Friday, August 7, 2009

An Interview!

I thought, as I am on holiday, you might be interested to read this interview which Awe-Struck E-Books did a couple of years ago.

Hope you enjoy it--I'll be back live the middle of August.

Enjoy summer!



Q: What made you start writing and when did you start?

A: I started writing when I was about eighteen. Prior to that, I had been told in school that I was a good writer, but it never occurred to me that I could write books! Then at eighteen I ran out of Regencies to read. I had found Georgette Heyer and read everything I could get my hands on by her, and when I could not locate any more, I thought 'hey, I'll write my own'! And I was on my way!

Q: Who are some of your favourite authors?

A: There are so many: Georgette Heyer first and foremost; other regency authors like Patricia Veryan, Carla Kelly, Carola Dunn, and Marian Devon; Dorothy Dunnett is remarkable for the depth and breadth of her history as well as her fascinating characters; Lindsey Davis for sheer historical fun and British writers of 'homey' fiction like Miss Read and Rebecca Shaw.

Q: What type of books do you write? Is there a reason you write (for instance) historical romance rather than science fiction?

A: I have written all genres of stories and books since I began -- science fiction, westerns, contemporaries, even TV episodes (if I wanted those characters to have a specific adventure). I am currently published only in Regency romance. It settled into my favourite genre to write and research about fifteen years ago. I have an extensive research library, and I think I will always write Regency. That said, I am going back to favourite genre, western historical romance in the near future, and try to get published in that field.

Q: How do you come up with the idea for a book? Once you have an idea, do you plot it out, fly by the seat of your pants, or what?

A: Sometimes a phrase or a word will trigger an idea. For example, my short story 'Comet Wine' grew out of those two words and the suggestion that someone had made what they called 'comet wine'. Most of my books have grown out of a question. 'Clemmie's Major' grew from the thought that there must have been some Regency families that were kind, loving and complete (contrary to what you might think if you read enough regency romances). 'The Rake's Reflection' started when I wondered what would happen if two people looked very much alike, but had no idea why. In the past I have flown by the seat of my pants in developing the idea and writing the book. Now I am trying a more structured method -- outline, careful plotting, etc. I think it has improved my pacing, but I still take off on tangents.

Q: Do you ever suffer from writer's block? Have you found any effective ways for dealing with it?

A: I have always found I can write something. It may not be the book I'm working on, but it might be a short story or the germ of an idea for the next book. My biggest problem is avoidance of writing. There are so many things that need to be done other than writing. And they are all so much easier than writing! Getting in the chair and doing it is always a challenge.

Q: Do you write related books, such as series that revisit characters and/or setting you've written about in previous books? As a reader, do you read other authors' series?

A: I have always enjoyed reading series. There is a special comfort in relaxing with characters you know in a place with which you have become familiar. Then you can also enjoy a new twist in a known environment, the continued acquaintance of 'people' you know.
But I have never considered writing a series!

Q: Out of all the characters you've created, which is your favourite, and why?

A: I think my favourite character is Rupert Manningford, Earl of Torgreave, the hero from 'The Rake's Reflection'. He is so tortured, poor man. But the reason I like him is that he had decided well before he met the heroine that he must reform. He was doing it for himself because he realized he was becoming someone he didn't like. He did all the hard work of transformation alone. I admire that.

Q: If you include love scenes in your books, are they difficult for you to write? How do you decide whether to include a love scene at that point in the book, and if so, how explicit to make it?

A: Because I write traditional Regencies, the emphasis is on sexual tension rather than sexual activity. Georgette Heyer will always be my muse for Regency writing and she managed to create wonderful stories and characters without describing their sexual exploits. However I am experimenting with western romances at the moment, and these are going to include love scenes. I know it's going to be interesting and challenging to convey the emotion, the joy and the sensation without going into mechanics. And I'm sure my characters will tell me when they are ready, and how far they want to go!

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