Friday, August 28, 2015

Interview with author R.C. Matthews

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a romantic at heart, which is why I crave a HEA ending in romance novels I read and write. Ever see Cold Mountain? Yeah, it was twelve years ago and I’m still angry about the ending. Writing is a hobby of mine at this point. I spend most of my time as a certified public accountant, so writing stories that involve businessmen, lawyers and boardrooms comes naturally to me. What else? Oh, I finally found true love on the internet. No joke. My second husband found me on over seven years ago and we’re still happily raising our three kids (his son and my two sons: 15, 14, 13). I’m not looking forward to having three kids in college concurrently. Eek!

Q ~ What’s your favourite pass-time?

Reading, of course. I also enjoy watching movies, playing board games and hanging out with my family.

Q ~ What is your biggest pet peeve?

It drives me to absolute distraction and makes me crazy when my kids leave half of the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers partially open. Take the second to close them completely! Please. Grrr…..

Q ~ If you could have lunch with one person, dead, alive, or imaginary, who would it be and why?

Jane Austen, because I absolutely adore all of her books and I’d love to know what it was like being a female author in her time.

Q ~ What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? 

William Arthur Ward, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it, if you can dream it, you can become it.” I love this quote because it applies to all aspects of life and it is a fabulous message. The only limits in life are the ones we put on ourselves.

Q ~ Ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcovers?

Ebooks – mostly because I don’t have room for all of those paperbacks. I also love to listen to the books on my hour drive to work. The voice over option in Kindle is really not bad at all. But I always enjoy a good paperback or hardcover. I don’t have a preference between the two. My son, however, demands hardcover books because they keep the book looking good.

Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read? To write?

Romance has always been my favourite genre and historical romance is my favourite subgenre. I must have been reborn many times over the generations because I absolutely adore all historical time periods. Don’t get me wrong, I read my fair share of contemporary romances, but I’m a rule follower by nature so something about the historical genre really resonates with me.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?

I began writing when I was in elementary school, starting with poetry. In high school, I was on the yearbook and wrote at least one third of the articles in my senior yearbook. And I considered becoming a journalist, so I’ve always had a love for writing. Unfortunately, I’m also pragmatic and loved accounting in high school. When I realized I could probably make a more secure living on accounting, that’s the route I went. It wasn’t until 2012 that I seriously sat down to write my first book, which I’d originally started in the late 1990’s. I’ve been writing steadily since my debut novel was published in March 2014.

Q ~ What’s the best thing that’s happened since you began writing? The worst?

The best thing that has happened since I began writing is that I’ve met a ton of absolutely wonderful people (mostly authors) on Goodreads and other forums. It’s been wonderful to have others who are in the same boat to talk to, share ideas with and beta read for. The worst thing is that my schedule is even more jam packed than it already was! I work a full-time job, have three kids and love to watch T.V. with my husband. So finding time for everything is a challenge.

Q ~ What are your five favourite verbs to use during a love scene?

LOL…um, if I have to pick, then…swirled, licked, stroked, raked, and slammed [because sometimes rough is good, too].

Q ~ When you write, do you try to reach a specific word count or simply write until you are done?

I simply write until I’m done, however, most of my stories are in the 45,000 to 70,000 word range. When I read stories, I prefer anything up to 350 pages and I rarely read anything longer. My experience has been that most stories in excess of 350 pages could use serious editing. While that isn’t always true, it is true quite often. I’m also finding that I really love short stories and novellas. My time is extremely limited so I love it when I can read a story and it’s done within a couple of hours – I get to bed on time more often when I read shorter stories. LOL.

Q ~ Are you a plotter or a pantser?

It depends on the story. My romance novels are definitely written by the seat of my pants. I usually have a high level idea of what I want to accomplish in the story and I write chapter headlines that represent the main gist of what I plan to get across in that chapter. Then I start typing. As you can imagine, the end product is usually far from what I originally envisioned. My characters tend to high-jack the storyline and go in a direction I never could have anticipated when I started typing. I LOVE IT!

But I’m just finished writing a teen ‘high fantasy’ series for my thirteen year old son. Because the storyline takes place in a fantasy world and it is intended to be a three book series, I wrote a fairly detailed outline – at least it is detailed per my standards. There are just too many characters and plot twists to fly by the seat of my pants on that project.

Q ~ You write under multiple pen names. Why? How do you decide what gets written under each name?

Yes, I write under three pen names. My contemporary romance pen name is R.C. Matthews and I use it because I’m in a professional day job where I’d rather not have people I work with know that I’m an author. I might die of embarrassment if my boss read one of my sexy love scenes. Fun fact: My pen name is comprised of my husband’s first names (Robert Carl Matthew) – but I use the first two initials and added ‘s’ onto Matthew.

Vickie Valentine is my pen name for erotic serials. I prefer to have a separate pen name because I want the freedom to write stories that may only have a happily for now ending or may be all about the sex. A lot of readers don’t care for serials, but as an author, I find writing serials to be very satisfying. This is very different from my contemporary romances, so separating these felt right.

I’m also using a separate pen name for my teen high fantasy series because it is geared towards kids eleven and older. I definitely don’t want to confuse my readers! Fun fact: My teen fiction pen name is David N. Sebastian which are the first names of my two sons. When you say it really fast the ‘N’ sounds like ‘and’ – or at least I think it does!

Q ~ Do you prefer to write in a small town or big city setting? Why?

I don’t really have a preference. Most of my books to date have been in big cities (Detroit or Chicago), but I’m in the process of outlining a five book series that will take place in a small town in Michigan.

Q ~ What is your process for choosing character names?

Hmmm…I’m not really sure I have a process. Each story is different. The whole Wish Come True series was written for my nieces and nephews so I used their first names and all of their friend’s names. The main characters in Little White Lies – Royce and Madalyn – are simply two of my favourite names. I specifically picked the hero’s name, Brett, in A Night To Remember based on the first boy I’d ever kissed, because we kissed on a dance floor and the story line of the book starts with ballroom dancing at a charity event. In my teen fantasy series I’m naming most of the characters after the children of my friends and family, just because I want to do it. I sometimes go to a random name generator site for ideas.

Q ~ Of the works you’ve written, which is your favourite? Is there also a character that holds a special place in your heart?

My favourite story will most likely always be the first contemporary romance I wrote – Little White Lies – because the hero, Royce Spencer, is my ultimate book boyfriend. The story also represents everything I love in a sweeping romance novel. I’m a huge fan of love at first sight stories that happen in a romantic backdrop. Little White Lies is all about letting go of inhibitions and living in the moment. Who doesn’t enjoy that?

Jordan Billette in Date Night holds a special place in my heart because the character was written after my niece (and goddaughter). All of the clothes in the story are outfits of my niece – all of the favorite foods she picked out – the perfume, favorite car, etc. It’s all about Jordan. It was fun and I absolutely adore that series.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?

Yes, I alluded to it earlier. As soon as I finishing writing the last installment of my Billionaire Obsession serial (Samantha and Damon’s story), I’m starting work on a new series that features a family of four brothers and one sister. The family is prominent in a small town in Michigan where the oldest sibling runs the family apple orchard business. Each of the siblings will have a love story and it starts with the youngest – the sister – who struggles to find love with four overbearing alpha brothers scaring all of her prospects away. I haven’t tried writing a gender role reversal story yet, so my heroine is a bad-ass police officer and my hero is a wedding planner with a checkered past. Great bones for a seriously funny romantic comedy, don’t you think? The title of book one is My Secret Alpha.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?

Follow your heart and write the story you love. At the end of the day, you will never please every editor or reader that picks up your book, so make it one that you love. I still go back and reread my books every once in a while and they make me smile every single time. I love them all.

About R.C. Matthews:

R.C. Matthews was raised in the Metro-Detroit area along with three sisters and a brother by deaf parents. Her father is a voracious reader and that gene lives on in all of his children. Now the reading gene is sprouting in her own two sons who love to read J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan and may others. She graduated from a liberal arts college with a B.A. in Accounting and German and continues to work as a certified public accountant. Who says accountants don't have a wild imagination? She lived for four years in Germany and she enjoys traveling with her family (loving husband, two sons and a stepson), reading, down-hill skiing and playing board games with her family.

Connect more with R.C. and find out more about her writing via her website.  

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