Sunday, June 23, 2013

S.D. Skye Blog Interview (Reprisal)

I gripe about a lot of issues and share writing tips, but I don't really talk about myself much. So, I thought I would repost a few of my old blog tour interviews with my own blog readers--all both of you. LOL goes. This one is from Janna Shay's Blog.

It's one of my favs.

Interview with S.D. Skye

Please tell us a little something about you.

Where should I begin? I’m a very complex and interesting person [laugh here]. I’m a single mom of one wonderful little boy…well, he’s wonderful when he’s not asserting his independence and getting on my nerves…but I digress. I live outside of the DC area where I’ve worked for the past 25 years (I’m 29 by the way. Child labor laws didn’t apply to me). 

I’ve worked in the U.S. Intelligence Community for the past 22 years, my first stop being the FBI. After two years of maintaining the FBI Stolen Art File, I switched to counterintelligence—or spy catching. I like to think I was the FBI’s good luck charm because a year after I started there, we caught some of the biggest American traitors in U.S. history. Starting with former CIA case officer Aldrich Ames and ending with a former special agent in the Russian program (in which I worked), Robert Hanssen. It was an incredible time, working inside and learning the world of counterintelligence and counterespionage.

I suppose I thought my career wasn’t exciting enough so I left the FBI and worked as a Senior Intelligence Officer on the Joint Staff during the start of the Iraq War. I reported on the insurgency and worked very closely with General Petraeus’s intelligence advisor. Supporting the U.S. Military was some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done, but working in the Pentagon environment will burn you out quickly. Five years later, I started working as in intelligence analyst consultant and/or intelligence editor for military counterintelligence then U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence then the Director of National Intelligence. Whew!

Now, I work for a government contracting firm where I finally get to make good use of the MBA I thought I’d wasted good money on.

Wow, you’ve had an impressive list of jobs. They all sound so interesting, yet dangerous. What motivated you to become a published author?

Although I’ve been writing in my job for my entire career, I’ve known since I was a kid that I was meant to do more with my writing than write journals (which I still do today). I always had this sense that I had this talent that was untapped and that I needed to find the courage to explore it. When I hit the big 4-0 (ignore that lie in the previous section), I had the moment where I asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I knew I wanted to be a writer and I wanted to write a book, but I kept doubting myself because I didn’t have a degree in English. And I decided if one person read my work and enjoyed it that I would have given life to this gift, this yearning I had to do more than intelligence work. So, I bit the bullet and wrote my first romantic comedy (intentionally steering clear of intelligence related stuff). That book and its sequel were picked up by a big six publisher.

It’s fortunate for us that you decided to follow your dream. What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

Quieting my mind so ideas can come through. I have so much going on in my life on any given day that it’s often hard to allow the creativity to pour through. And then when it does, it’s as if I’ve broken a dam. So many incredible ideas and not enough “me” to write them. If I could clone myself a couple of times, I might have time to write all my ideas in this lifetime.

Hopefully life will slow down for you, so you can pen all those incredible ideas for us. Pick a character from your book and describe one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses?

J.J. McCall, the main character, is very loosely based on an agent I worked with. Although I knew her professionally, I had no clue about her personal life, so J.J. really kind of materialized in my mind. One of her key strengths is her loyalty. It gives her a level of respect and honorability that sets her above everyone else around her. But this same quality is also part of her downfall, because she feels so responsible and obligated to those around her that she’s stressed to the point of developing a problem with alcohol, one in which she’s in denial about.

J.J. McCall sounds like such an interesting character. What is your favorite part of your book?

In our lives, people may do hurtful things to us but we don’t often get the chance for retribution. Well, J.J. gets the opportunity to really stick it to someone who has belittled her and treated her poorly for years. And what I love about it, is her imperfect reaction to the opportunity. The confrontation shows a lot about J.J.’s character—the good and the bad. 

You’ve aroused our interest. Our readers are going to have to read The Seven Year Itch to find out what happens. We would like to know a little more about you. Describe your typical day.

I’m usually up at 4-5 am. I write for a couple of hours before I’m forced to begin my day. I get Junior up about 6 and for the next hour and a half bark orders like a crazed Marine from Full Metal Jacket. While I could foster a more calm and nurturing environment for our morning routine…we mother’s do what we must.

After he’s off to school, I’m off to work where I get to tap into my inner road rager in rush hour traffic until I get to my job where I serve as a Senior Technical Writer and Technical Editor. I repeat the road rager thing 8-10 hours later until I get home at which time I help Junior with his homework and get him ready for bed by 9.

Then it’s two more hours of writing until I fall asleep.

On the weekends, I’m a total hermit and usually write all day long when my son goes to his dad’s house for weekend visits. When the house is quiet, it’s really my favorite time of the week. Some days I may write for 12 hours and not feel as if I’ve written for five minutes. That’s how I know I love what I’m doing. 

You have a very full schedule. If you found some time to get away and spend a week anywhere, where would you go and what would you do during that week?

I would love to go Bora Bora or the Maldives. Get one of those huts on the water and just relax my mind, drink cocktails with umbrellas in them, and write whatever comes to me. And I’d love to have one of those old Olivetti typewriters and stacks of paper filled with brilliance next to it. Dare to dream.

Sounds wonderful. You’ll have to let us know if you get there. What genre do you like to read and who are some of your favorite authors?

I read everything from Jane Austen to Stephen King. Recently I’ve been in a non-fiction phase. I’m energized by stories of people who have overcome obstacles to achieve their dreams. Such stories remind me that anything is possible through hard work and perseverance.

You have very a eclectic taste in literature. It sounds like you love reading. If you could have any wish granted, what would it be?

Honestly, my mom passed away last March. I found out she had cancer only six weeks before she died. I spoke to her the day she died, but I wasn’t there with her because she was scheduled for surgery a few days later, so I had planned to travel there for the surgery. We all thought she had more time. But if I had one wish, I would have been there that day, held her, and let her know how much I loved her. But I’m comforted by the fact that I know in my heart that she knew.

So sorry to hear about your loss. Even though you couldn’t be with her that day, I’m sure she knows how much you love her. What are you currently working on and when can we expect your next book?

Right now, I’m hard at work on the next books in the series. Each book will feature a new and different case, but the romantic entanglements won’t be resolved until the very last book. In book two, Son of a Itch, Russian intelligence plants a bug in the White House Situation Room and J.J. investigates to find out whodunit.

Fun Facts

Favorite food . . . . Anything Italian                                                                                      
Person you’d most like to meet . . . . Oprah…just to pick her brain.                              
Favorite type of movie . . . . Chick Flicks                                                                                    
Pet Peeve . . . . Dishonesty—why bother? That might be why J.J. is a lie detector.      
Favorite pastime . . . . NFL Football go Redskins and RGIII                                
Something you like about yourself . . . . I’m funny, a trait my mom helped me  develop because she was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.                        
Favorite type of music . . . . The good kind. I listen to everything from Creed to Hip  Hop to Bach. As a musician (former tuba player), I like to think I have an ear for the good  stuff. 

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