Ah, the glamorous life of a romance author! Do you picture your favorite author penning her next novel in a feather boa, wearing pink chiffon like Dame Barbara Cartland?
You’d be surprised to know the truth!
I don’t have a feather boa. One of my cats would pounce on it and eat it. There’s no pink chiffon, either, just jeans and a comfortable sweater, because I have to run to the grocery store, walk the dog, and pick up my daughter from jazz rehearsal. When I come to work in the morning, I sit down in my sensible office chair at my IKEA desk and turn on my laptop.
And then the magic happens.
This morning, my latest heroine barely escaped with her life. She was whisked out of harm’s way in the nick of time by her hero. Of course, if she hadn’t had courage and quick wits of her own, the story might have ended right there. But the next chapter will find her in the candlelit glow of an elegant ballroom, the air filled with the sibilant swish of silk gowns, the trill of a lady’s laughter as a gentleman dares to flirt, and the fragrance of flowers…
But in this world it’s time to let the dog out. Or the cat in.
Once that’s done, it’s back to write the breathtaking moment in the story when the masks come off, and the hero and heroine really see each other for the first time. No more masks, no more secrets. They recognize their perfect mate, flaws and all, and love…
has to wait for a panicked e-mail from my son, who’s away at university. Can I e-mail him that recipe for making ginger beer in the bathroom using only ginger, a lemon and an empty pop bottle? Sure. What are mothers for?
What about my villain? Is he believably evil? No spy movie bad guys need apply, thank you—the type who hold the hero at gunpoint while they drone on and on, proudly revealing their plans to blow up the world. To be a satisfying character, the villain has to be as brilliantly crafted as the hero. He thinks he’ll win, and for a moment or two, the hero and the reader must believe he just might. If not for the heroine’s timely….
The phone is ringing. Can I make eight dozen cookies for a bake sale in support of a worthy cause? Of course I can. The worthy cause is something near and dear to my heart, just like…
the need to get the hero out of danger (did I really agree to eight dozen?! Now the hero isn’t the only one in jeopardy!). As a writer, it’s my job to make the impossible not only possible, but believable. I hate being able to guess the ending of a book. Of course there’s always a happy ending in a romance, but it’s the twists and plot turns along the way that ensure the heroine is worthy of her hero and the story is worth reading. I love a happy ending …
But it’s time to walk the dog. Far from being an interruption, this is my time for thinking, planning and working out story problems. Kipper and I take a quiet path down by the Bow River. There are wild geese, deer, and a pair of bald eagles that keep watch from the same tree every day. Kipper chases his ball, and I think. It’s a very peaceful part of the day.
Then it’s time for errands, school pick-up, dinner, pet care, homework, laundry, and baking eight dozen cookies.
In bed, I read someone else’s book or I work on my own, planning what I’ll write tomorrow. I plot a difficult chapter by looking at the possibilities. If the heroine makes a particular choice, I list how it might play out within the story. If she does the opposite, then there will be other consequences. I choose the path that works best, and plan the rest of the chapter.
Am I lucky to be doing this for a living? Yes! I’ve dreamed of being a writer all my life. In the long process of learning how to write a book and getting published at last, I’ve come to believe that things happen when they do for a reason. With two kids with hectic school schedules, in multiple school bands and a dozen other activities, I couldn’t have managed a writing career and a busy family a few years ago.
Now my eldest is in university, and my youngest is in her last years of high school, and I have time to devote to my career. Part of my desire to be published stems from wanting to make my children proud, to show them dreams can come true if you do the work, keep learning, and don’t give up. That’s the real secret to luck.
Everyone has a favorite scene from a romance novel that stays in our hearts forever. What’s your most memorable scene?
Lecia has generously offered to give a copy of Secrets of a Proper Countess to two randomly chosen people who leave a comment on today's blog.
by Lecia Cornwall
Release Date: March 29, 2011
There are secrets we take to the grave...
and some we just take to bed.
Cinderella meets the Scarlet Pimpernel...
If Lady Isobel Maitland is caught even speaking to an incorrigible rogue like the Marquess of Blackwood, she stands to lose everything she holds dear. Strict rules in her husband's will ensure that if she remarries or even forms friendships her mother-in-law does not approve of, then she will never see her young son again. But one night, in a dark garden at a masquerade ball, Isobel gives in to temptation, and lets an innocent flirtation turn into seduction.
Phineas Archer, the notorious Marquess of Blackwood, may hold the reputation as the worst rake in London, but as a spy for the crown, he merely plays the role of a fool to learn the most closely guarded secrets of the ton.
As a new threat to England's success in the war against Napoleon emerges, Phineas must foil a plot to kidnap the exiled Bourbon heir to the French crown. Every clue seems to lead to his mysterious lover, but while Phineas can spot trouble a mile off, and see through the cleverest of disguises, he cannot find any trace of his elusive femme fatale. No man alive would imagine the prim widow Maitland could be his dream lover. But behind the mask and the secrets, Isobel is everything Phineas has ever desired....
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)