A little straight talk with Inara Scott… Here’s Inara!
I am a huge pre-planner. I think and think and think about a book long before I start writing, usually when walking my dog, jogging, or getting a massage. Of course, if given a choice, I’d prefer the last of those three! I also tend to talk through my plot with my husband and critique partners. I process things by talking (unfortunately for those around me!), which means I will often talk through several versions of the plot before I start writing. I think my poor husband has learned to tune me out completely once I start a conversation with, “So I’ve got this new book idea…”
How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?
By starting on my revisions, of course!! No seriously, I find writing a first draft the most agonizing part of the business. On the other hand, I absolutely adore revision. So despite the fact that I try to force myself to take a break from the book and get a little distance, it’s almost impossible for me to stop myself from diving right back in.
Have you had any fun fan moments since you became a writer?
I had a twelve year-old with severe dyslexia write to me and say that while she usually hated reading (because it takes her so long and is so difficult) she loved my first YA book, and it made her think maybe she could enjoy reading other things as well. I can’t think of anything more wonderful for a writer than to inspire someone to read.
If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go?
I’d really like to have dinner with Anthony Malory, from Johanna Lindsey’s book Tender Rebel. And I would really hope he would make a pass at me. 😉
Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?
I generally start first with characters and conflict, especially when I’m working on an adult romance. I tend to work more with themes and “what if’s” in my young adult books. Once I’ve got interesting characters and a great reason why they can never end up together, I create the external story arc (aka, the plot) that will make it impossible for them to be apart. 😉
Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?
Umm, can I make something up that sounds really cool? I’m an ice climber and I juggle fire. Okay, not really. But I do practice yoga, and like to stay in shape by running and swimming. I have an embarrassingly cute little white dog that looks like a living stuffed animal. When I travel to conferences and book events, my family accuses me of missing him more than the rest of them. This may, in fact, be true.
What was the inspiration for your book?
My February release, Rules of Negotiations, was written while I was still practicing law full time. I thought a lot at the time about how different my life would have been if I hadn’t met my husband and had kids before I started my practice. You see, I tend to be a bit of a workaholic, and I think if I hadn’t started a family before I began my practice, I’d never have had the time to meet anyone. Rules felt a little to me like, here’s what my life might have looked like, if things had gone a different way…
How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?
I am HORRIBLE at titles. Truly miserable. If there’s a “bad title” contest, I’m sure I would win. I tend to go through several titles at different stages of writing and eventually have to call in friends, critique partners, agents and editors to save me from myself. Rules of Negotiation started life as The Last Word. I think at one point it might also have been called The CEO takes a Lawyer. Or something like that. 😉
Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?
I wish I could play the casting game better, but I don’t watch much TV and I almost never get to the movies. I’d much rather be reading or writing than watching! But I will say that
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Oh, keep writing! Write, write, write! And while I know it’s tempting, don’t send out your manuscript too soon, and don’t self-publish without the advice of an editor. You wouldn’t believe how much polishing published authors get from their editors (both acquisitions editors and copy editors). No author can see everything in their manuscript all by themselves. Be open to criticism, and get ready for a bumpy ride. Do this because you love it, and only if you love it.
What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?
Outdoor trail guide, ropes course instructor, environmental educator, attorney, energy analyst, grant writer, professor.
Who are your favorite authors? What authors have influenced your book?
I started reading historical romance at an early age, and Johanna Lindsey was always my favorite. I have always loved historicals with fantastically beautiful women, shockingly sexy men, and absolutely absurd situations. (And pirates. I luuurrve me some pirates!) I don’t need much reality with my romance—in fact, sometimes I think I prefer it without.
On the fantasy/sci-fi side, I am a huge Anne McCaffrey and David Eddings fan. Dragonflight remains my all-time favorite book, and I’ve re-read the Belgariad series more times than I can count. When I need an example of sharp, unique, memorable characters, I always go to Eddings.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Definitely plotter. I make charts, graphs, and spreadsheets. I can’t imagine trying to get to the end of a novel without knowing in advance my turning points, big black moment, and character arcs. That said, the plotting gives me a starting place, but constantly evolves once I start writing. The final book never looks like the original synopsis.
Where does the magic happen? Where do you write?
Usually at coffee shops and usually early in the morning. I try to write at home but I get distracted and end up cleaning the kitchen! I’m much more focused when I get out of the house. And I’ve always been a morning person. When I was working full time, I’d get up at 5 and write for an hour or two before the kids got up. When I was writing full time, I tried waiting to write until after the kids went to school to write, but felt like I was leaving some of my best, most creative hours unused. Nowadays I do a little of both, but I still enjoy my early mornings best.
Do you prefer print books or eBooks?
I’m still a print book reader, mostly because I spend so much of my day staring at a screen, my eyes need the downtime. I am also a huge skim reader (terrible, I know!) and I find it easier to tear through a print book than an eBook.
What’s in the works for you?
More, more, more, please! I love writing and can’t imagine a day without it. I’m currently working on a couple of new projects, but they’re such babies I can’t really talk about them. I can say contemporary romance and YA. That’s about it!
About Inara Scott
Inara was born in the winter wonderland of Buffalo, New York. She promptly commenced complaining about being cold, and didn’t stop until she moved to North Carolina to attend Duke University. After graduating with a degree in history and women’s studies, Inara wandered around the country teaching outdoor education and writing bad poetry. Given Inara’s love of argument, it was really only a matter of time before she ended up in law school. Inara practiced law for ten years before being rescued by her love of fiction. Today, Inara enjoys the rainy splendor of Portland, Oregon, where she writes young adult fiction and adult romance. Her debut novel, DELCROIX ACADEMY: THE CANDIDATES, published in 2010 by Disney-Hyperion Books for Children, was a 2010 Oregon Spirit Book Award Honor Book. Inara’s first adult romance, RADIANT DESIRE, was released in October 2011 by Entangled Publishing.