As part of the Riptide Publishing Grand Opening blog tour, I’d like to welcome Rachel Haimowitz.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Rachel. We are very excited and can’t wait to learn more about you.
Thanks! I’m very excited to be here 🙂
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I’ve stuck my fingers in a lot of pies—I’ve owned a gaming store, been an emergency medical technician, a photographer for a newspaper, almost went to law school—but in the end (and the beginning, and the middle), I’ve always come back to editing and writing. I went back to school in my late 20s after having worked as a copyeditor for Upper Deck Entertainment for many years; I did an editorial internship at a major Manhattan publishing house and from there went on to work as a professional editor and ghostwriter, writing my own stories in between.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
My first book is still sitting in a drawer and probably will be for a while longer yet. It was this whole complicated worldbuilding dystopian future thing that I started when I was 17 and decidedly lacking in the skills to pull it off. Counterpoint, book I of Song of the Fallen, is the first book I’ve published under my own name, and that process went surprisingly quickly.
When did you start writing fantasy erotic romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
Like many erotic fantasy writers, I started in the belly of fanfiction, and there I remain to this day. X-Files was my first, and once I learned the truth (so to speak!) was out there, I never looked back. I moved on to Star Trek, Buffy, Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, Fake News (oh come on, like Stewart and Colbert aren’t just begging people to slash them :-p), the newHawaii 5-0, and my current fandom obsession, X-Men: First Class.
I have a penchant for fantasy and science fiction, so it was a natural extension to go from reading those genres to writing in them. I love the art of worldbuilding, of being creative while still adhering to the laws of physics . . . even if your world’s laws of physics are not the same as Earth’s. You’ll see that in Counterpoint: a magic system with logical boundaries and limitations that fits into the natural world, and hopefully in a way you’ve never seen before.
As for M/M erotic romance, I’ve always been a bit sexually adventurous, and hey, if one hot guy is sexy, two hot guys are definitely sexier. It’s also fun to explore the psychology of a situation that transcends traditional gender roles, maybe to have two very alpha heroes (as in Counterpoint), and a challenge to avoid giving either of your heroes a “mangina” (anyone who’s ever read slash fanfiction has surely run into this issue). It’s also just plain sexy to see two strapping hotties wrestling naked as foreplay!
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
Sleep ‘til noon, grumble about how early it is, check email in bed, have coffee (not in bed, tragically), wander downstairs with laptop to write in whatever room of the house seems most comfortable at the time, look up ten billion things on Google or thesaurus.com, get link-lost in Wikipedia or TVTropes for a while, finally write that half-sentence throwaway I just spent 30 minutes researching, wash-rinse-repeat until I can’t focus anymore, do something completely non-writing-related for a few hours, walk the dog, and then crawl into bed with my laptop and work until 4am or so. Glamorous, eh?
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
With fiction, I tend to be more of a freeform writer than a careful planner, but at some point in every project (usually about halfway through), I end up assessing what I’ve done and outlining where I plan to go. I find I can’t generally do the outline stage from the beginning because I need that discovery time of the freeform writing, letting myself explore the playground of my world and my characters and seeing where they’ll take me (though recently, with some co-writing projects where I’ve got a very strong brainstorming partner, I’ve started to actually lay things out from start to finish). Once I have a pretty good idea of where I’m going, I can move to the laser-focus of a clear and detailed outline. Of course, the drawback to this is that I inevitably end up going back and rewriting (or just plain scrapping) large portions of the beginning because they were so unfocused, but I shudder to think of what discoveries I might never have made if I were sticking to an outline from the beginning.
With nonfiction (mostly for work), I’m much more rigid. The story is usually pretty clear right from the start, and I map it out before putting any words to paper.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
The simple answer is that you do what’s called for. I’m a firm believer in verisimilitude, and just because you’re writing fantasy doesn’t mean you should make things up when research would reveal a clear answer. I probably spent fifty or a hundred hours researching for Counterpoint, mostly in little bursts: everything from medieval royal court structures, to the construction of a stone-age slingshot, to what species of pond fish could survive a winter in a Pacific Northwest climate.
Take that fish, for example. My theory was that even though it was just a little throwaway line (which, kind of irritatingly, didn’t even make the final cut), someone out there was going to know a lot about pond fish, and if I just took a guess and wrote in a species of pond fish that couldn’t survive the cold, they’d be all, “Whoa, that’s careless. That fish would die. The author clearly didn’t do her research.” And sure, it’s part vanity, but mostly it’s that if the reader is thinking that, then I’ve pulled her out of the story, which is the ultimate failing on an author’s part. And there’s really no excuse for that at all anymore, because Google makes everything so easy; it’s not as if you have to pick up and go the Pacific Northwest or find a fish expert to interview to write with some authority and realism about it. So I pause to do research on anything that might call for it, no matter how insignificant it might seem.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
I suppose inevitably, quite a lot. But it’s not as if I generally create a character with one or even a small handful of people in mind; characters tend to be an amalgam of many people I’ve met and a bunch of made-up things, too. As for approaching their development, it just sort of happens. I have to take care not to force them, though, since they develop on their own throughout the course of the story. Unfortunately, that usually necessitates going back after a while and editing the beginning, where the characters were rougher versions of themselves.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read?
Depends on the book. Somewhere between six months and two years of part-time work for a novel. A short story or a novella might be much faster. For example, for the Goodreads M/M Romance Stocking Stuffer X-Mas event, I wrote a 2,000-word story that took about four hours from conception to polish, and I was quite pleased with how it came out.
What’s your latest project?
My latest book is Master Class, releasing with Riptide Publishing (the house I co-own along with Aleksandr Voinov and Chris Hawkins) on October 30. Here’s a blurb:
Broadway darling Nicky Avery is a shooting star by night, but by day he bounces from one heartless one-night stand to the next. A quick flogging, a rough lay, a new whip-hand to manipulate—yet still he yearns for something he cannot even name.
He finds his first true hint of satisfaction in Devon Turner, a self-possessed film star and expert Dom. Devon knows what he wants the moment he sees it, and what he wants is Nicky Avery. Nicky’s never learned to trust and has a nasty habit of topping from the bottom, but he learns fast that in the bedroom,Devonwon’t tolerate his actor’s masks.
Nicky’s a broken boy, but Devon knows exactly how to put his new sub back together. With patience, care, and all the punishments his little pain slut can handle, Devon breaks Nicky down one scene at a time, revealing a mind that yearns to trust and a heart that hungers for the ecstasy of true submission at last.
Buy Link for Master Class: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/master-class-master-class-1
Author Name: Rachel Haimowitz
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website URL: http://rachelhaimowitz.com
Blog URL: http://Rachel-haimowitz.blogspot.com
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4110966-rachel-haimowitz
COMMENT TO WIN:
Leave a comment on this post (with your email address in the BODY of the comment. No email address = no entry.) for your chance to win:
– Riptide Publishing’s GRAND PRIZE for their entire launch tour – an iPad! (winner for this will be drawn Jan 5th 2012)
– A Kindle or Nook (winners drawn Jan 5th 2012)
– Backlist book of choice (excluding Crescendo). (winner drawn on 12th October)