This week, I’ve got the great pleasure to host my good friend, and Critique Partner Extraordinaire: Janet Walden-West!
If you’ve been following her on Twitter (This is a good idea. You can find her here) then you know that she’s got a new book out, titled: SALT + STILETTOS!
Take a look at this cover:
To help celebrate the launch of SALT + STILETTOS, Janet stopped by to answer a few questions, so I’m going to step out of the way and let her take over…
ME: What does a typical writing day look like? Any pre-writing rituals?
JWW: My days
are made ofpurest chaos are more fluid than structured. I’m lucky in that I can write anywhere, anytime—waiting rooms, lunch breaks, at kids’ practices.
When I do get a choice, in winter I either go for the corner of a room currently serving as my writing office, or a fantastic local coffee shop, where they don’t mind my holding down a table for hours on end. If the weather is at all decent, outdoors is my favorite spot though.
Coffee is always mandatory, and earbuds and tunes are a nice luxury.
ME: Where do you derive the most satisfaction from your writing?
JWW: When I plot, I see and hear characters and scenes in Imax 3D Surround Sound. The challenge is translating those visual scenes into words. When I’m really in the zone, and the words are coming faster than I can write, it’s the same kind of rush as when the judge points to us at show, or that adrenaline high from running (theoretically—I haven’t experienced that possibly mythical moment).
ME: What attracted you to your genre(s)?
JWW: One year, a teacher who saw how I loved reading handed me a couple of books from her library as my summer project. Several were folktales and mythology and I’ve been fascinated by myths and history ever since. I love how Urban Fantasy takes myths and legends, flips them, and reimagines archetypes in a modern setting. Don’t we all want to believe there’s a little magic left in the world?
As far as Contemporary Romance, I realized that most of my UF plots involved some sort of relationship action. Love is one of the most basic human emotions, so exploring how characters interact, and the psychology behind who they’re drawn to and why helped with everything from my character descriptions to my plot arcs. Plus, writing about love and pants-feelings is fun.
ME: Who are you favorite writers at the moment, and what do you love about each?
JWW: Hailey Edwards, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Faith Hunter are my auto-buys.
Hailey Edwards has voice for days, and a deft touch characterization and humor.
Rebecca Roanhorse has brought indigenous futurism, from an indigenous viewpoint, into the spotlight. She weaves tradition and tech together seamlessly.
Faith Hunter is queen of action scenes, and her books are a non-stop thrill ride.
In romance, I’m shoving copies of Lyssa Kay Adams Bromance Book Club at anyone who stands still long enough. It’s a perfect introduction to modern contemporary romance—the main characters are a group of guys mining romance novels for real life relationship advice.
ME: What is one thing that you’ve done for research that you’ve struggled to explain to a non-writer?
JWW: The obsession with reality cooking shows is pretty easy to pass off as normal, but the number and variety of edged weapons in my office always seems to concern home repair people. And my neighbors. Although my neighbors should be immune to me after all these years.
ME: What is your “Go-to” thing that you treat yourself to when you finish a first draft?
JWW: I bought character rings—silver bands stamped with my main characters’ names—when I signed a publishing contract. But I’ve never thought of a first draft treat. That does sound like something I should get right on.
You are brilliant.
ME: Which of your characters would you least want to meet in a dark alley? Conversely, which of your characters would you want at your side in that alley?
JWW: Since I’ve got a (sorta-kinda-mostly?) reformed Kelpie, religious warriors with stolen necromancer magic, short-tempered day-walking vamps, and a primal goddess’ avatar wandering around out there…I’m avoiding all dark alley situations.
Although I have a soft spot for Sam and Rachel, my human hunter and Kelpie team, from Road Trip and Stalking Horse. Between the two of them, they could get me out of most poor life decisions.
Janet Walden-West lives in the southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids, and a husband who didn’t read the fine print. A member of the East Tennessee Creative Writers Alliance, she is also a founding member of The Million Words craft blog. She pens diverse Urban Fantasy and inclusive Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance.
A 2X PitchWars alum, 2019 Pitch Wars Mentor, and Golden Heart® finalist, her debut multicultural Contemporary Romance, SALT+STILETTOS, is due out Spring 2020 from City Owl Press. She is represented by Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary Agency.
Find her at:
Janet is also holding a SALT+STILETTOS giveaway! Click on the Image to enter!!