~I have been a fan of Sylvia Day ever since I read "Bad Boys Ahoy" last year, hearing how great it was from fellow readers, and though I'd never heard of her before, I decided to give it a try, especially since it was a Brava anthology. She reminded me of why I loved pirate romances so much, because I totally loved BBA. I continued to follow her work, delving mostly into her historicals. Over the last 18 months or so, I have been constantly amazed by the number of books she's had published, and her impressive release schedule looks pretty jam-packed for the next few years. I got to meet her last year in Atlanta at RWA, which was a thrill, and now she's been gracious enough to take the time away from her writing to answer a few interview questions. So without further ado, heeeere's Sylvia! ~
Sylvia: I'm not sure where the drive comes from. Perhaps from my mom, who was an over-extended single mother of two rebellious daughters.
S ~ How would you describe your writing ritual? Do you follow a routine or just let inspiration strike where it may?
S ~ You wrote several stories prior to break from Brava, including one for Black Lace - are any of them currently out in print? If not, are there any plans to release them in print?
Sylvia: "ASK FOR IT" was my first manuscript, but "BAD BOYS AHOY!" was my first sale. In between those two books I wrote others, all of which sold after "BBA" but released prior to it. They're all still in print. Some of my Bravas are being reprinted in mass market, but the trades aren't out of print.
S ~ As I mentioned, you write for Brava, one of my favorite lines because I believe it's of the highest quality around. Would you say you wrote a long time before finally getting "the call" and having your first Brava published?
Sylvia: No, not long. I started "ASK FOR IT" the last week of October '03 and sold BBA to Brava in early December '04. So in publishing years, it was fairly quick.
S ~ How many different languages do you speak? Any plans to incorporate them in some small way into your writing?
Sylvia: I studied Russian while I was in the Army and was fluent at that time. Now, it's been well over a decade and I've lost about 90% of what I learned. I'm half-Japanese, but I taught my mother how to speak English; she didn't teach me how to speak or read Japanese. So I'm presently only fluent in English.
S ~ I know for awhile you were one of the Founders of Passionate Ink (a special chapter of RWA) - how do you manage to find the time?
I used to be a lot more active in the writing community, but in 2007 I severely curtailed my extraneous commitments and now I try to stick to just my blog, my chat loop, and my writing. As for time... This question comes up a lot. The answer is really simple. Writing is my full-time job and I treat it that way. I don't fit my job around my life, I fit my life around my job, just the way every other 9-5 employee does. Gloria Steinem said it best -- "Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else."
S ~ With your busy schedule, do you ever find time to read all the books you recommend at your blog? Who are among your all-time favorite authors, and why?
Sylvia: I don't get to read all of the Out of the Blogosphere http://outoftheblogosphere.blogspot.com/ books I recommend, but I do read books that I don't post about on my blog -- ARCs sent to me for possible quotes and such.
My favorite authors are Lisa Kleypas, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Shelby Reed... to name the top few. There are more, lots more. :)
(S ~ My guy ~Nathan~....can't wait for this book!!!)
S ~ Some of your later historicals, released after Bad Boys Ahoy", such as "Ask For It" and "The Stranger I Married" are definitely edgier, darker erotic romances, as well as full length stories. Then you wrote "Mischief and the Marquess" in the recent Brava anthology "Perfect Kisses" - another novella - which is remniscent of BBA. Do you find it difficult to tell a darker romance in a novella? Or vice versa: to tell a less earthy, more sensuous and wildly romantic full-length story?
Sylvia: I wrote ASK FOR IT first. Then I wrote the first book in my Sapphire trilogy, which is a fantasy adventure (coming in mass market with Zebra). Then I wrote MISLED (which is a futuristic/vampire novella) and "Lucien's Gamble" from BBA. So, I've always written all over the map from the very beginning -- different genres, lighter/darker, shorter/longer. I deliberately try to make each book different from the others I've written. But aside from that, it's important that a novella feel "complete" and that's hard to do if you try to cram a full-length book's worth of conflict into the shorter length. The structure of a novella dictates that the conflict be easily resolved so that the focus remains on the developing romance. I think that's why they seem "lighter" than my novels.
S ~ What do you find more challenging: writing historicals, paranormals, or contemporaries? Which type of story do you prefer to read?
Sylvia: Honestly, all of my books are challenging for me to write. I labor over every one of them. As a reader, I prefer historicals.
S ~ You mention that your books contain "vanilla" sex - one man, one woman, and the equipment God blessed them with, which is bucking the current erotic trend of multiple partners and a wide array of sexual scenarios. Do you ever feel pressured to amp up the sex for the sake of sales, or are you given free rein to write your love scenes in a more traditional sense?
No, no pressure. One editor asked me to consider "crossing the line," but I didn't. That just not the way I work.
S ~ Sylvia, you are a whiz at promotion, what with your blog, your various MySpace pages and other websites, chats, RT & RWA, book trailers, etc. How do you fit it all in? Have you seen the benefits for putting so much work into your promo?
Thank you. I'm not sure I'm a whiz. I use more of a "see what sticks" plan of attack. I have a publicist who handles my book signings, appearances, mailings, reviews... That takes a lot of the pressure off me. Also my publishers do promotions for me -- print ads, e-postcard mailings, etc. -- so it's really a joint effort to familiarize the reading public with my work. I've also been fortunate to have the support of romance buyers for the major chain bookstores. That's priceless and I'm tremendously grateful.
The benefits of promotion are hard to quantify. My books go into multiple print runs, but that could be word-of-mouth as much as promotion. Really, the goal for me is peace of mind. At the end of the day, I know I did everything I could to promote each book and that makes the effort worth it for me. If someone doesn't hear about my new release, it wasn't due to lack of trying on my part.
S ~ Do you have a story of the heart? What makes each book special to you?
SAPPHIRE'S WORTH (which will probably be renamed by Kensington) has been my book of the heart for many years. But I'm really, really excited about my MARKED urban fantasy series with Tor! (http://www.sjday.net)
Each book is special because I love the characters. There are lots of details that don't make it into the books, because my stories span a year or two, not a whole lifetime. However, in order to make the characters come alive, I have to know their life story from conception onward. When you know a person that well, it's impossible to not feel an attachment to them.
S ~ How do you keep yourself from getting burned out? Do you see yourself as always writing or do you think some other career will catch your fancy? Any goals you've set for yourself?
I keep it interesting by switching genres and styles. I'm a storyteller. The setting, time period... that's mutable depending on the story I want to tell. Also, I have to give my editors credit. Their enthusiasm for my work and their excitement feeds my own.
I'm sure I'll always write; I love it. But my ambition drives me, so I try to improve markedly with every book. That's my goal -- to be the best writer I can and to learn as much about the craft as I can, while still maintaining my individuality.
S ~ Guilty Pleasures: what are some of yours? Wine? Ice cream? Lost? CSI? Movies? Sleeping in late? (okay, you've got kids)
Chocolate, coffee, ice cream, big dumb blow 'em up action movies, sleeping in, wearing my jammies all day... I could go on and on. I have lots of pleasures, many of them are guilty ones. *g*
S ~ Favorite actor? Actress? Person you admire? What song is the most played on your iPod?
Leonardo DiCaprio. Vivien Leigh. My mom. I don't have an iPod. :)
Follow your dreams, whatever they are. Everyone deserves to be happy. :)
S ~ Let me end by saying that readers truly appreciate an author who takes the time to not only respond to emails, letters, etc., but one who also updates their website on a regular basis, and you do both of these things. Thank you Sylvia. You deserve all the success you can handle. And thank you for taking the time to answer my questions :)
Sylvia: Thank you for this interview! I appreciate it. ((hugs))