Today I’m interviewing Siri Caldwell – a romance author, who also has a book on writing blurbs. Want an autographed copy of her Irresistible Blurbs or a free consultation on your blurb?
Enter the giveaway!
Q1. Hello, Siri, and welcome to my blog! Please introduce yourself to our audience.
Hi, everyone! I’m a romance novelist, and I’ve also just published a writing guide for indie authors. Embracing differences is a strong theme for me, so for my official bio, I say I write about women who don’t wait for frogs to turn into princesses, because frogs are cute the way they are. My novella Mistletoe Mishap was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.
Q2. When and why did you start writing?
I’ve always loved reading, and decided in my teens that I really wanted to be a writer. I was an avid journal-keeper at the time, recording my life in endless notebooks, trying to make sense of the world. In my twenties, I promised myself I’d start writing a novel as soon as I understood relationships, or by age 30 at the latest. I was sure I’d be an expert long before then. One day I realized I was 30 years old, and even though I’d found someone to love, I still didn’t fully understand women, or life (Does anyone? No.), but I’d better start writing anyway. I procrastinated a few years writing articles for health and fitness magazines (Ballerina Butt in 5 Easy Moves!), then started my first novel. I spent five years on it, and it was terrible. I wish I’d started sooner.
Q3. Who are your favorite authors and do you think they’ve influenced your work?
As a gay teenager in the 1980s, I didn’t know gay romance novels existed, because I had no way to find them. I read a lot of science fiction in those days, because it felt like the closest I could get was these gay metaphors—intentional or unintentional—of an alien lifeform with an alien gender getting together with a human. Or they’d teleport a verboten couple into alien jellyfish who’d mind-meld with each other so they could merge without actually touching and we could avoid mentioning their actual bodies. Weird things. But they were doing it to comment on the real world.
One summer I found Marion Zimmer Bradley’s book The Catch Trap at a WH Smith bookstore. On the cover were two men on trapezes, and I convinced my mother to buy it for me by letting her think it was a kid’s circus story, when it was really about two guys in tights staring longingly at each other and yearning desperately for each other and being completely emotionally messed up by it and falling in love.
Because of those science fiction stories, when I write paranormal, I love using otherworldly lifeforms to show the transcendence of love. And because of The Catch Trap, I always have to have some angst.
Q4. You‘re a romance author, but you’ve also published a book on the craft of writing (you guys can win a copy here or read my review of it here). I’ll be reviewing it next Sunday, but how about you tell us a little bit about Irresistible Blurbs right now? Why did you decide to pen down something other than fiction?
When I began self-publishing my books, I realized I didn’t know how to write the blurb (the description on the back of the book). I looked for advice in how-to books and on the web, but I couldn’t find much, and what I did find didn’t really help me. The advice was generally vague, or it prescribed a single formula for how to write the blurb—a formula that didn’t fit my plot, because it was for thrillers or suspense. One popular guru even said that if you couldn’t make his formula work, maybe there was something wrong with your book.
So I did my best.
Then, when I published Mistletoe Mishap, reviewers warned people to ignore the terrible blurb, that the book was better than it sounded. Now I knew why the book wasn’t selling. I realized I had more to learn, and I was going to have to figure it out myself. I spent hours and hours at bookstores, at the library, at the romance table at the Friends of the Library annual book sale, and of course online, looking at other author’s blurbs and trying to figure out what they were doing. I changed the blurb for that book several times before I came up with the one I use now.
I knew I couldn’t be the only author struggling with this, so I wrote the book I wished I could have read. It focuses on romance novels, doesn’t insist there’s only one correct way to do things, goes into lots of detail, and gives over 100 examples from real books by diverse authors to demonstrate the concepts.
Q5. Back to your fiction: you write lesbian romance and paranormal. What prompted you to go in that direction?
Everything else is boring.
Q6. So, what’s next? More guides or is your next project another novel?
Next up is a paranormal romance novel about a nerd who’s given up on love—until she meets a magical, mysterious flirt who treats her like she matters.
Q7. Which of your own books is your favorite?
Whichever book I’m currently working on is my favorite. But I especially love Earth Angel and Mistletoe Mishap, because I feel I was able to be the most emotionally honest in those two.
Q8. Who is your biggest supporter and what would you like to say to them?
My biggest supporters are my readers. I love you all.
Q9. If you could give other authors one piece of advice, be it about writing, editing, promoting or increasing their audience, what would it be?
Give yourself permission to be authentically you.
Q10. Thank you for giving me this interview! Before we part, tell us: where can we connect with you online?
Please contact me through my website.
And that was it from Siri!
Once again: you can win a free consultation on your blurb and an autographed copy of her book here.