Gina and I got to know each other in person over breakfast at the RWA Reno conference last July although we were already good buddies through RWAOnline. Gina is an awesome person and a great writer and I’m proud to know her. She’s also another finalist in the Romantic Times ATII contest to find and publish a new historical novelist.

Hi Kate! These are great questions, BTW.

1. Gina-how many books did you write before the Raven’s Revenge?

The Raven’s Revenge was my first complete manuscript.

2. How did you feel when you found out you were a finalist in the ATTII contest?

I was at work, and there was a message in my “junk mail” folder with a subject of Congratulations American Title Finalist! I clicked, and for one brief moment the screen went blank and my heart dropped. But, then it redrew and I was able to view the message. I was tremendously excited and overwhelmed all at once. Also because they wanted all the contest materials yesterday. That meant I needed an author photo the character summaries, etc.

3. What’s the biggest thing you have learned from the experience and how do you feel it will help you in your future writing career?

I’ve learned how to be a public writer. I wasn’t a closet writer before, but unpubs don’t really have a public except for other writers. This contest put me in touch with romance readers and it’s very exciting.

4. What’s your take on the current state of the historical market. Do you see yourself writing other things in the future?

I don’t really have a take on it. I don’t know why the historical market has plateaued. I do know that I don’t care for lite historicals, but prefer them full-bodied.
Because the historical market became a difficult sell just as I completed Raven, I decided to try writing contemporary. That resulted in my second book: Daisy and Goliath. My third book that I’m working on now is also a contemporary.

5. What’s your day job?

I work at Los Angeles’s PBS station: KCET as an Associate Director which means I spend my days in dark edit bays. Sometimes they let me out and I work in a control room with a Director counting backwards and telling people they are out of time.

6. As a member of the Director’s Guild you get to meet some pretty amazing people. Who has inspired you recently and why? (and btw you were supposed to kidnap George Clooney for me not Miss Snark!)

(Sorry about the George thing Kate. If I’d only known…) Um. In spite of the glamorous surroundings of my day job (Gina laughs hysterically), I find my inspirations in the people close to me and in the mundane events of my life. My daughter has just completed her first book. It took her a few months. I’m awed because it took me years to write Raven mostly because I was figuring out how to write a book. She just did it. I’m inspired by the writers I know in RWA who manage to find time to write every day no matter what small (or even large) catastrophes are going on in their lives. And I’m inspired by writers like Nora Roberts and Stephen King who even after writing bestseller after bestseller could retire if they wanted, but they don’t. They write because they are writers.

7. As a self proclaimed contest diva, do you think they are worth entering or have you got over that?

I absolutely think a writer can learn things through contests that they can’t learn any other way and these things will get them closer to publication. They learn to be read by people who they don’t know. They learn to handle criticism–well meant or not, helpful or not. Contests also give us access to editors and agents who otherwise might be off limits.

My critique partner sold her book via a contest. Would she have sold it otherwise? Let me get out my Ouija board and I’ll let you know…

Thanks Gina!

Thank YOU, Kate.