Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday TAG! - Lori Sjoberg

I'm so very excited for this TAG! and it's for a few reasons. Today's TAG! features Lori Sjoberg. She's one helluva writer and critiquer. How do I know that? She's a member of my critique group at my favorite time sucking place site. Even if we weren't in a critique group, I'd know she is awesome. When she posted her query for critique in the forum on AQC, it didn't even need work. It was what every query hopes to be some day. It also got her a book deal and not just for one book, but two. (though I'm sure that has something to do with the fact that her writing in general is awesome and so is the concept of her book.) Her book is due Dec 2012/Jan 2012 and everyone should keep an eye out for it. You can find Lori demonstrating her awesomeness at AQC and on Facebook. Now...On to the TAG!

1. When did you start writing?
My job requires a fair amount of technical writing, but I started writing for pleasure around 2004.

2. What made you want to write?
Stephanie Plum.  Sounds silly, but a dear friend badgered me into reading One For the Money.  I got hooked on the series, and the wait between books led me to the wonders of fan fiction.  Before long, I started writing short stories to satisfy my Cupcake craving and things went from there.

3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
Afer writing fan fiction for a year or two, I started to wonder if I could write something with my own characters and storyline.  About halfway through that first manuscript a friend told me about a local writing group.  I joined a month later, and the dream of publication came to life.

4. What genre(s) do you write?
I started out writing Contemporary Romance, but at the moment I'm fully entrenched in the realm of Paranormal Romance.

5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
Probably because I grew up on a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy.  As the youngest of three, I never had control of the remote, (Not that I'm bitter about it.  Really!  Okay, maybe a little.) which meant I spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Twilight Zone, Tales From the Dark Side, etc.  Mix that with my love for a happy ending, and you have all of the ingredients for a paranormal romance.

6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
Not really.

7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
Usually, I begin with a few key scenes that are the most vivid in my mind.  I branch out from there, writing in no specific chronological order.  Once I reach a certain point, I start stitching the scenes together until they form a coherent story, and then start fillling in the gaps.

8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Diet Coke/Pepsi (whichever's on sale).  I prefer a quiet room, because I get distracted easily.

9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
Straight to the computer.  I keep notes on paper, so I can tinker with ideas when I'm not on the computer.

10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
So far I've written three novels and about a half dozen short stories.

11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
I've kept my writing fairly close to the vest until recently.  My husband's always known about my writing, and is incredibly supportive.  He teaches comparitive anatomy at the local university, so he serves as my consultant for most things medical/biological.  In the past year, I've told a few friends and family, and they've all been very encouraging.

12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
I'm on Facebook.

13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
The idea that ANY use of "to be" verbs is weak/passive writing. "Was" does not always equal passive.  It's an integral part of our language.  Don't get me wrong - there are many instances where the writing can be much stronger with a more active verb choice, but that doesn't mean you have to eliminate any and all forms of "to be" in your prose.

14. Why do you write about reapers?
I wanted to write about something outside the normal paranormal box.  Vamps and shapeshifters are the superstars of the supernatural world, and I wanted to write about something that existed on the fringes, where the canvas was relatively blank and I could establish my own brand of worldbuilding.

15. What would you do (how would you react) if you came in contact with a reaper? (One that was not coming to collect your soul)
Well, after the initial freak out, I'd want to ask a ton of questions.  I'd probably sound like a little kid when they hit that stage where they question everything.

16. What would you do if you fell in love with a reaper?
Not sure what I'd do, but I know hubby wouldn't be a happy camper.  LOL.

17. If you were a reaper, how would you cope with all the death, pain, and sadness that comes along with it?
Probably the same way I deal with the stresses of my everyday life.  I'd turn to my loved ones for comfort and support.  And if that doesn't work, there's always chocolate, mead, and heavy metal.

18. Do you believe in things like fate and reapers, or are you a sciency (everything has a 'logical' explanation) kinda girl?
To be honest, I'm more Scully than Mulder.  But I love exploring the possibilities that spring to mind when I wander down the road of What If.  Make it plausible enough for me to suspend disbelief, and I'll happily go down the rabbit hole.

19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
Aside from work, I usually spend time with my husband, friends, and children of the four-legged variety.  Hit the gym, do a little biking, take the pups out for a good, long walk - all recharge my creative batteries.  And like most writers, I enjoy curling up on the couch with a good book.

20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Write what you love, and don't go chasing trends.  Submitting your work to agents and editors can be a long, tedious process that involves a fair amount of rejection.  Please try to remember it isn't personal.


Em-Musing said...

Great interview...and enjoyed your view on 'was'. Sometimes it really is the best choice.

DL Hammons said...

Does Lori not blog? You did an excellent job interviewing her! :)

Kela McClelland said...

Em-Thanks for stopping by

DL-So sad, but no, Lori does not blog. No Twitter either...just on Facebook. She should have a website soon *fingers crossed* Thanks you for visiting. :)

Lori Sjoberg said...

Thanks, EM. Rules are meant to be broken, and sometimes a sentence flows better when you use a simple "was."

DL - Unfortunately, I don't blog at this time. If all goes well, the website should go live in the next week or two. *fingers crossed*

Jen - Never underestimate the effects of good chocolate. LOL.

And a HUGE thanks to Kela. This was my first interview, and it was a blast!