Monday, July 13, 2009
FEATURED AUTHOR: Dara Girard
Dara Girard is an award-winning author of twelve novels that feature strong heroines, sexy heroes, family dramas and romance. Her writing has been praised for its deft plot twists, witty dialogue and humor.
In late June 2009, Round the Clock was released. This is the last book in her miniseries The Black Stockings Society about four women, one club and a secret that will make their fantasies come true.
Dara is also the author of an award-winning non-fiction book for writers, The Writer Behind the Words (Ilori Press, 2007). Dara lives in Maryland.
Rebel made good meets good girl gone wild…
Anna Marie has spent too long trying to please everybody else. Now, thanks to an unexpected inheritance, she’s got a new lease on life. Her first step? Accepting the invitation to the Black Stockings Society. Still, the scandalous fishnets she receives in her first package must be a mistake. Anna Marie would never dare wear something so outrageously sexy to a meeting with her lawyer…would she?
In high school, Desmond Rockwell was a rebel barely aware of Anna Marie’s existence, or the fact that she had a major crush on him. But he can’t ignore the bold, seductive woman who has come to him seeking legal advice, unleashing a sizzling attraction that proves that some things are definitely worth the wait…
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
Round the Clock is the fourth and final book in my Black Stockings Society Series about four women, one club and a secret that will make all their fantasies come true. First I hope they come away entertained because that’s my primary goal, but I would also hope Anna Marie’s success at love--despite the external and internal trials she faces--will prove inspiring for readers who want to follow their hearts.
Why did you choose to write this book?
In all honesty, this book chose me. Anna Marie came to me as a fully formed character with a story to tell. Fortunately, her story fit into the series framework and I hope completed it on a high note. Also I incorporated my ‘What if’ strategy. What if a woman is someone by day and someone else by night and gets a chance to change it all? Round the Clock became one answer to that question.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that finishing a series is bittersweet. There are characters who I will miss and other ideas that I could develop, but it’s time to start something new and I’m ready.
What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?
I have many favorite scenes and chapters because I truly enjoyed Anna Marie and Desmond and the people who are in their lives. However, what stands out for me is when after years of fantasizing about her high school crush, Desmond Rockwell, Anna Marie sees him again.
What is the toughest test you’ve faced as a writer?
Balance and endurance. Balancing the creative aspect of being a ‘writer’ (drafting the work, meeting deadlines, edits, copyedits etc…) and the business aspect of being an ‘author’ (marketing, promotion, taxes etc…). Marrying the two realms continues to be a struggle and enduring the hard knocks (nasty reviews, rejections—yes you can still get rejected after being published—and other disappointments). But I enjoy what I do so I take it all in stride (after throwing a well deserved tantrum) and go on.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
Sometimes I give a story a musical theme. I enjoy a variety of musical styles so I may give one story an Afro-Brazilian theme, and another a country theme and another may be based on alternative rock. These styles don’t necessarily influence the rhythm and flow of the story--but may relate to a character or a plot point or just the setting. I find it fun.
How do you reach new readers?
I use a three-dimensional approach that includes unique efforts on the internet, my website, and off-line efforts. Also opportunities like this interview (thanks) I hope will introduce me to new readers.
If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?
Only three? Yikes! Well, let me see, I’ll probably change my mind in the next hour, but off the top of my head I’d say William Shakespeare, because he was able to entertain the masses through low and high humor, and he shone a light on the truth of humanity that has lasted centuries. The second writer would be Andrew Davies because he’s prolific and writes in various venues such as TV, the stage, cinema and novels. He has translated many classics (i.e. Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch, Little Dorrit, Bridget Jones’ Diary) to the screen with amazing results. It takes a clever writer to take a story from one medium (i.e. books) to another (i.e. TV). Lastly, I would want to talk to Langston Hughes because I’m impressed with his themes and style.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
The one ‘do’ would be: Write. It amazes me how many aspiring writers talk about writing, read about writing, think about writing, but don’t sit down and write. It’s one of the easiest arts to begin. So do it! Write. For a minute or five hours it doesn’t matter. Just write consistently and you’re a writer.
The one ‘don’t’ would be: Don’t look for a blue-print to success in this field. No matter how many people you listen to, or read about, or conferences or workshops you go to, you will not find a road-map to success. Everyone reaches his or her destination in different ways. Listen to suggestions, but trust your instincts and discover your own path.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I love hearing from readers and they can reach me through snail mail at PO Box 10345, Silver Spring, MD 20914 or email contactdara (at) daragirard.com or visit my website www.daragirard and sign up for my newsletter where I keep readers up to date on upcoming releases and other projects I’m working on.
Our theme for this month is AGENT HUNTING. Do you have any advice on finding a good agent?
Number one rule: NEVER PAY AN AGENT. The money flows to you, the author. Any agent asking for reading fees, editing fees, referral fee or anything similar is not the agent for you. Also shy away from agents who say they ‘specialize’ in new authors. They are usually fee-charging as well. Reputable agents have a mixture of both new authors and established authors.
Finding a good agent basically comes down to research. Do your homework. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has a great page about literary agents and what to look out for. I also have several links on my site as a strong starting point. Invest your time in finding the right match, so you won’t regret your choice in the end. A known truth in the industry is not having an agent is better than having a bad agent.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My next book is called Words of Seduction and is scheduled to be released next year, March 2010. It’s about a former housewife turned hot-shot novelist who returns to her small town, stirs things up with the town’s former bad boy, and gets the town talking.
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