Today we have author Rue Allyn visiting us in the Tearoom. I’m so excited to finally be interviewing a fellow writer from the Heart of Detroit, my home chapter of the Romance Writers of America!
Have you always been based in Michigan?
Well yes and no. I was born in Michigan and it’s been my state of residence for all but 13 years of my life (10 years in Delaware when I was a child and 3 in Florida as an adult). However, I also spent ten years in the US Navy, traveling the world while remaining a resident of Michigan.
You have two books that just came out, within days of each other: A True and Perfect Knight and One Day’s Loving. How do you cope with such tight release schedules? Do you sleep?
Times like these I take it from minute to minute (I still have a day job and a family too) and do the best I can. Advance planning helps and sleep–even if it’s only cat naps–is an absolute necessity.
One of my deepest loves is researching anything and everything about the Middle Ages. Can you tell us about your research for A True and Perfect Knight?
I’m a big fan of the Middle Ages myself. Once I decided when and where I wanted to set this story, I read everything I could about Edward I of England. Military service taught me that the culture and well being of any group follows the path of leadership. So If I wanted to know England in 1282, I needed to know Edward I. I added that research to what I already knew about the medieval period from my doctoral studies in Old and Middle English literature.
With all that research to back you up, is A True and Perfect Knight going to remain a standalone book or will there be more in a medieval series some day?
Right now A True and Perfect Knight is a standalone book. I won’t say that I’ll never write a story based on some of the secondary characters, but I have commitments for a number of projects that must be completed first. So writing any linked stories would have to wait several years.
We’ll just have to be patient then. Now, we’re always up for a good success story and it appears that One Day’s Loving has a great one to tell as the third book in your Wildfire Love series with Crimson Romance. How did the series come about?
I’ve always been a fan of “forced marriage” stories and the most common trope for that kind of story is the requirement to marry in order to inherit. However, I’ve never been happy writing to formula, so of course, I had to try to stand the trope on its head.
I thought long and hard about who would be force to marry (three sisters) and how that would happen (their misogynistic grandfather and guardian would not want women to inherit the empire he created). But nothing about the sisters or the grandfather or the circumstances of the action was unusual. I was on the verge of frustration when inspiration struck. If the usual formula is to require marriage in order to inherit, what would happen if marriage were not the requirement. Well most likely no story would happen because there’s no conflict of goals. The sisters don’t have to do anything to get the inheritance. Where’s the fun in that? I did say inspiration struck and eliminating marriage as a requirement was truly inspired because it forced me to imagine what else might be required. Immediately the birth of a child came to mind. However, that doesn’t exactly require marriage, but unless I’m writing a contemporary, forcing the sisters to have a child before they could inherit would present a conflict of goals. That realization helped me decide the timeframe and setting for the backstory–late 1860’s Boston. Still I had to ask, in that day and age what kind of a person would require a child but no marriage? I couldn’t come up with a single logical answer.
The whole premise of all three books was about to fall apart, until I realized that the absence of the marriage requirement didn’t have to be intentional. The marriage requirement could have been left out of the will by accident. The whole thing was a clerical error that for reasons I explain in the books was overlooked until it was too late to change the will. Once I settled on the clerk’s mistake as the cause of the problem, everything else fell into place. I wrote the first book, One Moment’s Pleasure, and was halfway through book two, One Night’s Desire, when Crimson offered publication on book one. When One Moment’s Pleasure went into production, I proposed the second two books to Crimson’s acquiring editor. I sent the first three chapters and a synopsis of One Night’s Desire and the synopsis for One Day’s Loving. I hadn’t written a word of the third book when Crimson offered publication for both books two and three. I accepted the offer in time to add a series title to the first book and the Wildfire Love series was born.
You recently traveled to Toledo to share career tips and motivational advice with fellow writers. Is there advice you received before becoming published that you still hold close when you write today?
To paraphrase Nora Roberts: Sit your butt in the chair and write. Nothing else works.
Agreed! So, what other works do you have in progress? More cowboys, more books in your sexy sailors series, or perhaps something else entirely?
I have nothing currently contracted, and as I said earlier several projects in the works. The one that I am spending the most time and effort on right now is a contemporary tentatively titled, The Valentine Tycoon, which is the story of Mike Buddswell a secondary character in my contemporary romance, Deal of a Lifetime, published with The Wild Rose Press. Other projects include a third Sexy Sailors novella (I’ve just solved a major plot problem, so that will probably come next after The Valentine Tycoon); a couple of follow on books to the Wildfire Love series (Trey Trahern and Eulalie Collins are just to interesting to me not to get their own stories); another medieval stand alone; and when I find time a set of paranormal stories that have been in percolating for a few years.
How exciting to have such great choices on the way. Thanks for keeping us up to date! One last question we ask all Teatime Romance guests: if you were trapped in a burning building and could only save 5 books, which ones would you choose if your eReader was already melted into a shiny heap?
I’m going to cheat (sort of) and name some books that I have in my personal library. In no particular order, I would save:
- the complete works of Geoffrey Chaucer
- the complete works of William Shakespeare
- the complete works of A. Conan Doyle
- the Bible (King James version)
- Gone with the Wind
Taking the complete works is sort of cheating since I get a larger number of stories, but technically it isn’t cheating because I really do have single volumes that contain the complete works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Doyle respectively.
For more information about Rue and her books, contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or interact with her on Facebook and Twitter. You can also visit Rue on the web at RueAllyn.com, on Goodreads, or on Amazon.