Please welcome Aaron Speca, the first in my new author interview series, Ten on Tuesday, where I ask authors ten questions for your entertainment, enrichment, and enjoyment.
You write PNR with a couple of ladies. Do you read it as well?
Yes, in fact, reading the Dark Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon is what got me started in writing at all. My first foray into fiction writing was doing some role play fan fiction in the Dark Hunters world. I also enjoyed Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series. To me, these are more adventure/romance than straight romance.
Who are your top three favorite authors?
So I will go with the most influential writers I can think of in my own writing, and it’s an odd combination. Sherrilyn Kenyon, of course, as the first PNR writer I really got into and thus her writing has been a tremendous influence. I got to meet her briefly once and she is a wonderful person. Isaac Asimov is one of the great science fiction storytellers of our time. His ability to easily write a future world and make it completely believable was amazing. And … believe it or not Stan Lee (and the other writers at Marvel Comics). Comic books may get disparaged in some circles, but the serial nature of those stories and the way events interconnect and get referenced sometimes years later is something that I would like to try to bring to any series I attempt.
Have you ever thought of striking out on your own?
Not as yet. I mean, I have some ideas, but I’m not ready to take on that mantle on my own for a myriad of reasons. Eventually, I’m sure I will partake in a solo effort.
What do you think you bring into your books that your co-authors could not do without you?
Wow, that’s a tough thing for me to answer without sounding like I’m patting myself on the back! I think, though, if there’s one thing I am very conscious of in developing a story, it’s continuity. Nothing turns me off a story faster than a story that breaks its own rules. So, I do sometimes pick up on something where I will say, “Ok, why did that just happen? What about this other thing that happened about four chapters ago?” And then we will work together to work it out.
What is that one moment you have had as a writer that made you realize you were actually a real author?
Some might answer this question with when they signed their contract, or when they saw the book on Amazon. But for me, it was that first review, and that it was a very positive review. To have someone say “I really enjoyed this and this is why …” is an incredible feeling and nothing … NOTHING … can ever take that away. The second moment was getting that first royalty check, even though it was small. One of my favorite quotes is one from Stephen King … “If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” I use that quote all the time to encourage both myself and my writer friends.
Have you quit your day job yet or are you planning to anytime in the future?
I have three kids – there’s no way I can afford to quit my day job. So I will keep plugging away at this writing thing. I do believe slow and steady wins the race. I understand and accept that I cannot be nearly as prolific as some of these other full-time authors out there. So I will focus on making each story the absolute best story it can possibly be. If that means it takes four years and counting (like “Heart of the Mermaid”), then it will take four years.
What drives a romance for you and makes it something you want to read/write?
The emotional commitment of the two main characters. There can be all the attraction in the world, but for me it is the emotional component that drives the romantic part of any story.
The first book in the “Progeny of Sin” series by Dawn Treadway (lead author) and myself, “Dark Dreams”, has been accepted by HarperImpulse (imprint of Harper Collins). Right now they are working on cover art and we are awaiting a release date. Dawn and I have broken ground on the sequel to that book, “Dark Fate”. The paranormal romance series follows a family of demons that have escaped from the hell-like realm of Sheol and now protect humanity from the denizens of that realm.
The first book of “The Realmwalker Prophecy” by myself and Patricia Laffoon, “Heart of the Mermaid”, is now in the hands of the publisher and they are considering whether or not to accept it for publication. There’s a lot I don’t want to give away about the series as a whole, but the first book is an adventure romance that takes place in what we know as the 18th century Caribbean, between a sailor and a mermaid.
Tell us a little about your previous works and how we can get our hands on them.
Unfortunately, the publisher of the two anthologies that we appeared in previously is no longer in business, thus those anthologies are now “out of print”. However, we have the rights to those works and since we have no plans to republish them as stand-alone works, I’d like to announce a little sweepstakes here on your blog! Anyone who comments here with their favorite mermaid (TV, book, movie, whatever) and why will become eligible for a random drawing to receive electronic copies of the short stories “Tears of the Mermaid” and “Heart of the Mermaid” by Aaron Speca and Patricia Laffoon, featuring special covers created by our friend Sessha Batto. These two stories are what led to “The Realmwalker Prophecy” series concept.
Where can we stalk–erm, follow your work online these days?
Thank you, Aaron!
Thank you everyone for reading; the contest will run from Tuesday Feb. 17th until Monday, Feb. 23. Aaron will be back on Friday for a special guest blog!