Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn't you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all... About our writing of course! Every week we'll answer questions and after you've enjoyed the blog on this site we'll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask questions in the comment box."
. . .Welcome to my wee slice of Romance Weekly. Here are my responses to this week's jackpot questions:
Do you have recurring themes in your work, either intentional or unintentional?
Yes. Absolutely. Intentionally. My romances reflect on the power of love to heal and redeem lost souls. They also touch on some of my deep pet peeves: the raping of the environment for personal gain, the hypocrisy of humanity, Scotland's long and bloody struggle for independence, the meaning of honesty and freedom, and the belief in a higher power that's loving and forgiving rather than stern and judgmental. And you thought they were just steamy romances, right?
Do you carefully plot your stories or do you plot as you write? Why do you think this particular ethos works for you?
Let's just say, the more I learn about plotting the more plotting I do. Writing novels is hard work. Writing good ones is even harder. Good novels tend to follow arcs and have beats where key things happen as those arcs unfold. I usually start out by writing character sketches, including making index cards for their goals, motivations, and conflicts. Then, I try to map out scenes in a line or two that demonstrate these things while following the maps provided by The Hero's Journey and/or Save the Cat. Even when I do all this at the outset, the story takes on a life of its own (if I'm lucky), the characters act against the attributes I've assigned them, and new and better ideas occur at junctures that require massive rewrites and replotting. Even when I have all the elements figured out, once I start writing, it can turn into a bunch of trees with no forest in sight. That's when I summon my excellent critique partner, Sarah Hegger. She's got a knack for recognizing an arc gone bad and helps get me back on track. Thanks Sarah! As to the second part of the question, well, I'm a person who needs tools and maps to help my muse find her way. The more tools I have and the more things make sense, the easier it is to move forward.
Is there a particular genre (within romance) you could never write? Why?
There are several, all of them very popular right now. Small town, military, inspirational as it's currently defined. Navy Seal heroes are not my thing. In fact, uber-controlling Alpha-male heroes are not my thing. My heroes are the kind of men I wish there were more of, not the kind I find controlling and macho. I could never love that kind of man and neither could my heroines. I like to play with stereotype reversals in my work. In The Knight of Wands, my next book, the heroine is the one who fears commitment while the hero falls in love at first sight and must fight his possessive nature at every turn to pursue her in a way that will convince her he's not out to steal her freedom. Let me flip the question. What particular genre would I write but am not writing now? Historicals, specifically Scottish historicals. I love history, especially Scottish history, and have studied the history of fashion and costuming for my dollmaking. I think I could write great historicals. I just need a fresh idea and one hasn't occurred to me yet. First, though, I need to finish the novels I've already got planned: Book Two in The Knights of Avalon series, which I'm about three-quarters through; a book I'm about halfway through about a merman who gets caught in an oil spill; and the last two books in The Knights series (The Knight of Pentacles and The Knight of Swords, respectively). I'd also like to do a follow-up to my thriller releasing on August 30, my first non-paranormal dealing with the threats to our freedoms imposed by runaway media monopolies.
Okay. That's it for me this week. Now it's time to move around the circle and see what my fellow romance authors have to say about these same questions. Next stop is LaNora Mangano.