Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.
It may be the last week of June, but that doesn’t mean this blogger is taking a holiday! Today we have an interview with the lovely Emma Lane, author of Dark Domino. This short story was released by Aurora Regency this past April. Be sure to check out her blog here.
How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
Young love faces the challenges of life in the early 19th century and endures.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Two days, but the idea had been simmering for a while before I sat down to the computer. It’s a short story.
I suppose short stories wouldn’t take nearly as long as a fifty-thousand-word novel *L0L* Did you go through very many drafts in those two days?
Three drafts, and some random tweaking afterwards.
When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
Whenever I get the chance. I own and operate a plant nursery and ‘herbtique’ with two partners. This time of the year (spring and summer) is manic as we help set up gardens and suggest plants. Don’t get me wrong. I love my work, but there’s just so many hours in any given day. I’m a bit tired in the evenings, but I manage to read. Mostly I do my writing in the fall and winter.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a lovely office that overlooks a park across the street, and a door to the room that closes firmly whenever I need it to. I’m not a tidy person and I like having piles of material, books, thesaurus and other reference books, favorite authors, and a stash of chocolate close by.
Doors definitely come in handy when you need solitude, especially ones that have locks on them *wink* Do you prefer to write with a typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper?
Desktop computer, and laptop when I’m out of town. My equipment is ancient. The lappy is older than my desktop but it travels with me whenever I leave home.
What do you drink or eat while you write?
Whatever I can cram into my mouth. I especially like cheetos, but they make the computer orange. I like ice tea/lemonade in the can. I keep M&M’s with peanuts around for emergencies.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
Nope. Music has a strong voice. It invades my soul demanding I listen with all my attention. TV rarely manages a flicker of interest and provides me with ‘white noise’.
I know how you feel about music. IF a song is playing, more often than not I’m the one singing along or dancing around to it *L0L* Do you have any other writing rituals?
Whenever I finish a chapter, I print it to discuss it later with my hubby. He likes to read it and make notes on paper, and then we discuss. This routine helps me anchor my thoughts.
The chapter discussions with your husband, do you have a set time to sit down with him to talk about your writing?
I work with my hubby who is retired. He is one of my partners in the plant business and we are almost always together. He is a good listener and an excellent supporter of my writing.
Sounds like a wonderful man, your husband. This now makes me wonder if you plot chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis or detailed outlines?
I have occasionally used an outline. I needed that when I wrote sequels to MY PASSIONATE LOVE. I needed to remember names and places. For my short story, DARK DOMINO, it wasn’t necessary.
Did you already have Dark Domino all planned out in your mind then, or did you just have an idea for it and let the story flow where it would?
Dark Domino was a enigma with no rational explanation. I was working on another novella when this ‘voice’ kept tugging at my attention. (No, it wasn’t the TV.) Finally I sat down and wrote Sarah Louise and Ethan’s story in one sitting. Who knows where these thoughts come from as they coalesce in the back of our minds? It was a total mystery to me. I wrote their story to clear my thoughts for another story line. DD turns out to be one of my favorites. Who doesn’t love the scamp, Sarah Louise? I think it was probably she who bugged me to write the story. Ethan provides a solid counterpoint for her antics.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I just grab them from the sky. Sometimes I use family names, and once I used a variation of a couple of my friends’ names. They were amused.
Who is the first person to read your manuscript? The second?
My husband. He doesn’t often read the entire manuscript after I’ve edited it several times. I take pity on him. My daughter teaches college English. I sometimes wrangle an edit from her, but she is very busy with her job, hubby and two delightful children. I have a good friend who does a great critique.
What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
High-fived with my husband. Ate chocolate. You won’t believe it, but my life runs at such a swift pace, I rarely have time to dwell on anything. I’m more of a ‘do’ person. My daughter and her family gave me a framed copy of the cover of my first published novel, A SCANDALOUS AFFAIR. I was so touched.
That is sweet of them. If your book were to become a movie, you could put a framed autograph of the actors next to that picture. Who would you like to see star in Dark Domino?
George Clooney would be the Dark Domino, his heroine would be Sandra Bullock. I like them both and would love to see them star together. Sandra could perfectly play the hoyden, Sarah, in my opinion. George is just eye candy. He can do anything–twiddle his thumbs, comb his hair, eat boiled peanuts– and I’d watch.
Sandra Bullock is one of my favourite actresses, and I have to agree that George Clooney is gorgeous! I am keeping my fingers crossed your story gets options, because I want to see these two in it *grin* But let us get back to books… What is the first book you remember reading?
See Dick, See Jane, See Spot. I read the comic strips with my dad before I knew I could read. How often, I don’t know, but if I learned to read, it must have been frequent. Hey, I was only three years old. My younger sister was sickly and my Dad ‘babysat’ me a lot of the time while my Mom took care of her. I liked the pictures and he taught me the words to go with them.
What book is on your nightstand right now?
Several. JD Robb, Lee Childs, Georgette Heyer, a Grisham, an old Jo Beverly and a Steinbeck. I’m an eclectic reader.
Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
I have no guilt about reading. I am an adult. I keep a paperback in my purse so as not to waste time if I am in line for something. I am never interested in the décor of my friends’ houses, but I love to peruse their books. I am always sure they have some treasure I didn’t know about.
I admit, the bookshelves at someone’s house is one of the first things I usually look at myself *L0L* How do you organize your library/book collection?
Hard back and paper backs. I try to keep authors together, but then I reread them and they get all mixed up again.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yep. There was never an epiphany. I grew up in a family of achievers. Our parents expected and encouraged us to have goals. That was mine. Actually I wanted to be a newspaper reporter like Lois Lane and live in New York. I achieved half of that. I married a pilot, but he needed a machine to fly–unlike Superman. We won’t discuss the ‘man of steel’ part.
You write and your husband flies… Yep, sounds pretty close to me! If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
I have a collection -vignettes, sort of- that I wish I would sit down and finish. Some really good stuff in there, mostly contemporary.
So the book you wish you had written is one of your own ideas you wish to work more on?
Reading Regency Romances was an addiction for me like eating potato chips. At some point, I wondered if I could write one. One day I sat at my computer and did just that. It was so much fun I did it two other times and called them ‘The Vicar’s Daughters 3.’ Then I veered off into another of my addictions and wrote two Contemporaries with heavy nature/environmental settings. I love the outdoors. SANDPIPER AFFAIR and, just epubbed with Desert Breeze Publishing, GONE TO THE DOGS was the result of that flurry of activity. How much fun can a lady have? I hope all occupations provide as much sheer joy as writing does for me. Look for another Regency from me called BELOVED SOLDIER RETURNS to be epubbed by MUSA in August. It has gypsies—I did quite a bit of research for that one.
If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask/talk about?
Probably Nora Roberts. I’d ask her to describe her workday and tell how she manages to write so much. Oh, and William Shakespeare, also I kind of like Blake… Just one? I wouldn’t mind chatting with an apostle or two. They were formidable authors inspired by God.
If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
Lois Lane -that’s a comic book, but just the same. She gets to write, have all sorts of adventures, and have a hunky boyfriend who can fly.
Oooh, good choice. I can totally understand the appeal of that one! *wink* Since authors generally don’t get to have a gorgeous flying superhero in real life, what is the best gift someone could give a writer?
Uninterrupted time. Oh, maybe a computer if they don’t have one. And after all that, how about an acceptance of a submission.
I don’t think any other author has yet given me the answer of a contract as a “gift” *L0L* Do you have any advice for writer’s themselves?
Write, write, write and write some more. It’s difficult to edit a blank page.
One last question: What is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
I am a wild flower buff and an avid bird watcher. Nature is a favorite thing.