Author Interview – Calinda B.

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Let’s start with the basics.  Who are you?

Calinda B, author of paranormal romance. I reside in the Pacific Northwest with my long time sweetie, and two fine cats. Two fine (grown) kids. We scuba dive weekly.

Tell us (briefly) about you…

I am an endless Work In Progress. A constant work of art. Creative. Adventurous. I’ve been a galleried artist. A rock climber. A firewalking instructor. A hip hop dance performer and teacher. Taught aerobics. Taught kids to improve their bodies through movement. Crazy life. I study the inside of me as well as the outside. Introspective. Self-aware. A little bit crazy (said with a smile). A little bit wicked (said with an even larger smile). Love to write. Love to shape worlds and characters. It’s like playing with dolls.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…

I’ve got 5 erotically charged paranormal romance novels out. 1 short story. 4 of my novels have been nominated for Best Erotic Paranormal, Best Urban Fantasy or Best Erotica. The Beckoning of Broken Things was short listed by a book group in the UK for Best Erotica. I’ll find out soon if it wins. My stories are often called “unique” and “refreshing.” I like to make up the character’s skills and abilities. Hence, I guarantee you’ve never heard of some of them – the ka’kriyaga? What? A Stealth Numen? What’s that? A Night Numen, the most badass of them all? (grins) Sorry, but you’ll have to read the books to find out more.

…and what you’re working on right now.

Right at this moment, I’m working in a standalone novel called Headspace. It’s set about 40 years in the future in Seattle. The heroine, Vienna Venetta, is a hip, cool, savvy gal with a unique ability to get inside another’s head and make them think they are having an actual experience. She came up with the idea of combining her techno-wizard friend Kaama’s skills with her abilities to create a virtual sex world. Her clients “pulse-com” her, they enter her Headspace world and the fun begins. Her clients pay well and no one will ever know who she is. Out in the real world, though, she’s got a little problem – she’s never had an orgasm. Can her good friend Jonas help her out? He is committed to someone else.

What are your earliest book-related memories?

One of my fondest memories was reading the Godfather – the scene in the bathroom with Sonny and Lucy: “Her hand closed around an enormous, blood-gorged pole of muscle. It pulsated in her hand like an animal and almost weeping with grateful ecstasy she pointed it into her own wet, turgid flesh. The thrust of its entering, the unbelievable pleasure made her gasp, brought her legs up almost around his neck, and then like a quiver, her body received the savage arrows of his lighting-like thrusts.” I was a 16 year old virgin. It made me blush. It made me feel ashamed. It made me want to keep reading it, over and over and over. (laughs) I guess it greatly influenced me as I am writing erotic scenes with nary a glance over my shoulder.

What are your three favorite books?

Hmmm. It’s hard to pick. A book has to really, really make me feel/think/consider to get in the favorite list. Currently, Hot Head by Damon Suede (loved the M/M tenderness, well-written and hot, hot, hot); Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning (super sex with a plot!) and Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (just brilliant). Also anything by Karen Marie Moning or JR Ward. Basically, anything that’s over the top sexy and well-written.

How many books to do you read at any given time?  What are you reading now?

Right now I’ve got Backstage Pass on my Droid, and Coping with Trauma (advanced studies in the effects of personal and interpersonal trauma and psychological insights) and The Joy of Writing Hot Sex (well, duh!) next to me. Overcoming Underearning(TM): A Simple Guide to a Richer Life (great book recommended by our business guides, especially useful for women) and Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let’s Get Publishing) are on my Kindle. I used to only read one at a time. I finally stopped torturing myself for having numerous reads going on at the same time.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___

When I curl up with a book, I love to be deeply engaged…stirred…moved…provoked. I like to learn something, or be inspired to look at something a different way.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.

Gasp! Not even a question! Expanding the mind through both experience and reading of the experience or narrative of others is a treasured gift.

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?

Depends on who is doing the recommending. I have a good friend whom I listen to. I’ve also picked my last two books based on enthusiastic endorsement from Bloggers/Reviewers queries of their readers on Facebook. That’s how I found out about Hot Head and Backstage Pass

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?

I do it all the time (but my books are my favorites) (kidding!). Actually, I am an enthusiastic endorser kind of person. If I like it, whatever it is, I’ll endorse it.

What do you look for in a good book?

First – emotional depth, intelligence and complexity. Second, great interplay between the characters mixed with generous amounts of really great sex. I like books where the characters are challenged to grow in some way. One core issue. Its ultimate resolution. Books that take a stereotype and shoot it to bits. And my mood for books varies. Right now I’m into sexy erotica. Sometimes I like suspense. Sometimes sci-fi and urban fantasy.

Why do you write?

I find the act of writing to be one of the most soothing, relaxing and inspiring things to do. When I write, I relax. When I write, I create. I solve problems. I build worlds. I describe, define and then solve issues. I am God(dess). (laughs) It allows me to sort out issues in my own life. Purge frustrations. Laugh. Cry. Feel. I sit in my own world of mysteries. It’s very fulfilling.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?

I can’t really answer this. I stay pretty focused in the present. And, believe it or not, I’ve done and continue to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do.

(later) Okay, that was the serious answer. The answer that bubbled up in me as I was driving around thinking about this question was “Okay, if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing right now I’d be Brian Sinclair in the book Backstage Pass, I’d live a rock and roll lifestyle (wait a minute – been there, done that), I’d have loads of freaky sex (been there, too), I’d meet someone who really matched me, heart for heart (wait – got that, too).” I have not, however, been a 28 y/o guy with a million adoring fans. And I do not play guitar. Is that what I secretly crave? Let’s hope not! (laughs) Honestly, I love my life and I am happy being a woman. If I were not writing and doing scuba and did not own a business I’m sure I’d find something interesting to do.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Everywhere! I have a very active life. I love to travel. I love to explore. Virtually anything I do could be the seed of my next novel. I generally try to write about topics that push my own edges of comfort, like I’m doing in Headspace by writing about a woman who has never had an orgasm. Or topics that make me laugh. Or things I stumble upon out in the real world…things that make me go Hmmm. For instance, when I was in Hawaii a couple years ago I met a handsome young man who photographs whales. “I sex whales,” he said, smiling. “You what?” I replied, eyebrows arched. Apparently the only way you can determine the sex of humpback whales is to photograph their undersides. I told him he must be a whale whisperer. A character was born, right then and there – Wicked Whispering’s very own Kai Williams, the whale whisperer.

What has writing taught you about yourself?

1) Writing has increased my self-confidence. 2) Self-acceptance – definitely! 3) I’ve learned and continue to learn that I am an amazing person. I used to not think that about myself. I used to criticize myself to no end. 4) I’ve learned and continue to learn that I have flaws and that’s okay, too. 5) I’ve actually integrated my wild and crazy life into one cohesive hum. 6) I have taken courses in writing and learned to be succinct. Get to the point. Use words and imagery. I could go on and on. Writing definitely changed my life. It’s a very personal process.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?

Interesting question! Honey-pie thinks it’s fine, wants me to succeed. Isn’t really interested in the subject matter – he’s more of a technical guy. Kids support me but do not, do not, do NOT want to read their mom’s sexy writing. I understand and support that. Friends like it, think I’m fantastic, crazy, and wild for doing what I do.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?

That we’re all rich from our writing. Ha! Big myth there. I believe the statistics are that 3 – 5% of published authors are abundantly rich from their writing. And then there’s a myth that once you are a best-seller, then the money rolls in. I’ve read horror stories of authors who have sold millions around the world yet because of their publishing contracts, they only made about $30,000.00 over the course of a few years. That’s sad. And, I think there’s a stereotype that writers are nerdy, bookish and have nothing to do with the physical world. They live inside their minds. We come from all walks of life, I assure you. We just have the capacity to write.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?

I don’t think there is a single challenge. There are multiple issues when starting out that seem fairly common. For instance, anyone who thinks he or she will be an “overnight success” is in for a surprise. It takes time to build a fan base, build a following. You’ve got to “work it”, as in get out there constantly to promote your work. You do have to develop a thick skin. You’ll get a snarky review or two. Sometimes those are just downright mean. You’ve got to find a way to not focus on them. And, you’ll be assaulted with offers to be featured on this or that site and pay so and so and such and such to promote your work and gain exposure, blah, blah, blah. Do your research – just because it’s an attractive offer, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Above all, link up with various author groups. The support you can get is tremendous.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?

Oh, sure – when I started out I hadn’t mastered the Show vs Tell premise. Too much backstory. I went back after I learned that and re-wrote my first three books.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?

Interesting question. I’m actually leaning towards team collaborations these days (me, the lifelong lone wolf). I did an event with a couple of bluegrass musicians that was fun. I read erotic writing, they played between excerpts. They’re more than eager to do that again.

How do you deal with your fan base?

I post stuff to FB daily. My street team is awesome (and there’s always room for more). They’re like my super fans. We do monthly giveaways for those who complete their tasks. They’re a super supportive bunch. And I give them gobs of thanks and appreciation.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.

My fans would be surprised to know that I belonged to a bona-fide cult for a year and a half. I married someone who was part of the group. It was a definite, warp your mind, tell you what to think feel and believe cult. The guru dude had sex with women (not me) for “their enlightenment.” (shudders) He had seven wives. I didn’t know this until recently but at the time that I got the hell out of there, he was in lawsuits up to his eyeballs.

Anything else we should know?

When I was in junior high, my art instructor gave us an assignment to paint a poster with a quote that had meaning to us. My quote was one attributed to Jack London: “I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” Enough said.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Eva Millien
    Sep 11, 2013 @ 22:43:00

    Thanks for sharing the great interview and the giveaway. I love this series. It’s awesome. evamillien at gmail dot com


  2. Katrina Hough
    Sep 11, 2013 @ 22:46:34

    Love the Q & A 😉


  3. Trackback: Author Interview – Calinda B. | michellewillmsblog
  4. Calinda B
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 16:54:17

    thanks, Eva and Katrina!


  5. Trackback: Bewitching Blog Tour | Calinda B

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