Welcome to the blog, Rowena. Have a cup of tea?
Why, thank you, Susan.
Tell us something about yourself that readers might be surprised to learn.
I don't like writing sex scenes. Surprised?
Absolutely! You certainly write them well.
How many books have you written, Rowena?
That depends how you count.
I wrote Forced Mate as a science fiction romance for release as an e-book and as a Print On Demand with NBI, and simultaneously worked with Alicia Condon, then of Dorchester, on a futuristic romance version solely for the mass market paperback market.
When NBI went belly-up, my rights were returned, and I self-published Forced Mate as an ebook.
My next mass market paperback was Insufficient Mating Material (mass market paperback only), followed by Knight's Fork (mass market paperback).
Yes, I'm in love with that knight
In the meantime, I also wrote a novella which I license to New Concepts Publishing. It's a prequel, and is titled Mating Net, and is only available as an e-book.
I also have a first draft of Grand Fork... half-written, not published, not for sale.
What books or authors have influenced you?
Georgette Heyer, George Orwell, Isaac Asimov, Agatha Christie.
What has been your most rewarding experience during the writing process?
"During the writing process..." That rules out letters from readers, compliments from editors, generous reviews from strangers, the arrival of checks/cheques.
I think, then, my answer must be something to do with what happens when a talented editor such as Alicia Condon or Karen Babcock asks a question about content, and I solve the communication problem with three alternate revisions, and they want to use all three.
Tell us about your latest release.
Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?
I'm editing Insufficient Mating Material for release as an e-book.
Forced Mate, Insufficient Mating Material, and Knight's Fork are available in print while supplies last, and I occasionally sell some of my stash on EBay. Mating Net is available from New Concepts Publishing.
Knight's Fork is the last paperback book I released before I realized that the royalty model of traditional publishing is unsustainable.
This is an unofficial blurb that I may use for the e-book.
One virtuous Knight, an interstellar quest, a sexy royal stowaway and, a saboteur along for the ride.
‘Rhett knows why he is going to Earth. He has a lost Princess to find, a secret that might petrify his
enemies to unearth, and a scandalous Queen to avoid.
What is unclear is why his arch enemy, Tarrant-Arragon, is so eager to lend him an Imperial space destroyer, a young Prince in need of a mentor, and the dour fellowship of his man, Grievous.
Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others?
Yes. But which? I suppose that most authors struggle for longest with their first book (mine was Forced Mate) if they learn the craft the hard way. However, Forced Mate basically took every stock situation from a standard Historical abduction romance, and spoofed them. Once I found the proper starting point, there was a logical progression of scenes. Nevertheless, many scenes involving secondary characters and parallel storylines could have been inserted at several different junctures.... and they were, before the book was "right".
Insufficient Mating Material was an alien desert island romance, so, again, there was a structure for the first part of the book, and also for the third and final part. The middle was a bit of a challenge. I think the term of what to avoid is "expository lump".
Knight's Fork was probably the most challenging to write. I hadn't planned the books as a series, and found myself writing an interstellar soap opera. As a result, I'd painted myself into a few corners, and since I was writing about a family (a dysfunctional alien royal family) I had to continue to include senior members of the royal family. Also, their appearances had to be meaningful, and had to advance the plots.
The biggest difficulty with Knight's Fork was the heroine. She was married to someone other than the hero, and I did not want to glorify adultery (one reason I put her in a chastity belt and lost the key) and it didn't suit me to kill off her husband. That would have been too easy! The second biggest difficulty was in **not** making the husband the villain. That, too, would have been too predictable.
How do you develop characters?
Painfully slowly. No one could possibly be interested in my methods. I might compare my methods to making sloe gin.
Anyone who wishes to learn how to develop characters would do much better to visit
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/ and benefit from the lessons taught by Jacqueline Lichtenberg or look up Linnea Sinclair's courses. http://www.linneasinclair.com/news.html
You're much too modest, Rowena. Your characters are exquisite.
Why, thank you. You want to know how to make sloe gin?
Go out onto the windswept cliffs where the thorny, hardy, wild damson bushes are in fruit (Autumn) and free to pick. Remove worms and cobwebs and other assorted wildlife. Prick the dusky purple sloes individually with needles or pins. Fill a narrow-necked old bottle (that can be corked) with the pricked fruit, just like a colorful science class demonstration of volume.
When the bottle is full of pricked berries, fill it with sugar.
When the bottle is full of berries and sugar, fill it with cheap gin. Cork it. Leave it for several months, turning the corked bottle at intervals. Enjoy responsibly.
Appreciate the metaphor. (Grinning.)
Yes, I certainly do appreciate it. LOL.
How do you choose your setting?
All the books so far are spin-offs of the first one, so the core settings remain places I've lived: Britain (parts of Britain that I know... therefore London, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Dorset,Wiltshire, Guernsey), imaginary spaceships, imaginary alien palaces and brothels.
One of the more interesting choices I had to make about setting was for Insufficient Mating Material. Initially, it was a toss-up whether I would locate the deserted, sub-tropical island where the hero and heroine were to be forcibly marooned on Earth or on the imaginary alien planet An'Koor.
Looking back, the choice was a no-brainer. The island had to be on An'Koor. One simply cannot have humongous alien spaceships blockading Earth and expect Earthlings not to notice.
What are your protagonist’s strengths? Flaws?
I cannot imagine loving a man who is incompetent... not romantically. So, all my heroes are supremely competent. Effective. Very good indeed at whatever it is they do. Also, they all have a sense of humor.
Their flaws vary. They may be incorrigible liars, have awesome tempers, swear or drink too much, be obsessive or compulsive, or unable to delegate.
Can you tell us about current or future projects?
If you don't mind, I'd like to talk a little bit about copyright infringement, because fighting infringement on behalf of those who cannot or dare not has been my passion for the past two years. (I even won an E.P.I.C. award for my efforts.)
Go right ahead, Rowena. We all need to be reminded.
It appears that a lot of internet users have trouble understanding this:
"The FBI Warning: Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000."
Sometimes, those who reproduce and distribute (or "share") e-books online cut out the front matter, and start the e-books at Chapter One. I believe that some settings on older e-readers defaulted to Page One. So, possibly, a lot of e-book buyers never see the warning. Kinder, gentler publishers use words like "All Rights Reserved", which might be a tad vague.
Other times, the heavy duty, FBI warning or a similar one, is right there on the "free e-book hosting" sites that allow visitors to "preview" the document.
Possibly, the problem lies in the word, "unauthorized". Too many readers assume that, if they purchased an ebook, they are entitled ( or "authorized" ) to do whatever they like with it. This is not true.
Nor is it true that if a site like 4shared.com offers (you) the ability to copy every book in someone else's collection to your own account that therefore it is legal for you to click that option. It's not. Just because someone uploaded a modern bestseller to a file hosting site does not mean that that bestseller is "in the public domain" or that the copyright warnings --whether there or stripped-- do not apply to anyone copying or downloading the work.
If you take a paperback to a copy-shop, you will be required to fill out paperwork before the copy shop will photocopy the entire book for you. Try it. If you take a library book to the library photocopier, you will see warnings posted about copyright infringement.
With a paperback, if you used a coin-powered machine to print a copy of every page, you'd probably spend more on the machine than it would cost you to purchase a legal copy. Also, if you lend or sell or give a paperback to a friend, she has it. You don't have it any more.
With e-books, it is possible to create thousands of copies with no effort, no expense, and no thought. One can even make a profit. However, making copies and sharing them is the prerogative of the copyright owner. The author. If a reader makes copies and shares them without personal, written permission from the author, it is copyright infringement.
A better solution, which Smashwords is now encouraging authors and publishers to use is wording in the front matter that makes it clear that an e-book is not purchased, but licensed.
"A user is a licensee, rather than an owner, when the copyright owner
1) Specifies the user is being granted a license
2) Significantly restricts the user's ability to transfer the software, and
3) Imposes notable use restrictions
For anyone who wishes to learn more about the horrors and triumphs of fighting digital piracy, there is a GoodReads.com group open to readers and authors. http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/30255.Authors_Without_A_Yacht_AWaY_GoodReads
Susan, I hope these remarks will be more helpful to your aspiring-author-readers than any insights into how I stay on track as I write about faraway worlds and through the eyes of alien hunks.
Excellent information, indeed. Thanks for sharing.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
Thank you for asking. There is an interview of me on TheAuthorsShow (check for "Rowena Cherry" and "Knight's Fork" in the yellowish menu bar in the middle of the page) at http://www.theauthorsshow.com/ Various authors' interviews are featured on a rotating basis.
I'm supposed to be promoting "Knight's Fork" but end up talking more about my alleged psychic abilities, cows, and why "futuristic" is not the right genre for what I write.
I have two websites. They are: http://www.rowenacherry.com and http://www.spacesnark.com
You might well ask why I have two. One is run professionally by a webmaster, whom I have to pay if I want any kind of update. The other is through Authors' Guild, was set up free, I can edit it any time I wish, and it costs me $6.00 a month.
And, finally, again for the authors in your audience, I run a group on LinkedIn.com
for "Authors Of Romance Helping Authors Of Romance"
Thank you very much for inviting me over!
I have thoroughly enjoyed having you over, Rowena.
Now, readers of the blog, play attention to the offering that follows:
Rowena is giving away a $25 gift token. "No warranties, no purchase necessary, winner selection random from comments, starting 12.01 am Eastern, December 1st, ending midnight Eastern December 5th, (all the usual rules) full written rules obtainable from..... firstname.lastname@example.org"