Monday, July 26, 2010

Beth Orsoff Interview

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

On days I’m not working at the Day Job, afternoons.  Sadly, I’m a procrastinator.  Unless I’m on a deadline, I have to read all my e-mail, blogs, etc. first.  Then all of a sudden it’s three o’clock and I panic because I realize I 
haven’t gotten any work done.  Then I really kick a** until dinnertime, which in my house is never before eight o’clock. 

On days I’m working at the Day Job, it’s whenever I can fit it in.  Usually late at night.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

When I wrote my first book, “Romantically Challenged,” I handwrote the first draft on a legal pad.  I think because I found it less intimidating.  I’m a lawyer.  Blank legal pads don’t scare me.  Facing a blank computer screen, that scares me. 

For the first book, I would write a scene, type it into the computer, print out at the end of the day, re-read those pages the next morning and edit them by hand, type those changes into the computer and revise as I typed.  And that was all just the first draft.  I don’t do it that way anymore.  Now I write and edit on the computer.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

Really good books, movies, and TV shows.  Lately it’s the really good TV shows.  I’ve learned a lot about cliffhanger endings and constantly raising the stakes by watching quality television.  My latest TV addiction (and Net Flix is great for television addicts) is “Breaking Bad.”  I was also very happy to hear that “Damages,” which was cancelled by FX, was recently picked up by Direct TV.  That’s seriously compelling television.  I’m also one of those fans who cried openly at the end of “Lost.”  Yes, it drove me crazy.  But I still tuned in every week.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

I’m a five pages per day writer.  When I’m starting a book, those five pages are a struggle.  Later on in the process I usually average seven to eight pages per day.  Occasionally I’ll have ten or twelve page days, but those are very rare and I usually end up rewriting most of it anyway.   

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

I’m both.  My first book, “Romantically Challenged” was traditionally published by NAL.  When the book went out of print the rights reverted to me and I tinkered with it a little bit then  rereleased it myself on Amazon.  I self-published “Honeymoon for One.” 

For the self-published books I choose the artwork myself but I hire someone to actually design the covers.  Usually I spend some time on finding potential cover art.  When I have a few images I think might work, I send the links and a description of the book to a fellow author, who also happens to be a graphic designer.  She takes my images and designs mock-up covers, and from there it’s just a tweaking process.    

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?

I have to do something with all those imaginary people who live in my head.  They never shut up!

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

At this moment, no.  But that’s only because I can’t decide between the Kindle DX and the regular Kindle.  If you ask me in a few weeks, the answer will likely be yes.  Right now I read e-books via Kindle for PC. 

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?

In my genre, Emily Giffin is my favorite author.  Outside my genre, too many to name!  I read widely—literary fiction, commercial fiction, thrillers, mysteries, YA, pretty much anything with a good story.  One writer who is new to me (although I believe she’s on her tenth book) is Elinor Lipman.  I really enjoy her characters and her writing.  For the past few months, the book I recommend to anyone who’ll listen is “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.  It’s post-apocalyptic YA and from the description alone I never would’ve picked it up but I’m so glad I did.  I could not put it down.  Collins really understands upping the stakes.     

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

I think they’re fun for the writer, but I’m not convinced they sell (adult) books.  They might be more useful if you write children’s books or YA.  But since I don’t, I don’t have any plans to produce any.

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?

I thought of the title “Honeymoon for One” at the same time I thought of the idea for the book—a jilted bride who goes on her honeymoon alone.  It just seemed to fit.  Sadly they don’t all come that easily.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

My agent is still shopping “How I Learned to Love the Walrus,” which is my favorite of all my books.  I absolutely love those characters.  (The first chapter is on my website,, if anyone’s interested.)  If NY doesn’t want it then it will be my next e-book release.  I’ve already picked out the cover art!

I’ve also started a new book, but I haven’t quite figured out what it’s about yet. 

Thank you!

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