As Eileen Rendahl, Eileen has written four chick-lit novels. Occasionally someone gives her an award for one of them. She appreciates that very much. Her first urban fantasy, DON'T KILL THE MESSENGER, will be released by Berkley in March of 2010.
As Eileen Carr, Eileen has written one romantic suspense, HOLD BACK THE DARK. Her second romantic suspense, THE BONES WILL TELL, will be released by Pocket Books in 2011.
DRose: Thank you for joining us, Eileen. Your writing career seems to be on quite the roll. Congratulations. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Eileen: I remember wanting to be a ballerina. I also remember wanting to be a micro-biologist. I mainly remember being a big daydreamer. I was that kid who was staring out the window at the way the leaves made shadow patterns on the ground or could be mesmerized by the way Rice Krispies made a floating layer of cereal across the sea of milk in her bowl. I’m still a big daydreamer. I just write the daydreams down now.
DRose: When you're not writing, do you have any hobbies or interests?
Eileen: Gah! Too many! I run and bike. I crochet. I quilt. I play the auto-harp. Yes. The auto-harp. My sisters love to have sing-alongs at family get-togethers. I’m the musical accompaniment. It’s a total blast, if pathetically dorky.
DRose: Any current projects you're excited about and can share with our readers?
Eileen: I am super excited about my March release. It’s the first book in my Messenger series, DON’T KILL THE MESSENGER. It’s an urban fantasy set in Sacramento. My heroine is a Messenger for the supernatural world who gets caught between both of her worlds when someone tries to use Chinese vampires to take control of the drug trade in Sacramento.
I have a second Messenger book scheduled for spring of 2011 and another Eileen Carr romantic suspense, THE BONES WILL TELL, also scheduled for 2011.
DRose: Do you plot your story before you write it or do you sit and let it flow?
Eileen: How I wish I could let it flow! I have to plot. Depending on what type of book I’m writing, I might just need to know basic turning points or I might need close to a scene by scene breakdown. The more points of view I’m juggling and the more complicated the plot is, the more I outline, especially the beginning of the book. I find that if I get the first one hundred pages right, the rest is a lot easier!
DRose: Do you write to music or the TV?
Eileen: A few years ago, I went to a workshop given by Chris Marie Green and have since become hooked on listening to Mozart while I write. It really helps me focus. Of course, part of that might be turning it up loud enough to drown out the kids in the other room.
DRose: Most people see writers as hermits, closed off in a room, clacking away at the keyboard until the final page is typed. Do you consider yourself this disciplined as a writer?
Eileen: I am pretty methodical, which most people find surprising. I generally have a daily page goal. If I don’t meet it, I have to work on the weekend. Like most women, I don’t have the luxury of closing myself off. I have kids to take care of and a mother who often needs help and, oh, yeah, there is that boyfriend guy who seems to want at least a few crumbs of attention now and then. Every now and then, though, I check myself into a hotel for a weekend and write my heart out.
DRose: It’s said you can learn a lot about a person by their surroundings. What does your work area look like?
Eileen: Like a tornado went through it and then two teenaged boys tromped across it wearing rock climbing gear and soccer cleats and then a pat-rack software engineer started stashing computer and stereo gear all over it and then I painted everything in very bright primary colors. I have no idea what that says about me, though.
DRose: What do you consider your guilty pleasure?
Eileen: I can only do this in a completely empty kitchen, preferably an empty house. If anyone ever saw me do it, I might die of shame. I take a spoonful of peanut butter, jam it into a bag of chocolate chips and eat the chocolate-chip studded spoonful of peanut butter right off the spoon. It’s best washed down with ice-cold milk straight from the carton.
DRose: Can you tell us a bit about the workshop you’ll be doing for the Desert Rose Conference?
Eileen: In the summer of 2007, I started working part-time at a private detective agency as a report editor. It is, without a doubt, the best part-time job I have ever had. The people are fantastic. The work is interesting. The hours are flexible. Even better, it’s given me a window into a world I would have never seen first hand. With the popularity of detective fiction, I thought it would be useful for people to hear about some of what goes on behind the scenes at a real-life, profitable detective agency.
Thank you so again for spending the day with us, Eileen,
To learn more about this wonderful author, visit her at her website: Eileen Rendahl
Come back Monday and join us for a Q&A with Tor Editor, Heather Osborn.