“A beginning is a very delicate time.” ~ Princess Irulan, Dune
About a month ago, @RegencyErica approached me on Twitter with this fabulous idea for a romance blog by budding authors like me. Some of us were published (okay, one of us is published), but most of were at various stages of our “journey” in Romancelandia. Of course I immediately said yes. Who wouldn’t want to rub virtual elbows with sassy, fun, smart women in the romance world?
You see, I’ve been writing for years. Decades, if I must admit it, but not in romance. I wanted in on it in the worst way because there’s been something missing in my life for a long time: creativity.
You know those manuals you got with your off-the-shelf computer software? I probably wrote some of those. Oh and to you professional geeks in the audience, you know all those specifications you say you don’t read but sneak looks at when you first try to figure out a new project? Yeah, I wrote those too. I still do write them for my day job. The job soothes my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, but I’m almost always working within corporate styles or governmental regulations. It can be downright stifling, if you must know.
So why do you write romance?
Writing romance gives me the chance to play with ideas, to listen to (and respond to) the voices in my head. No one gives me a second look. I’m considered “colorful” instead of obsessive. Why romance instead of something like science fiction or history? Because I made a decision a long time ago to choose to be happy, not wait for it to happen to me, and writing romance gives me a happily ever after I can always look forward to. Always.
What was the first romance novel you ever read?
The first romance novel I remember desperately wanting to read was one I’d read an excerpt of in a magazine sitting in a dentist’s waiting room. I couldn’t find the issue after the appointment was over. I left for college not long after that appointment and the story plagued my thoughts.
Did the heroine really get auctioned off to a hideous beast of a man or did she end up with the arrogant rake instead? Who was the Night Rider? He certainly couldn’t be the crippled beast in the castle. These questions bedeviled me.
It turns out that book was Kathleen Woodiwiss’s A Rose in Winter. Each time I went into a bookstore I’d haunt the romance section hoping to find the story that saved me when I was thrust into the dental jaws of death. It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that I finally found a giant, large format edition of it moldering away, all tattered and worn. I was convinced it had been waiting for me. Coincidently, this was also the first eBook romance I ever purchased.
Your house is on fire. Which five romance novels do you grab on your way out?
My fellow Teatime bloggers will probably hate how easy peasy lemon squeezy these are for me to list. They are, in no particular order:
- A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss (for obvious reasons noted above)
- Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl (I kept waking up my husband to read him parts)
- Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (characters and plot I want to revisit constantly)
- The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie by Jennifer Ashley (amazingly deft treatment of a hero with an Autism Spectrum Disorder)
- My current work-in-progress, even though it’s this big lumpy warty hairy mess that may never see the light of day.
Has anyone else really fallen in love with these (except my WIP, obviously)? I can’t be the only one, can I?
What is your secret passion?
Well, if you promise not to tell anyone…
One of my greatest loves is to research the various foods that were served at feasts held prior to the 1600s. I end up finding out everything I can about them, from the exact dishes served and the order they were presented in, to what the head chef wore and the tools they used. Then I proceed to actually cook those foods for roughly two hundred of my closest medieval re-enactment friends.
The last feast I cooked was a four-course dinner from 10th Century Baghdad for 150+ people. It ended up having to be outside because the hall made a mistake and double booked us with a wedding. The bride and groom ended up coming over to our feast and toasting us to say thank you for giving up the hall to them. My next feast will probably focus on medieval Mongolia, but who knows. I can hear the siren song of the sultans of Persia calling me too.
Is there anything in your book that comes from personal experience?
Most of the cooking information in my current WIP comes from personal experience. I’ll also confess that my heroine’s love of 80s music is purely me. Nearly any martial arts knowledge in the books is based on my love of the arts I practice. To be entirely truthful, there will always be some element of me in my novels, no matter how hard I try to make it otherwise. I have a tendency to fall head first into my research. What my characters end up learning or knowing, I end up doing to some extent. Let’s just hope none of my characters needs to learn Latin. Although, now that I think of it…
What is your favorite kind of tea, and how do you drink it?
My favorite tea is Ceylon infused with jasmine flowers. I drink it unsweetened, served with oatmeal scones. And so I am not accused of being a food tease, I’ve posted the recipe at the bottom of my first post in my author’s blog, just in case you’d like to make them yourself.
Now that we’re all properly introduced, let’s get to know each other. Have a scone, have some tea, and tell me something about you. What are you reading? Do you drink tea while you’re reading it?