General fan Qs:
- Do you have a fan club?
- Not really. You need to be organized to have a fan club. What I have is Argh Nation, the readers of my blog, Argh Ink, but they’re not organized enough to be a fan club, either. We just hang out and snark. My kind of fan club.
- Do you have a mailing list?
- Yep. You can sign up on the mailing list page. We’ll send notice of new book releases, tour info and a quarterly newsletter, and we swear never to give out your info to anybody. Really.
- How do you pick your book tour cities?
- I don’t pick, St. Martin’s picks. And they’re always cities that are generally considered “book towns” so that people will actually come to the booksignings, and the booksignings are almost always in New York Times reporting stores. However, some times I do conferences and then I show up wherever the conference is.
- How do I find information about your next book that is coming out?
- Here on this website on the upcoming and w.i.p. page.
- Why don’t you write faster?
- Because I’m a slow writer. Basically, I have to write the first draft to see what the story is, then I have to analyze the structure to see how to tell it best, then I have to analyze to see what it really means so I can layer the motifs and metaphors and theme throughout the plot and subplots, then I have to send it to the beta readers to see what I missed and rewrite it again, then I have to send it to my editor and rewrite it again…
- What types of books do you enjoy reading?
- Good ones. I know, annoying answer, but I pretty much read across genres.
- What is your favorite book of all time? Favorite author of all time?
- Can’t do it. There’s not just one. Some of my faves are Georgette Heyer, Terry Pratchett, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Joss Whedon (his scripts and comics), Michael Gilbert, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Pat Gaffney, Anne Stuart, Lani Diane Rich, Bob Mayer…it’s just too hard to pick one.
- Who are your favorite contemporary authors? What authors do you recommend?
- There are so, so many. My favorite comfort read right now is Terry Pratchett. I love the Discworld, especially the Watch and the Death books. I want to BE Susan. There, you want my favorite character in fiction? Susan Sto-Helit.
How much is real? Qs:
- Do you adapt events/people/animals from your life into your books?
- Animals, sometimes. Some of my dogs and cats have been in books. People are harder because once they’re in the book they become characters on their own. Events, not so much. I’ve used snatches of overheard conversations, that kind of thing, but not events from my own life. Not enough distance. Using real life people and events limits you too much. You want the characters to breathe in and become their own people, the events to grow out of the people they become. So real life can inspire, but you don’t want to imitate it.
- Have you ever met/known men like the heroes in your books?
- Sure. There are a lot of great men out there. If you’re asking me if the men in my books are based on real men, no (see answer to question above) unless you’re talking about the men in the collaborative books with Bob Mayer. The heroes in the Crusie/Mayer books sound a lot like Bob.
- Will you ever write sequels? Books about supporting characters (Amy, Eve or Liza)?
- Depends on the character. Amy, no. You know what happened to her. It’s pretty much implicit at the end of WTT and then fleshed out in Faking It. Liza, no. You know what happened to her. It’s in the last chapter of Bet Me. Eve. I love Eve, but I don’t know. She was supposed to be the heroine of Faking It until Tilda took over. But it’s a possibility. I’m more intrigued by Nadine and Alice and possible Dillie, and I’ve talked with my editor about writing Stealing Nadine and Haunting Alice so they might happen.
- Are they ever going to make a movie or TV show based on one of your books?
- Hard to say. They get optioned all the time but I think they’re really difficult to adapt. Plus it’s very difficult to get any movie made. There was some talk at one point about Fast Women being a TV show but that went nowhere. Basically, my philosophy on movie options is “Take the money and run but don’t get too excited.”
- Why do you choose to write about different characters for each book?
- I have a very short attention span. Also, I think a great book is about the most important moment in a character’s life. So the next book would be about the second most important moment, and then the third book…
- Do you think you’ll ever write a series?
- I’m working on a limited series now, four books that take place in one year in the life of Liz Danger, a ghost writer who goes back to her small Ohio hometown where trouble ensues. The first one is Lavender’s Blue.
- There are several pages missing from my book, what should I do?
- Take it back to the bookseller and ask for a new copy.
- There are typos and/or grammatical errors in my book, where should I send my complaint? Corrections?
- Well, the book’s in print, so I don’t suppose you’d settle for just feeling intellectually and morally superior? No, I didn’t think so. Write to St. Martin’s Press.
- Where can I purchase your older books?
- Since all the publishers have them all back in print now, pretty much anyplace online.
- Can I write to your publisher to request that they publish a reprint Sizzle?
- DO NOT ASK FOR A SIZZLE REPRINT. That damn book is following me around the way early porn films follow actresses.
- Where did you come up with your pseudonym and why are you using one?
- Jennifer is my real name. Crusie is my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. My other family names were Smith, Headapohl, and Woolf. I thought about Woolf, but it seemed more mystery than romance, so I went with Crusie because it sounded lighter, not realizing that people would be misspelling it for the rest of my life. I used one because I was teaching high school when I sold to Harlequin, and I didn’t want teenage boys reading my sex scenes out loud from the back of the classroom, plus Harlequin required that you use a pseudonym. It was good for me at the time, so we’re not blaming Harlequin at all.
- Do creative writing classes and seminars help writers at all?
- Depends on the teachers. Lee K. Abbott was a huge help in my MFA program. Probably 75% of what I know about writing fiction, I learned from him; he’s a great, great teacher. Ron Carlson was a terrific teacher. Deb Dixon is a terrific teacher. Michael Hague taught me a lot in his screenwriting seminars. But there are a lot of controlling, elitist nutcases teaching, too. Be careful out there.
- What are the best books to read to learn how to become a writer?
- Linda Seger’s Making A Good Script Great is a terrific introduction to basic story structure. Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction is a classic for good reason. Ralph Keyes The Courage to Write is required reading for any writer on mental health grounds. Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is also excellent. Robert McKee’s Story has a lot of great information in it. Bob Mayer’s The Writer’s Toolkit is a great introduction. And there are more being published every day.
- How can I get an editor to look at my work?
- Write a great, great book, research to find out what editors publish the kinds of books you like, learn to query them, and then learn to take rejection. It never stops.
- Do new writers need an agent to get published?
- No. New writers need a great book to get published. They need a good agent to keep from getting taken to the cleaners when they sign the contracts. But a GOOD agent, not any agent. They’re harder to find than good editors, so take your time. For more detail you can check out some of the essays I wrote on the subject.
Will you help me? Qs:
- Do you give critiques to aspiring writers?
- Nope. If I did, that’s all I’d get done. I’m a slow writer, remember?
- Will you give my book/manuscript a quote?
- Nope. I only quote for books I’ve read in full and really, really liked. And right now I have fourteen manuscripts stacked in my living room, waiting to be read, and some of them are six months old. Which means they probably don’t need a quote any more. But if you insist, have your agent send it to my agent. She’ll send it to me. And I’ll put it at the bottom of the stack. For more on this, see my “Confessions of a Reformed Quote Whore” blog post.
- Can you judge a contest that my organization is holding?
- Nope. People like to sue, and if I write a book that has a plot element in it that’s in a manuscript I’ve judged for a contest, I’d have hell on my hands. So I just don’t do it.
- Will you write a book with me?
How do you write? Qs:
- Where do you come up with the ideas for your stories?
- They come out of the nowhere into the here. The Girls in the Basement send them up. I just listen and type.
- Do you write with an audience in mind?
- Well, me. I have to like it first. Then I think “smart, open-minded women.” Or “people in bookstores with money.”
- Do you write in chronological order?
- No, I tend to think in patterns, so I need to write different pieces of the book and see what happens when I put them together. That helps me build up the character arcs, although it can make plotting really difficult.
- Do you work on one story line at a time or are there multiple ideas going at once?
- There are always multiple ideas, but I really like to concentrate on one book at a time because I have to go into that world completely. Sometimes I can’t do that, I have to work on more than one book at once, and then my head explodes and I get cranky.
- Do you spend eight hours a day/ 40 hours a week writing or is it less structured?
- Honey, I don’t do anything for forty hours a week. It’s “less structured.” I like that. “Less structured.” Instead of “completely random and chaotic.”
- How long does it take you to write a book?
- By myself, eighteen months, give or take a year. The collaborations took nine months, but I only had to write half or a third of them.
- Do you have to do a lot of research for your books?
- I do a lot, but it’s always stuff I want to learn anyway.
- Is writing something that came naturally or something you had to work at?
- I work at it. I have scars. Hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.