If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
Tamara from Healing Wounds. Oh, I'd love to play the cold villainess for a spell. She embodies my complete opposite in her retro red dress and stiletto heels. Her manipulations get her whatever she wants. Wouldn't you love to be guiltlessly bad for awhile?
Who or what influences you when you write?
Nightmares. I rarely have good dreams. The disturbing scenarios grow into stories after I wake and shower.My poor husband suffers for them. I once dreamt he chased me in a crazed and violent state. In the dream, he'd cornered me, so I spun about and slugged him. Unfortunately, I struck my real, nonviolent hubby in my sleep and startled him awake.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
It starts with a cup of coffee, courtesy of my hubby. Mmmm, coffee. Just the aroma perks up my brain to remember the scene I'd planned out the night before.
I'm a layer writer, so if I'm in the first stage of a novel, I write the events and dialogue only. I leave placeholders for everything else, which I'll fill in during the second stage. This keeps me from picking at the details. I'm so neurotic that if I tried to write a novel in one pass, I'd spend days "fixing" one page rather than writing the next scene. So, I force myself to move quickly. (This probably tortures my critique partners. They see a fleshless skeleton of a novel in stage one.)
While writing, I listen to music that matches the scene. It stirs up what the characters feel. If I get stuck, I change the music or where I write.At the end of the day, if I've met my word count goal, I get a reward such as a foot rub from hubby or videogame time. My hubby is such a sweetie.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
Quest into the Forbidden
(Note: This excerpt is subject to change, as Quest into the Forbidden is undergoing edits.)
Copyright 2007, Vanessa N. Gilfoy
He would never forget the first time he saw her.
Illuminated by flashes of light within the foggy waters, she seemed a goddess of night. Her thick mane of liquid mahogany poured down her breasts and shoulders too beautiful to be real. He imagined it felt even smoother than his elven silk cloak. The tips of her pointed ears poked out, which made this all the more taboo.
He shouldn't look. If someone caught him, he'd lose all possibility of a treaty with the Western River Elves. He couldn't prove that lousy fortune reading true.
But her fair skin glistened brighter than the Old Moon above, drawing his gaze. Droplets dripped down the dramatic angles of her face, the way he'd touch her, given the chance. His fingers would slip all over. Oh, she'd slide so perfectly against him while the warm water lapped and swirled.
Holt grinned and leaned against a mossy tree, arms across his chest as he inhaled the earthy scent. Surprisingly comfortable. Lush elven moss cushioned just about everything in this moist land. A perfect bed. He could sleep right here on the mossy bank of rocks but he'd rather do something else.
Only twenty feet away, she stroked the nearly hidden surface of the lake. Mist furled, giving him a clearer view of her body. Slender yet firm. The way she held herself exuded strength. Jaw parallel to the water, sloped shoulders back, long neck taut.
He loved that. Strong women always offered a greater challenge. A thrill that not even battle could match.
Holt unclasped the elven silk cloak at his throat. The protective garment would have whispered and thudded, if not for the thunder of a rocky waterfall behind his nymph. Foamy white curled and swelled down the rough cliff and crashed into the lake. It looked more like cloud than water.
What better medium? Magic sparked throughout. Like the magic he'd feel in her. His heart quickened at the thought. He'd never been with an elf before.
He couldn't unbutton his shirt fast enough. One of the tricky little bits of plastic popped off and disappeared into the mist that buried his shins and feet.
"What are you doing? She'll kill you," Warren warned, head tipped down to Holt's ear.
The old man appeared beside Holt as he always did, like a conscience.
"Not if I phrase it right." Anyone could be convinced of anything. This just might take several tries, considering the stigma against interracial relations.
"Elves aren't like dwarves and wizards. She won't just slap you."
Holt laughed, head cocked. He'd been slapped quite a few times, especially by dwarven women but that had never dissuaded his pursuit before. Lost battles in victorious wars. Eventually they softened, given enough compliments and persistence. He always won in the end.
Besides, how could he pass up this opportunity? How many human men ever ventured this deep into elven land without elven ash arrows flying at them? Add to that a beautiful, nude elven woman and the odds were staggering.
"Go on ahead and I'll catch up," Holt said despite Warren's tightening grip on his shoulder. He shrugged off the old man's hold along with his shirt. Warm mists crept up Holt's bare skin like seductive fingers. Strange. It tingled his skin and left behind an ache.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I'm excited about my current work-in-progress - Beneath the Surface. Set in the future between our time and that of New Pangaea, this story bridges my vampire and fantasy series.
Throughout colossal catastrophes, evolving humans and vampires struggle to save what remains on earth. My favorite heroine, a mutated human, replaces the dead with her cyonic (half cloned flesh, half computer) copies. They man her illegal factories. She needs the profits to save her uncle, but everything goes horribly wrong when she stumbles upon an unusual vampire.
He needs her clientele list in order to find the vampires who killed his parents. When threats don't work, he tries seduction, which lands him in a predicament.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
I looove tortured, tarnished heroes. The darker the better. Their scars, both inside and out, make them irresistibly manly. Plus, it takes more to make them accept the call to duty. They resist and throughout the novel, they reveal beautiful secrets and vulnerabilities beneath their tough exterior.
Goodie-goodies are just no fun at all. They do what's expected of them, which makes for no suspense. Also, I can't relate to perfect people. Give me Han Solo over Luke Skywalker.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I'm blushing and a little afraid to answer this question. I go to public places with my laptop and pretend to work while eavesdropping. I listen mostly for speaking styles, but love the juicy gossip. Dialogue research is thrilling. Because I'm so quiet and visit frequently, no one really notices me, so they talk freely about affairs divorces, illegal activities, etc. (I used to live in a strange town with a high crime rate.)
I also play in the woods and at the beach for sensory/setting research. Vacations are also great for setting research. I take notes and pictures for later works.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I used to free-write, which caused problems when it came to editing. I agonized over the changes my editor asked for in Healing Wounds because it didn't originally have a plot map. I had to remove a subplot and all its little threads and add in two others. Although I love my babies (novels) equally, there are huge differences between Healing Wounds and my later works. After Healing Wounds, I plotted every little detail with a graphic organizer, which makes for easier editing. Now, if my editor asks for a change, it's an easy fix.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
I would love emails. Anyone can reach me at Vanessa@VanessaGilfoy.com. My website is www.VanessaGilfoy.com. Myspace -http://www.myspace.com/vanessagilfoy. Blog - http://vanessagilfoy.blogspot.com How can readers find out more about you and your books?
Thank you for this opportunity!
Interviewed by Tammie King