This week I’m participating in a Romance Writers Blog Hop. I almost want to say the Great Romance Writers Blog Hop; it has been passed from writer to writer for some time. Not only do you get to know a little about me and my writing process, but I get to introduce you to fellow romance authors and learn their individual writing styles and processes
This Blog Hop was passed on to me by my colleague Becky Lower. Becky lives in one of my favorite Ohio college towns with her rescue dog, Mary. Her background is in both English and journalism. She and I both write for History Imagined, where I’ve learned she has a great store of knowledge about the history of her state and of American History in general.
Becky writes both contemporary and historical romance, but her recent focus is on her Cotillion Ball Series, which follows the lives of the nine Fitzpatrick children who all come of age in the years leading up to and including the Civil War in America. Her current release, number six in that series, The Duplicitous Debutant is number 2 on the Goodreads list Best Historical Romances of 2014 behind only Eloisa James. It is a super read about a successful author forced to hide her gender behind an initial for a by-line (not unlike my Georgiana in Dangerous Works). When a new editor buys out her publisher, she fears for her anonymity. When she finds out he is super attractive, well, the complications begin.
And now, about my writing process!
What do I write?
Since this is a romance hop you can guess I write romance, but history in all its forms is my passion. My first published work, Dangerous Works, is a historical romance. Two sequels will follow in 2015. All three are set in the Regency Era between 1816 and 1820.
However, I have also written three historical novels for middle grade children, although none have yet been published. One takes place in 1945 in Munich, Germany. The sequel to that takes place in Philadelphia. The third is set on the Eastern Shore during a hurricane in 1933. Another, set in Ancient Rome is in the planning stages.
In addition I am slowing working on a long medieval novel about a London Merchant and the former mistress of a crusader lord who meet while on pilgrimage.
What am I currently working on?
I look forward to the release of Dangerous Secrets, the first of two sequels to Dangerous Works, on March 18 with much glee. That one has Jamie, friend of the hero of the previous book, hiding in a shabby apartment in Rome. A mistake caused him so much shame that he fled rather than admit it to his friends. When an Englishwoman trying to manage on her own in a foreign country tries to hire him, he can’t resist.
My work-in-progress, Dangerous Weakness, is already under contract with Soul Mate Publishing. In that one the cool and controlled Marquess of Glenaire (who has spent the previous two books attempting to manage the lives of his friends) discovers that he can’t manage everything, can’t fix every problem, and can’t force a woman to love him. The heroine is the able daughter of a British diplomat who makes a series of impulsive decisions that lead the Marquess into a maze of dangers. It takes place in London, Constantinople, and the Barbary Coast. I hope to have it out in late 2015.
I have outlined two historical romance novellas for later this year.
How do my historical romances differ from others in the genre?
Historical romances come in many shapes and sizes. Classic Regency novels typically involve either house parties or London ballrooms. Mine involve little or none of either. My stories are set in places not commonly used in Regency Novels. Rome is not the first place you think of when you think of the English Regency, but such travel in that era is authentic.
Few writers these days write about naïve virginal heroines, much less ones that are “too stupid to live.” My heroines tend to be older than the norm, and have more going on than chasing husbands and fashionable gossip. Two of the three have what could be described as career aspirations that I try to present realistically within the strictures imposed by the era.
Some writers seek a light-hearted tone. Others write highly suspenseful tales. I do neither. I seek to write realistic stories about adults meeting life’s challenges and coming out the better for it. I want a solid happy beginning at the end, a new departure for the hero and heroine as a team. One decision a writer makes has to do with sensuality level. The choice is often framed as between steamy (explicit sex and lots of it) and sweet (not much past hand holding and the bedroom door is closed if it is even mentioned). Mine fall into neither camp. My focus is on giving the reader an emotionally satisfying story, but it is romance. Sex happens naturally. When it does, I don’t focus on mechanics but on the characters emotional growth needed to carry their relationship through to that ending.
Why do I write historical?
Did I mention history is my passion? I can’t imagine writing anything else.
The past has always been my favorite fantasy world to which I love to escape. When I travel, the past is what draws me (well, that and nature). Family history, local history, world history all crowd inside my brain. They have to come out.
How does my writing process work?
It works in fits and starts. While I admire writers who plot out every scene before they write, I simply cannot do that. I usually begin with a character and an ending. I know where I want to take him (or her). Often I have very specific settings in mind (travel is my friend). I scramble around creating a second character and begin to write; this is because I’m never sure who the characters are until I begin to put them on paper. Once I get them in my head, the beginning goes smoothly.
Eventually, I hit a wall and I have to take a step back. James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel From the Middle has been a great help to me. I look at the main character’s emotional arc and plan the key turning points and how I want to hit them. I plan some of the scenes to get him/her there, fold it with what I already have into a very general outline, and go back to writing.
The characters often suggest additional scenes and I always listen to the characters. I keep the outline up to date, often after the fact. If a particular scene is giving me fits I fall back on scene structure handouts from workshops but I never plan each and every scene. I just write.
Up next: my friend Jude Knight
Jude’s first novella, Candle’s Christmas Chair, came out just before Christmas 2014. The hero is a young viscount who comes to buy an invalid chair for his mother, and finds the woman who has been haunting his dreams for three years. The heroine is a carriage-maker’s daughter who has been burnt before in trying to step out of her class, and who is determined not to take the risk again. The free ebook is in the top 10 on several Amazon bestseller lists for free fiction. Jude is in the final stages of preparing her novel, Farewell to Kindness, for publication on 1 April 2015.