Gerri Bowen lives in beautiful south central Pennsylvania with her family, many cats and three dogs. She writes paranormal/fantasy with humor, and her stories can be historical or contemporary, but usually always with characters from her wild-blooded world. Gerri is always appreciative when people read her books, and jumps for joy when someone leaves a lovely review.
What is your latest book?
ESCAPE TO GETTIS…AND LOVE
Is your recent book part of a series?
Yes, it’s book one in THE LOVE IN GETTIS SERIES. And Gettis is short for Gettysburg. Book one is a Time Travel from 800’s western Ireland to modern day Gettysburg.
What are the special challenges in writing a series?
Remembering all the people that pop in and out, what they look like, and so on. With my Wild-Blooded world and all the characters in that world, I had to write it all down with explanations. It’s on my website, but more importantly, I have a glossary in front of my latest book, ESCAPE TO GETTIS…AND LOVE. I’ve heard back that it’s a great reference.
What are the greatest challenges in writing short stories?
For me, it’s writing a believable romance in 10,000 words. A couple meet and are attracted to the other, have problems with the other, problems resolved, words of love expressed from both a happy ending and no room for sex. All in 10,000 words.
How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?
I started out writing historical romance. Those manuscripts are packed away, and will remain so. I discovered that as I wrote, humor crept in, and then fantasy and paranormal. So I’m happy writing stores with humor…the impossible…and love.
Are your characters ever based on people you know?
They may be, but not consciously. I do use characteristics of some people I’ve come across, but not an entire character.
If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?
Escape into my world.
What else have you written?
Many short stores in anthologies. I have an anthology of my own with some of my short stories that make up a family story, the Wilde’s and their friends. It’s Regency, ON THE WILD SIDE.
My first novel was FOR LOVE OF GWYNNETH. Historical set in England in 1135.
AUDREY’S LOVE. A Time Travel to 1068 England, and also a murder mystery.
LOVE’S BLOOD. Historical set in Wales/England. Vikings included.
My current release features two characters from LOVE’S BLOOD.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
Always. I’m usually very pleased.
What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?
I enjoy thinking about the story and the characters, what they get into, what they need to achieve, that sort of thing.
The least? Trying to write it down before I forget all those lovely nuggets.
Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?
I prefer to write them in order although every now and then I’ll need to write a scene down and then I’ll save it for later in the book.
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
No, only the title. If I have an ending in mind, and I usually do, it’s never the one I end up with.
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
I edit a bit as I begin a new writing session since that helps me get into the mood of the scene, but I save most of the editing for when I know I finished with the book.
After working for a very long time on a novel, many authors get to a point where they lose their objectivity and feel unable to judge their own work. Has this ever happened to you? If so, what have you done about it?
Yes, always. When it’s complete, I’ll ask if people to read it and let me know if its crap, needs more work, does it make sense or if it’s fine.
What are some of the crazy things people have said to you upon learning you are an author? How have you responded?
Can you give me a free book?
I just look at them and tell them they can buy one. I guess I’m getting grumpier as I get older.
How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?
Very important. It’s how I think about them and picture them.
Authors, especially Indies, are constantly trying to understand why some authors sell very while their talented fellow authors have a hard time of it. It’s an ongoing conundrum. What do you make of it all?
I wish I understood. With one book, AUDREY’S LOVE, I had all these great reviews coming in from people I didn’t know. My publisher at that time didn’t know either. I’ve never experienced that level of gushiness with any other of my books.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
Don’t rush it. Sit on it. Let it simmer. If you send it out, the next day you’ll think of a great line or scene to add. So sit on it, start another book and when you’re sure it’s ready, send it out to be edited.
Can you tell us about your road to publication?
I was first published with Highland Press, they gave me my start. My first short story was BLUE MOON REUNION in the BLUE MOON ENCHANTMENT ANTHOLOGY. All the stories were based on what happens in a blue moon. The book won an award. I submitted other short stories that were published and then novels to Highland Press. I finally decided I wanted to self publish. I just didn’t know how. At one of my chapter meetings Judi Fennel spoke, and that’s when I decided I’d just do it. So I did it.
I enjoy Facebook and Twitter, and I’ve made some good friends on there and also discovered some great books. No time for anything else, really.
My least favorite part of social media is the author who pleads/DM’s me to read their book. I don’t have time to read what is already on my Kindle as it is. I do actually add books to my want to read list, but not if people keep pushing it in my face. We all have books. We all want people to read and like our books. You can’t force that.
Do you have any grammatical pet peeves to share?
Only the rules I always, always forget.
What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?
The story. I want to read a good story. I want to know more about the characters in the story. If it’s humorous, so much the better.
The least? I already know about sex, so I really don’t need another description. Unless it’s funny, then I’ll read the scene. Otherwise I skip right over them. If I’ve skipped over half the book I don’t buy that author again. I also dislike when things don’t make sense, as in someone going down to investigate a noise when they know a killer is after them, but the author thinks they have to do this because they need it to happen to make the rest of the story work.
Do you have any secrets for effective time management?
My chapter has this thing called 50 words in 50 days. It gets you in the habit of writing at least fifty words a day. After a while, it’s double what you did the day before and then before you know it, you’re writing in the thousands a week. I do this every day and it’s the only thing I do remotely relating to time management.
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
Born to write. Can’t help but write and always have from elementary school on.
Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?
I hate them. I can write them much, much later, but not when my latest book is still fresh.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
Ignore them because anyone can put up a review, even if they haven’t read the book.
Many authors do giveaways; have you found them a successful way to promote your book?
To be truthful, I’ve never had a giveaway. Since most of my books are $.99, I’d say that is a giveaway.
Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?
I like to start writing in the morning before duty calls me away. I must have coffee and music.
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
I believe it’s very important, and I do shy away from covers that look garish, show evidence of torture and half-clothed people.
A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?
They matter. Reviews do matter. But I think they know that already.
Do you know anyone who has ever received any auto DM on Twitter (with a link) who was happy about it?
Never discussed that with anyone, but I would doubt it.
Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
Pennsylvania, outside of Hanover. I moved here from Maryland almost ten years ago. I love it here.
Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?
A car. I used to love to fly, but not anymore. Boats sink. I’d ride a train if I had to.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A play table with two chairs. It was a Christmas present and I was nine.
What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?
Trustworthy, honesty, good sense of humor.
What makes you angry?
Cruelty to people, animals.
What music soothes your soul?
What was the most valuable class you ever took in school? Why?
Art. I learned to trust myself.
If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?
NCIS, Bones, Big Bang Theory and Grimm.
If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?
Bookcases for all my books.
What’s your favorite film of all times?
It used to be Make Mine Mink. Now it’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel For The Elderly And The Beautiful.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When someone deliberately misunderstands another person.
What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?
Smile at people, with a real smile. Tell the people we love that we love them. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
What simple pleasure makes you smile?
Looking at trees. Really.
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