Hart. Arianna

Arianna Hart lives in the northeast with her husband of ten years and her three wonderful (usually) daughters. When she’s not teaching high school, kickboxing, or coaching soccer she can be found madly typing away trying to quiet the characters screaming for their stories to be written.

Novelspot: Arianna, what initially got you started writing?

Ari: I think I’ve always wanted to write. While helping my mom clean her house, I found half written stories from when I was thirteen years old. I’ve also always had a vivid imagination that lent itself to telling stories (generally big, whopping lies). I started reading romance very early on and loved Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Jude Deveraux, and Johanna Lindsey. I guess you could say they were my earliest influences. As I got older I discovered Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, and Jayne Anne Krentz and something clicked. I didn’t think about actually writing “for real” until I was pregnant with my third daughter and stuck in the house with no new books. I was desperate for something to read so I started writing my own romantic suspense—again. I’d started several in the past but never finished any of them. It took me over a year to finish this one, in between giving birth and chasing after a pre-schooler, a toddler and an infant. When I actually finished the book, my husband dared me to do something with it, so I sent a query into Silhouette and they actually asked for the book! I was amazed. They ended up rejecting it, but that was SURPRISE which was just re-released from Samhain in October.

Novelspot: Would you say you plot carefully or write by the seat of your pants?

Ari: All of the above? I usually start with a vague idea that I roughly outline—and I mean ROUGHLY. While I’m brainstorming the plot, the characters usually form and they add their own quirks and twists I’d never have thought of on my own. I wouldn’t say I get possessed by my characters, but there’s been a number of times where they’ve done/said things I wasn’t expecting. On any given day I can be a punster or a plotter and everything in between.

Novelspot: Other than coping with your furbabies and offspring, what (if any) writing habits or quirks do you have?

Ari: Hmmmm, quirks? I cannot write without at least one Diet Coke in my system. There are days I have a DC, a large mug of tea, and a bottle of water at hand while writing. Because my kids are still pretty little, my writing area is in the living room, so I wear headphones while I write. I need to have some music on or I get distracted by the TV, and nothing kills romance like Barney. I’d love to say I sit down every day and write until I reach my word count, but I’d be lying. I get to write maybe two to three days a week, if I’m lucky. While I’m writing, I’m usually running a couple loads of laundry, dressing dolls, letting the dog outside, then back in, then out, then in... Because my writing time is so limited, I think about what I’m going to write while I’m running the kids to dance class, driving to work, cleaning the house, etc. When I sit down to write, I’m usually so ready I feel like the words are going to burst out of me. Which is why when my writing time is pre-empted by other things I get really cranky.

I think that’s more of a character flaw than a quirk, but whatever, hahaha

Novelspot: Do you have a philosophy of reading/writing?

Ari: Uh, not really. I like good stories. I like to read them and I like to try to write them. I’d rather read or write than watch TV or a movie. If I can escape the chaos that is my life in a good book, I’m in heaven.

Novelspot: Who are your writing role models?

Ari: Oh boy, do you have all day? I love Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Jayne Anne Krentz, Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Feagan, Meg Cabot, Jennifer Cruisie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Suzanne Brockman, Catherine Mann, Joanne Rock, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kathy Love, Lori Armstrong, Heather Graham, Evelyn Vaughn, Cheyenne McCray, Beth Ciotta, Leigh Wyndfield, Kate Rothwell, Lord and so many others it would take all day for me to list them. I read A LOT and I tend to burn through authors very quickly. I love prolific authors like Nora Roberts because there’s always something out there I haven’t read yet. And I think they’re all role models because I have something to learn from all of them.

Novelspot: Do you ever find yourself reusing characters, or do they become real or become alter-egos for real people who are their models?

Ari: I never reuse characters because to me, they’re real people. That being said, I’ve found that many of my leading men share similar traits, especially in the looks department. I don’t tend to use real people as role models, but I’m sure characteristics from the people around me creep into my books. I’m a social person and I have a lot of friends, so it wouldn’t surprise me if their traits show up unconsciously.

Novelspot: What is the best writing advice you ever got and gave?

Ari: The best writing advice I ever got was to not give up. The writing business is a long, hard process and it’s too easy to find excuses to stop. The advice I give others is don’t follow someone else’s path. Everyone is different, every person’s writing style is different. Just because one “writing class” teaches you to do A, B, and C in order to be a good writer doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Take what you need and what works for you and make your own path. It’s great to learn from other people, especially successful people, but don’t feel that because you don’t have charts and graphs and story boards you’re doing something wrong.

Novelspot: How has your writing evolved? Where do you see your writing going in the next ten years?

Ari: Funny you should ask that. I just finished going through the second book I ever wrote to get it ready to be edited for Samhain. TAKE YOUR MEDICINE is the sequel to SURPRISE and will be released in January. Can we just say I’ve learned A LOT in the last 5 years? I think I’ve grown as a writer a great deal, but I also think I have so very much more to learn. I hope in the next ten years to move into single title and find my niche in print. . .wherever that might be. I’m lucky if I know what I’m doing for dinner tonight so I don’t think too much about what’s going to happen in ten years. I’d love to start writing full time as soon as all three girls are in school, but we’ll see.

Novelspot: When you hit the wall, how do you jumpstart your writing?

Ari: I don’t know that I every jumpstart it, I feel like I have a million story ideas and characters running around in my head at all times. Sometimes I think I could do nothing but write 24/7 for the next five years and still not get everything done.

Novelspot: Can you talk about your latest release?

Ari: Oh boy! I have a lot going on this year so I could talk forever, hahaha. In October SURPRISE was re-released from Samhain and SPITFIRE/ was released in print. In November CONVINCE ME, a shape shifter novella is coming out from Ellora’s Cave, the day before Thanksgiving as a matter of fact. That one was a lot of fun to write and I hope to do some more with those characters in future books. In January TAKE YOUR MEDICINE, the sequel to SURPRISE comes out from Samhain, and in February SCREW CUPID, a Valentine’s Day Quickie comes out from Ellora’s Cave. I’ve been very busy lately!

Novelspot: What else do you have in the works?

Ari: Presently, I’m working on a romantic suspense that I hope to sell to New York someday. I also have about three young adult novels started but going nowhere, I’m waiting for edits on a 2007 release, and just finished critiquing a contest entry and one of my friend’s books. Once I get caught up, I think I’ll write another sexy short story to break up all the murder and mayhem running through my brain from all the romantic suspense I’ve been writing. That’s one of the best things about e-books, I can write romantic suspense, erotic romance, shape shifters, and futuristics. I’m not hemmed into any one genre. Can you tell I get bored easily?

Novelspot: It was great having you here, Ari.

Ari: Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to babble about writing.