What to Read Wednesday

17 Oct

Today I have a special guest on What to Read Wednesday! I’d love it if everyone would help me in welcoming my special guest Javier Robayo, author of THE GAZE. Javier and I have developed a special online bond and have grown from writing friends to true friends.

I have also read and reviewed his wonderful book THE GAZE and if you’d like to read what I thought, please click here.

Okay, without any further chit chat from me, please join me in welcoming Javier!!

Javier, please tell us 5 fun facts about you.

Thank you, Christine, I’m excited to be here.  I’ve always enjoyed What to Read Wednesdays, and hoped for this day.  Five things, let’s see…

I love to employ lines from old cartoons in actual conversations.  (It drives my wife and kids nuts.)  I can’t watch horror movies, especially when they have a little kid in them.  I’ll take a rainy day over a sunny day anytime.  I often have arguments with my fictional characters (I’m sure I’m not alone in this), and I can’t keep from laughing if I see someone fall (once I know they’re okay, of course!)

I feel sorry for Sheri and the girls about the cartoon conversations!  Lol  Share one thing you love, one thing you hate and one thing you fear.

I love to write, to create, to bring to life a fictional person.

I hate politics.

I fear clowns.  Yes, clowns.  They’re ultra creepy!

Ah, yes, the clowns. I think we discussed this before 🙂 Movies, books or books made into movies?

Books, Books, and Books.  You get so much more out of the written word, especially when you have a good imagination.  I’ve seen some movies that failed miserably short of delivering the power of the script.  There are very few exceptions.

What genre (s) do you write?

I write contemporary dramas.  It’s easy to infuse elements of other genres into them.  Romance, mystery, even a tiny bit of sci-fi and erotica can be used to make a drama shine.  I like the freedom within the genre.

You do the genre proud!  Describe your writing space.

I adapt easily enough.  I don’t know that I have a preferred writing space.  I have a preferred writing time, which is nighttime.  I can write anywhere as long as it’s dark.

I’m jealous you can write anywhere and that you can write at night. Two things I can’t do.  Share the blurb from your release.

Since I’m re-launching The Gaze, I will call that my latest release.

As a sophomore in college, Samantha Reddick meets Tony Amaya, a brokenhearted young man, whose written words she keeps as a memento of a weekend long affair.  The words, written on the back of a paper placemat, become her only solid ground during a tumultuous decade that nearly destroys her,  leaving her searching for answers at the bottom of the bottle.

Haunted by guilt and the constant menace from a man she once loved, Samantha searches for Tony and inserts herself into his life through an online friend request to his wife, Gwen.  Mutual curiosity opens the door to an unexpected friendship that becomes the catalyst of an inner battle between the better woman Samantha longs to be, and the Samantha who despises her own gaze.

Do you prefer to write in the male POV or the female?  Why?

Most people won’t understand this, but I love writing in first person, female.  I find the female mind absolutely fascinating.  I’ll never claim to fully understand the female thought process, but unlike us, men, every decision and impulse has an emotional charge that dictates the intensity of every action and reaction.  I love to develop that out of a female character.  It’s quite the challenge.

You know, Javier, the funny thing is that I know several female authors who prefer writing in the male POV.  Interesting stuff eh?  Anyway, I love naming my characters. Do you have a special process you use in naming your hero and heroine, or villain?

I believe it’s a huge responsibility to name a character.  I’ve built a whole new person that goes without a name until it gets whispered in my mind.  I remember when Lewis was –Char 2- well into the middle of Gaze.  The name has to feel right.  I did name my main character Samantha because that’s my favorite girl’s name.  I wanted that for my first daughter, but my Sheri would hear none of it.  She didn’t want someone calling our babygirl “Sam”.  Thus, I got to save Samantha for my little universe where I have all the control, or rather, the illusion of control.  That Samantha turned out to be a pistol…

Share the first sentence from THE GAZE. 

I once heard someone say life was a rollercoaster ride where every rough climb promises a view of something wondrous, if for a fleeting second.

The last?

I can’t give you the last sentence because it packs too much punch to give it away.

What’s the hardest for you to write…description, dialogue or an emotional scene like a love scene or a fight scene?

An emotional scene is the most difficult for me.  I’ve written pages that left me breathless and literally sobbing, and it’s frightening to know that there’s a possibility someone else might find it completely stupid or pathetic.  Once I let the emotional wave recede, I’ll go back and trim or augment, hoping to balance everything well enough to evoke the right reaction from the reader.  It’s such a fine line between romantic and syrupy or between sexy and vulgar or heartwarming and obnoxious.

Please share an excerpt from THE GAZE.

He nodded.  “I’m the youngest.  I have two sisters in Essex, a brother in Dover and another here in London.”

It was lovely to listen to stories about a close knit family.  However, I couldn’t help casting a pall of sadness over myself as I thought of just how much had been taken from me.  I braved the internal emotional turmoil and did my best to react appropriately to Joshua’s every word.  It wasn’t easy.

Giovanni treated us to the best cappuccino I’d ever had.  He fluttered around us telling us some hilarious stories about his mother.  It may have been rehearsed, but it guaranteed another visit from me though I doubted I’d return with Joshua.

I graced Giovanni with a quick conversation in Italian.  He promised to change his attitude about the way he felt towards British women.  He was too comical.

We left Dolada and strolled back down to Picadilly.  It seemed we were both too aware of the sudden chasm between us.  However, we saved each other any awkwardness, somehow understanding that we could become good friends if nothing more.  Our goals in life differed vastly and that was that.

I left him at the station after kissing his cheek affectionately.  There was no sadness or disappointement in his handsome face.  I had a great date that gave me a friend, along with the unwelcome realization that I wasn’t exactly relationship material.

The short trip in the tube felt like an eternity as a turmoil of emotions coursed through me.  When I left the underground and climbed behind the wheel of the Smart car, that door I’d fought so hard to keep shut slammed open.  I clenched my teeth as the memories came in an avalanche.

Angry tears spilled down my face and I gripped the wheel hard until my fingers cramped from the pressure.

“Damn you, Brooks!”  I raged.  “Damn you to hell!”

When the worst of the onslaught abated, I drove back to Kensington in a daze.

I was relieved to find no one waiting up for me.  I went to the library and made it straight for the side bar.  Damning Brooks Waldenberg to the seventh circle of hell one more time, I drank straight out of a frosted bottle of Absolut.  Sometime in the early hours of the day, the elixir mercifully granted me a dreamless sleep that lasted only a few hours.  A deluge of self-loathing coursed through me when I woke on my bedroom floor, dry mouthed and queasy.  The empty bottle lay beside me, its thin neck pointing at me like a smoking gun.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received on your writing journey?

I was having a difficult time absorbing the harsh critiques from an English major.  My good friend and mentor, John W. Huffman told me to stay true to my voice, to stick to my instincts.

Great advice! What surprised you the most about becoming published?

I went the route of self-publishing after engaging in a strange conversation with an agent.  He told me he only worked with published authors.  I asked, how do you get published, and he said, you’ve got to find an agent.  I said, that’s what I called about, and he said, we only work with published authors, so… ????

The most surprising thing about publishing the novel was the amount of work that followed.  I rushed to build a website, a Twitter profile, and it was overwhelming how much time I had to spend at the computer.  There was so much to learn, and it doesn’t end.  The second thing that blew me away was the reception of this long debut novel.  I struck a series of 5 star reviews that came from strangers who are now friends and supporters of mine.  My life hasn’t been the same since.

Would you like to share a hint as to what your current WIP is? 🙂

My latest is probably my most cherished story to date.  I love and adore everything about the main characters of the story.  I based it on my observations in the relationships between mothers and teenage daughters.  I obtained a vast amount of material from my mom and my sister, Sheri and her mother, my friends and their mothers, and others.

Some years back, right before I got married, my mom and I were driving back to Connecticut from Pittsburgh.  After that eight hour ride, I got to know the woman behind the Mom label.  I think many of us forget that our parents were once the same insecure, nostalgic dreamers we are in our youth.  We forget they were children once.  Something sparked out of that experience and I knew I’d write a novel based on that memorable conversation with her.  I’d like to release A Girl Called Mom around Christmas.  This is the first novel that had a title only five chapters into it.

And finally, where can we find you and your book(s)? will be the primary distributor.  For those wonderful fans who think highly enough of me to obtain a signed paperback is the way to go.  Once the incomparable Beth Lynne from BZHercules Consulting gets through the conversions, they’ll be available in Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

Thanks again Javier for joining us on What to Read Wednesday…I’m so glad I got to put you in the hotseat!

Thank you, Christine.  Few people may know this, but you and I published our first at around the same time.  It’s been wonderful to share the highs and the lows with someone who’s been there from the beginning.  I look forward to the day when we publish our tenth novel and laugh about the growing pains of the writing career.

Sounds awesome Javier…but you’ll reach your ten before I do, so we’ll have to have that conversation probably well after you’ve written number 12 or 13…or you can wait for me!  lol


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38 responses to “What to Read Wednesday

  1. Cait

    October 17, 2012 at 5:27 am

    What a lovely, warm interview! The Gaze sounds excellent, it’s always great reading about the city I live in. I also love the sound of a Girl called Mom Javier and am looking forward to reading it too. You’ve given me plenty of food for thought. Good luck and congratulations. (Oh and Christine, aren’t you nearly halfway through your ten already?!) Have a lovely day!

    • ChristineWarner

      October 17, 2012 at 7:01 am

      So glad you stopped by Cait and enjoyed the interview.

      (and not even close to 10…I have 2 pubbed and one coming out with no release date…it’s all a process eh? lol)

    • jrobayo74

      October 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Thank you! THE GAZE has evoked so many different responses and reactions. It was an absolute joy and a challenge to write. Christine knows, we’ve shared our ups and downs with our firsts.

  2. Jessica Subject

    October 17, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Great interview! I love that you named one of your characters Samantha because you didn’t get to name your daughter that. And I’d love to be able to write at night, too. I can write in the van though while hubby is driving. 🙂

    All the best!

    • jrobayo74

      October 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      Writing in the van? Tried it once, never again! Total motion sickness, but I’ve been known to stop and pull over to jot down a line for a story

    • ChristineWarner

      October 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      I’m with Javier…I wish I could write in a vehicle…better yet I wish I could read in a vehicle! lol Thanks for stopping by Jessica!

  3. R.T. Wolfe

    October 17, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Clowns are creepy. lol How were they ever a cute child’s toy? We are forever scarred from horror movies. And I’d like Facebook to add an option that reads, “Hide all posts from this friend until after the election.” Good luck with your books, Javier. Loved your post.
    -R.T. Wolfe
    Black Creek Burning (Crimson Romance, 2012)

    • jrobayo74

      October 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      Thank you! I’m 37 and still creeped out by clowns… Ah, the power of makeup…

    • ChristineWarner

      October 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      Thanks so much for coming by R.T. I can’t feel your pain or Javier’s over clowns…though I don’t like them, they don’t creep me out.

  4. Sharon Cullen

    October 17, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I love your first line! And I love the premise of your book. Congrats!

    • jrobayo74

      October 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks, Sharon. It feels more like a dream when I think of that first line. That entire prologue was so prophetic when applied to my own life

    • ChristineWarner

      October 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      The Gaze was a wonderful read Sharon 🙂

  5. kristinaknightauthor

    October 17, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Great excerpt, Javier! Good luck with the book!

    • jrobayo74

      October 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you, Kristina. It was so difficult to pick out a new excerpt. It totally puts you on the spot and inevitable leads to more editing lol

    • ChristineWarner

      October 17, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      Glad you came by Kristi!

      Javier…you can always manage to edit, but you have to make yourself stop. lol I still believe that it depends on your mood…what sounds good and works one day will not be what you’d go with the next. UGH! lol

      • jrobayo74

        October 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

        That’s so true, and the number one reason I’m afraid to read my own novels after a while

  6. Mari Collier

    October 17, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Nice interview, but what is that nonsense about everything a woman thinks/does is interconnected with an emotion? That is a bunch of male bovine etc., etc.

    • jrobayo74

      October 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      I don’t know, but it seems to be the case. We tend to get upset over nothing, while a woman knows exactly why he’s upset. You truly handle everything better

  7. Diane Burton

    October 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Wonderful interview–great questions, Christine, & terrific answers, Javier. Huffman’s advice is spot on. Critiquers, well meaning (or not) know-it-alls can kill a writer’s voice. Susan Elizabeth Phillips preaches “protect your work”. Excellent advice. Goo luck with your career.

    • Diane Burton

      October 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Not sure what “goo” luck is. LOL GOOD luck!

      • jrobayo74

        October 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm

        I love it! Yes, best advice I still apply to critiques today

      • ChristineWarner

        October 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm

        You might have started something new…GOO LUCK! lmbo

        Thanks so much for coming by Diane 🙂

  8. Sheri Fredricks

    October 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I’m so glad you took your mentor’s advice and used it! Great interview.

    • jrobayo74

      October 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Thank you Sheri. I learned so so much during that process. In fact, I’m still learning

    • ChristineWarner

      October 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Sheri:)

      Javier, I don’t think we ever stop learning 🙂

  9. Ally Broadfield

    October 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Wonderful interview! Both of your books sound fabulous. I actually like to use quotes from movies in conversation, and also from stinky kids’ shows (which I only use on my kids). Best of luck with your books!

    • ChristineWarner

      October 17, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      LMBO…learned something new about you Ally 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  10. sarahballance

    October 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I really enjoyed this interview, and I must (though hate to) admit, I am still laughing out loud about you laughing when people fall. I do that to my kids all the time. I must be missing some maternal instinct, because I laugh SO hard when I should be yelling or something. Whether you know it or not, Javier, we’ve just bonded. ;c)

    • ChristineWarner

      October 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      lmbo…Sarah, you are too funny!

    • jrobayo74

      October 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      I’m so happy to see I’m not alone in the fall-and-laugh department. I thought that was the result of my evil streaks 😉
      Thank you, Sarah

  11. norasnowdon

    October 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    fun interview and your books sound fascinating. i love writing the male p.o.v. because so much isn’t said (or even thought.) my favorite is two guys barely talking but they both know what the other means. hmm, did i grow up reading too much pinter???

    • ChristineWarner

      October 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks for coming by Nora. I can’t believe how many women who prefer writing the male POV! For me, it is a total mood thing.

      • jrobayo74

        October 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm

        That’s pretty surprising. I’ve found it nearly impossible to find depth of thought in my guy friends. Where our answer to every problem is to tip a cold one and forget it about it, you ladies, LOVE to analyze, dissect, measure, observe, opine, and ultimately show us the blatant error of our ways. Though we’ll often vociferously deny the accuracy of your study, we’ll turn the corner and let our eyes widen as a little “Damn…” infused with awe escapes our lips. My wife, Sheri can attest to this, and I wish I found a way to stop her from grinning smugly at those moments

  12. Jo VonBargen (@jvonbargen)

    October 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I lovely this interview! Such a warm and human exchange between you two! Great work on both your parts….thank you, Christine! Javier is well beloved in my family. Talent piled on absolute talent! And what an incredible heart!

  13. Jo VonBargen (@jvonbargen)

    October 17, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I LOVE…that is! Sorry for the typo…

    • jrobayo74

      October 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      Thank you, Jo
      For everything

    • ChristineWarner

      October 19, 2012 at 5:15 am

      Love that Jo! Javier is a special person indeed 🙂 So glad you came by to check out the interview and enjoyed it 🙂


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