Thursday, February 9, 2012

Interview with Romance Author Anna James!

This has to be the most exciting day for me as a blogger. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do an interview with Contemporary Romance Novelist Anna James. I am currently reading her latest release, "To Love and Trust Again" and I must say I loved the character of Molly before I even finished Chapter 1.  This novel was recently awarded a review of 4 stars over at Romance Novel Junkies!

This is the first interview I have done with an author and I hope I have done justice to her book and her talents. She graciously answered questions for me and I can't wait to share the answers with other novelists in training.

Please, tell us more about your latest release!

             AJ: My New Book, entitled To Love and Trust Again, is the Story of Molly Quin, Dan Berringer and Max McDermott.
Three years ago Molly Quin walked out of Dan Berringer’s apartment and told him that she wanted nothing to do with him ever again. Now, after accepting a position with Bennett Engineering, she will have to see Dan every day. Fate could be so cruel! Seeing him again so unexpectedly, she discovered to her chagrin, has brought back feelings she thought she’d dealt with a long time ago. 
Dan Berringer made a mistake. He’d hurt Molly badly. He wants her back now and will stop at nothing to win her including letting Max McDermott get in his way.
Max McDermott wants Molly Quin. She’s smart, funny and sexy as hell, but he is reluctant to pursue her. He knows Molly is attracted to him too but what about her relationship with Dan Berringer? And is he willing to become involved with someone he works with again?
Follow Molly on her journey as she deals with hurts from the past and her feelings in the present and learns how to love and trust again.

As I said before, I really like the character of Molly in this book. As I have made February the month to talk 
about characters on my blog, I am curious to know more about your favorite character to write in this book                
           AJ:.Although I loved creating all of the characters in this book, I especially liked creating Molly Quin, my heroine. I believe a good story starts with the characters, specifically with the heroine –after all, it’s her story. As a reader as well as a writer, I need to feel a connection to the heroine. She has to be real to me; someone who I can relate to and someone who lingers long after I’ve finished reading (or writing) her story.Molly is a smart confident young woman who is passionate about life. She is persistent and won't give up when the going gets tough.

Molly's confidence and persistence must be why I like her so much! I am sure new writers would also be interested in how you went about formulating the plot and characters of this book.
         AJ: I didn't want this to be like other romance novels where hero and heroine have a past relationship and now they are forced back together again, they work through their differences and live happily ever after. I wanted a little more excitement so I asked myself what would happen if my heroine, who has finally landed her dream job, suddenly finds out that her old flame (who hurt her badly) also works at the same company and she will have to deal with him on a daily basis. Then I asked myself what would happen if she suddenly realizes she may still have feelings for him and he definitely wants her back?Now I know you're thinking "what's so different about that scenario?" I thought the same so I decided to see what would happen if I added another love interest for my heroine.How does it all turn out, you ask....Pick up a copy of To Love and Trust Again from Melange Books (

I know this question is often asked, but do you have a process for writing or follow a routine? As an outliner myself, I am always curious if other writers use an outline and how it works for them.
          AJ: I don't do any formal outline but I do plot the story out in my head. When I get stuck with certain parts I usually move on to another part of the story. I have any set routine and write whenever time permits.
What do you think are the most important elements for writing a successful romance novel? 
          AJ: Many things go into creating a good romance novel. Here are some of the things that resonate for me:

The plot– The story should start in a place that captures the reader’s attention, then, as you move through it the characters must meet, fall in love with each other and end up overcoming the problems that are keeping them apart. Key elements of a good plot, as far as I’m concerned, include strong emotional conflict, passion and sexual tension.

The Characters - Romance novel characters should be interesting, complex and real enough to linger long after you have finished the story.
The heroines must be independent, strong women with determination, persistence and spirit. They must be willing to fight to overcome adversity, should be a romantic at heart and believe that love triumphs over all odds.
The heroes must be sensual, charismatic, successful and strong. They must be passionate about the heroine (although may not show it right away) and about life.
 Physical Attraction – The hero and heroine must be physically attracted to one another. As with anything else how physical attraction is portrayed in a romance novel can vary. It can be shown with tender caresses and gentle, loving kisses; in hot and steamy scenes with graphic sex or anywhere in between. I personally like a romance novel that has a high level of sexual tension. It adds to the excitement of the story. But as far as I’m concerned, when the sexual tension results in a love making scene, it must be emotionally driven. The characters can’t just be in it for the sex. Regardless of how the attraction is portrayed the important thing is to make sure the spark is there and evident to the reader. 
Romance Wrap-up - This is where all the important issues are resolved, all the unanswered questions are answered and the story is brought to a satisfying conclusion.
I am sure this question is asked of every author, but it is a question most people sincerely want to know.  What book(s) and /or author(s) have influenced your writing?

AJ: I like the type of books written by Nora Roberts, Jane Ann Krentz and JK Rowling just to name a few. I love the way these authors tell a story. They are full of passion and drama and romance (even Harry Potter has just a touch of romance) 
You can follow Anna's blog and read about her many books at the places below. I plan on reading "Christmas Collectibles" next because I love Christmas themed stories of any genre.Thank you so much Anna for answering my questions!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Character Blogfest and a Guest Author!

Check here for the latest Part 2 post of the character blog fest. I am also very excited to have Romance Author Anna James as a guest on Thursday to tell us about her latest book, "To Love and Trust Again."  She has written many contemporary romance novels and has also lectured at writing workshops. I hope you will stop by and wish her well!
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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Character Blogfest!

Just added! The Fourth Writer's Platform Building Campaign is getting started over at Rach Writes! Stop by and check it out!

In preparation of the upcoming 5 part series on characters, I am participating in the “I’m Hearing Voices- Blogfest” over at Live to  Write… Edit When Necessary.  Be sure to return here on Friday for the first post in the Writing Characters Series.

I’m Hearing Voices

Part 2

Have two characters introduce each other using only dialogue—no backstory, no internalization, just dialogue between the two. Max 250 words.

This dialogue is from my current WIP set in a small southern town in 1935. 

“Tillie! How did you get into town?”

“I had Charlie get the old model T out of the barn, of course.”

“You don’t even have a driver’s license!”

“Well, neither does Charlie and he is the one that drove us into town.”

“Tillie, I don’t care if you are my grandmother, if you have got to stop these shenanigans!  You are going to end up in serious trouble and you’re going to take that poor kid Charlie with you, he would probably jump of a bridge if you asked him to.”

“So, are you planning on throwing me into the old folk’s home?”

“I am not going to have to. The judge told you after the incident with the still, one more time in his courtroom and he will put both of y’all on probation.”

“Well, grown or not, when my granddaughter is involved in a murder, I am finding a way to get to you.”

“I am sorry for losing my temper, Tillie. I know we are all each other have and you panicked, but you’re going to end up on a chain gang and Charlie won’t graduate the eighth grade much less go to college, if you don’t stop dragging him into your schemes!  His grandmother is giving him what for over there in the corner now and  I’ll bet you a nickel, she give it to you next.”

Part 1  
Josephine Tallmadge (Joey as she is known) from my current work in progress is going to “answering questions” during this blog fest.
  My biggest vulnerability is my fear of failure, but I do not think anyone around me knows this. I am entirely capable of doing any job put forth to me and able to function calmly in crisis situations.  I believe my grandmother suspects that occasionally the weight of the world seems to wear me down.  She does not protest my occasional trips or my secret career, because she realizes her frequent escapades add to my worries.   
  Though I am able to hide my fear of failure, the one thing everyone in town does know about me is that I broke my engagement with Bart Ellis. Hardly anyone knows the truth behind the broken engagement and I will continue to try to save both of our reputations.  Most chalk it up to hurt feelings and believe I hold a silly grudge.
  My best friend does know my reason for breaking the engagement and believes my two of my strongest qualities are at war within me. I will stand beside a friend through the thickest battle or most trying of times, but if I am wronged, I do not resume relationships easily.  Forgiving is one thing but forgetting does not seem to be part of my nature.
  The engagement to Bart is irrevocably broken, no matter what anyone wishes, but I do want to marry someday.  I will not lower my standards and cannot imagine becoming the wife of any man that does not possess intelligence, compassion and the ability to demonstrate an understanding of equality. 

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