Today it is my pleasure to have Contemporary Romance Author and self-proclaimed chocolate guru, Selena Robins, as a guest on LaurieWriting for an interview. Welcome, Selena!
Selena: Laurie, thank you for inviting me to your blog and allowing me to introduce myself and my work to your readers.
Laurie: It’s my pleasure to have you on, Selena. To give everyone an idea of what life is like when you’re not writing, what are your favorite hobbies and interests?
Selena: Activities that include; books, chocolate, swimming, yoga, (it’s a great place to ponder the unanswered questions of the world) laughter, and surrounding myself with family and friends who don’t want to put me in a padded room.
Laurie: If you could choose to be alone with one other person on a tropical island, who would you choose to share paradise with, what would you bring, and what would you do?
Selena: I’d choose my husband, besides the obvious reason that he’s fun to travel with and as I said in the previous question, he’s never indicated I should reside in a padded room, he could also erect (no pun intended) an amazing shelter if the need arises (again no pun intended). He’s also real handy with his hands (boy, am I ever unintentionally punning away), in case something happened, and we needed to build our own shelter.
Besides the obligatory bathing suit and overnight bag, I’d bring my Kindle (fully charged). Matches. We don’t smoke, but I’m thinking what if we were stranded? The biggest problem movie and book characters always face when stranded is not being able to light a fire. Therefore, first on my list, matches secured in a waterproof container. To say I’m a tiny bit OCD and detail oriented would be a tad of an understatement.
What would we do? Swim, read and see all the above unintentional puns—that should give you a good idea. 😉
Laurie: Sounds like a great time! For the writers who are reading this post now and those who are curious about your writing journey, do you have any fond or not so fond memories of romance that influenced you to write in the Romance genre?
Selena: When I started writing, I never thought about a certain genre, I thought about the characters, the plot and how I wanted to unfold their story. I like to write about love and romantic stories with a realistic happy ever that I myself want to read, so I guess it was a natural transition to write in this genre.
Laurie: I see how your OCD may come in handy there – you immediately were drawn to the technicalities of the craft and your natural talent shows in the stories you write. On how reading affects your writing: You’ve shared before that you are an eclectic reader. Would you say this helps you to be a better-rounded writer as well? How so?
Selena: Thank you. I think reading is imperative for every writer. How it helps? I’m not sure how to answer that in a general sense. I just know that for myself, the more I read outside the genre I’m writing, the better equipped I feel to tackle my own projects.
Laurie: I suppose someone is better prepared to tackle areas outside of their norm in writing when they are able to form their own ideas from different genres. I can see this being an advantage by keeping material fresh, new, and challenging – it could serve as a way to engage and intrigue readers by thinking outside of the box.
For writing rookies (like myself) and those who want to know how to become better at the craft, what tips would you give to new writers or authors?
Selena: Read. Read a lot. Tell stories from your heart, stories that you want to share. Don’t worry if someone wrote a similar story line, or that there are more successful writers, because whatever stories they tell, they are not telling your story in your own distinctive way and in your voice.
Once you’ve written the story, pouring emotion and love from your heart, then you edit with your head, and leave your ego locked in the closet.
This art form has a long learning curve, and you’ll always be on a learning journey, which is one of the most fascinating things about writing, it’s never ending in absorbing, utilizing the uniqueness of your style and voice an unlimited supply of new stories to read and write.
Most of all—HAVE. FUN.
Laurie: Wonderful tips. I need to keep these on hand as a reminder.
If you had a list of best-kept secrets, such as websites, books, coaches…etc….you would like to recommend, what would they be, and why?
Selena: There are so many writer related-how-to blogs, books and people who have established themselves as coaches/editors now because of the self-indie publishing movement, that it can be overwhelming for any writer.
I like to keep things simple, and tell writers not to get too bogged down with the “how-to” or spending a lot of time reading about the industry or the craft, but instead to dive in and write. Write short stories, blog posts, have fun writing status updates on Facebook, quick one-liners on Twitter, utilizing their imagination and creativity anyway they can. The nuts and bolts will come later, when they are paired with a good editor.
There are two books that I highly recommend for any writer at any stage of their writing journey and they are: ON WRITING by Stephen King, and BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. Both books are inspirational and Bird by Bird especially help writers move forward with their projects one step at a time.
The other two books that are craft related are Deb Dixon’s, GOAL, MOTIVATION & CONFLICT, this book helps new writers with their GMC. I also recommend; EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES by Lynne Truss. It’s a wonderful approach to punctuation and helps in the editing process.
Laurie: Keeping it simple seems like a great way to achieve goals and dreams. It’s always great to have go-to books and resources as we continue learning and practicing writing – I appreciate your recommendations!
If you could look back at yourself when you first began writing, what type of pit-falls in writing, the writing process, or being a writer in general would you advise against and tell yourself to avoid, knowing what you now?
Selena: To write faster and not get bogged down with the business side of publishing. Having said that, I don’t believe in regrets, because that would mean everything I’ve done had no significance, which isn’t true, even though I would have liked to have a lot more books out today.
I believe that whatever I’ve done, even mistakes I’ve made, have made me the person I am today in all aspects of my life (including writing and publishing).
I did arm myself with a ton of knowledge (researching) about the business side of publishing when I first got published. On the plus side, it has helped me today not only understand the business, but helped me with marketing/promotion.
On the downside, by doing so much of that, I don’t have as many books published as I would have liked. However, I believe there’s a reason for everything, as in, at the time it wasn’t my time to move forward faster with my projects and it is now.
Laurie: Yes. No regrets – everything happens for a reason. What a great way to be. 😀
Everyone has their tough days. What are three things you’ve told yourself during your darkest hour?
1. Shit happens. Get over it.
2. Reminding myself that I’m blessed with the people who love me, quirks and all.
3. It’s okay to have this bar of chocolate today. It helps. Tomorrow’s another day at the gym, and if I’m real lucky, I’ll get to experience something in Yoga that I can share on my blog.
Laurie: Thanks for sharing this advice, I’m sure this will be helpful to other writers – I know it will be for me! Is there anything else you would like to share that people may not know about you?
Selena: I’m actually a shy person. I know, I know, people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter, read my blog are rolling their eyes…perhaps, people who know me in my life here are probably rolling their eyes as well, but I am shy……until I get to know you and feel comfortable….then all bet’s are off. 😉
Laurie: <Grins> No eye roll here! Oh, wait. I’m usually a brat <eyeroll> 😉
For people interested in knowing more about your books, do you have any upcoming releases coming out soon? Where are readers able to keep up to date on your past and most recent works?
Selena: ONCE UPON A KISS is the next book to be released. It’s a romantic comedy with some paranormal elements in the form of a quirky, modern and hip Angel.
Readers can visit my website at: http://selenarobins.com/
Or sign up to follow my blog, which I don’t do a lot of self-promotion, only when I have a new release out, but mainly I love to blog about recipes, thoughts during yoga, falling into cactus bushes, our erotic garden….. http://selenarobinsmusings.com/
Readers can also follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SelenaRobins or @SelenaRobins
Thanks, Selena, for taking the time to answer my questions and share with other readers and writers out there who are just as curious as I am to learn more about you, writing, and your books!
About Selena Robins:
From sweet to the naughty, there’s always humor in Selena’s stories. Her work has been described as; genre-defying romance, sexy, written with wit, and splashes of mystery and suspense.
Selena is a self-professed foodie and chocolate guru. She loves to dance with her dog, sing into her hairbrush and write in her PJ’s.
She’s in love with Mr. Rugged—as she refers to her husband online—her family, friends, books, shoes, laughter, hockey, lively discussions and wine (sometimes all at the same time).
Selena is a dragon slayer who enjoys reading and writing sassy heroines and hot heroes (the ones your mamma warned you about, but secretly wished she’d dated a few in her life).
Selena also writes children’s stories under the pen name Maddie Ryan. You can connect with her alter ego (Maddie Ryan) on her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/maddieryanchildrensauthor