Thursday, June 12, 2008

Guest Blogger Natalie Anderson

This week we bring you another of my new friends from the Modern Heat line who's just been fabulous about welcoming the newbie. Natalie's from New Zealand, so we could have another vocabulary lesson today. Natalie also has four small children (including a set of twins) and still manges to write. While I hang my head in shame and wonder how she does it, eveyone make Natalie welcome!


Seeing Nicola has stolen the Swot tag, I guess I’ll have to settle for Chatterbox – ‘cos I am known for waffling on and on about anything and nothing and digressing a heap and circling around and getting nowhere… ok, I’ll stop with that and get on with the topic.

My name is Natalie and I am Obsessive. Bet you are too.

Now not all obsessiveness is bad – I tend to think you have to be obsessive to achieve and maybe more obsessive to really achieve. I do think most writers are obsessive – why else would we sit at a desk for hours at a time talking to no one but those millions inside our heads? And finishing a book (whether it gets published or not) is achieving something huge. But wait, I’m digressing already…

Now some obsessiveness IS bad. There is no point obsessing over things we can’t control – so while its fine for me to obsess over what my characters are doing and what am I going to make them do next, it is not fine to obsess for hours/days/weeks over what my editor thinks about the manuscript I just submitted and do I still have a contract, or is she about to say “No Way” and rip it up.

That’s bad obsessing and must be stopped.

How? With a new obsession of course.

Everyone says to get on with the next while you wait but frankly, I find this really, really hard. Fortunately my daughter has inadvertently helped me out this time. She’s gotten into reading in a big way and now she’s onto chapter books she’s declared herself ready to read my books.

She’s five.


So that’s a NO then!

But at the same time I love that she’s so supportive of me and wants to be involved. So, while waiting for my editor’s views on my latest offering, I’ve been toying with writing a junior fiction chapter book just for her. I have a character called Leah (her favourite name), while my son has enough alter-egos for me to fill out the rest of the cast: Riffy-the-dog; Roaldo- the-calf; Molly-the-meercat; Noi-Noi (we don’t quite know WHAT he is) and so on. They’ve also provided the location – ‘Danger Kid Mountain’ (otherwise known as our stairs). The story is as cheesy and self-referential as I like because it’s only for us – and I’ve discovered that that is so liberating!!!

It can be wonderful to break out of the genre you usually write in and take a holiday somewhere else Рindulge in some clich̩ and complete melodrama and craziness and not give a stuff about it being good enough for publication Рor good enough for anything other than a laugh.
Of course, it’ll probably never be finished – revisions will come from the editor, proofs for the previous one will arrive, the deadline for the next will start to loom… Then again, I am obsessive.

So what about you, if you were going to take a holiday from your usual writing hole to experiment with something completely different, where would you head – fantasy? Paranormal? Thriller? Gumshoe Detective? Non-fiction? Kiddie Lit? The Great (Insert Nationality Here) Novel???

And meanwhile, if you’re over the age of consent and like some sauce with your story (like a whole bottle), you can check out my two June releases:

Thanks so much for letting me prattle on in the Playground!
For excerpts and more info on Natalie’s saucy stories go to:
Hey, y'all check out this cool widget thing I figured out how to put on here...


MaryF said...

That widget thingy is nifty! :)

Its a pleasure to meet you Natalie! I love that you are obssessive; I agree I think it goes with the territory as a writer.

Now, what would I write? Currently Iam shooting for the Blaze line; but I want to try my hand at fantasy, YA, and a childern's story. I think its good to expand your writing horizens; the question is Will I ever get to that point; I have no idea; but there's baby flying horse and gargoyle that insists that I do.....(my kids)

Well, I better get back to work...LOL :)
(I'm a waffler to...can you tell; give me half a chance some caffiene and I keep on going...LOL)

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the USA and more to the point, the state of Alabama. I will put your USA issue on my TBR list ASAP. How do you do it with four children? You must be super organized and then some. I know my sister has four children and she has to be. You go!!!

Smarty Pants said...

Obsessive? I'm not obsessive. That agent has only had my partial for 319 days. But I'm not counting. :)

If I could write something completely different, I think I would do some YA fantasy. That's a turn from sexy paranormals, I think, although there's still a big otherworldly element in each. I have a hard time keeping that out, to be honest.

4 kids. I have trouble writing with 4 pets, much less kids.

Playground Monitor said...

Welcome Natalie! I love that your daughter is so supportive. And how sweet to write a book for the kiddos that IS appropriate for them to read.

So far my writing experience has been short stories -- 5 to 8K words. So a full-length novel would be an experiment for me. LOL! I've always wanted to be able to plot an intricate romantic suspense.


Instigator said...

Welcome to the Playground, Natalie! It's great to have you here today.

Like you, I think I'd like to try my hand at something my girls can read before they're 30 (cause DH is firmly against them dating until then so a Blaze would do them no good). I'm saving each of them a copy of my books so that when they get older they can have them...I just haven't decided when 'older' is going to be.


Angel said...

Wow! I too hang my head in shame. I'm wondering how I'll get anything done with just 2 kids home for the summer. You must give us your obsessive-appropriate tips for writing with children.

Meanwhile, I'll step up to the plate of Obsessives Anonymous. I definitely fit in there, as my hubby will tell you. I have a hard time turning off the obsessive thoughts about things I've submitted, and admit I obsess about my plot and characters too. The biggest problem is when my obsessiveness turns into worry. Have to really work on that.

Natalie, can you also tell us a bit about your journey to publication?

Have fun on the playground today!


Smarty Pants said...

30? That means I'm not old enough to read any of this, much less write it....

Angel said...

I didn't answer the question! Oh well, as today's my birthday I'm allowed to be a little off.

I'd write a paranormal. Love to read them and I came up with a plot, but who knows if I'll get around to writing it. ;)


Instigator said...

Yeah. I couldn't have read it either while I was writing it. DH is a when it comes to the thought of his daughters dating. I don't think it's helping that at 6 and 3 they've both had boyfriends. Sigh.


Problem Child said...

Okay, so the widget thing isn't quite right...sigh. It looked right in the preview!

But welcome, Natalie. You are among obsessive friends here.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Natalie! I bought all the Presents this month and you are on the TBR pile! Wow, 4 kids. I only have two cats and it's sometimes amazing how much they can interfere with my writing time. :)

Right now, I'm obsessing about the book I'm writing. I'm hoping my editor doesn't rip it to shreds either. :) I want to have it done and to her SOON. But am I missing the mark? Is it suffering from multiple personality disorder? Etc.

*sigh* What are you gonna do, right? Just write it and submit it and keep the fingers crossed.

If I could write something different than the Presents and romantic suspense I currently write, I think I'd try a paranormal. I never really thought that before, but I actually have an idea. And I wrote a one page synopsis of it (this is big -- I'm a pantster).

Happy Birthday, Angel!!!

Sherry W. said...

Hi Natalie! It is nice to meet you. I'm with Mary - the widget thing is nifty. And it looks like I'll be making a trip today to buy the book. Got to find out what happens next!

I'm struggling with my first book so no way am I thinking about other possibilities until this thing is finished! (LOL)

Maybe I need a good shot of obsessiveness to get me going! : )

Sherry W. said...


Kathy said...

Partay in the playhouse! Happy Birthday, Angel!! :-)

Thanks for coming to play, Natalie!
I'm very obsessive, sad to say. I tend to dwell and dwell and dwell some more on WIPs, my kids, my house, you name it.

What would I write beside historicals? Good question... how about historical Blaze, historical paranormal (histapara or parahista's). LOL. Who knew?

I have four kids too. The first two are out on their own now and #3is leaving for college the end of June. #4 will be a senior this year. We're going through a lot of change around here. All good! How do you manage to find time to write with little ones? My grown kids schedules have me walking in circles.

What intriqued you most about writing for Presents?

Natalie Anderson said...

Oh how lovely to wake up to a bunch of comments and questions... its 6:45 here and I'm ignoring the kids for ten while I quickly reply... (please forgive the typos in advance - i can spell but i can't type and i'm short on time!)
Maryf - of course you'lll get to that point - when the gargoyle and flying horse become insistent enough in your head - then you just have to throw up your hands ans say OK - i'll get on with it!!!
My problem right now is the time factor - my writing time is so limited that i have to be really disciplined - i do look forward to the day when they're all in school and i can write from 9:30-2:30 everyday (only 3 and bit years away, not that I"m counting). I love Blaze - look forward to reading yours one day!!!

Natalie Anderson said...

robertsonreads - i have a really supportive husband who does lots of housework and puts away (a clean) Mount Washmore every night. He is also a writer (daily newspaper sort) and understands the drive and need. He is also clutter man and I am clutterl woman so we have a maximalist apporach to interior design and opposed to minimalist. Maximum toys and books. He also understands how much happier i am when i do it (happy mum = happy house after all). I used to be able to do all the writing at night when they were asleep but i find witht he shcool run etc (literally, i run to keep up with their scooters and push the twins in the buggy) i am very tired. so when deadlines loom i write all weekend and Dave solo parents it. One of us is always wokring and the other childcaring (the unoad work!) - that's just the way it is at the moment and it will change over time. I fell its so worth it for many reasons and teh kids are lucky to have two super invoved parents... i hope anyway!!!

Natalie Anderson said...

smartypants - YAS fantasy would be such fun wouldn't it - there are some awesome, awesome books out there - otherworldly is good. Love that freedom - I'd love to time to come up with another world someday.
Pets???!!!? I'm a no to pets ;)

PLayground monitor - I'm with you on the intricate suspense plot. I always wanted to be a detective story writer - before i hit romance. WEll actually, I think I'd have to incorporate both cos i do love a good love sotry!!
Have you tried the old nano approach to novel writing??

Ah heck, gotta go shower - back later!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow Natalie, I'm really impressed. And that your husband is sharing the load is wonderful.

ps happy birthday, angel

Natalie Anderson said...

Insitgator - I'm saving a copy for all of them too - no idea when they can have them but probably before 30! ;) I read some pretty racy Presents as a teen... but the thought of htem reading mine as a teen??!!!! Hmmmm, not so sure... I currently keep all my author copies in their boxes inthe spare room out of reach.. but they see the covers all the time on the webpage etc. So funny.... sorta... ;)

Natalie Anderson said...


- meant to post that one first - hope you're having a fabulosa day.
Here's what you have to do before your next birthday - write that paranomal!!!!!!

My journey to publication was fairly smooth i have to say - albeit a bit of a rocket-ride. I was going nuts at home with a son who never slept. Started writing. Doiscovered nanowrimo and blatted out a romance in 30 days. And another. And another. Decided to send one away to M&B (I had reserarched the lines etc). They asked for the full. I sent it off. They asked for ervisions (FIVE PAGES of a revisions letter). I did them and sent it back. The night I went into prem labour with my twins they wrote back with a few more revisiosn and said could they have them back in a week. Babies in NICU, me recovering from c/section - no problem to enter fantasy-land!!! Did them. Sent them on the friday. They phoned monday. A few months short of 2 years later and I've written 6 more and have three more contracted.
It has been a really wild ride and totally full on. Somedays i don't think i can do it - it certainly hasn't been easy at times. But then you just keep on doing it. And at the end of the day i do LOVE writing those stories - otherwise I couldn't do it. The twins are good - one has had 3 operations, the other has had 1 (all relatively minor), they've gotten over reflux etc, they sort of sleep sometimes, they're walking and talking. The 4 and 5 year olds have coped wonderfully and *seem* adjusted and happy. 5 year old is rocketing at school, 4 year old (only boy) has a ton of boymates at morning kindy which is fun to watch. We don't have a telly (no time for it) and we're a pretty tight unit.
And its complete chaos.

Natalie Anderson said...

Lynne - (((hugs))) on the second guessing obsessiveness - i am so with you there. I think the only thing you can do it push it to the bakc and get the thing finished and written - THEN start the panicking. I really try to enjoy the writing of it - because i think that comes across to the reader. Esp for the HEat books I guess because they want that more 'fun' tone... Ah I don't know what I"m talking about really!!! Anyway, you are SO on your way lady - i LOVED your chapter - looking forward to reading so much more!!!

Sherry - go you on getting that first book finnished!!!! Shot of obsessiveness coming your way...
I do think the more you write, the more ideas you have. I always seem to get hit with new characters when I'm working really deep and hard on revisions. Strange how it works - they start having whole conversations etc and I'm like - leave me alone, I gotta get these others guys right first! LOL.
Put the time on yourself Sheey and get it done - you won't believe the lift you get from finishing a book :)

Natalie Anderson said...

Kathy - I"m with you too - I'll wake at 3am and dwell on the most minor things - ridiculous really... but hey, all you can do is try to harness it and channel the energy into something useful.
I'm in the Modern Heat strand rather than traditional Presents - we're supposed to have that younger, cosmopolitan, flirty, bantery feel - which frankly I love. I find it harder doing the dig deep and really let it bleed stuff (altho I do because my editor makes me and it is worth it - LOL). Being the fantasist that i am, i figured I wasn't so far away from the younger, flirty, bantery time in my life... and I'd lived in a few biggish cities ... so i thought - why not?! And its what i like to read too... you knwo what they say - write the books you love :)

OK, i haven't made lunches and the kids are getting snippy... back later - thanks so much for making me so welcome!!!!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Natalie, you are a gem! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you. :) Glad you liked my chapter. I'll be smiling ear to ear while I wrestle these two characters this afternoon. :)

Playground Monitor said...

Okay, so I hadn't had time to go to Natalie's site and read the excerpts, but my errands this afternoon took me right by the book aisle at Walmart and well... a copy of HIS MISTRESS BY ARRANGEMENT now belongs to me. The back blurb piqued my interest. I love pretend affairs that get out of hand.


Natalie Anderson said...

Lynne - no probs - now go write! :)

Marilyn - thank you so much - I'm nervous now.. hee hee... I hope you enjoy it!

MaryF said...

Natalie, I am in awe at how you do things! I must never complain again. Who am I kidding?! Things wouldn't be the same without it.

I am looking forward to reading some of your stories. They look fun!


Now, I'm home from work I better drag my lazy self off to write...(See, I can't complain after reading your schedule Natalie! LOL)

Natalie Anderson said...

Maryf - there is always, ALWAYS someone who somehow manages more - take Presents author Kate Hewitt - sold around the same time as me, homeschools 3 kids, currently pregnant with number 4, has written about the same number of M&Bs as me since AND writes historicals for another publisher!!!!!
It makes me exhausted just thinking of it all...
I guess we all do what we have to do... but sometimes I think being busy helps because it makes us really disciplined with the time we do get to write...

MaryF said...

You are right Natalie, :)
Currently I am busily staring at a blank page wondering "Where am I going from here!" LOL

So what do you do when you have that frustrating moment of blankness; how do you overcome it?

And are you a Plotter or do you just wing it?

I like hearing how everyone goes through the process each one is unique.

Natalie Anderson said...

I'm a plotter - but it always changes. I tend to get character visitations - or funny situation visits and I go from there. If i havne't had one then i look to the 'hook' valid for hte line - like sex with the ex, boy next door, in bed with the boss etc etc and play with it for a while. Once i have my 2 characters i try to work out their backstories etc - and why they really aren't right for each other, get down some major plot points etc in say a 2 page outline - i tend to do, all about him, all about her and all about what happens. I get my ed to have a look over this before diving in (then i just send her hte full once its done). Things always change and get added as i go - because i learn heaps about htem as i write. i do a very sparse first draft - to get to know them - and then spend a LONG time working it all up and getting it right. sometimes i leave some things out that shld be in there - that's what i'm working on in revisions at the moment. but i really, really believe that in these sort of category romances its all about character - you can have the cutest set-ups in all the world and the funniest banter, but its meaningless unless you have the reader hooked into the characters - they must have depth and we must have cheering for them. Character and conflict...
and it can be darn hard. VERY hard when you're writing romances where there is that fun feel AND they can't keep their hands off each other - you need something really good to keep them from getting to HEA by page 30!!!!
At the end of the day you have to come back to WHY...
- and trust me, i am no expert on this - i am the revisions queen!!!

MaryF said...

Revisions are going to be in my future! It sounds like you have a great system that works. :)

I am in the midst of reworking my whole story; especially the black moment--has to do with me doing exactly what you are saying--getting to know my characters..

You must write very quickly; I think its fabulous that you have an editor that really knows your style and how you work.

So; my last question: do you have a particular book you've written or characters that are/were your favorites? or are they all your favorites as you write each one?

Natalie Anderson said...

I guess i do write reasonably fast - but i spend an awful lot of time thinking about them - i have the outlines done for the next three already and have a notebook on each for when odd bits of dialogue come to me etc. and when i'm working on them towards the end there its very intense - like 12+ hour days and awake half the night thinking intense - you end up in their world and not your own for a bit.
ANYWAY, my favourite is always the one i'm working on :)
I do have a soft spot for "Bought: One Night, One Marriage" (my 5th, due out in the UK in Sept, not sure about US) - that has some dialogue i was really pleased with and also went up a level (i think/hope) in terms of emotional intensity. I cried, my ed cried and my mum cried reading that one - the trifecta! A feat I'm determined to repeat...

MaryF said...

That is so cool Natalie, I wish we could get it here too. (I'll look)I think it would a great read.

And you are giving me some GREAT tips; I never thought of.

Yes, I admit, I'm flying by the seat of my pants at the moment. :)

Thanks so much for coming by; I've really enjoyed getting to meet you and talk to you.

You're keeping me motivated to write and of course read!!!

Natalie Anderson said...

I *think * it is coming out in the US - but I need to confirm when - will get back to you on that ;) BUT I am planning a competition over at my blog in July and that will be one of the prizes - so enter won't you?!
Am glad to have been of limited help Maryf - it has been really fun being here today - so much so I'm gonna have to come back :)

MaryF said...

I'm so going to enter that contest...:)
Thanks Natalie!
And I do hope you come back again!

Playground Monitor said...

I read the first chapter while dinner was cooking and I think this is going to be a fun ride. Can't wait to pick it up again and continue reading.

Thanks so much for visiting today, Natalie. I hope the heat wasn't too much for you (it's winter in NZ isn't it?). That sliding board gets mighty hot in the blazing sun.


Smarty Pants said...

Thanks for joining us today, Natalie. We'd love to have you back.

As for Mary...quit procrastinating! I know what you're doing. Work on that pitch and partial, missy!

Natalie Anderson said...

Thanks heaps for having me guys - hope everyone has a fab weekend :)

Natalie Anderson said...

Oooh I'm back (you can't get rid of me now - told you I was a chatterbox)... ANYWAY, Maryf I wanted to tell you that my "Bought: One Night, One Marriage" is going into the States in December as part of the Bad Boy Billionaires series :)
- but enter the comp anyway come July...