Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Writer Routine Wednesday: Gina Ardito

Hey, all! Today marks the second week of my new blog segment:

Writer Routine Wednesday, where every Wednesday from now until the end of August, I will host an author. We'll get to know them better and their books as well as hear them describe their usual writing routine.

Maybe you'll pick up an idea they use for yourself!

Lots of great prizes are scheduled too!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please welcome author Gina Ardito today and hear about her writing routine!


BIO: Gina Ardito is the author of several light-hearted contemporary romances: The Bonds of Matri-money and A Run For the Money, both published by Avalon Books and A Little Slice of Heaven published with The Wild Rose Press. Under her alter ego, Katherine Brandon, she’s the author of several historical romance novels.

As president and co-founder of Dunes & Dreams Romance Writers (the eastern Long Island chapter of Romance Writers of America), she’s hosted multi-level workshops, booksignings, author talks, and mentor programs. Eventually, she’ll pencil in a nap on her calendar.
For more information visit: http://www.ginaardito.com/

Thanks for stopping by, Gina!

Please describe for our audience a “typical” writing day for yourself. For example: Do you get up have your coffee, check e-mail, then write to a certain time? Do you have a set word or page goal when you write?

Since my husband has a 2+ hour commute to work each day, he and I are both up early. By 6:30 a.m., I’m dressed and at the computer and hubby’s out the door. First I check email and handle any business I need to address. Then I open my document and review what I’d last written. For the next hour or so, I write and then head off to the day job with a printed copy of my most recent chapter of my story. During downtime at work, I read over that chapter, edit, and make notes for where I intend to take the story to finish the chapter. After work I come home, make my changes, and write until it’s time to start dinner.

Do you have another job outside of writing? (Being a mommie definitely counts!!) If the answer is yes, describe how you balance the two and how much time you devote to each.

I’m lucky that I work part-time—between 4-6 hours a day. Sometimes, it’s exactly the break I need to figure out what my characters will do next! Other times, it makes me crazy that I have to leave my scene at a crucial spot to go to work. But my scene is still waiting when I get home in the afternoon.

Are you a laptop, PC, Alphasmart, or by hand kind of writer?

I use both a laptop and a PC. I have a private Yahoo group where I keep my manuscripts. Before I log off the computer, I upload the most recent version of my document to that Yahoo group. This way, no matter which computer I access, I can download a copy of my story and work. I can write anywhere and on any device, provided I have Internet access.


Plotter or panster? If you’re a plotter, how much time do think you put into plotting before writing.

I’m a total pantser. If I even suspect how the story will end, I get bored, rush through it, and wind up scrapping the entire story. That lady you see talking to herself in the car every day? Yeah…that’s me. And the conversation usually goes something like this, “Okay, what’s next? I’ve left my heroine in the sand dune with a plastic shovel and a flock of seagulls. What’s she going to do?” And then I begin running dialogue, playing all the character’s roles by myself. If I come up with a particularly scintillating piece of dialogue or scene idea, I’ll just keep repeating it over and over until I can stop somewhere and write it down.

Some writers make collages or listen to or create music soundtracks for their work-in-progress? Do you do any of those or have you thought about doing one of them?

I am sooooo not artistic, but I love music and can usually lose myself in particular CDs or playlists when writing. I once wrote an entire book with one song from The Pretenders (where I got the original idea) and The Best of Simon and Garfunkel playing on a loop over and over and over for months on end. I know…weird combination. But it worked!

What’s your favorite book on writing?

Honestly? I don’t have one. I’ve read several, but I’m not a by-the-book kinda writer. Occasionally I’ll get an aha moment, but I firmly believe many writers read so many books, they wind up too confused to finish a story—or they steal the passion right out of their work because they’re worried about “doing it right.” If I have to pick a favorite research book, though, it’s called The Secret Universe of Names by Roy Feinson. An awesome, awesome little find that gives in-depth analysis of any person based on the syllables in their name. To help draft my characters, it’s a must-read before I start a story.

What’s your favorite fiction book you’ve read so far this year?


Can I choose more than one? I absolutely loved Suddenly Last Summer by Barbara Freethy, which spurred me to go out and buy the rest of the Angel’s Bay series (currently we’re up to Book 3) and Nora Roberts’s Vision in White, which had the same effect on me. (Also currently we’re up to Book 3—Coincidence? I think not!) Only Nora can make a nerd sound so danged sexy, you melt just reading about him!

What’s your favorite way to reward yourself after you’ve finished writing a book?
After I announce I’ve finished it to everyone I know, I send it off to my beta readers and then catch up on real life: a little alcohol is nice--wine, champagne, even a decent beer; a fabulous dinner with the hubster; some movies or television; and lots of family time. This lasts about a week, tops, before I start getting antsy. Then it’s back into the process for the next story!

Interesting! Thank you, Gina, so much for sharing a little of your writing routine and life with us today!

Here's a little bit more about Gina's recent Avalon book A Run For the Money.

Blurb: Nicole Fleming and Dante LaPalma have nothing in common except an old man's legacy. Joe Corbet has promised them a great treasure awaits them--if they're clever enough to solve his riddles within a six month time frame. According to Joe's will, Nicole and Dante must participate in several excursions. After each adventure, a new clue will be presented and another requirement awaits. Only when they've completed every task in their journey will they discover the treasure meant just for them. Along the way, Nicole and Dante will be forced to share their secrets and place their faith in one another. But if they can learn to work together, they'll discover what's truly important in life. And maybe, just maybe, they'll find the greatest treasure of all: love.

Sounds great, doesn't it?


Well, it's up for order on Amazon.com now! Or leave a comment below and try to win a copy for yourself!


CONTEST: To some lucky U. S resident commenter, Gina will give away an autographed copy of A Run for the Money.

If you win and live outside the U. S, Gina will send you an electronic copy of her book A Little Slice of Heaven. Both are fantastic so it's a win-win! :)


Please leave a comment below to be entered to win. The giveaway contest will run from now until Thursday 11:59PM (EST). I will announce the lucky winner this Friday!


Good luck and get into your writing routine!

65 comments:

Rachael Johns said...

Ooh a very interesting interview. And what a fabulous idea having your own yahoo group to upload your writing too!

Gina Ardito said...

Thanks, Rachael! I keep *everything* there--all my WIPs, ideas for stories I haven't written yet, blurbs, synopses, etc. It's an extra level of storage in case I ever need to access my work away from home.

Gina

Terri Tiffany said...

I like these interviews and I especially like hearing that she doesn't write with an outline so to speak--makes me feel better about how I write. Thanks so much!

R.M.Gilbert said...

Jennifer, just want to take a moment to thank you again for hosting authors on your blog. It's wonderful to read how each ones process is different and yet catch those similarities as well.

Gina, I tend to upload into my Yahoo mail and place my manuscripts as attachments when I want to access them one computer to another, but I also keep zip drives. I think I get nervous I'll have my computers crash at the same time. (Which I pray never happens **knock on wood).

Really thought your opinion on fave writing books was wonderful. I think it's important to learn as much as possible about the industry and writing, but I think a writer can easily be crushed with advise. I think it's important to first, write-write-write. Then read-read-read in the genre you write. Reading what's already out there can teach a writer a lot. (And a good crit group is always nice).

Thanks for sharing today.

Piedmont Writer said...

Jennifer, thanks so much for the interview.

Gina, I use Google Reader to upload my docs. Great interview, thanks.

Diane said...

Gina- Your book sounds fun. I am writing a treasure hunt of sorts as a kids' book. I loved "the Goonies" a little too much as a kid... Good luck with all your future projects! :O)

Debora Dennis said...

I still love the way you run dialog and am envious...give me telepathic mimes and I'd be a happy girl...

I've been using dropbox for my files to access from one computer to another - I have the yahoo group thing too, but always forget to use it. *smack*

:)

Gina Ardito said...

Hey, Terri. I'm definitely not an outliner. I recently sold a three book deal with only the first book written. For the other two, the editor asked for outlines and I wrote quick one-paragraph blurbs with the caveat: "Don't hold me to this. My characters might change the story on me."

When she called with the offer, she told me, "Don't worry about the other two. We trust you."

Sure...but can you trust my characters?

Gina Ardito said...

Hey, R.M. (I know your real name--haha)

I've seen it happen too many times. I know one writer who's been working on the same manuscript for ten years. Every time she reads another how-to book, she rips her story apart and starts over. Sometimes you just have to leap off that cliff and trust you can fly.

Gina Ardito said...

Thanks, Piedmont Writer!

Gina Ardito said...

Hi Diane.

This book was a fun one to write. I got to research my own backyard for crazy things to do. Best of luck with your children's story!

Gina Ardito said...

Aw, Deb, that just means you don't have voices in your head. :-)

Sandy Cody said...

Interesting interview. Kudos to both of you, Gina and Jennifer.

I agree completely with your take on writing books. I think storytelling is a natural part of our human nature and the best way to tell any given story is as individual as the person telling it.

Glad to meet both of you. I'm also an Avalon writer; I write mysteries.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Rachel: I'm SO glad you find these spotlights as interesting as I do! LOL!

Sandy: always nice to see a fellow Avaloner!

Laura said...

I liked this a lot! I love reading about other writers and their process. I run dialogue in my head. too, but it never comes out on paper the same way... Thanks Jennifer and Gina for a good morning read!

DawnB said...

Gina, I so feel you on the no outlining thing. Nothing kills a story for me faster than plotting it.

Bossy Betty said...

Enjoyed this interview. A fellow pantser! Yeah!

Silke said...

You left out the part where you lose your coffee... :P
Also, I'm not a fan of using Yahoo for uploads, but if anyone reading this is looking for a simple backup to keep things safe (and accessible from anywhere) check out iDrive.com. It's free. :)

Silke said...

You left out the part where you lose your coffee... :P
Also, I'm not a fan of using Yahoo for uploads, but if anyone reading this is looking for a simple backup to keep things safe (and accessible from anywhere) check out iDrive.com. It's free. :)

Stephanie said...

Great interview!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Thanks for the link, Silke! I'll check it out. :)

T. Anne said...

Gina congrats on your novel! What a fun interview. I would be honored to win a copy of A Run For the Money. If I were lucky enough to win I would review it on my blog.

Lorraine said...

Jennifer and Gina...great interview!

I too am a pantser. The characters and ideas swirl around in my head until they take shape and I can start writing. I don't totally know everything they're going to do or say. I just play it by ear.

As back-up, I have 2 email accounts, my everyday and my hotmail. When I finish writing for the day I email a copy to myself. Can access it anywhere, anytime, as long as there's a computer and internet.

Gina, thank you for your input. It's always interesting to hear how other writers work. Me, I need peace and quiet without interruptions and am known to turn my phone off at times.

Happy writing!
Lorraine

Laura Marcella said...

Great interview! Love how she's able to balance her writing time with her part-time job and family. Her book sounds terrific!

Jen Chandler said...

Hi Jennifer! I just love these interviews. They have been very enlightening and I love peeking into the lives of other writers :)
I hope you're having a splendid day so far!

Jen

Gina Ardito said...

Hi Sandy!

Thanks for stopping by! I like your take on storytelling. We are each unique (in our own way. LOL!)

Gina Ardito said...

Laura, glad we could entertain you. :-)

Gina Ardito said...

Hey, Dawn!
Yup. Nothing kills a good story faster than knowing the ending.

Gina Ardito said...

Betty,

Yay! A fellow bossy person. :-)

Gina Ardito said...

Silke,

If Jennifer had asked me about my coffee intake, I would have confessed my habit of losing my coffee (not once, not twice, but an average of three times every morning!).

Pffffft!

Gina Ardito said...

Thanks, Stephanie!

Gina Ardito said...

Hi, T. Anne!

I have no say in who wins; I only provide the prize. If you want, e me privately and maybe we can work something out.

Gina Ardito said...

Lorraine,

Peace and quiet? What are these things you speak of? I can't work without noise. Lots of it: earbuds, Spongebob in the background, the kids fighting over the last box of mac and cheese...

Ah, bliss!

Gina Ardito said...

Hey, Laura! If you ask my husband, I spend waaaaaaaaay too much time on this "writing thing." Balance is in the eye of the beholder. :-)

Gail said...

Gina, thanks for sharing your routine with us. I too run dialogue in my head when I'm driving. I've learned to keep a small recorder with me, since driving and writing don't mix.

I hadn't thought about yahoo groups to store my ms, is there any security risk with that? - Gail Chianese

Jemi Fraser said...

So nice to hear about a successful writer who isn't an outliner! I always feel a little guilty when I admit I can't outline :)

Gina Ardito said...

Hi, Gail.

Honestly, I've been doing the Yahoo thing for 8 years now and have never run into any problem. I keep it as a private group, and the only other member is my daughter who will only access the info if I die suddenly. I have an online backup system for my desktop and laptop computers (I use Carbonite) but the Yahoo group gives me the freedom to access my files from anywhere at any time.

Gina Ardito said...

Jemi, don't feel guilty! Some of the best writers don't outline. Hold your head up high, sister! You're in good company. Every writer has to find what works for him/her and just do it.

Lydia Kang said...

Wonderful interview and cool giveaway!
I love learning about writers and how they tick!

Renee said...

Creating a private yahoo group is a fantastic idea!

I really like the premise of your book. Since you write both contemps and historicals, which are your favorites to write?

Lindsey Edwards said...

I love how Gina said she talks to herself in the car. I totally do that too, only it's usually me working through dialogue! Great interview!

desitheblonde said...

hello and best of luck and get more
out soon the book sound great i do love to read i have up to 4 week
and listen to on tape hope you get
the most of he book and best wishes

Samantha Bennett said...

Such a great interview! It's cool to see how other writers blend real life with writing. Fun post!

Gina Ardito said...

Hi, Lydia. I'm not sure I tick. I just kinda chug along. LOL

Lynn said...

Great interview! I like her writing schedule and learned about the Yahoo reader. I also work full-time and could use this tool to view my writing anytime. I'm still on short story and intrigued by those who don't write an outline when writing novels. I guess I will find out if I really need one when I attempt my first long piece.

Gina Ardito said...

Hi Renee. Great question.

I love them both for different reasons. Historicals are easier because the research usually creates great conflict and plot points. My fave historical I've ever written is my third Kismet: Kismet's Salvation. It takes place in Victorian England and Hong Kong and I learned so much about the Tao and yin/yang and opium. Fascinating stuff. (Did I mention I'm a geek?)

But... contemps have their own charm because I generally write about places I'm familiar with and they require a lot less research so I can generally crank them out faster. I can use terms like "Dude" and "fuhgedaboudit" and my readers instantly connect with the character I'm drawing.

So naturally, I'm currently shopping a story that spans both worlds. It's a contemporary with a past lives plot line so my characters jump from the Revolutionary War to the Salem Witch Trials to the turn of the century, and the turbulent 60's, all while maintaining a contemporary attitude!

Gina Ardito said...

Hey Lindsey. It's a lot easier now, thanks to Bluetooth. In the "old days" people I worked with would see me stuck in traffic on the highway and think I was having some kind of mental breakdown. :-) Now they just assume I'm on a hands-free phone.

Gina Ardito said...

Thanks, Desi! I often listen to books on CD in the office. In fact, I turned my entire department on to the idea. Now there are about 14 women around me who swap books on CD all the time. Many of them hadn't read a book in years, but have now discovered new authors and genres.

Gina Ardito said...

Thanks, Samantha. Happy to meet you!

Gina Ardito said...

Hey Lynn! Like I said earlier, each writer has to find what works best for him/her. I know writers who plot out every chapter, writers who have a beginning, middle and end, and writers like me who just grab words out of the cosmos. Creativity can't be packaged one size fits all.

Chelle Sandell said...

I took Silke's advice awhile back with idrive.com and have had to recover my files twice now. Very easy to handle and came in handy for sure! Love your daily commitment, Gina! My hubby is working local jobs again and I find it easier to get up with him and write while it's quiet.

Julie Musil said...

This interview was very helpful! I've never thought of loading the document up to a google group. Totally cool. I learned that I need to get that Nora Roberts book. And I learned about an author whose work I've never read. Thanks!

Oh, and thanks for the contest!

April Ash said...

Okay...now I know more about you! I've got to get The Secret Universe of Names...sounds like it would be very helpful!
Some unique questions and great interview.
Marianne/April

Erica Chapman said...

Great interview! Sounds like a great book too ;o) Love that you wrote to Simon & Garfunkel!!

Thanks ladies ;o)

Gina Ardito said...

Hi Chelle. There's definitely something about morning. It's like your brains been buzzing with ideas all night and is now ready to put those ideas on paper!

Gina Ardito said...

Hey, Julie. Definitely check out that Bride Series by Nora. I just finished Book III yesterday and pre-ordered Book IV.

Gina Ardito said...

April, that Secret Universe book is incredible. I think every writer should have it on his/her shelf! Not just for choosing a name, but to refer back to when you get stuck.

Gina Ardito said...

Erica...yeah, the Simon & Garfunkel thing was a little bizarre, but the imagery in their lyrics really helped me for some reason. This time around, it's a much more eclectic mix of music. I go where the Muse wants. :-)

Heather Sunseri said...

i love hearing how other writers write - start to finish. Thanks for the fantastic interview.

Amy Tate said...

Jennifer, thank you for this! I look forward to learning from others every Wednesday! Her step number one gets me every time - checking my email. If I am serious about making progress, I have to stay off the internet. Checking my email always takes me too much time.

Gina Ardito said...

Hi, Heather. And thanks for stopping by!

Gina Ardito said...

Hey Amy. I admit, when I'm deep in a deadline, I do turn my email off while I'm writing just to keep myself from getting distracted.

persuasive said...

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