Q. I need a little help, I just can’t get the dialogue right but everyone loves the premise of my novel. What do I need to do?
A. I’m not sure what the scope of the problem is but I suggest you stop writing and just take some time to listen to the cadence of actual conversations that are occurring around you. People don’t converse in proper Queen’s English. They communicate with sentence fragments, punctuated by interruptions. They have facial expressions and different voice tones that can tell their listener just as much as words do. Have fun and just observe for a little while and then apply that information during your re-write.
Q. Assuming South Beach takes place in Florida, what will be the location of your third novel?
A. I’m undecided. It may be New Jersey or but I’m not sure. It really depends on which sibling I decide to develop a story around once South Beach is finished. If it’s Latrell’s story then the setting will be in Texas or Montana. If it’s Jaiden’s story then it’ll be framed by the character of New Jersey.
Q. What is the best advice you’ve received about starting a novel?
A. Romance writer, Mary Balogh said it best when she wrote, “Begin (a novel) by showing rather than telling. Action is an attention-getter. Present it uncluttered by explanation that can come later. The very lack of explanation can be part of the hook because it arouses questions: Who are these people? What is going on here? What is going to happen next?” It’s a piece of wonderful advice.
Q. Do you like using secondary characters, and if so what is one of your rules of thumb for inclusion in your novels.
A. I LOVE using secondary characters because no one lives in a vacuum and it would be a disservice to not include the colors and daily nuisances that other people bring to a setting. The best friend that calls during the heroine’s workday, the brother that has an opinion on the hero’s latest conquest. I can’t think of one of my favorite movies that didn’t include great supporting characters that I enjoyed just as much as I did the leads. As far as rules go, I think the best advice would be something that Romance writer, Susan Wiggs said, "The function of the secondary characters is to complicate the lives of, and contrast with, the main characters." Just keep that in mind and you’ll be on the right track.
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