Holy writer joy! Grace Burrowes is here on my blog and I’m all fan-girl-crazy and unable to really put into words how happy I am that she is visiting my little corner of the world on this lovingest of loving days of the year. As a reader and a writer, Grace has been a great influence for me. So Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! To celebrate, Grace is giving away *drumroll please*
1) AN iPAD! (I know, right? Crazy fabulous.)
2) A 3-book set of The Bridegroom Wore Plaid, Once Upon a Tartan, and The MacGregor’s Lady.
(Both are open to US and Canada only. Please leave a comment below and the two winners will be chosen at random.)
So without any further ado, please read on and enjoy our conversation!
Megan: First, some questions about your creative process. I love your complex heroes and am interested in how you come up with them. When you develop a hero, does he come to you in a flash—fully formed—or do you build him up over time? While you’re writing or beforehand?
Grace: Often, I know my heroes because they tend to lurk in previous books, looking all lonesome and forlorn. They’re certainly not fully formed though. Sometimes I don’t even know their defining wound, and that makes the first few chapters a voyage of discovery (and anxiety).
Megan: Speaking of discovery, do you plot in advance or just start writing when a story idea comes to you?
Grace: I start writing when the first line comes to me. If I sat on a toadstool and waited for an entire plot to drop into my lap… no bookee. Sometimes, I’ll get about 20 percent of the book written, and then I have to wait, staring at those chapters until inspiration takes pity on me. The waiting is beastly hard, which is why it’s good to have multiple projects going.
Megan: With multiple projects going at once, what is your writing schedule? Do you have a daily word count? Weekly?
Grace: I try to write for the first few hours of the day, when those alpha waves are still humming, but I certainly don’t write every day. No daily word count goals, no weekly word count goals. Writing is a privilege, not a chore. It’s something I get to do. A word count goal would be like having a dessert calorie goal.
Megan: (Note to self: Tattoo the phrase “Writing is a privilege, not a chore.” on body.) During the course of writing a book, is there a time you feel really optimistic? Pessimistic?
Grace: My writing process is iterative. The rough draft is like making sure I have 52 cards in the deck—doesn’t matter in what order or which way the cards are facing. First, I need to get my hands on those 52 cards. THEN, I can take a look at ordering the cards to suit my preferences, but that first draft is no indicator of what the final quality can be. My sense of when I’ve written a truly fine book as opposed to a good book has proven generally reliable, but I’m never confident of my judgment in this regard.
Megan: Do you think genre fiction is an art or a craft?
Megan: Would you ever consider writing a contemporary romance? Why or why not?
Grace: I’ve written a contemporary trilogy that’s coming out early next year. At first, I was I in raptures, because nobody could come along and tell me “taradiddle” wasn’t used as verb until 1828 (I kid you not). Then I realized that every reader is an expert on the present day… We’ll see how this turns out!
Megan: *gets all excited to read Grace’s contemporaries* Speaking of readers, who do you read? I’m on a Johanna Lindsey kick at the moment. Who are some of your favorite Old Skool historical romance authors?
Grace: Judith Ivory is one of the BEST romance writers to EVER put pen to paper. Her prose is scrumptious, her historical details ingenious, her stories brilliant, and her characters unforgettable. She anticipated many trends by years, and will always have pride of place on my Keeper Keeper shelf.
Megan: What do you think is the best advice for an aspiring romance writer?
Grace: Write more than you aspire to write. Workshops and conferences are full of noise about word counts, software, craft books, and who’s acquiring what, but none of that will get your trilogy completed. When everybody else is dropping names of editors and agents, comparing contest judges, and predicting industry trends… you write. When they’re “building a platform” on social media, and “networking,” you write. All that other stuff is only important if you have some good books in hand FIRST.
Megan: *Ironic nod to self: Hear that Megan? More writing, less talking about writing!* How do you define “success” in your writing career? Respect of fellow authors? Sales? Reader interaction? Something else altogether?
Grace: My definition of a successful life is one characterized by kindness and honesty (both), but as a writer, I’m a success if I enjoy the writing—and I do!
Megan: Thank you SO much for being here and for offering such generous prizes to my blog visitors!
So there you have it everyone! Isn’t she wonderful? And, in case you haven’t already read Grace’s latest release, The MacGregor’s Lady, (why not?) here’s the info:
THE MACGREGOR’S LADY BY GRACE BURROWES – IN STORES FEBRUARY 2014
What if the steps they take to avoid marriage…
The last thing Asher MacGregor, newly titled Earl of Balfour, wants is a society wife, though he has agreed to squire Boston heiress Hannah Cooper about the London ballrooms. When he’s met that obligation, he’ll return to the Highlands, and resume the myriad responsibilities awaiting him there.
…Lead instead to impossible love?
At her step-father’s insistence, Hannah Cooper must endure a London season, though she has no intention of surrendering her inheritance to a fortune hunter. When she’s done her duty, she’ll return to Boston and the siblings who depend upon her for their safety… or will she? The taciturn Scottish earl suits her purposes admirably—until genuine liking and unexpected passion bring Asher and Hannah close. For if the Scottish earl and the American heiress fall in love, an ocean of differences threatens to keep them apart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes hit the bestseller lists with her debut, The Heir, followed by The Soldier and Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal. She has a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish was awarded Best Historical Romance for 2011 by the RT Reviewers Choice Awards. Burrowes is branching out into Victorian and contemporary romances with Sourcebooks, as well as short stories. Grace is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland. For more information, please visit http:///www.graceburrowes.com.
To purchase The MacGregor’s Lady: