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Frequently Asked Questions:

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Author: Rosalyn Alsobrook

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Q: Where do you get your ideas?

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Q. What is your writing schedule like?

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Q: Why are your books not more explicit?

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Q. How did you get started writing?

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Q. What does your family think?

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Q. What kind of person are you?

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Q. If you were a boss, would you hire yourself? Explain.

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Q: What titles influenced your life?

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Q. What word best describes your family?

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Q. Has the church played an influential role in your life?

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Q. How do you enjoy spending your spare time?

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Q: Where do you get your ideas?

A. Where does anyone get ideas? They just happen. Sometimes, like with TIME STORM, an idea emerges from some little something about time warps that I learned during school, or like with ONE HEART with an historical event I learned about while reading a magazine article. I do read a lot and like to take college courses from time to time.
Other ideas come from events that may have triggered me emotionally. WILD WESTERN BRIDE was a story written specifically for my father who had just lost his leg and was very depressed after having had to curtail his medical practice and curbed his ability to play with his grandchildren. I wanted to show him through my hero, Mark Gates (a doctor who'd lost use of his leg and was thereby extremely depressed) that life does go on even for those suddenly handicapped. By giving my hero a reason to get back into life (the orphan boys who steal their way first into his home then into his heart), I had hoped to show Dad that there was still plenty of good times ahead. Unfortunately, my father passed away from a heart attack before that book was finished and he never received the underlying message.
The idea for the contemporary murder suspense I'm writing now germinated from a nightmare my husband had years and years ago. It terrified him so, he woke up screaming. I took the overall concept of his dream and molded it into something workable, and hopefully terrifying for the reader.

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Q. What is your writing schedule like?

A. It's different at different times of the year. I'm a summer person. In the summer I normally write only five or six hours a weekday. That leaves me time for yard work and swimming. But in winter, I write eight to ten hours a weekday and four to eight hours during weekends. I try to be in my office by 8:30 every morning, summer or winter. I start out editing pages written the day before, which puts me right back into the flow of the work. It takes me two to three hours to edit those five to ten pages, but I often end up with another page's worth of text during the process since my fresh outlook helps me catch information I omitted the first time around. Same goes with all successive edits. The scenes grow longer, filling out more as I go. But oddly enough, my final edit is the opposite. At that point I go through and chop out what by then I know is unnecessary. It's a strange process but it works for me.
After editing whatever I created the day before, I start my actual writing for the day. I write either until my time is up or until my brain has given out, which ever comes first. Unfortunately, that's usually the latter. If I do quit the actual writing before my allotted time is over, I then spend the duration back in editor mode. I might change an earlier scene that wasn't quite right, or investigate needed info like, "Did barbed wire exist in the year 1878?" Ah, it did, I'm safe. "But was liquor ever called hooch in the year 1881?" Uh-oh, that term didn't exist until the 1920's. Better go back and change that to something else." What about police procedure? "What's the first thing a deputy does upon entering a crime scene?" Better get that right or have every cop in the world writing me nasty letters.
I save correspondence and getting out promotional materials until later in the day. That's what makes some of my e-mail responses a little flaky to say the least. My brain is fried by the time I log on to check that sort of thing.

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Q: Your books are known for not having any obscene language or what could be considered explicit sex, two ingredients that normally make up today's bestsellers. Why is this?

A. Because I'm not yet comfortable with those ingredients in my books. Although today's "Sweet" romances don't earn the same rave reviews as the "Spicy" romances, I'm happy with what I write. My heroines are strong women. They won't settle for anything less than true, undying love from their men. Any love scenes in my books come only after a deep commitment has been made, often not until after marriage. Even then, I tone down the love scenes because I do not want to turn what should be a thing of beauty between my hero and heroine into some cheap thrill for the reader. Sorry.
As for profanity, my heroines are the type women who believe in themselves and are intelligent enough to get their points across without resulting to gutter language. Same for my heroes. I personally don't like to read books with a lot of profanity, especially when it is not necessary for furthering the plot. If the reader wants explicit sex and lots of profanity, there are plenty of other writers out there who will give that to them. Check out the bestseller shelves, there should be several there at any given time.

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Q. How did you get started writing?

A. I know you won't believe this, but I wrote my first book at age four. It was a snappy little piece about a wall that did not like people marking on it. I think the conflict for this first story developed from some personal experience I'd had at the time--one involving red crayons, but I can't be sure. For volume's sake, I wrote one word per page and this first work was eighteen pages long. My father kept that "book" as well as other such memorabilia for the longest time tucked away inside a set of encyclopedias. But one summer when Mom was doing a little (late as usual) spring cleaning, she gave away those old encyclopedias, unaware what was inside. At that point my first literary effort was lost forever.
After that, I wrote mostly school assignments and pen pals (I had as many as 86 pen pals in junior high). I won my first writing award given by the Texas Daughters of the Revolution during the sixth grade. I also wrote a Teen Talk column for the local newspaper my junior and senior years of high school and was feature editor of The Flare for two years while attending Kilgore College. After that, I wrote short stories and other newspaper columns, but it wasn't until 1979 I tried a book. That didn't happen until after I'd showed my husband, Bobby, a novel written by Laurie McBain with a photograph of her in the back. I told Bobby how very impressed I was. Someone who looked to be only a few years older than I was had written the wonderful book I'd just read. His was response was to shrug his shoulders and comment, "So? Couldn't you?" That started me thinking, "Well, couldn't I?"
I started my first book late that night. I wrote it in long hand during my evening reading hours (I had a five year old, a seven-month old, a nine-hour a day job as an office manager, and was president of the elementary PTA at the time). It took a year, but eventually I finished THE THORN BUSH BLOOMS, sold it to Tower Publications in New York, and a new career was born.

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 Q. What does your family think about what you do now for a living?

A. Well, at first only my husband knew I was writing and he considered it another one of my latest hobbies. After I'd sold my third or fourth book, he finally saw writing as something I could do for a living. There were times he resented the hours I spent off in my little world of words and images, but now that it's my livelihood, he is more likely to remind me of the time or of an upcoming deadline when I'm being a little too lax. As for my sons, the older one used to use what I do as a way to attract the opposite sex. He was constantly sneaking a few books out of my office and giving them to some girl who'd expressed an interest in my writing. He's also the one quick to tell anyone he sees looking over one of my books in a bookstore he knows the author personally. That usually brings the conversation around to the fact that his mom who wrote the book. The younger son is more blasé about it. To him having a writer in the family is no big deal. That's just what his mom does for a living. Doesn't everybody's mom sit in an office alone for hours on end writing stories about people who exist only in her head? Seems like a normal thing to him. What is your philosophy of life? I'm pretty much an easy going person. My philosophy is "live and let live"--as long as it does not infringe on anyone else's rights or cause someone else any real harm whether mentally or physically.

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 Q. What kind of person are you?

A. Tolerable. (that is when I've had enough sleep)

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 Q. If you were a boss, would you hire yourself? Explain.

A. Since I am my own boss, and since I am also my only employee, I'd have to answer, yes, I'd most certainly hire me. I like being both boss and employee. If something other than writing comes along that needs my attention for awhile, I don't have to go into some long song and dance to take time off from work. I am a very understanding boss. But then again, I know what's expected and needed of me as an employee. I'm quite aware that if I don't sit down and write forty to fifty hours a week, I won't meet my deadlines (and thereby I won't be paid). Thus, I am a very good employee. In a pinch, I have little problem convincing myself to work overtime. Another bonus: there are no union problems in my situation. It's not likely I'll ever walk out on strike.

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Q. What are the titles of some books which influenced and changed your life?

A. Two come to mind at the moment. The first is TEARS OF GOLD by Laurie McBain. I'd always thought a person had to be old and wise to write books, which was why I spent years "going to" write a book "someday". After seeing Laurie McBain's picture in the back of her novel (and noticing she was not that much older than I was at the time), I realized a person did not have to be old and wise to write a book after all. As it turns out, a person can be young and scatterbrained and still write a darned good book.
The other book to influence me was one I read recently. It's a book that hasn't even hit the shelves yet: THE PERFECT HUSBAND by Lisa Gardner. Although I've wanted to try my hand at a contemporary murder suspense for years, I kept finding reasons to put it off. Finally, I decided to give it a shot. While writing the synopsis and sample chapters my agent needs to market the work, I read Lisa's book. While reading it, something inside me clicked and I knew I'd made the right decision. Her book was wonderfully crafted and deeply spellbinding--just the sort of book a writer puts down at the end and says, "I wish I'd written that!"

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 Q. What word best describes your family?

A. Abnormal. But in a good way. My dad was very goal oriented, and my mother was extremely outgoing in the community. We had televisions in three rooms yet rarely turned one on. Except for my brother, we were a family of readers.  

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Q. Has the church played an influential role in your life?

A. Yes. Too many times I might have given up on whatever I was attempting to do or to overcome had I not had my faith in God. I may not always understand His motivation for doing some of what He does, but I always give Him credit for being the master of our fates.  

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Q. How do you enjoy spending your spare time?

A. Spare time? What is that? Please explain.

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-11/98-

 

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A Special Tribute To A Country Doctor: My Father..

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