AVAILABLE THIS MONTH FROM SOUL MATE PUBLISHING:
Rebecca Neely is visiting us now, and she so thoughtfully brought us a Mighty Good Man.
Rebecca, first, welcome to the blog. Now, we have all heard a good man is hard to find. Some swear it is true. But you found one, or at least your heroine did. This sounds interesting.
It is. This is my blurb, which I am happy to share: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Her personal and professional life on the skids, a family emergency forces her to return to the small town, and the aunt, she left behind.
Jack ‘Gent’ Darcy…
Fresh out of prison, he’s bent on cutting ties with the Creds, but when you’re a war counselor in a national gang, they don’t let you just walk away.
Injured and on the run, Jack lands on Hank’s doorstep, and makes her a proposition she can’t refuse: write his story about life inside one of the most powerful gangs in the country.
It’s simple – she’ll get her career groove back, and he’ll bury the gang, then disappear – his version of freedom.
Only problem is, they can’t help falling for each other, and they’ve both got something to hide that could blow up in their faces.
With time running out and gang enforcers closing in, will the trust they’ve forged survive the ultimate test?
Yes, that’s definitely attention-getting. Where can we learn more?
And at Twitter
And my website of course, http://www.rebeccaeneely.com
buy here: http://tinyurl.com/ld7poze
What was the inspiration for your hero and heroine’s story?
Until I was about sixteen, my family ran a Mom and Pop restaurant, serving up homemade spaghetti and meatballs, soups and He-man breakfasts. I grew up there, working, cooking and eating, and meeting all kinds of interesting people. That hallowed place is long gone, but lives on in my memory, and inspired me for the setting in A Mighty Good Man. It’s a cool, retro style diner, and that’s where a lot of the action takes place.
The heroine, Hank Jerry, is a tough talking, twentieth century broad. The hero, Jack ‘Gent’ Darcy, is a strange combination of gentleman and hood. Together, they smooth out each other’s rough spots, and rough out some of the smooth.
I think all writers form impressions everyday they carry into their writing at some point or another, even years later. For example, about two years ago, when I was out to breakfast one morning with my family, our waitress struck me as a character, physically. She was a young woman in her early twenties, with dishwater blond hair bordering on dredlocks, tattoos on her wrists, slender, skin tight jeans, wearing Ugg boots – the perfect combination of grit and polish. I already had ‘Hank’ in my mind, and it’s like I was looking at her that morning. I love those kinds of moments.
Yes, I am always on the lookout for random, ordinary things that anyone else would miss, but we can capture and use.
The idea for Hank and Jack’s story had been part of my imagination for several years before I got to write it. Above all, I wanted the story to be a fast read, one that people could escape to while they waited for their kids to finish soccer, or sat in the doctor’s office, or were stuck in the airport. I’ve always loved short stories, and I aspired to that in telling this story.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? If not that, what would your dream career be?
I think I’ve always been a writer at heart, though I segued into Accounting (yikes!) for about a decade. Rows and columns seem to be the antithesis of creativity, but organization is something I’m good at, and really helps me to get my arms around a story.
No doubt, organization is key for successful writing. Do your characters tell their own story or do you pretty much have it all planned out when you start writing? (Do you have the ending in mind at the beginning or are you surprised?)
For me, like most things in life, nothing is completely cut and dried. When I started writing Jack and Hank’s story, I had certain ideas about what would happen in the story, but as I wrote, things morphed and changed, and I welcomed that. I don’t want to box myself in, but I definitely like to have a framework.
I work out a lot of plot problems and come up with ideas while I’m walking, which I try to do daily. Something about the physical activity and the change of scenery really seems to ‘percolate’ ideas for me. I’ve had many ‘aha!’ moments during my walks. I’m sure people see me talking to myself and think I’m crazy.
With the fact most everyone it seems is going around talking on their phone headsets or speakers, not so crazy for us.
How does your writing—and published!– life compete with ‘the real world? (work, home, family, friends, etc…)
I’m a single mother, and my 12 year old daughter keeps me busy, with activities, homework – and all the things that keep a mother busy. Sometimes, trying to carve out writing time is challenging, but I know at some point, I’ll get it, and I try not to fret about it too much, because my daughter is my priority above all. I don’t write every day, but often, I’m writing in my head, or coming up with ideas, and taking down voice memos on my smart phone as things strike me. After a few days, all that creativity gets stored up and comes gushing out the next time I sit down to write.
Bonus question– what’s next for you? WIP? I am currently working on a paranormal romance. That’s out of my comfort zone, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to do it. I wanted to do something totally different than what I had before, and keep challenging myself. At the same time, it’s a story that was begging to be told, and I followed my instinct on that.
What kind of snacks or motivations do you keep handy to keep you going? I adore cheese and crackers, and I always keep a really good quality hunk of cheddar on hand. That’s my savory. I’m not a chocaholic, but more of a cookie monster. I love a good cookie. That’s my sweet!
What is your idea of a perfect writing day? Get my daughter off to school, maybe stop by this fantastic local bakery and get a cheese Danish, come back home and have a second cup of coffee, and write new material for a few hours. I enjoy huddling by the furnace on a cold, rainy day, with a pen and paper, before I get to the laptop. It’s very satisfying, for it to be just me and my story – kind of like the boy in the movie, The Never Ending Story, who’s reading his book all alone, in the forgotten attic of his school.
The most satisfying thing for me as a writer is to have started with a blank page, and at the end of the day, to have written a few really good pages, that sometimes, took a turn I didn’t expect, and wound up being even better than my original idea.
Yes, that is a satisfaction I think we live for. How do you handle the edit process? As you go, day by day or in chunks or some other method?
I like to let what I write one day steep for a bit, then come back to it the next day, or even days later. Often, I’ll see a way to arrange it I hadn’t thought of, or recognize a plot hole I hadn’t seen before. Then, I edit and word smith to my heart’s content. Often, when I’m editing, I find new connections, and ways of adding emotional depth, and that gives me ideas for upcoming scenes, and ways of fleshing out previous scenes.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned since you’ve become a published author?
Patience. After I sold my first book, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to quickly follow up with a second. However, I found out that trying to force myself to write is counterproductive, and in general, just no fun. I’ve learned to have more patience with myself, and my creative process. Ideation, creation, sculpting a story is hard work, but I know it comes with time, and I put my faith in that.
Awesome. I appreciate your thorough answers. I am willing to guess lots of us writers see ourselves in some of your processes, methods and schedules. You can bet I’ll be checking out A MIGHTY GOOD MAN. Before you go, could you please toss us a quick teaser, just to whet our appetites?
Sure, how about this? ~~~~~~~
From the shadows behind the dumpster, a man emerged and limped toward her, clutching his side, his chest heaving, clouds of his breath hanging in the April air.
“Hide me!” he gasped.
“What the hell?” Heart pounding, Hank retreated a few steps and threw her cigarette to the ground. Blood, bruises, panic—all of it oozed from this man who’d materialized like smoke.
Rebecca, thank you for dropping in today. It’s been a great pleasure and I am sure A MIGHTY GOOD MAN is also a Mighty Good Read. I can’t wait to read more about Hank and Jack.