Sunday, November 23, 2008

Critique partner again

I've known Kathy for a long time and remember her first book and the revisions. We had a fun time with finding all the It was starts. She's a great writer and I'm eagerly waiting her return to the States. We've been through both joy and sadness together. Janet

1. For you, which comes first the characters or the plot?
The Characters definately come first. I need to know then before I can decide what kind of situations I can put them into.

2. How do you create your characters?
They are composits of people I have met, or someone's who story I heard. Once I figure out one character, the second one is developed by pretty much choosing a person whose goals are at odds with the fisrt.

3. Do you plan ahead or go with the flow?
I do not write a full synopsis or outline, but I do have a general idea of where the story is going before I begin. Often it takes off on its own, despite some planning but for the most part they end up where I expect.

4. How much research do you do and how do you go about it?
I do as much research as is necessay to make the characters, setting, and plot believable. Since I write contemporary romance and tend to set my stories in placec I am familiar with, I'd probably say I do less research that a historical writer, but I still fact check what I write about real places, legal matters, police matters or medical referances.

5. How do you select goals and the reasons your characters what to accomplish these goals?
It usually springs out of character's past. The more complex the character's past, the more motivated they are towards their goals, and the strong the conflict with anyone who stands in their way.

6. Tell us about your latest release.
"Miuphy's Law" is a romantic suspense. A sometimes comical road trip of two people who must rely on each other, despite a mutual distrust, to avoid being found by a villinous murderer who wants to stop them form returning to America to testify against him.

7. What's on your backlist?
Check my wesite at

8. What are you working on now?
I am revising my forst release, Homeward Bound for re-release and then it is back to my romantic suspense, "China Blue"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another critique partner -- Allison

Allison is the newest of my critique partners and she always has good insights into what's right and wrong with what I've written.

1. For you, which comes first the characters or the plot? Usually, it's the plot: a situation or circumstance will pop into my head. I'll think "What if..."?" and then I'll create the characters to develop that situation into a full-blown story.
2. How do you create your characters? I've used character charts, I've used astrology signs, and I've sometimes based my characters on people I know. I don't have any one way I create characters. Usually I have a rough idea of who they are, and they develop themselves for me as the story goes along.

3. Do you plan ahead or go with the flow? Oh, I'm a big planner. I usually have a pretty specific outline before I begin a story. I can't start without having a general idea of the major conflicts and the black moment.

4. How much research do you do and how do you go about it? Since I write contemporary romance, I don't usually have to do a lot of research. Anything I need to look up, I do so on the Internet.

5. How do you select goals and the reasons your characters what to accomplish these goals? Sometimes I base my characters' goals and motivations on actual people and situations I've known; sometimes I draw them from things I read about in the news. It's amazing, the things that actually happen to people!

6. Tell us about your latest release. One Night in Memphis is a "twenty-four hour" romance that takes place over a single day and night. The hero and heroine meet up in the blues clubs of Beale Street, but she's trying to outrun a violent ex-boyfriend, and which means neither of them is safe. The reviewer from Literary Nymphs gave the book 5 Nymphs and commented, "Boniface conveys some real danger and tension in this fast-paced tale, but shows astonishing and realistic growth in her characters. This is an absorbing novel, nearly impossible to put down. It has coincidence, a car chase, corruption and cool piano music..."

7. What's on your backlist? Readers can check out my first twenty-four hour novel, One Night in Boston, about college sweethearts who meet up ten years after they broke up, or Lost in Paradise, a contemporary romance about a woman with the right name and the right connections who leaves entire her life behind and discovers a new life and love by moving to a place where no one knows who she is.

8. What are you working on now? I'm finishing up a third twenty-four hour novel, One Night in Napa, and also doing revisions on another contemporary novel, Summer's Song, about a woman who returns to her hometown after 10 years away and discovers not only a new love but old ghosts.

Thanks, Janet - this was fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Interview with Carly Phillips

I've known Carly for a long time and under another name. I've watched her career blossom and her talent grow from the very beginning. Here's her interview.

1. For you, which comes first the characters or the plot?Always, always, characters come first. For me the characters must have life and personality before the plot can take shape. Who the heroine is, who the hero is, how their conflicts mesh together, all of this is of utmost importance. The plot is a means to carry the romance through the book as opposed to more suspense/mystery writers whose plot is central.

2. How do you create your characters?From my heart. Seriously, I have to feel the characters come alive inside me. For example I am working on Lucky Break right now and in the first seventy-five pages, I realized my heroine was flat. The character didn't jump off the page. The plot was there, the heroine's history, background, etc. After reading my critique partner, Janelle Denison's work, it finally dawned on me what MY heroine was missing - PERSONALITY. As a result, i had to go back to the drawing board and ask myself, who is she? How would someone who was raised by parents more concerned with humanitarian issues than their children, who had to clean up her younger sister's messes, who would SHE become? This taught me that you prepare all you want with a character - I gave her everything in her background, conflict, etc. as I always do, and yet it still wasn't enough. I am now in the process of going back to the drawing board and weaving my new heroine into those first 75 pages. That said, my basic process is the same: I sit down with my plotting group (there are four of us) and we tape our sessions, building character first, then plot, then story.

3. Do you plan ahead or go with the flow?I go with the flow. This inevitably leads me to have to go back to the beginning often, and weave things back in. Over the years, I've learned to plot more heavily with my plotting group (, and plan ahead and then I let the characters tell the story. If I don't follow the plan exactly that's fine, but I write faster and easier with a road map of where to head next. Usually it's transitions that hang me up - how do I get from point A to point B. The easier things are sometimes the hardest!

4. How much research do you do and how do you go about it?Not enough and that's honest. I prefer to do my research over the Internet or by asking questions of people I already know. I'm not someone who goes deep into areas other than character, so it's easier for me. I do rely on Google. Google is my friend!

5. How do you select goals and the reasons your characters what to accomplish these goals?The goals are usually set by the characters personality first, and the plot second. If I don't have a heavy secondary storyline, the goals must drive the characters more heavily so there is meat to the story. It really depends.

6. Tell us about your latest release.
Three sexy heroes and a centuries old curse defines the series that's out now. I call it my "LUCKY" series, starting with LUCKY CHARM (out now); LUCKY BREAK 6/09 and LUCKY STREAK 10/09/. In between, SECRET FANTASY is being reissued in January 2009. All my books are listed on my website at

7. What's on your backlist?Luckily for me, Harlequin has been releasing my backlist in January of each year, so most books are available. My backlist can be found here: and there is also a printable booklist link on this page. As I said, SECRET FANTASY is out in January 2009, which means my entire backlist as Carly Phillips will have been reissued at least once!

8. What are you working on now?LUCKY BREAK (10/09) which is giving me fits as I had to search for my heroine's personality, but hopefully it's been located and all will be well. Soon! Then it's on to planning a brand new series, and I'm blank at the moment, so I can't wait to see what I come up with!

Interviews with former and current critique partners

Thanksgiving approaches and brings one thoughts of things they are thankful for. Among these are my former and current critique partners. In the next few days I'll be posting interviews with soem who have helped me on my way to publication and some who have gained from my help