“Welcome to Teatime Romance, Laura Simcox, author of Summer Promises. We’re delighted to spotlight you today in the tea room. Be advised, etiquette is to be observed at all times. Keep your hands within the confines of the table and hold your pinkie finger up at an angle.”
Thanks! I’m really excited to be on your blog.
“Forgive my excitement. We tend to be silly in the tea room at times, especially when there’s too much sugar involved. But honestly, when I heard we were going to have a fellow Crimson Romance author on the blog, and a pirate lover to boot, me piratey self emerged. So ignore me manners and commence with ye introductions, lass.”
Hi, I’m Laura. I’m a romance author. I’ve had this job for about a year. It’s the weirdest, coolest job I’ve ever had and I’m not quitting! And I’ve had some pretty cool jobs.
Unusual jobs are par for the course with me. This is probably because try as I might, a standard work environment and I just don’t mix well. Now, I’m not going to go all diva and say “Oh, nooo. I could never work in an office. Oh, nooo. I would never work a 9-5 job.” That’s silly. Because I can. And I have. It’s just that I don’t have the skills to thrive in that environment. I have two college degrees: a BFA in Theatre and a MFA…again in Theater. Overeducated and underpaid. I could quote you Shakespeare or tell you about Post World War II Theater in Eastern Europe, but I probably couldn’t answer a multi-line phone system to save my soul. Just ask the temp agency in Chicago about my stint as the receptionist for the executive office of the Illinois Lottery in 1993. Actually, don’t.”
“Hogs and swallows, you’re a well-propertied woman, Laura. Do continue.”
So…most of my working life has been spent in weird places, mostly as a costume designer. I created costumes in the back of an old garage on a state of the art sewing machine which perched on top of plywood and saw horses. When I hauled open the dented garage door, I had a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains. Another weird place: An old pharmacy that had been converted to a costume shop in the tiny downtown of a Midwestern farm community. And yet another: I spent years fitting actors in a third floor walk up Sunday school classroom in upstate New York.
“Ahem… Did any of those actors turn out to be Johnny Depp by chance?”
Yeah, theater is strange. But what does it have to do with romance writing? All of the above. I’ve been so many places on a theater company’s dime that it would be dumb for me NOT to use my experiences as fuel for my writing. So I did. While I don’t do theater anymore (at least not for now) I have in my brain a vast landscape of people and places…a virtual mosaic of story pieces. Add an ability and desire to write, throw in a huge helping of a life spent reading romance novels and dunk it in a cuppa hot water. There’s my tea! (wink) And I’m happy to drink it. Alllll day long.
“Is that why the rum is always gone?”
My contemporary romance novel ‘Summer Promises’ debuted this week from Crimson Romance and (shocker) it is set in a summer theater. The story of a young woman with a sense of adventure and a lot of heart who works in theater is a story I was destined to write. So I did it. And then I joined Romance Writers of America. And then my local chapter, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. And then I listened, learned and asked questions. I spent hours online researching the romance publishing industry. My eyeballs were stinging, and they’re gonna stay that way, I’m afraid. There’s a lot to learn and it’s always changing.
“Having yer own crew is a great and mighty prize, Laura. I’m sure HOCRW is very proud of ye. But do tell us about your call story.”
My story of being published is one of those ‘right place at the right time’ tales. In one of my epic online learning excursions, I came across Crimson Romance. I pitched my novel and waited. Three days later, I got a request for the full manuscript. A month later, I got the ‘magic e-mail’ telling me that Crimson wanted to buy my book. Still grinning. — 😀
“Oh, this be a wonderful tale. Please do go on.”
The next day, I jumped headlong into the romance author’s world. Create a website? Uhh. Sure. Here it is: www.laurasimcox.com A Facebook author page? What’s that? Ok, I’ll learn. And here ya go: www.facebook.com/authorlaurasimcox Goodreads? Yeah I’ve heard of that. Must investigate. Voila! http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6451974.Laura_Simcox A blog too? Yeah, ok. www.ljsimcox.wordpress.com Twitter? Nooo. I don’t wanna tweet. But…I….oh! This is fun. Heh heh. https://twitter.com/simcoxwriter
Silent pause. “Oh, sorry! I was all a twitter finding you on Twitter. So what else has happened since you got The Call?”
None of this stuff I just shamelessly listed existed before June. Everything’s changed for me. Going online now is air traffic control time. (Secret: I haven’t figured out how to manage it yet. It’s sucking my life away even though it’s FUN.) The one thing that hasn’t changed? My writing. My ideas. My stories. And storytelling is the best part of being a romance author.
“Everyone has that one book that knocked them on their heels and made them fall in love with romance novels. What was the first romance novel you ever read?”
When I was twelve, I read ‘A Rose in Winter’ by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Sigh!!! Hook, line, sinker. I’ve never stopped.
“Now, we hope this never happens but if your house is on fire, which five romance novels do you grab on your way out?”
I’d grab ‘A Rose in Winter’ because I still have it…it’s yellowing and dog eared and deserves to be saved. I’d also scoop up ‘The Corset Diaries’ by Katie MacAlister, ‘Just Like Heaven’ by Julia Quinn, ‘Undead and Unwed’ by Mary Janice Davidson and ‘Venetia’ by Georgette Heyer. They all have humor, adventure and heart-stopping romance. That’s all I ever ask for…genre is not as important to me as a great story.
“Aye, all good books ye’ve mentioned. But tell us, what is your secret passion?”
I want to be like Katherine Bone and say pirates!!! And that’s true. But my number one secret passion is silly guy comedy movies. Some of them border on genius stupid. I LOVE ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’. And ‘The Hangover’. And ‘Tropic Thunder’. Can’t help it. They make me snort-laugh.
“Aha! Now we know why the rum is always gone. But why do you write romance?”
I believe in the promise of Happily Ever After. It DOES come true. And the more real and flawed it is, the sweeter.
“Two people setting their eyes on the horizon, a promise of love wafting in the air. Or is that my clothes? Your pardon, I digress. Is there anything in your book that comes from personal experience?”
Ha. Yeah. A lot of it. The only thing that’s not personal experience is the ‘showmance’ (theater romance…aka hookup in most cases but sometimes it’s for real.) I took my experience working in summer theater, created the characters and put a shiny spin to it. I hope the story is entertaining, fun and heartwarming, too.
“Aye, there’s nothing a pirate loves more than pure, nonsensical, inebriated fun. Speaking of imbibing… what is your favorite kind of tea, and how do you drink it?”
For you Southerners: Unsweet. No lemon. No sugar packets. No sweetener packers. Light ice.
For you non-Southerners: Iced Tea.
How do I drink it? All day long, my friends. All day long.
“Thank ye for spending the day with us in the tea room, Laura. If you stick around long enough, there might be an appearance of rum.”