Archive for July 11th, 2008

We have a winner! The winner of Jessica’s post is….


Congrats Susan!

Please email me at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so we can send the book out to you. Enjoy!

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We have a winner! The winner of Beth’s post is….


Congrats Teresa!

Please email me at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) so we can send the book out to you. Enjoy!

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Raised as a poor but cunning pickpocket, Jess Whitby may have grown into a wealthy young woman, but now she must rely once again on her guile. Her father’s been wrongly accused of selling secrets to Napoleon, and he’s going to hang—unless Jess finds the real traitor in the London underworld. She never dreamed her search would begin by waking up naked in the bed of a rude merchant captain. Or how little she’d mind…

When Captain Sebastian Kennett averts a kidnapping on the London docks, he takes the headstrong would-be victim home. He’s infatuated with her courageous spirit. She’s enthralled by his commanding strength and the sexy spark in his eyes. Then she discovers something else about the spellbinding seaman: He could be the traitor she’s hunting, the man whose next move could determine her father’s fate—and her future as well.

I don’t run into many other writers. So I don’t know how writers, en masse or in particular, work. I only know how I work.

When I’m approaching a new manuscript, part of me is all business. I just research the heck out of every aspect of the historic period. If my folks are going to use pencils — and isn’t that a better choice if you’re writing in the semi-dark than inkwells and quills and silver sand and all that prickle-and-spice? — then I know Faber-Castell made pencils in my period. Building the history of my hero and the heroine, I draw up charts and tables of dates like I was planning the invasion of Crete. I may not know precisely what Sebastian ate for breakfast Tuesday last, but I know he had strong tea, not coffee, and he didn’t touch the eggs. He hates eggs.

But all this planning and thinking … that’s not the creative process.

There’s a great short story — The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber. The protagonist is a guy who bumbles through his life as the most unheroic man you could ever meet. But every boring or humiliating incident of his existence sets off a story inside him. Outside, he’s a nebbish. Inside, he’s strong, wise, and forceful. Inside, he’s the hero of his own ongoing serial drama.

I am so Walter Mitty.

If you could tune into one of those superspy satellites and watch me beating up cake batter or planting bulbs or paying the electric bill, you might — if this were a particularly well focused satellite — catch a particularly vague look in my eyes from time to time. The body is at the vegetable bins picking out tomatoes or in the weedy spot under the oaks in the front garden yanking loosestrife. But me … I’m in the alleyways of 1811 London or on shipboard off the coast of ancient Greece or huddled in a bunker under some red-lit, psychic, battlefield attack in 2210.

Any of those is way more exciting than the Catch of the Day at Harris Teeter. I’m just saying.

And if sometimes I find myself at the sink, blinking like an owl in the dawn, wondering if I came in here to get a drink or feed the goldfish, maybe this is part of my creative process. Maybe it’s easier to tell stories about ‘there’ if you’re not entirely all ‘here’.

I was all the way grown up before I realized that not everybody has a select, few dozen, familiar dreams they go back to again and again. My whole life, I’ve been telling myself the continuing adventures of Joanna Bourne in Regency London, Joanna Bourne in ancient Rome, Joanna Bourne in the future. It’s just a step from there to telling somebody else’s adventures.

I dunnoh what other folks have in their heads. What do people think about if they’re not making up stories? I always wonder.

Writing the manuscript … When I sit down at the typewriter, I’m off visiting my fictional world. Bang the drums, flash the lights. I won’t see them.

Number Seven, Meeks Street — that’s where my spies live — that’s where I am.  Number Seven has lots of stories I’ve never told anyone. Lots of stories even I don’t know. I’m anxious to get to them.

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