Do you love romantic suspense? Or just romance in general? (Of course you do, that’s why you’re here!) Then you’ll want to be sure to check out Crimson Romance’s interview with Stephanie Freeman, author of Necessary Evil, Nature of the Beast, and A Letter from Yesay. Read on for an inside look at how Stephanie creates her incredible characters and stories!
What do you think makes good writing?
Good writing takes time and patience. In my opinion, you can’t simply dash off a story put your name on it and call it good. Writers must believe what they write as strongly as the characters do. Only then do you have a book worthy of the reader.
How do you choose the names for your characters?
I am from the Toni Morrison school of thought. Sometimes the characters sit down next to you in a chair and tell you their stories. For me some of my characters seem to pace the room while others crouch in a corner deciding whether they can trust me enough with their story as was the case with Alana Symone in Necessary Evil.
What is your favorite theme or element in writing?
I love to pose a philosophical question and by journeying through the novel with my characters, we find the answers together.
How do you beat out your writer’s block?
I am a knit and crochet freak! When the words escape me and pushing a pen against the paper “hurts”, I escape into a skein of yarn that I always keep in my desk near my left hand. Many marvelous corners that I’ve painted myself into have been near doors that miraculously seem to appear when I settle into crocheting or knitting with a row or two on some never ending project.
How many words do you usually write a day?
It depends. If I’m on a self imposed writer’s retreat, I can write up to 4-5 thousand. If it’s just day to day it may be 1 thousand or 2. Day jobs seriously cut into the writing flow, but what can I say, bills need to be paid. (Have to keep my pet unicorn in jelly beans and toast!) (Smile).
Do you ever act out the scene in your novels? If so, who with?
He would blush and deny the whole business with a smirk and that wicked gleam in his eye that I know and love so well.
What is your favorite thing you’ve written?
Necessary Evil and its sequel Unfinished Business (coming soon from Crimson Romance!) are by far my favorite. Alana is such an amazing character. I love her because of her flaws and the nightmarish things she’s had to survive. When I sat down to write her story, we battled… hard. I was still new to writing without those self imposed restrictions that writers have. She forced me to write her story with no flowery prose. It is in her tragedy that I found great beauty and in her ability to stand in spite of…. such grace.
Who is your favorite character(s) in any of your works?
Alana Symone hands down. The running second would have to be Davis aka Harlem Blackwell from Nature of the Beast. He adores the Harlem Renaissance and so do I.
What is your favorite novel by a different author?
The Stand by Stephen King. My new favorite would be Crimson Romance Writing Team Morgan O’Neill’s Roman Time Travel Series featuring Gigi and Magnus. Instant classics!
What made you fall in love with writing?
My mother, Dolores Ann Wilkes-Freeman made me fall in love with writing. She prided herself on good books and she instilled the same in me. She would say, “Reading is the twin of writing love both… do both.” She wrote poetry for her school newspaper and short stories for her high school yearbook. She was fond of saying, “Write your stories, Stephanie. Write your stories your way with your words and let the rest fall away.” Her advice is my mantra and my mission.
What kind of music do you listen to write a love scene?
I have super eclectic tastes again thanks to my mother. She would say “Listen to all of it. You’ll never understand an era unless you listen to the artists of that time.”
What is your favorite writer’s ritual to get you in the mood to write?
Life is my ritual!
Music definitely, but also crochet or knitting. Sometimes a bit of conversation or something I’ve seen will tickle my muse and the next thing you know I’m playing my favorite game What if and its twin, What Happens Next?
What is the one thing about writing/ publication you wish someone had told you about sooner?
Not everyone will be pleased or even care that you’ve been published. When my first book came out, I had someone close to me make a biting comment that haunts me to this day. I know they meant well, but the venom in that statement had an unintended effect. It made me even more determined to get my work out there. Her words made me slough a skin I’d worn for years at last giving me permission to write in a way that didn’t apologize, belittle or make me feel like I had to justify or explain my craft. It strengthens me during the times when the critics are howling or there seems to be a wall of impenetrable silence that makes me question my ability or my presence in the industry. My antidote to that particularly virulent strain of Writer Fear: Write anyway. Write long and hard.
Thank you so much, Stephanie!