Archive for December, 2007

WRITE QUESTIONS: Carrie Lofty

We have another WRP author today, Carrie Lofty. So without further ado…

When did you start writing?

Like many authors, I’ve always written something–childhood stories, short teleplays in high school, my master’s thesis–but I didn’t start writing toward publication until summer of 2006.

What was the defining moment that made you sit down and write a book?

My husband was away for a summer internship in Virginia during 2006, while I stayed at home in Wisconsin with our (then) 2- and 3-year-old daughters. Evenings were strange without him there, and I needed to define a space just for myself to manage the stress of sudden single parenthood I also read about the RWA conference in Atlanta and wanted to be there. I didn’t know how–not at first. So I sat down, opened an old folder with research and 1/3 of a novel, and sat down to finish it.

What made you take yourself seriously?

I knew that no one else would take my endeavors or my career aspirations seriously until I did. What family member is generous enough to support a romance writer who isn’t committed? The genre has enough roadblocks and negative stereotypes as it is So I decided the first step toward being taken seriously was to devote time and energy toward completing manuscripts and learning all I could about the industry.

What did you learn about writing that shocked you the most?

The business side, definitely. How much time do authors spend in self-promotion, always trying to get their names out? It’s intense I had an image hermits locked in their basement, working feverishly on their next release. But authors are diverse, motivated, and terribly business savvy. I had to run to keep up. In addition, I always assumed–as most people do, I’ve learned–that publication equals money. After all, a novel can take a long time to hone and create. So the rock star image of writers as divas with cabana boys faded very quickly. What I discovered about myself, then, was that the money didn’t matter as much as the satisfaction of realizing a long-term goal in a very difficult business.

What sub-genre(s) did you gravitate to when you first started? Is it the same as now and why do you think it’s changed or stayed the same?

As a subgenre, historical romance is my first, my only true love. I began reading them in the early 90s and continue straight through to today. In fact, I think my love of historical romance dovetailed with my fascination with history in general, propelling me to my dual bachelor’s degree in English and history. Then when I got my master’s in history…well, I’m stuck.

What advice have you gotten that you live by?

Lynn Viehl (Paperback Writer) is an amazing person for giving advice. She’s very, very straightforward. Basically, it all comes down to butt in seat. You can fiddle and revise and edit until a story just dies of its own boredom, but a daily word count is essential to getting through to the end. I read her advice when I began writing seriously and took it to heart.

What advice would you give a newbie (if it’s not the same as above)?

A combination: first, take yourself seriously. Make goals. Treat this as a business. If you don’t, no one will–and believe me, active support from friends and family is essential. They’ll keep you sane and grounded, but they won’t get behind you until you make that commitment of time. Second, butt in seat. Set that daily word count and stick with it. The Muse who twangs you on the head with brilliant prose is a myth. The Muse who works through tough spots even when she’s sick or thinks every word is terrible–she’s the one you want on your side.

What’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book? Are you a panster, plotter, some where in between? What gets the story idea to book for you?

I write monstrously terrible first drafts. Truly shudder-worthy. In the old days I would revise and edit until I liked each sentence in a new scene before I moved on to the next. So slow Never finished So now I trust that what looks and sounds and feels terrible now will be much better after I revise. I don’t revise until the first draft is done. I’ve had whole subplots and random characters just disappear mid-book, but I don’t go back to edit them out. Save it for revisions. As for pants vs. plot, I must say that my research dictates much of the early feel and idea for a story, but the characters can still surprise me and take the story in unforeseen directions. If that doesn’t happen, the story isn’t as much fun.

What keeps you writing?

I’ve seen rough, terrible ideas emerge from my head and sit on a page like lumps of lard. Then I’ve seen those lumps take shape and get better and better with time, revisions, patience, hard work. And when I go back and read those finished stories now, I still get goosebumps. I wrote that? I wrote that And then I want to do it all over again.

Do you have a support system? Did you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

My first line of support is my husband. He’s never read my books and knows very little about the community. He’s there for me, not an angle or a networking connection. I vent to him all the thing I can’t say to anyone else Then I have my chapters: Chicago North, Wisconsin, and Hearts Through History. Chicago North has been particularly wonderful, folding me into their membership in no time. Absolutely wonderful support. My online community, mostly a series of blog friends, are also a great resource for ideas and atta girls. But my biggest writing support network is the Online Romance Writers Circle, a critique group I joined just after completing my first manuscript. They’ve been so generous and instrumental in making my work what it is today.

Define success for yourself?

Meeting my goals every day. Balancing my career with my family. Receiving a fan letter. Holding my book in my hands and putting it on my bookshelf–I’ll sit right between James Joyce and Elizabeth Lowell. How cool is that??

What’s your comfort reads?

Susan Wiggs, Loretta Chase, Laura Kinsale, Elizabeth Lowell, Lisa Kleypas, Teresa Medeiros, and a few old keepers from the 90s: Janis Reams Hudson, Robin Lee Hatcher, Kathryn Stone. Outside of modern romance I love revisiting Dune (Frank Herbert), A Tale of Two Cities, the Brontes, and Jane Austen.

Who are you reading right now?

I’m in the middle of two: Tempted Tigress by Jade Lee (Dorchester; 2007) and The Daddy Spell by Patti Ann Colt (The Wild Rose Press; 2007). Jade and I have teamed up to submit a workshop proposal to Nationals, so I wanted to read more of her work, and Patti is one of authors in the Online Romance Writers Circle. She’s the first of our group to be published. So proud

What book(s) that makes you want to write better (or stop writing because you’ll never be that good)?

In romance, it would have to be works by the fave authors I mentioned above. I adored Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase. Flowers from the Storm is powerful enough to break anyone’s heart and put it back together again. And one of my oldie favorites, Santana Rose by Olga Bicos, is a masterful blend of romance, history and intrigue. Gorgeous stuff. Outside of romance, I am humbled and awed by Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Helen Dunmore’s The Siege. My brain hurts when I read their stuff–it’s just too, too good.

Plug away…

I was born in California, raised amongst Hoosiers and Buckeyes, and found the love of my life in England. After earning my master’s degree with a thesis on Old West legends, I was excited to learn other parts of the world have history too—and then set about researching it all, from Salzburg to the Caribbean. Two daughters and a half-dozen moves later, my family and I have settled just north of Chicago.

Please visit my website for more information on my work, including excerpts and book trailers. I can also be found every day at my personal blog, Salome’s Corner, and several times a month at the multi-author blog I founded, Unusual Historicals.

My first published work of fiction, a time travel called Sundial, is a December 2007 release from The Wild Rose Press, winner of the Through the Garden Gate short story contest, Vintage category (1950s-60s).

Amber Schulman stepped into a lush English garden in 2007, only to arrive in breathtaking Sorrento, Italy—in 1958. The only person who understands her confusion is fellow time traveler Mark Lacey, a New Yorker who comes from the land of cassette tapes and Reaganomics. His dark, world-weary eyes beckon her with secrets and sensuality. But why does he seem so familiar?

Trapped in the past since he was a teen, Mark wants nothing to do with another whining newcomer. But the blue-eyed Aussie might be able to answer the one question that haunts him: Do I ever get back to 1987? From soccer to samba to sex, Amber tempts him with a zeal for life and love, pulling him free of his lonely isolation.
But getting home may prove easier than they imagined. How will their love endure when Amber returns to her time—and Mark to his?

My first published novel will be What a Scoundrel Wants–a hot, swashbuckling romance that picks up Will Scarlet’s story where the Robin Hood legends leave off. Look for it in December 2008 from Kensington’s Zebra Debut.

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December 31, 2007 at 3:03 pm 7 comments

916 WORDS…

That I am so glad to report I wrote in one day. I’m not going to jink myself and say I’ve broken free on my writer’s block, but I’ve got a start. Hell, that’s all a writer can ask for. I realized I’ve been scared and too lazy to sit down and write. Fear is a great paralyze-r. Another lesson learned for this year. But right now my characters are talking to me. The first turning point is fuzzy, I’m unsure if the woman the h/h are trying to save will live or die, Grams is going to help push the romance alone, the conflict is still brewing in chapter 4. I have no idea what I’m going to write next.

Basically, I’m pansting my way through as usual.

I am so bleeping happy.

*sigh*

Check out the blog on Monday for another segment of Write Questions. It’s 3 a.m. I can’t tell you who it is, but it will be interesting no less. Otherwise enjoy your last days in 2007.

December 29, 2007 at 10:50 am 6 comments

2007: DAMN I’VE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT


So I took Jennifer’s advice and tried to make a list of the things I’ve done in 2007. Couldn’t remember a lot so I cruised through my blog post and hit a gold mine. Here’s some of what I’ve accomplished or learned:(the highlights of course)

1. I learned the importance of first lines.

2. I sent out 7 submissions: How Much, 2 times and Protecting Della, 3 times. (2 agent submissions)

3. I received 6 rejections and learned those suckers really do suck, but I believe in myself enough to keep submitting.

4. It’s okay to write a shitty first draft.

5. That turning points should embody your MC’s main fear and not rehashing the past to learn what they need to learn.

6. Wanting to be published and loving to write are two totally different things.

7. Endings should fit the characters not the genre.

8. I wanted to be a better writer more than I wanted to be published. (see number 6)

9. I’m a character driven writer. Most of the story ideas I get come from the character and what they say. Go figure.

10. Deciding to try e-pubs is not giving up on bigger houses. And really after getting rejected by one, NOT JUST ANYONE CAN BE PUBLISHED BY THEM. So…get that thought out of your head if you have it.

11. How important knowing how and what your voice is, is important.

12. How freaking unbelievable meeting other writers can be. I had the time of my life at RWA convention. I’m so going next year, no matter how much it’s going to cost.

13. I can write more than one book a year.

14. Getting one of your books published is the best BLEEPING feeling.

15. Getting one of your books published is the scariest BLEEPING feeling.

16. If you are going to take your writing career seriously you really should have a plan. Because really after I sold I was at a complete lost at what the hell I was supposed to do next. Plan. Plan. Plan.

17. You should not settle for an agent that will take you, but for an agent that you fit with.

Last, but not least…I AM A GREAT FUCKING WRITER!!!!!!!!!

2007 was great.

December 27, 2007 at 2:42 am 17 comments

WRITE QUESTIONS: Lula Thomas

First, everyone have a very Merry Christmas tomorrow. Second, this week’s interview is with Lula Thomas aka Miss Mae. Enjoy. I know I did.

When did you start writing?

If I remember right (and this was so long ago ), I think the first thing I attempted was called Midnight Horror when I was ten years old. We kids were bored and were looking for something to do, so I put together a little skit for us to act out. I enjoyed doing that, and the passion for creating characters in an imaginary world struck–and stuck.

What was the defining moment that made you sit down and start writing a book?

Hmm, well, after the above, I read all the girly books I could. Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Donna Parker, those great mysteries.(tongue in cheek) If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, then you’re missing out ..LOL… Inspired by those heroines, I tried my juvenile hand at those type of stories. Never could finish a plot though. So the major manuscript that I truly thought through and finished was ten years later. About five years after that, (I’d matured from Nancy Drew to grown-up romance books, you understand), I created a wonderful book with an independent heroine and super sexy hero. I’m still trying to get that story sold…*sigh*…But I will succeed, never fear

What made you take yourself seriously?

For about twenty years, I told no one I was a closet romance writer. I’m serious, I stashed all my manuscripts away in the darkest corner of my closet. I supposed I really didn’t have what it took to be a writer, and after a few failed attempts with submitting to New York houses, I grew discouraged. So my writings collected dust and turned yellow with age. (I wrote with pen and paper–before computers and Internet ). About three years ago, after I entered cyber space, I met a wonderful gentleman on line. He lived in Australia and after we corresponded for a while and got to know each other better, I confessed to him my closet addiction. He asked me what I was waiting for, to go ahead and shoot for my dream. His encouragement inspired me, and though I hadn’t the slightest idea of where to begin, since the Web was now available, I searched and hunted and slowly learned. At a site that this same friend directed me to (a computer information site, of all places), I chanced to meet a woman who also lived in Australia. But she is a published author. We communicated, and she agreed to read a sampling of my work. Through her, for the first time I learned the rules of writing a book. I guess she saw something in me (or just plain got sorry for me ), but she agreed to become my critique partner. She, with another published author from Canada that joined us, held my hand and showed me the ropes. I’ll always be undyingly grateful, because their help convinced me I could accomplish this coveted task. I no longer say, I want to be a writer. I know now I am a writer.

What have you learned about writing that shocked you the most?

The art of showing as opposed to telling . All those pages and pages of telling I wrote, I thought I did show I scratched my head in puzzlement many times when admonished to show, don’t tell , until finally, it clicked.

What sub-genre(s) did you gravitate to when you first started? Is it the same as now and why do you think it’s changed or stayed the same?

I always wanted to write romance, but good romance. Having boy and girl to meet, kiss, fall in love, end of story was never enough for me. I wanted something meaty added to their relationship. To that end, in my current book, See No Evil, My Pretty Lady , I have the hero and heroine meeting because of the murder of the hero’s father. There’s five suspects, so a lot of emphasis is put on trying to find the killer. So, I’m wondering if I’ve drifted off the path of what passes for romance and have instead written a ‘romantic’ murder mystery? I’ll let the readers be the judge.

What advice have you gotten that you live by?

Be sure to keep the action in the proper POV. I hadn’t a clue about point of view before I met with my first crit partners. Now I know how critical this important truth is.

What advice would you give a newbie (if it’s not the same as above)?

Don’t be too proud to receive constructive criticism. Yes, some of it can hurt, especially if you feel a reader didn’t grasp the wonderfulness of your story. But try to logically think through their points. Sometimes someone truly didn’t understand, and if that’s the case you can sweep their comments under the rug. But, almost always, you’ll find solid help in the given suggestions. Take them, and be glad for them.

What’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

Absolutely. For one thing, I’ve graduated from pen and paper to computer screen..LOL..Plus, I no longer need to sneak around and write in secret. Since giving up my day job, and my only child is now married and out on her own, I have all the time I need to devote to writing. My husband is incredibly supportive and understanding. He knows I love sitting here from eight o’clock in the mornings till eight at night.

(I asked her if she was a panster or plotter. When she had no idea what a panster was I knew her answer already)

Ah, I see. No, I’m a plotter; however, this doesn’t mean that while in the process of writing and some brilliant idea arises from the depths of my imaginings that I shun it because it wasn’t “originally” planned. Nope. I take this idea, examine to see if it’s true “brilliance”, and if so, change the plot accordingly.

What keeps you writing?

The reward in knowing that little ole uninteresting me has the ability to string together a group of words in such a way that someone not only reads them, but they actually like them enough to want to make them available to the world, and then pay you for it I’m also a professional free-lancer with my articles appearing in various publications, my latest to come out in the August issue of Good Old Days. Not only does knowing that someone appreciates your work give you a feeling of ecstasy, but it’s incredibly humbling.

Do you have a support system? Did you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

I belong to a writing guild which meets twice a month. I can’t always physically be there, but enjoy the times when I do. This group is wonderfully supportive and encouraging, and I’m glad to know them and be a part of them. Plus, my current critique partner, a lady named Lyn, is fantastic for her optimism and unfailing cheer leading. Her firsthand knowledge of England (since she lives there) was invaluable to me with writing, See No Evil, My Pretty Lady . I dearly wish I could share a cup of tea and plate of scones with this lovely woman

Define success for yourself?
I’ve always hesitated when asked the question, Do you work? What do you do? If I said, I write, then it never failed that the next inquiry was, Oh. Are you published? So now, being able to state emphatically, Yes, I am, and here’s the proof is glorious success.

What’s your comfort reads?

Seriously, the holy Bible. But otherwise, you might find me absorbed in all the James Herriot books. I love his hilarious stories. Those reads help clear the cobwebs from my mind, so that I’m more refreshed to ponder on my upcoming plots.
Who are you reading right now?
Myself. Besides writing my free lance articles, I’m also working on dividing a large manuscript into two books, and have two chapters done on my NaNoWriMo challenge.

What book(s) that makes you want to write better (or stop writing because you’ll never be that good)?

Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King discouraged me so much I wanted to dump the book in the garbage. According to them, I did everything wrong. But I’m still writing and their book still sits on my desk. Hmm…

Plug away…

Ms. Thomas, aka Miss Mae, writes in different genres. As a regular contributor to the syndicated American Chronicle, her serialized story “The Mishaps of Gumdrop Island” and ‘official unofficial’ reporter named I.B. Nosey amuses children as well as adults. Her non-fiction and humor articles have appeared in Out of the Boxx, The Front Porch Magazine, and Good Old Days. Signing up for NaNoWriMo has inspired a mystery/romance novel, tentatively titled “Family Whispers”. She lives in Georgia with her wonderfully patient husband and two mixed breed adopted dogs.
See her website and trailers at
http://www.freewebs.com/missmaesite

My book, See No Evil, My Pretty Lady is going to be released on January 16th, 2008 from The Wild Rose Press as a Miniature Rose in the English Tea Rose line. Read the blurb:

New maid Dorcy Edwards spurns her wealthy employer’s attempts to seduce her. When he becomes a victim of the person the newspapers call Jack the Ripper, estranged son Gareth Davenport returns to London to handle his father’s affairs. Dorcy puzzles over what the brooding, handsome heir might be hiding behind his eye patch and black leather gloves. As circumstances unfold to expose the killer’s identity, Dorcy’s plunged into a nightmare, convinced Gareth is none other than the infamous murderer. But is Dorcy’s life what Gareth seeks? Or nothing more easily broken than her heart?

December 24, 2007 at 3:30 pm 8 comments

COMING OUT

I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t do well with secrets. And having me blog about my books has helped me find out about my characters. And after doing some prompts, (and of course spending hours on istock) I’m ready to go back to my story. I’ve accepted it’s going to take some time to get to know the secondary heroine. But the main hero and heroine I have a line on. So let me introduce you to them.

First up Georgia Meed:

She’s intelligent, sensual, reserved, but honest. Of course she has bite. But right now she’s having to face psychic abilities she never wanted. She wouldn’t think of herself as strong even though she is. She has a strong sense of right and wrong and that fits perfectly for the hero.

Troy Evans:

He also has a very strong sense of right and wrong. He’s a cop who doesn’t trust easily. Matter of fact when Georgia comes down to the police station to report her vision, he thinks she a quack, and that she has something to do with the crime committed. I’m definitely having fun with that one.

Troy is strong, balanced, and an alpha. My very first alpha. I can say I’m a little hot under my collar for this hero. These two are going to bump heads. (Can you tell I’m enjoying it?) Right now from their character attributes I can see they will compliment each other. Not sure how I can show it.

Almost forgot to mention Meed’s grandmother, Fiona, has prophesied Troy is Georgia’s ONE. Here’s a very rough scene. (copy written blah, blah)

Troy leaned into her making sure to invade her space. He wanted answers. “Your address and your phone number.”

“Is this proper police procedure?”

Her smooth as silk voice wrapped around his senses, and it took a moment for the question to pull him back. “Where were you on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m.?”

He narrowed his eyes when she placed a hand on her hip before answering. “Now I’m a suspect.” She titled her head back and laughed showing the long line of her throat.

“Where were you?”

Her eyes stayed on his when she answered. “Meed Books. Fiona Meed and Lana Chester can vouch for me.”

He leaned in closer. She smelled only of soap. “Why didn’t you read me?”

He kept his voice low not understanding why she wasn’t cowering. Where were the nervous ticks? And why would a crazy make him want to reach out and touch the skin on her bare arm.

“You don’t believe me anyway.” She raised her brow in challenge.

“Of course not. I want to know your angle. I want to know who Fiona Meed and Lana Chester are to you? What would they gain by giving you an alibi? I want to know how did you got the information on my officers? How many months did it take you to collect the information? If you know Michelle’s fiancé? And where is she? Is she still alive?”

He had her pinned against the car now. Her head was titled back to keep eye contact with him. He had to give it to her, being this close she looked sane. Any sign of guilt and Georgia would have crushed under the proximity. Even the best criminals needed space to maneuver, literally and figuratively.

“My angle is to keep Michelle alive while your squad keeps their thumbs up their butts, because they are too uptight to believe that maybe psychics do exist.” She took a step forward taking his personal space now.

“Fiona is my grandmother. She says I’m her favorite out of all her grandchildren. Not sure what motivation that falls under. Lana is our employee. She may be hoping to get a raise or a vacation. She has student loans. Since I don’t have 100 years to explain to someone apparently as slow as you are how I know these things, I won’t.”

She took another step and their bodies were touching now. Troy sucked in a breath trying not to take in the scent of her again. Getting angrier by the moment and intrigued as hell. She wasn’t done.

“The condensed version is the moment McGee walked into the observation room I could sense his attraction to Nadia. Lust was coming off him in waves. Nadia’s too busy trying to become Captain to notice. No, I’ve never met the fiancé. Maybe if you weren’t so damn pigheaded I could get a reading off you. And right now Michelle is alive. It’s up to you, and how long you drag your feet to find the man with the scar if she stays that way.” She sucked in a deep breath letting it back out slowly. “Is that all?”

His hand dropped to his side impressed. “You answered them all. How do you know she’s alive?”

Georgia leaned against the car. She looked up as if to find her resolve. “Am I under arrest, Troy?”

He jolted at the use of his first name. He needed to get the situation back under control. He noted her voice held exasperation and exhaustion. The tone mirrored how he felt being stone walled. She started again not waiting for him to answer.

“How about this? McGee is on his way outside to find you to give you information about me. When you’ve had a chance to memorize it and you still think I have something to do with this, then you can find me at the bookstore or at home.”

After being a cop for so many years he’d honed his instincts to razor sharp. Georgia believed everything she told him. She also believed she had nothing to hide. She wouldn’t run. She’d be exactly where she said she’d be.

His frown deepened. “Don’t think to leave town.”

December 22, 2007 at 5:39 pm 8 comments

MY WRITING MOJO


First I want to thank every one for commenting on the interview. Next week’s Write Question will be with Lula Thomas. Be sure to check it out.

Now done to business.

So, you ask how has my writing been going?

It hasn’t. I’ve been reading Line by Line, Strunk and White, and Pocket Style Manual. Some of it is sticking, most of it is going over my head. I’m still not ready to give up. But that book is stalled.

The secret story…well, I’ve been writing a paragraph a day. Compared to how much I can put out, my word count is sorely lacking. I just think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. I’m working with 4 POVs. Not recommended for most romances, but then again when have I ever done what’s recommended. (The first scene in How Much…is basically a flash back. My heroine’s cuss, my heroes aren’t really the average heroes.) Right now I think I’m going to write this story in half. Write the main romance, and then write the secondary romance. No telling how long this sucker will be. I’m just trying to get to the first turning point. (God, help me.)

Moral of the post, I’ve lost my writing mojo. I need to find my confidence again.

Give me some suggestions: How do you find your writing mojo?

December 19, 2007 at 5:08 pm 13 comments

WRITE QUESTIONS:Jean Drew writing as Jean Adams

Today I’m posting an interview I did with a fellow Wild Rose Author. I asked the questions and she answered. Check it out. If you have any questions or comments for her feel free to do so in the comments. I’m sure I can drag her over here to answer.

When did you start writing?

Probably about 20 years ago.

What was the defining moment that made you sit down and start to write a book?

I decided at an early age that I wanted to write and even had a go at a couple. I saw myself as the next Agatha Christie, LOL, but I had no idea what I was doing back then. About six months later I met an NZ editor, told him what I wanted to do (I was very naive in those days) and he asked if I read romance. To cut a long story short, I bought a couple of Mills & Boon and it was love at first read. That’s when I decided I wanted to write romance and I’ve never looked back. I forget the editor’s name now, it was so long ago, but I bless him every day.

What made you take yourself seriously?

When my first book was accepted. The title was THE SABINE CONNECTION The company accepted my book and said some nice things about it. I was over the moon, felt validated. It was great. Later that book was republished by Treble Heart Books.

What did you learn about writing that shocked you the most?

I always thought that after one book, it was all over. That the well would dry up. Nothing was more of a shock than that I could come up with other story ideas.

What sub-genre(s) did you gravitate to when you first started? Is it the same as now and why do you think it’s changed or stayed the same?

At first I gravitated towards Mills & Boon because that was all I knew.* Mills and Boon were bought by Harlequin years ago. They are traditional boy meets girl and called Presents in the U.S.* Then I discovered the world of American books. What a revelation to find that the heroes had thoughts and points of view of their own. Of course, Mills & Boon has changed a lot since that time so I’m gravitating toward them again. I’m also including other genres such as an Egyptian time-travel and historicals. I’m developing an ancient Egyptian trilogy, my passion after writing.

What kind of research do you do? Are you’re characters royalty or every day individuals? Tell me a little more about the time you write in.

Egypt is my passion so my research is a labor of love. There’s still a lot we don’t know and probably never will now, but I tried to keep it as authentic to the time as I could. I had to be very careful what words I could use. I confess to using writer’s license, but only where it enhanced the romance. ETERNAL HEARTS, the time travel, is set during the religious upheavals of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. They feature in the book, but it’s the ordinary people who populate it. My hero, although a lord, is also a captain of charioteers.

What advice have you gotten that you live by?

I learned that I don’t have to limit myself to one genre.

What advice would you give a newbie (if it’s not the same as above)?

Learn your craft and don’t be afraid to ask questions. We’re all still learning. Most important is believe in yourself, keep writing and never, never, never give up.

What’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

It’s changed over the years. I began writing about eight hours a day but that’s reduced to about six.

Are you a plotter? Panster? A hybrid between the two? How does the story for you go from an idea to a book?

I started out as pantser, but my stories never turned out the way I intended. They kept going off at tangents. Then I came to an RWA conference, met a lot of very friendly and helpful women, one of whom told me about, you guessed it, the joys of PLOTTING!!! Hallelujah. I was a writer reborn and bought everything I could lay my hands on about plotting. I devoured Alicia Rasley’s advice and regularly check back with her website for anything new. That woman answers questions I didn’t know I had. Now though I’m a bit of a hybrid, because I rarely plot in detail. I have an idea in my head, write down a few bullet-points so I stay on track, and now I can write an outline from the bullet-points, and ultimately the book. Works for me, because I have the flexibility to change the plot any time I want to.

What keeps you writing?

I can’t not write. It’s a compulsion.

Do you have a support system? Did you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

Funny you should ask that. Many years ago I heard about the UK-based Romantic Novelists’ Association and thought it was a good idea (I hadn’t heard of RWA at this stage) so I founded Romance Writers of New Zealand. We’ve been going about seventeen years and every year at our conferences, we host US authors, editors and agents. I have four CPs in NZ and we work via email because we can’t always meet up. It works well.

Define success for yourself?

I’ll be able to answer that when/if I ever get to be a success.

What are your comfort reads?

I love Helen Kirkman and Laura Kinsale’s books.

Who are you reading right now?

I’m not reading a romance at the moment. I’m also into personal development so I’ve just finished reading a Joe Vitale book. Inspiring stuff.

What book(s) that makes you want to write better (or stop writing because you’ll never be that good)?

I can think of only one off the top of my head that almost made me give up, but there are probably others. It’s Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm. It had me in tears for almost two weeks.

Plug Away…You can find Jean Drew at http://www.jeandrew.co.nz You can see my video of my Egyptian book trailer there, too, or at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4y6MeAzlepA,

Books:ETERNAL HEARTS by Jean Adams, Highland Press, Spring 2008
A PLACE OF HEALING, TBA, Wild Rose Press, Champagne Rose
PRINCE OF SECRETS, finalist, Wallflower, 2007

December 17, 2007 at 2:57 pm 11 comments

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