D. D. Scott is a soon-to-be debut, single-title Romantic Comedy queen … well, that’s her plan, as committed to, along with her sanity, in her goal notebook. And if you ask her Sweet Man, he’ll tell you that once a goal makes it into “the notebook,” all Scott family throttles are shoved into overdrive, and look out ’cause D. D.’s going for the gusto!
After five years and almost six completed manuscripts, D. D. landed an agent and expects to receive her first sale call “any day now” (per her fabulous agent). She writes chick lit gone country where it’s all about sexy, sassy, smart, career-driven women and the men who complete them. Her first series, The Bootscootin’ Books, are anxiously waiting to step into the debut author spotlight. Think country Carrie Bradshaws who’ve traded in Manhattan and their stilettos for Music City, boots, belt buckles and Mr. Big cowboys.
D.D. calls the Great Lakes region home where she lives a fairytale life with her Sweet Man. Although he rescued her in his sheriff’s department-issued SUV instead of on a white horse, he’s got the rest of the hero thing mastered. Really he does. And it’s so healthy for his ego and D. D.’s neurotic, creative drive if he keeps thinking that.
I met D. D. when she commented on my blog. I checked out her Web site and was impressed with her content, voice, and the fact that Sweet Man is such a staunch supporter of her writing.
Here’s the scoop on D. D., her books, and some titillating tidbits about Sweet Man’s contribution to her sanity and success.
•D.D., first off would you tell us how you, a former paralegal, Human Resources manager and crime reporter, came to be writing romances?
If you’re looking for a connection and find one between these career fields, please let me know. It’s gotta have something to do with discovering that elusive HEA to avoid (a) the need for a divorce attorney paralegal, (b) an HR manager-issued attendance warning for one too many days missed because you’re heartsick, and/or (c) becoming a full-fledged badge bunny (which I was accused of because I spent all my time with cops as a crime reporter). LOL!
Seriously—although I kind of was in the last paragraph—I discovered my destiny was in the writing aspects of these jobs, the only parts of each I liked. Being as I’d won the young author’s conference in 5th grade with my novella “When Charlie Brown Fell in Love with Lucy,” I decided I should stick with the romance genre.
Plus, with the stories I learned in law offices, manufacturing warehouses and on the streets of crime, my non-fiction would make great fiction. No one would believe my stories were true. Just kidding … sort of … LOL!
•You say that you write stories about “sexy, sassy, smart, career-driven women and the men who complete them.” How have your experiences in the corporate world contributed to your writing?
I’ve seen wonderful partnerships between men and women both personally and professionally. There’s nothing quite like the magic between a woman and the man who completes her or a couple who truly “get each other.” I’m intrigued by observing how these perfect partners keep the magic of their love without losing or abandoning their individual dreams, goals, careers and identities. These couples become “one” while maintaining their senses of self. It doesn’t get much better than that. And the humor it takes to make that reality is a hoot. Those are the kind of HEAs I create and emulate.
•You describe your writing as “chick lit gone country.” What led to your interest in romantic comedy? Where did you get the ideas for your “Bootscootin’ Books”?
Romantic comedy is a natural outlet for my love of snappy dialogue and quirky situations. Nothing gets my muses going like coming up with sexy, sassy, smart lines and scenarios. And I love the punch packed into a scene using plays on words!
I’ve always been a huge fan of chick lit. And my writing voice has that sexy, sassy, smart donkey butt edge. I’m a Sex and the City every episode fanatic but wondered, “What if chick lit went country”? How about country Carrie Bradshaws? What if these fabulous women traded in Manhattan, their stilettos and designer wardrobes for Music City, boots, and the local Tractor Supply Store? What if Blahniks were made for bootscootin’? And so the Bootscootin’ Books were born—Bootscootin’ Blahniks, Stompin’ on Stetsons and Buckle Me Baby.
•As I mentioned in your intro, I visited your Web site and was taken in by your snappy writing. When did you discover your Voice? Was it a process, or were you one of those writers who “got it” from the get go?
Unfortunately, nothing in my life has ever been a “got it from the get go.” I was the teen and college student studying by my desk lamp ’til late at night and again at the wee hours of dawn. Now I’m the rapidly approaching 40-year-old at the same lamp, although I’ve got a much bigger desk.
I’m not so sure I discovered my voice. I think my critique partners—the GGs—did. I’d always been kind of a sassy, smart donkey butt, using sarcasm and self-deprecating humor to get through life’s crappy quirks. The GGs said I always had this angry romance girl voice. So I took those hissy fits and vinegar, sexed them up a little and gave them a voice in smart, career-driven women who don’t think they need a man ’til a darn good one gets in their way.
To tighten my tone, giving it an edge and sound of its own, I relied on Les Edgerton’s book “Finding Your Voice”. To brand it, I used the expertise of one of your very own Pixie Chicks. Kay’s class is a must!
•You’re planning to attend four conferences over the next few months. What do you see as the biggest advantages of doing so? Would you encourage others to make conferences a priority, and, if so, why?
I love, love, love conferences!
Part of the excitement for me is that I’m a perpetual student. I can’t get enough information. Sweet Man will tell you I’m the queen of both useful and useless tidbits—everything from a new plotting technique to non-writing related must-have morsels like the fact that Manolo Blahnik loves Louisiana crocodiles and Christian Louboutin lives in a French castle built in the 1600s.
The other part of traveling the conference circuit is the networking. Where else could you get a note card from Debbie Macomber to carry in your purse with your goals always in hands’ reach—anyone else still carrying the card from RWA (Romance Writers of America) Nationals in Reno 2005? (I’ve got three of my five goals met—thank you, Debbie!) And where else could you have a cocktail in the same roof top bar as Carly Phillips—RWA Nationals in San Francisco 2008. And don’t forget local events too. I met my critique partners and best girlfriends at an Indiana RWA event in the middle of a woods in 2004.
•Like many writers, you have a day job. Yours, however, is in publishing. What do you learn by working at a major publisher’s return center? Does working there give you firsthand knowledge of what works and doesn’t work out in the market? Do you have the opportunity to meet publishing professionals?
Wow! Could I go on and on and on about the book returns process. I’ll be honest. Before I went to work at a returns center, I had no idea that most, if not all, books can be returned by a store to the publisher for credit and how those returns affect an author’s sell-through and royalties. I’ve learned about jackets that work and those that don’t—for example, perhaps the design marks up or tears easily, making them difficult to sell if damaged. I learned the amazingly huge number of people who touch a book before it gets to the shelf. And yes, I’ve met a ton of publishing professionals on the distribution leg of the journey to the reader. I also have a good grasp of what books are being published.
I will eventually develop an online class, workshop and series of pillar articles on this part of the publishing process. It will help author and publisher alike if everyone’s on the same page for returns.
•I admire writers who crank out pages after putting in a full day for an employer. You’ve worked fulltime while completing three manuscripts. How do you shift gears and get into your creative zone? What enables you to stay focused after you’ve started your day at 3:00 a.m. (yawn!) and done the employment and commute gig from 4:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.?
I can honestly say I don’t think I ever come out of my creative zone. I’m in that other world—at least a bit—all the time. But it’s okay. They know me there and accept all my neurotic musings.
I keep a notepad on my day-job desk the entire time I’m there and jot down ideas and one-liners as I develop them. I work them through as I need to before my muses take a break, find a coffee shop or shoe sale and ditch me for the day. (Don’t tell my boss … oh, I don’t care … tell him … I more than carry my work load.)
I’ve always been an early riser, so the 3 to 4 a.m. start suits me well. But by 8 p.m. I’m a bumbling idiot. I can’t think straight. Everything at that point is hilarious and not to be taken a bit seriously.
My focus on my career goals remains fixed and will stay just as sharply targeted to my goals. Becoming a romantic comedy queen is what drives me—that’s D. D. Scott.
•On the fun-filled FAQs page of your Web site you say your pet peeve is “when someone refuses to suck up his or her fears and go for the gusto.” You strike me as someone who goes after what she wants. What gives you the courage to forge ahead as a romance writer, a profession known for being tough and disheartening at times? How do you battle fears and doubts that creep in?
Yes … I’ve always gone after what I wanted and never, ever looked back … only forward. When one goal is accomplished, I get a psychological high crossing it off my list. Then, it’s immediately onto the next step.
The key to my courage is that I’ve developed thick—and I mean thick—skin.
Rejection and the perception I’ve lost it have been real witches to battle.
But here’s the thing: I believed in myself even when everyone else thought I’d bit the big one and was truly nuts.
Now, about the donkey butts who thought I was nuts. Thanks to Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”, I’ve purged these “crazymakers” and “wet blankets” from my life, refusing to give the witches and donkeyholes any power over me.
Instead, I’ve found the person who believes in my neurotic genius and continues to encourage, inspire and love me. I’ve hung onto him (that’s you, Sweet Man), and I will forever.
•Like you, I have a supportive hubby who firmly believes he’s going to see my name on book covers one day soon. You, however, have a man who not only fixes you dinner but also writes posts for your blog. Wow! How did you and your “Sweet Man” meet? What impresses you most about him? And how did you get him to agree to blog on your behalf?
My Sweet Man completes me—he is my everything. We have a dry erase board in our kitchen that says “At the end of the day, it’s just you and me …” That’s our motto, and we live every day to travel life’s journey as a team.
We met when I was the crime reporter for our local newspaper and he was a shift captain at the sheriff’s department. He told me if I needed him, to let him know. So, I did. LOL! He’s now the jail commander and my very own bodyguard, as well as the keeper of my heart and soul.
What impresses me most about him is the huge heart he hides behind his badge. Under this big man, tough guy exterior is this warm, tender-hearted, loving guy with a beautiful smile, eyes that sparkle when he laughs, and the finest damn arms I’ve ever had wrapped around me. He’s the person who always has my back. Who always tells me to quit griping, get my butt in the chair and keep cranking out pages. Who will have my heart and soul forever. He’s the hero I only thought I could create on paper.
I twisted his mighty strong arms to get him to blog with me. Actually, the idea came out of his reading a few of my new pages. After reading my 4 ½ page scene, he gave his version in two sentences. We thought that type of “she said/he said” would be fun for the blog. Plus, what romance writer doesn’t want or need to know what their DH really thinks about their neurotic, artistic antics?
It’s good for our DHs’ egos to give them a voice—listening is still optional, girls. LOL!!!
•And now a question just for fun. I’m impressed that Sweet Man willingly accompanies you to Target and waits while you pick out the chocolate du jour. If you could reward your hubby for his patience and take him on an all-expense-paid trip to sample the chocolate anyplace in the world, where would it be, and why would you choose that location?
I’m taking Sweet Man to the U.S. Virgin Islands. I’m not sure why the Virgin Islands, but that’s where we’re going. We hope to live there part of each year starting in the near future.
As far as the chocolate goes, our current favorite is Russell Stover’s Sugar Free Dark Chocolate, individually wrapped in the gold bag with the green label, and we get it at Walgreens or Target. Yes, we like our Ghirardelli and Godiva every once in a while, but we’re good with our drugstore or Target-bought too.
Gosh, I hope there’s a Target in the Virgin Islands. Does anyone know? I’ll have to check that out online.
It’s been great having you as my guest, D.D. And now, in closing, is there a final comment you’d like to make or a question you’d like to ask?
Thank you sooooo much for having me as your guest today, Keli.
I love reading about all of you who are guests and commenters here and your terrific accomplishments and can’t wait to “meet” more of you. Don’t give up on your dreams, bootscoot to your own beat, and we’ll all be there begging for an encore.
Okay, all you sexy, sassy, smart women out there, in honor of my Bootscootin’ Books, are you a stiletto girl or a boot girl? Or both? And why are you more comfortable (like that’s possible in stilettos … sorry, I digress …) in one than the other?
And if you’re the man who completes one of these fabulous women—are you a loafer/wingtip guy or a boot guy? Or both? And why are you more comfortable in one than the other?
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Because D.D. loves chocolate, I’m holding a drawing for two sets of chocolate-themed note cards in her favorite colors, pink and chocolate brown. Each person leaving a comment for D.D. who leaves her email address in the appropriate field gets one entry. (If you don’t wish to enter, please say so in your comment.) I’ll hold the drawing the evening of December 5. Both winners will get their choice of one of the two sets.
Congrats to the winners, Kimberley Troutte and Kwana.
Kick off your boots or stilettos and start clicking away on my website at www.ddscott.com.
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