Today, I'm pleased to welcome nine authors from the Happily Ever After blog:
You can check out cover art, blurbs and excerpts from these authors at Monday's Armchair Heroines post or Tuesday's Armchair Heroines post. Or click on their name above to be taken to their websites.
So, without further ado, on with the interview!
What type of romance do you write and why?
Bekki: Writing contemporary romance gives me the opportunity to write real-life characters with issues someone out there has faced or is facing and can relate to. Whether it is mainstream, paranormal or erotic, it’s like the air that I breathe, a necessity to living. Maybe because I spent so many years doing it for myself, writing has become something I must do.
Jen: I write Dark Paranormal Romance because I’m not sure I could write a vampire story that didn’t have a little horror in it. I like my hero and heroine dark, my world even darker, and my happily-ever-after to be well fought for.
Judah: At the moment, Mainstream, contemporary. Not sure why really – it just seemed like a good place to start.
Lee: I love to write fast-paced drama staged in a not to distant future. My writing explores mainstream m/f romance in a framework of high tech intrigue. As an engineer, I’m trained to come up with a way to make things work. The transformation in my new romantic suspense, The Twist is pure sci-fi, but what if it were possible? My technical background gives me the tools to imagine and describe the things a scientist would need to actually make it happen.
We live in a cynical world and I think the lack of romance is at the root of many of the problems we face in our society today. If we’ve lost our hope of finding Prince Charming, how can we believe in the people we meet in our daily lives? If we don't understand unconditional love for another person, how can we be anything but greedy and self-centered? If we don’t hold a vision of a fairy tale in our hearts, how can we live our lives to make the world a little better? In this superficial techno world we live in, we all need to remember what true love is about. As a romance writer, I don't just want to give my readers what they want. I want to give them what they need.
Linda: I write Regency, which are stories set in England 200 years ago. Mine contain the elements I like best, mainly humor, with a touch of fantasy and the paranormal. I think the Regency appeals to me because it's far enough in the past to be part fantasy, and yet close enough to be recognizable. And I love all those pretty clothes and fancy balls.
Lindsay: Medieval and ancient world historicals, because I love getting buried in the periods. I studied medieval history at university and have always been fascinated by the ancient world as well, particularly Rome and Egypt.
Sara: I write paranormal romance because it’s what I love to read! My favorite authors are Chrsitine Feehan and Lori Handeland. I’ve read all of their books several times each. I’m a sci-fi geek and can probably recite every line from the Terminator, Star Trek and Alien franchises. In high school, I watched the NBC soap operas religiously. So if you put those two things together you get paranormal romance. I really love the escape that they provide from every day doldrums!
Savannah: I write erotic romance novels which always revolve around my love of the paranormal, all things magical and mystical ~ and my love for space via Star Trek and Stars Wars ~ you get the sci fi picture.
You guys pretty much run the gamut! What are the best and worst things about being an author?
Bekki: There are many little things that are nice, but I think the best thing to hear is that a reader picked up your books on recommendation from another reader and loved them.
I really don’t think there is a ‘worst’ thing. Sure there are down times when promotions seems to take over your writing time or sales are down, and even when someone declares your work is ‘awful’, but it’s all a part of the whole.
Francesca: The best thing about being an author is freedom. I love being able to work in an office that usually looks like a disaster zone, barefoot and in my PJs, my dogs snoring alongside me, with music playing in the background. I love being able to write whatever I want, whenever I want. I love the idea of entertaining complete strangers, of making people laugh and smile. I love getting feedback from people who have enjoyed my writing.
The worst thing about being a writer? I can’t think of anything I really don’t like. Some writers complain about the time we have to spend promoting our work, but I’ve met so many wonderful people in the process that I can’t say it’s something that bothers me.
Jen: Hearing from my readers. There’s nothing better on a rough day than getting an e-mail from a reader who fell for one of my characters. It doesn’t get any better than that!
The worst: Deadlines. I instinctually revolt against anything structured. :)
Judah: Being able to explore things, people, situations, being able to discover the different layers and responses and challenges that confront people. And being to write, play with words to create something lasting…
The worst: Rewrites. Definitely rewrites…
Lee: The ability to create a world that is limited only by my imagination is a wonderful sense of freedom. Of course like real people, characters seem to take on a life of their own once you’ve created them. My characters are born from the faces of my personality. I’m like each and every one but not like any of them. There is a tiny seed of me in my characters that unfolds like a flower. They surprise me with the things they say and do, taking my writing to places I never could have gone by myself.
The worst? Seeing your story in print is like looking in a mirror for me. A bit frightening, but you gradually accept each wrinkle and line of the smiling reflection until you can say, here I am world, with all my flaws and talents, being the best I can be.
Linda: Getting to write the type of stories I like to read. Wallowing is such fun.
The worst: All the stuff besides writing that you have to do, like keeping track of all the different bits and pieces involved. I have copies of everything all over the place.
Lindsay: Creating romantic stories and having characters play for high stakes. This is why I’ve also written romantic suspense.
The worst: Deadlines and the need to to keep to them by writing a chunk of words every day. Mostly it’s a joy, but sometimes it’s not. I also tend to get ‘threequarter-itis’ at the point where most of the book is done, but the end still seems a long way off.
Sara: The very best thing is the opportunity to create a world that is limited only by one’s imagination. Since I write paranormal romance, there really are no rules. For my first series, I got to create an entire race of people and it’s great fun to watch that world evolve. I also really enjoy creating heroines that have the guts and moxie that I wish I had myself.
The worst: I’m never quite satisfied and every time I read something I’ve written….I always think it can be improved. Also, releasing it to the public is a bit scary. You wonder if they’ll love it as much as you hope they do.
Savannah: Hmmm...that’s a difficult question for me. However, the best is when a reader enjoys my book.
The worst? The current state of the publishing industry. Yeah, I could write a book about it. E-books and small print publishers have so much to offer readers. And I believe there are forces at work which are suppressing their overall success, thus the authors who publish with them.
If you could create another holiday, what would you create and why?
Bekki: This is where I’m going to get personal. They have Secretaries Day - I’d love to have Server’s Day where the waiters/waitresses are hailed to the Gods. We take a lot from the public who deem us less than worthy human beings, yet they hold us responsible for their experience to be of the utmost perfection from the moment they step in the door and until the step back out again. If they had to wait for a table, if the kitchen slipped up on their order, it’s us they punish. It’s reflected in our tip. We have to bite our tongues and take it. We deserve to be God’s for a day.
Francesca: How about an international writers’ day?
Judah: It would have to be national writer’s day – so that the rest of the universe would have to leave my bubble and give me one whole day undisturbed to do my thing!
Linda: How about National Duck Day! Have a Wowl Day! What a life--paddling around, quacking, eating weeds. I love ducks. They’re pretty birds, they’re large enough to see easily, and some will come up to you--if you’re dispensing food. And they stay in the pond where I don’t have to clean up after them.
Lindsay: ‘Volunteer for a Charity Day’, perhaps at a time of year when it’s a long time between holidays. I once stood outside a local supermarket dressed as a panda, collecting for the World Wildlife Fund, and ended up writing a short story out of it for a magazine here in the UK. It’s now at http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewshortstory.asp?AuthorID=92533.
Savannah: Being your favorite goddess day. Of course, whatever your choice, it would mean lots of worship, chocolate included.
Complete this sentence: I like myself most when...
Bekki: I’m in control of my emotions.
Francesca: when I’m in complete flow with everything I do.
Judah: I’m being myself.
Lee: I surprise myself. Maybe I come up with a clever scene, maybe I say just the right thing that a friend needs to hear when they’re down, maybe I go off on one of my wild tangents like lock picking, or the history of the bra or how they make balloons. Life is full of surprises and I can’t wait to see where it’s going to take me next :)
Linda: I'm reading a great story. Losing myself in a good book is wonderful.
Lindsay: When I’ve finished a chapter! Also when I get the chance to help others, which is why I do a bit of creative writing teaching.
Sara: I look at my children. They are, by far, my greatest creation. Living with 4 boys, and a husband, provides me with outstanding inspiration.
Savannah: I’m being ultra-creative or helping someone else. And also, when I’m loving on my baby doggies.
Complete this sentence: I'm most dangerous when...
Bekki: I’m floundering.
Jen: Gently woken from a sound sleep. Seriously, I’d rather have my husband jump on the bed or kick me than gently shake my foot or lightly touch me when I’m sleeping. I don’t know why, but for some reason, the latter makes me contemplate dismemberment. :)
Judah: I haven’t had my first cup of tea of the day.
Linda: When I have to do something completely stupid. Unfortunately, life is full of such stuff.
Lindsay: Once a month, and we all know why, don’t we? Grrrrr!
Savannah: when someone crosses me or crosses somebody I care about. Look out...I do have claws just like my shifter heroines, Sun Rocket and Sable Kiki.
Who is your all-time favorite heroine and why?
Jen: Tabitha from Seize the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon. At the time the book came out, she was such a different kind of heroine. Direct, on the aggressive end sexually, and a certified ass kicker!
Judah: Hard choice. Maybe Scarlett O’Hara, because she’s just so human with all the foolishness that goes with it.
Linda: I love non-traditional heroines. I love women who go against the odds to take on the world and make it their own, especially women in historical times. The latest book of this type I've read is His Cavalry Lady by Joanna Maitland. In this Regency, based on a real person, the heroine, fleeing a forced marriage, disguises herself as a man and joins the Russian cavalry. For many years, she succeeds in her disguise, until she meets the hero, who eventually convinces her to marry him. After reading this book, I sent my first-ever email to an author, telling her I loved the book.
Lindsay: Clarice Starling from ‘Silence of the Lambs’, for her resilience, persistence and intelligence.
Savannah: Truthfully, I don’t have one. I think every woman who has walked this Earth is my heroine. Why? Because from my experience this is a brutal world for most women.
Who is your all-time favorite hero and why?
Jen: Adam Black from The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning. He’s just…wow…everything a hero should be. Dark, sexy, aggressive but strangely vulnerable. He has it all!
Judah: Heathcliffe, even though he’s not the “ideal” hero type. His intensity is alluring, and his arrogance compelling.
Linda: Courtney Choate, Viscount Chase, in Snowdrops and Scandalbroth (a Regency, natch). Courtney decided he wouldn’t indulge in sex until he was married, which sets him up for ridicule and innuendo in this hilarious story from Barbara Metzger. The fantasy world of Regency romances teems with men bragging about the multitude of women they’ve had. In such an atmosphere, Courtney is a welcome change. I like a man who doesn’t go with just anyone. He’s also gorgeous, a nice guy and a blue-eyed blond, which is my favored physical male type. What’s not to love?
Lindsay: I haven’t really got one, but I have a soft spot for Captain Carrot from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, because of his honesty, innocence and bravery. It’s hard to write a character that good and keep us interested, but Pratchett pulls it off. William de Baskerville from Umberto Eco’s ‘Name of the Rose’, too, because he is a likeable and fallible take on Sherlock Holmes.
Savannah: Any man who is a real man will always remain my hero. Why? Because if a man can remain true to himself and stay a real standup man in this world, he is definitely hero worthy.
List three novels on your keeper shelf.
Bekki: Private Scandals by Nora Roberts, ok, so all of her books are on my keeper shelf, but this book is more special than any other. Charmed by Koko Brown and I Dare You by Larkin Rose. And I just added Black Cat Beauty by Savanna Kougar.
Francesca: “The Pursuit of Happiness” by Douglas Kennedy, “Good Grief” by Lolly Winston, and “Riders” by Jilly Cooper.
Jen: Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon, The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning, and In Her Bed by Deborah Macgillivray.
Judah: A Separate Peace
Love and Peace
(And gazillions of others….)
Linda: Only three? I can go on for hours. My picks are all Regencies, of course. Did you expect different?Besides Snowdrops and Scandalbroth,I love A Perfect Gentleman by Barbara Metzger. Barbara Metzger writes that rarity, an uproariously funny Regency. This story is one of her best, about a nice-guy nobleman hero who works (gasp! shock!) for a living, a definite no-no among the Regency upper crust. I love this book. No Place For a Lady by Louise Allen. A non-traditional heroine, which I love, and a hilarious scene about a stud the hero is wearing.
The Sandalwood Princess by Loretta Chase. Romance, mystery, and a battle of wits between the strong hero and the equally strong heroine. Knocked my socks off. I read this book in one day. Then I ran out to the local Borders and bought every one of Ms. Chase’s books.
Lindsay: Silence of the Lambs (Thomas Harris), The Blind Assassin (Margaret Attwood) and Men at Arms (Terry Pratchett).
Savannah: I yield to all the other authors on this one. I have too many, which I appreciate equally, if for different reasons.
So, there you have it! Nine of the lovely ladies over at Happily Ever After. Whew - what an interview!Let us know what's on your mind. The Happily Ever After ladies are standing by to answer your questions and comments. Also, there are only two days left to get entered into the "Blind Date with a Book" contest!