|Reina Torres, Author|
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
HER GENTLE HEART BY REINA TORRES #MontanaSkyKW
Today, please welcome Reina Torres to the blog. Reina and I met while working together in Debra Holland's Montana Sky Series Kindle World.
Reina, please tell us about growing up.
Growing up I was an only child and the youngest of any of my cousins, most of them lived outside the state, so I was always felt a little lonely until school. And when I went to school I discovered that I had a stutter, a BAD one. The other kids would tease me so I stopped talking in class to save my feelings. So I read. A lot. A lot LOT! But I learned to stop stuttering so much thanks to an amazing speech therapist who taught me that people don’t stutter when they sing. So when I’d get nervous, I'd just pretend that I was singing my words and it would be easier.
All that reading didn't go to waste! I spent most of my free time in school in the library. In fact, I'm still friends with those amazing ladies now!
Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
How much room do I have?
Let's start with way back when… Louisa May Alcott was the first author that kept me up all night, flashlight under the covers, and dead to the world tired the next day! Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys competed with Little House. And from there it was whatever I could get my hands on. As an adult, I think my gateway drug to romance was Julie Garwood. And then I went on to so many authors…
As for genres, I love reading and writing, Contemporary, Western Historical, Regency, Paranormal… seems like I have a bit of identity crisis as a reader and writer! But I do read other subgenres too.
That sounds as if you described me. LOL When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
When I’m not writing I love to do handicrafts! I'm a costume designer by trade with a degree in technical theater, so I love to sew. And contrary to popular belief… math is necessary! I would be lost and broke if not for math skills to determine yardage. And for a while, when we lived in Las Vegas, we were Civil War reenactors. My son was regularly ‘borrowed’ by President Lincoln to play his son… but while we enjoyed it, when my young son learned that ‘Papa’ was dead, we had to explain playacting/reenacting in some detail, that the sweet man who ‘played’ President Lincoln was just fine! Phew!
What an impressive degree. You must have interesting stories to tell about your work. How long have you been writing?
My first experience with books was as a child. I'd draw picture books. Telling a story in pictures and then I would tell my family the story behind the drawings. Then in elementary school, when I didn't have dance class after school, I would wait for my mom at her office. I'd sit at the typewriter in the breakroom and pound away at the keys creating stories of a pair of intrepid teen detectives based on my love of Nancy Drew and inspired by friendship with my best friend. I wonder if those stories were any good. But I remember being so excited to ‘see’ them on the page. There were a few times that I got to use my creative writing in school, what a joy!
Years later, while I was writing fanfiction for a Western Television show, that was the first time I shared my writing with the ‘public’ and it was that time and experience and encouragement from the readers that gave me the idea of writing my own original stories and work toward publication.
I started to submit short stories to magazines and anthologies under a different name and have been published in Western, Weird Western, Scifi, Steampunk, etc. But my heart has always been firmly in Romance, so here I am.
Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
I prefer to write in a comfy chair, on my hand-me-down laptop, but most nights if my son is working the nightshift I will sit in the parking lot when I wait to pick him up and type on my phone... like I am now. I need noise. Music is good. Or a tv show or movie on Netflix that I know really well. It's like white-noise. I'm not tempted to watch because I’ve seen that episode of Xfiles or West Wing a hund- err, a few times!
But when I edit, and this is what my friends think is really crazy, I need to have Hell’s Kitchen on... something about Gordon Ramsey screaming “It’s raw!” or “Bloody Hell!” seems to make the editing process less painful.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Goodness… umm… neither… both? It's a process for me. Sometimes I start with a plot or a scene idea. And then I start typing a plot summary, that usually ends up with who scenes in it, because the voices are too loud, and I’ve learned if I ignore the voices they get stubborn and silent. Never a good thing!
But I'm always ready for a plot to go off the rails! Be flexible! But have a purpose! I guess that could be my writing motto.
I agree—have a roadmap but prepare to take side trips along the way. Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?
Sometimes reading gives me the idea. I have a massive collection of Old West, Victorian, Edwardian, Civil War era, etc. research books. When I say massive I'm not joking. I don't need a bedside table or book shelves, they are their own pieces of furniture!! So sometimes a random blurb under a picture will create a story in my head.
But for research during a book, unless it’s a complete Stop Sign, I just insert a note in the manuscript and look it up later. Saves time and keeps the work moving.
Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?
Writing schedule… whenever, where ever I can fit it in. Waiting in a car, at the doctor’s office, in the car before my physical therapy. My goals consist of deadlines, I wish I could break it down better than that, but that ends up being frustrating more than anything else. But I do try to write daily. It's too easy to skip another day once you’ve skipped one.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.
Well, I've already mentioned the Civil War reenactment stuff, that's usually good for a shocked stare. But I guess I could tell you that I’ve been a Flamenco dancer. I even performed while I was pregnant with my son, until about six months in when he decided to move to the music, making it too dangerous for me to do any ‘turns’ because his movements would throw off my balance.
I’m impressed. I love watching Flamenco dancers. Your son moving to the music is too funny—although I’m sure it wasn’t to you at the time. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
Warmth, a smile, a feeling like you’re part of the story. When I wrote my first two Sweet Historical Westerns, I was very conscious of my memories of Little House on tv. I wanted to bring that cozy warmth to my books. A number of my readers contacted me to say that they had the feeling they were back in front of their tvs watching the show. What a thrill to hear that! I think my first real crush was Almonzo Wilder. **sigh**
I'm also writing contemporary romances as well, and seem to have a focus on small town love stories. What strikes me about both sub-genres is that the love between my characters isn't in a bubble. Their love story is affected by their community, the people that care for them in their town. And I like that feeling.
I do, too. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Tell the story in your heart. Believe in love and friendship. And work. Hard! Be better every day. Don't be complacent. There is always room for improvement! I look back at my writing from twenty years ago, then ten, five… even January of 2016 and it's great to see the change.
If we don’t change, we stagnate. Tell us about your latest release.
HER GENTLE HEART
Amazon Link http://a.co/9eXjyo4
A snowed in train brought her into his life. His stubborn ways put walls between them. When the snows let up, will they go their separate ways or will he warm to Her Gentle Heart?
Hampton Wells has been working hard at one train station after another, biding his time until there’s a job for him to be the guy in charge. Trouble is, he’s been hiding an important secret from his friends and his boss. And now, temporarily situated at Sweetwater Springs during a snow storm, his secret is about to be revealed and threaten his job. Or, he could let down his walls and ask for help. But that’s not really the kind of man that he’s been.
Rosina Valero was a young woman in search of her place in life. She lost her teaching position when the school closed for the winter and boards the train to travel to other towns looking for work. Heavy snowfall holds her up in Sweetwater Springs, but snow's not the only thing that needs to melt when she unwittingly discovers Hampton’s secret. Will he accept her help, before it's too late?
When two people who are falling in love are destined to go in two different directions, can anything bring them back together?
An excerpt of HER GENTLE HEART:
Very romantic! How can readers learn more about you?
Website/Blog – www.reinatorres.net
Facebook Author Page - https://www.facebook.com/ReinaTorresRomance/
Facebook Profile - https://www.facebook.com/reina.torres.31924
Amazon Author Page - www.amazon.com/Reina-Torres/e/B01GF5UIK0/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/rtorresauthor