Tag Archives: Historical Romance

Member Spotlight: Meet Historical Romance Writer Ellise Weaver

Posted by October 7th, 2013

Ellise_weaver_authorEllise Weaver is one tough lady: five years ago, after a bout of breast cancer, she found her calling as a writer. Since then, she’s been telling stories about love set in the Victorian age, some of which she recently self-published. We’re catching up with the Idaho writer to see how the whole process has been going–how she’s written and marketed her books–as well as what she has in the works for the future.

NG: It’s very nice to have you on Book Country, Ellise! What have you been up to lately–both writing-wise and life-wise?

EW: In three months, I published three volumes of my book, THE GOVERNESS. Agonizing and intense as it was, it was also liberating and invigorating. I had set a goal to have the entire book published by the end of summer 2013. In order to accomplish this goal, I split the book into three volumes and tackled one per month.

Life has become rather busy with family and their needs, especially since my husband’s heart attack in August. He’s doing well, but it’s put a stop to any writing for right now. I’m still planning on releasing PIRATE BRIDE next spring.

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Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Alexandria Brim

Posted by June 3rd, 2013

Book Country Member Spotlight Q&A

“When I was younger, I’d read about history and feel as if it always happened somewhere else.”

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Alexandria Brim is a historical fiction writer from Staten Island. She combines her love for history and fiction into one with her writing. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) as well as Hearts Through History, a subgroup devoted to those who write historical romances. She also joined the Summer Writer’s Club challenge. 

 

 

Nevena: Welcome to the spotlight, Alexandria. Why do you write?

Alexandria: And we start with a philosophical question! Just kidding. I tell people it’s a compulsion because it really is. Twitchy fingers urging to hold a pen or fly across a keyboard, stories pouring forth. Characters to create, worlds to build, plots to agonize over. It’s fun, it’s frustrating, but in the end, it’s what I do.

Nevena: I love your writer’s manifesto! But how do you fit writing into your life?

Alexandria
: I try to fit it in whenever I can, usually late at night—thank goodness for insomnia. When I’m busy, I sometimes carry a notebook with me. Last year at AnimeNext, a convention dedicated to all things anime and manga, I spent some time sitting on the floor writing while a few friends made some purchases. My friends and I had cosplayed, so people wanted pictures. Thankfully, I had dressed as a child character, so no one cared that I took pictures on my knees. This way I could keep writing until the last possible moment, and then resume the minute they walked away. Continue reading

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Meet Agent Deidre Knight

Posted by April 3rd, 2013

5 Questions with Kerry Schafer’s Agent

deidre_knight_photo_sm4“Out of excitement, writers pull the trigger too soon, and send a work out before it’s as sharp as it possibly can be.”

Deidre Knight is an accomplished literary agent and the founder of The Knight Agency. The agency boasts more than 2,000 titles sold to major and independent publishers, many of which have become bestsellers and received numerous awards. Deidre’s main focus as an agent is on romance and women’s fiction. 

Deidre represents Book Country member Kerry Schafer, whose sequel to BetweenWakeworld, comes out next year on February 14th. Last week, I chatted with Deidre to delve into her publishing expertise and get caught up on the most recent news about Kerry.

Nevena: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us, Deidre. Tell us, why did you become an agent? And how has agenting changed during your tenure?

Deidre: Books were always a huge part of my life growing up, as is typically the case for almost anyone in the publishing and writing professions. I began writing at age ten, when an essay of mine was published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After studying Art History and English in college, I wound up working in the film and television business, but those crazy hours began to take their toll. So I eventually put my love of both sales/marketing and books to use by opening The Knight Agency.

I often tell people that agents are that quirky blend of both introvert and extrovert.  We have to love digging in to read and edit, but it’s also imperative that we connect with people on many levels—both with editors when selling a project or author, and in that intimate one-on-one client/agent relationship. That’s one reason why sometimes I have a very hard time finding time to actually *read*: I can get caught up in the more extroverted part of my job, like social media, or time on the phone with editors, or working closely with clients.

Needless to say our profession has changed a lot in the past seventeen years. In many ways, it was a more static profession when I first started, with a pretty set “track” to run on as an agent, at least in terms of working to be successful as possible. Now, I think the best agents must be as agile as possible, constantly making adjustments as the industry and the world around us change rapidly. To me, that just makes it a very exciting and dynamic time to do my job.  In the past, if I couldn’t sell a project to a major NYC publisher, or even to a more midsize or niche publisher, that project was something of a heartbreak for me. I’d been the work’s champion, but nobody would experience the magic that I had on the page. Now, of course, if I can’t sell a book to a major publisher, then there are all sorts of possibilities from small digital press to self-publishing to serializing the work…it’s all about being as creative as possible in strategizing what’s best for the author.

Nevena: So what kind of books are you looking for at the moment? What’s the one you wish would magically land on your doorstep?

Deidre: I am eagerly hunting for new clients right now, actually, largely in the romance and erotica area. Probably my first “shopping” choice would be a high concept single title romance—contemporary with a strong community. I won’t say “backdrop” of community because I personally want that world to be another character on the page, driving the action and the people we meet. I also love big historical romance with a big concept that links the series (family members, spinster friends, you name it!), especially series set in Victorian and Regency eras. I have a great love of women’s fiction with romantic elements, something with a ton of heart, emotion, and humor.

Nevena: I hope the Book Country members are taking notes! Deidre, you represent Kerry Schafer, whose book Between was discovered on the site. Kerry made her debut at #22 in the Bookscan Fantasy bestseller list, which is amazing! What drew you to the project? What’s next for Kerry?

Deidre: Kerry has a rare gift, especially when it comes to me as a reader. I started reading in the middle of a work morning, expecting to put the work down and move on down my “to do” list that day. Instead, I didn’t stop reading until I was about a third of the way into the book. She’s got a terrific gift for weaving a total world, one that sweeps you away in its freshness and magic. She was a truly wonderful find for me as a reader, not just as an agent. At the moment, she’s working on the next book in that series, Wakeworld. I can’t wait to see how things progress for these characters!

Nevena: Me too! Kerry crafted such a captivating world. You mentioned before that you found another writer on Book Country. How do you use the site to find new talent?

Deidre: I did sign on another author who I found on Book Country! I am shopping her work now, and will hopefully have good news to report soon. I use the site by reading what’s on there and if something really draws me in, then I ask to see more if it’s available. I’ve always marveled at the high-quality level of talent I find on the Book Country site and am itching to pay another visit soon.

Nevena: Thank you, Deidre. In your experience, what’s one common mistake that newbie writers make in submissions that our members should be mindful of? What parting words of advice do you have for our members?

Deidre: The biggest problem I see in submissions from newer authors is lack of editing and revision. Out of excitement, they pull the trigger too soon, and send a work out before it’s as sharp as it possibly can be. And as a writer myself, I certainly get that. The process of literary creation is so solitary, and in our ultra-connected world of social media and digitized everything, the act of isolated creation is more alien than ever. That said, to truly create the very best book possible really does require a certain amount of time, alone with the hands to the keyboard.

Now, the great thing about Book Country is that it conquers some of that isolation by allowing for feedback and interaction as part of the creative process. But writers should be sure that they are truly receptive to feedback and editing, not simply eager to hear how marvelous they are. Being an author is all about process, and always looking for ways to improve and grow; the day that ends, a writer’s work begins to grow stale.

Nevena: Thank you so much for your words of wisdom! I’m so glad you could join us.

Keep up with Deidre Knight on Twitter at @DeidreKnight. Learn more about her and The Knight Agency at the agency’s website. We recommend the agency’s newsletter to all budding writers! Deidre is also a New York Times bestselling author of paranormal romance novels. Visit her author website.

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Meet Writer Tabetha Waite

Posted by April 1st, 2013

Book Country Member Q&A

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“I like finishing a book on a smile, because I don’t feel we can do it enough.” –Tabetha Waite

Tabetha Waite is a romance writer and Midwestern gal from Cairo, Missouri. Her historical romance The Lustful Spy has garnered many badges on Book Country, and with good reason. It’s a riveting romp through the streets of Victorian London, in which a spinster and a duke are swept into an opium conspiracy…and fall for each other, of course. In addition to being a writer and an avid reader (some of her favorite writers include Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and modern authors such as Sabrina Jeffries, Candace Camp, Lisa Kleypas and Andrea Kane), Tabetha is into doll collecting and antiquing, which doesn’t surprise me considering her love of historicals! 

In Tabetha’s words, she’s “just a simple person with a normal life, who likes to live her adventures through her keyboard.”

Nevena: I’m so glad you were able to join us, Tabetha. Let’s begin with the basics: when did you start writing?

Tabetha: I was nine years old. I remember this because my fourth grade teacher said she liked reading my stories and I thought, “Hey, there might be something to this!” After that, I knew the only thing I wanted to do was become an author. I started out just by putting pen to paper, then moved on to an ancient typewriter from the ‘30s, to a word processor, then finally, my computer!

Nevena: So how do you fit writing into your life?

Tabetha: I wrote a lot when I was younger. I was shy and bullied at school; that gave lots of fuel to my imagination. I took a brief break in my later teens, but then picked it up again in my mid-twenties. I really buckled down in my thirties in order to try and fulfill my goal of being published. Being a stay-at-home mom is a big plus. When the kids go to school, I have plenty of uninterrupted time to stare at the screen.

Nevena: What draws you to romance as a reader and a writer?

Tabetha: Oh, a happy ending, of course! Honestly, that’s the key to it for me. I like finishing a book on a smile, because I don’t feel we can do it enough. 🙂

Nevena: I love that. In The Lustful Spy, your big project at the moment, there’s both intrigue and love, all against the backdrop of The Opium Wars. Tell us more about the novel!

Tabetha
: Most of my favorite romance novels have an air of mystery, and if one of the characters is a spy, or has a secret identity, it grabs me every time, so that’s kind of what I was shooting for with The Lustful Spy. I wanted to catch the reader’s attention with something unique, and I hadn’t come across many stories about this particular area of history.

Nevena: So why historical romance? What’s the allure of Victorian England for you?

Tabetha: The first romance novels I ever read were Harlequins in high school. I enjoyed how the main characters overcame personal obstacles to be with the one they loved. As a fan of history, I started checking out books that dealt with the Revolutionary and Civil Wars before coming acrossMidnight Bride by Kathleen Drymon. Still one of my favorite books, it takes place in America, but the main hero is an English Lord. From there, I started reading stories that took place in London and found the aristocracy, with their rigid rules and society flair, rather fascinating. I enjoy the Regency time period as well, but there is just something about Queen Victoria and her own love story with Albert that draws me to that era.

Nevena: I understand your fascination: I’m a big Victorian gal myself! What kind of research do you do to infuse a sense of historical accuracy in your work?

Tabetha: The Internet is a wonderful resource that wasn’t available to me when I first started writing. It’s great to be able to double check a particular fact when I’m in the middle of a chapter, without having to put the manuscript on pause and drive to the local library, though I have been known to haunt it on occasion! If I find a non-fiction book that looks like it might have some good information, I usually grab it. I also like watching documentaries or period movies, because of certain historical tidbits that have come in handy.

Nevena: What’s your biggest personal writing challenge? And what keeps you going?

Tabetha: My biggest challenge used to be finishing a book, but after completing four manuscripts to date—The Lustful Spy included—I’ve found that now it’s just the hope of standing out and being given a chance to be heard. I stay motivated, because I feel I’ve grown in my writing and keep improving, and after all this time I’ve invested, why quit now?

Nevena: You go, girl! What’s your dream as a writer?

Tabetha: I would like to say that I hope to be as big as Stephen King or Nora Roberts someday, but that wouldn’t have to happen! Sure, it would be great to have a movie made from one of my novels, but I would feel I’ve accomplished my goals just to see my name in print, even if it ends up on the clearance rack!

Nevena: I can’t help but ask, why are you a Book Country member?

Tabetha: The Book Country community has been an extremely beneficial resource for me, and I will be forever grateful for it. Until your site came along, I was too scared to show my work to anyone, fearing that what I had longed to achieve wasn’t really within my reach. I needed that self-confidence boost to gain the proper amount of courage to say, “You know what? I CAN do this—and I WILL.” Without the critiques and comments, I would never have made it this far. So, thank you!

Nevena: You’re so sweet! Thank YOU for being part of the community. Is there anything else you want to share with our members?

Tabetha: I can’t read OR write without some sort of music on to set the mood for a particular scene. Also, I’d like to branch out and write a children’s series someday, and perhaps work in another romance genre. I’ve actually been working on a book called The Secrets of Shadows, which is my attempt at a gothic/paranormal romance, so we’ll see how it goes. But my first love will always be the historicals!

Nevena: Thanks for joining me, Tabetha! I hope you get your happy ending soon :).

Connect with Tabetha on Book Country and befriend her on Facebook.

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Meet Writer Noelle Pierce

Posted by March 4th, 2013

Book Country Member Spotlight Q&A

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“I can’t imagine not writing.” —Noelle Pierce

Noelle Pierce is a romance writer and psychology professor based in Atlanta. Among her numerous Book Country badges is the prestigious “founding badge”: she joined Book Country in 2011 as a beta-fish. Since then, she’s regaled us with steamy romances and thoughtful discussion contributions. In addition to writing, she loves astronomy (constellations inspire her historical romance series), book cover design, and shoe shopping.

I talked to Noelle about her achievements and struggles as a writer, the romance genre, and the urban fantasy project she’s currently working on.

Nevena: When did you start writing? What inspires you to continue to do so?

Noelle: I’ve always told stories, and adored reading, but never considered writing until 2009 when a story about twins in Regency England came to me. My husband encouraged me to write it, and it was like a secret chamber in my head opened. Now I can’t keep up with all the stories that come to me. Almost four years later, I can’t imagine not writing.

Nevena: That’s awesome. So how do you fit writing into your life? Do you have a day job?

Noelle: My day job plays into my writing well: I’m a part-time, online psychology professor. I can stay up late, or write after the kids go to school. Depends on when my muse decides to cooperate.

Nevena: You’ve written several romance books. What draws you to the genre?

Noelle: I fell in love with fairy tales, and by the time I was eight, I’d read all ofGrimm’s Fairy Tales so much the pages started to fall out. When I was fourteen, I stumbled upon Johanna Lindsey’s books, and never looked back. (And I credit her with my ability to pass World History in high school.) I occasionally read other genres, but for every thriller or suspense or young adult, I read fifteen-twenty romance novels.

Nevena: Chemistry is crucial to crafting a romance novel. Share your writing strategies with us! Do you have a recipe?

Noelle: I wish! My characters talk to me a lot, and tell me what they all about. I’d like to say I plan how well the heroes and heroines match up, but it isn’t always conscious. When it is, I draw on my background in psychology to look at the characters’ needs. Personalities fascinate me, and I love to analyze what draws people together.

Nevena: Very interesting. You write romance, but you recently been exploring other genres. How does your “writerly identity” transform across genres?

Noelle: The majority of what I write has strong romantic elements, no matter the genre. I guess years of reading romance have impacted how I see every story. My voice is another thing that seems to translate across the genres. I’ve got a light, humorous tone to all of my stories.

Nevena: What are you currently working on?

Noelle: My current obsession is an urban fantasy based on Purgatory, with the working title Pride and Purgatory. There are angels and demons and gods, but they are all secondary. The main characters work in Purgatory, escorting souls to one of the seven gates of Heaven or to one of the seven rings of Hell.

Nevena: Sounds interesting. What’s the biggest challenge you had in your writing? How did you overcome it?

Noelle: Just one challenge? I’d have to say editing. I hate editing because I’m more right-brained, while editing takes more left-brain skills. I adore plotting and drafting—the creative side. During the editing phase, I churn out a lot of art (Why no! It not procrastination at all!), so my creativity does feel stifled. Once my creative side is satisfied, I can sit down and look at edits.

Nevena: Why are you a Book Country member? How has it helped you grow as a writer?

Noelle: I’d been a member of another site for writers, but there weren’t a lot of genre romance writers there, so I got a lot of critiques based on rules for other genres or literary fiction. I learned a hellova lot about writing there, but when I saw Colleen tweet about looking for beta users for a community where genre romance would be a focus, I jumped on it. Immediately, I noticed a difference in the types of critiques I was getting—from people who read widely in the genre. The discussion forum on Book Country is another great source of information.

Nevena: I’m happy it’s helpful. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Noelle: “Never think you’re done learning about writing.” While I’ve learned a lot in the last four years, I am always reading blogs and books about writing to find new techniques.

Nevena: What achievements are you most proud of as a writer?

Noelle: First and foremost: finishing a book. I have hobby ADHD, so the fact that I’ve kept with writing as long as I have is a huge achievement, according to my husband. *grin*

Second, after submitting my writing to a number of contests for a couple of years, I finaled in one—my own romance writers’ chapter contest—The Maggie Award for Excellence. My paranormal romance Lightstorm placed second!

Nevena: Way to go, Noelle! Is there anything else you want the community to know about you?

Noelle: The community has opened up a lot of doors for me to pursue my other love: art. I’ve done cover art, Facebook and Twitter backgrounds, and even logos/icons for author branding.

Also, I love shoes. A lot. It’s a fetish, and if DSW had a credit card, I’d be in deeper debt from that than from my graduate student loans.

As far as writing goes, I like to take myths and rework them into my stories.

Keep up with Noelle at her website and follow her on Twitter @noellepierce. Connect with her on Book Country.

 

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