Thursday, March 11, 2010

Interview w/NY Times Bestselling Author Erica Spindler

Today’s interview is with NY Times Bestselling Author Erica Spindler. Erica has written 28 novels, including Last Known Victim, Copycat, Killer Takes All, See Jane Die, Dead Run, Bone Cold, and Break Neck. I want to thank Erica, who started her latest book tour last week, for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions. I wish her great success with her newest thriller, Blood Vines. Okay, here we go.

[Anne] How did you get started in writing? How difficult was your journey to publication?

[Erica] Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself being a multi-published, best-selling author. I’d planned on being an artist and university art instructor. I studied and planned for that career, had earned a MFA at the University of New Orleans and secured a teaching job at a local university when I was bitten by the writing bug.

I came down with a summer cold and had stopped at a local drugstore for cold tablets and tissues. A free category novel was dropped into my shopping bag- a Nora Roberts romance. I’d always been a voracious reader, but had never read a category romance. Well, I read that one and became addicted to them! For the next six months I read as many as I could get my hands on. Sometime during that reading frenzy, I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing one. The moment I did, I knew I had found my true calling. Goodbye paint and brushes, hello pen and keyboard.

It took almost three years to make my first sale. The first manuscript I wrote was never picked up, but I kept writing. My mother always said anything worth having is worth fighting for. That old adage certainly held true for me -- I racked up my share of rejections on the way to publication, but I don’t regret one of them.

[Anne] You’re about to start a new book tour for your latest release, Blood Vines, will you tell us about it?

[Erica] In BLOOD VINES, a woman travels to Sonoma, California, to unearth her past but is soon racing to discover the connection between her terrifying visions and a string of troubling ritualistic events and unexplained deaths. It blends characteristics of some of my early suspense novels--secrets and betrayals, subterfuge and gothic family dynamics--with the crime scene investigation and procedure of my later books. I’m excited by the resulting story and fingers are crossed my readers will be, too.

[Anne] I’m sure they will be. I know I am. Where did you come up with the concept for this story?

[Erica] I was on vacation in wine country in February. I fell in love with the area- the topography, the lifestyle and wine culture; the rolling hills of dormant vines reminded me of cemeteries, the gnarly old vines of bent, twisted crosses. It was during a visit to one of the boutique wineries, that I knew I had to set my next book there. I was talking to the winemaker who, when I explained what I did for a living, told me there were plenty of ways to kill someone in the winemaking process. My writer’s imagination took over from there.

[Anne] Okay, say you have this great idea for a book, what do you do next? How much plotting do you do?

[Erica] Once I get an idea for a story, I sit down with legal tablets and begin brainstorming. I jot down every idea--bone-headed or not--that comes to mind, filling two or even three tablets. During this process I begin narrowing the ideas to the ones that fit together, excite me, etc. It’s interesting how the good ideas keep coming back around, and the bad ones just slip away and are forgotten.

I love this process, I love the creative rush of it. What I love a lot less (read: don’t like much at all) is the day-to-day, keeping your butt in the chair, crafting of a novel.

I used to write a long, detailed synopsis before writing ‘page one,’ but now enjoy working off a short summary. I think after all these years, I like the surprise and spontaneity of it.

[Anne] In your opinion what are the most important avenues an author should take in promoting their works?

[Erica] Building a mailing list of your readers. Never let an opportunity to build it pass. This becomes your front line when your book is released. Another great way to create word of mouth is social networking sites like facebook, twitter, and myspace.

[Anne] What is one of the most memorable thing’s that has happened to you since you’ve become a published author?

[Erica] My last romance novel, RED, was turned into both a wildly popular graphic novel (manga) and daytime drama in Japan. My publisher sent me over for a book tour- it was an unforgettable experience.

[Anne] Now for a little fun! Do you have any unusual or not so unusual hobbies you’d care to tell us about?

[Erica] Many of my fans already know through my facebook and twitter posts, that I’m addicted to American Idol. We have a group that gets together weekly to share our obsession.

[Anne] What snack are we likely to see sitting next to your computer when you’re typing away on your next best seller?

[Erica] A triple tall latte, please don’t tempt me with snacks!

[Anne] Now let’s pretend you’ve been stranded on an island somewhere in the pacific. What are three things you would miss the most?

[Erica] Those triple tall lattes, my phone (with a power source, please), and old vines Zinfandel wine!

[Anne] What advice can you offer for any aspiring authors out there?

[Erica] Believe in yourself but never stop learning. Be passionate about your work and write, write, write. Make the writing your focus, never forget that it’s about delivering to the reader the very best, most gripping story you’re capable of.

[Anne] Where can we purchase your books? And do you have a website we can visit?

[Erica] My books are available in most bookstores. You may even find some of my older titles, which have been recently reissued.

My website is and has lots of good stuff- video trailers, excerpts, fact in fiction info, goodie offers, and my email address,

[Anne] Is there anything else you’d like to add?

[Erica] I love to hear from my readers! They can contact me through my website, facebook, twitter, or myspace.

[Anne] Here’s the trailer for her new release, Blood Vines. We wish you the best of luck on your book tour, and thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions!

Oh, and don't forget, there'll be two drawings this Sunday.  I'm giving away a download of Every Skull Tells a Story and Destiny is giving away a download of Predetermined Endings.  So be sure to comment on one of this weeks blog posts to be entered.  All comments are eligible to win my grand prize at the end of the month.


Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Erica and Anne,
I am so glad to learn more about one of my favorite authors.
Blood Vines sounds like a must read. Best wishes for this release.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Erica and Anne,
Great interview.
I've put Blood Vines on my TBR list.


Diane Craver said...


I enjoyed learning how you happened to start writing. Your trailer is awesome. I haven't read your books yet but definitely want to start reading them, especially Blood Vines.

You said it took 3 years to get your first book published which isn't long in this business. I'm curious, did you have an agent when you received this contract?

Miss Mae said...

What a fantastic interview, and what a great guest! Had to chuckle over the comment about a winery being a good place to kill someone. Eeek! LOL

Susan Whitfield said...

Great interview, Erica and Anne. The video trailer is compelling so I'm off to buy a copy. Congratulations on the success, Erica.

Gail Pallotta said...

What a great interview. I enjoyed reading about your interesting beginning and your books. I'm looking forward to reading Blood Vines.

Anne Patrick said...

Thank you for dropping by ladies, and for all your wonderful comments. Be sure to check out Erica's website, she has some great videos and you can read sample chapters.

EA said...

Hi Anne and Erica.
What a great interview, very thorough and insightful. Erica, I congratulate you on your success. May you enjoy a long reign with writing and publishing those best sellers.

Larry Hammersley said...

A great interview, Anne. I'm just now getting around to reading it since I've been at CTR. Makes me want to write more tonight but it is nearly bedtime for me. Well, tomorrow is a non running day for me so maybe I'll turn out some more. Reading the interview inspired me. Larry

Anne Patrick said...

I don't know where you get your energy Larry. Feel free to send some of it my way:). Happy writing tomorrow. Thanks for dropping by!

booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed both the post and the trailer. I am ready to read this book!

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

MarthaE said...

Another wonderful interview Anne and Erica! I have read several of Erica's book and have 4 or 5 more in the TBR box! It is always interesting to learn a bit of history about the authors we read. Thank you for sharing!
I find stories in winerys fun especially since my brother has a small one in Sonoma, California! The latte sounds good... guess I'll get another cup of tea.

marcusdweston said...

Loved the interview, Erica and Anne. I've read a couple of your books, Erica. They're great!

Anne, I emailed my answers for the scanvenger hunt. Great idea!

Crystal Ennis said...

Fantastic interview, Jessica & Anne! I'm looking foward to reading Blood Vines.

Cassie Simmons said...

I know I'm late getting here for this interview and I was so looking forward to it. Let's just say I got sidetracked by...well, life.

I absolutely loved All Fall Down, Jessica, and I have Blood Vines on my TBL.

You're both wonderful writers!

Anne Patrick said...

Thank you for all the wonderful comments.

Cassie, I hope your life is back to normal now.

And I just want to thank Erica, again, for allowing me to interview her. She's an awesome writer. If you aren't a fan I suggest you become one. Just leave room on your shelves for my books : )