From Frank to Nora & Charlaine

Frank_Nora_Charlaine

Like most of my writing peers, my mother would disappear into her favorite reading spot and chew through Harlequin Presents books like Dove chocolate bonbons. To this day I don’t know where she hides them all and to be honest, I never looked.

I was a Sci-Fi girl.

It was Star Wars that brought me to sci-fi. My uncle, another avid reader in my family, took all us kids to see Star Wars at the local cinema. The theatre was packed and we ended up having to sit in the front row. I still remember that opening scene where the star destroyer cut like a knife through the inky black of outer space. I was completely awe struck and HOOKED!

David Lynch’s Dune movie, starring Kyle MacLachlan and STING, led me to Frank Herbert’s books and I pretty much stayed stuck there until after college.

Flash forward to post college and my first corporate job. (For some reason, my day jobs have always required loads of travel. I guess that’s what happens when your main prayer from childhood through college was to see the world on someone else’s dime…) A thriller and mystery loving coworker, Tara, and I snuck away from a conference we were coordinating in Phoenix, AZ. We snagged one of the rental cars and drove straight to The Poisoned Pen Bookstore. I was still exclusively a Sci-Fi girl. I had no clue about mysteries beyond Murder She Wrote. Tara and The Poisoned Pen staffer recommended a new series by J.D. Robb and I picked up the first book: Naked in Death. The series’ world reminded me of Blade Runner and I read the first six or seven books before starting my first manuscript.

I had no clue that I was writing a futuristic romance. Plus, I was Sci-Fi girl, so I didn’t bat an eye when that first draft blew past a 120k word count and I was only three quarters the way done. Hell, I still had a birth scene and four buildings to explode. I was on a freaking roll! <Oh the joy and folly of that first opus! LOL!>

It was on another business trip, this time to Columbia, SC <remember, I wanted to see the world on someone else’s dime> that I picked up an odd book in the airport bookstore. The cover was blue and featured a folk art styled drawing of a cute blonde chick riding a tiger, while being chased by a vampire. The book was Charlaine Harris’ Definitely Dead. I LOVE the The Sookie Stackhouse Series and it was on Charlaine’s website, on the Frequently Asked Questions page, that I learned about Romance Writer’s of America. She highly recommended RWA for new writers, so I joined.

My local RWA chapter, Rose City Romance Writers, held my hand and taught me all about writing romance stories. And may God bless Sarah Raplee’s precious little heart for cold reading my awful 120k words!

I must admit, I took a rather circuitous route to writing novels with strong romantic elements. But I’m here to stay and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me.

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About C Morgan Kennedy

Author of futuristic, urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and steampunk. Mecha geek fueled by chocolate and herbal tea. Author marketing maven. Co-founder of www.authormarketing101.com.

Posted on April 7, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I read the first Sookie Stackhouse book when my daughter’s high school freshman English teacher recommended it to her. 0_0 Actually, I don’t think LD ever read it — she started trending toward realism in the fourth grade (when every book she read for the entire year was about the Titanic) — but it got me started on the series.

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  2. C Morgan and Maggie,

    You two crack me up! We couldn’t have ended up in sfr by more different routes. I never cracked a sci fi until I read Jayne Ann Krentz’ very lite sfr… and fell in love.

    And I can’t wait to read yours, CM. When may we expect it??

    hugs,
    Cathryn

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    • I’m working on it, Cathryn!! Please send warm thoughts, prayers, and good vibrations my way. I’m pitching at RT. I’ll be done with the first draft of my Steampunk YA Novel before then….and that’s what I’ll be pitching hard….but this time, I’ll have a completed manuscript to send off! Fingers & toes crossed!!

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  3. I about had a heart attack when I read 120,000 words…. Most people struggle with getting words on paper, you came to the party without having that obstacle. Amazing!

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    • LOL!! Jessie, honey – putting words on the page has never been my problem. The trick is to get my butt in the chair and hands on the keys! I’ve got a new schedule working and I’m clocking in close to 1k words before I head into my day job. Oh, the joys of story flow…when it flows, it’s freaking awesome!

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  4. On the plus side, 120k gives you a lot of room to practice 🙂 My nephew is a big reader, so I started him on Dune a year ago. I am such a cool auntie 🙂

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    • You are a cool auntie, Jessa! I once met a guy at a writing conference who had something like 320k written and wasn’t halfway through his opus. It was something about a Japanese company in the future that fabricates angels and conjures Lucifer and there’s this great starship battle and Gabriel swoops in….it was epic, according to his description….I wonder if he ever finished that thing?

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  5. I don’t think I distinguished between Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Romance when I was younger. I loved them all as long as they had both action and kissing in them. 🙂

    I just spent the weekend at the Desert Dreams conference in AZ and Sarah Raplee was there. She’s such a nice person and super sweet, I didn’t know she was 120K-beta-reader nice though. 😉

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  6. We are definitely sisters of the heart on this one. Though I read my mother’s romances beginning at age 14, it was before that–age 10 in 1964–I read Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” I was hooked to SF and all “fantastic” fiction then and there. My high school years were spent with Asimov, Simak, Heinlein, Clark. Then in college I happily started reading women SF writers with Cherryh, Atwood, LeGuin, Bujold, Willis, McCaffrey, and my favorite of all time, Octavia Butler. I still loved romance but it was a familiar tale to me. SF always made me think.

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    • I agree, Maggie. Sci-Fi truly did always make me think. As a mechanical engineer, I loved to ponder how the technology might actually work. Romance is romance and it wouldn’t be a romance without a happy ending. Sci-Fi doesn’t carry the same guarantee. 😀

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