Author Spotlight no.37 – Chris Redding

Complimenting my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the thirty-seventh, is of paranormal / humour romance suspense / thriller author Chris Redding.

Chris lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids and various animals. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital. Her books include ‘A View to a Kilt’, a humorous romantic suspense and the explosive thriller ‘Blonde Demolition’.

And now from the author herself and her crazy, wonderful writing life (her words :)):

When I set out to write this post, you’d think it would be easy. I’m a writer so just write.

The problem lies in the fact that this post will require more introspection than I’m used to. I’m just not that deep. I like Austin Powers movies and puns. Really.

And I write genre fiction, not literature. I wish I could even say I was a writer living in a garret on coffee and cigarettes.

Nope. Not that exciting. I’m just a mom and wife who writes when she can and is trying to balance it all.

I do love to write. I don’t plot. I’m fascinated by people who do. How can you write the story when you already know the ending? For me, the adventure is in getting there, even though I’m not always sure where “there” is when I begin a story. I feel it leaves me more creative.

Now anyone who knows me would think I plot. I’m uber-organized. I’m often given tasks my organizations because I am so organized. I have a spreadsheet for Christmas presents. I mark them in red when they are bought. Yeah, I know.  A little OCD.

No plotting my novels.

I grew up in a chaotic household. The hyper organization is a result of trying to control my world. Wow, that was kind of deep. Sorry, but it’s true. The not plotting is my last nod to the chaos that was my childhood. In the beginning of my adulthood and in my teen years, I embraced the chaos. It was all I knew. Then as I matured, I realized how great being organized was. The creative part of me didn’t cotton onto this. It stayed unorganized.

So there it is.

I liken watching me write, or what’s going on in my head when I’m writing, with watching Bode Miller ski. He skis without finesse, as fast as he can, and is one nanosecond away from a fall, but he manages to reach the bottom of the hill. Same with me. I careen here and there, but manage to put together a cohesive book.

At least several publishers have thought so.

That’s what second drafts are for. I was recently on a forum and someone mentioned they were going to try to be a plotter. Now, I think you can no more change how you write than you can change your basic personality. It may be that the writer wasn’t really a pantser in the first place. I advised them to remember that second drafts are for cleaning up things in the manuscript. I’d be lost without a second draft.

That comes to another point. I write more than one draft. I could not be one of those people who are writing right up to the deadline for a manuscript. Nope. The story needs to be done ahead of time and I have to let it sit for a month before I can realistically look at its flaws and where I need to fix them. This might make it harder, but I don’t trust my writing enough to do it any other way.

People often ask me what I am working on now. Sometimes I can tell them. Sometimes the project is too fragile in my mind for me to reveal it. I’m honest with them, that I am not ready to talk about it yet.

Right now I am writing lectures for a workshop I’m am unveiling next year. Yes, writers do many things.

I like to keep the money flowing in and since I don’t know what the magic bullet is to see my books on the NY Times list, I do other things.

I’ve been a CPR instructor for close to 18 years. I like to teach. My inaugural workshop was Show Up Naked: Writing the Male POV. I had written an article for my local RWA chapter’s newsletter. The article was then picked up by other newsletters. The subject came to the attention of the owners of www.writersonlineclasses.com who had worked with me a few years before at another RWA chapter. They asked me to expand it into a workshop. So I did.

Why I never thought about teaching before is beyond me. Since then I’ve developed Layering: Not Just for Cakes and Lights! Camera! Bestseller!

I’ve had fun doing it and the checks you get at the end of the workshop are the best.

I also think it keeps my writing brain limber. I learn something each time I teach a workshop so I benefit also.

At this point, I have 6 books published. Four of them are available in print. I don’t have anything else in the pipeline and that scares me. My goal is to write these workshops, write the curriculum for the two offline courses I’ll be teaching in the Spring then come January I will finish one of my works in progress.

I think I’ve decided on which one. It will be another thriller like Blonde Demolition. I enjoy writing them because they are fun and interesting. I know if I get bored during the writing process, it means the reader will get bored also. Then I need the plot to twist around and I have renewed energy to finish the book.

At the beginning of they year, I dabbled in a middle grade novel. I haven’t given up on it; just put it on the back burner. I’ve had 3 books released this year by traditional publishers, A View to a Kilt, Incendiary, and Blonde Demolition. I’ve been a little busy between editing and promoting.

Not that I am complaining. This is what I’ve wanted to be doing since I was ten years old.

What will 2012 bring? New workshops. I hope new contacts. I’d like to get at least one more book out next year. I’m teaching several places online including www.savvyauthors.com. I’m teaching a Jointure for Adult Education Class and a continuing education class for the local community college.

Wow, I’m tired just thinking about it all.

Morgen: I have a spreadsheet for pretty much anything but you’re a step ahead of me with Christmas presents! 🙂 Thank you Chris.

You can find more about Chris and her work via…www.chrisreddingauthor.com, http://chrisredddingauthor.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/chrisreddingauthor and www.twitter.com/chrisredding.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with contemporary novelist Trisha Ashley – the one hundred and seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.  You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords.

Guest post: Character communications by author Chris Redding

I’m delighted to bring you this guest blog post, today on the topic of communication, by humorous romantic suspense novelist Chris Redding.

Communication is about independence and intimacy.

Men tend to focus on independence. They give orders and tell people what to do. Women crave intimacy. For instance, a man will make plans without consulting his wife. (Not all men) He will see no reason to “ask permission” of his wife. He actually views it that way. He would see it as not being able to act independently of her.  He sees it as being the underling if he has to ask permission. Even though it isn’t really asking permission, but consulting the wife about her plans. (Which is how she would see it.)

Here you can add conflict. The hero makes a unilateral decision be it about a social event or in the heat of running from the bad guys. He doesn’t see why he needs to clear it with the heroine. Of course she wants to be in on the decision-making process so we have conflict between the two. He doesn’t understand why she needs to be part of making the decision.

It is the same mindset when men go out and spend money. They don’t feel they need to “ask permission”. My husband once bought a car without any input from me. He was going through a rough time and I think he needed to assert his independence not so much from me, but from his job. I didn’t make a big deal about it, but the next time he bought I car I mentioned it. And of course he had no idea that I would feel that way.  Until I told him.

Intimacy says we’re close and connected. Women bond with each other, especially through talking. In feeling connected, two women feel symmetry. They are equals.

Independence is connected to status. Men like independence and their lives are about status. So status and independence are asymmetrical. Both people in a contest cannot have the upper hand.

Imagine someone other than the hero interested in the heroine. There would be an automatic competition between the two men. Conflict! Not huge conflict, but enough to show another side of your hero.

In ancient societies, men protected women. It is still in their biology to do that. There aren’t man-eating animals that women face on a daily basis so they do it other ways. (Quick story: In a bar recently with a mixed group. Someone else we knew asked one of the guys in the groups to help her get this guy off of her. Now he doesn’t even like her, but she was clearly scared of this other guy hanging on her. So my friend asked the guy to leave. Twice, nicely. The guy, of course, gave him a hard time, and they almost came to blows. My friend was willing to protect this woman merely because she was a woman.)

A mother naturally protects her children.  But when a woman extends her protection to a man he bristles at it. He sees himself as a lower rank, a child. Since I was a kid in the age before widespread seatbelt use, if my father had to brake suddenly he would put his hand out to protect whoever was in the front passenger seat. I developed the same habit driving.

Fast forward a few years. I begin delivering pizza and using a seatbelt on a regular basis. I’m driving with my boyfriend (the one who convinced me to wear a seatbelt) and I have to break suddenly. My arm goes out. He thought that was the most ridiculous thing. He made fun of me for it for awhile. Looking back, it wasn’t about me. It was about him feeling as if I’d lowered him in the hierarchy of our relationship.

This post is an excerpt from her workshop Show Up Naked: Writing the Male POV. That’s really interesting, thank you Chris… I’m going off now to go see how my characters are communicating… or not. 🙂

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids and various animals. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital. Her latest book out is ‘A View to a Kilt’, a humorous romantic suspense.

You can find Chris Redding: www.chrisreddingauthor.com, http://chrisredddingauthor.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/chrisreddingauthor and www.twitter.com/chrisredding.

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!). You can also read / download my eBooks at Smashwords.