KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full-time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.
Hello, my name is Amy Rugg, pen name Clara Winter. I am from Colorado Springs, Co, but currently reside in Mission Viejo, Ca. I am a full-time writer, with two novels and a novella scheduled for release in the coming months. I’m an avid reader of almost every genre; I love all books. I’m a wife, mom of an almost teenager (help!), and two Siberian Huskies. Horror movies and Halloween are my thing, I think I scare the neighbors a little.
1. What appeals to you about the genre that you write?
I love paranormal, because the possibilities are really endless. Even if you are writing about a subject, like vampires, that’s been written about a thousand times, you can still take your story in a whole new, fresh direction. I have loved all fantastical genres since childhood; sci-fi, paranormal, horror. A fantasy is a world where anything is possible, what’s not to love about that? Mix in a little romance and it’s even better.
2. Are you a plotter or a pantser (one who writes “by the seat of your pants”)?
As a Virgo, I am a plotter through and through. When I began my first novel, I tried to fly by the seat of my pants. I managed to make it about five chapters, before I realized I had no idea what I was doing. Several hours of research on plotting later, and I was back at it with my plotting board all filled out. The only writing courses I took in college were the basic essay writing classes, as I wasn’t much interested in creative writing at the time. I had to learn all of this from scratch, and am still learning. There are a goldmine of blogs and books out there on how to plot. Thank goodness!
3. What is your favorite part of writing?
Probably the beginning and the end. I love researching, sketching out my characters, and plotting the story. Beginnings are always exciting. Creating inspiration boards on Pinterest is my obsession. I could pin pretty dresses and jewels all day long. The long days of writing your story can become tedious. To write “The End” on a document that has taken everything out of you is so very satisfying. I may be crazy, but I do enjoy the editing process and designing your cover is so much fun.
4. If you had to give up writing and do something else, what would you do instead?
I would go back to school counseling. Prior to moving and getting serious about writing novels, I was a school counselor for seven years; three years at middle school and four at elementary. It’s a wonderful, meaningful, and incredibly stressful profession. I enjoyed creating my own counseling lessons and writing my own curriculum for groups. I was able to flex my creative muscles while still working within a set framework. And of course, the kids were great. There was nothing more professionally fulfilling than observing a student’s emotional and personal growth.
5. What’s your favorite meal of the day?
I have to pick one? If I’m forced to pick one, it would be breakfast. As long as I don’t have to cook it. I don’t mind cooking, but I don’t love it, and there is just something about having breakfast made for you. I’ll take eggs benedict with a side of bacon, please. And keep the coffee coming.
6. Which are your favorite characters to write, the female characters or the male characters? Why?
Before I started writing, I would have thought female. As it is, I’ve enjoyed writing both. I adore my female characters, but writing Jack and Alexandre, both characters from Deepest Midnight, was so much fun. I especially love Alexandre. I’ve just completed Book Two in this series, and almost feel that out of all of my characters, Alexandre may be my favorite. I just get him. He will be getting his own story in Book Three.
7. If you had a superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it?
There are so many cool superpowers to choose from. I would probably chose flying. To have the ability to get myself anywhere in the world without resorting to the means of traditional travel, would be amazing. In my books, my vampires have the ability to jump great distances, so when they get going, it can feel to them as if they are flying. Can you imagine how freeing that would feel? No more driving in a cramped car, no more waiting for hours at the airport. You can just go!
8. Many writers dream of having the ideal location to write. If you could live anywhere in the world or live a particular lifestyle, where would you be answering these questions right now?
This is an emotional question for me, because I am so homesick. I am a Colorado Springs girl, currently living in southern Orange County, California. California is great. The only complaint I have is, it’s not home. I’m enjoying life here, but would choose the Springs in a second. It’s probably not very romantic. I imagine most people would say Paris or Rome, but Colorado is where my heart is.
9. Do you have any rejection stories to share? Reviews that meant something special to you?
Of course, I have rejections stories! Rejection is part of the game. For awhile, I wanted to be a children’s writer. After writing and polishing several stories and two picture books, I sent them out in the world. I received nothing but rejection and silence. I came close only once, with one of the picture books. Before signing a contract, the interested company, decided they were no longer interested. Talk about deflating. A few years later, I realized I was on the wrong path. So, I began writing my first full-length novel. That novel, which releases today, was only rejected once before being accepted by Inkspell Publishing. I tell you that was a happy day. Since this is my debut, I don’t have review stories yet, but hope too.
10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
Deepest Midnight is a paranormal romance and Book One in The Immortal Kindred Series. It follows the story of Millicent, a once French noblewoman, turned immortal vampire. Before Millicent was turned, she lost the love of her life to murder. Millicent then has to navigate her way through the centuries, lonely and heartbroken. Over two hundred years later, she locks eyes with her long dead love. Her maker, Alexandre, isn’t happy with the developments, creating even more complications.
Deepest Midnight releases June 25, 2018.
Be sure to come back to learn more about Clara Winter’s novel, DEEPEST MIDNIGHT, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog!
Links to Amy/Clara’s website, blog, books, etc.
**SPECIAL** Clara will give away a pair of Marie Antoinette Earrings from Dames a La Mode. Visit @Carawinterswriter1 to view rules of eligibility. Ends July 7, 2018.
Thanks, Clara, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!