Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Molly Daniels

I'm excited to introduce this week's Wednesday Wonder Writer Molly Daniels. Molly is a hard working writer who's making her dream happen, and it was fun to interview her and find out a little more about her. So sit back and take a few minutes to get to know this lovely wonder writer.

Author’s lives intrigue readers and other writers. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

Hi Brynn! Thanks for having me today!

My schedule varies. I usually get up around 6:30 and drink my coffee, watch the news, and maybe even check my email. I get the kids up; My oldest son has his drivers license, so before 8, I take my daughter and youngest to school and return home. I’ll pour myself a second cup of coffee and read my favourite blogs. Then I’ll shower, make my bed, and do my Quiet Time. If I’m working on a wip, I’ll sit back down at the computer and get to work. Otherwise, it’s housework time. I have to pick up the toddler at 12:30, and after we get home, I’ll go through any papers he has and watch Dora or Diego with him. Then I’ll write until 3, post my blog, and wait for the older kids to get home. Around 4, I’m usually off to the nursing home to visit the MIL for an hour, and then its dinner; clean-up; catching up with the older kids’ days, and TV time. If I’m lucky, my older son will bathe his little brother; we’ll all have ice cream; bed time for the kids. I’ll usually read for an hour before I go to bed around 11.

And as I’ve been offered a job, once I take it, the writing will have to wait until the evening hours or the weekend.

What kind of job will you soon be doing? Do you think it will give good experience you can apply to your writing?

I will soon be working at a daycare center, owned by Head Start. I’ll be starting out as a substitute teacher’s aid, and hopefully this will give me an inside track to actually using my social work degree. As to applying it to the writing…you never know when you’re going to find inspiration for the next storyline, so I don’t know. But this will be only the third time in seventeen years of marriage that I’ve had a job outside the home, and I jokingly call it part 2 of the ‘single mom test’; part 1 being last year, when my husband worked and lived two hours away from us during the week and visited us on the weekends. Part 2 is seeing whether I can work full time as well as being a full time single parent.

Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

Sometimes I’ll simply go over the last couple of pages to see where I left off. If I’m ‘in the zone’, this doesn’t take a lot of time; I can usually pick up right away where I left off. But if nothing’s coming to me, then I’ll move on to another wip and do the same thing.

How many WIPs do you have going at one time?

Usually, only two, but I’ve had as many as five. I have three half-finished manuscripts in my Arbor U series, but I’m only concentrating on one. I’ve got the 3rd book in the series in the submission stage; I just dusted off my NaNo manuscript and have decided to polish it; and another contemporary romance which I began in January, but is only on chapter three. And there are two more half-finished books which at any time the characters could start talking to me again, demanding I finish their stories. So I guess that’s really seven, in various stages of development!

Do you have a favourite author or someone you look up to in the industry?

I love Nora Roberts, Lavryl Spencer, and Catherine Coulter. When Lavryl retired, I had written four of my books and I thought, ‘Hey, I can take her place!’ And since I’ve jumped on the e-book bandwagon, I look up to all the authors I’ve been communicating with and reading their books. I thought I was prolific, but you guys have left me in the dust, ha ha!

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?
I’d have to say all over the place. If a storyline grabs me and demands to be written, I’ll write furiously until the muse is exhausted. Last spring, my kids needed the computer to do homework, so I printed out the last page of the ms, grabbed my notebook, told them to keep an eye on their little brother, and went to Starbucks for an hour or so. And when my dh complained, I shut myself in the bedroom until the words no longer came.

I’ve been trying to work on the eighth book in my series, and tried to force it during NaNo month, but my characters wouldn’t cooperate. So I wrote something else. I’ve learned that when the time is right, the story will quit ‘gelling’ in my head and will come out of my fingers. And when that happens, watch out!

What are you working on now?

Still working on number eight, ha ha…and I started another story about a young chef who ends up falling for one of her customers. I’m also trying to get #3 published and doing edits on the fourth.

How many books have you had published and for whom?

I self-published my first two books in my Arbor University series. Love is Sober was published in December 2002 through iUniverse, and more recently, the second in the series, Love Finds a Way, came out on November 7, 2007, through AuthorHouse. And just this past year, AuthorHouse bought iUniverse, which I found amusing.

I’ve sent the third one, Forbidden Love, to an e-publisher, in hopes of finding a home for the entire series. And my two erotic romances will be soon be getting polished and being submitted as well.

Explain how self-publishing works.

Basically, I paid a fee; I uploaded the manuscript; they contacted me when it was time to discuss covers and general layout of the book. They sent me the galley; I proofread it and filled out the correction form on any that needed to be made before signing off on the final galley. There are more fees for more services, but as money is tight, I’m not using them. (They do offer E-books as well, only charging another fee.) And POD (print on demand) is tough for bookstores. The books are not returnable (unless you’ve paid for that service), so I go the consignment route. I also do book signings at various craft fairs, and I’ve managed to place my books in a few small gift shops. And some book stores will agree to set up author events; I just have to provide my own books. .

With my first publisher, they offer special sales twice a year, where I can purchase copies at half-price. And with my second, I was more cautious with my initial free books, and was able to make some Christmas money. I’ve got at least two signings coming up, and just had to order some more. I don’t keep several hundred around; I generally buy ten, twenty, or in this last case, twenty-five to sell, because I’m still relatively unknown.

Is there a place where people can order your books online?

I’ve got the links on the ‘Books’ page of my website, and while both are on, , and, Love is Sober can be ordered directly from the publisher at and Love Finds a Way at .

What’s your favourite genre to write?

Definitely romance!

Tell us about your latest release and how you got the idea?

Love Finds a Way came about when I was bored in college. I had gone on a blind date with a young man who was home on leave, and didn’t think I’d ever see him again, even though we’d hit it off. So over the summer, I started thinking about ‘what if…’ and started writing. And as it turned out, he did come home again, and we picked up right where we had left off, with a few bumps along the way. The book reflects some of our ups and downs, and as I was writing, other characters entered with their own problems, so I started plotting their stories. Finally, one day I had three unfinished stories and decided to make them into a 5-book series, just to get them out of my head. Along the way, it spread to 12 books, and now 14.

I also had loved the teen romance books in jr high and high school, and wanted to read something similar in the college setting. When I couldn’t find anything, I created my own. In a nutshell, I wrote the book that I wanted to read.

Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get started? Etc.

In the fifth grade, I had a student teacher who ‘unlocked’ my imagination and taught me how to write the stories in my head down on paper. I’d always acted them out with my sister, or through my Barbie dolls, and got mad when the other girls didn’t follow my ‘script’…never mind the fact they couldn’t read my mind! I thought if they would just follow along, they’d get it…but no. So when I learned about paragraphs and how to write dialogue, I basically went nuts with enthusiasm and wrote my own fairy tales. I only have a few that I saved; I’m not sure if they are simply lost, or if I never got them back from my teacher.

In the ninth grade, my English teacher informed us we would write creatively every other Friday. Most of the class groaned; I was thrilled. I was heavily into “Star Wars”, and ‘The Empire Strikes Back” had been out for a year and we were all waiting impatiently for the answers to our questions. I decided to write my own ending and see if George Lucas and I were on the same wavelength. Seven months later, equalling 4 hand-written pages a month, I finally put “The End” on my 27-page document, full of my teacher’s comments to ‘please write something else!’, and had to wait three more years to see I was way off target!

In college, I started writing half-heartedly, just to get the newly forming stories out of my head, and envisioning being published before I was twenty. But not having any idea of how to start, the goal eventually was extended to make it before I hit thirty, and then forty. At age twenty-five, I was pregnant with my first child and on bed rest, so I decided to roll my story ideas into a series, and two years later started trying to submit my first completed manuscript.

Seven years later, I found out about an agent who ‘specialized in getting unknown authors published’, so I sent him my manuscripts and swallowed everything he told me. Two years later, I found out about the POD industry; got Internet access; published the first one, and eagerly called my agent to get the ball rolling with #2. Didn’t hear back for three weeks; I began to feel lied to, so I started searching on the Web. Guess what? He’s being indicted for fraud! So I added my name to the list and am now getting monthly checks (when he pays…he has 10 years to pay restitution.) About this time, my husband was watching Montel Williams, and Jaid Black, owner of Ellora’s Cave, was a guest. I went to the website, got my free copies of her newsletter, and started asking questions. I even ordered my first e-books a year later.

Then last year, I was fortunate enough to get invited to join an online writer’s group, and through the people I met online, the rest of my questions concerning e-books was been answered, and I jumped on board. My series is geared toward age 12 and up, but the two books I wrote this past year are more erotic. I blame you, Amarinda, and Anny for that, ha ha…

Star Wars conclusion…were you way off target?

LOL! Way off base! I made Jabba the Hut a forgetful alien; I didn’t solve Luke’s parentage question…in fact, Darth Vader never even made it into the manuscript! It was all about freeing Han Solo to be reunited with Princess Leia…proof I should stay away from Sci-Fi and stick to romance!

From reading your blog (and your comments on mine), I know you are fond of 90210, as well as Charmed. Who’s your favorite character from either one and why? Is there one character who’s most like you?

Charmed is easy. I’m probably more like Piper…the mom who is a secret control-freak, and whom everyone counts on to be dependable. I do wish I’d had the courage to be more like Phoebe in my younger days! 90210…in the HS years, I was probably a Donna…na├»ve, a little ditsy. But in college, probably Kelly. I developed a backbone and did what I wanted. In both cases, I didn’t date; I mated. My shortest relationships lasted three months.

Tell us more about your erotic writing. What was it like to go from the college series you’d been writing to the steamier work? What challenges did you encounter, if any? Was there any part where you felt freed?

Actually, it wasn’t that hard. All I did was fast-forward to the present time and add more description. The hard part, believe it or not, was the buzz words. I wasn’t raised with that sort of vocabulary, but I’m married to man who uses some of the words. So all I did was channel his rough vocabulary moments and try to keep from blushing as I wrote it! It helped that I had read my first Ellora’s Cave books, and had read the complimentary newsletter. In the last year, I’ve been fortunate enough to correspond with other EC, Cerridwen Press, and Total-E-Bound authors, as well as reading their books. I guess you all have corrupted me, because my second and third attempts were much easier! But I still have problems keeping the heat level up…I keep lapsing back into more of the sensual love scenes. As for the freeing…let’s just say I wish I’d read some of your books twenty years ago. All these ideas…my friends and I would discuss some of these, but dismissed them as ‘not for us’. Well guess what…fast forward twenty years, and the experimenting has finally begun, without the shame! We’re not afraid to take chances in the bedroom anymore.

One more deep question…Coke or Pepsi?

My dad is a retired Frito-Lay man! We drink Pepsi, although I’m not really a cola drinker. I prefer iced tea. I once tried to drink a Coke, but didn’t finish it. I can polish off a Pepsi in about 90 minutes (unless it has rum in it, LOL). I just don’t care for the carbonation. This preference plays out in my books; my characters favor Pepsi products, with a few exceptions.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

My Arbor University series is mainly about how even good kids can make bad choices. Please don’t let the bad title of the first one turn you off; I’ve had readers take a chance on it and they love it, and keep demanding more. You can go to my website and see brief descriptions of all of the books in my series, plus signing my guestbook and letting me know you were there, or if there is a social situation you’d like to see covered. And visit my blog to see what I’m up to on a daily basis.

Thanks for joining me here today, Molly!

Thanks Brynn! This was a lot of fun!

And here's a little bit more on Love Finds a Way:


Can a blind date ever turn into a meaningful relationship?

Amy Callahan wants to find out

Three months before, she had agreed to go on a blind date with Matt Slagal, who was home on leave from the Air Force. Now, she can’t seem to get him off her mind. When she finds herself holding a free ticket to anywhere in the continental United States, Amy jumps at the chance to fly to California and see if the chemistry between them still exists.
Matt Slagal is ecstatic when he learns Amy is in California. But his past experience with the opposite sex has taught him not to trust women. And when one of his friends makes his move, Matt thinks his fears are confirmed, even though Amy hotly denies anything happened.

For her part, Amy is shocked and stunned at Matt’s attitude. She finally convinces him to see the truth, and learns the reason behind his mistrust. When her visit is over, the relationship is back on solid ground again.

But they soon discover that the miles separating them are just one more obstacle. Matt is still commitment-shy, and the fact his ex-lover still wants him drives a wedge between he and Amy. Finally, fed up with the fact her rival won’t leave her man alone, Amy takes drastic measures to ensure Matt’s fidelity. Will it work? Which one reigns…”Absence makes the heart grow fonder” or “Out of sight, out of mind”?


Amy climbed into the truck and they took off for his home in Brookview. After telephoning her whereabouts to her roommate Caty, she turned back to Matt and blushed, conscious of her scruffy attire: Sweaty t-shirt, shorts, and wind-blown hair.

"If I'd known you were coming back tonight, I'd have never gone on that run," she flushed. "Look at me. I'm almost scared to talk to you!"

"You're still beautiful," he said, handing her a glass of 7-Up. "Why are you scared?"

"I don't know."

Matt sat down beside her on the beige loveseat. He took a swallow of his drink and put it down. Amy had put hers on the coffee table, and when she straightened up, Matt took her in his arms, and they clung together. Matt's lips moved from her cheek to her ear. Amy shivered with anticipation, and began kissing his neck. Suddenly, she realized the front door was open.



"Not here."

"How come?"

"For one thing, the door's wide open, and secondly, what if your mom were to come home and catch us in a compromising position?"

Matt pulled away, shut the door, and lay down on the floor. "Could you give me one of your famous backrubs?"

"Sure." Amy smiled, flexed her fingers, and knelt beside him. Quickly and expertly, she massaged, rubbed, and pounded on his back. Matt rolled over and pulled her down to him.

“God, but I’ve missed you,” he muttered, running his hands up her back, pulling her T-shirt out of her shorts. “I couldn’t stop thinking about you after you’d left.”

“Anything in particular?” she teased, breathless from his long kisses.

“Just this...” He pulled her shirt up and slid his lips to her breast, impatiently shoving her bra cup aside.

“Matt...on the floor?” she asked weakly, embarrassed by the fact she’d not had a shower. What had possessed her to jog on the night he came home? She pushed him away when his hands slid to her shorts. “Stop...I’m all sweaty...”

“That’s okay, sweetheart. We’ll both be sweaty in a moment...” He jumped up, grabbed her hand, and pulled her up the stairs to his room.

Later, they lay with their arms around each other. Matt kissed her, then went downstairs for their now warm drinks.

“I put some more ice in them,” he explained, handing her the glass, then slid in beside her again. “Now this is the life; my woman keeping the bed warm.” He smiled saucily at her.

“How long are you on leave?” she inquired, pulling the covers around her.

“Two weeks. Just like last time.”

“I hope we can spend more time together this time,” she said shyly, lowering her eyes.

“I plan on it, dear. I certainly plan on it.”


Kelly Kirch said...

Excellent interview, great answers!! Good job you two.

ddurance said...

I have just one question. What is Quiet Time? I have a husband and three kids and I hardly know if such a thing exists. LOL. Great interview and introduction to Molly's books.

Liza said...

You're a very busy lady and I loved reading your interview and learning more about you and your books.

Bronwyn's Blog said...

Great interview and good luck with the new job, Molly!

Molly Daniels said...

Thanks Brynn:) I had a great time!

Quiet Time is just what I've called my daily devotional time in the mornings. Sometimes its not that quiet in the summertime, ha ha:)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by:)

Carol said...

Wonderful interview. I didn't know you had a social work degree. I work in social services.


Sandra Cox said...

Great interview ladies! Well done!

Molly Daniels said...

BTW, I love the picture of Han Solo!