Today I'm happy to welcome Angela Quarles to my blog. I met Angela through Six Sentence Sunday, and it's where I first got to enjoy her fun brand of contemporary and historical romance. I also was lucky to beta read an earlier version of her new release, Beer and Groping in Las Vegas, and I can't wait to read this on my Nook.
My dad! We used to watch reruns of the original Star Trek when it came on Sunday evenings back in the 70s (man, I'm showing my age). I loved that show. If my brother and I weren't playing Cowboys and Indians, we were going on Away missions outside, with our bridge we made out of sticks and things. We ordered communicators and those plastic phasers, which shot little round discs, from ads in the back of comic books, and we used dad's light meter as our tricorder. I really wanted to order a pair of Vulcan ears, LOL. I also remember going on road trips and when my parents would say 'another hour' I'd run through in my head a Star Trek episode to pass the time.
Then in 1977, when I was ten, Star Wars! My brother and I saw it ten times in the theater that year. We got to a point where we could recite every line as we watched it, which I'm sure annoyed the other patrons. We ordered the Star Wars Fan Club kit and held our local chapter meetings (consisting of just my brother and I, you understand) on the floor of our kitchen.
My dad later introduced me to science fiction books, which I still love reading. It was my boyfriend after college that solidified my geekdom by introducing me to computer games, which has become one of my few addictions. Before that, computer games to me were games like Pong, or even back when I was really little, ones where my brother and I tried to play games by typing in lines of Basic computer code from a little spiral-bound notebook for our Commodore 64. But the boyfriend and I played an adventure game that took place in the Arthurian world (can't remember the name) and it would show a still image and a blank box beneath where you typed in what you wanted to do, like 'dig under stone' and I was hooked. We also played Civilization when it came out as a computer game; before that we used to gather with friends and play the board game in an all-day marathon.
I'm laughing about Pong, because I remember how that seemed so high-tech! You have some of the best book titles I've ever seen. Do you come up with the title first, or the story?
Thank you! I wrote a blog post yesterday on Jillian Chantal's blog about how to brainstorm titles, but in short, they come to me now during the brainstorming phase. I say 'now' because Must Love Breeches did not come to me until the third draft. However, after I got my brain tuned to the idea that I needed good titles, they've come either before the story idea or during brainstorming (so far!). Beer and Groping in Las Vegas, which released Wednesday, is the only one where the title came first.
It's such a great title! How did this story come about?
I work in a bookstore and was trying to think of possible titles for a new project (but one I didn't have a premise for yet), and was shelving some Hunter S. Thompson, and I was like hmm, what could be a twist off of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and first I was like Beer and Loathing, but I write lighthearted romances, and then 'groping' popped into my head. In the next instant I had the hero, as I thought he should be a microbrewer, and that the heroine would be an overworked software programmer. Once I had that, things started falling into place, including the description for him of being a geek trapped in a good ole boy's body. I had that tagline for him before I even started writing the story. I knew I wanted to try my hand at writing a shorter length than a full novel, and this seemed like a good candidate.
Thanks! I did a blog post Wednesday at Cara Bristol's on how to make trailers. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I could pull it off myself, and on a small budget to boot, but I thought I would try and if I wasn't happy with it, no one had to even know I'd tried! I think once I saw this book trailer by Maggie Stiefvater for a book about kraken love, it showed me that I could not only do something myself, but also that I could have a conversational style and have fun with the viewer, which I felt set the right tone for Beer and Groping. Snippets of one-liners started popping into my head. I had a lot of fun, and giggled a lot while making it :)
I did a lot of giggling while watching it. It's really fun. I tried to embed it here, but my geek skills are lacking today, so everyone, just click here to see it. Angela, do you have a favorite writing spot?
It really depends! If I'm writing the first draft, it's usually at my desk at home, but if it's the weekend, I sometimes go to Starbucks to get that word count in. For revising, I like to sit on my front porch, which is one of those old, wide, deep Southern porches. If the weather is bad, then I have a table in a nook off the Library where I revise. Both spots are nowhere near my laptop, which is critical!
I love front porches! I think I could do a lot of great writing on one. When the writing gets tough, what keeps you going?
Yerba Maté tea!
Seriously, I think the support I have from other writers helps, but if you're talking about just making myself get the wordage down and stop putzing around, I LOVE #1k1hr on twitter as it keeps me focused and on task. I've also started keeping notes from contest feedback or reviews in my writer's journal so when I start dealing with bad reviews and it gets me down, I can look back at those to stay positive and keep going.
If I'm stuck as far as where to go, I turn to that same journal and just start having conversations with myself, writing it long hand, where I go over what I know so far, and start asking 'what if' questions about the plot and characters to see if anything jars loose.
I get so much done when I do the #1k1hr sessions. Plus it justifies me being on Twitter! So what are you working on next?
I'm in the research/brainstorming phase for a sequel to Must Love Breeches, my time travel romance, and all I can say right now is that it will be another time travel set in the past. How's that for vague? LOL. I don't want to say more as my agent and I are still working that out and I don't want to make any promises I can't keep.
I don't blame you for being vague. Sometimes I get a little superstitious about talking about a story too early. If you could play hooky today, what would you do?
Read! I know that sounds boring, but the only leisure time I allow myself to read is when I'm eating or when I go to bed at night, so curling up with a book during the day would be awesome! I love going someplace private in the house and just reading for a whole day and allowing myself to be completely immersed for hours in someone else's world. Now, if you'd said money was no object, and I had access to a transporter, I'd beam over to Scotland or some other country and explore for a day.
I know what you mean about reading. It's such a rare treat now. If you could sit and have coffee with any writer, living or previously living (I didn't want to say dead, because ewww!)--who would it be?
LOL! Can I have tea? I prefer it to coffee, as I can only drink decaf (You just fell out of your chair in shock, didn't you? That's tantamount to heresy for you!) But anyway, I'd have to say Jane Austen!
I did fall out of my chair! But yes, you can have tea -- as long as you share Jane Austen with me. I'd love to visit with her too. Thanks again for visiting, Angela, and I know you'll have great success with your books. This year has been a banner one for you!
Beer and Groping in Las Vegas
Can a djinn and a magic slot machine bring two geeks together?
Riley McGregor is a geek trapped in a Good Ole Boy body and as owner of a microbrewery, smart chicks never look at him twice.
Rejected by a geek who wanted to “trade up,” Mirjam Linna would rather immerse herself in work than be the girlfriend-of-the-moment. Stranded in a Vegas hotel, she makes a wish—a night of hot sex with the man of her dreams. It's granted. She agrees to dinner, but afterward, she’ll say thanks, but no thanks, and see what’s on the SyFy channel. But when they meet, they're surprised to find they had a shared connection in their past. Sparks fly as these two learn to be in the moment, be themselves and find love.
Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, Firefly and Marvin the Martian will enjoy this romantic comedy.
Bio: Angela works at an independent bookstore and lives in an historic house in the beautiful and quirky town of Mobile, AL, with her two matched gray cats, Darcy and Bingley. When she's not writing, she enjoys the usual stuff like gardening, reading, hanging out, eating, drinking, chasing squirrels out of the walls and creating the occasional knitted scarf. She's had a varied career, including website programming and directing a small local history museum.
She's an admitted geek and is proud to be among the few but mighty Browncoats who watched Firefly the first night it aired. She was introduced to the wonderful world of science fiction by her father, by way of watching reruns of the original Star Trek in her tweens and later giving her a copy of Walter M. Miller Jr's A Canticle for Leibowitz as a teenager. She hasn't looked back since.
She has a B.A. in Anthropology and International Studies with a minor in German from Emory University, and a Masters in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University. She was an exchange student to Finland in high school and studied abroad in Vienna one summer in college. She recently found representation with Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon, Assoc.