Interview by Mark A. King

Mark asked me some fun questions about Mage and Source and other various topics over on his blog. Read the full interview here: https://makingfiction.com/2017/07/23/mage-and-source/. Yu’ll get to see a few images ideas for Gante, as well as my soundtrack pics for the book’s opening scene.

Enjoy!

 

Seven Questions : October 2016 : Tamara Shoemaker

Author extraordinaire Tamara Shoemaker reappears for her fourth round of Seven Questions. The woman can’t help it; she just keeps cranking out books! This month she is releasing both Guardian of the Vale, the third and final installment in her YA urban fantasy series, and the complete Guardian of the Vale Trilogy Box Set, in which you can get all three books in the series in one convenient and discounted file, starting today.

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1) Tamara, this is your ninth book. Wow! How has your book-writing process changed between Book 1 and Book 9?

I don’t recognize the author I was when I wrote Broken Crowns. I mean, I see shades of her in who I am now (I still sit down to write every day, I still set word count goals), but I’m much more disciplined about my story structure now. With my first book, I made up the story each day as I typed. Now, I write an entire history of my characters before I ever even start page one, chapter one. I’ll create timelines, backstory, personality profiles, outlines, find inspiration pics, all sorts of things I never did for the first book. It might help that I now write fantasy, which is all about world-building and setting. Broken Crowns was a mystery, and while setting up your world in a mystery is still important, it doesn’t hold the same weight that it does in fantasy.

2) Which phase of the book process do you enjoy most and why?

I’m pretty sure this makes me an odd bird among writers, as quite a few of my fellow authors have told me they enjoy the first-draft process the most–but I love the edits, particularly the line edits. First-drafting, while giving me a bit of freedom to just write without worrying about finesse or polish, sometimes chafes, because I dislike putting anything on paper that doesn’t immediately bowl me over. I realize in order to craft a book, that annoyingly poor first draft has to come out, so I do it. But I love the line edits–the final stage before publication, because that’s when I’m dusting off all the rough edges of my work and watching it transform into a true work of art. It’s lovely.

3) Novels are a tough form, time-consuming and sometimes underappreciated in the world. What keeps you so motivated?

I realized a long time ago that if my motivation relied on reader appreciation, I would have quit after the first book hit the market. Some will love you, some will hate you, most won’t even give your book a chance. I can’t focus on that, or I will get discouraged. For me, it’s all about the work itself. I am a book lover, have been all my life. I love everything about a book, from the smell of dusty old volumes to the crinkly, crunchy sound of the pages as they turn (Kindle, you will never own me!). The stories I fall in love with, I read over and over and over again. They become real to me, holding honored places on my bookshelves. I’m serious. I have a “favorite” shelf, and a “lesser” shelf, and a “I-don’t-like-these-as-much-so -let’s-put-them-in-the-corner” shelf. If authors have impacted and inhabited my life through their works of art, I want to do the same for others. So my motivation is to make my stories real, to me if to no one else. The satisfaction I gain from pouring all of myself into a project like this is beyond measure.

4) Do your book ideas arrive in your head in a particular way? As images, as opening scenes or sentences, as characters, as conflicts? Tell us a little about idea generation, brainstorming, and how you come up with a story? Once you have an idea, what are the next steps?

They come in all shapes and sizes and by any means: ridiculous questions my kids ask, an anecdote where something happens by accident, a dream that vividly sticks in my mind–anything that makes me ask: What if? Once I have that what if question, I write down the seed of the story, and then I spend days staring at the wall, thinking, occasionally jotting something down. The story builds on itself. Once I have the premise I want to write about, I have to build the world around it. What’s the setting? This earth? Another earth? What time period? Modern style? Medieval style? Victorian style? Ancient style? What government ruled during that time? Dictatorship? Monarchy? President? Pantheon? Who are the characters? What are their backgrounds? How are they affected by their culture? What’s the central conflict and how is everything in this world shaped by it? Once I have a good grasp on ALL these things, and not until that happens, THEN I start writing.

5) You have been forcibly recruited as an experimental space traveller (sorry). You are allowed to bring only what you can carry in a small backpack. What do you pack?

(Forcibly being the key word.) Space! Ack! Fie, fie!

Okay, fine. I would need tether ropes, first and foremost, because obviously, I can’t be trusted not to float off into nothingness forever and ever and ever and ever…

Whose bright idea was space again?

And then, several tanks of oxygen, again, because while I’m floating off forever and ever and ever and ever, I’ll need something to breathe… *can’t breathe, must breathe… air… help…

You say I can’t fit oxygen tanks into a backpack. Erg.

I’d like to take a few books to pass the time while I’m floating into nothingness until my eventual smothering, starving, helpless death…

Maybe I need to move on to the next question…

6) It turns out that your experimental space ship has malfunctioned, and instead of traveling through space, you’re traveling through time. What era/year will be your desired destination? And why?

Oh, thank goodness. Time travel is much more palatable.

I’ve always said I was born in the wrong era, as history has always fascinated me. I have a particular penchant for the 1850’s through the 1880’s. I’d love to go (and quite often do in the pages of historical novels and Civil War accounts). As my husband reminds me when I wish aloud for such things, air-conditioning and indoor plumbing weren’t really a thing, at least not in most households (indoor plumbing), and death by measles, typhoid, and the common cold was a thing. So… there’s that.

But I’d still love to go, because I’m a legit nerd-in-training, or so I’ve been told.

7) Tell us a bit about your next book (or books, since it’s you)

Hahaha! Thou makest me laugh out loud.

I am soooooo excited for November to hit, because that means it’s National Novel Writing Month, and I am planning to write TWO novels during it. First, I’m co-writing a novel with the fabulous Emily June Street (I suspect you know something of her), where we will explore a fantasy world set similarly to the deep south during the Reconstruction period, and where we weave a romance reminiscent of Jane Eyre and her brooding and passionate Mr. Rochester. I can’t WAIT for this!

My second novel will explore the theme of using music as magic. This story has been teasing my brain for many months–perhaps because music is important in my life, magical in its own way. It touches the very roots of who I am, and I’m really excited to dig in and tease out the ways it could be shown in this world I’m about to create. Here’s the logline I created for it: “When Alex Cale, a prodigy whose musical magic shapes the world, discovers the deterioration of his symphonies, he suspects sabotage by Edon White, the Conservatoire’s new Director. As the world begins to crumble beneath this incurable discordance, only Lyric, a mysterious eighteen-year-old girl with hidden talents, can help Alex restore harmony and magic.”

 Can’t wait to get started!

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About Guardian of the Vale:

Clayborne Training Institute, a school for teen Elementals, has fallen beneath a sweeping nationwide coup led by the Elemental Alliance, a party of power-hungry sectarians. Having narrowly escaped the fight for the school, Alayne Worth, Quadriweave and possessor of the Vale, flees Clayborne with twenty-three desperate students seeking the headquarters of the Last Order, the underground organization planning to wrest control from the Alliance. Danger shadows her steps as the struggle for the Vale and its power stalks ever closer to home. Conflicts, perils, enemies, and rebellions push Alayne toward a cataclysmic battle that threatens to rend CommonEarth at the seams, and the Vale is the linchpin that decides the victory or the defeat. When those closest to Alayne threaten her possession of the Vale, will she and the world in which she lives survive the fallout?

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About Tamara:

Tamara Shoemaker authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the beginning two installments of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame and Embrace the Fire, as well as her first completed trilogy: Mark of Four, Shadows of Uprising, and Guardian of the Vale. In her spare time, she freelances as an editor for other works of fiction, chases three children hither and yon, and tries hard to ignore the brownie mixes that inevitably show up in her cabinets.

Follow her on social media:
Twitter: @TamaraShoemaker
Website: http://www.tamarashoemaker.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tshoebooks

 

Seven Questions : August 2016 : Taylor Rush

For this month’s edition of Seven Questions, I’m hosting romantic comedy author Taylor Rush. Taylor, who hails from Portland, OR, wrote the quirky contemporary romances Mistakes Were Made and her recent release, Best Laid Plans. Learn more about her and her writing with my seven questions.

1) Pitch your latest book in three sentences.

Sam and Wil are madly in love. Unfortunately, they are not particularly good at communication and what starts as a silly plan backfires on Sam. They both still want love and friendship, but can they find it together?

2) Is your book indie-published or traditionally published? Tell us a little about that journey.

My books are indie-published by Silurian Press, a small business I started in June 2015. Among the many things I’ve done in the past, I’ve worked in web programming and digital marketing, and my partner is an attorney. We both also find running a business intrinsically interesting.

This means I can keep overhead very low — I program the website, build the e-book, review contracts, etc. without having to pay anyone. This has been really helpful during the start-up phase of the business. I also enjoy working on a business plan and managing the finances of the business. Marketing has been harder, but I have found it helpful to think about the books as products in an online business.

I’m always open to different publishing possibilities, but so far I’m really enjoying running Silurian Press.

3) Your book is a quirky, unusual modern-day romance. Is this your usual genre or do you write others, too? What draws you to certain genres or types of stories?

For many years, I’ve written fragments of adventure, fantasy, or science fiction stories that may include romance. I’m most interested in the messed-up ways that people try to do the right thing, whether in the context of a romantic relationship, a friendship, or saving the universe.

I also like exploring the many ways all of us can fail to communicate with each other (or even within ourselves), and I find the different ways we structure our lives with work, family, and friendship fascinating. Writing is a great way to play out a wider variety of possibilities than I can experience directly.

And I’ll get to saving the universe someday.

4) What’s the best book you’ve read this year and why?

Always hard to pick just one! I really enjoyed Blindspot, by Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore. It’s set in pre-revolutionary war Boston and follows characters on the periphery of the rebellion. I love books that tell the story of people we don’t hear from as much, and there is some steamy hot sex. The plot is also somewhat similar to some of the gender-bending Shakespearean comedies, which I also always enjoy. It’s a dense, fascinating read, and you’ll feel smarter for having read it!

5) What do you think makes a great sentence?

One that makes me bark with laughter — usually with a twist at the end or a simple statement that no one (usually) says out loud.

6) What is your next book about?

My third book, Good Fortune, continues the story of Sam and Wil (from Best Laid Plans). It’s a bit darker, but still funny. I got to write a wedding and a death, both of which made me cry. The book is in the copy editing phase right now, and should be available in November.

I’m just starting to map out two more books: one focusing on the younger days of Sue, a character in Mistakes Were Made and Best Laid Plans, and another taking place in Portland after Good Fortune when the city is hit with the big earthquake.

7) What’s your secret super power?

Organizing stuff — legos, books, old cassette tapes, tools. I love getting them sorted and into order.

Learn more about Best Laid Plans:

Sometimes, it’s better not to make plans. Samantha Queezy and Wilbur Dale are madly in love. But they are masters of mediocre communication, and they quickly complicate their lives. Their blissful romance runs into problems when Sam casually shares her youthful plan of marrying for money. Wil takes great pleasure in teasing Sam about her lack of ethics while slowly becoming obsessed with the idea. Their relationship begins to fray around the edges and both Sam and Wil have to decide what matters the most.

And more about Taylor:

Taylor is deeply committed to eating, reading, and writing. Growing up in Portland, Taylor spent a lot of time digging around in the woods and daydreaming with legos. After going back east for college, Taylor returned to Portland with dreams of saving the world. After being kicked in the shins by reality for a number of years, Taylor got into technology, data organization, and helping people manage their knowledge. This was great fun, but the stories kept bubbling out.

Taylor has no pets due to allergies, but has a dream of guinea pigs. Taylor has no tattoos due to anxiety. Taylor does have an excellent appetite, so the anxiety isn’t too bad.

Seven Questions: Charles Bane, Jr.

For my August edition of Seven Questions I welcome poet Charles Bane, Jr.,  the author of  The Chapbook (Curbside Splendor), Love Poems (Aldrich Press), and Three Seasons: Writing Donald Hall (Collection of Houghton Library, Harvard University). He created and contributes to The Meaning Of Poetry series for The Gutenberg Project, and is a current nominee as Poet Laureate of Florida.

His latest book, The Ends Of The Earth: Collected Poems, will be released by Transcendent Zero Press in early August, and it will be available on Amazon and at select Barnes And Noble bookshops.

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And now Charles answers my seven questions!

1) Can you tell us a little about your book, The Ends of the Earth?

It’s a book of risk, which as I write more and more, I realize is the requisite of serious poetry. A poet is more downhill skier than artist, risking catastrophe at the end of every line break as he/she races to an end that explodes into meaning. I wrote a poem–“Thunder, Lightning”–in the voice of Sappho, a long- held ambition. I sent it to a journal editor whose bio reads: “she’d love to talk to you about fourth – wave feminism or the tattoo of the vagina on her finger.”  She accepted the poem, and it went into my new manuscript.

2) Is your book indie-published or traditionally published?

I don’t believe in self-publishing. I think the reading public deserves to buy a book that’s been peer reviewed. There’s more than 400 small presses in the United States alone. Many are geared to give voice to feminists, gay and transgender writers. The opportunity has never been greater to find a publisher who will recognize and champion your voice.

3) Why poetry?

I wrote my first mature poem at eight; I was too shy to show it to my parents directly, so I left it on the kitchen table where they took their morning coffee. There were no journals for children – It’s wonderful they exist now– and my father sent it to an adult journal which published it. Serious poets, I think, begin early. I’m not comparing myself to any of the following but E.E. Cummings wrote a gifted poem to his father at six, Richard Wilbur at eight. We are besotted by language. Dylan Thomas said to his sister when he was small, ”  ‘ Dragoon’ , isn’t that a wonderful word?”

At the same time, it takes years to convince yourself that you have the “right” to follow in the tradition of the great poets you read, from the Greeks forward, who help lay the foundation of your craft.

4) When and how did you first begin to think of yourself as a poet?

Book publication is exciting and satisfying. But as new books follow, you should be embarrassed by your earlier work. It’s like looking at tree rings: it’s the only way to measure your growth.

5) What makes a great poem?

A great poem is a masterwork. The voice is obvious: you wouldn’t mistake a Chagall for a work by any other artist. A great poem has an unmistakable tenderness as though it were salving a wound, and above all. it can be read and understood by everyone of every age and walk of life. Every reader feels the mood of “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening”, and “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.”

6) Who are some of your favorite poets, and why?

It’s important as your poetry matures that you don’t go through an imitative phase. I think Elizabeth Bishop was the finest poet our country produced in the 20th century. “Crusoe In England” is sublime. My polar opposite is Anthony Hecht. I edit, edit: I never add. Hecht adds layer on layer to his work, but his craftsmanship is astonishing. As a boy, he went to the movies and when a silent comedy was over, the projectionist let the children stay in the theatre as the tell was rewound on the screen. He describes it perfectly in poetry in his book, Venetian Vespers. At the end of a rewound Keystone Cops comedy, ” they fall backward into silent patrol.”

I wrote Hecht at the University of Rochester. He was generous and paternal. So was Karl Shapiro who I met at a reading in Chicago. I deeply regret not contacting Elizabeth Bishop in the 1970’s when she was at Harvard for a spell.

Today, my heroes are the feminist writers who are creating the web of a new world, and who are ignored by institutional sexism: http://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/features/lack-of-vision

7) How does poetry fit into our twenty-first century lives?

Modern poets have to make–and many still don’t–every use of the web, social media, and emerging ways to distribute their work to a global audience, online. I’m grateful beyond words to my wife, for promoting my work on Twitter.

And American poets need to accept that that the general reading public in our country does not read contemporary poetry. 7 % of Americans have read a single poem in the last year.

But for the enterprising, Oyster –which has formed a new model of renting, not selling e- books, should excite them. China Mobile. com brings English language  e-books to millions of Chinese English- fluent readers.

Many thanks to Charles for sharing his thoughts and answers here on my blog!

Dear friends and followers–don’t be in the 93% who have not read a poem this year! Search the Facebook hashtag #sundaypoetrysunday for new poems to read every weekend, and below, Charles has graciously allowed me to share one of his poems in its entirety:

Undying Light

Undying light, undying

words that carry into

times to come the

power of undying such as

we, who loved and

fell. Spilling like

wine from the largest

skins, or clouds holding

seas. Beloved, all the

surface wears away. The

stones of fear stand

in the way of running

streams and the cupped

hands of explorers drink

cold and thirsty when

they kneel. Only mystics

see, but the air is charged

and forked and I have always

known what is written in

me is you, again and

again, repeatedly.

 

 

Seven Questions: KT Hanna

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Today I welcome author KT Hanna to answer my seven questions. I met KT on Twitter. Her book, CHAMELEON, the first in a science fiction series, comes out in a few short days on August 4th.

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Here’s a bit about KT in her own words:

KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.

Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.

When she’s not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, interns for a NYC Agency, and chases her daughter, husband, corgi, and cat. No, she doesn’t sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.

KT answers:

1) Can you pitch your book in three sentences?

When Sai’s newly awoken psionic powers accidentally destroy her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. Her only options are pass or die.

Surviving means proving her continued existence isn’t a mistake–a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, and partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite psionic hybrid.

After eliminating an Exiled scientist, she discovers someone is manipulating everything. With each mission more perilous, Sai must figure out who to trust before her next assignment becomes her last.

2) Is your book indie-published or traditionally published? Tell us a little about that journey.

After two agents, and more than one book (including this one) that missed the market, I sat down and sort of thought – hey, why do I write? I write because I love my worlds, and, if possible, would like to share them with others.

And since you never know when what will become the next big thing, I don’t know if that means these books would languish for 5 or 20 years. And I love these books, and they were already in great form, and frankly for where I am in my career right now, putting them out there is the best next step.

I needed to do this for me, for my writing. I’m not sure what my next step will be but indie-publishing this series seemed the logical thing for me to do.

I will caution people though – going this route, if you want to put as professional book out there as possible? It’s time consuming, but so worth it!

3) Why sci-fi?

One of the earliest things I loved to watch was Astroboy, way back in the early 80s. I remember getting up to watch it, and being obsessed with this robot/android who had to have his skin replaced in order to seem like he was growing. From there it went to Star Trek and Star Wars, and the original Dr Who… I loved everything science fiction – especially anything alien. One book that will always stick with me is a very old one: Come, hunt an earthman by Philip E. High. I read it when I was about 8, and I’ve never been able to get it out of my head.

I love the possibilities, the futures, the worlds, and the alien possibilities. Pretty much everything about it.

4) What’s a favorite sci-fi book and why?

Come, hunt an earthman by Philip E. High

It’s old, a 1973 book about Aliens who hunt humans on earth, sort of like a vacation for that purpose. I’m not sure why it always stayed with me, but there was just something about it that stayed with my young mind and never let me go

5) What makes a great sentence?

Words

Seriously? I have no idea – I just go with it and something think, hey, this does everything I need it to. It evokes emotion, gives a sense of character or world, furthers plot and sounds damn good.

It’s rare, but I think sometimes sentences that embody all those things really stand out.

6) What are your top five overused words?

Really. Look. That (although I’ve been working at correcting this). Occasionally sometimes and something. I get in a bad groove and will use them in close proximity, And not overused, but because they’re a more rare word and so more noticeable when used, I have to watch things like pang and myriad.

7) How and when did you first know you were a writer?

I always loved reading, and loved the little “stories” they got us to write in school. But when I was 8 I think? I got this idea for a story – a ghost story. It was 12 A4 pages long, handwritten of course. I loved it, was so proud of it. My teacher seemed a little concerned because well… I killed one of the twins in the story – but hey! It was history repeating itself and she shouldn’t have been in the attic 😀

Ever since then I worked at it on and off. There was no internet then it wasn’t until I was about 22 that I researched more and realized how much dedication it takes. And well… I’m a lot older than 22 now!

Many thanks to K.T. for joining me for Seven Questions!

Here’s a bit more about CHAMELEON, available August 4th on Amazon:

When Sai’s newly awoken psionic powers accidentally destroy her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. Her only options are pass or die.

Surviving means proving her continued existence isn’t a mistake–a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, and partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite psionic hybrid.

After eliminating an Exiled scientist, she discovers someone is manipulating both sides of the conflict. With each mission more perilous, Sai must figure out who to trust before her next assignment becomes her last.

Seven Questions: Margaret Locke

For the rest of the year I’m hoping to feature one author every month in a seven-question interview–yes, of course, because seven is the most magical number!

The talented Margaret Locke has agreed to be the first interviewee. Her debut novel, A Man of Character, is now available on Amazon. Get it here. I met Margaret on the Interwebs, specifically via the thriving flash fiction community over at Flash Friday, where a wide variety of writers gather each week to write super short stories and cause general mayhem.

But let her introduce herself in her own words:

As a teen, Margaret Locke pledged to write romances when she grew up. Once an adult, however, she figured she ought to be doing grown-up things, not penning steamy love stories. Yeah, whatever.

Margaret lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her fantastic husband, two fabulous kids, and two fat cats. You can usually find her in front of some sort of screen (electronic or window; she’s come to terms with the fact that she’s not an outdoors person).

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Margaret answers the seven questions:

1) Pitch your book in three sentences:

Thirty-five-year-old bookstore owner Catherine Schreiber must choose between fantasy and reality after discovering the men she’s dating are living versions of fictional characters she created long ago. Her best friend, Eliza James, a romance novel junkie craving her own Happily Ever After, can’t imagine anything better than being able to draft the ideal man, but Cat’s not so sure. Perhaps the perfect fantasy might just be reality, after all.

2) Is your book indie-published or traditionally published? Tell us a little about that journey.

I started out wanting to go the traditional route, mostly to get that brass ring and prove to myself I was good enough. In the fall of 2014, I queried over sixty agents, and got several requests for partial or full manuscripts, but nothing beyond that. Then a smaller e-book only publishing house offered me a contract. I was ecstatic! I was excited! I was…stunned to realize how badly I wanted to hold a paper copy of my book in my hands. Digital just didn’t seem as real to me, somehow.

After talking with a number of writer friends (both indie and traditionally published), and with great encouragement from my husband, I decided to go indie. It suits my personality more. Yes, a part of me still wants that brass ring, but the rest of me is thrilled to have such control over the whole process. I did do what “they” say to do, even if one is indie, and that is I hired a professional, respected editor (the marvelous Tessa Shapcott) and got a fabulous cover designer and text formatter (Joy Lankshear of Lankshear Designs). Because of them, A Man of Character is much stronger than anything I could have done on my own, and I am eternally grateful for their help.

3) I really like the refreshing and different paranormal twist you gave your plot. Do you remember how that idea materialized?

That was actually the element I thought of first! Back in 2011, while on a date with my hubby, I confessed my desire to write romance novels (instead of just dreaming about doing so). His response was, “Go for it!” On the way home, I brainstormed ideas. At one point, I blurted out to him, “What if I wrote a story in which a woman figures out the guys in her life are characters she created years ago?” He said that sounded like an intriguing premise, so I sketched out an outline and started writing. It was as much a surprise to me as anyone else that my first book ended up being a light paranormal chick-lit-esque romance, rather than the Regency historicals I’d always assumed I’d write (and which are still in my future). But I love Cat’s story. I truly do.

4) What’s your favorite historical romance book?

Oh, there are so many. It’s hard to choose just one! Jude Devereaux’s A Knight In Shining Armor was one of the first time-travel romances I read, which hooked me on that subgenre. Lynn Kurland’s Stardust of Yesterday is another great medieval-mixed-with-modern romance. Then there were LaVyrle Spencer’s historicals, written in the 1980s, which I adore.

More recently I’ve fallen in love with Regency England and the fabulous authors who write Regencies, such as Eloisa James, Sabrina Jeffries, Sarah MacLean, and Julia Quinn. Picking just one of theirs is hard, but I’d have to say I really loved the somewhat tongue-in-cheek nature and wink-wink, nudge-nudge tone of Eloisa James’ latest book, Four Nights With the Duke.

5) What do you think makes a great sentence?

What an intriguing question. For me, I’d say, “lots of words.” Ha ha ha. No, really, I am always trying to cut my sentences down, as I’m rather verbose on the page (as well as in person). Hemingway I am not. The most beautiful sentences to me are those that are sensually evocative—something that gets me to respond emotionally, through beautiful imagery or delicious language. Occasionally, however, a short, succinct sentence can cut through all the verbosity and get to the core of the matter, can’t it?

6) Your top five overused words are:

I should probably consult my critique group and beta readers on this one, but I’d say:

just, even, slightly, apparently, frisson

Frisson’s in there because I managed to use it seven or eight times in an earlier version of A Man of Character. Because it’s a relatively unusual word, it really stuck out to several people. Thankfully, I’ve now axed it down to one. Because, hey, doesn’t every romance need frissons of something running through it?

Also, based on this blog post, I probably should add “really” to the list.

7) What is your next novel about?

Ooh! My next novel, A Matter of Time, features Eliza James, Cat’s best friend/ sidekick in A Man of Character, who deserves her own story, especially given what happens in AMOC. I have a complete first draft under my belt, thanks in part to NaNoWriMo 2013, but now must revise, revise, revise! I do hope to have it out by the fall of 2015, though.

Learn more about A Man of Character:

What would you do if you discovered the men you were dating were fictional characters you’d created long ago?

Thirty-five-year-old Catherine Schreiber has shelved love for good. Keeping her ailing bookstore afloat takes all her time, and she’s perfectly fine with that. So when several men ask her out in short order, she’s not sure what to do…especially since something about them seems eerily familiar.

Caught between fantasy and reality, Cat must decide which—or whom—she wants more.

Blending humor with unusual twists, including a magical manuscript, a computer scientist in shining armor, and even a Regency ball, A Man of Character tells a story not only of love, but also of the lengths we’ll go for friendship, self-discovery, and second chances. 

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Special thanks to Margaret for participating in Seven Questions!

She loves to interact with fellow readers and authors. You may find her here:

Website/Blog: http://margaretlocke.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMargaretLocke

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/MargaretLocke

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/Margaret_Locke

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Margaret_Locke