Harlequin Super Romance Author Angel Smits
Today's guest is a friend of mine. She's a member of my in-town critique group, which we positive sorts call Rose Colored Ink. She's also one reason as a newby writer, I didn't give up. Her encouragement kept me going. Now, it's my turn to return the favor, but trust me, it won't be hard. Because A MESSAGE FOR JULIA is a book worth reading. In light of the recent Chilean Mine disaster, among others, miners' family members wrote to Angel to tell her how much the book meant to them. The following blurb might just explain why:
Trapped in a mine following a cave-in, Linc Holmes sees his life more clearly than ever before. There are wrongs he needs to right and good times he wants to repeat…again and again. It's no surprise that most of those experiences are wrapped up in Julia—the woman he's loved forever.
Funny how with nothing but time on his hands, he has suddenly found all the words she needs to hear. He puts pen to paper and writes them down, so he won't forget a single one when he sees her again.
Because this is one message he intends to deliver in person.
Please welcome Angel Smits to Get Lost in a Story.
DONNELL: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
ANGEL: The person I’d like to meet the most is Jess Gibson. He’s a character in one of my yet-to-be-published manuscripts. He’s a) a hunk, b) a pained soul I don’t know well enough yet and c) he lives in Ireland, a place I’ve always dreamed of going. And least? I don’t know, I enjoy all my characters, even the “bad” ones.
DONNELL: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
ANGEL: I do read reviews. I love to see what people think of my work. Good reviews just reinforce what I’m doing. Neither good nor bad really influence my writing because what they are reviewing is an already done deal. Each story I write and each process is so different so, there’s not any specific changes I’d make.
DONNELL: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?
DONNELL: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?
ANGEL: Oh, definitely. The hero of the book I just sold to Harlequin Super Romance, which comes out in 2012, was just supposed to be a kid brother to give my hero more conflict in A MESSAGE FOR JULIA. But Jace was just too good of a guy to not give his own book.
DONNELL: What is your favorite cheese?
ANGEL: I just discovered cheddar jack. Num!!
DONNELL: Tea or coffee?
ANGEL: Coffee!! LOTS!
DONNELL: (She's not lying, folks ;) ) What name have you been dying to use as a lead character, but haven’t found the right fit yet?
ANGEL: Yes. I in high school I worked in a nursing home and there were two women who were roommates. Their last names make up a name that I always thought would make a great character. I still haven’t used it, but I will!
DONNELL: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
ANGEL: An onion that is stinking up everything. I’m not a fan of onions, but my niece likes them, so we get them when we make burgers and we grilled last night.
DONNELL: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
ANGEL: That I'm tougher than I look. I’ve had some trials in my life, just like everyone, and I’m proud of myself for making it through to being a strong person. Sometimes because of my name and the way I look, people think I’m a push over. I’m not, and I actually have a bit of a temper.
DONNELL: Is Elvis really dead?
ANGEL: Elvis who? :) I’m not sure. One of my co-workers swears he saw him this morning but he could be delusional, or lying.
DONNELL: What is your favorite tradition from your childhood that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?
Angel: When I think of traditions, I think of holidays and that makes me think of family. I guess the thing I have tried to get my kids to appreciate is how important family is. I love getting together with my extended family, and that usually happens around holidays, so I encourage my kids to be a part of that. So far I’ve been lucky and everyone’s been able to make it home every year. I know that won’t always be possible, and we can talk on the phone and stay connected online, but if they at least try and want to do that, I’m okay with that.
DONNELL: What does it mean to love someone?ANGEL: Hey, no fair putting this hard question in the middle of everything.:) I’ve been married for 29 years, so I’m thinking I have it figured out, I just don’t necessarily know how to explain it. Basically, he’s my best friend and I’d rather spend my time with him than anyone else. I’d do just about anything for him or my kids—and the things I won’t do it’s because I make them do it themselves, not that I don’t want to. If everything else in the world went away, I’d be okay if I still had just them.
DONNELL: (I asked the tough question because this next question's sooo easy for you :)) What color would you make the sky if it weren't going to be blue anymore?
ANGEL: Pink, of course. You know that really pretty sunset pink?
DONNELL: What do you do to unwind and relax?
ANGEL: Music is what really does it for me. I like country music, especially Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, lots of the singers who are also song writers. I like the stories they tell.
DONNELL: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
ANGEL: I don't really have that problem. (Knock on wood.) Years ago I learned about improv and stream of consciousness writing. The ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron is an amazing book. When I’m stuck, I just put my fingers on the keyboard and start typing. It may be just a list of what I need to do, or groceries or statements like “this is really frustrating” but whatever it is I find that my brain starts to engage and the words begin. If they don’t, I don’t force it. I find something else to do like listen to music, or read a book I’ve been putting off. My muse usually finds something to play with while I’m distracted.
DONNELL: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
ANGEL: The actual reality of having a book on a shelf in a store or library is a dream come true. I used to stand in the stacks at the library as a kid and dream of seeing my name on the spine of one of those books. That’s happened and it sure is fun!
DONNELL: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
ANGEL: I have two. One I’ve known about a long time. Most writers get movies in their head. I don’t, and that’s frustrating for me. I get the words. I actually hear it or see the specific words in my head. I’ve only come across a couple other writers who are that way. My other one is more recent. I can’t write in silence and the music I listen to must have words. If I listen to instrumental or classical I try to fit words to the tune. It’s very distracting.
DONNELL: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing/researching a book?
ANGEL: Strangely enough, while I was researching the mining industry for A MESSAGE FOR JULIA . I came to an understanding of the men who work in the mines. Many of them actually really like their work, and aren’t just “slaves to the almighty dollar” as they are sometimes portrayed. I have a new respect for them, and for their women who know that what they do is risky and still support them. Same thing with other “risky” jobs; military, police, fire, all that takes something in the people that I admire.
DONNELL: What is your favorite kid joke?
ANGEL: It’s pretty bad and I’m not sure it will translate very well on paper, but here goes. What do you call a fish with no “eyes?” A “fsh.” See? I told you it was bad.
DONNELL: Which era would you least have like to live in, fashion-wise? Most?
ANGEL: Least? Definitely the caveman era. Itchy furs…yuck. Most? The 1890s with the Gibson Girl look. Very feminine and pretty.
DONNELL: Tell me how many hats you have in your home.ANGEL: At least 50. My husband has a bunch of baseball caps and I have a small collection of antique hats. My favorite is the pink cowboy hat my critique group gave me for my birthday one year. It has a cascade of pink feathers down the back. Very fun.
DONNELL: Dog or cat person?
ANGEL: Both, but if I must choose, probably dogs. Cats get to persnickety. Dogs don't care. They love you no matter what.
DONNELL: Which is your favorite language other than your native language.
ANGEL: I never studied a foreign language, but for the past two years I've been learning sign language (ASL). It's not English changed into gestures, like so many people think. It's a totally different language with its own structure and grammar. It's very fluid and beautiful...if you know what you're doing. I'm still working on it.
DONNELL: If you were given a chance to travel to the past, where would you go and specifically why?
ANGEL: Oh, I've always wanted to go back to the 1880s. I loved the fashions, as I mentioned earlier, but I also have some fascinating family members who lived back then. I'd sure like to meet them and see for myself what their lives, and their stories, were lie. Going back to Cripple Creek Gold Boom would be an absolute blast, I think.
DONNELL: What would you do if you had a time machine?
ANGEL: I'd sell it so I could have enough money to stay home full time to write, and travel enough to research my books...like the one set in Ireland. DONNELL: How much money does it take to be happy?
ANGEL: I know money can't buy happiness, but the lack of it sure can bring unhappiness. Having enough money to have all the necessities, and be able to provide for your loved ones so they never go without is probably the closest I can come to answering that with a number.
DONNELL: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
ANGEL: I’d gladly go back to what I used to do, working with the elderly. I spent several years working with Alzheimer’s patients, and while it’s challenging work, the rewards are tremendous. They have lives and stories I’ll never experience and they are so open and loving. They’ll let you be a part of their world. It’s hard to describe, but I enjoyed it a great deal.
DONNELL: What’s the first thing you do when you finish a book?
ANGEL: Sleep and spend time with my family. And sleep some more.:)DONNELL: If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?
ANGEL: This one took me awhile to figure out. Tough, but good question! I’d probably pick a man who is one of my relatives. My great-great uncle was a man named Sam Strong. He was one of the early miners in Cripple Creek, Colorado and lived a very wild and varied life. I’ve done a lot of research on him and even wrote an article of WILD WEST MAGAZINE years ago about the events of his life. But while I know all the events, I don’t know the man. His thoughts. His reasons. His emotions. That little bit of mystery would be fun to learn.
There you have it, readers. A-n-d, we have a bit more of good news!. Angel has sold her second romance, Jace's story, from A MESSAGE FOR JULIA to Harlequin Superromance, this one tentatively titled, A HOME FOR AMY.
Amy Gray lives one day at a time. She doesn’t look ahead and refuses to ever look back. She’s plenty busy raising her six-year-old daughter, running her business and keeping them both safe from harm. When Jace Holmes rides his Harley into town, he rumbles through Amy’s life and her carefully erected protections. She knows falling for him would be disastrous since he’ll just keep going, but her heart and her matchmaking daughter aren’t listening.
Angel Smits’ background as a geriatric Social Worker has given her a glimpse into many varied lives and generations. She often finds her characters and stories in the people she’s met. A people watcher, you’ll frequently find her at the mall or nearby bookstore just observing all the craziness—especially during Christmas where there’s so much to see. Angel has received the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award and has previously published two paranormal romances and several non-fiction articles. Angel lives in Colorado with her husband and soon-to-be-moving-out son and daughter. The cat and dog plan to stay.Now it's Angel's turn to ask readers a question. Those who comment or ask a question will be entered in a drawing for one lucky person to win A MESSAGE FOR JULIA. (be sure to leave your e-mail address.)
So here goes: Angel wrote that she can't write to silence. So how about you? DO YOU READ IN SILENCE?
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an electronic Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
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