Author Roni Loren on Writing Sexy and Her Novel Debut

If the blogosphere were high school, Roni Loren would be a the cool girl. Maybe the coolest. When I stepped in as the new kid this past summer, I found her witty Tweets and fun, gossip-inspiring blog posts a wee bit intimidating. But unlike stereotypical teen cliques, Roni is far from snooty. Twitter led me to her blog, which led me to her website and information on her contemporary romance novel, CRASH INTO YOU. It sounded AWESOME. The only crushing part? We can’t read it until January. Being the impatient reader I am, I did the next best thing—approached her for an interview. I’m honored and thrilled that she accepted… 🙂

Roni’s bio:
Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that’s it.

About CRASH INTO YOU:

Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat—a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one Master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past.  – CRASH INTO YOU, Berkley Heat 2012

AM: Um, can we say HOT? How did you come up with this premise?

RL: It was one of those ideas that came to me when I wasn’t looking for it. I was working on a non-erotic contemporary romance at the time and then this idea started nudging at me. Before I started writing, I was a social worker and I had worked with a number of women who had been victims of rape. So I had the thought—what would happen if a woman who’d previously enjoyed being sexually submissive suddenly had this major trauma happen where her power was truly taken away? How would that affect how she viewed that role afterward? How could she learn to trust anyone again? What if she had to put that trust in someone who formerly betrayed her to get what she wants (in this case, to find her sister)? I answered those questions and CRASH was born. : )

AM: CRASH INTO YOU is the first in a series. Was this your plan from the get-go?

RL: No, I didn’t have the conscious thought to make this a series when I started. But I think I start every project with the vague hope it will be a series. As a reader, I’m a huge fan of series because I like to hang out with characters for a long time, so I think that’s why I naturally veer that way with writing too. And as I was writing CRASH, the hero’s friend Jace became such a strong presence in my mind that I knew I’d have to write his story too. (His story, MELT INTO YOU, comes out in July.)

AM: When did you first realize you wanted to write romance novels?

RL: After I started staying home with my son, I got the writing bug again. I’ve had it off and on since high school, but this was the first time I really decided, “Let’s do this.” But the first manuscript I wrote was actually paranormal YA. When I sent it to one of my beta readers, she said—whoa, this is very sexy for YA. LOL And, of course, the romance and steamy bits were my favorite parts of that book to write, so I realized—duh, write adult romance and you can write as sexy as you want! : )

AM: What’s your writing process like?

RL: This is an ever moving target. I used to be a hardcore, don’t-tell-me-anything-different pantser. I did no plotting ahead for CRASH. I had my characters, their backstories, and the hook, then off I went. I didn’t even decide who the true villain was until halfway through the book, lol. But writing that way also meant going down a lot of rabbit holes I didn’t need to. So I went to the craft books and picked up Save the Cat by Blake Snyder and that book saved my writer butt. It’s just the right amount of story planning for me—not too detailed but hits all the important stuff. Now I can write a synopsis before I’ve written the story and I have a general map guiding me. Now I’m working on my edit-as-I-go obsession because I need to learn to write faster and not obsess over every word in a first draft.

AM: And (I’m sure you’ve never heard this question before ;))—how did you get your agent and publisher?

RL: A middle-grade writer (Natalie Bahm) who I met via blogging contacted me one day to let me know that her agent (Sara Megibow) was looking to sign more romance writers before RWA Nationals. Natalie had read a few excerpts on my blog that I had done for blogfests and liked my writing, so she offered to give me a referral. Sara was already on my dream list, so I took Natalie up on that kind offer and submitted CRASH. Two weeks later Sara offered me representation. We did a pretty major revision then went out on submission. She told me to expect the rejections first, but Kate Seaver from Berkley Heat made an offer before we’d even heard back from anyone else. I was a total Berkley fan girl and couldn’t have been happier.

AM: How do you envision the release in January? Will you be nervous? Totally stoked? Have you envisioned your novel on bookstore shelves??

RL: I’m experiencing a full range of emotion. I’m over the moon excited but also nervous about what people are going to think of it. Writing is such a personal thing and having your writing on display for the world kind of feels like standing in the middle of an auditorium naked and asking for opinions.

AM: What role do you expect your blog will play in promotion and sales of your book? Has it helped you in other ways?

RL: I love blogging. As I mentioned above, I wouldn’t have gotten a referral to my agent without my blog, so it’s played a big role so far. The people I’ve met and the support that’s out there for other writers are by far the biggest benefits of blogging. As for promotion, I take the mindset that it’s all about building relationships and being a real person. My blog isn’t there for me to yell “buy my book!” I just hope that the relationships I’ve developed will naturally translate into people being open to trying my book and being supportive.

AM: What’s your top tip for up-and-coming bloggers?

RL: Be genuine and be uniquely you. Your blog is about letting people in and getting to know you (and all your quirks and weirdness). Don’t start a blog with the intention of replicating what someone else is doing. What’s successful for one person may be the wrong path for you. Play to your own strengths. (Guess that’s more than one tip, LOL.)

AM: What do you most hope readers will gain from CRASH INTO YOU?

RL: A world they can get lost in with a few laughs, a lot of sexiness, and a hero and heroine they can root for.

AM: I don’t know about you all, but I’m rooting for Brynn, Jace and Roni already.

Roni’s debut novel, CRASH INTO YOU, will be published by Berkley Heat January 3, 2012. For more information, visit her website: www.roniloren.com and writing blog.

*****

Are you as eager to read CRASH INTO YOU as I am??? Any thoughts to share with Roni?

Leave a comment

50 Comments

  1. I wrote a short story series on another blog and the readers were asking for some “steam” but I copped out. How is it easy for you? I need to let go and write one….
    Great interview!

    Reply
    • Writing steamy the first few times can feel kind of awkward. My best advice is to read “above” the steam level you plan on writing. So if you want to write a sexy contemporary, read erotic contemporary. It makes you realize that a) there is stuff out there a lot steamier than you probably plan on writing so you’re not going to shock the writing world with your naughtiness 🙂 and b) it will desensitize you a little so everything doesn’t *feel* as scandalous when you’re writing it.

      And then once you’re feeling more confident about writing the sexier stuff, make sure you focus on the emotion and conflict in the scene. The physical descriptions of the act should be secondary and blended in to the emotional/internal experience for your characters.

      Hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. Great interview!!! Wish you nothing but the best Roni!!! Been following you and your blog for years!! I’m proud to say I “knew” you before you were famous! 😉

    Reply
  3. Shannon Esposito

     /  December 5, 2011

    Great interview, August and Roni! I wish I could write romance, but it’s so awkward for me. Maybe i should read your book and take notes, it does sound steamy 🙂

    Reply
    • Well of course you should read my book! 😉 But seriously, like I mentioned in the above comment, the best way to get over that awkward feeling is to read above the steam level you want to write. You will get a feel for what works and you won’t feel as OMG when you sit down to write your own because there is ALWAYS someone writing something more scandalous than you are, lol.Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. Interesting interview. I enjoyed it.

    Roni, which Save The Cat, are you talking about? He’s written several.

    Truly, you hit the nail on the head. Promotion is about people getting to know you and appreciating the person behind the books. There have been books I’ve bought solely because it was a blogger friend, including some I wouldn’t have normally bought. I’ve found some real gems that way.

    You’ll have to come visit OVER COFFEE in the new year with your new book.

    Sia McKye’s Thoughts…OVER COFFEE

    Reply
    • Sia, I have both Save the Cat and Save the Cat Strikes Back. Both are great, but the first is the one that was the light bulb one for me. His “beats” are how I plot now.

      And thanks for the invite! Email me: roniloren(at)live(dot)com and let me know what dates you have available and we can work something out. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Love the interview! Very interesting to hear how Roni does it. I too love her tweets and steamy posts. The premise for Crash into You sounds really suspenseful so I can’t wait to hear more reviews and I wish Roni all the success she can have! She’s a fun and witty woman who has a fascinating perspective to give this book from her past work.

    Thanks for sharing the interview, August!

    Reply
  6. Coleen Patrick

     /  December 5, 2011

    I have Roni’s book on my Amazon wish list! Great interview August. I feel the same way you do about Roni being the cool girl in the blogosphere–and not snooty at all! I came across her blog this summer after I started blogging and loved it. In fact when I saw her profiled in Writer’s Digest this month I got so excited that I tweeted her and of course she tweeted back. 🙂
    Thanks August.

    Reply
    • If only all sheik women were as sweet, right?? 😉 We’ll have to chat book club-style about CRASH.

      Reply
    • Thanks so much, Coleen! And y’all are too funny. Being the “cool kid” would be a foreign concept to me. I’m a hardcore dork–don’t let the blog fool ya. 😉

      Reply
  7. August, you are a great journalist!

    And Roni, you are such an inpiriation! Congratulations and Best wishes on your new book!

    What a great interview! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Wonderful interview. Love your blog Roni and wish you all the best with your release of Crash Into You.

    Reply
  9. Fab interivew! Your story is so encouraging Roni and I love your attitude towards blogging and promotion. I love the community aspect of blogging much more than the promoting but the two aren’t really mutually exclusive.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Sonia! 🙂 And yes, I agree, not mutually exclusive. But I think when the community and networking part are the focus, the promotion fits in a lot more naturally.

      Reply
  10. Very nice interview August and Roni! The book sounds fantastic! I’ve put it on my Amazon “to buy” list.

    I love your comments about blogging. Sometimes is seems like a waste of time, especially when no one visits or comments, but knowing that it does play a vital role in establishing a career helps to keep plugging away at it!

    Nice job ladies!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Reply
    • Agree, Patricia. In addition to inspiring us as an author and blogger, Roni is evidence that platform-building can provide plentiful benefits. (Feel like I should apologize for calling you “evidence,” Roni! LOL I mean it in the BEST way possible… ;))

      So glad you dug the interview, Patricia!

      Reply
    • Thanks so much for putting me on your list, Patricia! 😀 (And August, no worries about calling me evidence, lol.) It is hard to keep up the blogging thing when you’re not feeling like you’re getting a return, but it’s a slow build kind of thing. I remember being over the moon when I got 50 followers. I would’ve never guessed I could’ve grown mine to what it’s become. And I don’t think I did anything special–just put in time and kept it mostly consistent. I think the most important thing is getting your voice out there.

      Reply
  11. FAB interview you two. Wishing you all the success in the world Roni!!

    Reply
  12. I love author interviews. 🙂 Roni, your book sounds so enticing, it’s now on my TBR list. Thank you for the wonderful interview, August and Ronni!

    Reply
  13. Thanks for hosting Roni, August! What a great interview. I love it that Roni found “writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them” in high school. Me, too. It’s been such fun to watch Roni grow from a fellow blogger to an agented writer, then get the big book deal. And now her career is about to take off!.

    She’ll be visiting my blog on December 18th.

    I’m enjoying guesting on the Fiction Groupie blog today, but for some reason, for the last hour or so, I haven’t been able to get in and read the comments. So Roni, if you don’t see any more responses from me, that’s why. But I’ll keep trying.

    Reply
    • Exciting that you’ll be hosting her, too, Anne! You must have excellent taste in authors. 😉 Thus, I’m off to join your blog… Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment. Bearing witness to others’ growth can be as gratifying as growing ourselves.

      Reply
    • Thanks, Anne! I think that’s been the best part of blogging–meeting so many writers and getting to share their journeys and my own. I love feeling like we all have this big cheering section that supports each other.

      Reply
  14. Gosh! It sounds so great, and what an interesting interview. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Good luck Roni!

    Reply
  15. August, what a great interview. Roni makes it all seem so simple! I have never read a contemporary romance novel, but with the elements of suspense described in her brief description, maybe I am missing out on something. Can’t wait til January to give it a read. Great job to both of you on this post!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Tim! If you decide to give it a read, let me know what you think. (It’s one of my secret missions to tempt the non-romance readers over to the dark side.) 🙂

      Reply
    • Thanks, Tim! Roni certainly made this interview easy. 😉 I’m a thriller/suspense writer and reader and agree with you… CRASH seems like it’ll surpass conventional romance novel-dom in cool, dark ways.

      Reply
  16. This sounds like it will be an AWESOME series 🙂 I love the history behind the writing 😉

    Reply
  17. I say I don’t read romance, but I recently read the excerpt of Roni’s book and I think in January I’ll be reading at least one romance. August, I think you nailed it when you described Roni’s blog and Tweets.

    Reply
    • Stacy, so so glad you liked the excerpt! That makes me happy. 🙂 And maybe I’ll convert you over to the dark side. *steeples fingers* *practices Dr. Evil laugh*

      Reply
    • You’re a gem, Stacy! Thanks for popping by. Excerpts I love have led me down some fabulous literary paths… 🙂

      Reply
  18. Awesome interview! I, too, find Roni to be amazing and her blog a bit intimidating. She just has it all going on and is so fabulous!

    Reply
  19. Great interview – you have a cool, easy-flowing style!

    Reply
  20. I’ve never been a romance reader, but lately I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a romance. Who better to learn from than Roni? Great interview, August! I. too, will be reading a romance in January.

    Reply
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