Today, we have romance author Becky Lower visiting with us. Thanks for stopping by, Becky! I have lots of questions for you – let’s get to them. First of all, please tell our readers three interesting things about you that they might not know.
I am single and have never been married…I liked to play too much to settle down.I know how to handle a chain saw.
I am an amateur interior decorator.
Wow~ Those are certainly interesting facts! I almost need to ask about all three, but I’ll try to stay focused. *smile* So tell me what inspired you to write your first book?
It was the fulfillment of a life-long ambition. I had just finished orchestrating a designer show-house as a fundraiser for a local arts council. I worked with fourteen different designers who each took a room and put his/her spin on it. I was fascinated by the process, so I decided to write a book about a woman who takes on an old Victorian home and renovates it to be her showroom and living quarters. After a few attempts to interest an editor, I shoved it under the bed and moved on.
Do you feel you have a specific writing style or genre?
With my historical novels, I like to take ordinary people and plunk them into events that were happening in their day--some big, like the wagon train migration, some small, like the introduction of the silk top hat and the subsequent collapse of the beaver pelt industry. Then, after I surround my characters with these events, I consider how they would react by asking myself how I would respond if placed in the same situation.
If I ran into a young black woman with a baby in an alley, and knew she was being tailed by slave mongers who wanted to return her to her plantation, would I be able to turn my back on her and walk away? Then, I transfer my response to that of my character.
I like to take a break from the heavy research involved in writing historicals by having a line of contemporary books. The baby-boomers of this world are about to rebel against every heroine being in her twenties, so my books are about the over-40 woman who is ready to move into a new phase of her life. The first one, Blame It On The Brontes, will be released in the spring by Soul Mate Publishing.
How do you come up with your titles?The first book in the historical series, The Reluctant Debutante, was a collaborative effort between me and my best friend. When Crimson said they needed a better title for it, she and I just kept bouncing ideas off one another and came up with the title. The very next day, another person, from my critique group, suggested the very same title, so I figured it was a perfect choice. The Abolitionist's Secret was my own creation -- not the first title I had for the book, but I think it fits both Crimson's style and the book. For the contemporary, I had the title banging around in my head for a couple years, and tried several times to write a story connected to it, but could never get it to gel until I created the fractious and contentious Bronson sisters.
Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from all over the place. The Cotillion series was prompted by my love for Regencies, but I didn't want to have to learn about English royalty. Too time-consuming. I was watching ice skating on television one night, and the commentator was filling in the backstory on one of the lovely young ladies. He said she was planning her debutante ball, which would take place at the end of her skating season. That got me to thinking about the Debutante balls as part of American culture, and the series was on its way.For my contemporary book, my sister drug me to a class on jewelry-making using sea glass, or ‘beach glass’, as it's referred to in Ohio. The instructor told us a poignant story about her love of collecting the glass and how it bound her family together, and I was inspired -- not to make jewelry but to write about how sea glass could bind a family together.
Do you mind telling us what book you’re reading now? What rating would you give it?
I'm struggling to get through Gone Girl right now. As my sister says, I should read these best-sellers to see what they're doing right, but I am to the point where I'm just skimming through it and can't wait for it to end. The writing is fine, but I don't care enough about either character to want to know if they live or die. I felt the same way about Fifty Shades of Grey. Hated the book, and only got one-third of the way through the first one before I gave up on it. So, to answer my sister's question of what these authors are doing right, I'd have to say they are hiring great publicists.
What are your current projects? Can you share a little of that here?
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Take classes on craft, enter contests, and join a critique group. Don't be afraid to let others take a look at what you're working on. Oh, and develop a thick skin.
Do you write an outline before every book ? Are you a plotter or a pantser?I started off being a full-blown pantser, but I kept painting my characters into corners from which there was no escape. I kept hearing about Blake Snyder's book on plotting called Save The Cat. It has a simple, 15-beat outline, where you fill in the major events in your story. It's a very loose outline, but it allowed me to work the kinks out before I began to put words on the screen. I used it for the first time in my story about Basil. I outlined it and then put the outline away. Didn't look at it once as I wrote. But because I had the major points already in my head, I was able to write quickly, and get it done. I went back after I was finished and compared the outline to the actual story, and it was really close. So, I'll probably be a loose plotter from now on. I kind of like that moniker.
Okay, Becky, if you were marooned on a deserted island and could have only one of your heroes with you, which one would you choose and why?Sigh. It would have to be Joseph, the hero from my first book in the Cotillion series. When I was a teenager, I dreamed about finding a strong, tall, muscle-bound Indian in my backyard and falling in love. Obviously, since I'm still single, it hasn't happened yet. And now that I've created my ideal man in Joseph, something tells me it's not ever going to happen.
Okay, now for some fun stuff. Please fill in the blanks:I love pizza with pepperoni and bacon--not the Canadian kind but real, cholesterol-laden bacon.
I'm always ready for a night at the movies.
When I'm alone, I cuddle with my dog by the fire.
You'd never be able to tell, but I would love to be able to tap dance.If I had a halo it would be bent.
If I could go back in time I'd be an outlaw.I can never grow up because that would be boring.
Finally, where can fans find you?
To order the book: Keep checking Amazon.com. The Abolitionist's Secret should be available for pre-orders by November 26.
Thanks so much for being with us, Becky! Good luck to you and many sales!
Okay, now it's YOUR turn to ask Becky anything you want! Use the comment section and have fun! *smile*