Dash-Board Inverview: Gwen Hernandez, DB Mascot

8 Jun

It’s not very often someone VOLUNTEERS to be a groups mascot, but we sucked Gwen in.

Please welcome 2011 Romantic Suspense Finalist, Gwen Hernandez.

Let’s start off with a short bio.I’m an Army/Navy brat–my dad did both–born in Germany, who married an Air Force engineer she met in ROTC. So, the military has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Right now, we’re living in Virginia outside of Washington, D.C.I started my professional life as a programmer, spent several years teaching computers and software part-time when my boys were little, went to grad school and then worked as a manufacturing engineer for two years before quitting to stay home with my boys. No one ever tells you that they need you more when they’re older than they do when they’re young.

I loved my work in manufacturing, but the hours sucked every last drop of life from me. I miss elements of it, but I don’t regret leaving.

Tell me a little about your GH book.

BLIND FURY is my second romantic suspense, and my first single title-length manuscript. I started it last October and got the last 50K written during NaNoWriMo last year, just making the deadline to get it in for the GH.

Here’s the one-liner: A risk-averse programmer must rely on a thrill-seeking mercenary for protection when her quest for the truth about her brother’s death makes her a target.

What’s the opening line?

How about the first two? 😉

“Good morning, gorgeous.”
Waking to Mick Fury’s voice was like thinking you’d won the lottery.

Tell me about your GH call… and aftermath

Last year I remember being home all day, berating myself for not making plans to distract me from my wishful thinking.

This year, I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for my 12-year old. As luck would have it, I checked my email when the doctor stepped out for a minute–just, you know, to check if any of my friends had finaled–and I had a transcribed voice mail (Vonage service) from someone at RWA.

I started giggling, because what else could it be? But I didn’t want to get my hopes up in case I was wrong. My son got all excited and we were both pretty giddy, but I had to keep it in check for the remainder of the appointment, plus waiting in the lobby for a prescription.

FINALLY, I got out to the car and called Lori Handeland back and got her voicemail. Ack! I gave my son the phone with specific instructions for what to do if it rang while I was driving, put on my seatbelt, and she called.

I was probably her least expressive finalist ever since I’d had about 45 minutes to get over the initial shock, and I was just so relieved that it really was a GH call. Plus, I was kind of in a state of disbelief.

That state lasted at least a month.

What got you started writing?

I wrote a novel in seventh grade and dabbled with sappy poetry all through high school and some of college. I did well on school papers and spent a lot of time drafting documentation for my many jobs. I always said I wanted to write a book–that goal kept cropping up in my Covey-like lists–but I didn’t know what genre to focus on. I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, but those types of storylines didn’t come to me.

Probably the last romance I’d read was one of Mary Stewart’s, and I didn’t even know that’s what they were. I thought romance meant Harlequin, and I didn’t know anyone who read category books.

After quitting my job in 2008, I dabbled with a fitness web site and read up on freelancing, but it wasn’t until I picked up a couple of giveaway romances from a box at the library that I realized there was a place for the stories in my head.

I started writing in January 2009 and I haven’t looked back. BLIND FURY is my fourth completed manuscript. (We won’t talk about the two unfinished ones that keep harping at me…)

Have you always written YA?

Not since my feeble attempt in seventh grade. 😉 But to my credit, it had a Disney-like killing of the parents, a grand cross-country adventure on a bus to find a biological father, and a brief love interest. All in about forty hand-written pages. I still have that book in a closet.

Now, let’s do the fast money round!

Chocolate or Vanilla?
Vanilla. My ice cream is not allowed to be darker than me.

Spring, Summer,
Fall, Winter? Spring, hands down. My favorite place for weather is California’s central coast where it’s spring all year long.

Movies or TV:
Movies 

Hot or Cold:
Neither. I hate weather extremes. 

Beach or Mountains:
Yes. A beach with mountains nearby is ideal. Think St. Lucia.

Travel or Staycation:
Always travel.

Soccer Boys or Some Other Sport Guys (yes, we’re a little partial here at Luv YA):
I’d rather play than watch, but I’ve always thought gymnasts had great bodies. Those arms! 

Silly or Serious:
Serious but sarcastic

Early or Late Bloomer:
Late

Morning Glory or Night Owl:
Night Owl 

Since we’ve been doing Quirky Facts on the GH Loop – share the quirkiest one you have… about you
 
The summer after my freshman year of high school, I helped one of my dad’s old agriculture professors–my dad became a nurse instead of a farmer, but that’s another story–cross-pollinate different species of cotton for his research. It was stinking hot–Tucson!–but at least I managed not to get stung by any of the thousands of bees hanging around.
 
Oh yeah, and I went out to dinner with Marshall Faulk in college, long before he was an NFL Hall of Famer!

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11 Responses to “Dash-Board Inverview: Gwen Hernandez, DB Mascot”

  1. Gwyn June 8, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Nice to “know” you, Gwen.

  2. Gwen Hernandez June 8, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Thanks, Gwyn! Can’t wait to meet you in person.

  3. Suzanne June 8, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Hi Gwen, I love the central coast of CA, too! I set a book there–in a fictional town based on Cambria. It sounds like you’ve led an interesting life. I love the premise of your story–the risk-averse programmer and the thrill-seeking mercenary. I would definitely read that!

  4. Rich June 8, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Great interview. Gwen is the best!! Keep writing, keep living and keep laughing.
    ~Rich

  5. Gwen Hernandez June 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Thanks, Suzanne!

    I think Cambria’s a perfect name for the central coast. We lived in Santa Maria for 3 1/2 years when my husband was stationed at Vandenberg AFB. Got my master’s at Cal Poly. I really miss that drive by the beach every day! Used to stop and run on my way home from school. *sigh* But Virginia has it’s pluses too. 😉

  6. Rich June 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Is Gwen Hernandex your pen name?

  7. Gwen Hernandez June 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Ha, thanks, Rich! I’ll pay you later…

    I’m thinking of using Hernandex for when I start writing erotica. Kidding! Don’t get too excited. Bria was just getting back at me for calling her Brian. 😉

  8. Shoshana June 8, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    Great interview, Gwen! And I like the sound of that 7th grade YA book. 🙂

  9. Gwen Hernandez June 8, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    Thanks, Shoshana. I think I was better at plotting then than I am now. 😉

  10. Jenn June 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Awesome interview, Gwen! I think we hit our “so what’s next?” moment at the same time in 2008 – so all the more exciting that your work is getting the credit it deserves! I had the opportunity to read a bit of BLIND FURY… and it rocks!

  11. Gwen Hernandez June 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    Thanks, Jenn! The most amazing moment happened when I asked my husband what our budget would look like if my income went to zero (again, poor guy). Tight, but not as scary as I thought, and so worth the cut!

    I forgot you’d read part of BLIND FURY. It’s been through a few rounds of revisions, but the story’s basically the same. I can’t tell you how much I needed that praise today. =) Thanks so much.

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