Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?
Friday, July 15, 2016
INTERVIEW WITH LINDA O'CONNOR #Romanticidea
Through online networking, I’ve met some truly interesting authors. Linda O’Connor is one of these and I’m so pleased she consented to an interview for today.
Please tell us about growing up. Share anything that lets readers get to know the real you.
I haven’t always been an author –I’ve been a physician for a lot longer! I work part-time at a clinic, but I also spent many years teaching clinical skills to medical students. As part of that job, I wrote a lot of roles for the standardized patients (actors portraying patients). That was great experience for character development in my stories! I grew up in Carlisle, a small town in Ontario, attended university in Toronto, lived in Ottawa, and settled in Kingston. Lots of info for a variety of settings!
Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
My favourite genre is romance because I love the happily-ever-after endings. I’m usually reading for relaxation so I enjoy any lighthearted, fun read. My favourite romance author is Nora Roberts. I also really enjoyed Priceless by Marne Davis Kellogg and Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. Graeme Simsion’s two Rosie books are very funny!
When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?
Zumba. I love dancing. Not that I’ve ever taken any formal lessons, but it hasn’t mattered! I really love being outdoors too, so if it’s a day without a Zumba class, I’ll go cycling or cross-country skiing.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for about 5 years now. The first manuscript took about nine months to write. I loved that I could take my time and as the story unfolded in my mind, write it down. Now it takes closer to three months (and fewer dinners are made along the way).
Where do you prefer to write?
My house is on the water, so when I’m writing, I usually sit where I can watch
the waves on the lake and listen to them lap (or crash wildly) onto shore, which is very relaxing. When the weather is warm, I’ll write outside. I prefer silence. When I hear music, I like to get up and dance!
Are you a plotter or a panzer?
I start with an idea for the beginning, middle, and end of the story and then develop the characters. I try to get to know them very well, and I have to nail down their names. Male names are the hardest because I don’t want to use my sons’ names or the names of any of their friends. It has to be a completely new person in my head and not remind me of anyone (kind of like naming a child!). I’ve tried to make a detailed plot outline, but the characters often do something unexpected and it goes off the rails. Usually by the fifth chapter I can start to outline in more detail.
Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?
It depends. If I need to research something about the character - like their job or hobby, I'll research before I write. But it’s not unusual to do more research along the way, depending how the story unfolds.
Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?
I set aside two days a week to write without interruption. And it’s protected time – no meetings, no repairmen, no lunch dates – maybe a scheduled UPS delivery, but that’s about it. I work part-time at an Urgent Care Clinic, and on the days I work at the clinic, I’ll edit or write blog posts. If I have time on the other afternoons, I’ll sit and write then, too.
One of the things I love most about writing is being able to write at whatever pace I choose. As a kid, I always found it tough to come up with a story when the teacher asked because I had too many thoughts racing around in my head and needed time to mull it over. Luckily, now I have time to mull it over! So I don’t get too wound up about completing a certain number of words a day. Lately, I’ve tried to complete a novel within a season. It’s easier to keep the characters and storyline details in my head if it’s a shorter timeline.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.
I don't drink coffee. (Luckily chocolate has caffeine. :D)
What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
I hope that readers will laugh, relax, enjoy the stories I’ve written, and maybe learn something too!
What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Finish 2-3 novels before you start querying publishers. Once you're published, and it will happen, you will invest a lot of time in marketing and promotion. Having a backlist of 2-3 stories will make life a lot easier.
My #Romantic idea:
Roasting marshmallows together around a campfire!
Tell us about your latest release.
The blurb for PERFECTLY PLANNED:
She has it all Perfectly Planned . . .
Chloe Keay is on the hunt for the perfect sperm donor, but who knew it would be this hard? So many things to consider in a father – sure height and hair color are important, but what about the real issues. How does he feel about bagpipe music? Does he buy the extended warranty? Skittles or M&Ms? She doesn’t want an average Joe. She’s narrowed it down to two candidates and has the perfect plan to pick the heir and the spare.
Staff Sergeant Rip Logan, head of the elite Tactics and Rescue Unit, has a gut feeling that Chloe Keay is trouble. She’s a sexy little spark plug who radiates innocence, but it doesn’t jibe with her suspicious behavior and probing questions. The fact that he’s attracted irritates him. What exactly is she after? And should he go with his gut or follow his heart?
Planning for love – what could possibly go wrong?
Excerpt from PERFECTLY PLANNED:
For pretty much everything her parents needed, from house repairs to health questions, they had a child on speed-dial. And bonus, funds flowed freely to pay for their place in a retirement home.
That’s the kind of retirement plan she was after. Maybe not six kids. Six was a bit of a handful, especially flying solo. But she could handle one, at least to begin with.
It would’ve been easier with Roger, but oh well, on to Plan B.
She had been poked and prodded and deemed a healthy receptacle.
But, oh how to choose which little swimmers to let loose? She needed smart (had to earn the big bucks), features similar to hers (hair color notwithstanding), family oriented (obviously had to love their momma), and not too nasally a voice (very annoying). They needed to be screened for reverse traits—ones that would make her wish she could reverse the whole process.
She needed more than the measly amount of info available online.
No problem. She had applied for a job as a weekend receptionist at the sperm bank, interviewed quite successfully (naturally), and waited patiently while they narrowed down their selection.
She had started three weeks ago.
The job was straightforward, certainly not as creative as painting. In fact, it was kinda slow. She liked the music in the waiting room, though, especially with her mouse clicking. She could get quite a beat going. Left click. Right click. Left-right-right click. She could see it catching on. In fact, it should be posted on YouTube because it’d give her something to watch at work, too.
She hadn’t lost sight of her plan, but it wasn’t obvious where all the data was stored. She had opened several files, but it wasn’t until she rocked and clicked to The Jaded Gentlemen, that lo and behold, the folder popped up.
Now, she wasn’t a computer genius or anything, but who uses 1234 as their password? You’d think all that confidential information about sperm donors would be behind a bigger firewall. Nope.
So, her two top matches now had names.
4652 Ripley Logan
2485 Jared Clayton
A few social media clicks later, and voilà, she set up friend requests with both. Even better, it looked like Ripley’s baseball team had a rain-date game on Friday, seven o’clock, right here in Rivermede at Fairfield Park.
He was sporty. She clicked a happy beat.
She could go to the game and check him out. Try to learn more about him, but keep it quiet, fly under the radar.
She spun around in her chair and smiled. Perfect.
How can readers learn more about you?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-OConnor/e/B00S7CNLEA
Linda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at HomeSense. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories J). She hangs out at www.lindaoconnor.net.