In the Mind of Kathleen Gilles Seidel – 2016 PYHIAB Conference

This week we’ll be getting to know our 2016 Pre-conference Speaker, Kathleen Gilles Seidel. If you attend the Put Your Heart in a Book Conference next month (October 14-15), you’ll also get a chance to attend her workshop, The Wit and Wisdom of Jennifer Jennifer Enderlin.

For more information about the conference and to register, please go to www.njromancewriters.org.

Welcome, Kathleen!

As a veteran romance author, we have some questions about your views on the craft and business of romance writing…

Your Hometown Memories series are four couples in four different hometowns, correct? What gave you the idea for creating a series of couples in different hometowns? What is the theme that binds the four books?

Let me be honest. The “Hometown Memories” concept was a marketing gimmick. The four books were all published as single-title releases. What unites them is simply that I wrote them, and I write about the things I care about. Like hometowns.

When I went to re-release the books digitally, the publisher wanted to market them as a series because series sell so well. I felt that that was a deliberate ploy designed to mislead the reader. I was not going to do that. I owe readers way too much to try to trick them. So uniting the four books with a common theme was a compromise between the publisher and me.

Do you read in the genre you write in or do you avoid it as you’re writing?

Avoid. 

What is your process for writing a book? For example, are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you start at page 1 and write your book sequentially or do you skip around? Do you start with your characters or the plot?

I always try starting on page 1, and that never works. Nonetheless I try it every time, and it fails every time. You would think that after all this time I would have learned, but apparently not. 

Do you have any interesting writing rituals or routines you have to follow to get into your work day?

Interesting rituals? No. They aren’t interesting. The earlier in the day I start the better. If I can get an hour or so in before 8 AM, the whole day goes better. I also move around my house a lot. I can avoid my study for weeks, writing on the porch, in the dining room, on a card table in the living room. I don’t know what that is all about.

Do you write multiple drafts or edit as you go, barely needing revisions when typing, The End?

My metaphor for my process is a jigsaw puzzle. I create 1500 pieces and then throw out 1000 to get a 500-piece puzzle. Sometimes I have to use my fist to force the last pieces into the remaining openings. 

When you are writing, who is in control? You or your characters?

Of course it is me. The experience of having characters take over is another way of describing the workings of your own imagination. 

What are you working on at this very moment?

At this very moment? Answering your blog questions.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as an author?

Never burn your bridges. Never make enemies. Never ever. You never know what lies ahead. Back in a previous century I had to buy my way out of a contract at NAL because the editor and I were struggling. My agent said when we started the process, “We are going to do this like ladies.” And we did. I then sold the books to Pocket. Years and years later that former NAL editor had a senior position at Pocket, and she generously gave me my rights to those books back so that I could release them digitally. 

Are you just traditionally published or are you a hybrid author?

Traditional with some backlist titles released through an independent publisher.

What can you tell us about traditional publishing that maybe we don’t know?

It used to be much easier. So much easier. I sold my first book to Harlequin in six days counting mailing time. 

But you didn’t want to know that, did you?

Do you have an eReader? If so, which one? Do you prefer eReaders or handheld books?

Kindle app on my iPad. The light on the screen keeps me awake at night so I should switch to the Kindle itself, but I don’t. 

I don’t value the physical artifact of a book. I don’t care about the binding, a pristine jacket, or an author’s signature. I care about the words and what happens in my brain when I read them. That’s all. That’s everything.                             

What makes a man attractive to you?

Being able to fix stuff. My late husband had no handyman skills. 

What are you reading now?

Lincoln’s Generals’ Wives by Candice Shy Hooper for one of my book clubs. It is a very well done history, not girl-on-girl erotica. And shame on you for thinking that.

What is your favorite quote?

Dorothy Parker to her editor upon missing a deadline. “I am too fucking busy, and vice-versa.” 

And I like the “whither thou goest” passage from the Book of Ruth. My kids say that is a sign of extreme co-dependency. 

How long have you been writing?

My first book was published in 1983.

What’s your biggest dream?

To have written (please note the tense of that infinitive) books that people treasure as much as the Harry Potters. 

If you were a millionaire would you still write?

I am, and I do.

Cat or dog person?

Dog

Okay, get ready, we have our rapid response portion. Don’t think about your answers, just say the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?  

Favorite color:  coral

Favorite number: seven

Favorite food: vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup

Favorite hair color on a hero? dark

Favorite eye color on a hero?  coppery

Favorite Actor:  Alan Rickman

Favorite Actress:  Rose Leslie (because I am currently bingeing on Game of Thrones)

Wine or liquor? wine

Tea or coffee?   coffee

Decaf or caffeinated?  caffeinated

Boxers or briefs?  briefs

Chocolate or vanilla?  vanilla

Channing Tatum or Chris Hemsworth?  Bruce Springsteen

Thank you, Kathleen! We look forward to your Pre-Conference Workshop – “The Goddess in Your Heroine”

Want to meet Kathleen or attend her workshop? Make sure you check out the information on our conference at http://www.njromancewriters.org. Registration ends October 4th!

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