile as well, if I didn't have the protection of the Crocodile God!

Maria said...

Congratulations on being published, Veronica. I've always been fascinated by ancient Egyptology. Your book sounds wonderful. I wish you and the book every success.