First of all, thank you so much for taking time out to answer some questions today. Let's jump right in and get started. I'm very interested in what motivates you to write the characters that you do? What's your motivation when you're researching a book idea?
Thanks so much for inviting me. You’ve asked some awesome questions!
I’ve had several reviewers describe me as writing “smart girl romance” (which I think is meant as a compliment, though it makes me wonder who’s writing the dumb girl romance).
But it’s true that I tend to write characters who are exceptionally bright with a quick, clever sense of humor. Cassie in The List has a PhD in Crop and Soil Science, while Simon is a Stanford graduate and successful entrepreneur. They’re bright, witty, and oozing with sexual chemistry (which sounds like the symptom of a venereal disease, but I digress).
As far as research goes, my love of trying new things often motivates me. For the record, you really can buy a $6 Wartenberg Wheel on Amazon, and there really is a vegan strip club in Portland, Oregon where you’re greeted at the door with the offer of a $4 motorboat.
Where did you get the idea for your current book that's releasing January 30th?
It started with this mental picture I had of a woman doing the walk of shame with her wine-soaked laptop and something super-incriminating frozen on the monitor. It evolved from there, and the story just started flowing.
I’m a pretty fast writer under normal circumstances, but this book came to me so quickly that I found myself typing at warp speed just to keep up with the characters’ dialogue. I finished the book in roughly half my normal time.
How do you come up with the names for your characters? Are they based on people you know?
I’m pretty uncreative with character names, and often find myself scrolling through my Facebook feed in search of names that click. Other times I’ll steal a name from a friend or neighbor or co-worker. Sometimes I put the question out on Facebook and let readers suggest ideas based on a few tidbits I provide about the characters.
Do you get your inspiration from what you read, see on TV or do the characters and storyline just come to you at random times? Do you find it difficult to have the discipline to sit down and write when there are so many other things you could be doing? For example, if you love to read - there are so many good books out there, how do you not say I'll write later? How do you juggle family commitments?
If you asked people who know me well to describe me in one word, I’m guessing at least half of them would choose either “tenacious” or “driven.” Okay, some of them would choose “wildly inappropriate,” but that doesn’t count because it’s two words.
But suffice it to say, I’m pretty focused on my goals, but I do find I have to be very careful about budgeting my time. A couple years ago I started using an Erin Condren Life Planner to map out my writing time, day job time, and family time. I’ve found it makes a HUGE difference in my ability to manage my schedule and see how my three lives overlap.
And speaking of time, one of the biggest reasons I’m able to crank out books at a pretty fast clip is that I very rarely watch movies or TV. I don’t mean that in a “only a couple hours a night” kinda way. I mean that although there is a television in my home, I have no idea how to operate it. It’s actually not a huge sacrifice to give that up, since screen time isn’t something I enjoy. Reading, on the other hand…I love that, and sometimes struggle to make time for it. It’s actually one of my New Year’s resolutions to carve out more downtime for pleasure reading.
If there was one thing you could impart on someone who wanted to write, what would it be?
READ. Read fiction and non-fiction, magazines and novellas, even the back of the air freshener can in your bathroom. Read CONSTANTLY. It’s the best way I can think of to study the flow of words and get your brain thinking about the best ways to describe actions and people and places. Plus it’s fun!
How long does it normally take you, from start to finish to complete a book?
It depends on the book. I average between 4,000-5,000 written words per “author day” (I’ll get to what I mean by that in a second), though sometimes if I’m really cranking I can do 8,000-10,000 words a day.
The shorter, saucier romantic comedies I write for Entangled Publishing, like my new release, The List) are usually around 55,000 words, while the longer, meatier romantic comedies I write for Montlake are closer to 90,000 words.
As for what I mean by “author day,” most people are surprised to learn I still have a part-time day job. While the author gig is my primary source of income, I’ve found I’m infinitely more productive and centered if I have a reason to get out of the house three days a week to interact with humans. (Bonus: I have the coolest day job on the planet as the PR & Communications Manager for my city’s tourism bureau, which means I get paid to take journalists snowshoeing or to write about who has the city’s best mac & cheese).
The team at my day job is amazing, so there’s a lot of flexibility if I need to break up my workday for a call with my agent or shuffle my schedule to accommodate a deadline. My normal author days are Mondays and Fridays, and occasionally weekends if I have a deadline breathing down my neck.
Last question and thank you so much for answering these. This is for everyone out there who really wants to know about eyecandy: If you could pick one guy to be on the cover of one of your books, who would it be?
My husband. Those blue eyes and hands the size of dinner plates make me swoon every time!
I would personally like to thank you, Ms. Tawna Fenske for allowing me to ask these questions that I've always wondered but never been able to ask. You've always been one of my one-click authors no matter what you write and an absolute inspiration. May you have a blessed 2017 and many a book release ahead!!
Awww, thank you so much! I appreciate you having me here and posing such fun questions!
Please check out the Links below to order the upcoming release of The List by Tawna Fenske. I've also included the Goodreads Link, so you can add it to your shelf. I have read this book and it is totally awesome!!! I will have my review up very soon...It is absolutely another fiver for me. I will be buying it for my girl posse as soon as it's out, let me tell you!