Rolynn: welcome to ‘Romancing the Novelist’. I’m happy to have you as my guest.
Firstly, what draws you as a reader to the romance genre?
Great question, Elaine. I love to watch a relationship build between a hero and heroine who present an unlikely match. There’s something mysterious and compelling about watching the ups and downs of couple-building that is every bit as suspenseful as the action plot. In my mind, a novel isn’t complete without the emotional tension of a romance. And by the end of the story, I want to be assured the couple is pointed in the direction of a sunset, together. Tension resolved. I’m happy!
Sounds great but what is the most difficult part of writing a love story?
Writing fresh is the biggest challenge. In this day and age, the ‘story’ has been told million’s of times. The key is to develop unique and believable characters so that the reader experiences, anew, the mysterious, compelling, growth of a relationship. The hero and heroine need to be so fully formed that the reader not only identifies with them but roots for them by the end. And I favor using humor along that rocky path, including in the bedroom. Makes the writing job a whole lot easier!
I enjoy lots of humor in books too. Is creating a book title easy for you? Tell us about the process.
Not easy at all…probably the most frustrating and time-consuming thing I do. Not only have all the good titles been taken, but it’s difficult to capture the essence of a story and entice the reader with a word or two. Most books I’ve written are born with one title and get renamed once or twice in the process. Titles for series are easier, because once we have the theme/framework, we trot out the titles. My process is simple: I list all the verbs I can think of that apply to my hero/heroine (the FLIP DICTIONARY and Thesaurus is essential); next to this list I write all the nouns I can think of. I apply all the verbs to all the nouns, manipulating the verbs and the noun ending, looking for a kicky combo that hasn’t been used a lot (says Google). That’s how I found LIE CATCHERS, the title of my next novel.
Wow, that’s a great way to come up with a unique title. Tell me, do your characters love the direction you take for them or do they have other ideas?
Great question. Fun to answer! My characters are very patient with me. I’m a pantser, you see, so they have to twiddle their thumbs a lot while my ideas drift from my head to my fingers. They never know, day-to-day what I’m going to have them say or how I’m going to make them act. My poor characters get whiplash! One person that I’m convinced should be a villain, ends up saving the day; another character who plods along being a good soldier, becomes the greedy criminal by the novel’s wrap-up. I don’t worry about this very much, even though it feels disorganized. The advantage is, my reader will be as surprised as I am about the outcome of the novel.
Any tips for writers that you'd love to share?
I learned from playing golf that if you play for the joy of the game as well as the love of being outdoors and with friends, you’ll be happier with yourself as well as your product. In golf, less tension means a better swing. The goal is to play one stroke at a time, don’t think ahead about your score for all 18 holes. Same with writing. Love the words and the characters in the scene you’re in. If you think too far ahead, you’ll be too tense to craft the scene you’re in. It’s an old saw: Enjoy the moment. Apply it to writing and you’ll see the tension fall off your shoulders and your writing improve.
Tell us about your next book.
LIE CATCHERS: Two unsolved murders will tear apart an Alaska fishing town unless a freelance writer and a Treasury agent reveal their secret obsessions.
Tip of the iceberg: PARKER BROWNE is a U.S. Treasury agent, demoted from a computer desk job to tracking financial fraud in Petersburg, Alaska. LIV HANSON, resident of the town, writes banal e-zine features under a pseudonym and struggles to bring the family salmon canning store out of the red. Her latest projects: corner the market on salmon oil capsules and write serious articles about a 1932 unsolved Petersburg murder.
Below the iceberg: Liv hides a total recall of details connected to her life, because no one likes a lie catcher. Parker’s computer and Intelligence capabilities led to the death of his girlfriend, a nightmare that taught him to keep people he loves separate from his profession.
The titanic problem: To roust the killers they must mesh their skills, putting their lives and their love in peril.
Elaine, thanks for asking such good questions and for hosting me today!
Rolynn, it has been a pleasure to have you as a guest and I truly enjoyed your answers.
“Don't miss SWOON by Rolynn Anderson! If you like an interesting cast of characters, a heavy dose of mystery and a lot of fabulous surprises, you'll be happily turning pages late into the night.ˮ
~ Brenda Novak, NYT and USA Bestselling Author of WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES
**Her dead clients won’t rest in peace.**
When the dead tell tales, Jan Solvang’s first reaction is to RUN! But then she gets caught up in their mysteries.
Jan’s a boutique funeral planner, new to risk, hired to bury a missing woman and memorialize an infamous man. Yet when she digs for clues to write their eulogies, she disturbs family secrets and unmasks killers.
Roman Keller, hard-driving documentary writer, is in complete control of his life and his stories, until he falls for Jan, a woman who trusts her dog, her faint-dreams, and her instincts more than she trusts him.
Can they make the sacrifices necessary to cement their relationship or will the mayhem caused by the dead ruin their second chance at love?