AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: RM SOTERA
Joyfully reviewed has cornered author RM Sotera to chat a little about writing and recently published works…
What is your most current work out?
Cassadaga Moon which is a Contemporary Erotic Romance available through Siren Publishing.
Tell us a little about Cassadaga Moon.
How did this book come about? I go through many different processes when I sit down to write, however, with Cassadaga Moon, I literally stepped into the world of ‘real vampires’, aka, sang and psy. I began to research the lifestyle or as some say subculture seven years ago. I was preparing to write my first romance novel, and wanted something different. I needed a great hook. I’d always heard about people, who’d believed they were vampiric, however, I thought it was a hoax that is until I started doing my research. I read every book I could get my hands on, specifically those written by Arlene Russo and Katherine Ramsland. Then I started sniffing around online. The vampire community, specifically the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, helped me in understanding the subculture through several different interviews. And then I was lucky enough to meet-up with a few sang vampires in the Las Vegas area who helped my understanding even further. They are a very private group, which is totally understandable, so I let them choose the times and places of our meetings.
So, I took what I knew about the subculture and decided that I wanted to push the envelope further by bringing the fetish of bloodplay into my story. I learned through my research that there is a fine line between the two, and that many people confuse vampirism with bloodplay. They are not the same! However, many people who are vampires delve into that fetish on occasion.
However, for my story, I wanted my hero to like bloodplay too. I wanted to up the ante as much as possible. So with a storyline that encompassed a good Catholic girl and a real vampire with a much darker side, I wrote the book. After several re-writes I felt it was finished and I was ready to find an agent. Not so easy.
Stop the press! I mean I knew that the subject matter of this book was dark, however, I didn’t realize how dark until the rejection letters began to pile up in my office. And most of them said the same thing that the material was to dark; to the point I would most likely scare readers. But, I kept pushing because the story wasn’t about the vampirism (that just happened to be a really kick-ass conflict) it was about the love between a jaded and broken man with a different belief system and a Catholic girl.
So, 350 rejection letters later, Siren Publishing picked up Cassadaga Moon. They felt the story was intriguing and very unique, and thus they took a chance on the book and my story came to fruition. On a side note, I am still receiving rejections for this book that is already published. Go figure.
In closing I would like to say: If you have a story that you truly believe in, don’t stop until it finds a home. How many well-known authors have been rejected on stories that have turned out to be best-selling books? Do the research, you will find out that there are a ton of authors out there who just kept believing in their stories and pushing forward.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
A little of both happens with me. I do have a skeleton plot board. I know what I’d like to happen in the chapters, however, many times my characters don’t agree and thus they dictate what will happen next.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
Actually, I started in this genre…moved into contemporary cowboy stories…and urban fantasy. So I guess, it’s safe to say that I write in all three.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Actually, I have three. I love Laurent Bovier in my Dirty series with eXtasy books. And Jordan and Mia in the Stiletto Sanction series with Siren Publishing. Mia has a lot of me in her, and as for Jordan…well he was the man my mom never wanted me with, you know the bad boy.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Probably Brandi in Dirty Immortals on Holiday. It’s hard to breathe life into a kick-ass heroine when deep down inside, I was always the timid girl in the room. Writing Brandi was definitely a challenge, but one that I learned from, perhaps a healing event in a way.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
In my book, Cassadaga Moon, the heroine’s best friend, Cindi is molded from one of my best friends. Mia and Cindi reminisce many past events in the book. All I can say, the trip to Key West did happen, and yes…I left my best friend standing in the crack district as I hauled ass out of compete fear! It is still hard for me to believe she forgave me for that, and when we talk (we live many states away now) we still laugh about it.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Finding time to write is the hardest for me. I have a family, work a full-time job and write. A clone would be an awesome addition to my family.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I am actually very shy when it comes to talking about sex. The fact that I write outrageous sexual scenes is rather comical. I was the girl that turned bright red when the word sex was spoken…and now, here I am doing what I do.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Yes, I need music. I have my own playlist for scenes. Many times you will find 80’s funk blaring in my ear…inspiration comes in mysterious ways.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Let’s see…not sure that one of my books does, but my characters…yes. Cassdaga’s Moon’s Jordan, most definitely, Bad to the Bone. Actually, Laurent and Jett from my Dirty Series can also claim that song.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Cassadaga Moon – Phoebe Cates – Mia
ALEXANDER SKARSGARD– Jordan
Jessica Alba – Cindi
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at home. I screamed the news to my husband and son, and then danced around the room.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
I was in middle-school.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
Actually, I do have a day job, but I happened to love it! I teach high school English.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I am currently working on the second book in my Stiletto Series, Vegas Moon, finishing up a young adult book, Garage Band Detectives, and the first in a new series called Redding Cove.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
I have co-written with author CR Moss and loved every minute of it. We are currently working on the second book in our Wild West Weekend – Double D Tales series for Evernight Publishing.
How do you pick your characters names?
I use a baby name book, and search the computer.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
Actually, it depends on the characters. In Cassadaga Moon, it’s love at first site for Mia and Jordan. But that love grows steadily throughout the book.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
Funny…I do get that a lot. Usually I’m defending my writing because I am e-published, and when you add romance to the mix, well I get the eye roll or head shake.
But, I continue to move forward doing what I love. I write because its part of who I am, I’m so happy I’m able to share my stories with others.
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
I love Swiss chocolate. It’s my guilty pleasure.