Brita: Thank you, Jen, for having me. I’m really thrilled to be there today.
Before we start the interview, let me tell you a bit about myself, since I’m new to these parts.
I was born in New York, but have lived in the sultry south for many years. I’ve been a substitute teacher in middle school, apartment complex manager, an office manager for a CPA firm, and even ran one of those cart thingies in the mall, many moons ago, but nothing is as satisfying, other than raising my family, as writing. I have a creative nature, and bringing characters to life is as rewarding as creativity gets.
I’ve lived in Iceland, visited Scotland, and want desperately to go to England. My husband and I are retired and we love to travel. Our many trips have given me bits and pieces of stories that have shown up in my stories.
Our children are grown, which leaves us with precious time alone, something I can never get enough of. My husband is my heartbeat.
Brita: Demands of the Heart actually started life as Her Inconvenient Marriage, and was the first book I ever wrote, several years ago. For one reason or another, I wrote other books and they were published, but this one sat on my hard drive.
When I had a break from writing two series, I decided to give this manuscript a thorough polish, and then another one, give it a brand new name, and offer it for publication.
The idea came from my love of stories about lovers who are pulled apart and must find their way back to each other. It’s my favorite kind of story, hands-down.
I created Richard and Victoria as young lovers, who saw only each other and a bright future. Neither had any reason to suspect that life was anything but the glorious path they each trod. Coming from wealthy families, they’d never suffered disappointment or loss. Richard had been a golden child of sorts, a prolific achiever in school, an intuitive investor, and an astute businessman. Victoria was the somewhat spoiled daughter of an indulgent mother and a father who paid little attention to his family, until the mother died and he was left with its management.
It is this enlightenment that brings about the wrenching situation that serves as the foundation upon which Demands of the Heart is based.
Brita: I’ve always said I’m a pantser, but the more I write, I find that I’m a bit of both. I don’t always know all the details of my story from start to finish, but I know where I want to go. It is the how part of that equation that I, for the most part, leave to my characters and the situations that develop along the way.
Before I do anything else, I do my research. Since I write mostly historicals, there’s usually tons of research to do, something I particularly enjoy doing. That’s not to say all the research is done before the writing begins, because it’s not—far from it. I usually research even very minor details, what streets cross what streets, the fabric at the Theatre Royal, in London, and many other minute details.
I, then, create a list of prominent characters, their descriptions; jobs, if any; motivations, and what they ultimately want and from whom. Then, I set my story—create the place or places that will serve as the main areas where my characters will interact. I outline the general story, including how each character’s presence impacts the other character’s thoughts and actions.
I make a general list of conflicts, which honestly, usually are modified as the story takes shape, but some provide some interesting problems for my protagonists.
All this brings me to the point where I can start writing the story, as my course has a general path.
Brita: It’s not so much who as what. I’ve always read, from the time I was given the Dick and Jane books. I started writing short stories in grade school and have never stopped. I’ve chronicled my youngest daughter’s life until she was into her twenties and on her own. Writing is as natural to me as reading and something I simply can’t not do.
Brita: I’d love to go back to the early 19th century, but I’d need air conditioning, my husband, and my memories.
Brita: (Three words, are you kidding? I’m a writer. LOL) Romantic, sexy, satisfying
Brita: I’m working on a story set Old Hollywood, starting in the nineteen-teens and ending around 1935/1940. I’ve wanted to write a sweeping saga kind of story and this is the one that rings all the right bells. It traces a segment in the life of a young gay man, who rises to super-stardom in the 1920’s, when being gay in Hollywood wasn’t an issue. In the 1930’s, when scandal had rocked Hollywood to its foundation, his lifestyle is scrutinized and he’s forced to make decisions that impact the rest of his life.
It’s really the story of integrity and strong will and I really love writing it.
My New Project: I’m also involved with Boxer Falls, a gaytime drama, which is the wonderful brainchild of Damon Suede, Ellis Carrington, and Poppy Dennison. It is an online soap opera, with each episode written by a different m/m writer. I’ve written on episode and am scheduled for more later in the year. I’m also doing promotion for Boxer Falls and work on the newsletter, the Boxer Brief, with Poppy. What great fun we have and things are really heating up in Boxer Falls.
Visit us at our website, where you can read past episodes, sign up for our newsletter, and get all the scoop on your favorite characters.
Thank you again, Jen, for having me. This has been fun.