Friday, August 28, 2009

Seize The Adventure With Robie Madison!!!

Welcome back, TLN lovers! Who's ready to ring in the weekend?!

Today, we're chatting with Robie Madison!

I met Robie while moderating one of her online classes held by my RWA Chapter- Yosemite Romance Writers. I knew immediately I had to grill her on writing for all of you!

Without further ado, here's Robie!

1) What would be your voice's tagline?

The same one that graces my website—Seize the Adventure.

I’ve always believed it’s important to recognize an opportunity when it comes along. Take a calculated risk. Be open to adventure and see what happens. My characters share the same outlook on life.

2) How do you create the mystical settings for books?

For me, setting is very much about physical landscape. I always enjoyed studying geography in school and I remain fascinated. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy traveling around the world. So, I write about geographic landscapes I know—whether the setting is a contemporary city or a futuristic world.

Any tips?

Despite my own experiences traveling to different parts of the world, I find a good atlas of physical landscapes helps me get the details right.

3) How do your scenes or plots come to you? Daydreams? Voices that won't go away?

Quite frankly, Sarah, the voices inside my head refuse to shut up. It can get pretty noisy. LOL

Often a story begins for me with a scene that keeps replaying in my mind over and over. Each time I learn more. See more. Wonder about the characters and why they are doing what they are doing.

At some point—usually when the voices become insistent—I sit down and complete character and promotion charts filling in details. And I start doing research to fill in more blanks.

While I don’t outline a story, per se, all this work gives me a clearer idea of where I want to go with my story and I start writing.

4) What is your favorite topic to teach in your onlines and why?

Tough call.

Mind Your P’s and Q’s: The Secret to Writing Pitches and Queries grew out of my teaching both communications and marketing at college. The series of exercises are based on a promotional chart I complete for myself for each book I write. I always find this a fun—if intense—course to teach because it forces writers to think about their stories from a marketing perspective rather than a purely creative one.

The Journey Cycle is probably my most popular course at the moment. It takes the stages of the hero’s journey made popular by Christopher Vogler in his book The Writer’s Journey and “translates” them into familiar Fairy Tale motifs.

More recently, I’ve started teaching a companion course to The Journey Cycle called: Crisis, Climax, Resolution: Writing to the End. Using a different set of Fairy Tales it examines five stages of the journey from the perspective of character psychology. I’ve really enjoyed watching a whole bunch of movies (a favorite pastime) to come up with examples. This course has also helped me to dig deeper into my own stories.

5) You've won a Dream Realm Award and been a finalist in several contests, including the EPPIEs and the Lories Best Published Contest. Going back in time to when you were just a newbie, what is the one bit of knowledge you wish you'd had back then?

Writing is tough. It doesn’t necessarily get any easier. But it’s very satisfying creating something from your imagination that others want to buy. Want to read—and enjoy.

6) How do you structure your writing day?

Structure? Well, when I’m wondering around the house muttering to myself. Folding laundry and muttering to myself. Cooking dinner and muttering to myself. Going to the club for a workout and muttering to myself, I’m sure it doesn’t look like I have any structure at all.

What works best for you?

Waking up when my body clock is ready to wake up (which isn’t early, let me tell you LOL). This rarely happens. My next line of defense is a thermos of tea, which I take up to my office, thus eliminating the distraction of having to go downstairs for a refill. (Now you see why I like folding laundry and lifting weights—great distractions!)

When I’m writing a new book I try to work a sort of 9 to 5 schedule, which helps me keep the story going in my head and on the screen. This doesn’t always happen either, but that’s why writers have great imaginations.

Although there are times when events in my personal life take precedent and my production level drops—I generally follow the adage: Sit in chair and write! It’s the only way the job will get done.

7) Tell us about your latest release, THE MAN OF HER DREAMS (SamHain).

Speaking of Fairy Tales… The Man of Her Dreams is a variation, with a twist, of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen:

In order to break the 170 year old curse that has transformed him into a shape shifting water horse, Owain Deverell has three days to win the unconditional love of a mortal woman without her knowing that he is the wild stallion of her nightmares.

This story gave me a chance to return to my love of mythology. I did a lot of research on the kelpie myth and then created my own explanation for what this creature was doing.

What was your favorite part about writing the book?

This one is easy. My favorite part was definitely spending two months in Wales. Awesome onsite inspiration and I had fun researching my setting!

I'd like to extend a big thank you out to Robie for taling time away from her busy scedule to hang with us newbies! If you'd like more info on any of Robie's books or to read an excerpt- check out her beautiful website.

A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to all of you for swinging by! It's the dog days of summer and to celebrate the best gift known to moms- aka back to school- here's my super favorite musical, GREASE with
SUMMER NIGHTS'!! Uh, well-a well-a well-a, huh- Enjoy your Summer Nights before they're ripped at the seams! LOL Catch ya' back next week!


Helen Hardt said...

Hi ladies! Robie, I love your tagline -- Seize the Adventure. Your new release sounds intriguing. The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite fairy tales, so I'm anxious to check out your take on it. Best of luck to you!


Robie Madison said...

Thanks so much, Helen. Let me know what you think. :)

And thanks Sarah for conducting such a great interview.

Cari Quinn said...

Terrific interview, ladies. Robie, The Man of Her Dreams sounds wonderful. What a beautiful cover! And I agree, two months in Wales would be my favorite part of the process, too. :)

Sarah, huge congratulations on finaling in the Golden Gateway! I won the VRW's Fool For Love contest (short contemporary category) last summer and didn't come down from my high for weeks! Best of luck to you in the Grand Prize round!