Today, our star of honor is Natalie J. Damschroder. It’s so nice to have you here and shining! I’m sure you’re ready to share with us your success and many fun endeavors. So, let’s get on with the party!
Natalie J. Damschroder writes high-stakes romantic adventure, sometimes with a paranormal bent. Since 2000, she’s published 10 novels, 7 novellas, and 14 short stories, many of them exploring magical abilities, but all with a romantic core. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her perfect partner of a husband and two daughters who are so amazing, they’ve been dubbed “anti-teenagers.”
Let’s get to know you a little better. Why don’t you step over here under the spotlight and shine a little.
*tries not to look embarrassed at the spotlight* Thanks so much for having me at Romance Author Hotspot!
First questions: (I’ll go easy on you.)
What made you decide to become a writer?
You know, I can’t quite pinpoint the decision. I’ve been a voracious reader since I was little. My mother was a writer. In high school, that’s what my teachers said was my strength. Then in college, I won a third-prize writing award, and at some point started writing a romance. That the computer lab tech deleted. I did an internship at The National Geographic Society (since my degree was in geography) and wound up editing abstracts and proofreading field guides. Once I got married and we bought a computer, I just kind of started.
What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?
Really good writing inspires me, whether it’s books, movies, or television. I get my ideas from everything—a “what if” twist on another story, something in the news, characters that just show up in my head.
Do you beat your muse? I mean…Wait! Do you have a muse? Does he/she have a name?
LOL My muse has so far not required beating. I have two muses.
Merlin is for my paranormal work, and Fred for my non-paranormal. I bought Merlin in a shop in Woodstock, Vermont, to be my muse. Fred was a gift from my husband one Christmas. He said he just looked like he needed to be mine. LOL
Let’s talk about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantser? Are there any weird things that you do before you start to sit down to write? (Like stretch those fingers…? Scream at the computer…?)
I’m mostly a flyer (I fly by the seat of my pants) but I do plot a little at a time—about as far as I can see by the headlights, to mix my metaphors. I usually get an idea that I fuse with another idea and pick a few more ideas, all little stuff that grows as I consider it. I don’t really have any weird preparations or routines, unless you count flogging myself for not getting started as soon as I sit down at the computer, but doing other stuff first.
What is your call story?
I’d actually never received a phone call for any of my sales until this book, Under the Moon. My sales for Avid, Echelon, Amber Quill, Inara, and Quartet all came via e-mail. My first sale to Carina would have been a phone call, but I’d put my contact info in my document header, which she couldn’t see with Outlook’s preview pane, so she didn’t know it was there.
So my first actual “The Call” came with my 11th novel sale. Liz Pelletier called a day after I sent the query and then the full manuscript. She said she’d stayed up to 3:30 a.m. to read it and wanted to offer me a three-book contract. I confess I hate the telephone and was quite content not to have had to endure a “call” before then, but this was the best way it could have happened.
Have you always envisioned yourself a writer? What were you doing before you started writing? Has your earlier career influence your current one?
I actually fought writing pretty hard at first. My mother was a writer—successful in business writing and marketing, but not so much in fiction—and I got praise for it in high school, but I hated doing it. Probably because I couldn’t choose what I wrote. I never considered it going into college. My first interest was aerospace engineering, then I got my degree in geography and environmental studies, and I worked as a naturalist for a summer. Then I couldn’t get a job in my area of study post-graduation (because I followed my husband to an area that had no geography jobs!) and since customer service for a long-distance phone company sucked you-know-what, I started writing almost defensively, to have something I was passionate about.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now with your writing career?
The industry is in such flux that it’s so hard to predict anything. One thing I do know is that I’ll still be writing romance novels and publishing them in any way I can.
What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your writing career so far?
I’ve had all the typical stuff. Rejection, bad reviews, low sales, publishers or lines closing, interested editors leaving, two agents that didn’t work out. But I have to say the hardest thing was living up to my editors’ expectations to make a book they liked into something they could (hopefully) say they loved, and felt good publishing.
Now let’s talk more about you. If you could pick to live the life of a movie star, who would it be and why? Does this person show up in your stories?
I’m going to say Rachel McAdams, because I think she’s beautiful but real, talented as well as appealing, working steadily, and able to pick her projects. I’ve never successfully cast a heroine or based one on an actress, but I have used Orlando Bloom, Jensen Ackles, and Jared Padalecki to inform my heroes.
Through research, what is the most silly thing you’ve ever done?
The only thing I can think of is actually the opposite of what you’re asking. I was making hard-boiled eggs one day and as the water heated and air escaped from the shells, there was a high-pitched whine in my kitchen that I couldn’t identify at first. Kinda scared me! When I figured it out, I laughed, then jotted down the book idea that became Fight or Flight.
What genres do you read? Do you read what you write?
I definitely read what I write! I love paranormal romance and romantic adventure. I also read plenty of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and young adult. Some mysteries and science fiction/fantasy, but it almost always has to have romance in it. The most notable exception is Jim Butcher’s Dresden books.
What’s the last book you’ve read for fun? Did you read it on an e-Reader or are you still a paperback-kind-of-person?
I usually have two or three for-fun books going. I never stop reading! I do both print and e-reader. I just finished Roxanne St. Claire’s Don’t Look Back in hardcover, MJ Fredrick’s Bluestone Homecoming on my iPod Touch, and Guarding Suzannah by Norah Wilson. I also just downloaded Part Nine of Megan Hart’s horror serial, The Resurrected. She’s the only horror author I’ll read right now! LOL
What did you wish you had known back then when you began writing?
That it would be such a long, arduous road.
Is there anything else you’d want your readers and friends to know about you?
I have very few hobbies anymore, but very little gets in the way of me watching the New England Patriots and our local pro soccer team, the Harrisburg City Islanders.
And lastly, where can we find you?
Group Author blog: www.everybodyneedsalittleromance.com
Thank you so much for being a star!
Again, thank you for including me in this awesome event! I’ll give one commenter a choice of a print or ebook copy of Under the Moon, and some Goddess swag.
Their power gives them strength…and makes them targets.
Quinn Caldwell is the epitome of a modern goddess. Her power source is the moon, her abilities restricted only by physical resources and lunar phase. She runs a consulting business and her father’s bar, serves on the board of the ancient Society for Goddess Education and Defense, and yearns for Nick Jarrett, professional goddess protector and the soul mate she can never have.
But someone has developed the rare and difficult ability to drain a goddess of her powers, and Quinn is a target. With the world thinking Nick has gone rogue (whatever that means) and that Quinn is influenced by “family ties” she didn’t know she had, keeping themselves safe while working to find the enemy proves harder each day.
But not as hard as denying their hearts…
Society views goddesses the same way they view psychics—
most people don’t believe in us, and since there are only about a
hundred goddesses in the United States, skeptics rarely have occasion to be
proven wrong. Some people have open minds but still no reason to seek to
use a goddess’s talents. If you choose a public career as a goddess, you join
in the responsibility for image maintenance.
Help us keep public opinion positive.
—The Society for Goddess Education and Defense,
Public Relations Handbook
When Quinn Caldwell’s cell phone rang, she assumed one of her clients needed an appointment or a Society member had a questionabout next week’s annual meeting. It took her a second to pull her attention from the paperwork on her desk, another three to register the name on the screen.
Her spark of joy at seeing his name quickly changed to concern. He wouldn’t be calling for anything good. Quinn plugged her ear against the noise from the bar outside her office door, held her breath, and flipped open the phone. “Nick?”
“Quinn.” The rumble of his vintage Charger’s engine harmonized with Nick’s voice. “Service isn’t good out here so just listen.”
She knew it. “What’s wrong?”
“We have a problem. I’m coming early. I’ll explain when I get there. I won’t have a very good cell signal most of the time. I’m at least a day away, so stay close to Sam, and don’t…” His voice cut in and out before disappearing altogether.
Quinn’s skin prickled. She closed the phone, frowning. Nick never came until at least the week before new moon, when she was most vulnerable. In the fifteen years of their relationship, he’d never come a whole week early.
Something big had to be happening.
Quinn was the only goddess whose power source was the full moon, which meant she was only fully able to use her abilities for the seven days around it. As the month waned, she grew more “normal” until the new-moon period, when she had no ability to tap the power. That was when Nick appeared. Never now.
“Who was that?” Sam’s solid, warm hand landed on her shoulder, and he dropped a pile of papers on the desk in front of her. Quinn blinked at the shift from the surreal nature of the phone call to the mundane clutter of her narrow office at the back of Under the Moon, the central-Ohio bar she’d inherited from her father. It was her main business, a connection to the parents who died within months of each other twelve years ago, leaving her without any real family. It also kept her connected to the public between power cycles. The goddesses who made a living with their abilities mostly relied on word of mouth to find clients, and Quinn’s bar, centrally located for locals and travelers, had enough people channeling through it to give her customers for both businesses.
“Nobody,” she said, still lost in thought. She shook off the fog. “I mean, Nick.”
Sam’s eyebrows disappeared under his dark, shaggy bangs. He crossed to his smaller but far more organized desk near the office door. His chair squeaked when he dropped into it. “Nick called you?”
“Yeah. He’s coming early.”
“Great.” Sam glowered and mumbled something under his breath. “Why? The moon is barely waning gibbous.”
“I don’t know. The signal dropped.” She worried her lower lip. Stay close to Sam. Why? The order was protective—and after all, Nick was her protector, so that was his default mode—but what did she need protection from? She rubbed her right forearm, the phantom ache a reminder of the first time Nick had been assigned to her, that “goddess” wasn’t a synonym for “invincible.”
Sam sighed. “When is he getting here?”
“I don’t know that, either.” She rested her head on her hand, her elbow on a pile of folders on her worn oak desktop. The full moon would completely wane by tomorrow, taking most of her power with it, so she’d worked steadily for the last week, using mostly telekinesis and her healing ability to help her clients. She hadn’t slept enough to balance the depletion of her normal energy, and her sluggish brain resisted the apprehension buzzing in her now.
“We’ll have to wait until he shows up, I guess.” She shook off the mental fuzzies and focused on Sam. He watched her, longing mixing with concern in his light brown eyes.
Thank you so much for spending time with us Natalie Damschroder! Don’t forget to leave her a comment below for your shot at the giveaway! (Print or ebook copy of Under the Moon and Goddess swag)