Jen: When our reviewer Jennifer D. found out Emily Bryan was making a stop on her blog tour here at Book Talk, she asked if she could do the interview. So here we go with a guest interviewer for our promo guest.
Jennifer D: Emily, will you please share a short bio with us?
Emily: Sure. I was born in Missouri, grew up in Des Moines, and graduated from University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Music. I sang professional opera for a while, then taught, directed choirs, sold real estate to put away money for my daughters’ college tuition and finally worked as a banker while I wrote nights and weekends. Now, (Thank you, God) I write full-time. My DH and I have lived in 9 different states, 4 time zones. We love to travel. No experience is ever wasted on a writer. I use it all.
Jennifer D: Tell us about Vexing the Viscount and where it’s available.
Emily: This is always hard. I was raised in the Midwest where talking too much about yourself or your accomplishments is considered . . . well, very un-Midwestern. But I can let another Midwesterner do it for me. Here’s what John Charles of Booklist and the Chicago Tribune says about Vexing the Viscount:
“Lucian Beaumont, Viscount Rutland, had to be the most stubborn man in England. Even though Daisy Drake has both the funds and the expertise he needs to find a long-lost Roman treasure, the infuriating man refuses to accept her help. But when Daisy attends a masquerade disguised as notorious courtesan Blanche La Tour, she discovers Blanche is the one woman Lucian can’t resist. So “Blanche” offers Lucian the money he needs if he will accept her “partner” as part of his excavation team. What Lucian doesn’t know but we do is who this new partner is. A refreshingly unconventional hero and heroine, an intriguingly different historical setting, and a surfeit of sizzling sexual chemistry all fall neatly into place in Bryan’s latest splendidly sexy romance.”
There. That didn’t hurt a bit!
Vexing the Viscount is in stores NOW! And is also available at :
Jennifer D.: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Emily: I started writing in 2001 after my kids were grown. After a few fits and starts (and a manuscript and three-quarters that will forever gather dustbunnies under the bed) I wrote Maidensong, which sold in June of 2005. It came out in May 2006 under my real name, Diana Groe. My agent called with the news of the offer and to be honest, it seemed so surreal, I didn’t even know whether to be excited or pinch myself!
Jennifer D.: How do you approach your writing? Do you follow a certain flow you go with, or do you just see where the pen takes you? Do you have a writing routine?
Emily: I write full time now, so my page count goal is always 10 pages once I’m into the story. Right now I’m at the beginning stage so I’m doing more daydreaming, more listening to my characters. If you’d like to meet my newest hero (still in the formative stage) please visit http://emilybryan.blogspot.com/2009/03/meeting-new-hero.html for a sneak peek.
I’ve chosen my music for this tale. I always listen to the same music the entire time. It becomes the soundtrack for my story and sets me up for an autonomic writing response. This is especially useful when it’s time for revisions. All I have to do is cue up the music and I’m back in the special world of that particular story.
Once I have the characters firmly in mind—who they are, what they desperately need—I begin playing with them by writing the first three chapters. Often my subconscious will introduce secondary characters at this point that will suggest future conflicts. After my first three chapters are done, I’ll write a synopsis.
This is what my editor uses to decide whether she can buy into the project or not. Once I have a contract, we’re off to the races! I settle into my writing recliner. My dogs, Susie and Mack, take their stations on either side of me and we write from 9-5 with appropriate dog-potty breaks.
Jennifer D.: How do you create your characters in particular?
Emily: I need to know a good deal about them before I start writing, but I don’t do interviews or keep a character Bible. That would be entirely too well organized for me. I spend a lot of time imagining where my characters have been prior to the beginning of the story. This tells me why they are who they are. And gives me a good shot at knowing what it is they want (and how I can keep them from getting it! Being a writer requires me to be a little sadistic with my characters.)
Jennifer D.: Do you have any “must haves” for when you’re writing?
Emily: Dogs, music, recliner and laptop. That’s it. No, wait. I also need some research materials.
For Vexing the Viscount, I had to study the life and times of 18th century courtesans since my heroine Daisy is pretending to be one! My Lady Scandalous by Jo Manning was very helpful. I visited the Massachusetts Museum of Fine Art to see their display of Georgian and Regency shoes and other clothing. You’d be amazed what you can learn from studying portraiture of the time period.
I learned about the South Sea Bubble—a disastrous stock swindle that crippled the London Exchange in 1720. (See we aren’t the only ones who’ve suffered!)
Since part of the Vexing the Viscount story takes place in Roman Britain, my time spent in European museums came back to me with usable benefits. Like my heroine Daisy in the opening, I too scrunched unbelievingly to get a closer look at a lamp shaped like an erect phallus! Visit http://www.emilybryan.com/Vexing%20the%20Viscount.htm for an excerpt.
Jennifer D.: What’s the biggest challenge when writing for you?
Emily: I tend to over-edit as I write, which slows me down. Something that helps is setting a timer for 20 minutes or so. During this time, I refuse to go back to clean anything up, therefore I have to push the story forward. Sometimes I’ll only let myself write dialogue and then when the timer dings, I can go back and add tags or action.
Jennifer D.: Have you worked with other authors on anything fun/special? Do you have any particular memories you’d like to share about it?
Emily: I joined NYTimes Bestseller CL Wilson, USA Today Bestsellers Jennifer Ashley & Joy Nash, American Title Winner Gerri Russell, Cindy Holby and Bonnie Vanak to start a group historical blog. It’s called The Chatelaines http://www.thechatelaines.blogspot.com. We had such fun plotting how we’d proceed and had a pre-launch “Rhys Rumble” because so many of us had used or were thinking about using the name Rhys in our books.
We hired someone to design our header and it’s really a hoot. The first time I saw it, I said “Look at that! I’ve got a waistline. And a Monica Lewinski beret. Hey, someone’s been reading my Pleasuring the Pirate!” 🙂
Jennifer D.: Do you have any favorite reads of your own? Favorite authors?
Emily: So many it’s hard to stop once I start. My all-time favorite book is M.M. Kaye’s The Far Pavillions. It’s a doorstop of a book set in British India, full of passion, adventure and an aching romance.
Jennifer D.: I see that both under your name, and pen name, you seem to stick with historical romance. What made you chose that genre over any other?
Emily: I love the “take me away” quality of historical romance. An alpha male has no pressure to be PC in other times. Unfettered maleness is a grand and glorious thing.
Jennifer D.: What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?
Emily: Three little words. HAPPILY EVER AFTER. In a world of uncertainty, I like knowing no matter how dire things become somehow, some way, it will turn out well.
Jennifer D.: What do you think are the easiest and hardest parts or writing?
Emily: The easiest part is coming up with ideas. The hardest part is polishing that little gem long enough to be sure it’s enough to propel me 400 pages.
Jennifer D.: Do you have a favorite of the books you’ve written? Characters you’ve become most attached to?
Emily: I love them all of course. What mother can choose between her children. I have reused a few characters. Daisy, my heroine in Vexing the Viscount, was one of my pirate hero’ s orphaned nieces so I first met her when she was a knobby kneed 10 year old. Another recurring character is Isabella Wren. She’s the former courtesan who is my heroine’s mother in Pleasuring the Pirate. She’s Daisy’s great-aunt in Vexing the Viscount.
I’ll have to admit to being especially fond of Lucian, (my vexed viscount!). At the beginning of the story, he’s a rarity for his age and station—a virgin. It was great fun to write a virgin hero.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Emily: Coming out September 29th, I’ll be joined by USA TODAY BEST SELLER Jennifer Ashley and exciting new author Alissa Johnson in A CHRISTMAS BALL. Our anthology is set for December 19th, 1822 and all our characters are attending the gala event of the season—Lord and Lady Hartwell’s Christmas Ball. Everyone who’s anyone will be there and YOU are invited too!
Jennifer D.: I know you’re celebrating your good health right now. Congratulations on a clean bill of health. Anything else you’re currently looking forward to/celebrating?
Emily: Thanks so much! Yes, I’m recovered from surgery for colon cancer and because it was caught early, I’m not undergoing chemo. (Here’s where I admonish you all to talk to your doctor and see if you need a screening colonoscopy. This cancer is one of the most survivable, but what you don’t know CAN hurt you.)
I’m really looking forward to going to the Romantic Times Convention in Orlando in April. I’ll be teaching at the Aspiring Writer workshops April 20-21st and then giving another workshop during the regular convention. Also, Distracting the Duchess is up for an RT Reviewers Choice Award, so that’s been a thrill!
Jennifer D.: Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?
Emily: Be a student of the craft. Write every day. And don’t quit.
For more in depth advice, please visit my website http://www.emilybryan.com and check out my Write Stuff link. I have several pages of material especially for YOU!
Jennifer D.: Is there anything you’d like to ask the readers of Book Talk?
Emily: I’ve notice a trend developing. Lots of the top tier authors are adding paranormal elements to their historical romance. Would you like to see more magic, metaphysical, woo-woo whimsy added to your historicals? Would you like a vampire Duke or a werewolf earl? What do you think?
Jen: Many thanks to Jennifer for tackling this interview for us. We’ll have more tomorrow… and hopefully a review of Vexing the Viscount on Wednesday. Emily will be stopping by all week to answer any questions you have for her. She’s giving away a copy of Vexing the Viscount to a random commenter, so comment away. I’ll chose our winner on Thursday, March 12 around 5:00 pm PST.