Thursday, March 8, 2012

Behind the Book Mania ~ Author Spotlight on Vonnie Davis

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 6:02 AM

Hiya folks, thanks for stopping by. 
If you don’t know my guest today you are in for a treat. One of the first authors I met when I stumbled into the world of publishing, I was humbled by her generous spirit of friendship, especially considering how very talented she is at the keyboard. I actually won a copy of her title ‘Storm’s Interlude’ in a contest and gleefully sat down to read. I couldn’t put it down. As a survivor myself, I was enthralled by the premise and the way the heavy issue of a cancer battle was balanced so tastefully with the heart pounding, steamy romance. So, pull up a chair and help me welcome my friend and fellow Wild Rose Press author, Vonnie Davis.
Happy Thursday, Mac and ALL you lovely book lovers. We’re moving into Spring, the energizing time of the year. Don’t you just love it? The white magnolia tree at the corner of our front porch is blooming, and I am thrilled, especially since we had snow on Monday. Mac, thank you for opening your blog up to me, so I could share my writings with your readers.

My pleasure, Vonnie. I’m stoked that you’re here. Can you tell? *grin* So, what was the germ of the idea behind Storm’s Interlude?

Often a snippet of a visual enters my mind. With Storm’s Interlude, it was a woman driving on a deserted road at night and a man, wearing nothing but a cowboy hat and boots walks toward her. I mentally saw this snippet five or six years before I began writing the story. There are several such snippets filed in the dusty recesses of my mind.

And what a snippet it was. Great opening scene. What is the first book you remember loving?

A book about an intelligent crow. Don’t ask me the title. I was in second grade at the time.

You’re forgiven. I can’t even remember being in the second grade. Where is the oddest place you’ve ever pulled out a book?

A zippered compartment in an empty suitcase.

So, that is where that book went! LOL Besides a critiquing partner, is there someone you let read your manuscripts before submitting?

I belong to a writers’ group and am the red-headed stepchild because I write romance and not literary works. I suffer through having my work torn apart, often crying on the way home. Consequently, I share only scenes I have concerns about, say those with several characters in it. I’m always worried I’ll confuse the readers with multiple people speaking. Fortunately for me I’m married to a writer and a protective one, at that. As people are making comments, he puts his arm around me and whispers words of encouragement. When he feels I’ve had enough or can see the steam coming from my ears, he speaks up. “If you’re through hanging my wife on the cross, tell her something positive about her writing.” One lady once quipped she saw nothing redeeming in my writing. Calvin has yet to forgive her. <grins>

*grinning back* Calvin sounds like a keeper. I would have been tempted to smack the critical cow. Oh, you weren’t finished. I’m sorry, proceed.

The only person who gets to read the entire manuscript is my agent. She does a line-by-line edit, asking hard questions like “why is she reacting this way?” She makes me delve deeper into my characters’ psyches. We go back and forth with the manuscript two or three times before she feels it’s ready to “shop out.”

So, cats or dogs?

We have a cat, Jazzie Miles Davis, known as Baby Puss for short. I’m not saying he’s spoiled, but he has his own Twitter account and often tweets that he needs people to send him snacks. Calvin grumbles because the cat has more followers on twitter than he.

I’m with Calvin. Out-tweeted by a cat is too embarrassing to be born. *Whispers, You go, Jazzie!* Since first becoming published, what was the biggest ‘Woot’ moment you experienced?

My first review. I cried. All writers hope their book will be enjoyed, perhaps even loved, but we carry so much self-doubt about our work—at least I do—that when someone says they love it, we are truly astounded. Talk about “warm and fuzzy”? Oh yeah!

Nice! But wait, I don’t like to think about potential reviews and you can’t make me. Think of something else, Mac. Oh, I know, what is your typical writing session like?

I’m retired, so I am free from so many obligations other writers have like children still living at home and/or outside job. I write every day. The first few hours are spent answering emails and visiting blogs. Then I read over what I wrote the day before, making little tweaks, and then I move forward.
Twice a week Calvin and I take a writing day. We go to Bob Evans for breakfast. The waitresses there know us and hook me up to an IV of coffee. I’ve dedicated a book to them for all their kindnesses. I write while Calvin reads the paper and fiddles on his iPad. We spend a few hours there and then move to a coffee shop where I log in a few more hours of hard writing. Then on to a restaurant for supper and I write there, too. 
I often tell the story about writing my first sex scene in a restaurant. I was deep into the moment with Storm and Rachel. Our waitress was refilling our glasses of iced tea. “What’cha writin’?” Before I thought, I told her I was writing a sex scene. “Oh?” She stepped behind me and began reading over my shoulder. “Oh my.” Her breathing got heavier. “Oh my gawd.” She leaned over me to get a closer eyeful of my scene. “Lawd, have mercy!” She bustled off. Later I was at the dessert bar and overheard our waitress talking to her co-workers. “I’m telling you she was writing hot, up-against-the-wall sex.” My ego balloon puffed up. “…and she was OLD, too.” Ego hisses out of balloon.

Oh my God, you have me laughing so hard. Having read that scene, I have to agree with the up-against-the-wall sex, but I hope you didn’t leave her a tip! Best advice you were given concerning your writing?

Calvin told me to write what I enjoy reading and to keep writing. The more one writes, the better they become.

Yep, Calvin’s a keeper. Tell us a little about Storm’s Interlude please.

Nurse Rachel Dennison comes to Texas determined to prepare her new patient for a second round of chemo. What she isn’t counting on is her patient’s twin brother, Storm Masterson. Despite her initial attraction, Storm has two things Rachel can’t abide: a domineering personality and a fiancée. Half Native American, with the ability to have "vision dreams," Storm dreams about Rachel for three nights before her arrival. Both are unprepared for the firestorm of emotions their first encounter ignites. Ultimately, it is Rachel’s past—an abusive, maniacal ex-boyfriend—that threatens to keep them apart…and Storm’s dreams that bring them together again.

I mentioned earlier a visual snippet I got several years ago. Here’s how I turned it into the beginning of my novel.

Someone swaggered out of the moonlit night toward Rachel. Exhausted from a long day of driving, she braked and blinked. Either she was hallucinating or her sugar levels had plummeted. Maybe that accounted for the male mirage, albeit a very magnificent male mirage, trekking toward her. She peered once more into the hot July night at the image illuminated by her headlights. Sure enough, there he was, cresting the hill on foot—a naked man wearing nothing but a black cowboy hat, a pair of boots and a go-to-hell sneer.
         Well, well, things really did grow bigger in Texas. The man quickly covered his privates with his black Stetson. Rachel sighed. The show was evidently over. Should she stand up in her Beetle convertible and applaud? Give a couple cat calls? Wolf whistles? Maybe not.
          She turned down the music on the car’s CD player. Sounds of crickets and a lonely bullfrog in the distance created a nighttime symphony in the stillness of this isolated stretch of country road. Lightning bugs darted back and forth, blinking a display of neon yellow glow. 
            The naked man strode toward her car, and Rachel’s heart rate kicked up. Common sense told her to step on the gas, yet what woman wanted to drive away from such a riveting sight? Still, life had taught her to be careful. She reached into her handbag and extracted her chrome revolver. Before he reached her car, she quickly slid her gun under the folds of her skirt.
Just let him try anything funny—I know how to take care of myself.
           Both of his large hands clasped his hat to his groin. His face bore annoyance and a touch of chagrin. “I need a ride.” By his bearing and commanding tone of voice, she guessed the man was used to giving orders and having them followed.
         Her eyes took a slow journey across his face. Even in the moonlight, she could see traces of Native heritage. His shoulder-length ebony hair, too long for her tastes, glistened against his bronzed skin. Proud arrogant eyes sparked anger.
Because Rachel believed in indulging herself, she allowed her eyes to travel over his broad shoulders, muscular chest and tight abdominal muscles. She saw a thin trail of dark hair starting below his navel, knowing full well where it ended, and fought back a groan. Her eyes slid back up to lock on his. “You need a pair of pants, too.” Knowing her voice hummed with desire, she cleared her throat, hoping the naked man hadn’t noticed.
He looked up at the sky for a beat. “Just my freakin’ luck! A birthday party gone bad, and now I’m bein’ ogled by some horny kid with damnable blue eyes.”
What the heck was wrong with her eyes? She quickly glanced in her rearview mirror and saw nothing amiss. She narrowed those “damnable blue eyes” and sneered. “Look, buster, I’m not the one prancing around Texas naked as a jaybird. I’ll have you know I’m hardly a kid.” She glanced down at the black cowboy hat. “And, furthermore, stop hiding behind that big ol’ Stetson. From what I saw, a French beret would do the job.”
There, let the arrogant fool stew on that while he strutted back to whatever rock he crawled out from under. She slammed her car in gear and sped off.
She swore she wouldn’t look in her rearview mirror. Nope, she would not look. Like a magnet emitting a powerful homing signal, her eyes slowly slid to the glass surface. He was standing where she’d left him, his Stetson tilted back on his head, his hands fisted on his narrow naked hips and his mouth moving. He was no doubt cussing her out.

*Snickering and thinking I should have passed out fans at the door.* Well, Vonnie, where can we find Storm’s Interlude, and you?

Wild Rose Press;
I blog at Vintage Vonnie and would love to have you sign up as a follower.

 Trouble commenting? Click on comments at the top of this post.


christine warner said...

Enjoyed the interview and I think I'm now your fan as well as gotta love an independent cat who excels at social media! lol

Book sounds wonderful. Love how you came up with the idea.

Vonnie Davis said...

Mac, thanks for having me here today. Your interview was fun. Folks, Mac talks about how I befriended her online, but it was SHE who charmed me. She has one of those genuine spirits that draws you near.

Vonnie Davis said...

Hi Christine, I DO love a fan. Jazzie, well, he just loves snacks. Thanks for stopping by today.

Vonnie Davis said...

YIKES!! I forgot to mention Calvin's book, THE PHANTOM LADY OF PARIS. Set in Paris in 1968. Calvin was on sabbatical there at the time, and although the book is ficiton, the places in Pairs he mentions as well as the hero's apartment are those he visited and lived at while there for a year. Imagine writing at sidewalk cafes every day???

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Aww. I'm blushing, Vonnie. It's a mutual love fest! LOL

Jazzie charmed me as well, Christine. Thanks for stopping by.

Nancy Jardine said...

Nice post ladies. And I love your bit about the budding flowers and a dumping (not dusting) of snow within days, Vonnie. (same here)I just know I have to find a way of not sleeping and reading much more instead.

Vonnie Davis said...

Hasn't this weather been crazy, Nancy? We live in southern Virginia. For us to get much snow is a big event, but it does happen every few years. Thanks for stopping by.

Joya said...

Hi Vonnie and Mac,
Great interview! Jazzie is one cool cat and I love the way Calvin takes up for you. What a hero. Sounds like you have a really great agent, too.
Thanks for sharing and best wishes for continued success to both of you. :)

Vonnie Davis said...

Joya, I'm very blessed. My husband who I found online at match dot com nearly 10 years ago is my biggest fan. My agent is just super. My cat, as long as I keep his belly full, is a sweetie.

Jannine Gallant said...

Vonnie, I say dump the writing group. It doesn't sound like they give you much support! I'm tired of people thinking they're superior because they don't read (or write) romance. Chances are your book is a lot more entertaining than anything they've written!

Okay, I'll get off my high horse. Maybe I should start a twitter account for Ginger. LOL

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Hiya ladies, thanks for stopping by. I agree Jannine. Funny how the market makes tons more money off of romance, and yet it's still the red headed step child *winks at Vonnie* I would leave that group behind in a heartbeat.

Vonnie Davis said...

Jannine, believe me I've thought of it. After a particularly rough session, we stayed away for a couple weeks until I worked though it. One time one lady insisted I changed the color of a suit my hero wore from charcoal to grey. She hammered and hammered my choice of color. I told her grey was rather ambiguous in description, while charcoal was not. She shivvered and shuddered. "Charcoal. Yuck!" I've learned to stand up for my writing, believe me.

By all means get Ginger an account. Jazzie twitters @JazieMilesDavis. They can tweet each other.

Vonnie Davis said...

Mac, I never realized how bad it was until I joined the Roses yahoo loop and a few other and was the recipreant of so much support and encouragment. Then I realized how the writing community truly behaves, especially--GASP--romance writers.

Francine Infortunio said...

Vonnie, I loved the way you had Storm and Rachel resist their attaction to each other till they couldn't stand not to touch and kiss. Terrific book; thanks so much!

Mackenzie Crowne said...

I totally agree, Francine. Storm's Interlude was a great book all around. Thanks for stopping in.

Andrea Downing said...

Well, seeing what you've been through with your writer's group etc. certainly made me feel better. This was an excellent interview--and a VERY intriguing blurb!

Anonymous said...

This is mostly unrelated to your post, but I think our cats might be clones:

Meet Turbocat

Mackenzie Crowne said...

I don't know who you are, anonymous, but you made me laugh. :-)