where the writers are
Interview with RITA Nominated Helen Brenna!

Let the Fun Begin!!

As I mentioned in my newsletter, I will be doing an interview with the RITA Nominees in the First Books Catagory! If you would like to win a copy of their book, just comment on the interview (on my blog at http://jamieprose.blogspot.com/) and you will be automatically entered to win! Be sure and leave your email (you can cloak it like this jamiecarie @ comcast.net. I'll know to leave out the spaces!)

I've read the answers and I can tell you that these authors are inspiring and lovely - inside and out! Enjoy the fun!!
And our first nominee is . . . (drumroll please:)

Double RITA Nominated Helen Brenna with TREASURE!!

How did you get started in the publishing business?

I’ve always been a romance reader, but NEVER dreamed of writing one. I’d just quit my job to stay home full-time for a few years with my then two year old daughter. (YIKES, she’s now 19 and in college!!) She was taking two hour daily naps, and I was bored. Finished a LaVryle Spencer novel one day and thought, “I could do that!”

Any surprises? Biggest challenge so far?

It was much, much harder than I expected, especially for someone like me with no writing background. I’m an accountant, geesh.
The biggest challenge has been tackling my fear. I’m full of it. There’s always something new to worry about. What if I write another book and it doesn’t sell? What if I finally get published and I get a bad review? What if readers don’t like my books? What if the publisher doesn’t buy another book? I could go on and on.

What is the best part of being a novelist?

Getting to write the books I’d like to read.

What’s the average day in the writer’s life look like for you? Are you scheduled and organized or are you more the “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” type?

I’m fairly scheduled. Get up early with the hopes of getting my work done first. Doesn’t always happen, but I try. I’ve got 4 books coming out in 2009, so I have to be disciplined.

What are your inspirations for your stories? Any tips and tricks for someone who is stuck?

I’ve had writer’s block before, and I’ve been stuck with a book. There’s a big difference. With writer’s block, I couldn’t string a sentence together to save my soul. In those situations, I think a writer needs to cut herself some slack and recharge. If you’re simply stuck, you just have to writer through it. Get something down every day and trust the clouds will clear.

Have you had a mentor, critique group or teacher that has helped you get where you are today? Have you been a mentor to someone else?

I’ve had a lot of help! Two different critique groups and a study group and a couple of people within those groups who have held my hand a lot, not only helping me become a better writer, but also helping me keep the faith. It’s so easy to become disheartened in this business.
I’ve done workshops at our local chapter and offered critiques as fundraisers for our local group, so I hope I’ve helped a little.

What does it mean to you to be nominated for a RITA award? How did you feel when you got the call? And what do you think the RITA means for the romance novel genre?

Wow. Wow.
TREASURE was a double nominee, so I was beside myself. I was in Colorado on a ski trip with my family and found out through emails. When I saw the first email, I was ecstatic. With the second one, I started crying. Sobbing, actually. Made quite a fool out of myself.

What are you wearing to the RITA Awards Ceremony in San Francisco? (LOL) Do you have the dress picked out? Any stories?

No clue yet. I get freaked out just thinking about it!

Are you preparing a speech in case you win?

You know, I go back and forth on this. But, in the end, yeah, I’ll prepare a speech, just in case. I think I’d be a basket case if I don’t put together something. I’ll still be incredibly nervous, but at least I’ll be able to calm myself a bit knowing I’m prepared.

Congratulations on your RITA nomination. Any last thoughts?

I wish everyone the best of luck! And I mean that. This best first book category has some very stiff competition and as a series author, I’m proud to have been nominated! I’ll be cheering loudly no matter who wins!