Friday, February 14, 2014

Interview with Connie Flynn

What inspired you to become an author?

I can thank the downsizing trend for becoming an author. When I knew my middle management job was at risk I also knew I wasn’t happy enough with what I did to keep doing it at another place. So I took an apptitude test that revealed why my job was so unfulling. It seems I am a creative type and middle management is about maintaining the status quo. This works, do more of it. That doesn’t work, fix of eliminate it. While life certainly needs this kind of management, I could only do so much for it. I crave the ups and downs of the creative process and while I developed a number of useful skills in management, I really opened up when I began to writing. The outcome was the sale of a book ultimately called HOMECOMING to Harlequin. I truly became a writer then, grateful I’d found my calling. I’ll write my fingers off until they come to pry my hard, cold hands off the computer keyboard because this is how I want to spend my life.

Do you write in different genres?

Several. I started out at Harlequin, writing a classic romance. With them, I broadened my scope into romantic adventure and romantic comedy. When I moved to Penquin I entered the paranormal romance market and when I chose to become an indie author I branched out into romantic suspense and cozy mysteries.  

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

The darker paranormal stories really dig deep and require a lot of energy—mental,  emotional and physical. The romantic suspense and lighter mysteries give my mind a badly needed break that lets me take my full energy back to the bigger books.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

One of my critique partners and I stayed over after our group broke for the morning and we brainstormed the title for my new romantic suspense. The book has several large themes to draw from —amnesia, spousal abuse, patricide, legalized gambling—and as we knocked ideas around I talked about how the glamour of the floating casinos and the huge paddlewheel riverboats that housed them had always enchanted me. The talk drifted to Kenny Roger’s song, “The Gambler,” and we went through the famous lines of the chorus: Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and . . .

At that point, my friend and I locked eyes. We both knew we had the title and we said it aloud together. KNOW WHEN TO RUN was christened and now it’s about to be launched.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I caution new writers about starting a book with a message in mind because the temptation to preach is too strong. My exact words are, “If you have a message don’t let your characters know what it is.” However (isn’t there always a ‘however?’) every time I finish a book I later notice that it does have a theme, usually something that relates to the happenings in my own life at the time. I suspect this is true for lots or writers. In retrospect I feel this kind of organic theme actually strengthens a book because it lets in the power of the writer’s personal journey. So, I guess my answer is both no and yes but I still stand behind my advice to avoid consciously incorporating a theme.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

The first book to absolutely sweep me away was GONE WITH THE WIND, and it inspired me to love stories with sweeping settings and larger than life characters and stakes so high they left me breathless.  Nowadays I look to George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowlings and Suzanne Collins for that kind of high tension and stakes. The Hunger Games does it so well that I frequently have tears in my eyes even in quiet scenes because the backstory and its threats just simmer on the page.

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

FIRST WE KILL ALL THE ZOMBIES, a Derek Shriver mystery. A few years back I was invited to write a mystery for a Christmas-themed anthology.  I’m actually known for the delight I take in tormenting my characters.But at Christmastime? I just couldn’t write anything so grim as a bloody murder.  So my entry into cozy mystery writing was born, along with a character I fell in love with. Derek Shriver is an ex-Green Beret, a practicing CPA and an amusement park owner. He loves his partner’s wife from afar and knows it can never be. But when a dead elf is found in Santa’s workshop, Derek’s life changes and the events that come after that lead him directly to his meeting with the zombies.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Derek is now married to his ex-partner’s ex-wife and they are honeymooning at a nineteen-twenties themed amusement park that he wants to buy. Suddenly what they thought would be a testimony of their love becomes a kidnapping by an evil scientist who wants to use the unique talents of Derek and his wife for his own twisted ends.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Let your readers be your guide . . . First make sure it’s clear, then make it beautiful . . . Don’t be intimidated by better writers; let them inspire you . . . Stay connected to your story; when you stop for the day make notes of what happened and what’s coming up . . . Keep adjectives and adverbs to a minium (except when you’re writing blurbs and synopses) .  . .
And now I need someone to stop me, I could go on so, please somebody,  stop me. 

It’s  time I thanked Roxanne for having me as her interview guest and all of you for dropping in.

Know When to Run
Connie Flynn       

Genre: Romantic Suspense       

Publisher: CKF Enterprises

Number of pages: 280
Word Count:  61,000

Cover Artist: Carol Webb         

Book Description:

She woke up one morning on a Mississippi riverboat casino with a huge headache and no clue to who she was.

With the help of new friends she rebuilt her life. Now, nearly two years later, a tall dark man with killer good looks comes after her. A bounty hunter, who claims she killed her father then ran out on her bail. She says he's got the wrong woman. He says she's guilty as sin. One of them is right . . .

Suddenly so many people are after her, she can't tell the good guys from the bad guys. But one thing she can do is KNOW WHEN TO RUN.

About the Author:

Award-winning, bestselling author Connie Flynn writes both long and short fiction and is published in multiple genres, including paranormal romance, romantic comedy, mystery and suspense and contemporary fantasy/sci-fi. She lives in Arizona on a lush green park where she walks her dog and escapes from the hot desert sun. Her latest release is the twists-and-turns romantic suspense, KNOW WHEN TO RUN.

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Connie Flynn said...

Roxanne, what a lovely showcase you built for me. Thank you very much. I invite visitors to also go to my blog Imagination Gone Wild amd enter the contests. Today only, I'm offering a heartshaped box of chocolates but the tour giveaway is and will be still in progress with books and gift cards theirs to win.

Roxanne Rhoads said...

Thank you for being a guest at Roxanne's Realm today

Joseph Hawkshaw said...

Thank you for being a guest

Unknown said...

I love, love, love, Zombie books! Thank you for all the wonderful information, Q & A, and for telling us about your books! Thank you for the generous giveaway. kbinmich AT yahoo DOT com

Connie Flynn said...

Joe and Kimberly, Thank you so much for visiting. And I wish you both a lot luck in the drawings. Kimberly, I can't wait to get my zombie book out now. I've already a fan :-).