I had the pleasure of interviewing R.J Blain recently and have just gotten round to releasing it. I was so excited to do this because her books are amazing and otherwordly!
Q: What are 5 surprising facts about you and your writing process?
Oh, fun question! Here goes, and let’s hope I don’t ramble too much about this. I can ramble a lot when it comes to my writing process. Processes. Realistically, every book changes how I write books.
Here we go!
A: I rarely write a book the same way. Sometimes I plot, sometimes I dive on in head first and hope for the best. Sometimes, I partially plot and then dive on in. I do whatever is needed to get the book written.
B: It takes me, on average, 335.5 hours to write a book, including research and editing. At one point, I had been writing a book a month in that many hours. (I am not doing this anymore because I want to do fun things rather than just work, eat, and sleep.)
C: If you spot a car being utterly destroyed in my books, chances are it is a car I would like to own, have owned, or enjoyed petting and wished I could own even though I probably wouldn’t buy that model.
The Porsche Boxster, as a result, sees a lot of abuse in my books. My dream car is a Porsche, although the specific model of Porsche varies from day-to-day. My current love affair is a Panamera, although I would soooo not say no to a Boxster in a custom shade of pink.
My chances of owning a Porsche? Pretty low.
My husband hates them except the super high end sporty model, which he said he would be okay with me having if I could afford it. Paying in cash.
Guess who can’t afford a high end Porsche? Me! I can’t. So I destroy them in books instead. That’s the next best thing, right?
I drive a super cute baseline Toyota Corolla hatchback. She’s sky blue. Her name is Devil Spawn.
D: I name my cars after horses I’ve created for my books. This is based on a pun. You know, horsepower in the engine and all that fun snazz.
E: I loathe rewriting, so I will spent a lot of extra time while drafting to avoid it. My record for rewriting a single book was sixteen times, and after that, I swore never again. (I ended up rewriting numerous books afterwards, but I have, after reaching book 50+ in my career, finally managed to tune my process so I edit not rewrite.)
I abhor rewriting. I loathe it. I cry when I have to do it. And sometimes, I still do, in form of a chapter here and there. Fortunately, I no longer do more than a chapter here and there. Fortunately. Fortunately.
Q: Which book was your hardest to finish writing?
Winter Wolf. My editor at the time was suffering from serious health issues, which threw us both for an emotional roller coaster. Then she began her own writing career and quit editing, so I had to find a new editor. But that book crushed me in so many different ways.
I have books that were equally hard to finish, but they didn’t leave quite the mark Winter Wolf did.
Q: What is the most enjoyable aspect of being an author?
Creating something from nothing. I love taking an idea and making it something worth writing about—and sharing with others. But the idea I can go from a blank sheet of paper to something that can bring others joy is a pretty wonderful thing to me.
Q: How did Covid affect your writing process?
Honestly, all it did was slow me down a little, especially when I lost family and friends. Grieving definitely gets in the way, and my family has suffered a lot of losses in the past year and a half. It is what it is, but it’s definitely meant I’ve been unable to put as much on the plate.
It has also reinforced I should not put as much on the plate. So, I changed that.
Q: How long does it usually take to write a book?
335.5 hours on average. Assuming a standard 40 hour work week, about 8 and a half weeks or so. This is based on a 100,000 word novel. It also varies depending on how much research I have to do to be able to write the book.
Q: What annoys you most as an author?
When readers tell me what I should be writing. Nah. If they want to dictate what should be written, they can go write their own books. This really bothers me. I see it most often in reviews, where people rant I dared to go write something other than $that-series-they-want.
As a bonus, my second most annoying thing is that people expect me to work 14+ hours 6 or 7 days a week to publish books faster. I’ve trashed my health doing that, and I’m on the mend now, but… I still get twitchy when readers do that.
It takes me 335.5 hours, on average, to write a book, and I shouldn’t be trying to cram that many hours into a month. Or less. So, I’m no longer doing that. I expect it will be wonderful for my general quality of life.
Q: What is your favorite hobby?
Cross-stitching, drawing, painting, going to the beach and searching for treasures, and taking pictures of pretty things. All of these things make me SO happy.
Q: Which character of those you have created is your favorite? Why? Probably Bailey Gardener from Playing with Fire, because what’s there not to love about a fire-breathing unicorn with a meat fetish?
But seriously, I love a LOT of my characters, Lucifer is a huge favorite of mine, which is why he constantly shows up in the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series. He’s the fabled bad guy, but I’ve made him fun—and too good for his good.
Q: Will you do a next gen series for any of your series?
Royal States by Susan Copperfield will have some next gen stories; Pat and Jessica’s daughter, Deidre, will be a love interest or lead in one of the stories. Beyond that, generally not. Next gen doesn’t interest me all that much.
Q: What is your source of inspiration for the magical romantic comedy series?
Life in general, really. And how life would be SO much better with pixie dust. I can’t say I get inspired by anything beyond “I see something funny, like someone trying to invoke the name of Satan and writing it as Satin instead, and then turning that into a funny event in a book because it made me laugh.”
Q: What is your favorite book at the moment?
Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews. It has every trope I love in science fiction and paranormal, with the added bonus of a character who just makes me grin.
If you mean of my own… uhm… Probably the Vampire of Montana, which is one I’m currently working on. The main character is ridiculous and fun. Runaway and the Trickster King (same world as Vampire) are close contenders. I just really enjoy the Royal States novels.
Q: Who are your favorite authors?
Ilona Andrews, Faith Hunter, Diana Pharaoh Francis are my current top three. I also enjoy Lynsay Sands.
My Top picks: