Interview: Natalie Damschroder
How did you start writing romance?
I’ve always been a romance reader, and even in the books that weren’t strictly romance, I was all about the relationships. (Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson!) Throughout high school and college others told me my strength was writing. It makes sense to make a career out of your strength, right? Except I hated writing. I loved reading fiction, though, so one day I decided to try to write a romance. Once I started, I never really questioned whether or not I should continue.
What’s your favourite published work of yours and why?
Oh, man, that’s so hard! I can’t pick just one. I love Kira’s Best Friend because I’m a sucker for best-friends-to-lovers storylines, and I remember doing my galley proof of that book right before publication, and being eager to get back to it, as opposed to ready to murder inanimate objects if I had to read it again. LOL Of my romantic adventures, I adore Fight or Flight because there was just so much fodder for my imagination in making Regan totally paranoid. I went too far and we had to tone it down, but it’s still pretty out there. 🙂 But the true book of my heart of all my published works is Under the Moon. It was the book I loved to write the most, and I never stopped loving it, even when it underwent major changes on its journey.
What authors do you enjoy reading?
That is, of course, a very long list. 🙂 The most recent “author I love” is Darynda Jones. Her reaper series is fan-freaking-tastic. The most recent books that made me cry were MJ Fredrick’s Something to Talk About and Elizabeth Bass’s Miss You Most of All. Long-time autobuys are Suzanne Brockmann, Jim Butcher, JD Robb, Megan Hart, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
The shower. Seriously, 90% of my epiphanies strike in the shower. LOL But true story ideas? Everywhere, literally. I got a book idea from my then-three-year-old daughter when we were watching a cartoon with a dragon, another on a ski lift ride in Gatlinburg, one from listening to a football-centric podcast. I get a lot of ideas when I read, too. “Yeah, but what if they did THIS instead of THAT?” I fill my creative well with a lot of television, too. I don’t necessarily get specific story ideas from TV and movies, but I learn more about craft from watching them, and inspired to write from the way I feel when I’ve finished with something really good.
Do you have any unusual writing rituals?
Nope, I’m really boring.
Where’s your favourite place to write?
My desk in my office at home. See, I’m really boring! But over the summer I had to do line edits on vacation. I went out in the early morning to sit on our back balcony overlooking a wooded ravine, and that was awesome. I wish I had a deck so I could do that at home.
Who is your favourite character from one of your stories and why?
Hands down, Nick Jarrett and Sam Remington from Under the Moon. I know that’s two characters, but they cannot be separated in my mind. 🙂 These guys are tough (that’s more Nick), noble, smart, proactive, compassionate (that’s more Sam), and both would do anything for the woman they love.
What was your ideal career when you were a child?
I’m not sure what it was when I was really young, but in high school, I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. I liked math and science subjects best, and space had a really big draw for me. Reality came down hard in college, though. LOL
How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
Gah, that’s impossible. I’m always in the mood when I can do anything BUT write. By the time I can get to the book, I’m tired, my brain wants a break, and nothing comes easy. A cup of tea at my side always helps, and once I open the manuscript and read over the last bit, I’m usually ready to leap forward.
What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?
It’s the one I always give: If you can quit, do it. Whenever anyone told me that, I had such instant rebellion against the very idea of quitting that I knew I would never be able to.
If you get writer’s block, how do you get around it?
The only true writer’s block I ever had was when I was pregnant. I thought I’d just been lazy during my first pregnancy, but when it happened during the second, too, I blamed nature. All my creativity was sucked from my brain to my uterus. LOL The second time around, I focused on editing more than writing new stuff, and I knew I was going into labor the night I did because I wrote 8 pages that evening.
For the life-induced, fatigue-spawned, don’t-know-where-this-book-is-going variety of writer’s block, the only cure is just to force myself through it. I can never solve any of those problems by avoiding the book. Even if I only write a few words a day, that serves as mental Drano and gets me to where I need to be.
If you could bring one of your characters to life, which one would it be and why?
Nick and Sam from Under the Moon, and yes it has to be both. LOL I just want to hang around with them for a while. (Plus, they’re hot and they would love me. 🙂 )
Which author would you love to meet and why?
I’m so lucky to be able to attend conferences where I get to meet all my favourite authors, and some I’ve actually gotten to spend real time with. There are a bunch I’ve met online that I’d love to meet in person someday.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m in a bit of limbo, waiting for the next stage of edits on two books: Heavy Metal, book 2 of the Goddesses Rising series and Acceptable Risks, my April 2012 romantic adventure. In the meantime, I’m working on Sunroper, the third Goddesses Rising book, and revising another best-friends book (this time romantic adventure) I hope to submit soon.
What’s the biggest writing challenge you’ve ever taken on? Did you succeed?
Getting Under the Moon in top shape and out the door for official release. I’m thrilled and relieved to say yes, I succeeded!
What’s your biggest writing achievement? Why?
I think just still being in this business is my biggest achievement. I started writing my first book in 1992, and the industry has changed in a million large and small ways since then. Being able to adapt and stay successful at some level is something any writer can be proud of, I think.
Thank you so much for this fantastic interview!
Their power gives them strength…and makes them targets.
Quinn Caldwell is the epitome of a modern goddess. Her power source is the moon, her abilities restricted only by physical resources and lunar phase. She runs a consulting business and her father’s bar, serves on the board of the ancient Society for Goddess Education and Defense, and yearns for Nick Jarrett, professional goddess protector and the soul mate she can never have.
But someone has developed the rare and difficult ability to drain a goddess of her powers, and Quinn is a target. With the world thinking Nick has gone rogue (whatever that means) and that Quinn is influenced by “family ties” she didn’t know she had, keeping themselves safe while working to find the enemy proves harder each day.
But not as hard as denying their hearts…
Natalie J. Damschroder came to writing the hard way—by avoiding it. Though she wrote her first book at age six (My Very Own Reading Book) and received accolades for her academic writing (Ruth Davies Award for Excellence in Writing for a paper on deforestation her senior year in college), she hated doing it. Colonial food and the habits of the European Starling just weren’t her thing.
She found her niche—romantic fiction—shortly after college graduation. After an internship with the National Geographic Society, customer service for a phone company just wasn’t that exciting. So she began learning how to write the books she’d loved to read all her life. Now she struggles to balance her frenetic writing life with her family, the most supportive husband in the world and two beautiful, intelligent, stubborn, independent daughters (the oldest of whom has become a writer). She somehow also fits in a day job and various volunteer positions in and out of the writing industry.
Learn more about her at her website, www.nataliedamschroder.com, follow her on Twitter @NJDamschroder, or friend her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nataliedamschroder