Throughout the month of June, the Romancing the Book staff will be hosting some of their favorite authors. Jen is kicking off this “Reviewers Choice” event by welcoming Roxanne St. Claire to the blog. As a fan of Roxanne’s Bullet Catcher series, when she heard that Roxanne was branching out into some new genres, Jen knew she had to learn more. And what better way than through an interview? So here, we go…
Roxanne St. Claire is a New York Times bestselling author of almost thirty novels of suspense and romance, including her most recent release, Space In His Heart. The author of two popular romantic suspense series, Roxanne is launching a brand new contemporary romance series in 2012, called “Barefoot Bay” and set on a fictional island off the Gulf coast of Florida. The first book in the series, Barefoot In The Sand, released on April 24,2102. In addition, her first young adult novel, Don’t You Wish, will release in July, 2012.
In addition to being a five-time RITA nominee and one time RITA winner, Roxanne’s novels have won the National Reader’s Choice Award for best romantic suspense for two consecutive years, as well as the Daphne du Maurier Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Maggie, Booksellers Best, Book Buyers Best, and many others. He books have been translated into dozens of languages and are routinely included as a Doubleday/Rhapsody Book Club Selection of the Month.
Roxanne lives in Florida with her husband and two teenagers and two extremely adorable dogs.
Jen: Please tell us about your latest releases.
Roxanne: Sure! I am right in the middle of two releases right now. A few weeks ago, BAREFOOT IN THE SAND, the first book in a new series (Barefoot Bay) was published by Grand Central/Forever and I’m just loving the reader response to this small town contemporary. Set on a fictional island off the Gulf coast of Florida, this series features four women who were friends in college and now, in their thirties, are looking for love and struggling with some very universal issues (single motherhood, aging parents, infertility). The first book is a the story of a single mother whose home and business are wiped in a hurricane, which she sees as a great opportunity to start over and go after her lifelong dream of building a B&B. Enter the architect…a younger man with big ideas and the ability to take down emotional walls as well as he builds real ones. The hero’s got a lot of baggage, too, and the lessons these two teach each other are tons of fun and surprisingly emotional. I’ve been getting a great response from readers on the book and the series, so I’m very excited about that!
In addition, after almost thirty novels of romance and suspense, Don’t You Wish, my first young adult novel, is coming out on July 10 from Random House/Delacorte. This is the story of Annie Nutter, an unpopular, uncool, unattractive (in her eyes) “invisible” girl who gets zapped by her father’s latest invention right into a parallel universe where she is everything she ever dreamed she could be. As “Ayla Monroe,” the daughter of a multi-millionaire plastic surgeon, she is gorgeous, loaded, and sitting pretty at the top of the social heap. The only problem for Annie/Ayla…there seems to be a high price for perfection and she’s not at all sure she can pay it. Ultimately, she’s faced with the decision to stay in the picture perfect world or go back to dreary mediocrity. The answer isn’t as simple as you’d think.
Jen: Why are you making the foray into young adult?
Roxanne: I had an absolute blast writing this book, inspired by all the teenagers around me, and my lifelong love of YA books. I’ve been reading YAs as my “comfort read” for years and years. I guess I just love the freshness of first love and the liveliness of the voices you find in YA. I wrote Don’t You Wish in first person, present tense — which was a huge departure — but, oh so much fun to be that connected to a character. I lived and breathed Annie Nutter’s experience for those months and am thrilled about writing another for release in 2013.
Jen: Are you a plotter or a panster?
Roxanne: I’m a plantzer – a term I made up to describe the hybrid writer who works from a “story plan” rather than a formal plot. I used to be a hard core plotter, with the board and the cards and the sticky notes everywhere, but my story development process has changed over the years. I have written a few “by the seat of my pants” (which is not for the faint of heart) but now I start with a few major turning points and this list grows as I write. So I sort of see about four chapters in the future, beyond that it’s just a blur but I know where I’m headed. Sort of. I also write a fast draft now, after years of editing each page until it was perfect before moving on. I realized that I really don’t like writing at all and want to get the rough draft over with as quickly as possible. I could revise forever and a day, though, so I do whatever I can to rewrite instead of write. Writing processes can definitely change and grow, and sometimes the genre will have an impact, too.
Jen: What is your favorite genre to write? Is there one that you’ll avoid?
Roxanne: I’ve written a lot of romantic suspense, and I guess that’s where I have the most solid fan base, so I will always love that genre. I’m currently enjoying a nice run with my first self-published book, SPACE IN HIS HEART, which is light romantic suspense (more of a romance with elements of suspense). I think SPACE is one of my strongest books, and the reader response to it has been amazing. But last year and this year, I really had the opportunity to challenge my muse and stretch al my creative muscles in new genres. While I love the process of trying new styles, I’ve discovered that my voice is my voice, my writing is my writing, and my characters are my characters. The package, genre, length, and substance might change, but I think anyone who loves my romantic suspense novels will also love the contemporaries, and I hope to reach a whole new world of readers with the YA. Now, I can’t imagine I’d ever write historicals or vampire books…but I know better than to ever say never!
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Roxanne: I might not write paranormal, but I love to read it. Anything by Kresley Cole, Kristen Painter, and Gena Showalter is an autobuy for me. I love contemporaries, too, so you’ll find lots of Louisa Edwards, Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery and Mariah Stewart in my TBR pile. For romantic suspense, I like to go gritty with Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin and when I want some heat, you cannot beat Lorelei James. I’m reading a gorgeous novel by Rachel Hauck right now, called THE WEDDING DRESS (sooooo good!) and right after that, I’m starting a debut from Kathleen Irene Paterka called FATTY PATTY, which looks amazing.
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Roxanne: Yes! When an author you love veers into a new genre, do you automatically follow or wait and see if the reviews are good?
- Depending on your location, you can win an autographed copy of Barefoot in the Sand (US), a print copy of Barefoot in the Sand (sent via Book Depository, internationally) or an ebook copy of Space in His Heart (international).
- The contest is open to international readers over the age of 16.
- You must leave a meaningful comment for entry. This means your comment needs to be more than “please enter me in the contest”.
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- While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
- The contest ends on Sunday, June 10.