Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Day in the Life of.. Gina Robinson (& Giveaway!!)

 
Welcome to Stitch Read Cook's weekly feature!!

A Day in the Life of.....

This is where us bloggers & fans get a glimpse inside the days of our favorite authors!
 
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GinaRobinson

I've always been a storyteller. Not that that's always served me well...just ask my parents. Ironically I suck at out-and-out lying. I have no poker face at all, which explains why I don't play. But embellishing facts for the sake of a good tale, I can do that.

I learned storytelling, or maybe inherited my ability for it, from my Italian Grandma Jennie, who was generally acknowledged by friends and family to be the best oral storyteller around. She mainly told old Italian fairy tales with moral endings, and family history, particularly about my great grandparents immigrating to the United States and the wild Pacific Northwest.

I always thought my family had a wonderful, colorful past full of villains and gunfights, evil revenuers, mining explosions, handsome strangers, mail-order brides, romance and passion, and little Italian gremlins that caused no end of trouble for everyone. But now I wonder...

I was born in Baltimore, Maryland to two kids from Idaho. They eventually moved back home and I grew up in Washington and Idaho where I became an avid reader and booklover. I’ve always loved romance, mysteries, and suspense novels.

As a kid I told stories to myself, which worried my parents some. It never occurred to me to write my stories down. In school I excelled in reading and English. So what major did I pursue in college? Electrical Engineering, of course.

I married my college sweetheart and went to work for several large defense contractors where I wrote...software. And read books during my lunch hour. I gave up the glamorous engineering life when I had kids for the equally glamorous life of a stay-at-home mom. At least then I got to tell stories on the job!

One day I took the kids to story time at the library and happened upon a brochure for an extension course in creative writing. I was so excited by the idea that I just knew I had to be a novelist. I never took the class but I did spend the next several years reading and researching.

Then, finally, I put fingers to keyboard and wrote a novel about villains and gunfights, mining explosions, handsome strangers and mail-order brides, romance and passion...

The book won several awards for unpublished manuscripts but, so far, remains unpublished.

Eventually I found my voice writing humorous contemporary stories with plenty of romance and suspense.

Let's get one thing straight upfront—my life is not nearly as exciting as the lives my characters lead. And while I really would like to bicycle down Haleakala on Maui at sunrise. Or spend a fabulous weekend in glorious Victoria, B.C. Or maybe take a surfing lesson. I definitely wouldn't want to be shot at, strangled, chased by assassins and murderous terrorists, or nearly blown up. Not even in paradise.

It's June, so I'm on my summer schedule, meaning I don't have to get a kid up and out the door for school. So my day here in suburbia starts quietly around 7-7:30AM, depending on how lazy I'm feeling. I get up, get ready for the day, and head downstairs to start my work day. I read and answer my email, send out business correspondence, check the weather (I'm a weather-watching maniac), Tweet, and possibly post on Facebook. Then I start writing.

I usually begin by editing what I wrote the previous day and then work into new material. I try to get up out of my chair every hour and move around, do a few crunches, squats, vacuum, fold a load of laundry, something to get a little exercise and keep the creativity flowing.

Between eleven and noon, I break for lunch. If it's a nice, sunny day, which aren't as common as I'd like here in the Seattle area, I sit out in the sun on the deck for fifteen or twenty minutes, plotting. Which to the untrained eye looks a lot like working on my tan. But while I'm soaking up rays, my mind is wandering and dreaming up clever plot twists and turns. That's what I tell everyone, anyway.

After lunch, I write until I burn out. Then I read industry blogs and make dinner. In the evenings, I often brainstorm with my husband, especially if I'm stuck or a scene isn't working. Or I read research material. Right now I'm reading The Art of Intelligence by Henry A. Crumpton and rereading excerpts of The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Readers may not think much research is required to write the kind of lighthearted, humorous spy romances I write. But before you can exploit the humor from something, you have to thoroughly understand it. And any humor should be grounded with an air of authenticity.

I think the thing most people don't know about writers, though, is how we work on many novels simultaneously. Before I was published, I worked on one story until it was finished to my satisfaction. But now I have many stories in different stages of completion. I'll often be doing some combination of writing one novel, revising another, working through copyedits on a third, writing a proposal for a fourth, and promoting a fifth.

I joke about sitting in the sun and thinking, but letting my mind wander really does spur my creativity. When I return to my computer, the story seems to flow more easily. How do you spend your lunch hour? What do you do to relax so you're ready to tackle the afternoon?

His lips are sealed...

THEY WERE UNDERCOVER LOVERS

If there’s one thing that can ruin a vacation, it’s running into your ex. Just ask Treflee Miller. If she’d only known that her husband Ty would be here in Hawaii—muscular, sun-bronzed, and infuriatingly gorgeous—she would have brought the divorce papers for him to sign. But life is full of surprises when you’re married to a world-class spy…

NOW THEY’RE STRANGERS IN PARADISE

Ty Miller can understand why his wife is tired of playing Mrs. James Bond. He’s never home, he’s always on a mission, and he’s usually surrounded by exotic informants. He has to admit that the perfect spy makes a pretty lousy husband. But for the sake of Ty’s security and Treflee’s safety, they can’t blow his cover. Not here. Not now. Not when his longing is so strong, her lips so tempting—and his enemies so close…

One lucky commenter is going to win a copy of “The Spy Who Left Me” – all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form!

Rules:

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Open to US ONLY
  • Giveaway will be open until Tuesday June 19th.
  • Please read Stitch Read Cook’s policies for more information
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also by Gina:

** Lipstick Spy School is a free short story to read at Heroes and Heartbreakers if you are a website member!!**

8 comments:

  1. Gina, I'm relieved to hear about your "normal" days in suburbia as a funny spy novel writer! That's crazy that you used to be an engineer.
    For whatever reason, my most inspired and productive time of day is first thing in the morning--must be all those dreams still swimming around in my subconscious. After lunch, my mind is like a block of wood. Petrified wood.
    You write my kind of books! I'd love to read them all--should I start in any particular order?
    Stephanie Queen

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    1. Hi Stephanie--
      You can read the books in any order. They're all standalone. Spy Candy and Spy Games are both set in fantasy spy camps. The Spy Who Left Me is the first book in the Agent Ex series so you might like to start with it. Diamonds Are Truly Forever, which just released a few weeks ago, is the second book in that series. The hero in Diamonds is the sidekick to the hero in The Spy Who Left Me. But, as I said, any order is fine.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. What?! You mean every day life isn't actually filled with villains and gunfights, evil revenuers, mining explosions, handsome strangers, mail-order brides, romance and passion. Here I thought I was doing it wrong all this time, lol =P

    I've never read Gina's stories but she seems like a fun, lively writer and person.

    ♥Isalys / Book Soulmates

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    Replies
    1. I know. Everyday life can be so boring and tame ;-) But a little romance and passion thrown in looks pretty good. The gunfights, not so much, lol.

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  3. Thanks for a great post and giveaway! I've read such great reviews for your books. Congrats on the releases :)

    I'm kinda disillusioned that you aren't living a Jackie Collins'esque lifestyle. Isn't that what's suppose to happen to all writers? Lol...

    I spend my lunch time... eating... playing words w/ friends... gossiping w/ co-workers and maybe reading. But usually not. I work in healthcare so lunch time isn't always guaranteed. Sometimes it's just enough time to gulp down some food and it's back to work! But I love it ;)

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  4. Getting outside, to move around & get some fresh air is the best way to get revived for the afternoon.

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  5. My lunch hour is usually spent at my desk eating something healthy, while wishing it wasn’t so healthy. To distract myself from the boring food, I read and answer email, catch up on writing blogs and ignore my ringing phone for twenty minutes. But my day is always more fun when I open my email and there’s one waiting from Gina Robinson, the world’s best funny- spy-book writer! ;0)
    Fun blog, Gina!!

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  6. I often spend my lunch running errands but I do try to get some reading in each day since it is relaxing.

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