September 16, 2013
Q&A WITH DEE TENORIO
The Latina Book Club welcomes author Dee Tenorio. She writes in numerous categories, is a perfectionist and loves any and all kinds of books. A woman after our own heart! Welcome, Dee.
Q: You write paranormal mysteries, contemporaries, romantic comedies and erotica. Which category is your favorite? How do you decide which category to write next? Do you ever get confused?
A: I wish I could say I had a specific favorite. I tend to love the one I'm working on at the time. It's just the way my mind handles its creativity. If I finish a dark paranormal, I need to lighten up a bit and I write a rom com. Empty one well, switch to another so the one I just used can refill. (That might make sense only in my head, but I hope you know what I mean.)
I don't really get confused because I kind of program myself to certain tones using music and imagery. When I have to write two different books at the same time, I simply change my cues and that helps keep everything straight.
Q: And when do you find time to write? You are a writer, a wife and mother. Please share your time management secrets with us.
A: It’s not really a secret as it is sheer desperation. I'm a firm believer that if you really want something, you find a way to make it happen. I write any chance I get—with my kids screaming in front of me, at my desk, in the middle of the night, while I'm cooking, sitting on the stairs. I write in the car on the drive over to whereever we have to go. But, you can't always rely on those corners of time, so I also do my best to get in at least one 1k1hr (a thousand words in an hour) sprint a day. It doesn't always happen, but I do my best. And some days, I make up ground and write the whole day until my brain is numb. When I'm on deadline, though, everything takes a massive backseat. I write or people get maimed. (At least, that's what I tell them.)
Q: Tell us about your new book, TRUST IN ME. Is this the beginning of a new series?
A: TRUST IN ME is Book #5 in my Rancho del Cielo Romances series. I must admit, I truly love this book. It's about a man, Locke Jackman, who has given up everything to raise his many younger siblings and the woman he's in love with, who is determined not to be involved with him. The kids are all grown and on their own, leaving Locke very much at loose ends. A family man down to the ground, he's completely not sure what to do with the rest of his life. His heroine holding him at arm's length isn't helping either. But he's patient and he's determined to show her what their life together can be. Only problem is, he has no idea the secrets he's up against. Or the fact that one of those secrets is about to turn his life upside down….
Q: We hear you are a perfectionist, which is why you obsess over the wallpaper on your website. Does being a perfectionist make one a better writer?
A: I am a perfectionist. It's a fault, though, so I'm constantly trying to fix it. LOL. I don't know if it makes me a better writer, but I find it does make me a more exacting one. I'm very, VERY specific when it comes to my editing. I know I can't get everything, but it's a goal to get as close as possible to zero errors. (There is much rending of my sackcloth when I see one make it to publication, though.)
I get to the point where we just have to accept that we've done the best we can and let it go into the world. It's not an easy point to get to, so thank God for editors who say, "If you don't give me your final copy, I'm going with the one I HAVE." That'll snap you out of it.
Q: Tell us about The Hero’s Journey. You have numerous how-to writing articles on your website full of writing tips and publishing information. Is this your way of giving back? What authors were your mentors?
A: Can I answer yes AND no to that one? I started out in the romance community by working as a host on the Harlequin.com Community, most often with the writers working toward publication. I learned so much there, particularly from the authors who were regulars and from visiting authors as well. And you know what? I learned from the newbies, whose enthusiasm for writing was refreshing and inspiring, sometimes when you needed it the most. So, yes, the articles have a lot to do with giving back what was given so freely to me. But, oddly enough, I found that teaching what I'd figured out helped me put it all straight in my head, too. So, there's some give and take to those articles.
Like I said, I learned—and continue to learn—so much from the authors in the romance community -- people like Day Leclaire, Kate Walker, Maya Banks. They've all given me incredible advice, as far as making my dream to be a writer a reality, but also how to keep that reality going. Writing better, treating it like a business, and keeping my head when the business end gets a little scary. And trust me, it can get terrifying!
Publishing is a big ocean with all sizes of fish and predators. So while there's many folks working together or others being willing to help you find your fins again, right now, the water is choppy and a lot of people are trying not to drown. Rely on those you trust, but definitely, go with your gut when you can. You're going to be wrong sometimes, but as long as you learn from those mistakes, you'll be okay.
Q: Do you have any favorite Latino authors? Will we see any Latino characters in your books?
A: I have to admit, there aren't a lot of Latino authors in Romance—or they aren't saying, if they are—but then again, I'm fairly vocal about most things in my life. Being Hispanic is probably the first thing folks learn about me. I'm half Mexican, half Native American. I still grumble that I didn't get the awesome thick, lustrous hair— my sisters got that— or the fabulous green thumb (I'm a plant killer like no one's business.), but my heritage is still unmistakable when people see me and I'm quite proud of the people I come from.
As for Latino characters, I actually have a book that is basically a love letter to my parents families. BURN FOR ME stars a Mexican hero, Raul Montenga and much of the book is about his complicated relationship with his very large family. The expectations of culture and history and even the scars of what racism in California has done to both sides of the color lines. Huge portions of that book are taken from my experience with both my parents families, my bazillion cousins and tias and tios, and the stories they've told me about the way thing have changed— and not changed— in their lifetimes. My mother's family was also one of the large families that seemed to comprise San Diego county in the "old days", as they all called it, so I wanted to show that community too.
I very much want to show more of my culture in future books. I'm just waiting for the right project to come to mind.
Q: We noticed you have a newsletter. Do you find that newsletters really work with readers? Is yours monthly? What sorts of things make a good author newsletter?
A: Actually, it's a new newsletter. I had one a while back, but the program was buggy and it hindered more than it helped. I've just sent out my very first issue! Alas, I don't anticipate it being a monthly. I believe that newsletters should be exactly that—news. Sadly, I don't have news every month – LOL! –, but I do read the ones that come from authors I support.
I like knowing when new things are coming out, especially series that I'm reading, so a publishing schedule is a must. I also love reading sneak peeks—I have like ZERO self-control when I can get a snippet of a new book I want to read— and I think that's effective for reaching readers. The point is to be as accessible as possible to readers and I'm all for that. Growing up a voracious reader, I usually had to scrape and work hard to get to the books I could find. In this day and age, there are so many more ways to reach readers. I know there are people out there just looking to read stories like mine; they just haven't found me yet. So I'm doing my part to be easy to find.
Q: Book or ebook? Which do you prefer?
A: I LOVE the accessibility of ebooks. I can carry literally hundreds of books on my reader without cluttering my purse or the car while my husband is driving. This is really helpful since I'm a fast reader and one book doesn't hold me for long. (And OMG, it drives my husband crazy when I have an armful of books to go somewhere for a day or two.) If I get a paperback, I'm not going to feel bad, though. I love stories, period. How I get them doesn't matter as much to me.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Currently, I'm working on a novella about a former Marine with PTSD, who is doing his best to keep it together long enough to help his partner save a small town. But is a woman on the wrong side of the law going to be his redemption or the death of him? (I know, fluffy, right?)
Q: Where can fans interact with you? Please give us the links to your website, blog, social networks, pinterest, other.
A: Like I said, I believe in accessibility so if ever anyone wants to find me, I'm quick to answer. Friend me, Like me, Follow Me, Circle Me, I'm there for you.