On the blog today, we have author, Rebecca Hunter visiting. She’s a mom and a writer, known for her wonderfully sexy New Adult romance books set in Stockholm, Sweden. Welcome, Rebecca!
How long have you been a writer?
Should I count the book I constructed in first grade, using cardboard for covers? Or my short story in 12th grade that made my creative writing teacher laugh aloud? Or maybe the starting point was when my first poem was published in my early 20’s? If you count these steps, then I guess I’ve been a writer for most of my life…though not always a very skilled one. Actually, I’ve spent most of my life thinking I wasn’t “good enough.”
Then, a few years ago, I decided to give myself the best birthday present I could think of: I’d write a novel, even if it wasn’t very good (it wasn’t!). But that’s the point that I’d say I became a writer: When I decided I’d dedicate myself to writing, regardless of the end result.
Do your kids know you’re an author? What do they think of that? Are they proud? Do they tell their friends?
Yes, my kids know I write romance, and they think it’s fun that I write books…except when I’m writing instead of paying attention to them!! When I asked if they tell their friends, both kids gave me a strange look, and my daughter said, “Mamma, we don’t talk about that kind of thing.”
How do you manage the demands of raising kids and finding the time to write?
Not always successfully! The weekends are the hardest. When the kids are in school, I set my own schedule, so I block out time to write. I also work as an academic editor and translator, so sometimes I have more time than others, depending on the projects. But it’s hopeless to try to write after the kids come home from school. If I’ve had a really busy day, I sometimes complete my word count at night, but I try to avoid that.
Do you have a set amount of words you try to write every day?
I have a minimum number of words that I write every day, no matter what. This really helps me with procrastination. The number isn’t very high (500) – in other words, it’s manageable, no matter how tired I am or what else is going on.
Do you write on weekends or do you keep that time for being with your kids?
I do work on the weekends, but since my word count is low, I usually can get it done early in the morning before things begin to move in the house. This goes for summer vacations too. The biggest challenge is to keep myself from checking email or social media when I’m pressed for time. In fact, I’m thinking of implementing a “no Internet during writing period” policy! This is more of a problem now that I’m making more of an effort to be e-social.
How do you manage meeting deadlines when you also have kids demanding your attention?
This is where things get tricky as a parent. Sometimes it means that I’m up late and a lot frazzled, and sometimes I just don’t get everything done.
The deadline for my most recent book ran right into an unexpectedly busy time at home, which meant that the writing came second. Then busy turned into an emergency (all is well now). I actually ended up turning in a book that needed one more proofread, but thankfully, I had a chance to resubmit before the first copies went out!
Your books have very explicit sex scenes. At what age will you allow your children to read them if they ask?
I’d say that my books are rated R, so I imagine we’ll approach the books in the same way we’d approach rated R movies! My books are about consensual relationships where women and men both play equal roles in negotiations, so I’m not particularly worried about the content as negative per se…but they’re certainly not kid appropriate. Personally, I’m a lot more sensitive to violence and aggression, animated or real, than I am to sex, so I’m more worried about my kids watching movies or playing video games that focus on violence than I am about them reading consensual sex scenes.
Do you have any advice for other moms who write?
It’s not really advice, just my view of the role writing books play in my life. Raising kids is an unending project full of both joy and heartache, and so much of the path is out of a mother’s control. Kids are their own people, of course! However, as writers, we have the ability to shape characters and stories the way we want to and we can use this power to explore the ideas that interest us that we struggle with.
Before I started writing regularly, I spent a lot of time worrying about our kids. There’s a degree of worry that’s helpful, but after a certain point, I found myself worried about all sorts of things…some more realistic than others! Here’s where I found that writing could play a very positive role in my life.
Though aspects of romances are idealized, these books are fundamentally about the interpersonal negotiations between two imperfect people in a relationship. Shaping these fictional characters and following them in their struggles helps me accept the messiness and imperfectiorocess of lewn interactions with my family. My characters try hard to overcome their hang-ups, but they are interesting and ultimately, happy because of the process of learning to be closer to someone, not in spite of it! And this goes for marriage interactions, too – we learn to accept our partner’s struggles as well as our own, and ultimately, we are closer because of it. Writing flawed characters is emotionally fulfilling in part because it helps me work through this idea both as a writer and as a person.
Rebecca has, over the years, called many places home, including Michigan, where she grew up, New York, San Francisco, and of course, Stockholm, Sweden. After their most recent move from Sweden back to the San Francisco Bay Area, she and her husband assured each other they’ll never move again. Well, probably not.