Coffee Time Romance & More

 

 

 

 

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Coffee Time Romance and More welcomes Winter Austin. We are so excited you are here to talk to us today. Thank you for telling readers a little about you. Let's start with a few questions about your writing

Show us a day in the life with you, what is your typical day like?

I work full time, so I typically get up at 5 am to write for an hour or so before getting my family up and out the door for school and work. When I get home the evening is reserved for supper and vegging in front of the TV or goofing off online, since I don’t get much internet time during the day. I have 4 teenagers, of whom 3 do sports, so some evenings I’m at track meets or games.

On a writing day, I try to get up early and get going with daily stuff, then sit down to get the emailing and online stuff out of the way. Once 9 am rolls around, I’ve got the file open and working. Because the weekends are my only days to get writing done, I’m also getting caught up on house work, so I force myself to leave the computer to get laundry loads switched or cook something so my family doesn’t ‘starve.’

My days are pretty much full time everything. :)

4 teenagers. Wow. No wonder you are so busy! Can you tell us about your latest release Atonement?

Atonement is about Nic Rivers, a former Marine Scout Sniper turned McIntire County sheriff’s deputy. She’s suffering from PTSD, and living in denial that she’s able to control it. A rash of suicides in her adopted hometown of Eider, IA sends her spiraling out of control and into trouble.

Detective Con O’Hanlon has long had a crush on her, and has pursued her as much as Nic would allow. With the deaths comes a task Con isn’t shrinking away from, finding out who’s behind the apparent suicides, and keeping Nic from jumping off the deep end on the destructive path she’s taken most of her life.

Atonement is about PTSD and its devastating effects on the sufferer and those around them. So far the book has made the significant impact I was hoping for, and bringing about an awareness that was my full intent.

OOOhhh… Atonement sounds like a great read. What was your hardest challenge writing this book?

Tackling the horrors of PTSD, while balancing a strong-willed heroine without making her sound like a total witch. And bringing about the romance between Con and Nic, when their relationship was a strange one. With the help of my awesome editor, we managed to get the right balance in all aspects and created a great book.

PTSD is finally getting recognition and not hiding in the shadows anymore which is very positive. Books that you and other authors are writing are bringing it to the forefront with facts and entertaining reads. What, in your opinion, makes good chemistry between your leading characters?

Conflict that isn’t old, dry, and boring. Sprinkling in just enough drama to make it compelling between them. As I said, Con and Nic have a strange relationship, because he’s such a charming Irishman with an optimistic view on life, where Nic is a cynic, who has no use for people in general. She’s been burned over and over again by the men in her life, and Con’s fresh take on life is weird for her, and it scares her so she does her best to push him away. In turn, it only makes Con want her more. Nic is the bad girl who finds the boy next door in Con.

Characters that are so realistic also make for great reading. Nic and Con sound very relatable to real life. How do you keep all the details of your story lines organized? Does it change with each book or stay the same?

For the most part, my process stays the same. After a certain point in the writing process, I’ll create a calendar and document what’s happened on these days and to whom. It helps me keep things straight. My critique partner reads through as I go, and if she spots something I’ve repeated or missing, she’ll let me know.

A calendar. That's so cool. I have never heard of an author doing that. It's a great idea. What's the strangest inspiration you ever got for a story idea?

I don’t think I’ve had a strange one, yet. Most of my ideas stem from an actual true life event from somewhere. I do have an idea brewing that has been going on for a few years now since I watched a commercial for Female MMA fighters, Rhonda Rousey in particular. :)

Female MMA fighters, interesting topic. Personally I haven't seen any storylines with a character like that. What do you do when the characters "tell" you to change the storyline?

I do it! They control the story. I try to create a synopsis of sorts and a semi outline, but I leave it wide open, because I know the characters are the ones who move through the story, and they’re the ones telling it. I’m just the person lucky enough to write it all down for them.

Lol. Characters can be very pushy sometimes. Have you ever had to start a book all over again after you were almost complete?

Not quite complete, but I’ve had to restart a few when I got to the mid-point, or had to rip out big chunks of scenes because they weren’t working for the storyline.

Hopefully that hasn't been too many times. Here is a strange question. You are called upon, at a school, to tell those interested in becoming an author all the ins and outs of good writing skills and getting published. Name three important elements in writing, publishing, and promoting that you would give them.

Oddly enough, I’ve taught writing workshops at Young Writers’ Conferences, so I know exactly what to say:

  1. Read, read, read, read. And then write til your heart’s content.
  2. Know your audience and then go to them. Drive up the interest, but don’t be an annoying salesman-woman.
  3. Nothing in this world beats a great editor who gets your style, voice, and process. Be kind to your editors.

They’re like you—the author—and need love and praise, too. They do all the dirty work, and the author gets the rewards.

That is awesome. How about a few personal questions now. What music do you enjoy?

I have diversified tastes. Depending on my moods, or what’s going on in the story, I can listen to anything from Classical/Instrumental/movie soundtracks to Goth Metal.

Very diversified selections, not everyone can do that. Do you have any hobbies you enjoy?

I love horseback riding when I can, playing volleyball, and just loving up on my pets.

With your busy schedule I hope you get lots of time for your hobbies. If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Strange, loud, and fun

Lol. Great choices. What is your ideal romantic night out?

Because my husband is an Ag teacher and FFA adviser, we’re lucky to find a night out. Any time I get to dress up and go have some fun with him is a romantic night for me.

I bet that makes it a more special night. What's your favorite color and why?

Red, the color of passion, anger, and love. Something about it draws my eye and I have an extensive wardrobe that has red in it.

Red is a nice color. It's good all year round and adds excitement too. What can we expect from you in the near future?

Book 2 in the McIntire County series is currently being written. This book is going to be about Nic’s sister Cassy—whom readers met in Atonement—and the FBI agent, thorn-in-her-side Boyce Hunt—whom readers also met in Atonement. Not sure when that book will be released, as it’s still a work in progress.

Sounds great. I'm sure your readers are anxious to read it next. Do you have a favorite book? What about a favorite singer? Favorite movie?

Favorite Book: The Black Stallion—the first book that led me to wanting to be an author.

Favorite Singer: Right now would have to be Chad Kroeger of Nickelback

Favorite Movie: The Man From Snowy River—all-time fav movie, and any horse lover would agree.

Interesting choices. Will you tell us about the funniest experience you've ever had?

I love telling this story. When I went to my first writers’ conference, my name was announced by the emcee when I won a silent auction item. She paused and soaked up my name, and then told the audience: “Isn’t that just the greatest author’s name?” Well, later that evening after the awards banquet, I sought her out, and sat down next to her, introducing myself. Her eyes got big and she gaped at me, then said: “I thought you were a man.” LOL! Well, needless to say, that wasn’t the first time I heard that at that particular conference, but I guess the name Winter just eludes to thoughts of it being a male name. ;)

That is a great story. That's all the questions for today. Thank you so much for answering them.  I wish you luck, success, and many sales in your future.

 

 

 

 

 

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