Q&A with Rich Amooi
1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
I received emails from readers (and some mentioned it in their reviews online) that they loved the crazy scenes in my debut novel, Five Minutes Late, where Ellie went on dates with losers she met online. Those scenes were so much fun to write that I decided to write another book (Kissing Frogs) where I could incorporate more dates with losers!
2. When did you take up writing?
Although I have written over a thousand radio commercials, my journey into fiction and becoming an author started in 2010 when my wife encouraged me to take a creative writing class at Stanford. I ended up taking four classes between 2010 and 2012 and I enjoyed them tremendously. My first two novels are based on short stories that I wrote in those classes.
3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
The two most important things for me in my books are my character’s quirks and the dialogue. I can pretty much put them anywhere in the world to do that. However, I have been having fun setting my stories in real small cities close to where I live in Silicon Valley. I even use real restaurants for the date scenes.
4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
This is a very difficult question but I think I will have to go with the dog, Kili. It’s amazing how much fun a scene can be when you throw a two hundred pound St. Bernard into the mix.
5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
Writers write. Sit your butt down in the chair and write! It is so easy to get distracted or make excuses for not writing. No excuses! Do it!
6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
I don’t have any set hours, but I try to write five days a week—sometimes more when I am approaching a deadline. It can vary. Some days I write for an hour or two and other days up to eight hours. Keep in mind that some of that time is dedicated to staring at the monitor with a blank look on my face and pulling my hair out. Although I write at home most of the time, occasionally I will get together with a group of writers at a local coffee shop to write for a few hours.
7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
In the past, I did a very loose plot—just one sentence for each scene. Here is an example from my second book, Dog Day Wedding.
Scene 1: Giovanni gets jilted at the altar
Scene 2: Giovanni tries to set his ex fiancée’s clothes on fire.
Scene 3: Natalie stops Giovanni from setting the clothes on fire and they have a connection.
For my current work-in-progress, I am going deeper with the plotting in hopes of being able to write the book faster.
8. Can you name three of your favourite books?
The Best Man by Kristan Higgins
Stop The Wedding! By Stephanie Bond
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
Mr. Crotchety is the story of a bitter man who lost his wife and gave up on love. Then he meets the most positive woman in the world and sparks fly! One thing is certain, he’s either going to kill her or he’s going to marry her.
10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on
I would give the same advice that I received. Writers write. Sit down and write. No excuses.
Rich Amooi’s Bio
Rich Amooi is a former Silicon Valley radio personality and wedding DJ who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster and has a hairy golden retriever/lab mix that likes to eat carrots, tuna, and Manchego cheese imported from Spain.
He believes (Rich, not the dog) in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.
Links to Kissing Frogs on Amazon
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010FGX4A6?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B010FGX4A6?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B010FGX4A6?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B010FGX4A6?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
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The value of being accountable
This month I completed another 50,000 word challenge. This one was run under the auspices of the Romance Writers of Australia. I used the month to do a first draft of the 6th book in the Upper Crust Series.
I finished a little ahead of schedule with story all written (obviously with holes to plug and rewriting to do).
These sorts of challenges work well for me - not because I'm a super fast writer, not because I'm super organised but because I like being held accountable.
I'm a pretty reliable human being (tediously so). I'm punctual, I don't forget stuff, I never stand people up and I meet deadlines (pretty much all the time). I'm also a shocking procrastinator, SHOCKING! What I can postpone of put off astounds even me.
I let myself down on a daily basis but I don't let other people down. So if I tell you I'm going to sign up and do something with you, you can be reasonably certain I'll do it. It could be that being a tragic people-pleaser comes in handy for something.
For me being part of a group and meeting deadlines is easier than doing it alone. So CampNaNoWriMo, which happens again in July, NaNoWriMo and this 50k challenge are great motivators for me. Setting up the #1000wordsaday group on Facebook has also kept me writing this year. I feel I must show up and so I do.
I know this doesn't work for everyone. Some people find these things have the opposite affect on them. It's a matter of finding what motivates you and what destroys your creativity. But if like me, you won't quit in front of a crowd or let the team down (even if that's metaphorical) you may find these challenges motivate you.
In other news I am currently on a blog tour for my novel Any Way You Dream It.
Stop by and see the reviews for the novel and you could also win an Amazon Gift Card for your trouble.
29 - Sinfully Good Reads – Excerpt
June 29 - Chick Lit Plus – Review
June 30 - Caroline Fardig – Guest Post
June 30 - Celia Kennedy – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
July 1 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
July 1 - Polished and Bubbly – Review
July 6 - Living Life With Joy – Review & Q&A
5 things any writer can do if they only have 5 minutes
We are all time poor and as writers we often struggle to find balance between the writing, the promotion, the social media and our real lives.
"I don't have enough time" is almost a mantra we use in modern society. It's true that if you want to write, a five minute interval really isn't much use, but what about all the other stuff? What about the horrible nitty-gritty little jobs we put off until we have a long, long list we can't even stand looking at. Lots of those things are simple five minute jobs.
1. Create a social media post
The truth is it really does only take 5 minutes to put a post on Facebook. You can ask a question and add a photo (I just did the one above) and if you have it set up correctly it will link to Twitter as well. You'd really done two things in under 5 minutes.
2. Schedule some social media for when you can't be around
Pop on to Hootsuite or Tweetdeck or whatever social media scheduling platform you use and schedule a post for tonight or tomorrow or some other time you know you will be busy. You can write something about where you'll be or what's happening with your life, but you can also link to an old blog post.
3. Share the love
Social media is about being social. Take the 5 minutes and visit the Facebook page, amazon author page or blog of an author or other person you follow. Leave a comment, like their page, send them a message. Or you could go and retweet their lastest tweet. Do something for someone else. You can easily do that in 5 minutes. It will make someone's day and create good will.
If you follow hashtags on twitter such as #MondayBlogs or #BYNR or #Fridayreads go and have a look at who is tweeting what in that hastag
4. Ask for a review or guest blog spot
If you are a writer you probably have a list of people you need to approach for a review or you've discovered a new blog you think will help you reach your audience. So take 5 minutes and write to the blogger of reviewer in a quick email. You have your book cover and blurb already to attach. You know what you want to say. You can do that in 5 minutes.
5. Make a list
Grab a pen and paper or which ever app you use for lists and make a list. Here are 5 you can write in under 5 minutes:
a basic to do list
a list of blog posts you've already written that you could re-share on social media
a list of blog topics to write in the future
a list of Facebook posts
a list of people who have supported you who you could show some social media love to with a Facebook share, retweet or some other social media engagement.
Why I enjoy starting a new project
I've been busy this month working on a #50k30D challenge.(That means I need to write 50,000 words in June).
That's a lot of writer's idea of a nightmare. The pressure is too much and they don't like that feeling of being under the gun. I guess I'm not like that. I kind of love it actually.
For me writing a new book meets creating new characters - or as I like to call it - making new friends. I love and miss some of my characters from my stand alone books - Allegra will always be one of my favourite people as will Cassie from Hearts Afire and I really can't speak highly enough of Matt from A Fair Exchange of Harvey from Alphabet Dating. (I'm not a total nutter I do know they're not real people.) Still I like meeting new characters too.
The Upper Crust Series allows me to check up on the characters from other books in the series as I write them so it's the best of both worlds. I'm writing about Todd and Sarah in Book six just now. Todd was in Book 2 and features heavily in book 4 as well. Marissa from Book 4 and Chloe from Book 5 also appear quite a bit, see old friends with the new.
One of the reasons I like writing a book in a month (albeit a rough first draft) is because you have to be with those characters every day so you really get to know them. What they like to eat, what clothing they wear, what makes them laugh or cry - I know this because I'm spending so much time with them.
It's like being on a summer camp or a European bus trip with them. We bond fast and we share our secrets by the campfire or over some chianti and at the end of the month we walk away wondering if we really should have shared all that. I love it.
I enjoy the newness and the discovery of it all and of course the sense of achievement when I write a scene I'm happy with or hit a goal. Writing can be lonely and soul-destroying so you need those things to spur you on, well I certainly do. Some of the secrets I'm told by the characters will never make the page and others will be edited out down the track but for right now, I'm enjoying just knowing them.
And because it is Monday we need some music. This is one of my favourite songs at the moment. I love the retro 80's style video and the energy of the song. I like dancing to it in my car, and it give me permission to say "shut up" which I usually just don't do.
Here's a funky acapella version. This is how I sound in my imagination - which of course is the beauty of having a good imagination - imaginary friends and talents.
Today's guest blogger is author Engy Albasel Neville and her blog post is written from the perspective of the protagonist of A Leap in Time, Lexi Carter.
Past Life, Present Connections by Lexi Carter, A Leap In Time.
Growing up, I always gravitated towards ancient cities and places that have been forgotten with time. The stories of the people, remembered only in the pages of history pages tugged at me in a way that I couldn’t explain. Even to the people closest to me.
In high school and college, I studied Latin and in my early twenties, I found myself in antique stores for fun. I know … it sounds strange for a twenty something year old to love antique stores as much as I did. But I did.
One day, I stumbled upon an antique painting that changed my life forever. Even though I had never laid eyes on the painting before that day, I felt a deep connection to the landscape of the ancient city portrayed in it. This will sound weird but I felt like I had been there before. Have you ever felt that way about a place you’ve never been to? I couldn’t put my finger on why I loved the painting so much. All I knew was that I needed to have it.
To my shock, I discovered the painting was enchanted, as in a time portal to another world … ancient Pompeii to be exact. Can you believe it? I couldn’t until I blinked and found myself there, actually there in Pompeii.
So much has happened since my first accidental trip there but I wouldn’t spoil the story for you. You can read more about my journey to ancient Pompeii and the incredible man that stole my heart in A Leap In Time. I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I did.
About the author
I'm Engy. I'm a mom, a wife, an amateur chef, yogini, bookworm, a nature lover and a hopeless romantic.
Prior to writing full time, I worked in the entertainment industry and later in brand consulting. Some of the interesting personalities I met along the way have inspired the characters in my books. I currently reside on Long Island, New York with my husband, two toddlers and dog.
Book Blurb for A Leap in Time
The morning after hanging an antique painting, Lexi Carter notices strange noises in her living room. Scared beyond words, she confronts the sounds only to discover that the landscape itself has come alive. Did Roman soldiers on horseback just gallop across the thing?
She impulsively touches the painting and is sucked into the world of ancient Pompeii. Lexi meets Marcus, a Roman Adonis, who occupies her every thought, and sends her senses into a tailspin.
The year is 59AD and Pompeii is at its peak of glory and prosperity. Lexi is faced with the decision of choosing between two worlds, her modern day Los Angeles or ancient Pompeii...with the man who captured her heart and soul.
Where to find Engy:
Goodreads (Author Page): www.goodreads.com/EngyAlbaselNeville Goodreads (Book Page): www.goodreads.com/book/show/23453246-a-leap- in-time
Amazon (Author Page): www.amazon.com/Engy-Albasel- Neville/e/B00P64IB2O
BUY A LEAP IN TIME (Paperback & eBook):
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/ALeapInTimeBN
Google Play: http://bit.ly/ALeapInTimeGooglePlay
Apple iBooks: http://bit.ly/ALeapInTimeiBooks
The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/ALeapInTimeWildRosePress
Thank you so much Monique for having me on your blog. I’m delighted to write for you and your followers about my inspiration, my favourite characters and how I write.
Four years ago I started writing a short story when I was diagnosed with MS. It caused severe pain, and eventually permanent damage in my hands, which stopped me from typing. I had to teach myself how to use voice software and a good friend gave me an opening line to get me started on a short story.
I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction and found myself gravitating to it. I shared pieces of the story with my sister and a small number of friends, received positive feedback and encouragement, and I just kept going with it. By the time I was let go from work, I had 35,000 words written and several ideas on how to take it to novel length!
The short story morphed and became my debut novel Path Unchosen.
That opening line is no longer in the story … but the chapter it inspired is.
Setting is very important to me. In fact I wrote a blog post on this subject a while back – “The importance of being Welsh”. The setting was always Wales in my head. No-one wants to read paragraphs of description anymore, so the trick is to give a snippet of setting in a context that sets the scene for readers. I hope I've achieved that!
I love all my characters! But if I had to choose my absolute favourites I’d have to name my dragon Aymon, and my imp Lyken … erm I mean Meagan’s dragon and imp!
The best writing advice I was ever given … is to write, rewrite, and ship the finished product. I can’t work very quickly, but I write every day, and I employ the best professionals I can afford to make sure the book design is good, and my writing is as polished as it can be.
Morning seems to be my most productive writing time, but I’m also woken up by brilliant ideas at 4am. My muse doesn’t keep to a regular schedule!
I’ve never liked plotting, but my editor has convinced me to use an outline to keep myself focused on the main theme, and a cause and effect plot progression from beginning to end. I use Scrivener and love the way it lets me create an outline, use cards to summarise scenes, and work on the text at the same time.
I’m currently working with my editor on the final revisions to Truth Unveiled, book two in the Daughter of Ravenswood series. I’m also writing the first draft of book three, and preparing an outline for a brand new book ...
Resigned to dutiful spinsterhood after the death of her fiancé, Harriet obediently accompanies her father to Australia in 1857. Still grieving, she turns to Spiritualism to find her fiancé and say one last goodbye. But when she uncovers a mysterious disappearance and a cold-blooded murder, she has to shrug off Victorian conventions and risk everything that matters to her.
It’s a work in progress titled Harriet’s Hiatus. What a terrible name! I’m currently addicted to historical mystery and absolutely loving:
The Victorian San Francisco Mysteries by Louisa M Locke,
The Captain Lacey series by Ashley Gardner, and
The Lady Darby Mysteries by Anna Lee Huber
I advice all fledging writers to keep writing. To be brave and share your work with other writers in writing groups and online forums. To be resilient and listen to feedback that will help you, shrug off criticism that won’t. And most importantly to stop tinkering and finish the book!
Thanks again Monique
Time flies whether you're having fun or not, right?
It feels like this is one of those blink and you miss it years. One minute it was mid may and then bam we're into June. (June in Australia means winter and I am SOOOOOOOO not a fan of winter, hence the not having fun!)
May was a busy month with #ChicklitMay, the Sydney Writers' Festival and the release of Any Way You Dream It. But somehow I feel like I missed that last week entirely. Not sure what's up with that. It's a bit like raising a child. I'm sure my daughter is still meant to be ten and not fourteen.
Anyway, I had that thing I have after the release of every book - a rather counter-intuitive slump. You'd think one would be euphoric but it never quite pans out that way for me. The last two books have had major editing hassles that sucked any joy I might have expected right out of the experience. If I ever manage the energy to send a book to an editor again it will be a personal triumph.
I think I'm back in the saddle. I'm doing a #50k30D challenge with the Romance Writers of Australia and so far I'm flying along with book 6 in the Upper Crust Series (13,000 words as of half an hour ago). Of course that means book 3 will need to get to an editor (see above paragraph) before the others can follow. I hope to have the whole series out this year. Any Way You Fight It (book 3) will be out in July.
I'm enjoying writing about this couple. Todd and Sarah have been bouncing around in my head for a while, waiting their turn. Todd and his brother Mike appear in Any Way You Slice It and Mike gets to tell his story in book 4.
In other news Allegra placed in the Miss ChickLit pageant as Miss Retro Rad and Mr Right and Other Mongrels had it's third birthday last week. That's quite a milestone.
Lots of guest posts and giveaways this month so make sure you keep stopping by the blog. Or sign up for my newsletter for more chances to win.