My good friend Rachael Johns has tagged me in the writing process blog chain. The idea is that writers answer four questions about their process (something I *always* find interesting) and then each writers tag another three writers. Rachael is fully aware of how useless I am at blog chains, and so I have permission to do the: If you haven’t already been tagged, consider yourself tagged! thing. Done
But anyway! Thank you Rach for tagging me! You can read Rachael’s writing process blog here. Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner by day, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer by night. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Carina Press and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website at www.rachaeljohns.com or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RachaelJohnsRomance.
Now here are my answers:
What am I working on?
After a year’s maternity leave, I’m excited to finally be writing again! I’m working on my fifth book for Harlequin, and it has a typically creative working title “Ivy and Angus”. This book features a billionaire heroine, an injured SAS soldier and a very unexpected pregnancy. This will be my first “sexy” book for Harlequin, as the KISS guidelines have changed and the sweeter authors have been asked to heat things up a bit. So this will be a big change for me, as up to now my books have always faded to black. I suspect red wine may be involved (on my part!).
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I could say that my books offer a fresh twist on the typical Harlequin category romance – and it would be true – but I’m certainly not alone in doing that. The Harlequin KISS line has brought together a group of authors that *all* do that – and in fact I think even in the most traditional Harlequin lines there are authors doing amazing, interesting things. So yes, I do make an effort to do the unexpected – a depressed hero, an infertile heroine (with no miracle baby), a failed Olympic swimmer… but I think what really makes my books different is my voice. I feel my voice is fun and modern, but also real, and that is very important to me. Equally important is to always write heroines that do not need their heroes, financially or otherwise. I like my heroines to have strong goals and dreams, and to never, ever need to be saved.
Why do I write what I do?
Because I LOVE romance novels. I read romance almost exclusively – it is my escape, my treat to myself and it is FABULOUS. There was never anything else I would want to write. I write category romance as many years ago I thought writing category would be “easier”. Hahahahaha! But I love the format and the exclusive focus on the hero and heroine. Having said that, 2014 is my “year of the single title” as I really want to have a go at writing a longer story. Although I have no intention to stop writing category any time soon, it is my first love.
How does my writing process work?
I used to start with a “meet cute” and go from there, but I’ve now learnt that that approach is a total disaster for me. So now I start with a technique shared with me by Rachel Bailey. I suspect I’ve bastardized her wonderful process beyond recognition, but basically I start with my two characters, and then a dot point list of conflicts. They can be really simple conflicts (that start the book, eg an external conflict like a disagreement), through to the really serious internal conflicts that drive the story. I make sure I have lots of dot points, as you need a lot of conflict to make a story. I now also determine the black moment prior to starting to write, as I need something to write towards.