Monday, May 16, 2011

Interview with author, Jeanne Stein

Thirty year old Anna Strong is a bounty hunter-- tough, confident, at the top of her game. But when she is attacked one night in a parking lot, her life is inexorably changed. She awakens in the hospital to find she has become Vampire and her destiny is no longer with the living, but among the undead. With her mentor, the vampire doctor who treated her in the hospital, she strives to make sense of it all. But then her home is burned to the ground, and her business partner and best friend is kidnapped. Anna suddenly finds herself alone on a quest to save more than her missing friend, but herself as well.

Sound interesting?  It is, and what's more, the author of the Anna Strong books is just as interesting as her characters. When you are done reading the interview, feel free to ask Jeanne a question of your own or leave a comment. Then head on over to her website and check out more information about her and her books. 

Please welcome one of my favorite people, Jeanne Stein. 

First off, tell us a little about yourself and when/how/why you started writing.
I think I've always been a writer--but I didn't start taking writing seriously until I moved to Denver 14 years ago. I joined RMFW, found the perfect critique group and from them, learned what I needed to know about the craft and the business. I became a professional with their help and encouragement.

And your books, what do you have published and what are you working on right now?
I have six books published, the seventh coming out in August (Crossroads--the Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles) and am working on the eighth in that series. I also have stories in eight published anthologies and two new ones coming in June-- Hexed and Chicks Kick Butt. My novels are available in three foreign countries and the short stories published in the US and UK.
Rejection letters: How many did you receive before you were published?
Too many to count. Some were the good kind, offering tips to improve the manuscript,  and some just form letters. And the rejection process doesn't stop once you're published. I've pitched ideas that were rejected my agent for one reason or the other. You have to develop a thick skin if you want to be a professional writer and roll with the rejections. 
You are participating in Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers May Education Event, meeting with attendees and maybe critiquing the first 2 pages of their wip. In your experience and opinion, what is the biggest mistake or misconception new writers have? Did you as well, when you were new to the industry?
The biggest misconception I've found is thinking that once you're published, you're on easy street for the rest of your life! Lightening does strike, but generally it takes years of plugging away, slowly building up an audience, and never giving up. Since I'd been with writers in various organizations since I first decided I wanted to write professionally, I knew what to expect. It's still a hard lesson to learn.
How often do you write? Do you stick to a schedule or work it in around life?
Deadlines make it imperative I write everyday. I have a schedule that I try to stick to which includes producing 2000 words a day.
When not writing, what do you do?
Read, garden, kickbox, think about the next project.
What did I not ask that you want to talk about?
If I have to add one more thing, it would be to emphasize what I mentioned earlier. The most important thing for a new writer to understand is that persistence does more for you than anything else. To paraphrase Calvin Coolidge: Nothing takes the place of  persistence. Not talent, not education, not genius. Persistence and determination are most important.


  1. Oh, Jeanne. I LOVE that quote. It's going right up there with my other top quote (which I'll share another time lol).
    Two thousand words a day. That is a commitment. How rigid are you with that? What do you say to those people who say, "Gosh, I'd write like that, but life just is so busy right now. I just don't have the time with the new baby/sick dad/busy day job/soccer kids?"
    One more question. You're working on the 8th book in the "Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles." You've learned a lot about writing a series, then. Any suggestions, comments, tips, complaints you'd like to share?
    And very last question (I promise)...What is your favorite coffee or drink? (you are at a cafe blog, after all)
    I love your books. Thanks for coming to play at our cafe!

  2. Hi Marne-- good questions! I do try to make that 2000 words but of course, life sometimes interferes. But for instance today I did 3000 words. Maybe tomorrow I'll only do 1000. I do view the too busy too write excuse as just that--an excuse. If you're serious you'll make time, even if it's only fifteen minutes a day. 250 words. One page. In a year, you have a book.

    Writing a series presents the challenge of keeping things fresh. The plus side is that you get to know your characters. I like Anna and her pals and think she has more stories to tell. It really becomes easier as I go.

    Favorite drink? Coffee of course, specifically cafe mocha...I make my own every morning with half and half and a tablespoon of a rich hot cocoa mix. I can't even start writing before that first cup!! :-)

  3. Good post. I've read Jeanne's book and enjoyed it. I am pleased you're doing so well.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

  4. Thanks, Nancy. What are you working on now?

  5. Jeanne - in your series, do all the books stand alone? Could someone pick up, say the 2nd book (which I can get on Kindle LOL) and not be lost from not reading the first one?

    You are awesome and we are so happy to have you here at Cowboys & Dragons.

    I can't wait to see you on Saturday. Thanks for your time and sharing your knowledge and experience.

  6. Hey Vicki--I try to put enough back story in each book so that if a reader came across book three, for instance, he or she wouldn't be too lost. So to answer your question, you would not be lost.

    :-) J.