Did I always want to be a writer? No. I discovered it along the way. But I’ve always been a huge fan of reading.
You never forget your first… Perfect by Judith McNaught was the first romance novel I read. I was sixteen and a friend had loaned me this book. She also had ‘warned’ me about certain ‘scenes.’ But the story of Julie Mathison and Zachary Benedict sparked my love for reading romance. I read every romance novel I could get my hands on (mostly from my friends’ moms who had them proudly displayed on their bookshelves).
Writing romance novels are my favorite because…There’s nothing like that one book that stays on your mind long after the ending. I think stories with strong romantic elements give readers an opportunity to relate to characters making wrong choices, suffer from seriously bad timing, misunderstandings, and face the mother of all complications–heartbreak. The ending will be happy, but by all means, let the hero and the heroine work for it.
The first time I “tried” writing a novel… I bought a notepad and went to Borders (they were still around). I cancelled plans. Blocked off the whole morning. Ordered my big latte and sat at a table. I wrote one sentence. Then I packed it all up and went home. I had no clue.
My first manuscript I ever submitted to a publisher… A YA Fantasy novel about a girl trapped beneath the ocean (insert blank stare). The heroine discovered a world of sunken ships. I think I broke the record for the fastest rejection notices. Sometimes the story we think we’re meant to tell isn’t the one that needs to be written.
My writing advice…Find a way to create tension. That’s the real hero of romantic suspense. That alone drives the story. I’m sorry to break it to you, but tension is a major tease. No different from flirting and attraction. Writers use this tool to string the reader along, building expectations and hopes along the way. Tension is powerful. And it must be created intentionally. The groundwork for intensity begins with a dilemma. The character wants something, but can’t have it. Whenever I think about ideas for a story, I ask myself two questions.
What does the heroine want?
What is the consequence if she doesn’t get it?
The answers will vary from tragedy to heartbreak or death. There are literally hundreds of things that can go wrong (the more the better) and to the character, the unwanted outcome is real. The situations a character is written into must bring about the potential for danger, pain, and loss.
In my personal life…I started out a west coast girl and ended up east coast. I live in Maryland with my husband and our two children. My favorite month is October. December is a close second. There’s something magical about a good coffee shop. I think being fancy is a lost art (and fully support a comeback). Cold weather is an excuse to accessorize with hats and scarves. My favorite superhero is Thor. I have an obsession with playing Ms. Pacman. I’ve never mastered the art of parallel parking. And I prefer a lake to a beach.
What else would you like to know?
Interested in understanding more about the life of an Author? Or maybe how we begin to start to write a 400 page book? Where we get our ideas and inspiration? Click here to ask me a Question on my GoodReads page. Look forward to hearing from you. ~Emily