My guest today is Emily Bryan. According to Booklist, she writes “Wickedly witty historical romance!” First published in May 2006, her 6th title, VEXING THE VISCOUNT, is on the shelves now. For the interview today, my words will be in bold and Emily in italics.
Tell us more about yourself, Emily! Readers love to know about the authors, and this would give you the chance to make them feel close to you!
First, thanks for having me here today, Diana. I’m very much like everyone else. I have a DH and family I love, two dogs who act as my writing assistants (you can see us in action at http://www.emilybryan.com/WritingSpace.htm), a mortgage, a ravenous reading habit, and a work history as varied as a patchwork quilt. The thing that makes me different is the answer to your second question.
If you have 2 hours free time tonight, what would you rather do? Given two hours of free time, I will sit down with my laptop and make things up.
Why? Because I’m a writer and that’s how I make sense of the world.
What kind of books do you love to read? My reading tastes are very eclectic. I read romance of almost all sub-genres, plus thrillers, mysteries, historicals and Christian fiction.
Why? Because I’m terminally curious and always looking for a good story.
What type of music do you enjoy relaxing to? I hold a vocal music degree, so classical music is a serious passion of mine, especially opera. But I also enjoy Santana, Josh Groban and Alicia Keys.
What is your stress buster? Cruising. I’d rather be on a cruise ship, or remembering being on one, than just about anywhere.
What is your favorite food? Ice cream. If there was no ice cream in the world, I would be a size 6!
Describe yourself in one word. Curious
What’s your biggest regret in life? I wish I’d started writing sooner.
What is the most adventurous thing you've ever done? Wow, it’s hard to choose because I’ve had so many wonderful experiences.
~ sung at Carnegie Hall.
~ driven a snowmachine across Yellowstone Park without freezing anything important off.
~ flown in a Cessna 182 from Seattle to Kansas City and lived to tell the tale.
~ been surprised by a barracuda while snorkeling in the Caribbean.
~ lost track of how many times I’ve been to Europe.
~ ridden an elephant. (not recommended. Very bony spine!)
~ worked one summer on an archeological dig in Greenland.
~ learned to surf in Honolulu.
Ok, now one of those things is a bald-faced lie. (Told you I like to make things up!) If you want to make a guess about which one I haven’t done in a comment, I’ll ‘fess up if you’re right.
How would readers find out more about you? Please visit my website at www.emilybryan.com and my blog emilybryan.blogspot.com
When did you write your first book? I started writing in 2001. After several fits and starts, I finished my first marketable manuscript in 2003. It was MAIDENSONG, a Viking romance, and was published by Leisure Books in May 2006 under the name Diana Groe.
How long did it take you to write it? I wrote it in about 6 months, but if you consider that I had to write two other 400 page manuscripts in order to learn how to write, it took about 2 ½ years.
Did you encounter any obstacles in writing? I had to understand reader expectations for the romance genre. Joining RWA put me on the right path in that regard. If you are an aspiring writer, joining that fine organization and attending the local meetings are the best advice I can give you.
What do you think about editing?
I’m very grateful for my editor’s input. Frequently I’m too close to the work. My editor can see things I’d miss. That said, the last manuscript I turned in (MY LADY BELOW STAIRS, a novella in the upcoming holiday anthology A CHRISTMAS BALL due out September 29th!) had virtually no revisions. I love it when a story comes together!
Where and when do you write? If you checked the pic of my dog assistants on my website, you already know I write in a recliner with my computer on my lap and a puppy at each hip. Sounds lazy, but it gets the job done.
How do you write? I’m a quasi-plotting pantser. My characters come to me first. They spend about a month whispering their secrets to me. Then I put together a working synopsis and stick it in a drawer. At that point, I’m off to the races. I write linearly from beginning to end. If I get stuck, I consult the roadmap (the synopsis).
Maybe you can give us an example with one of your books. Oh, boy! You caught me. I’m going off the reservation for my current WIP, STROKE OF GENIUS. I sold this one on the basis of the title and a two paragraph blurb. I don’t have a synopsis. I’m experimenting with free pantsing again. I think it’s important to mix things up and try new things to keep the process fresh.
What books can you recommend to aspiring writers to improve on style, character development, plot, structure, dialogue, etc? I have a bibliography listed on my website at Write Stuff .
What is your must-have book for writing? The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
What is your advice to aspiring writers? Creativity is a muscle. Write every day.
What genre(s) do you write? I write light-hearted, sexy historical romance because that’s my favorite type to read.
Among those that you've written, which is your favorite book and why?
That’s like asking a mother which is her favorite child. I love them all. They all gave me fits. Now that they’re out on their own in the big bad world, I’m proud of each one.
Where do you get your ideas? Do you jot them down in a notebook, in case you forgot? Ideas are everywhere. You can pluck them out of the air. But if I get stuck, just getting out and about, observing people and how they interact, will often jumpstart me. Writers are keenly observant. We watch for not only what’s happening, but why.
I wish I was organized enough to jot ideas down. I guess I figure if the idea is a good one, it will come again. When I studied music history, I learned that the composer Verdi was so lazy if he dropped a sheet of manuscript music, he’d rewrite it rather than bend over to pick it up. Guess I’m a little like that with ideas.
Which of your books feature your family/friends, etc? What characters are modeled after them? Why? I’ve never modeled any characters completely on a single person. Making things up is the fun part, you know. However, some of the things that have come out my hero’s mouths first came out of my DH’s or my dad’s. The secondary character Isabella, an aging courtesan, who appears in both PLEASURING THE PIRATE and VEXING THE VISCOUNT reminds me a little of my mother. (Stop that! I mean it in a good way!) Isabella is clever and entertaining, like my mother, and has my mom’s bone-deep beauty. (Of course, my mother was never a courtesan, but if she had been, she’d have been a top-tier high flyer!)
Which of your heroes/heroines is most similar to you? Why? I guess they all have a little piece of me, or of what I’d like to be, since they all came from my imagination. None of them spend their days wedged into a recliner between two dogs with a laptop computer, so I can’t say I’ve written one terribly like me.
Who is your strongest/sexiest/most lovable/hottest hero/heroine? Why? I love them all, but I had great fun writing Lucian Beaumont, the hero in VEXING THE VISCOUNT. Lucian is a virgin at the beginning of the story, but he’s eager to learn and a very quick study. When Daisy, the heroine, masquerades as a French courtesan and offers to teach him, well, those scenes were a riot because all Daisy knew was what she’d read in a real courtesan’s memoirs.
They have a wonderful time trying to figure it all out together. Well, actually, several wonderful times.
Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters are moving it in another direction? What did you do in such a situation?
Absolutely, you must follow your characters. Romance is character-driven fiction. If they are forced into a plot, the writer becomes a puppeteer. Romance is more about ‘why’ than ‘what’, more concerned with ‘who’ than ‘how.’
Tell us more about your current release VEXING THE VISCOUNT (Leisure Books http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Vexing-the-Viscount/Emily-Bryan/e/9780843961348/?itm=1
Vexing the Viscount is part treasure hunt, part mystery, part naughty discovery of some pretty steamy sexuality and part comedy routine. But mostly it’s the journey from one heart to another. It’s how Daisy and Lucian fall in love and commit to each other—while uncovering an ancient Roman treasure, undoing a Jacobite plot, and making very practical use of a courtesan’s memoirs.
Any new projects, work in progress?
Oh, yes! My next release is coming September 29th! It’s a novella, my first foray into this shorter format, as part of A CHRISTMAS BALL—an anthology with USA Today BestSeller Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson.
All our characters are in attendance at the same Christmas ball, and YOU are invited too. There is an excerpt on my website http://www.emilybryan.com/ of this story and all my others. A CHRISTMAS BALL (Leisure Books 09/09) is available for pre-order now at http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Ball-Jennifer-Ashley/dp/084396250X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1244148855&sr=1-1
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my current love, my new WIP- STROKE OF GENIUS (Leisure Books, summer 2010). A Bostonian heiress takes romantic advice from a brilliant, though cynical, artist on how best to snag a titled husband. Sparks fly when he realizes he’d rather be the object of her affection than her tutor.
I’m doing a really fun contest right now that will allow one of my readers to name an important character in this story. The winner of the contest will receive my entire backlist, plus a thank you in the acknowledgment page of STROKE OF GENIUS. For complete details on how to enter please visit http://www.emilybryan.com/Name%20A%20Character%20Entries.htm
Thank you for having me today, Diana. I’d like to offer a signed copy of PLEASURING THE PIRATE (I’ve been told it’s a great beach read!) to one lucky person who leaves a comment or question here on your blog today. Good luck and I hope to hear from YOU!
Be sure to enter my STROKE OF GENIUS Name a Character Contest This lovely badge is courtesy of BookReviewsByBobbie