A native of Baton Rouge, Sylvia Rochester resides in Hammond, LA, close to her two sons and seven grandsons. She has a B.S. from L.S.U. in the college of Arts & Science and bleeds purple and gold. Go, Tigers!
As of this date, she has eleven published books in various genres: romantic suspense, inspirational, time travel, historical fiction, and a cozy-mystery series. Books published with Wings include The Sweet Smell of Death, When Evil Loves, Shadow of the Soul, Courage to Care, and Deceptive Assassin.
Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and on her website at www.sylviarochester.com. There you can read reviews and first chapters. She would love to hear from you.
Interview Sylvia Rochester
1) How long have you been writing?
I’ve written poetry since high school, but the notion to write a novel always remained a part of my to-do list. Seven years ago, that soldering desire turned into an unquenchable fire.
2) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. I work with what I refer to as a storyline. I have to know the beginning, middle and end, but what happens along the way is often determined by my characters.
3) What is Sweet Smell of Death about? When will it be released?
This action-packed novel deals with drug smuggling and murder on the bayou. DEA agent, Trent Harrington, poses as a writer to investigate claims of drug smuggling in the bayous of Louisiana. Within weeks, his informant lies dead. Laney Gravelle refuses to believe her father’s death is an accident and launches her own investigation. To protect her and his case, Trent convinces Laney to let him help. What he doesn’t count on is falling in love. The story has more twists and turns the bayou. It will be available February 1, 2007.
4) Where does your creative spark come from?
I’d have to say from a restless and ever-curious mind. I have only to look at the beautiful cypress swamp that surrounds my house to conjure up tales of mystery. Other times, music provides the stimulus. I close my eyes and against a haunting refrain, a story unfolds.
5) Does telling a story come natural for you?
Yes. As a child, I enjoyed making up stories and role playing. I suppose a part of me still lives in that make-believe world.
6) Do you think that setting goals is important?
Yes, but it’s important not to set them so high you can’t reach them.
7) What is the best thing about being published? What is the worst?
The best--being able to share my story with everyone. The worst--finding a typo after endless proofing.
8) What about promotion? Is it easy or hard for you to talk about your work?
Easy and exciting. I’m a people person--never meet a stranger. Can’t wait for book signings and a chance to talk to the public.
9) Why did you choose to write romance over another genre?
I didn’t. I just can’t seem to keep it out of my books. Guess I’m a romantic at heart.
10) Have you ever been rejected? If yes, what kept you going through the rejections?
Oh, yes. Rejection is part of being a writer. It’s important to remember that what’s not appealing to one agent or publisher can become the next best seller in the hands of the right person. It’s how you handle rejection that counts. You must believe in your story and persevere.
11) What is the most important advice you can give to a beginning writer?
Write what you love. A good story will always sell, no matter what the trend of the market at the moment. But to produce that good story, you have to study your craft. Learn everything you can from “the masters” then WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.
12) Is there another kind of story you would like to write besides romantic suspense?
Funny you should ask. I just finished Shadow of the Soul, a paranormal/inspirational geared to both adults and young adults. Set in the Cascades in l870’s, it’s a big leap from the bayous of south Louisiana. I’ll be looking for a home for this intriguing tale soon.
Interview Sylvia Rochester
1) What inspired you to write Shadow of the Soul?
I’m a lover of history, and the settling of the Northwest Territory has always intrigued me. Having visited Mt. Rainier, I thought it an ideal setting, and the 1870’s would provide all the adventure and hardships I could ever imagine.
2) What is the story about?
It’s a story of a father who sacrifices his facially disfigured twin son to a wintry grave in hopes of giving his wife and the twin daughter a chance at a normal life. Rescued by a trapper, the boy survives, accompanied by the wolf that nurtured him and a dark anomaly, that fragment of the bond born to twins--the shadow of the soul. Through Matthew we learn the true meaning of courage.
3) How long have you been writing?
Since childhood, I loved telling and writing stories. But only in the last ten years did I seriously consider seeking publication.
4) How many books have you written?
5) Are they all the same genre?
No. I’ve written two romantic suspense novels, one historical time travel, and two general fiction/paranormals. I’m not sure how to describe the genre of my current work in progress.
6) How do you begin writing? Do you need a specific setting?
More important than the setting is the story and characters who will breathe life into my plot.
7) Do you enjoy research?
Yes, and I thorough research my settings and events… sometimes, too much. I can get lost in history.
8) Do you write for pleasure?
You bet. If I knew I never sold another story, I would still write.
9) Do you plan everything out, or does the story unfold as you write?
I have a general idea where the story is going, but more often than not, things happen that were planned. As the characters develop, so does the story.
10) I know you are also an accomplished artist with many beautiful paintings in your portfolio. How do you find the time to write?
The problem is in finding time to paint. With so many stories racing through my mind, I find myself more and more glued to the keyboard.
Interview Sylvia Rochester
1. Sylvia, do your characters ever get away from you? If so, how do you get them back in line?
They might head in an unexpected direction, but never really get away from me. Often I find the unexpected exciting and go with it. If not, I have no problem reining in a character.
2. What inspired this story?
Louisiana has many plantation homes, and I have visited most of them. I’ve often wondered about the affluent lifestyles of the owners, how the legacy is passed from one generation to another, and how the new owners must cope with those who would exploit them. My heroine finds herself in such a predicament.
3. What are you trying to achieve in the mind of you readers?
Mainly, I want them to enjoy a good story, and When Evil Loves offers a most intriguing plot. Accepting responsibility and trusting in one’s judgment is paramount as Lindsey struggles to overcome the trauma of the past, unaware of the evil that awaits her.
4. When you begin a story, do you know how it will end?
Most of the time I have a general idea, but my current work in process is the exception. I’m curious to find out what will happen in this one.
5. From what writer have you learned the most?
I can’t point to one writer. Rather, I’ve gleaned many tips from a variety of good authors.
6. If you could have coffee with anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be?
7. Can anyone create a good novel or does it take a special talent?
I believe there is a story in each of us. How to tell the story takes skill. Writing is a craft, and the more one writes, the better he/she becomes.
8. Would you rather write one great novel or five good ones?
Oh, I’d much rather write five good ones... more if possible. I can’t write fast enough to tell all the stories in my head, and I most certainly hope the last one is better than the one before it.
9. What makes a good fictional story?
Great characters who encounter conflict. The reader must fall in love with your characters and pull for them to overcome their adversity. Relating to the characters and watching them grow is crucial. If you can master that, you’ll have a winner.
10. What is next on the drawing board?
I’m halfway through a sequel to Shadow of the Soul. Next, I hope to write a sequel to When Evil Loves.