Today I have Densie Webb at the Blogathon! Great to see you, Densie. Tell us all about you! Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?
No, though I remember writing stories in grade school, but to be honest, I can’t recall what they were about. I was into poetry at one point in my youth and got a book of poetry for a birthday present. But now I mostly don’t “get” poetry. I’ve always enjoyed reading, though when my kids were young I rarely found the time. I write and edit for living, but it’s nonfiction. While it helps to have a command of the language, writing fiction is a whole different animal!
When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?
A dear friend convinced me I should give it a shot about 6 years ago and I’ve been at it ever since.
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
It took 5 of those years to “whip it out.” So, no, nothing flies from my fingertips. I’m an obsessive self-editor and it slows me down. I’m working on “vomiting” it out, as some more experienced writers and editors have counseled me, but it’s hard.
Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?
Music and movies really get my creative juices flowing. And walking. I walk as many days as the weather allows, while I’m listening to music. I make use of the notes app on my phone and jot things down as they come to me. In my debut novel, I’d have to say 80% or more of the ideas I had while walking made it into the novel in some form. When I’m actually writing, I need music as well.
What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?
I’ve never had a relationship with a celebrity (as my MC does) nor have I been stalked (as my MC is), but the emotions, such as fear, love, longing, insecurity, regret are universal and those are woven throughout the story.
Literary Inspiration: throughout your life, what novels have lifted you, made you think, “Someday I want to create something like that . . .”
I love Emily Giffin’s books and more recently Liane Morioraty and Jenkins Taylor Reid. Lionel Shriver is a more literary author, but relationships are often at the core of her stories—sometimes family relationships, sometimes love relationships. And I adore her writing.
Let’s talk about romance. How do you set the mood for your characters, what do you draw from that helps your H/H achieve oneness with each other? And how much conflict do you give them, along the way?
As I mentioned earlier, I draw from the feel and lyrics of songs. If you really pay attention, about 99% of songs, whether rock, indie, country, or blues are all about desire, love lost, getting love back, and the way love makes you feel. If I find a song that really moves me, I may listen to it over and over again, until it’s playing on its own in my head. The same with movies. I can watch the same movie repeatedly, if I think there’s really something there about a relationship that I want to understand and absorb. I like a lot of conflict, but the trick is to make it feel organic, not imposed simply for the sake of having conflict in the story. I hope I achieved that in my novel.
What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?
Of course, when I got the word that Soul Mate was going to publish my book. Another was working with my developmental editor and getting her notes back after reading my draft and realizing “I can do this.”
Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?
Nothing original here—Coffee, my laptop, my notes, my imagination.
Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?
Like most writers, I work full time. My kids are in college, so they’re not at home all the time, but I still struggle to find quiet time where I can focus, reorient myself to where I left off and dive back in again. My day job also is writing and editing and sometimes, those parts of my brain are just wiped out by the end of the day. So, for me, it’s not so much time constraints as it is limitations on my mental energy.
What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?
When I’ve written something and then go back to read it much later and I think, “Wow, where did that come from? That sounds pretty damn good!”
What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?
Keeping a momentum going. I hear about writers sitting down and writing 2,000 words or more in a sitting, or writers who can produce 2 or 3 books a year. It’s just not in me. I have to mull things over, write, edit, rewrite, mull it over some more. I think the most I’ve ever written in one sitting has been 500–700 words. And I celebrate!
How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?
Outlines make me break out in hives. If I had to outline to write, I just wouldn’t write. I hated outlines when I was in school and I detest them even more now. If I have an idea, I just sit down and start writing. Having said that, at some point—usually midway—I do have to write down each chapter with a sentence or two about what happens. This is just to make sure I haven’t screwed up the timeline. In my novel, “You’ll Be Thinking of Me,” there were season changes and the timeline of pregnancy to work into the storyline. I almost pulled my hair out at one point, but it eventually came together.
Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.
I’m actually working on two novels. One is a paranormal romance, with a bit of a different twist (I hope). My goal is to write a story that minimizes the supernatural aspect and highlights the relationship aspect and focuses on the sacrifices that people in relationships are or are not willing to make for one another. It just happens to have paranormal characters. The other is a women’s fiction novel with a theme of motherhood and the different things it means to different women. And, of course, there is a bit of romance in there.
Got a fave moment in your writing career you’d like to share?
The comments I’ve gotten from readers from my novel, “You’ll Be Thinking of Me,” have surprised me. Quite a few have said that the story kept them up at night and that it wasn’t a good idea to read it before going to bed. It’s funny, because in my mind, I was focused on the love story. The stalker is an important character, of course, but I guess I created a more frightening antagonist that I had realized.
Densie’s debut novel with Soul Mate, YOU’LL BE THINKING OF ME:
A chance encounter with a celebrity, an impromptu video, and a shiny new espresso machine. It all added up to a juicy tale for 24-year-old Rachael Allen to share with friends. But when her best friend posts the video online, bizarre threats, home break-ins, and deadly gifts from an obsessed fan follow close behind. Mick Sullivan, the star in her video, offers to help and in the process, Rachael discovers that despite his reputation as a player of Olympian caliber, he’s down-to-earth—and emotionally damaged. He has secrets; some he’s shared only with his pseudo best friend. Others he’s shared with no one. But there’s one secret he’s hidden from himself, washed away by too many beers. Despite wildly divergent life paths, their shared southern upbringing (and a passion for good music) creates a common thread that draws them together. As the threats escalate, and their relationship deepens, Rachael struggles to accept Mick’s past—and his present. And she is forced to confront her own obsessive love to ultimately decide if being with Mick Sullivan is worth the collateral damage.
YOU’LL BE THINKING OF ME is the story of Rachael’s serendipitous encounter with a celebrity, her brush with obsessive love, and the bittersweet gift left behind by the very person fixated on destroying her life.
BUY LINK: AMAZON
Densie, thanks so much for visiting with us today!