My guest today is Nancy Holland, whose debut romance, Owed: One Wedding Night, was just released in paperback yesterday. I salute Nancy as a woman of determination and perseverance, for this debut novel took twenty years to make it into print. (You can read the full story of the odyssey of Owed: One Wedding Night at Nancy’s web site). A lesson we can all take from Nancy’s experience is that any dream can come true, if pursued with faith and resolve. Nancy has carefully honed the story of Owed: One Wedding Night and if you enjoy a tale of love the second time around, you will enjoy this new contemporary romance.
Please welcome Nancy Holland . . .
Q: What is your favorite romance genre, and why?
A: My favorite is contemporary romance, but I also read historical, paranormal and fantasy romance. The contemporary situations and sensibilities make more sense to me, and once the story is over I prefer not to have to worry about whether the heroine survived the birth of their children, how the servants lived, or if the dark, hidden evil will return.
Q: How do you begin thinking about a new story, with the characters or the plot?
A: Neither. I usually start with a situation (in the case of Owed: One Wedding Night, the scene at the Board meeting), then figure out what kind of people would be in that situation and how they got there, how it can get worse, and how they get themselves out. It’s the "how" questions (the plot) that gives me the most trouble.
Q: When you craft a heroine, is she mostly the real you, the you you wish you were, or is she someone totally different?
A: I’d have to say she is someone totally different, although there are always overlaps, of course. For one thing, these days she’s younger than I am and therefore has less experience of the world. Since my day job is beyond boring, she has a more exciting career, and a different history to go with it. Meredith in Owed: One Wedding Night, for instance, comes from a very wealthy background, so she has an entirely different relationship to money than I do, even if she starts the story on her last financial leg. If my heroine has children (most don’t), those children are still quite young, and my two grown children played such a hand in who I am now that makes a big difference, too. I also have one (so far unpublished) heroine who insisted she wrote popular songs, no matter how hard I tried to get her to share my fascination with classical music (see next question).
Q: Do you always have control of your characters when you are writing, or do they sometimes get away from you? If so, can you share some examples of how you got them back in line, or did you just go with the flow?
A: In addition to the heroine who refused to compose classical music in the previous question, my heroines have tended in the past to be weaker than I meant/wanted them to be. My editor, Charlotte Ledger at HarperImpulse UK, had to really work with me to make Meredith stronger, and then we had to be sure Jake was strong enough to be her perfect match. Strong heroines are vital, but otherwise I let my characters be who they are as long as it doesn’t mess up the story. (And sometimes it helps — the songwriter was right!)
Q: Many authors have said that writing the first pages of a new story are the hardest to write. Do you find that to be the case?
A: Generally, no. Since I start with a situation and that situation is usually the first scene in the book (although not in Owed: One Wedding Night), the first pages usually go pretty fast. Then I hit the "what happens next" and slow down. As I do more pre-planning of my stories, that gets to be less of a problem, however.
Q: Did your latest romance just flow as you wrote, was it a battle to capture in words, or something in between?
A: Owed: One Wedding Night is a funny book that way. The words mostly flowed as I wrote them (as much as I can remember), but I did five major rewrites on it, so in some senses it was also a battle to get it written. A mixture of the two is more normal for me.
Q: Do you have scheduled times to write, or just when you are inspired?
A: I write most days, first thing in the morning. I give the "Club 100" loop run by my local RWATM chapter a lot of credit for improving my productivity over the last five years. Also my critique/accountability group (Ellen Lindseth, Lizbeth Selvig, and Naomi Stone) and a day job that taught me to make and meet deadlines.
Q: If you were not a romance author, what other creative activities would you pursue?
A: When I got depressed before I sold and thought about giving up, my back-up plan was to learn to play the clarinet. I also used to knit, crochet, and embroider, before all these characters started demanding that I write their stories. Once up a time, I acted and danced.
Q: What do you think is the most common misperception today about romance novels held by those who have never read one?
A: The one I’m most aware of is the idea that romance novels are easy to write. NOT, as we used to say. It’s incredibly hard to hit all the right notes, especially in the shorter romances I write. I’ve written two long fantasy novels and found it easier in many ways, although all the world-building brought its own complications. Writing well is hard, no matter what you write.
Q: Will romance still be as popular a hundred years from now as it is today?
A: It’s been popular pretty much ever since reading was no longer limited to the elite, so I expect it will continue to be popular indefinitely into the future. Love and happy endings will never to out of style.
Owed: One Wedding Night Blurb
Jake Carlyle always gets what he wants…especially when it comes to his runaway bride. To save her family’s business, determined Madison Ellsworth must turn to Jake Carlyle, her ex- lover and the man she left standing at the altar. Jake eventually agrees to help, but on one condition — he gets what he’s owed. His wedding night. Still in love with Jake, Madison agrees, but once the passionate honeymoon is over, she can’t help but wonder if their marriage is based on convenience, love — or revenge. As they deal with the failing business, Madison and Jake soon learn that high-stakes games played in the boardroom inevitably spill over into the bedroom!
Buy Links for Owed: One Wedding Night:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/owed-nancy-holland/1121754308?ean=9780008127374
Connect with Nancy online at: