09 February 2015

Beyond: A.C. Warneke

I'm a writer, a mom, a wife, a dreamer.

Who in your personal life is the biggest supporter of your writing?
My children have always been my biggest supporters, encouraging me to write when I just don't feel like it, giving me space when I am writing, and listening to me talk about my characters as if they are real. My husband is also one of my biggest supporters as well, giving encouragement as needed and reading my books.

Do you prefer quiet or background noise when writing? If background noise, what?
It really depends on whether or not I am in The Zone." When I first start writing, I am easily distracted and everything suddenly becomes extremely interesting. Sometimes I'll put in my headphones and turn the volume way up to try to concentrate on typing. Once I find a groove, it takes a lot more to distract me but it is still doable and this is where I spend most of my writing time. When I am in The Zone, I am completely oblivious to the world beyond my computer. There could be chaos and pandemonium raining down around me and it wouldn't even register.

What is one thing you wish your readers could understand about the writing process?  
Writing is almost a compulsion for writers. Some stories come easily and some are painful and require some coaxing and a whole lot of cursing. Each book is unique and what works for one story (in terms of writing it) doesn’t always work for another, such as sometimes I need background noise while other times if someone so much as sneezes, they're getting the death glare. Sometimes I write out basic outlines of how the story will progress, sometimes it just comes together.

But what I really want me readers to understand is how much influence they have. The first book I released was DARKNESS COMES and I had every intention of writing the follow up. While working on the outline for the second book, I released STONE LOVER. Gargoyles hit a chord and there was a far greater demand for Rhys's and Armand's stories than the conclusion to DC so those are what I wrote. Hearing from readers – either on facebook or via a comment on a blog post – is really, truly wonderful.

If your characters could come to life and be a real human, which one do you think you would get along with best and which one would drive you crazy first?
This question has tripped me up for weeks. Instead of answering which characters I'd get along with best because I honestly don't know, I'll let you know my favorites. My favorite hero is probably Duncan (SIREN SONG) though I kind of love all of them. Duncan is so taciturn and self-controlled but when he meets Lexi, he is brought to his knees. All of that passion he tried to contain explodes all over Lexi and it is amazing.

As such, Lexi (SIREN SONG) is one of my favorite heroines, going after Duncan with everything in her arsenal. I loved how she tormented him until he broke in the best ways possible. I love Ferris (STONE DESTINY) because she completely reorders time to be with the man she loves. I love Daisy (STONE SOLITUDE) because she believes in love even when her hero is a beast.

When did you start writing and what was your inspiration?
I've been writing for as long as I can remember. There were always so many stories in my head and I had to write them down. Instead of sharing my inspiration for writing, I'll share my inspiration for self-publishing. When I first bought my kindle, I picked up a few freebies, including the Mary O-Reilly Paranormal mysteries by Terri Reid. By this point, I had written several books and attempted the traditional route of sending out query letters and waiting and waiting and WAITING. The closest I ever got to being published was for the book that eventually became Siren Song. I received a call from the publisher and she told me that she loved the book but it wasn't quite right for their imprint so she was sending it to one of their other divisions. A year and a half later, they decided it wasn't right for them either. Anyway, I was reading the Mary O'Reilly books and the flashbulb went off and I said, "Hey, I can do this." I cleaned up the latest book I had written at the time (DARKNESS COMES), formatted it, and blithely hit the publish button. Since then, I have published twelve books and a novella. I am currently working on two books (as of 12/6/14.)

Is there a genre or type of book that you love to read but could never write and if so why?
I love reading historical romance (especially Regency era) but I don't know if I'd be able to write one, at least one that was historically accurate. I might try writing in different genres for my own personal edification but publishing what I write is a whole different ball of wax. J

Since you've been writing how much has the genre changed? Good, bad?
The genre hasn't changed so much as expanded and there is so much variety, which I think is good. When a unique book "takes off" and then a hundred like-minded books follow, that isn't necessarily bad, especially if the books are well written and sometimes the copycat books are even better. Or the popular books can be jumping points for a story that goes somewhere completely different. The best part is that there are books for everyone, from dinosaur erotica to cozy mysteries to traditional romance to hard core sci fi to straight up horror, with a whole bunch of mash ups and everything in between.

In terms of publishing….Well, while it has become so much easier to publish a book, it has become increasingly difficult to market a book. Everything is changing so fast that it is often difficult to keep up. It can also be very frustrating since the rules also seem to change just as frequently.

Seeing more and more authors going the "self-pub' route. Thoughts?
Being that I am self-published, I think it's a good thing. As an author, I like having control over my books and I imagine other writers do, too. The only drawback is having to deal with all aspects of publishing a book, from writing it to editing it to designing the cover to formatting to marketing. It can be a little overwhelming but I think that in the end it is worth it.

How much thought do you as an author put into your cover, cover models etc. And has that changed since you started writing. If so, have you or will you go back and re-do covers you’re no longer pleased with?
I spend a lot of time working on my covers, trying to get everything just right with my limited skills. When I first started out, I had no clue about stock photos or anything so I went with a picture I had taken of some trees (which fit with a scene in the book.) It was okay but it gave the wrong idea about what the book was about. But then I discovered Jimmy Thomas's Romance Novel website and all of his amazing stock photos geared towards romance novels (hence the name.) I have re-done most of my covers, some more than once. I think DARKNESS COMES has had 3 or 4 covers while Blind Attraction has had 4 covers, though they all shared the same photo. For my next contemporary romance, I am working with a photographer I met on line through a mutual love of books and gargoyles (CJ Gwin, who is amazingly talented! Check her out on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Gwinsphotos ) and I am very excited about that. The pictures are gorgeous.

What is the most intense scene you have ever written? Did you find it difficult writing that scene?
To be honest, once I've finished a book, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it or the efforts that went into writing it – always looking towards the next book. My stumbling blocks happen when I don't know the characters just yet. Usually, I start with just a very basic sketch of a character and I get to know them as I write their story. Though sometimes a character is fully formed and the story practically writes itself. (Ahem, WINTER'S HEART.)

If you could write in any genre that you've never tried, what would it be and why?
Other than historical romance, I would write fantasy/ dark fantasy. I guess it's because I enjoy those types of entertainment, from books to movies to video games to manga. I love fantasy that has a foot in our reality but the rules are different, whether it's magic or shifters or whatever.

When thinking about writing any specific genre, what triggers your fears and insecurities the most?
The scariest thought is going too far down the rabbit hole and getting stuck or lost, of going too dark. The second scariest thought is being unable to write another word.

When writing, what comes first? The characters or the plot?
Characters. When I first start a story, I'll have a few ideas about plot but the characters often surprise me with their reactions. Therefore, the plot has to be somewhat fluid because the characters don't always act how I expect them to and they screw up the entire story that had been plotted out.

Do you find that you write what you love to read? Or a different genre?
I write romance and I read romance because I love my happily ever afters. Within that genre, I write primarily paranormal romance with a few contemporaries thrown in and while I enjoy reading paranormal and contemporary romance, I usually read historical romance, mostly Regency to Victorian era. I used to read other genres but once I discovered romance…. Well, I can find all sorts of genres under the romance heading but now I get the steamy scenes and those happy endings. Win-win.

Do you ever write your own personal fantasies into your books?
All of my books are fantasy, whether they're about gargoyles or Sirens or movie stars.

How much if any of your story line comes from real life people or events.
At a conscious level, hardly any. However, if we're talking at a sub-conscious/unconscious level, I have no idea

How many times do you read what you wrote and think "where the hell did that come from?!"
All of the time. When I'm writing, it seems like nothing is happening but then I'll go back and read the previous day's work and I have no idea where any of it came from. With WINTER'S HEART, I knew there was a story waiting to be written but I hit a wall at about 20,000 words so I concentrated on DARKNESS FALLS. Once I sent DF off to get a proof, I went back to WH, cut 8,ooo words and wrote another 100,000 words in two weeks. It was madness but I couldn't not write. There was this… buzzing in my head and when I wasn't typing, I was writing in my notebook. On the last day, the buzzing was tapering off and I punched out the final 13,000 words before it went completely silent. I was not fun to be around at that time and, yeah, I have no idea where it came from. J

Do you have to look at the keys when you type?
Not too much. Occasionally I'll look down, especially if the letters are coming out wrong (because my hands are shifted slightly to the left) and I'll also look down for some of the symbols. Ninth grade typing class was the best class I ever took. J

How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?
He'd chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could if a woodchuck could chuck would.

What are you two favorite 80’s movies?
I'm naming three: The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, and Raiders of the Lost Ark!!!!  (Geesh, only two and I cheated with three….)

Why are man-hole covers round?
So they can always fit in place. A square has to be precise, where round has more leeway for mistakes. They're called MAN hole covers and if you've ever lived with a man, you know that aim isn't always important. 

Winter's Heart
Stone Lover
Stone Romance
Stone Destiny
 Siren Song
 Stone Solitude
 Darkness Comes
Darkness Falls


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