Interview with C.E. Wolff

Published 2013-11-01.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend my free time pursuing my two passions, parenting and shopping (some days not in that order).
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have my usual favorite, big-name authors, however, it's so important to me to support other up and coming authors and I go out of my way to pick up works by my social media colleagues.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My stepson was struggling with 1st grade reading, sound development, and word recognition. I wrote a 36-page book for him, using words core words that were easy for him to read. It was amazing how the book built up his confidence and he loved that I did it just for him. Now, a year later, his confidence is through the roof and he's a strong reader. He amazes me every day with his development.
What is your writing process?
I learned the hard way that I can't write 'off the cuff'. My technical writing background developed my skills to be very methodical and logical with planning and structure. After writing my debut novel, Common Denominator, with no plan, no direction, and no idea of what the heck I was doing, I quickly figured out that I need to go back to my old ways of doing things. So, now I develop a basic concept for my story, develop character profiles, build a draft outline, fill in the blanks, then rearrange as necessary. I'll let you know how it works out on my next effort, '7 Days to Lambeau'.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first book I remember reading for pleasure was Deenie, by Judy Blume. I never thought about the impact of that story until I became a writer. The concept of character development was non-existent for me at 12 years old. My recollection of that story has come back to me in a different frame of mind ,from reader to writer, in that Blume created a character that was identifiable and relatable. I wouldn't have been so keen to continue reading for pleasure if it hadn't been for that story. As a writer, I strive to create characters that my readers will love (or love to hate).
How do you approach cover design?
It's important to me that the cover reflects my story. Cover design has become a team effort with my talented daughter, Jessica Wolff. She took my basic concept for Common Denominator and ran with it - and I LOVED it! As a designer, Jessica had to veto me numerous times to prevent my cover from being too busy. She has since done covers for other writers.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - This was recommended by my high school and I absolutely loved the mysteriousness and oddity of the characters. The ominous presence of the late Mrs. de Winter, creepy Ms. Danvers, and the dark and eerie Manderley, kept the pages turning, wondering what was around the next corner.

2. & 3. The Harry Potter series and The Twilight series - These were books that my oldest daughter and I shared & enjoyed together. They were great bonding books and I loved the stories. I respect J.K. Rowling for her tenacious devotion to persevere against personal odds to get these stories into our hands. With regard to Stephenie Meyer, critics have been hard on her and harshly judged her quality of writing. I admire her, as I do all artists, for having the cahones to put themselves and their work out in the public eye. I also applaud Meyer for stimulating a renewed interest in young girls, like my own daughter, to read.

4. Sophie Kinsella's 'Can You Keep a Secret' - Such a fun story. Her main character, Emma Corrigan, is a hoot! I bought it on CD and was distraught that it was left behind in my stereo deck after an accident totaled my car. My daughter bought another set for me a few months later for Mother's Day. I still listen to it when I'm on the road.

5. 1984 by George Orwell - Another high school reading assignment (amazing I can remember that far back). At the time I first 1984, I thought, "How crazy would that be?". Now, I believe we are not far from art imitating life. Dystopian literature has also turned into a big genre for both readers and writers.
What do you read for pleasure?
With four kids, finding time to read for pleasure is not an easy undertaking. My Kindle is full of up and coming authors that I've been dying to read. I pretty much will read anything, given the time to do so. I love reading romance, and its sub-genres and my daughter has been hounding me for two months to read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It would be nice to read something besides Green Eggs and Ham for the 100th time.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle. We now have two and I have a ton of books loaded on them for when I find some down time. I still secretly prefer paper books.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm new to the marketing phase of writing and publishing. I'll let you know once I weed my way through the trial and error portion of this adventure.
Describe your desk
Organized chaos. I'm a piler - I have piles organized by subject. It drives both my husband and I crazy. I actually prefer a clean, clutter-free workspace, but it somehow eludes me. I just try to ignore all the baby elephants that surround me and focus on my computer screen.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Common Denominator started out as a short story I wrote for a class writing assignment. The story was based on a personal experience and I intended to evolve into a romantic comedy about a woman who goes on a series of dates that are monumental failures. I quickly became bored with the story concept and started asking myself a bunch of 'what if' questions. Next thing I knew, I was writing a romantic suspense.
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