Connie Flynn is a bestselling, award-winning author of ten novels and several short stories. She has published her legacy books in the Amazon Kindle store, and is also working on several new novels. She writes in several genres, including paranormal romance, romantic comedy, action/adventure and contemporary fantasy. She also writes mystery/suspense as K.C. Flynn. She is a fiction writing teacher at a local community college. Look for several new releases from Connie in 2013.
What inspires you to write?
That’s actually a tough question. It’s the ideas, I think.
I read something or see something or even hear something and an idea pops in my mind. For instance, THE FIRE OPAL, my Louisiana Bayou tale, was inspired by the movie The Rescuers. While that was a semi-light animated film with one of the vilest villainess to ever live, the story it generated — a tale about a runaway voodoo healer who returns to the swamp and reunites with her childhood love to defeat a dark being lurking in the bayous — was pure adult fiction, along with steamy but not volcanic love scenes.
The sudden popularity of werewolves and a genuine interest in the wolf reintroduction program in Arizona, my home state, inspired me to write SHADOW ON THE MOON and later SHADOW OF THE WOLF, which were written while the actual reintroduction was taking place.
THE DRAGON HOUR, my most recently reissued paranormal was inspired by the possibility of a contract if I set something in Scotland. Because my imagination is a killer I ended up writing a story about a handful of thugs who invade a Scottish paradise floating in time. As you may guess, I also included a dragon.
My stories, it seems, are always inspired by real life possibilities but because I so often write fantasy and paranormal they tend to go well beyond the limits of everyday life and that’s the fun part . . . letting my imagination soar.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a plotter/pantser. I don’t do detailed outlines or storyboards (oh, shudder), but before I commit I must know what my story is about, what key scenes it will have, and most of all how it will end. To me that’s more important than the beginning, which will probably be torn apart several times anyway. I am an indie author and a fiction writing teacher and I have a big family, meaning that many things tug for my attention so I employ a trick passed on to me by my friend, Caris Roane. Whenever I inevitably get pulled away from a book in progress, I take out a journal set aside just for this purpose and write down exactly where I stopped, what I had planned to do next, and what was killing me about not being to be able to write it right then. That keeps me from later spending hours or even days trying to figure out where I was going when I stepped away. In every other aspect I’m like any other producing author. I keep writing and eventually the book gets done and published.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Unlike some writers I know, my characters don’t actually talk to me, but . . . if they’re unhappy so am I. When I start a book, before I devise the ending or any key scenes, I nail down the story direction by writing two to three chapters in my primary characters’ viewpoint. I’ve also learned that when the writing starts being a struggle I’ve been trying to impose my will upon the characters. Yes, I create them but if I suddenly want them to do something that doesn’t fit, they balk until I change direction or come up with a dynamite motive for the character change.
What advice would you give other writers?
Believe in yourself, but consider all suggestions for improvement.
As a teacher, it’s been my experience that most of the feedback you get (80% or so) is simply someone’s opinion. And since you’re writing for an audience it’s good to know what difference audiences think. Another (10% or so) type of feedback is absolutely destructive. The suggester doesn’t like or possibly even understand your genre; doesn’t understand story writing conventions; is malicious and possibly jealous. But there’s another (10% or so) type who somehow manage to be spot on about what’s not working in your story, they give suggestions that make you say, “Oh, that’s just what I was looking for.” Still, in the long run, you’re best served by remembering it is your story and the ultimate sifting and using of this advice is totally up to you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first ten books were published traditionally and then I had a life event that prevented me from writing for over two years and when I got back publishing was already in a flux. It was new world and publishers were merging . . . and merging. All my previous agent/editor contacts had jumped ship. At the same time indie publishing was rising. I investigated and decided to independently reissue some novels, forcing me to learn some converting skills. In the long run, I realized that indie publishing was right up my alley. I have the business experience, I’m a previous graphic artist, and am fairly computer savvy. I’m committed to this and my next brand new novel BAIL JUMPER, is going to be indie published. I expect to be around a long time in this new community and am committed to that goal.
I don’t necessarily recommend this to everyone. I have a few advantages by having previous traditional publishing experience and I am by nature kind of a Jack-of-all-Trade person. I’m also persistent, which is important because indie publishing has its ups and downs. But so does traditional publishing. And for me the freedom of the indie world is worth giving up some of the external support. Whatever choice you make, I recommend the first one be to do your research. Find out what you’re getting into. When you finally take the jump you’ll be much better prepared than those of us who are the pioneers.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The publishing world is in a state of explosive change and growth and I’m not sure anyone can accurately predict the future. Pessimists say writers are going to stop being paid and others say there’s tons of gold to be had in the publishing field. I think this much is true. If you want to be a published writer, nothing can stop you anymore. If you want to be a writer who is read, you’ll have to work harder to get noticed, but opportunities abound and all you have to do is grab them. I urge you to do that and I’ll be right there beside you.
What do you use?
Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
romance, paranormal romance, fantasy, suspense, mystery
What formats are your books in?