If you’re on Twitter much, you almost can’t miss Regan (or her alter-ego). Regan’s a regular tweeter and not just of the “look at me, buy my book!” variety, but of the truly funny and thought-provoking breed. If Steven Wright (the comedian) went a little more mainstream and tweeted, he’d sound a lot like Regan. Ahem…a couple of recent examples that had me chuckling:
Hi, new followers! If you like talk about cake and vodka, books and figments of my imagination, we should get along just fine. 🙂
If you prefer to talk about politics and dirty things you want to do on the moon this summer, not so much.
In my peripheral vision I just saw a person-sized praying mantis walk by, reading a file. Might be time to change my contacts.
This Band-Aid on my pinkie is trying to make me e-yell at everyone. It’s so angry.
If you aren’t already following her, you must do so. More details about Regan, including her bio and where you can find her at the bottom of this post. I’m honored to have corralled her over onto my blog to pick at her quirky, funny, yet seriously talented writer brain. Were I a zombie, I’m sure it would taste lovely too. But as my post’s title says, “no biting allowed”.
Welcome, Regan. Let’s start with a few of the usual writerly type questions:
When and Where do your best ideas come to you?
While doing the dishes. Hands-down. New ideas usually form while I’m in the shower or trying to go to sleep or watching something unusual, whether real life or on a screen. But my best ideas – the solutions to sticky plot points or pivotal background events for my characters– those almost without fail happen while I’m washing dishes. Coincidentally, my cuticles are a mess.
What role does music play in your writing? Television? Cinema?
Sadly, I cannot handle distraction while writing. Not any. I wear headphones when I write, but it’s to block sound out. And yes, I know how sad this is. However, I will listen to certain songs or read passages/watch scenes to get myself in the mood for a particular type of scene. The scenes rarely contain similar content to what I’m writing, but they evoke a particular emotional response in me that I’m hoping to capture at that moment.
How do you get past writer’s block / avoid burnout?
I don’t get writer’s block per se. I occasionally run up against a wall in a particular story, and if I can’t grind through it, I withdraw and look for a way around it. The solution usually requires tweaking either what I’ve already written or amending my goals for what follows.
I can get overwhelmed, like when I get a long list of edits or when I’m working on a new book while editing another. Then it’s all about triage.
My basic philosophy is that I’m going to die before too long, though hopefully not soon, and I’d like to produce a decent number of stories I’m proud of before I go. Maybe it’s a morbid thought, but I’d rather be morbid and writing than… (what’s the opposite of that? Igmorbid?) …than igmorbid and not.
Who DON’T you tell you’re a writer / have written a book and why?
I don’t talk about it much at the day job, though I disclosed it at hire and a few coworkers are interested. Once you’re published, unless you have an airtight pen name or persona, everybody’s going to find out. Better to start learning coping mechanisms (to reduce the frequency of unbearably awkward conversations) and move forward.
Who has surprised you the most support-wise, fan-wise?
I’ve been blessed – a word I don’t use lightly – to have received an enthusiastic outpouring of support from friends in online forums and on twitter. And I was surprised as hell when my younger brother and one of his buddies basically went around hand-selling DBtM for a week. I guess all those late-night rides paid off.
How much time do you spend on social media? Does it help or distract?
Twitter is my go-to social media. I chat throughout the day and pick up most of my industry news that way. I limit my time on social media because I’m convinced that constantly flitting back and forth between screens and stimuli is habit-forming. So when I’m actively writing or working on a revision for my agent or editor, I will limit myself to maybe an hour a day, though I will check email and peek at twitter on my phone. I lack the will to maintain full hermit status.
Are you naturally shy or outgoing?
I’m an introvert, but I had to get over that years ago in order to function in the workplace.
Has this changed any since you published your book? How have you dealt with and/or overcome your nature?
Basically I picked a few characteristics that I thought would help me be more successful and practiced them until they became third, if not second, nature. That’s helped with the promotional aspects of publishing, though the fact that most of it is online helps as well. I do love the opportunity to edit before anyone hears what I have to say.
If you became an overnight writing sensation, would you embrace your celebrity and milk as much as you could out of your fifteen minutes of fame or would you withdraw, keep your head down working and protect your privacy?
What an interesting question, Claire. I have no idea. I assume I’d do what was required to promote, but otherwise keep working. My ultimate goal is to be able to write full time, and I can’t imagine success erasing my desire to put words on the page.
Whose works do you read and then think, “I am nothing but a hack?” if you think that at all?
The last author who inspired that reaction in me was N.K. Jemisin with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. The books that blow me away as a reader are often painful to read, as a writer.
Do you frequently, rarely or never re-read books?
So frequently that my to-be-read pile is now coated in a crystalline shell of bittern neglect. I read for escape and for new adventures, but also for comfort. So I often retreat favorites when I’m stressed. I also re-read in order to try to pick up writer tricks and to analyze things like suspense and pacing.
What do you think is the next up and coming revolution in reading and writing? How do you think you’ll adapt?
I’m really interested to see whether we start to see a surge in “choose your own adventure” type electronic books soon, where at a few key points the readers can decide which options to follow. I’d love to write urban fantasy novellas like that, where the reader could follow points of interest or her own suspicions, or head toward or away from romantic entanglements. I say novella since, if you’re writing multiple options, the final effort and word count would be really high, so the length of one complete story might need to be a bit shorter than novel-length.
I’m loving the animated cover demos I’ve seen recently for e-books and am really excited to see how that art develops. And I fully expect to see “soundtracks” sold alongside e-books in the near future.
What would you rather have an abundance of: time, money, solitude, companionship, public recognition, intelligence, or physical prowess?
I would say “time”, but I read enough sci fi and horror to know there is a trick to this question, and not a nice trick.
Ha-ha, yes indeed, there’s always a catch isn’t there.
Thank you so much, Regan for spending some time with me. Great insights into you, the writer and writing in general.
Regan has a nifty little novella that’s out now called Don’t Bite the Messenger from Carina Press, the first of what will undoubtedly be a series. You’ll definitely want to get in on the ground floor with this series because it features a host of fresh twists on an old favorite: vampires in mainstream Alaska not only outed but prospering and bringing benefit to the economy…though the vamps aren’t too compatible with technology. Here’s more about it:
The vampire population may have created an economic boom in Alaska, but their altered energy field fries most technology. They rely on hard-living–and short-lived–couriers to get business done…couriers like Sydney Kildare.
Sydney has survived to the ripe old age of twenty-six by being careful. She’s careful when navigating her tempestuous clients, outrunning hijackers and avoiding anyone who might distract her from her plan of retiring young to a tropical, vampire-free island.
Her attitude–and immunity to vampires’ allure–have made her the target of a faction of vampires trying to reclaim their territory. Her only ally is Malcolm Kelly, a secretive charmer with the uncanny habit of showing up whenever she’s in trouble. Caught in the middle of a vampire turf war, Sydney has to count on Malcolm to help her survive, or the only place she’ll retire is her grave…
You can find Regan online here:
Regan Summers lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband and alien-monkey hybrid of a child. She can suspend disbelief in the space of a heartbeat, is prone to spazzing out in inappropriate settings, and believes that hard work leads to happiness (after all the misery of the hard work, that is).
Her favorite piece of advice is: run fast and maintain a low profile. She believes this applicable to at least 90% of all problematic situations.