We’re in for a treat today! Meet our guest, Roxanne St. Claire. We’re barely a year old and already we have this fabulous guest.

Roxanne St. Claire is a bestselling, RITA-Award winning author of twenty-two novels of romance and suspense. She currently writes a popular romantic suspense series called “The Bullet Catchers” that features a cadre of bodyguards and security professionals. Her books have won many prestigious awards, and are routinely selected by Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs as featured selections. In addition to the RITA, her books have won the National Reader’s Choice Award, the Daphne Du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, the Booksellers Best, the Book Buyers Best, The HOLT Medallion, multiple Awards of Excellence, and Borders “Top Pick” for Romance in 2007. In 2008, readers are enjoying the first “Bullet Catcher Trilogy” featuring three connected stories titled First You Run, Then You Hide and Now You Die.

Prior to launching a full time career as a romance novelist, Roxanne spent nearly two decades as a marketing executive and public relations consultant. She is a graduate of UCLA, a national speaker and workshop presenter at the regional and national level, and active in several chapters of the Romance Writers of America. She counts among her many accomplishments a brief acting career that included appearances on two classic television shows, and hosting one talk show. She lives in Florida, with her husband and two children. Visit her web site at www.roxannestclaire.com

Please welcome Roxanne St Claire, our very special guest blogger for this week. Her friends call her Rocki.

Hello Pink Fuzzies and thank you so much for the warm welcome to your fledgling blog. I’m honored to be here, among some of my favorite authors and good friends. These days, you can find me straddling two worlds: the ecstasy of a brand new release in the book stores and the agony of writing the last 20,000 words on a manuscript. I’m thrilled that the latest in my Bullet Catchers series, NOW YOU DIE, is in stores everywhere, and tickled to be getting such a positive response from readers. On the other hand, I’m at that critical point in a romantic suspense when there is non-stop action, lots of loose ends that need to be tied, a huge emotional juggernaut to get through, and…a deadline looming like an oncoming train and I’m tied to the railroad.

Mary asked me to answer a few questions today, which I’m delighted to do, and I’ll also pop in throughout the day, check your comments and answer any questions blog readers might have about writing, life, bodyguards, whatever!!

What was your first published book and who is the publisher?

My first book, a romantic suspense called TROPICAL GETAWAY, was published by Pocket Books in 2003. I’d spent about two years in Submission and Rejection Hell, and my first book was NOT my first manuscript. (That never sold!) Since then, I’ve celebrated the release of nine more romantic suspense novels, ten category romances, one chick lit, and three novellas. It’s been a VERY busy five years!!

Currently I write a series of romantic suspense books, still with Pocket Books, called “The Bullet Catchers.” This is an elite cadre of hot, sexy, fearless bodyguards and investigators run by a very shrewd and gorgeous woman. I’ve had six stand alone books released in the series, and the last three were “a trilogy within the series” – which was a lot of fun and very challenging to write.

What themes go through your books?

I don’t really think about the theme of the book until it’s done, or nearly done, then the theme becomes clear to me. Certain elements are always found in my books: strong external conflict that drives both the story and the problems within the romance; high profile characters/premises that include glamorous settings, international drama, and “big” crimes; and, finally, a delicate balance of romance and suspense, assuring my readers that they will get equal parts of both, the two aspects so intertwined that you can’t have one without the other.

How did you write with kids and deadlines?

It ain’t easy. ☺ When I was first starting, my children were 3 and 7, so I wrote early in the mornings or late at night. When my daughter entered preschool and kindergarten, I wrote every minute they were in school. Now my kids are 11 and 15 (HOW did that happen????) so I write while they’re in school, and even when they’re home. I also have an incredible secret weapon: my husband is retired and he shops, cooks, and chauffeurs the kids to all of their activities while I write. And he doesn’t just “cook” – he’s a gourmet chef! Go ahead, hate me. I understand.

How many other jobs have you held? There are some mentioned in your bio, but we want details.

Before I became a full time writer, I was an executive in public relations and marketing. I had a fantastic career that included many years as a Senior Vice President of the world’s largest public relations firm, and a very successful consulting business that I started when my son was born. I really loved the business of promotion and publicity, and, of course, that’s helped me a lot in this career. But I was quite happy to hang up my panty hose and say goodbye to the corporate world when I started writing. However, being in PR and marketing was great fun – it exposed me to dozens and dozens of different businesses and clients, and I’ve used a lot of that in my writing. Of course, it gave me some promotional tools that I use today. And, I traveled the world and met unforgettable people who I greedily use as characters. But now, I’m perfectly happy to write and be a mom.

Oh, yes, I was also an actress – and I can be seen briefly on TV shows like Bosom Buddies and LaVerne & Shirley!!!

What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?

I hate writing. Did someone say I loved writing? They lied! I do, however, love to REWRITE and I could do that all day and all night. But fresh writing – the blank page? It *terrifies* me. Writing is hard work. I just finished a love scene and, for fun, I calculated hours/pages. It took me 17 hours, total, to write a 14 page chapter that included the build up, the foreplay, the love scene, the aftermath, and the hook. And I haven’t even started the rewrite, edit, and polish on that scene. Writing is so hard! I do love when the book is finished and all I have to do is shine ‘er up. I love to hear from readers, to see my book in stores, and to fall in love with every new hero. (No matter how many hours it takes to give him a night he won’t forget!!!)

What are you writing now?

I’m writing another Bullet Catcher book that will be out in the summer of 2009. It’s Dan Gallagher’s book, in case there are any fans out there, and I’d love to say “it’s a blast” but see the above paragraph. It’s sheer hell on a daily basis, but I pray that it will all come together and be one of my best. I hope!!!

Also, I’m very busy promoting the trilogy that came out this year. The three books are FIRST YOU RUN, THEN YOU HIDE and NOW YOU DIE. They are all Bullet Catcher books, and each one can and does stand alone. However, there is a mystery story thread that starts in the first, gets knotted up in the second, and is untangled in the third. That was very challenging to write, but I’m thrilled with the final outcome and hope readers are, too.

What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?

The End.


Seriously, I love finishing a book. That is my Happy Day. All the questions are answered, all the conflict is resolved, all the bad guys are destroyed, the happily ever after is complete and All Is Good In My World.

I love writing romantic suspense, but I also love other genres. I’ve done a lot of category books (Silhouette Desire) and although I’m not doing any now, I expect to again, one day. I love reading Young Adult and think I would totally enjoy writing it. I just want to *write* for the rest of my life, and I’m thrilled to have a job where I get to do it every day. And no pesky panty hose!!

Go ahead, Fuzzies. Ask me anything and I’ll be by all day. One commenter will win FIRST YOU RUN!

Xoxo
Rocki

31 comments

  1. Arkansas Cyndi // September 8, 2008 at 11:56 PM  

    Hello my good friend! I feel like I'm following you all over the net. Love your interview. See you when I get to Florida!

  2. Donnell // September 9, 2008 at 1:32 AM  

    Roxanne, I was prepared to hate you because you have a gourmet chef for a husband, but you said so many things we all can relate to, I decided to give you a high five :) I love that you don't recognize the theme of your book until you're almost finished. I'm always scratching my thick skull at that one and other people can see my theme so easily. Enjoy your children now, they grow up! Congratulations on your fantastic success and for sharing your time with us.

  3. Joanne // September 9, 2008 at 8:28 AM  

    Roxanne,
    I thought I was the only writer who feared the blank page. I don't like to write, either, but I love to rewrite. Once words are on that page, I can work for hours. Congratulations on your fantastic success. Your talent is amazing.

  4. Beth Trissel // September 9, 2008 at 8:52 AM  

    Wow. How exciting to have you here with the Fuzzies, Roxanne. Thank you and welcome. As a newly pubbed author with my first release coming out this month at the Wild Rose Press I hung on your every word. I was quite reassured to hear that you abhor that blank page too but love the polishing. So do I! And I've committed to this first release being the start of a series, so now I'm at work on the WIP. And yes, it's a lot of work. And I fear I can't pull it off. Thanks for your honesty in sharing your struggles. If you still experience this than it's not just me. :) But I tell myself I can't polish a blank page and I've got to get something on it even if my initial page sucks.

  5. Edie // September 9, 2008 at 8:57 AM  

    Great interview. Roxanne, I'm jealous of your gourmet chef husband -- although mine does make a great apple pie.

    I love polishing a scene too, adding special touches that makes it shine.

  6. Jianne Carlo // September 9, 2008 at 9:09 AM  

    Hi Roxanne,

    Welcome to the Fuzzies. I. too, am envious of your gourmet chef husband.

    Jianne Carlo

  7. Terry Odell // September 9, 2008 at 9:15 AM  

    Hi, Rocki!

    Sorry to be a day late, but my h/h finally got into the hotel room. Together. Alone. I've been writing.

    I may not have the luxury of a gourmet chef husband (that was my brother, he lives 3000 miles away, dang it!) However, I DO have a hubby who will eat ANYTHING and never complains about scrounging.

    Although there are days when I think the most romantic words of all time are, "Dinner will be ready in 20 minutes."

  8. Beth Trissel // September 9, 2008 at 9:22 AM  

    Ooooh Terry. I love those words but I don't hear them from my hubby. My sister and her three little girls are staying with us now and she sometmes says them. :)

  9. Terry Odell // September 9, 2008 at 9:33 AM  

    Beth, I don't hear them often, and it's usually for something he's picked up on his way home, but it's fine with me.

  10. Keli Gwyn // September 9, 2008 at 9:39 AM  

    Roxanne,

    I enjoyed reading your interview.

    Like so many others, I'm impressed that you have a gourmet chef hubby. Unlike them, I'm not jealous. Why? Because my DH has already said that once I'm published he'll retire, do the cooking and help me with promo. Since he's a far better cook and doesn't despise cooking the way I do, he's got himself a deal.

    Math isn't my strong suit--it's a four-letter word in my book--but I did some quick division. With twenty-two books published in five years, that means you wrote over four a year. Impressive! How long does it take you to complete a suspense novel? A category romance?

  11. Theresa Ragan // September 9, 2008 at 11:22 AM  

    Loved your interview, Roxanne. Love your books, too. Haven't read the bullet catcher series, but now I have to for sure! Thanks for sharing. Would love a gourmet cook in the house...lucky!!!

  12. Roxanne St. Claire // September 9, 2008 at 1:06 PM  

    Hi everyone! I have to tell my husband he's the envy of RWA! I would have told him already, but he was shopping - steak with portabellos tonight. Yum! And I'll need it because I'm writing a killer scene and that makes me hungry.

    Thank you for all the kind words and nods about my books and success. So great to see some familiar faces (Terry, Cyndi!!) and new ones, too.

    Yes, Keli, your math is correct - I've been averaging four books a year. The Desires are short, of course, and don't take nearly as long to write as the single titles. It takes me about four months to write a longer book. It took a little over a year to write the whole trilogy, but I had some family drama & trauma in there (including open heart surgery for Chef Rich - but he's FINE now).

    I write a scene a day for the first 2/3 of the book. That's just about all I can do - a scene with an enticing opening, a building conflict, a good climax, and a hook. But sometimes (I hate these days) I close my doc and I just know...it was the wrong scene. Or the wrong POV. Or something wasn't right. I don't move on - I rewrite the scene the next day. I know lots of writers who power on and then go back and fix, but I'm not hardwired that way. I have to have it right.

    The last 80 - 100 pages are much faster for me. They are hard because they are high action and drama, but I know my characters by that point and I know how the story has to unfold. More often, the scene "works" on the first pass, and then I can do two in one day.

    What else do you want to know too much about??? :-)

  13. Lynn Raye Harris // September 9, 2008 at 1:26 PM  

    Hi, Rocki! It's always nice to see you in cyberspace. :) I hate writing too. And I'm beginning to think I hate rewriting. *g*

    I'm working on the 2nd round of revisions on that Presents. *sigh* Getting there, tearing my heart out daily, but getting there.

    You know you're one of my favorite authors! Soon as I turn in this round of revisions, I'm treating myself to NOW YOU DIE!!!!

  14. Terry Odell // September 9, 2008 at 1:26 PM  

    Rocki said: I write a scene a day for the first 2/3 of the book. That's just about all I can do - a scene with an enticing opening, a building conflict, a good climax, and a hook. But sometimes (I hate these days) I close my doc and I just know...it was the wrong scene. Or the wrong POV. Or something wasn't right. I don't move on - I rewrite the scene the next day. I know lots of writers who power on and then go back and fix, but I'm not hardwired that way. I have to have it right.

    I've accused Rocki of being my kid sister, separated at birth... and I understand the process she's describing because it's the only way I can work. I can't barrel through. The best I can do is leave notes for very minor changes, but if I change anything, even the kind of car someone's driving, I need to go back RIGHT THEN and make sure I fix everything. My online crit group is usually several chapters behind me, and if they discover a hole or something unclear, I have to take care of it.

    (I had to post this -- the word verification is "nsbusyat". Who's NS, and what's she busy doing?

  15. Mona Risk // September 9, 2008 at 1:44 PM  

    Hi Rocki, you said in case there are any fans out there. Waving both hands. Welcome to PFS. Under a Hurricane was my first and favorite Roxanne St. Claire’s. Since then I have all her books or almost all. A whole shelf in my bookcase. My husband read her Bullet Catchers. At the end of every book, he serves me the same compliment (?!) "When will you write like that." I'm trying. Rocki has been my mentor and I check your suggestions regularly.

    Rocki, I am working on my last scene now and hope to type THE END tonight. I'm like you. I don't mind editing and revising but writing the first draft is tough. I'm glad to see I'm not as slow as I thought. A scene a day is all I can write.

    I'm impatiently waiting for Dan's story.

  16. Mary Ricksen // September 9, 2008 at 2:01 PM  

    It's so strange how people approach writing so differently.
    For me I sit, when the mood hits, and can write on and on without much effort. It just seems to come somehow, my muse takes over. But edits and rewrites just kill me. Changing is the hard part for me. The problem for me is when the mood hits. Everyday things seem to jump in the path of writing.
    My husband, I love him to death, but he couldn't cook to save our lives. He's like the character in the comic strip, 'Pig Pen', clutter follows in his path. The last time he made dinner he mixed to different boxes of hamburger helper. It was awful. He can fix anything, but a meal.

  17. Roxanne St. Claire // September 9, 2008 at 2:43 PM  

    Oh, my apologies! I just re-read my original post and see I referred to PFS as "fledgling" and I am sooooo wrong about that. When Mary M contacted me, I somehow got the impression that the blog had JUST started within the last few weeks, but I think I'm quite wrong and that it's more like a year.

    So, forgive me - nothing fledgling about *this* group! See, in a rewrite, I would have taken that right out!!

    I'm writing Dan's story this very minute, Mona! (Hi darlin'!) As a matter of fact, I've just got him stranded with the heroine in a stilt house in the middle of Lake Maracaibo...(Terry if that shows up in one of your books, I will kill you - we are NOT sisters separated at birth even if our ideas so often align - LOL!).

    Back to him now!

  18. Kristen Painter // September 9, 2008 at 3:10 PM  

    Honestly, isn't no panty hose truly The Best?

  19. Karin Tabke // September 9, 2008 at 3:12 PM  

    Yo, Rocki! How are you holding up in your neck of the woods. Have you had enough rain?

  20. Terry Odell // September 9, 2008 at 3:49 PM  

    Rocki, as long as the lake isn't in Oregon, I think my life is safe. I've started using more and more fictitous places (albeit based on real ones), after struggling so hard to make everything 'right' with the Orange County Sheriff's Office for a book.

  21. Liz L. // September 9, 2008 at 5:11 PM  

    I am so excited to see someone as successful as you utter the words, I hate to write. I,too, absolutely love editing. I think because of this, it takes me so long to actually get new stuff on a page. I edit it to death. I'm curious if you do that. Another question - how long does it take you to write the first draft?

    Like the others, I'm jealous of yur goumet chef. Mine doersn;lt cook but he always does tht eidses afterwqards.

  22. Liz L. // September 9, 2008 at 5:14 PM  

    See what happens when you try to type with your grandson on your lap!!

    Sorry about the spelling errors, guys.

  23. Mary Marvella // September 9, 2008 at 6:14 PM  

    Rocki, forgive me for editing your words. I saw you thought we were new, but since we're just a year old I called us a fledgling group.

    With guests like you to inspire us, we'll fly! Some members here are testing wings and should soar soon.
    Thanks sooooo much!

  24. Roxanne St. Claire // September 9, 2008 at 6:38 PM  

    Oh, Mary, thanks for letting me know you changed that word. I feel so much better. When I read it, I thought...gee, fledgling. That's not a word I would normally use. See - we all have our voices! And now you can understand why we have to have a chance to read our books after copyeditors get their hands on them. One word is perfectly fine to an editor, but makes the writer stop and stare.

    It takes about three months for me to get a first draft done, Liz, then I like the last month for revisions and editing. But that can change with every book. The one thing I've learned is that over 22 books, my process is never the same. It's like the book dictates how it's going to go. Every once in a while, I get a "gimme" - a very easy book to write. I've had so few, I can name them: HIT REPLY (the chick lit I wrote under the name Rocki St. Claire), TAKE ME TONIGHT (the third Bullet Catcher books) and HIS STYLE OF SEDUCTION (my last Desire). And, probably not a coincidence, these are three of my absolute favorite books. Are they my faves because they were easy, or were they easy because I loved the premises and characters? Who knows?

  25. Mary Marvella // September 9, 2008 at 7:40 PM  

    Rocki, I was reading and coding the bold stuff and adding the pictures and I couldn't stop myself. My evil twin made me do it. I'm grateful you knew what you were doing here.

  26. Roxanne St. Claire // September 9, 2008 at 8:11 PM  

    Never fear, Mary. All's good. I'm in one of those "I think I'll do two scenes today" modes so I'm going into a second work day, writing another scene. Nothing like being on a roll! When I get stuck (every other line), I'm cruising blogs. So....Ah'll be bahck!

  27. Anonymous // September 9, 2008 at 10:28 PM  

    Interesting interview. It is always inspiring to read how someone who is very successful has struggled to get there. Makes me feel better about my current struggle. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

    Scarlet Pumpernickel

  28. Mary Marvella // September 9, 2008 at 10:50 PM  

    Rocki, The Scarlet Pumpernickel is legit! She's incognito.

  29. magolla // September 10, 2008 at 9:21 AM  

    Dang! I'm a day late and a dollar short. . . again!
    Hey Rocki!
    I just wanted pop in to say 'hi', and of course toss my name into the pot for the drawing! I knew you were something else when I read your first book, and you have proven me right! I'm glad to hear your hubby is doing well. Hopefully, he isn't feeding you too much of his wonderful food!
    I'm finally back to writing this AM, after doing 2 days of vacation laundry. Who would have thought three people could generate so many dirty clothes?
    Margaret

  30. Nightingale // September 11, 2008 at 9:38 AM  

    I have a gourmet chef ex-husband! :-) Fantastic interview. Thanks for blogging with the PFS.

  31. Anonymous // September 11, 2008 at 6:22 PM  

    Boy MM knows those fifty cent words! Yep, I'm real. Name withheld to protect the guilty, oops, innocent. Incognito, I resemble that remark!

    Scarlet Pumpernickel