Roxanne Smolen is a leading professional in the writing industry. She’s a sought-after writing instructor and editor whose tireless efforts help other authors reach their dreams of publication. She co-founded the Coral Springs Writers’ Workshop and has been a contributor there for over twenty years. She is a prolific writer with nine published novels and three more expected in early 2014. She also writes a line of children’s books with two of her granddaughters. Roxanne has been married to her high school sweetheart, Gregory, for 40+ years and has two children. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
What inspires you to write?
I write because it is far more satisfying to have real control of a make-believe world than make-believe control in the real world.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a devout outliner. I learned the hard way–once while in the middle of a writing a glorious book I became ill and couldn’t write for several weeks. I completely lost the plot, the characters, and eventually the book. It’s collecting dust in the back of my closet. Now I write everything down. I don’t trust my memory for anything. I use the computer program Scrivener. I love it! I can keep all my research, my plot points, chapter outlines, etc. all together so I can just click between them as I write.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Before I start a book, I interview my characters. Even the minor ones. I have a detailed list of questions to ask, and I just write everything down as they tell me their story. Most of their backgrounds stay in the background, but knowing intimate things about them gives me a good idea of how they will react in certain situations. And if I start portraying them in a manner contrary to their personalities, they let me know. Believe me. I’ve had many a story come to a halt because one character or another has put their feet down and dug in their heels. In which case, I interview them again.
What advice would you give other writers?
Learn to take constructive criticism constructively. If you defend your work too vehemently and close yourself off to comments, you will not learn and grow as a writer. There is always more to learn, even from poor writers and bad books. So leave yourself open, listen to everyone–and take everything with a grain of salt.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I started out with a small publisher called Synergebooks. In fact, they still have seven of my books. But as I became a little more savvy, I wanted more control, so I’ve decided to venture out into self-publishing. Satan’s Mirror is my first self-published book. I also plan to publish a series of books called The Amazing Wolf Boy, a young adult paranormal romance. But I don’t advocate self publishing for everyone. I have found it to be stressful and time consuming–time I would rather spend writing. I advise new authors who hope to self publish to read everything they can on the process, and not to skimp on hiring a good editor and graphic artist.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I firmly believe the future of books is ebooks. But I’ve been saying that for twenty years. I guess I was ahead of my time. Still, it’s gratifying to see how ebooks are finally catching on. I can envision a future where all publishers are digital and all agents are publicists. Wouldn’t that be nice?
What do you use?
Co-writer, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
science fiction, science fiction romance, science fiction horror, young adult science fiction, young adult paranormal romance
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print