Friday 8 February 2013

Romancing with Velda Brotherton

Hi everyone. Today I’m hosting Velda Brotherton on Romancing the Novelist.

Christine, thanks so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog.

Velda, what draws you as a reader to the romance genre?

Probably what appears to draw most readers. The ideal man who knows how to please a 
woman. What woman doesn't dream of that? Then, of course, the happy endings. 
We know we're not going to be hit by something dreadful like the hero or heroine dying or 
being unhappy when all is said and done. Funny, I once had a man complain that he could 
never live up to the heroes in romances. On the other hand, I've had a lot of male readers. 
Maybe because I write hard-hitting Westerns, I don't know.

I’m so glad to hear you have lots of male readers. What’s the most difficult part of writing 
a love story?

When I first learned that my Western would sell if I turned it into a romance, I told my daughter 
that I simply couldn't imagine writing the intimate and sensual love scenes. She gave me this advice. 
Turn down the lights, put on a sexy negligee, hang up a photo of Tom Selleck 
(this was back in the 90s when he was playing Thomas Magnum) light a candle and it would 
come. It worked, but I had one result I hadn't imagined. We used printers then that produced 
the continuous paper and I accidentally set my manuscript on fire when I printed out the 
chapter. As the pages rolled out I didn't notice them touching the still-lit candle.

Glad you caught that fire before it got out of hand. By the way, is creating a book title easy 
for you?

No, it's harder than writing the book.

I’ve heard that from other writers. Tell us about the process.

I first try to find a paragraph or grouping of words in the story itself. Then I fill pages of 
possibilities from those words. Once in a while I get lucky and something comes out of the 
story itself. When it doesn't I'm in trouble. Publishers often don't want to use the first title 
and ask that we think up a few more, adding to the difficulty.  I've even done such things 
as reading poetry looking for a likely title. Once I titled a book after a song title. 
I knew the songwriter and we talked about it. The book, Fly With the Mourning Dove, 
went on to be a finalist in the WILLA Literary Awards. The full title of the song was 
Fly With the Mourning Dove, Fly With the Angels. I played it a lot while I wrote the book. 
I also collect phrases I think would make a good book title. It's a difficult process.

Those are some great ideas, Velda. Do your characters love the direction you take for 
them or do they have other ideas?

Sometimes they get so stubborn, I'll finally let them have their way wondering why they're 
doing something. It usually turns out for the best, though, occasionally I have to rein them in. 
I've been told this is a writer's subconscious, guided by what we know, think, feel. But I'm 
not so sure. My characters become so real they have a subconscious of their own as well 
as free will.

Any tips for writers that you'd love to share?

Yes, enjoy what you do. When you no longer enjoy writing, then do something else because 
your displeasure will show in your writing. This is a tough business and often we are 
disappointed in the results. It's the process of writing that gives us our main enjoyment. 
And share with other writers, spend time with them. They're the only ones who truly 
understand what you're going through. Ever notice how non-writer's eyes glaze over 
when you start talking about your writing?

Good advice. I enjoy sharing with fellow writers. Tell us about your next book.

I just finished a novella based on the life of the legendary Rose of Cimarron, 
which I plan to publish to Kindle. No title as yet.

My next book is the second in The Victorian series, which will go to The Wild Rose Press. 
Working title is Rowena's Lord. In the first book, Rowena fell in love with her sister Wilda's
 intended husband Lord Blair Prescott. With her sister out of the picture (read Wilda's Outlaw
 to learn what happened) Rowena sets about trying to win him over. Suffering from his time on 
the battlefield, Blair drinks too much and has nightmares. What today we call PTSD. 
Rowena has her work cut out for her, but she's strong and resilient and madly in love 
with Blair. The book is set in Kansas in 1879, when the English settled Victoria and 
built castles in an effort to continue to live their Victorian life in the Wild West.

Here's a blurb from Wilda's Outlaw: The Victorians

Calder Raines and his outlaw gang may be more than Wilda bargained for. 
All she wanted was to escape an unwanted
 marriage, now she finds herself in the arms of a tantalizing
 man whose warm kisses arouse a storm of forbidden desires. 

Calder never wanted to rob banks, but it's a family tradition. 
When he embraces the alluring redhead, passion conquers 
good sense and he imagines a life he cannot have. 
He vows to return her to the Lord's castle before she gets hurt.

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