|Author Sylvia McDaniel|
Please welcome a long-time friend and fellow author, Sylvia McDaniel. Sylvia and I are members of Dallas Area Romance Authors, where she is President-Elect. Now, here’s Sylvia’s interview:
Caroline: I feel I know about you, but please give the readers a little peep into your life. Where did you grow up?
Sylvia: I was born in San Angelo, Texas and we moved to Irving, Texas when I was a twelve. The change was quite a culture shock for me. West Texas schools were so much more laid back than the Metroplex school I attended.
I've always been a bookworm. My mother took me to the library when I was in second grade and I felt like a whole new world opened up to me.
Caroline: The library opened wonderful worlds for me, too. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Sylvia: Kathleen Woodwiss is the author that turned me on to historical romance. I loved FLAME AND THE FLOWER, A WOLF AND A DOVE, and SHANNA. Today, my favorite authors are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susan Wiggs and Rachel Gibson. Today, I read more contemporaries and women's fiction than I do historicals, mainly because I burned out on the regency period.
Caroline: I am an eclectic reader. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
Sylvia: I love to hike and fish. Yes, I've been into fishing since my Grandfather taught me when I was a little girl. I don't get to go very often anymore. There is nothing like being on the lake early in the morning when the water is calm, the air is cool and everything is still. It's so relaxing that you don't care if the fish bite or not. Just rocking in the boat is enough to make you forget about the every day stresses of life.
Caroline: I agree sitting in a boat lets all your cares float away. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?
Sylvia: Not really. Life is always changing. I've learned to accept that people, jobs and things come and go in your life. Make the best of your time with those people while they're in your life, but always know someday they will be gone.
Caroline: How long have you been writing?
Sylvia: Oh God! Twenty-two years and I still feel like I have so much to learn.
Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Sylvia: I would prefer to write in Colorado in a log home up in the mountains, but I spend my time in my office. I need quiet. If music or the television is on, I'm either singing to the music or watching the television. I'm easily distracted from the movie I have playing in my head.
Caroline: I always thought Estes Park in summer and Texas in winter. Like you, I write in my office. Although I know the answer to this, I’ll ask for our readers: Are you a plotter or a panzer?
Sylvia: Definitely a plotter. I do a storyboard before I start writing the book. I know what needs to happen in each scene, but making that event happen is always a challenge. And things often change along the way. I'm always open to change, but I have to know the ending way in advance.
Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?
Sylvia: Years ago I did. But not anymore.
Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals?
Sylvia: I spend a lot of time plotting. Once the storyboard is done, then I write fast and furious. No one sees the first draft but me. Why? Because I don't need a lot of criticism when I'm trying to get the story down on paper. After I do the first draft, then I start taking chapters to my critique partners. I'm not a fast writer, but I'm hoping in the future, I will get faster when I no longer have a day job.
I spend months editing and revising. On the next two books to be published, I've hired Beta Readers.
Caroline: A day job gets in the way of creating books, doesn’t it? What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
Sylvia: I want the reader to laugh, to cry and when she puts the book down, say 'I loved that story. When is the next book coming out.' That's the experience I'm always looking for as a reader.
Caroline: What long-term plans do you have for your career?
Sylvia: I'm hoping that I can become a full-time writer in January. I will never be the next Nora Roberts. But I hope that my readers will enjoy my books enough to continue to read them and know that my heart and soul goes into every story.
Caroline: I certainly enjoyed each of your books. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
Sylvia: Ohhh....I just finished a Christmas book, that I loved. The hero in this book wrapped his arms around my heart and I fell in love with him. (Don't tell my husband.) Colin is such a wounded soul and there are angels and children and a puppy. It's called THE RELUCTANT SANTA and should be available the end of October. Some books just come to an author and this one holds a special place in my heart.
Caroline: Sounds intriguing. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Sylvia: Finish the book. You can always go back and edit a book, but unless there are words on the page, you don't have a product. When you finish one book, start a second. Keep writing no matter what anyone says to you. I stopped writing for awhile and I regret that decision. I'm about to start book fifteen and I should never have let the market, critiques etc get me down. Turn off the criticism and write.
Caroline: A fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.
Sylvia: I use to be my high school’s number one women's tennis player. I went back and forth between being number one and two. I was skinny when I played tennis, but today my knees would scream at me if I tried to play.
Caroline: Something about you that would surprise or shock readers.
Sylvia: Thanks to an ankle sprain in New York last year, my doctor recommended that I do Yoga to improve my balance. For the last year I've been taking Yoga. It's been incredible and has helped my body so much.
Caroline: Yoga is wonderful for the body. So is Tai Chi. Tell us about your book series.
Sylvia: The Burnett Brides is a series. There are three books and if I ever get the time, I may write one of the grandkid’s story. Right now there is just not the time.
Caroline: If only we had time to tell all the stories! Tell us something you learned researching your book that surprised/interested you.
Sylvia: I knew Fort Worth was a wild town back during the cattle drives, but I was shocked to learn just how bad it was for women. There were so many women who where soiled doves who lived conducted business in a tent. When I thought of soiled doves, I thought of Miss Kitty on “Gunsmoke.” She had a great place. These poor women had nothing. Very, very sad.
Caroline: So true! Can you give readers a blurb about your book?
Sylvia: Eugenia Burnett wants grandchildren and she's determined to find wives for her unruly brood of sons anyway she can.
Caroline: How about an excerpt:
Sylvia: A RELUCTANT BRIDE
At the sound of the rapid knock, Tucker glanced up from the paperwork on his desk. Why did the sight of Sarah always cause his heart to give a small leap? She stood in the doorway, her face red, her body taut Something was dreadfully wrong.
“Can I come in?” Her voice was polite and brisk.
Tucker jumped up from behind the desk and hurried around to greet her. “What’s wrong? You wouldn’t have come if there wasn’t a problem”
He could see the tension in her body in the way she walked toward him carrying a small tin.
“What’s in there?” he asked, afraid of the answer.
“This is what’s the matter,” she said, laying the tin on the desk and pulling off the lid. Then she reached inside a layer of white tissue paper and pulled out his mother’s bridal veil.
Tucker cringed. “I tried to warn you.”
Sarah watched him, a frustrated expression on her beautiful face. “I was bluntly honest with her, and she didn’t hear me. She had the gall to ask me to wear the thing when I marry you!”
Tucker stared at her, thoughts racing through his mind. How could he honor his plan to help Sarah find another man when his own mother was so determined to see him wed to Sarah? And when all he could think of was the chance to kiss her again...
Caroline: Lovely excerpt! Where can readers find your books?
Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?
Sylvia: Here are some links:
@writerSylvia -- Twitter
Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
Sylvia: This ebook world is such a new frontier. I'm learning as fast as I can to try to keep up with it, but I'm not a computer guru, just a writer. I hope that you will come along for the ride with me and we both can experience this changing world.
Thanks and I appreciate your having me and everyone stopping by to visit.
Caroline: Thanks for sharing with us today, Sylvia. I look forward to your October release.
Readers, thanks for stopping by!