On Thursday, I introduced you to Marie-Claude Bourque and today I'd like you to meet Edie Ramer. Edie is another one of those hardy souls who has made it through several eliminations in the American Title Contest sponsored by Romantic Times and my publisher Dorchester. Once you reach this level, every one of the writers is publication-worthy and like in the Olympics, the final winner is declared by a hair's breadth. When I realized Edie and I are chapter mates (WisRWA--yeah, yeah, I know! I don't live in Wisconsin, but I'm a Midwesterner at heart!) I knew I had to have her on my blog!
Edie has written a ghost story, which fascinates me because I've been toying with adding a ghost to my next historical! I sat down with Edie over a cup of cyber-coffee and had a little chat. (My words are in bold and hers in italics, just to keep things straight.)
Edie, your entry is titled DEAD PEOPLE. What can you tell us about it?
When Cassie Taylor talks, ghosts listen. She wants to heal their souls so they can leave earth. Brooding songwriter Luke Rivers wants to give his recently found daughter a normal home, but he discovers his new house in small town Wisconsin is haunted by a ghost with an attitude. His ghost whisperer has an attitude too--even before someone tries to kill her. So why does he have the hots for her? And why does she lust after him? He wants conventional; she wants acceptance. No wonder she thinks men are hard and DEAD PEOPLE are easy.
How about you? What should the world know about Edie Ramer?
My mother read fairy tales to me and my four siblings when we were young. Small wonder I love a touch of magic in books – and in real life. My favorite people are quirky and strong-minded, so that naturally shows up in my books. Tormented characters, too. Love happy endings, but first the characters need to suffer.
I torture my characters and husband and spoil my dog and cat in my southeastern Wisconsin home. My short stories have been published in National magazines. I'm a co-creator of an inspirational website for writers, www.writeattitude.net, and I blog with Magical Musings. In addition to ATV, I found out last week I finaled in the Chase the Dream contest. This is a great time for me!
Congratulations! Sounds like you're just inches away! And how wonderful to have a mother who read to you. I remember my mom reading Arabian Nights (the watered down version--Burton could get a little risque!) to me and my sisters.
Will have to bookmark your WriteAttitude site!
I've been told American Title is very much like a reality show for authors. Please tell us about your American Title experience.
It's an amazing roller coaster ride. First there's excitement and squeals, telling my family and all my friends. Helen Scott Taylor, last year's winner and author of THE MAGIC KNOT is the ATV mentor, but Mai Christy Thao, a finalist from last year, gave me a lot of advice, too. Everyone gives me advice. I have the best friends and family!
Then the rounds begin. I'm scrambling to let everyone know, and amazed at how many of my friends are helping me. It makes my heart feel bigger. No matter what happens, I'll take that away with me.
The worst part is the eliminations. That's tough on all of us. Every round gets scarier. This round there are only four finalists left, and two will be eliminated. Two will go on to the next round, and one will walk away with a publishing contract. Typing this, I'm getting an uncontrollable urge to eat chocolate.
LOL! Here, Edie, have a cyber-truffle. Decadent, satisfying, and no calories. But let's get back to DEAD PEOPLE. What inspired your story?
DEAD PEOPLE came to me in pieces. For a long time, I've been interested in the subject of life after death. I know people who've had contact with a loved one who passed. It's always been a comforting presence and a fleeting one. But what if the dead person's aim wasn't to comfort? What if she wanted to disrupt the house? What if she wanted to chase the new family away? And why hang around on earth instead of leaving for Heaven?
Another fascination is people who see and talk to dead people. I wondered how this 'gift' would affect a child. What if her father and stepmother treated her like a freak? What if she grew up to be defensive and prickly? What if she was so alone her only friend was a ghost?
In a previous book, I wrote song lyrics and enjoyed doing it. So why not a songwriter hero? A brooding one. Heathcliff with a guitar. Add an unhappy eleven-year old girl. A house that was once part of the Underground Railroad. And a murderer. Not all the pieces -- others I discovered as I wrote -- but enough to know I had a book I wanted to write.
Heathcliff with a guitar! I love it! Sounds like you've really created a wonderful cast and given them plenty to do! Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself or your manuscript?
DEAD PEOPLE was a big step forward in my writing. I had sent the full to an editor, and she called me on the phone, not to buy it, but to tell me she really liked my voice and the characters. She thought the beginning was great, but about a third into the book, it lost momentum. It needed more tension and higher stakes.
As soon as she said all that, I knew she was right. I ended up gutting the middle of the book, which made a lot of changes in the end. My fabulous CPs read the whole thing all over again. I know it's a much better book than the first time. I'm proud of it. Now I have a slip of paper taped onto my computer that says "RAISE THE STAKES!"
With every book, my goal is to write a better book than the previous one. So far I think I've succeeded.
Excellent advice, Edie! Think I'll tape "RAISE THE STAKES!" to my monitor too. Where can readers go to learn more about you and your work?
Emily, thanks so much for having me here! It's been fun.
Fun for me, too, Edie. And because she's too Midwestern to say it, I'll tell everybody the most important thing. If you'd like to vote for Edie to continue on in the AMERICAN TITLE contest, please go to http://www.romantictimes.com/news_amtitle3.php and let your voice be heard!
Please post a comment or question for Edie here too. As you can tell, she knows a good deal about the craft of writing. Not everyone can disect a manuscript and reassemble it stronger and more vital than it was. I think I need to know some of what she knows.