This week it’s a pleasure to welcome Grace Greene to my blog. Grace writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance with suspense. A Virginia native, Grace has family ties to North Carolina. She writes books set in both locations. Allow me to introduce you to her.
Hello, Grace! Thanks for taking time to slip away from the beach and visit with us. What a summer you’ve been enjoying! I know writing new stories has been a top priority.
Now let’s share some of your news with everyone!
PS ~ Congratulations! You recently left your job to write full-time and that’s a serious step to take. Were you involved in writing-related work before?
GG ~ I’ve worked in financial institutions as a risk manager for many years. It is fascinating work. Basically, you look for what may go wrong before it actually does and seek solutions to prevent it, or if the problem has already occurred, you look for a resolution. From a wordsmith’s perspective, the job didn’t align with novel writing, but in terms of story development, it did. Not so much in the details, but rather from the perspective of how “what-ifs” function. Prior to that I worked in the cable industry and dealt with customer complaints and cable theft. It gave me unexpected, surprising insights into human nature and the extreme lengths to which some people will go to get what they want, including television programming, and that job certainly contributed to understanding the vagaries of character.
PS ~ Your debut novel, Beach Rental, won the Booksellers Best contest in both the Traditional and Best First Book categories. What was the inspiration behind the story?
GG ~ The original idea for Beach Rental didn’t involve the beach at all, but rather, it was a story of “What if a young woman who grew up in a variety of foster homes with no advantages and no family, who values being independent and self-sufficient, but has never learned to dream ~ is given the opportunity to dream and the means by which to achieve those dreams?” I needed somewhere to set the story and thought of Emerald Isle. My family and I had spent a week at an oceanfront home in Emerald Isle, North Carolina several years ago. I believe it was the inspiration I personally experienced at the ocean that I wanted to bring to the story, to use it to inspire the character, Juli. I chose the house where we stayed as the primary location for the novel and the publisher allowed me to design the cover using a photograph I’d taken of the white Carolina rockers on our porch during our stay there. It’s pretty cool to be able to say I sat in those rocking chairs while visiting the ocean and also get to enjoy them on the cover of my book.
PS ~ As a fiction writer, what do you enjoy most about the process? Do you have a specific writing regime?
GG ~ This is a great question, and it’s especially timely given my move to full time writing. Almost three months ago, I left the day job to write full time. It was a big decision. I had a great job but between the demands of that job and the needs of my mom who has Alzheimer’s, I was exhausted in the evenings and weekends and was writing almost nothing. If I left the day job, I’d have lots of time to write but what if I was lured into chasing distractions? Or what if the words dried up? Some of my writer friends had already made the leap. I asked them what they’d learned during their transitions. They advised me to stay open—to plan when to write but to be guided by what worked best. I’ve done that and have found that my best writing time is in the morning, so I start my writing workday in my jammies and write until almost noon. At that time, I shower and dress and, hopefully, write more in the afternoon. My goal at this time is 3000 words a day and that’s happening pretty reliably during the first draft stage.
It was a huge coincidence that at the same time I was giving notice at the day job, Amazon’s Women’s Fiction imprint, Lake Union, approached me about writing two Women’s Fiction novels for them. What amazing timing that was! I could never had taken on that challenge while working full time. Yet, being offered that opportunity at that time was like a validation of my decision.
PS ~ Many of your novels involve a suspenseful story line. What is your favorite genre to read?
GG ~ I enjoy reading almost all genres of fiction, some more than others, of course. I love Women’s Fiction, because it combines multiple genres, generally a love story or relationship story of some kind, combined with suspense or mystery, but dwells most particularly within the protagonist’s experience—the woman’s journey. I like that the best. I also enjoy reading mystery and suspense, and horror, too, if the authors are Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
PS ~ When you have time to take a break, do you have any particular hobbies, interests or sports that you enjoy?
GG ~ I like to take walks and ride my bike when the weather is good, but I incorporate my writing tasks into those activities by using Dragon (for dictating) or Text Aloud (listening for editing) or listening to audio books about writing. For pure relaxation, I like to walk on the beach (not terribly convenient since I live in central Virginia) and take photos, or watch a movie.
I also love photography and graphics and spend a lot of time in Photoshop, but again, I’m usually doing book or book marketing related tasks in Photoshop.
My husband and I like to travel whether for day trips or cruises or more. I enjoy visiting historical homes and botanical gardens. We were in Hawaii last Christmas and traveled to Alaska a couple of years before that. We hope to do more traveling now that I’m my own boss.
I’m rarely in the photos, though, because I’m the one behind the camera!
PS ~ What might we expect next from you?
GG ~ I am currently working on the two Women’s Fiction novels for Lake Union. The first book is currently in the editing stage and I’m working on the first draft for the second. They will be published in 2017, in February and July, respectively. I am enjoying working on them. Writing full time instead of part time makes a huge difference in the progress and in my enjoyment.
When I accepted the contract for those two books, I put aside a book that I was working on, the third full length novel in the Emerald Isle, NC Stories series which I self-publish. The first novel in the series, Beach Rental, is Juli’s story. The second, Beach Winds, is Frannie’s story. Readers have told me that Maia needs her own story, and I wholeheartedly agree. As soon as the two Lake Union novels are finished, I’ll have the opportunity to finish that third Emerald Isle novel, and I can hardly wait because “It’s always a good time for a love story and a trip to the beach.”
Thanks so much for stopping by, Grace! See you online!
To learn more about Grace’s novels, please click here to visit her website.
You can also follow Grace on Twitter, Facebook.
Readers love Goodreads! Here’s the link to Grace’s page.
Do you have fun on Pinterest? So does Grace! Follow her there.
Catherine Berry says
It is always encouraging to hear of successful transitions and interesting, too, to hear how other authors structure their days and where their motivation and inspiration come from.