"In celebration of the birth of Charles Dickens 200 years ago, a dinner will be held at Mansion House.
The evening will commence with a sherry reception at 6.45pm, followed by a three-course dinner at 7.30pm with wines and coffee. Carriages at 10.30pm.
Featuring Dickensian entertainment led by Sir Patrick Stewart." (emphasis mine)
Wonder what carriages means? Do you get driven home in style? How come you don't get picked up, too?
Sometime back, during NaNo, J. L. Campbell hosted a getting to know you blogfest for the romantic suspense group of Rach Harrie's Writers Platform-building Campaign. I came across this the other day on Tara's blog, and thought I'd answer the questions.
Only, of course, I'm going to do them from a historical romance point of view...
1. Name two historical romance authors who inspire you.
That's easy - Joanna Bourne and Diana Gabaldon. Diana's not a romance author, of course, but that's precisely why she's so inspiring - she's an everything author.
2. How did you start writing in your genre?
Short answer - I don't know. Long answer - One day in high school I stopped writing middle grade stories and started writing a romance between two real life musicians. I knew they were meant to be together, even if they couldn't see it.
Some years later, after two finished novels and a few aborted story ideas, I went back to MG. But everything moved slowly. Ideas were halting, editing was plodding along at a snail's pace. And then... well, I've told this story before:
I sent my characters off to another houseparty.
"One or the other of them had previously participated in the writers' houseparties that take place on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community; there have been eight such parties to date and I – and my characters – were present at the very first one in June 2007. Each party after that grew in size and complexity, as more writers joined in the fun, bringing their characters to interact with the characters of other members, who all come from varying places and time periods. Houseparties are a great way to thrust your characters out of their familiar worlds and learn things about them that you may not have known before. Writing for a houseparty is just like writing your first draft – fast paced and fluid, with no second guessing; anything goes at a houseparty, from magic to skipping between time periods, to anachronistic events and language, to romantic interludes..."
I rediscovered my love of romance, the ideas began to flow - unstoppable - and I haven't looked back.
3. You've landed a meeting with your dream agent. Write a one-paragraph pitch to sell your novel to him/her.
Let's go with the one I'm pitching to agents right now:
Out of the Water is a 15th Century historical romance, complete at 115,000 words.
Rosa becomes separated from her family as they flee their Spanish homeland – and the Inquisition. Now her one hope of reaching Constantinople, and reuniting with her family, lies with a stranger, Baha, an artist from the Ottoman Empire. As they travel together, Rosa's drive to find her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the man at her side.4. Sabotage or accident - which would you put your female lead through, and why?
Her family refuses to accept this man of a different faith, but when janissaries arrest her father and brother, Rosa and Baha risk everything to rescue them. Together they will prove that their love can withstand their differences... if the Grand Vizier doesn't throw them both into the dungeons first.
I have to say, I don't plan many of the incidents. Some appear out of nowhere and some are the characters telling me "I know you thought this would happen, but I'm going to do that."
Sometimes they grow out of exercises on the Compuserve forum; that's how I met Baha.
And I always, always, worry that I'm not raising the stakes enough.
5. Plotter or panster - who are you?
Oh, definite pantster. Especially for the first draft. Then I do a read through, with editing, and make a list of all the scenes and links I need. And pants my way through them.
If anyone else wants to turn this into an ongoing blogfest, feel free!