Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mini-Interviews: Bess McBride, Mona Risk, and Keena Kincaid

Welcome Bess, Mona, and Keena. I’m pleased you agreed to participate in my second Mini-Interview. When I count all the Five Star reviews you three have received, the total is awesome. While you each write a different genre, your talent and success are equal in excellence.

Visitors to my blog, welcome, also. I have asked the same three questions of each author. You will enjoy reading their responses! Celia Yeary

1. What particular challenge do you remember from writing your first published novel?

BESS: Learning how to see my editor’s criticism, comments and (massive…in my mind) edits more as constructive help and less as a personal affront. I remember asking her if she even liked the story at one point, so numerous were the edits!  But I learned a great deal from her and continue to appreciate her brisk handling of this starry-eyed new author.

MONA: TO LOVE A HERO was my first book and the book of my heart, based on my business travels to Belarus, but I was told by several editors that the setting, a Russian country, would be too difficult to sell. In spite of the lack of encouragement, I was so determined to have that book published I spent four years editing my manuscript, entering contests to have judges’ feedback, asking mentors and critique partners to read it. At least, twenty writers and published authors offered help and useful critique. I took their advice to heart and edited non stop until it won a perfect three scores in FTHRW Wallflower contest. I knew that unless it was very well written, it wouldn’t stand a chance.

KEENA: My challenge was figuring out how to market ANAM CARA to agents and editors. Like many authors, I spent the bulk of my time making the story sing, and it took a slew of rejections before I realized I needed to work just as hard on the marketing side.

2. What’s the toughest part about competing with other writers?

BESS: Learning (or trying to learn) not to compete with other writers, but to assume (and hope) that there is room for all of us in readerland. I’m still working on it though!

MONA: Except in contests, I don’t compete with other writers. I write because I enjoy telling stories. I cry and laugh while writing and live my characters’ emotions. I think every story is unique and depends on the author’s voice to make it an interesting book that grabs the reader’s attention. You cannot compare authors’ voices. Either you love them or you don’t.

KEENA: This may be naïve, but I don’t view myself as being in competition with other writers. This business is so subjective that there’s no way to compete. An editor and/or agent likes your voice or doesn’t. The readers like your story or they don’t.
I consider myself my own competition. I need to be better with every book. I have to always challenge myself as a writer and a storyteller, yet still offer that “thing” that captured readers’ hearts in my previous books. And that “thing” differs depending upon whom you ask.
One of my readers loves the fact that my hero and heroine in ANAM CARA are older and more stable, if set in their ways. Their relationship evolves differently than it would if they were younger. There may be less drama, but the stakes are higher because both of them suspect this is their last chance at finding abiding love. This reader, who also read an advance copy of TIES THAT BIND, the sequel to ANAM CARA, didn’t like the more emotional, self-centered attitude of my much younger hero at the beginning of the book. Yet another beta reader loved the emotions, actions and raw passion that came with his youth, and loved his character arc. So, my take away is I need to write authentic stories in which readers can connect with my characters’ emotions, regardless of what that emotion is. If only there was a magic formula for doing that. 

3. Which genres interest you most when writing? Would to try a completely different genre?

BESS: I’m more interested in contemporary than other genres, but I actually end up writing more light paranormal…that is to say, contemporary with a bit of something different…be it a lovelorn ghost or a mysterious pirate who exists beyond his time. And I just love time travel though I’ve only written one. I’ve actually tried most of the genres. I think I would enjoy including time travel, contemporary, historical, light paranormal and romantic suspense.

MONA: I like writing contemporary stories, romantic suspense, set in foreign countries, or medical romances, in the genre of Gray’s Anatomy and ER. By the way, all my heroes are foreigners and all my heroines are American career women.
Recently, I have been daydreaming about a new story totally different: a hilarious paranormal, slightly erotica, set in several foreign countries. The story is developing in my head and I wrote 1000 words so far.

KEENA: I write historicals, sometimes with paranormal elements. My scholarly career was pretty much limited to the centuries between Rome and the Renaissance, so it’s no surprise I write that. I plan to pen a contemporary one of these days, if only to take the shackles off my dialogue.

Thank you all!

Direct buy links:

On a Warm Sea of Love: at TWRP

Babies in the Bargain: at TWRP
Anam Cara: at TWRP

Thank you all, Celia


  1. Captivating responses from three very talented writers!
    Good luck ladies. I wish you all the best!

  2. Thank you so much for the interview and the fabulous company, Celia! What a wonderful concept!

    Bess McBride

  3. Thanks for having us, Celia. I love the questions you ask and being in good company. *waves to Bess and Mona*

  4. Interesting to have 3 writers answer the same question.

    Loved it

  5. Thanks, Keen and Bess, for answering the questions so thorouhgly and so creatively. Well, you are writers, after all.

  6. Mary--so glad you dropped by and that you like the interviews.Celia

  7. KATHYE--I'm glad you like the format. I think I'll copyright it!!! I enjoy doing these, too. I can't wait to read their answers.

  8. Better late than never! I made it! LOL Love the questions and the answers from everyone. These are all books I want to read, and I really enjoy learning more about my friends, the authors!Great interview questions, Celia.

  9. CHERYL--thank you, thank you. We all appeciate it.
    Celia Yeary

  10. Hi Celia, better late than never as Cheryl said. Thank you for the mini-interview. Waving to Keena and Bess. It's so interesting to read our responses and see how we each have similar or different appraoach to the same questions. I am preparing and packing to leave to Akron for Romanticon, the Ellora's Cave/Cerridwen Press convention and am just sitting in front of my computer after a morning of non-stop running around.

  11. Hi Mary, Kathy, Cheryl, so glad you enjoyed the answers. Count on Celia to always come with fantastic ideas, guaranteed to interest everyone.

  12. MONA--I like the comparisons of the answers, too. They really do give us more insight into the authors. Have a good trip to Akron--and have fun enough for all of us! Celia

  13. Hi Bess, Mona and Keena,
    Great interview Celia, short and to the point. Ladies you are all legends in my eyes. Nice people and fabulous writers.


  14. MARGARET--thank you for us all. We appreciate visitors! I just read your interview--it was great. You relaly do know your history. I left a message for you. Celia

  15. Great interview. I enjoyed reading it. Lots of diverse ideas flowing from this group.

  16. I'm late but I enjoyed this. Great questions and interesting answers. :-)

  17. Three authors, three question - this works so well. Hurrah for you gals to say there is no point in comparisons with other authors, finding your own voice is what really counts. Fab stuff!

    Jane x