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Ruby Release Spotlight: Vivi Andrews!!

Today, I’m pleased to shine the spotlight on one of our most prolific published Rubies, Vivi Andrews!!

Just back from a fabulous trip to the South Pacific, Vivi has had an unbelievably busy couple of months. Tell us about your new releases! Yep, it’s certainly been a hectic time. November 2nd was the print release of The Ghost Exterminator (Karmic Consultants #2 and my first solo print release); November 16th saw the e-book release of The Naked Detective (KC #4); and today is the e-book release of No Angel– which can be consumed by itself or in the yummy e-book collection “Winter Wishes” (out now!) with paranormal holiday novellas by epublishing dynamos Vivian Arend (Tangled Tinsel) and Moira Rogers (Freeze Line).

Having published 8 novels and novellas, and being contracted for one more, you’re one of the growing number of Rubies who writes full-time. When you’re not traveling the world, what does a typical workday or workweek look like for you? Wake up, roll over, check email. Seriously, since I’m several hours behind the rest of the US (and I’m a night owl) by the time I’m up it’s mid afternoon in the east and I have a mountain of email already. I look for any fires that need to be put out – edits, cover/blurb comps that need feedback or I have permission to share, promo ops that landed in my inbox and need responses, royalty statements that need to be checked over and entered into my tracking spreadsheet, contracts to review, fan mail or questions from readers (always fun to respond to right away!) – whatever today’s big thing is.

Once I’ve taken care of the email deluge and all those issues, I pull up my Writing To Do list. I’m an organization freak – everything writing related, no matter how minor, is on that list and I try to knock off a few small items before lunch. (And often pop into some favorite blogs for a quick read to see what’s up in Romancelandia, visit The Twitter, or post some thoughts on my blog.)

Then I step away from my computer. I’ve discovered I have to have a break between doing the Author Miscellany and doing the Actual Writing. I try to get out of the house – go to lunch with my dad or a friend, take a walk, run an errand, catch a movie – this is when I have a life.

Then I’m back at my computer, curled up in a different spot – change of venue is key – and I work on whatever my current WIP is for a few hours. Sometimes I get rolling and it’s eleven pm before I come up for air (and realize I’ve forgotten to eat dinner again). Once in a while I can’t get off the ground – usually because I’ve gone off-track in the book somewhere and I can’t figure out where I’ve screwed up. So after I’ve banged my head a bit I pull the To Do list back out and see if I can knock off some of those other items since my writing sucks today.

I meet a friend at the gym at eleven thirty to work out and gossip, then I’m back home around one to bang out a few more hours of writing or read until I crash. (Right as the East Coast is waking up…)

That’s my routine. Or what it would be if life never interrupted. The best part – to me – about being a full time writer is that I have freedom in my days. I can say yes when my sister asks if I can babysit her kids on no notice or when a friend wants to play Wii or go skiing when the snow is perfect. (Or I can travel!) If left to my own devices, I would write every waking hour, so my method of keeping balance in my life is to say yes (most of the time) when friends and family want to spend time with me. Unless I’m under deadline, when the answer becomes “Sorry! Next week!”

How do you juggle the demands of working with two publishers, Samhain and Carina Press? This actually hasn’t been an issue at all. Even working with a single publisher you have to be able to bounce from first draft on one story to line edits on another to promoting a third. I just make sure I have an eye on which deadlines are most urgent and put those items first.

As someone whose process is still evolving, can you tell us about yours? In particular, is your writing process different when you’re writing a novel vs. a novella? I realized very recently that my process is different for novellas vs. novels. With novels I tend to just take a kernel of an idea and run with it, letting the story spin out (pantser-esq) until about the midway point when I need to start figuring out how I’m going to resolve everything. That’s when I get out my outlines and start plotting away.

With novellas, I have to have a plan – and a fairly detailed one – or I will never fit everything into the narrower word count. I make little bulleted outlines, “brain dumping” everything I know about the story into one file, and work with that file always open to refer to. I’m not glued to my outlines – things always change pretty significantly from that jumping off point – but they keep me focused and writing tight.

You don’t work with an agent. Can you give our readers any advice or things to keep in mind if they’re in a similar situation and negotiating their own publishing contracts? The electronic publishing landscape seems to be evolving at warp speed. I’m not a master negotiator by any stretch of the imagination, but a few things to look out for in epub contracts are 1) the life of the contract – when the rights can revert back to you, 2) whether the royalties are based on net or list (this can make a HUGE difference in how much you get paid), 3) whether there are clauses that tie up your future works (or future works in the same series, world or genre), 4) how long the publisher has to produce the work before the contract is nullified, and 5) whether there are any kill fees or penalties (other than repayment of advances) that are incurred if you request to terminate the contract.

Before you submit to an epub, you should already be familiar with their web presence, cover art, distribution, and reputation.

If you could offer only one piece of advice to aspiring novelists, what would it be? Be willing to follow your career in unexpected directions. I set out to be a rockstar mass market paperback single title contemporary romance author (okay, yes, I wanted to be Jennifer Crusie), but my real goal was to be writing what I love full time. I’m doing that, but not in the way I would have anticipated three years ago. Taking unexpected paths can be a helluva lot of fun.

Changing gears: Having grown up there, what do you think is the biggest misconception people have about life in Alaska? I grew up in northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border, and one college classmate actually asked me if we had indoor toilets where I grew up. I… don’t think she was kidding. Oh wow. I’ve been asked if I live in an igloo (yes! charming split-level igloo), I’m often asked if we have six months of dark and six months of light (the Giant Lightswitch Question, I like to call it), and I’ve been asked “Is it cold?” more times than I can count (yes, honey, it’s cold). But the one that probably makes my teeth grate the most is when people ask why Alaska is so snowy if it’s an island off the coast of California (in a box right next to Hawaii). One woman asked me “Is it the altitude?” Or, similarly, how I could have driven my car to the Lower 48 because “Alaska isn’t attached.”

I weep for Geography teachers.

And I’d really love for people to stop asking me what I think about Sarah Palin.

Where is your favorite vacation spot, and why? My favorite vacation spot is always the one I’m going to next. I love exploring new places.

Well, we envy your most recent trip to the South Pacific, but we’re glad to have you safely back on home soil.

Vivi was kind enough to send me an advance copy of “No Angel,” and all of the things I enjoy about Vivi’s previous releases are on full display here: The trademark snarky humor. The lightning-fast pace. The world building! Oh…the world building. I don’t know too many authors who can lay a solid foundation for a paranormal world in, oh, seven pages, but Vivi does it – in book after book after book.  I bow down.

If someone were to give me a stack of books with no author name on the cover, I could pick Vivi’s books out on voice alone. And the blurb is killer: (will you write mine??)

When Sasha’s boyfriend, Jay, is sucked through a fiery vortex to Hell, an angel reveals that Sasha’s been chosen as the Champion of Virtue in the battle for his immortal soul. As a perennial offender on Santa’s naughty list, Sasha can’t believe she’s anyone’s idea of a girl fighting on the side of the angels. But if she doesn’t save Jay, he’ll be stuck in Hell forever!

Jay—aka Jevroth—isn’t surprised to find himself back in Hell. His visa to visit the mortal plane expired three months ago, but to steal more time with Sasha he’s been ignoring his mother’s demands that he come home to spend time with his new stepfather: Lucifer.

Sasha has until dawn on the twenty-fifth of December to fight the Legions of Hell and rescue Jay, or be trapped there for eternity herself. But now she must decide if the lying son-of-a-demon is even worth saving…

Need I mention that Jay is  – say it with me now – hot as hell?!  😉

***

Any questions for Vivi? If you don’t have a question, tell us where your favorite vacation spot is, and why. Two commenters, chosen at random, will receive one of Vivi’s books – winner’s choice!

Like any self-respecting, land-locked Minnesotan, my favorite vacation spot is Maui. One reason why: HUGE WAVES  (Jaws at Maui) (1:30).  Bonus eye candy for Vivi, our intrepid South Pacific traveler: Laird Hamilton takes on Teahupo’o (Tahiti) (5:16).

Learn more about Vivi’s Karmic Consultants, Serengeti Shifters, single title books  – and her trip! – at www.viviandrews.com.

60 responses to “Ruby Release Spotlight: Vivi Andrews!!”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    I have the Ghost Exterminator on my TBR pile at the moment, and can’t wait til I have an e-reader so I can get the rest. I’m sooooo amazed by your sheer output, Vivi, plus all the stories sound great.

    I love the idea that you’d write every minute of the day if you could, and have to make efforts to go out and do other things. Follow your bliss!

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    • Vivi Andrews says:

      I hope you enjoy The Ghost Exterminator, Elisa! And really, my output isn’t soooo amazing when you consider most of the things I write are novellas & shorter novels. In terms of actual word count I’m sure I’m only about average among Rubies.

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      • Tamara Hogan says:

        I don’t so much see your output in terms of wordcount, but in terms of sheer numbers of characters and the worlds they operate within. To write with the level of detail and description you do, within the page constraints of a novella, requires a very high degree of craft.

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  2. No igloo? I’m so bummed! LOL

    You’re a hard act to follow, Miss Vivi, but a heck of an inspiration. May you have nothing but continued success.

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  3. Congrats on the release of No Angel, Vivi! I know I’ll love the book. I’m in awe of how much you accomplish in a day.

    Thanks for visiting me here in Australia on your last adventure! And thank you for *not* asking if I keep a kangaroo in my backyard! Crikey!

    Fab interview, Tammy!

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  4. Vivi Andrews says:

    I need to thank the rockstar goddess Tammy for the interview (THANK YOU!!), but I also have one disclaimer: I can’t take credit for the blurb. Though my compliments go to the Carina blurb writers. Cover art and blurbs are both things I’m extremely grateful *not* to be responsible for.

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    • Tamara Hogan says:

      It’s still a killer blurb, whomever wrote it! And I think it accurately describes the story you told, which is one of my hot buttons as a reader: when the blurb or back cover copy focuses on generic genre tropes to the degree that it doesn’t accurately reflect the story inside anymore.

      That said, isn’t it interesting what other people see in your story that you, the author, don’t necessarily see? I just got a look at the Sourcebooks 2011 Spring Catalog (I’ll provide a link later; at the coffeeshop right now) which describes TASTE ME as “CSI meets TRUE BLOOD.”

      Not what I was going for – hell, not in my mind AT ALL; I was writing a supernatural bodyguard story – but now that someone mentions it? Accurate. It took someone with a completely different mindset than me to describe it that way.

      Congratulations on your release day, sweetie. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy your work.

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  5. Rita Henuber says:

    Congrats on your new release.
    NO igloo???? Then I’m not coming to visit. I still hear people say Hawaii isn’t a state because it isn’t’connected’.
    I’m glad to hear you are pleased with Carina. I can’t wait to get deep into the process with them.

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  6. Kate Parker says:

    No matter the length, your output is phenominal, Vivi. Wishing you much success.

    And since no one else here has the nerve, I’ll go for it. So what do you think of Sarah Palin, Vivi? Heh, heh, heh.

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    • Diana Layne says:

      yeah, really, c’mon, tell us, inquiring minds want to know, tee hee hee. (just kidding. seriously)

      Thanks for the interview, Vivi, love to know your process. Congrats on yet another release, bet it is as wonderful as your other books!!

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      • Kelly Fitzpatrick says:

        I think I asked her the SP question. I know I asked her the “is it cold?” question.

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      • Vivi Andrews says:

        Somehow that question stopped being funny after the American guy shouting at me in the New Zealand customs line about his political views just because I was wearing an Alaskan sweatshirt.

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  7. Hope Ramsay says:

    Aw, Kate, I was gonna ask that question. 😀

    Seriously, Vivi, you are an inspiration to us all. I truly admire your courage in taking the step to become a full-time author, even though the path you’ve taken is the one less-traveled. I wish I was that brave.

    I dream of a time when I will feel comfortable making writing my only business. But, alas, I am a coward.

    So, congrats on the books, and on the career path that you have forged. You are a Ruby treasure and a wonderful trailblazer for us all.

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    • Vivi Andrews says:

      Well, I’m not a trailblazer, I’m not so sure my path is the less traveled one – it’s pretty crowded over here on my path! – and I wouldn’t go being too in awe of my “bravery” since my career strategy is all logic and very little risk.

      But thanks for the good wishes Hope and good luck with your upcoming release and getting the gumption to take the full-time-writing plunge.

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  8. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Now that’s an interesting twist on a Christmas Story. I’m in awe of your output.

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  9. Kelly Fitzpatrick says:

    I’m working my way through Vivi’s shifter series now. I highly recommend.

    Christmas in Hell! I ask you how that’s different from any other Christmas? Ha! It’s the spending time with family that scares me. No – seriously – it sounds sizzling. I read an excerpt the other day, and yes, Vivi has a distinctive voice that can’t be duplicated. You’re one-of-a-kind. Have an awsome release day! Love ya, sista.

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  10. Cate Rowan says:

    As always, I am impressed by your output, Vivi. Three cheers for your full-time writing career! And next time, could you at least take me along as a hologram (like the Doctor on ST:Voyager), when you travel the world? 😀

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  11. Shoshana Brown says:

    Happy release day, Vivi! Just finished your first shifter book (on my new kindle!) and really liked it.

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    • Vivi Andrews says:

      Glad you liked it Shoshana!

      I find it interesting that I seem to be known most for that story (like my Goodreads page lists me as “author of Serengeti Heat”) but it isn’t the one I would pick as my calling card. Funny how little control we have over how we are seen by the world.

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  12. Tina Joyce says:

    Yay, Vivi! Happy release day, lady!

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  13. Katrina says:

    Okay, I won’t fawn over Vivi’s output because it looks like that’s been covered. I’ll fawn over her critting ability. Last November I won the Ruby competition to get some feedback on my Golden Heart entry. And Vivi NAILED the problems in my entry. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make any changes, but I’ve always appreciated the honesty and astuteness she showed.

    My high school best friend thought Alaska was off the coast of Baja, next to Hawaii. Sad thing was, we were from San Diego, so she’d been to Hawaii and Baja. I asked her if it had never occurred to her that those places are dang hot and Alaska’s cold. Oh the expression on her face as the penny dropped.

    Anyway, best of luck with the latest release, Vivi!

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    • Vivi Andrews says:

      Oh, wow, Katrina, I’m so glad the critique was helpful. I always worry I’m too blunt and waaaaay too opinionated when I’m judging and critting. I was delighted to see your interest in Super at Wanda Ottewell’s interview. I really think your clever voice and handling of classic romance themes would mesh beautifully with the Super line. Have you subbed to them?

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      • Katrina says:

        You were honest, Vivi, and that’s always good in a critique. And you did say that my story was more suited for a category line than single title.

        I’m working on rewriting that story and will submit it when I’m finished.

        Thanks so much for your help, Vivi. I’d never thought of submitting to a category line before your crit, and you opened my eyes to different ways of publishing that might suit my voice better.

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  14. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anne Calhoun, Vivi Andrews. Vivi Andrews said: I'm answering questions and giving away books at the Ruby's place today: http://bit.ly/f3JNX8 […]

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  15. Shea Berkley says:

    Vivi, I love the description of your No Angel. I like the way you balance out your day. It’s really important writers get out and live life. If we don’t, then we’ll have nothing important to write about, at least that’s what Stephen King advocates. Congratulations on another amazing release!

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  16. Kim Law says:

    I almost couldn’t finish reading the interview when I got to the part where you said people think Alaska is in a square next to Hawaii. ARE YOU KIDDING??? PLEASE, PLEASE TELL US YOU’RE KIDDING!!!! Wow…I’m still stuggling to function behind that piece of information.

    Anyhoo…great interview, and congrats on all the unexpected paths you’ve taken in the last few years, even if it wasn’t exactly how you planned to go. You’re books are awesome, so no doubt you’ll reach everything you go after in this career!

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    • Vivi Andrews says:

      It’s crazy how strong the forces of ignorance can be, isn’t it? Future book fodder, right?

      Thanks for the good wishes, Kim, and for all your wonderful help with my WIP.

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  17. Vivi, your schedule has me in awe! What I want to know is how you switch off the part of your brain that’s dealing with the deluge of incoming email and writer biz in order to actually WRITE! If I start doing the other stuff first, I never want to write one word. Too much “background noise”…

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    • Vivi Andrews says:

      I absolutely have to have a break between the Biz & the Writing. And it really helps me to be able to switch venue – go to the library, go to a cafe (with unlimited diet coke refills), or just change rooms in the house.

      I find that as long as I write down what I need to do on my To Do list, I don’t have to think about it during my writing time because I know I won’t forget to get back to it later. Organization really helps me quiet the background noise and free up the creative side.

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  18. Vivi, you are my hero! Super congrats and I can’t wait to get No Angel! Your writing is so sharp and witty.

    And that’s too funny about Alaska! Well, at least they know it’s part of the US. Sadly, a great many people think NM is a foreign country. I was even asked personally if I had to use a passport to go to a writer’s convention once. Sigh… Fortunately, it wasn’t a writer who asked me but a passenger on the Metro. Haha.

    So proud of you!
    ~D~

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    • Vivi Andrews says:

      Actually, you’d be amazed how many people don’t think Alaska is part of the US. Both in America & abroad. A surprising number of Australians called Alaska “the country north of Canada” and I didn’t have the heart to correct them. (The cute accents are so disarming.)

      Thanks for your lovely words, Ms. Darynda. I can’t wait to read First Grave!

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  19. Kali says:

    I just finished reading Naked Detective, and I’m thrilled to get to read another of your books so soon! I’m so excited to finally read No Angel. Christmas is my second favorite holiday and nothing gets me more in the holiday spirit than sitting by a lit up Christmas Tree, drinking a mug of hot apple cider, and reading a book that makes me giggle. An added bonus to No Angel – it makes my holiday crises look tame (That’s a lovely new helicopter Darling, I’m so glad you bought it for yourself. I just need to run to the store to return something now… No Baby, flour goes in the mixing bowl, not on the floor. No, NOT the flo- Crap.), and my mother-in-law look like a saint.

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    • Vivi Andrews says:

      Okay, fess up, what’s your favorite holiday if Xmas is second?

      And here’s to not-so-saintly in-laws! Just make sure you grab your camera and get a shot of the kidlet covered in flour. It’ll make an excellent Christmas card. 🙂

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      • Kali says:

        I’m a Halloween fan. It’s so much less hectic than the Nov/Dec Holiday Crush, even if it is just as commercialized. And, I love what it represents; the day of the year when the veil between worlds is thinnest, the end of one year’s harvest and the beginning of a new cycle. Plus, the candy and costumes are pretty darn fun too.

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  20. Jamie Wesley says:

    I’m late to the party as usual, but I wanted to wish you a happy release day, Vivi.

    One of my goals for the upcoming year is to get on a better writing schedule (which means cutting back on the Internet time).

    Oh, and if you’ve given up the dream of being Jennifer Crusie, can I swoop in and take your place? 🙂

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    • Vivi Andrews says:

      Thank you, Jamie! Glad you could drop by. And I haven’t given up on being Jennifer Crusie, I just figured I’d be a few other people first. But never fear, we can both be the Divine Miss J. The world needs more Jennifer Crusies.

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  21. liz talley says:

    Okay, I’m so late to the party, but congrats Vivi! I would have been here yesterday, but just got the computer up and running on DSL last night. I am so proud of you and I LOVE your writing. You’re enormously talented and I am honored to be one of your Ruby sisters. I have the Ghost Exterminator on my kindle…just can’t find my cord to charge it. It’s in these boxes somewhere.

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  22. Tamara Hogan says:

    And the two randomly-selected winners of one of Vivi’s current releases are….

    Jamie Wesley and Laurie Kellogg!

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  23. […] 1) a 25-page critique from Ruby Slippered Sister Vivi Andrews, who has sold TEN paranormal romances since her 2009 final in Golden Heart—including her sizzlingly sexy SERENGETI SHIFTERS series. Vivi’s GH final was in ST Contemporary, and she reads tons of YA, so she’s got a great eye for manuscripts in those categories too. Vivi’s known for her fabulous world-building, for the great combo of heat and humor in her books, and for her tell-it-to-you-straight critiques. Check out the Ruby spotlight on Vivi here. […]

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  24. […] 1) a 25-page critique from Ruby Slippered Sister Kim Law, 2009 Golden Heart winner for Series Contemporary. Kim’s got a great eye for manuscripts so you don’t want to miss out on her awesome critique. Check out the Ruby spotlight on Kim here. […]

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  25. […] 12/6/10: Tammy interviews fellow Ruby Slippered Sister Vivi Andrewsl! […]

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