Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tempting Tuesdays: Special Guest Post by Chloe Neill


Today I'm ridiculously excited to welcome author Chloe Neill to the blog to help us wrap up the read-along for Some Girls Bite. She's here to give us a little insight into her writing journey and the eventual development of Merit and Ethan, so welcome Chloe and thank you for being a part of the read-along!

Dear Reader:

Is it surprising to learn that I used to get panicky about writing assignments? That my only English class in college was "African Novel"? that I promised myself I would never, ever get a job that required me to write?

And yet, here we are. :)

In high school and my first year of college, I thought I was headed for a career in the visual arts. A "starving artist" of the New York variety, or maybe an illustrator. (I didn't know much about commercial graphic design back then, or surely it would have topped the list, too.) I did not like to write; hated it, in fact. I wasn't good at constructing sentences, and the act of doing it made me nervous and fretful to the point of distraction.

It was probably a fateful decision, then, that I attended a liberal arts college that prized writing over multiple choice exams . . . and that led me away from studio art in my second year. I wrote a paper as a sophomore, a short essay intended to examine the women's rights movement. Instead of jumping into a discussion of the history, I started by writing the story of a fictitious woman named Hillary.

In other words, instead of simply writing a summary, I wrote a story. It got a good review from my professor, I recall, but that didn't change my mind one iota. Writing was not for me.

The song didn't change after grad school, or in a summer job as I watched my employers lock themselves in their offices to finish drafts. The proposition of having to write for a living, on a deadline, horrified me.

But then, after a string of random occurrences, I got a job as a kind of pseudo-reporter. I watched things happen; I wrote about them. I wrote about them every day for months on end. And in that process, I got more comfortable constructing sentences, putting clauses together and shaping paragraphs.

I learned, in the most basic sense, how to write.

Still, that was it. I read--had always loved to read--but I was quite content to leave the fiction writing to others. It didn't even occur to me to write fiction. After all, I only barely liked writing at my job. Why do it for fun?

Unfortunately, one sad day around that time, an important relationship ended. I healed by reading. And then reading more. And more and more and more. I devoured 8 or 10 paperbacks a week, usually romance, usually in a series of some type because I loved recurring characters and inside jokes.

Eventually, I ran out of things to read. I couldn't find a series I enjoyed or a romance with enough sparkle to hook me.

I thought, at first, I'd try my hand at fan fiction. I loved Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. Since I read faster than she published, I decided to imagine myself into the books to fill time until the next episode was released.

After about 2,000 words of Dark Hunter fan fiction, I felt silly. These weren't my characters; they were hers. It felt weird to play the game using someone else's cards.

So, on Labor Day in 2005, I opened a Word file and I started to write.

When I wasn't in class (grad school, at the time), I was writing. Weekends, I was writing. I wrote the same way I'd read--voraciously. I created a family of characters and a bevy of sarcastic inside jokes. I plotted seven books in a paranormal romance series, one romance per book, and I plastered a wall in my apartment with sticky notes--ideas and quips for later books.

I finished the manuscript on New Year's Day. It wasn't very good--and I have a rejection letter to prove it. But I'd done it, and it hadn't been nearly as bad as I'd imagined.

A few months later, I started my second manuscript, which I called THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER. (Seriously. Isn't that terrible?) It took six months to write and six months to edit. When I was reasonably confident I was done, I sent it to one publisher--Penguin.

A few months later, we mutually decided that SOME GIRLS BITE was a much better title. :)

Today, I have a day job (in which I write) and a writing career (in which I write). I write a LOT, and there are still times when the words don't come and the fear rises up. But I'venow written ten novels, and each seems to reinforce one central idea: A book is crafted one sentence at a time. Don't worry about the last sentence in the manuscript--worry about the next sentence in the manuscript. You can deal with everything else later.

Thanks for listening. And reading.

Love,

Chloe

Thank you for stopping by Chloe! And a huge thank you again to Missie, Tina, and Rummanah for being such fabulous co-hosts and to everyone who participated each week and made this read-along such a blast.

For more information on Chloe and all her wonderful books, you can find her here:

Website
Cadogan House
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Amazon

WINNERS!

Below are the three Tempting Tuesdays winners, congratulations ladies, you've all been emailed!

GRAND PRIZE


Winner:
Christy @ Love of Books


CHARMFALL



Winners:

Heidi @ Rainy Day Ramblings
Chantaal @ The Wandering Fangirl

27 comments:

  1. Yeah I still csn't believe I won! I loved being a part of the read along. What an interesting little piece Ms. Chloe wrote. Who would have thought she never envisioned herself as a writer. Maybe there is hope for some of us still! Thanks Jenny!

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  2. This is a fantastic post by Chloe, so much thanks to her for it.

    Yay, Charmfall! I'm excited (as you already know, Jenny) and so happy you guys put this all together, I had a great time with the read-along. :)

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  3. I commented on Missie's sight about how fantastic this guest post was. It's so nice to see people who didn't want to be an author at 2 years of old. It makes us older writers who haven't been writing all their lives feel like they might accomplish something.

    Do you write much Jenny? I can't remember.

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  4. Heidi - Congrats again:) Glad you enjoyed the read-along, I know I had too much fun!

    Chantaal - I always like hearing about how authors became authors and what their individual publishing journeys were like:)

    Alison - I agree! It's comforting to know writing was never something she saw for herself, makes me think I could change careers at any time to and do something else I loved:) And no, I'm not much of a writer outside my 4 paragraph reviews. I'm more suited to designing the book cover than writing the story I think!

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  5. I commented on Missie's post already, but I'll say it again: Chloe, this post is inspiring! Thank you for sharing! :)

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  6. I just read this post twice but I seriously don't think I'm getting tired of it! <3 It's just so inspirational! I like knowing that someone who didn't spend her whole life training for it can write such an amazing series. It makes me think I might be able to as well? LOL! It won't be easy, that's for sure though! x)

    Thank so much for the guest post, Chloe, and thank you for co-hosting this awesome read-along, Jenny! It was a blast to follow! :)

    P.S. The Prodigal Daughter isn't that terrible of a title LOL!

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  7. I love that she never saw herself as a writer, and just sat down one day and the characters came to her...I swear I dream what feels like movies, but I can never remember what happened afterward...if I could only catch some of those ideas when I'm awake! LOL Great post by Chloe. Thanks for hosting this read-along! It was lots of fun!

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  8. Lauren - Glad you enjoyed it!

    Mimi - Right? I couldn't wait to get it posted after I read it:) I don't think The Prodigal Daughter is that bad either, but it doesn't quite capture the feel of Merit the way Some Girls Bite does:)

    Stacey - I have dreams that feel like movies too, and I always wake up only remembering pieces of them! Thanks so much for participating each week!

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  9. Can you believe Some Girls Bite was almost called, The Prodigal Daughter?

    That's so weird to me. LOL

    Thanks for organizing everything for this read-along, Jenny. I truly enjoyed it. I'm so lucky to have you as a friend. True Story.

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  10. I had so much fun doing these last few read-alongs with you...:D

    Cant wait to do one again..:)

    And Chloe is awesome for writing us all a letter!!

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  11. "A book is crafted one sentence at a time. Don't worry about the last sentence in the manuscript--worry about the next sentence in the manuscript. You can deal with everything else later."

    What perfect advice. Sometimes, looking at the entire thing is so overwhelming for me. But, if I only look to the next step, it seems to be so much easier and WAY less discouraging. Thank you for this guest post, Jenny. I've been a little discouraged lately about writing and this really helped. :D

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  12. Missie - I cannot. While I don't hate it, it just doesn't suit Merit or the feel of the book at all! Love Some Girls Bite though:) Seems like something Mallory would think of. Also, I adore you.

    Tina - ME TOO! We must do more. Like every month:)

    Jen - She's good with the advice isn't she? I just loved everything about her letter:)

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  13. Thank you so much for hosting this :) It was a ton of fun ---I will give book 2 a whirl to see if I stick with the series :)

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  14. Really though... The Dark Hunters series is totally one I could LOSE myself in indefinitely! Lol

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  15. I love hearing how authors became authors! And 10 books since 2005 is pretty amazing!

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  16. Thanks, everyone!

    And yes, THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER was AWFUL.

    Notably, SOME GIRLS BITE was my 49th suggestion for a title. No joking. ;)

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  17. "Don't worry about the last sentence in the manuscript--worry about the next sentence in the manuscript. You can deal with everything else later."

    I'm adding that to my box of quotes! Love it. :) Great post!

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  18. Thanks again for the prize!

    This was a lot of fun. And thanks you Chloe for the great post.

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  19. Sorry to comment so late. It's been crazy at work. Thank you for hosting and organizing this, Jenny! It's been a blast and we must do this again!

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  20. "A book is crafted one sentence at a time. Don't worry about the last sentence in the manuscript--worry about the next sentence in the manuscript. You can deal with everything else later." What great advice!

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  21. Congratulations to all the winners. So awesome ladies! This is a wonderful post. Thank you so much Chloe Neill. Who would have thought you didn't find your calling, it found you. I am glad that Penguin changed the title. It sounds like it belongs to a YA series, definitely doesn't read "badass" like Some Girls Bite LOL! I really want to hear the other 48 suggestions, I am too curious about that LOL! Great post, this whole read a long was an absolute blast. Was fun to take part in this. Thank you all again for this :)

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  22. Haven't read Chloe's stuff yet. May give it a try although not a real big fan of the Dark Hunter series.
    But this post was very inspirational and I love the way it is written. Very concise, honest and to the point.
    Thank you!

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  23. Congrats, winners!

    This has been fun. =) Love the guest post as well. I agree that it's nice to hear from successful writers who haven't been dreaming of it their whole lives. It's nice to know that you can decide something a bit later on and make the changes in your life as you go.

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  24. Thank you so much for hosting the read-along ladies. I had lots of fun reading everyone's answer :)

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  25. Oh, that's amazing. I love reading about how an author goes about the writing process and I love Chloe Neill, so this post was just perfect!

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  26. AHHHHH! I LOVE when authors share inside information/ their writing processes/ where their inspiration came from and the likes of. So thanks Chloe and Jenny! And boy, am I ever glad that Chloe did decide to write- I couldn't imagine life without Merit and Ethan! ;)

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