I just finished Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews and That Chesapeake Summer by Mariah Stewart. Next on my list are On Sunset Beach by Mariah Stewart and The Summer’s End by Mary Alice Monroe. It’s probably no coincidence that all of them are contemporary romances that take place at the beach or at least near the water.
Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
I spent most of my professional life as a newspaper journalist, and I’ve been told my style reflects that. I guess my writing is pretty straightforward. I try to mix in humor whenever possible because I love books and people that make me laugh. Author Debra Salonen said the dialogue between the two lead characters in my latest book, Shore to Please, reminded her of the old TV series Moonlighting. I consider that a high compliment because I try to write snappy, entertaining and realistic dialogue.
Q: How do you make time to write?
I work from home as a freelance editor, so not having to punch a time clock helps a lot. Also, I don’t have any children at home, unless you count my two dogs and pet parrot, so I have a lot more freedom to set my own schedule than some writers do.
Q: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Yes. Setting the laptop aside and doing something else for a bit does wonders to clear my head. I’m a classic “pantser,” meaning I write by the seat of my pants instead of from an outline. Unfortunately, I think that lends itself to writer’s block because although I have a general idea of where my story is going, I’m not always sure how I’m going to get there until I place my fingers on the computer keys. Sometimes I think I’d be better off if I did an outline. But I don’t have the patience. As a full-time newspaper reporter and editor, I faced deadlines every single day and didn’t have time for writer’s block. Basically you sat down and did your job, no matter how you felt. I think that helped me develop a discipline that has served me well in my fiction writing career. But there are days that I sit and look at the screen and have no idea what to write. When that happens, you just have to force yourself to come up with something. The good news is you can always come back later and make it better if you’re not satisfied with it (and I never am).
Q: How did you deal with rejection letters, if you received any?
It’s discouraging, absolutely, but I just told myself that if my work was any good, somebody, somewhere would take a chance on me. I was lucky to have found a publisher, Liquid Silver Books, for the first full-length novel I ever wrote. So thankfully I didn’t suffer years of rejection as some writers have. Digital publishing has opened up so many opportunities for authors that didn’t exist when the only options were finding an agent to pitch the manuscript to a traditional print publisher. Securing an agent is in itself a monumental challenge. But thankfully you don’t have to have an agent to submit a book to most digital publishers today. And a lot of them specialize in romance, which is another plus.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your “Shore” series?
I’m a believer in writing what you know, so it’s not a coincidence that the Gulf Shore series is set in Florida, where I’ve lived all my life, and at an aquarium. I’ve loved dolphins since I was a child, and I volunteer at a marine animal hospital in Clearwater where the Dolphin Tale movies were filmed. While I most definitely am not writing about the people, policies and animals at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, I have gotten story ideas from my experiences there, and I’ve learned a great deal about how such facilities operate. I also have done a lot of research about marine animals, and my husband and I have saltwater aquariums in our home. In addition, Shore to Please introduces a new character who is a newspaper reporter, so that’s another way I’ve used my personal knowledge of a subject or a profession to bring believability to my books.
Q: Which one of your covers is your favorite and why?
That’s a difficult question because I love all my Gulf Shore covers. Valerie Tibbs is my cover designer, and she’s done such a marvelous job on all three. My favorite book is always my latest one, so if I have to choose I’d say Shore to Please.
Q: What are your current projects?
I’m working on Shore is Magical, the next book in the Gulf Shore series and my first paranormal romance. Kenshin Hamasaki, Gulf Shore Aquarium’s supervisor of marine mammals, who appears in the three previous books, will finally meet his match. Marina is unlike any character I’ve ever written, and telling her story is turning out to be a challenge.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Website and blog: www.annettemardis.com/