Ever wondered how romance writers do what they do so well? I’m pleased to be able to re-post an interview done with our resident master of love, sex and everything in between – Beverly Cialone. She was interviewed by B.M. Song for Million Dollar Book Reviews on May 1, 2010. She is the author of Liquid Reflections: A Stream of Fluid Prose. Many thanks and I hope you enjoy getting to know Beverly a little better…
Thanks so much for joining me today, Bev! Tell me… what makes Bev Cialone tick? What can you tell us that we will not find on the back of your book or on a website?
Hmmm…what makes me tick. Well, writing has been a passion of mine for a very long time now. One thing about my writing is that sometimes when I’m working on a novel (this happened to me when I wrote Sangria Nights), the characters seem to become my friends. Aside from that, I enjoy a variety of music, I absolutely love the beach, and I also love playing the Sims on my computer. It’s a creative outlet for me—you wouldn’t believe some of the things I’ve built in my Sims game.
Your characters become your friends? How does that happen? Can you elaborate?
I become so engrossed in creating them, and actually become so engrossed in the situations I put them in, that I actually begin to consider them my friends. Sometimes I actually find it hard to add conflict to my novels because of this—I don’t want to hurt them.
Yeah, I’ve heard some authors feels deep remorse when they have to kill off a character, so I can understand that! You mentioned you love the beach…
Yes, especially Myrtle Beach right here in South Carolina. If I wasn’t working for the postal service, I would love to move to the beach and work in a hotel. I have several years of hotel front desk experience as well as a management degree.
Do you ever go to the beach for inspiration for your writing? Do you have any other special place that you go for inspiration?
I must admit that a lot of my fiction is set at the coast, but I don’t go there specifically for inspiration. Rather, ideas just come to me, and if I let them “simmer” long enough in my mind, I finally get a plot and some characters together and begin writing.
I know you also write poetry and have some of those collections published as well, how would you describe your poetry to someone unfamiliar with your work?
My poetry covers a wide array of subjects ranging from love to movie stars to the pleasures of living in the south. I write poetry when the mood strikes, or when I get a poem in my head and just have to get it down on paper…or the computer screen, as it may be.
Do you find it more of a challenge to market your poetry in contrast to your novels?
I’ve only released one book of poetry to date, and while I feel that there IS a market for poetry, I feel that that particular market is probably smaller than the fiction market.
Who has most influenced you to write? Any notable poets or authors you relate to most?
I can’t remember what really sparked my interest in writing, since I was very young when I first began. But I do remember reading Poe, Plath, and Frost. As for novels, I thoroughly enjoy Danielle Steele’s work, and I remember thinking that I wanted to try and fashion my writing after hers. Even though she writes mostly dramatic romance, her books are so realistic and gut-wrenching that the reader is bound to walk away a changed person. Some of my favorite Danielle Steele books are Lightning, The Accident, and Johnny Angel. I’ve read more than those, of course, but those three stand out as being some of her best, at least in my opinion.
You have been writing since junior high-at what point at that time did you truly realize that this was your niche?
I began to get the idea that writing was my niche in high school. However, I didn’t begin to truly work on my writing until I was in my early twenties.
That’s the way it was for me too! Cool! What is it they say? Great minds think alike! What sparked you to pick it up and really dig into it?
There was no one single incident that was a deciding factor regarding my writing. All I know is that I enjoyed my English classes in high school, and in my early twenties I was mostly a stay-at-home mom. During those times I would spend a lot of time writing, or honing my skills, so to speak. I attended college in my thirties and discovered that I still had the ability to excel in my English classes, and I think that’s when my writing really became more serious. I even made a promise to myself that I would at least send something in to be considered for publication when I turned forty. I was about a year or so late keeping that promise to myself, but it definitely paid off!
How does your significant other feel about your erotic novel? Has he read it?
He hasn’t read it, at least I don’t think so! But he does support my writing, as he is a poet/novelist himself, as well as a very intelligent man who is extremely interested in, and self-schooled in Egyptology. As a matter of fact, his poetry never fails to astound me when I read it. He has just finished a book of poetry and is hoping to have it published via ireadiwrite.com soon. He wants me to be successful and vice versa. We support each other.
That’s great to hear! Has he ever been the inspiration for any of your other works?
Yes…he has inspired a few of my poems, such as How Do I Love Him and Our First Night, both of which can be found on the Original Poetry site, and he is even the inspiration for another piece of erotica I’m working on.
True Confessions stemmed from my online friendship with a man I’ll simply call R. We began exchanging emails, and after some prompting from him, I don’t know what came over me—it was like all this stuff just poured out of me. I truly regret that his emails couldn’t be included in the book. Not because of any legal issues, but because someone hacked into my computer about a year ago and left me unable to access my email. And unfortunately, my friend did die from Lou Gehrig’s disease last March.
That’s really unfortunate! Sorry to hear about that.
Thank you. I actually miss talking to him/emailing him very much.
How did it evolve into an erotic novel?
R and I had actually discussed doing this very thing with these emails we exchanged, and after his death I thought it would be a fitting tribute to the man who seemed to draw this new talent from me, that is, my talent for writing erotica. Some of the emails in the book are based on what I knew about R—I knew he owned race horses, as well as a Thunderbird convertible. I was also well aware that he was absolutely smitten with anal sex. I’ve discovered, though, that there is actually a very fine line between the sex scenes you read in romance novels versus an erotica novel. R and I actually co-wrote Song of the South, my other erotica novel. We accomplished that feat strictly via email. Since it was released after his death, I had it dedicated to his memory. He is definitely missed.
Great tribute to a great friend, I’m sure!! Congratulations on being a best-selling author, that’s quite an accomplishment! What was your initial reaction when you found out you had reached that status?
Best-seller??? Are you serious??? I had no clue!!! Obviously I’m blown away that people are actually buying, reading, and (hopefully!!!) enjoying my work…but I intend on keeping my fans happy! The second part of Sangria Nights will be coming out soon, and the third part is sure to be a shocker! I am also working on some other things that I hope to get finished and published soon.
Well, I had noticed on original poetry that you had posted a press release that exclaimed you had reached best-seller status for one of your novels on ireadiwrite. Was I off base?
No, you were right on target. I WAS that particular site’s best-selling author for the month of November. It still thrills me when my editor informs me of the sales I’ve made. No matter how small they may seem, the fact that my work (or that of any other newly published author) is selling is always a major deal, at least to me. It’s literally a dream come true. It’s never just about the money. I think getting published is every writer’s dream. The money is always secondary.
What advice can you offer other writers hoping to be published authors?
Write when the urge hits. Write whatever tickles your fancy. Don’t hesitate to spend time honing and perfecting your skills. If you can put pen to paper and express your feelings or create fictional characters and situations, then you truly have a gift. Do the research you need, practice all you need, and when you need to take a break, take one. I’ve found that if I walk away from my writing for a while, when I DO come back to it, I’m mentally refreshed and ready to begin writing again. Authors CAN get burned out on writing, and that’s never any fun. Nothing is quite as disheartening as sitting there staring at a blank computer screen and telling yourself that you need to write something, that you SHOULD write something, but your mind is as blank as that computer screen. That’s writer’s block at its worst. And when it comes to getting published, do your research. There are companies out there who ARE trying to rip you off in any way they can, just as there are reputable publishers out there who will treat you fairly and give you honest feedback regarding your work. Don’t expect stardom overnight, though. Just as writing takes time, so too does finding the proper channels when you’re finally ready for the world to see your finished product.
So true, so true! Awesome advice! Where can your fans follow/find you online as an author? Do you have facebook, twitter, myspace, or personal website?
My fans can find me on originalpoetry.com, and yes, I do have a facebook and myspace account. They can also find my novels on the sites I mentioned before…ireadiwrite.com, omnilit.com, smashwords.com, allromance.com, goodreads.com, barnesandnoble.com, sony.com, and Amazon’s Kindle.
Before we close, what inspiring thoughts would you like to leave your fans and readers?
Always tell yourself, if all these other people could do it, then so can I! Never let anyone discourage you from your dreams, regardless of what they are. Those who don’t have dreams don’t have much…
Thank you very much for joining me today. It has been a pleasure!
All Beverly’s books can be found at almost any ebookstore – including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, All Romance eBooks, OmniLit, Books on Board, Mobipocket, Smashwords and by buying direct from us at ireadiwrite.com.