Monday, October 14, 2013

Author: Lily Ortiz

Today's guest is an up-and-coming author, who writes fascinating stories that will keep you riveted.  Please welcome Lily Ortiz.

I’m a middle-aged, Latin female living in the mid-west of all places. I have two teenage sons, 3 Staffordshire Bull Terrier dogs and 1 cat. Oh, I am married to my biggest fan, my husband for 24 years.  I work full time as a nurse. I love to bicycle ride and take long walks.  I love to read, I am currently reading 4 books.

After hearing all of that, I have to ask, how do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
I always try to remember I have a family. I started an Excel calender where I put in my writing goals and due dates for stories.  I also put in family trips and promises I've made. E.g. taking my son Joseph shopping for new jeans or meeting my husband for dinner.  It helps to plan the week so I don’t forget my writing goals and at the same time know what I have promised to do with my family.

What a great idea.  I might have to try that.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
Since becoming a serious writer two years ago, I try to carve out 1-2 hours a day to writing.   I often get lost in my stories and my husband has to remind me to come up for air.  I still go to the local library or book store to write, it’s too distracting at home. 

When at home, what does your writing space look like?
Sad to say I don’t have my own personal space yet. I write at my formal dinning room table, but my 17 year old son thought it was a great place to study so he moved in last year. It’s a pretty big table, but I really want my own space. I am working on getting rid of our formal living room, we never use it, and creating two study areas. One for my sons to use and one for me with maybe a partition. We’ll see.

What you are most passionate about outside of writing.
I am crazy about playing Scrabble. I joined the local Scrabble club and have gone to tournaments and even attended a National Scrabble Tournament in Orlando.

That's great.  I would love to be better at scrabble.  What genre(s) do you write, and why do you write the stories that you write?
I write comtemporary romance and science fiction because it is what I love to read.

I grew up reading Harlequin romances.  I grew up in the slums of New York and reading was an escape.  I found the women in the romance stories smart, witty and independent.  Then I discovered Science Fiction stories and became smitten with Assimov and Clarke. 

I love HEA (Happily Ever After) stories in any genere I read.  In my line of work I see too much suffering and pain so I read to escape, have fun and allow my imagination to soar. 

Do your characters come to you first, or the plot, or the world of the story?
I get ideas for stories first, plot and then characters. I keep a notebook app on my Android phone and everytime I get an idea (boy do I get ideas) I quickly write it in my memo app.

I need to get that app.  What sets your books apart from other authors?
Well, since I am not published yet, I am not an author. However, that being said I’m not sure how to answer this question.  They often say at writing workshops you should find a writer or two to emulate.  Try to write like them so you can learn to write dialogue, voice etc.  I’m still looking for that one author.   If I ever chose to write historical romances, I would try to mirror Kathleen  E. Woodiwiss, the queen of historical romance.  If you have never read the Flame and the Flower, you have missed out on a marvelous adventure. At the time the story came out in paperback, I lived in Brooklyn, NY. I remember seeing dozens of women reading the book on the subway. My cousin was 8 months pregnant at the time and she started reading the book on the train on her way to her doctor’s appointment and became so immersed in the story she winded up in the Bronx, the train’s last stop.   I myself stayed up to 2am trying to finish the book in one day. Now, how many times does that happen?

Wow, that's amazing.  How do you go about developing your characters?
I need visuals to help write about my characters. So I spend an hour or two on the internet looking for a picture of what I imagine my character looks like, then I copy it to my character profile file.  I use a character profile, lots free online, and use fill it in a little bit at a time.  I’ve learned you can only create characters with deep point of views if you know them inside out.

You make a very good point.  Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
Antonio Centero is the hero in my current contemporary romance novel.  He is a Puerto Rican living in New York. He speaks with slight Latin accent, I love men with any kind of accents. He is of course, tall, dark and handsome.  He grows in the story from a charming playboy use to getting his way, to a tortured, bitter soul who finds that his heart still has room to love inspite of his life’s misfortunes.

Can you share a little of your current work?  I am writing a contemporary romance called Beauty’s Curse which is part An Affair to Remember and part Beauty and the Beast.

Where can readers find more information on you?
For now I do not have a Facebook, Website or newsletter.  I do Twitter sometimes, you can find me at Lily O.

Lily, thank you so much for sharing with us today.  It was great to hear about writing from your point of view.  You, and your writing, are fascinating.  I can't wait to read your work.

No comments: