Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another American Title V Finalist!

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?

http://www.edieramer.com
http://www.magicalmusings.com
http://www.loveconquers.wordpress.com
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.

48 comments:

Nynke said...

Hi Edie,

your story sounds really interesting! Like Emily, I loved the 'Heathcliff with a guitar' idea. But I'm very relieved that he won't wreck his life like the one without a guitar did... I also like the reference to the Underground Railroad. Makes me curious for the heroism in the ghost's story and what went wrong...
And I thought your dialogue scene in the American Title contest was very funny! Good luck!

Christie Craig said...

Hi Edie,

Loved the interview. I got my fingers crossed. I'm a big ghost story lover myself. And your story sounds wonderful.

I've got my fingers crossed for you.

CC

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Nynke!

Maybe if the original Heathcliff had had a guitar, he would have relieved his melancholy with music and not gone off the deep end . . .

EmilyBryan said...

Christie, thanks for stopping by! I love a good ghost story too. The idea that there is another reality just beyond the reach of our senses has always fascinated me.

Edie said...

Nynke, thanks! I don't write books without a HEA. I don't even like to read them. I'm such a wuss.

Edie said...

Chiristie, thanks! Ghost stories with a twist are fun for me. When I sell this one, I have a fun idea for the next ghost book...

Edie said...

Emily, you think Heathcliff was a frustrated musician? LOL Very well could be.

Thanks again for inviting me here! And for the cyber-truffle. I love truffles.

Beth Watson said...

Hey Edie

Your story sounds wonderful! Can't wait to read the entire book once it's pubbed. I've been voting for you all along!

Good luck in the final rounds!
Beth

marciacolette said...

Cool interview!

I'm with Nynke. I'm a sucker for stories that have a tie-in to the Underground Railroad. I can't imagine the kinds of ghosts lingering around there. To make it this far in the ATV contest, I know I'm going to get my hands on a copy of that book someday. :-D

EmilyBryan said...

Edie, I'd love to know more about your process when you "gutted" your original manuscript and rewrote it tighter and stronger. How did you do it?

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Been voting at home and work, Edie! I'm looking forward to the next round so I can do it again! :)

Michelle Miles said...

Hi, Edie! Great interview. Your book does sound amazing. :)

Edie said...

Beth, thank you for all your support! When I sell this book, whether for Dorchester or another publisher, your name is going to be in the acknowledgments.

Edie said...

Marcia, big SMOOCH for stopping by. I wish the Underground Railroad would have had a bigger part in the story. Maybe in another book. (I'm feeling a tingling like I get when an idea is just a thought away.)

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Edie, you know how much I want you to win; can't wait to announce it at the WisRWA conference! ;-)

The book sounds so good, looking forward to reading it!! See you in June! *hugs*

Edie said...

Emily, in addition to the "not enough tension" part, the editor talked about specific problems in my story. We talked for over twenty minutes! So I knew what wasn't working and when to start gutting.

While I was revising, I reread Donald Maass's WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK and the ideas flooded in. I'm going to go read the book again for my wip.

Edie said...

Stacey, you're fabulous! You know I'll do the same for you. :)

Edie said...

Michelle, thanks! And thanks for stopping by.

Edie said...

can't wait to announce it at the WisRWA conference

Donna, that would be awesome! I'm looking forward to the conference too. It's always a blast!

LaDonna said...

Edie, I'm so in love with that story of yours, and can't wait to buy it one day! I'm cheering you on, and loved the great news about your recent final in the other contest as well. Life is sending you the great stuff, so keep those arms open!

Edie said...

LaD, I just spread my arms wide open. I'm ready to take in all the good stuff coming my way. I'll learn some Ninja moves to ward off the bad. :)

Shari Anton said...

Hi Edie!

New motto: Have chocolate, can write :)

Lovely interview. Good thoughts and positive karma winging your way!

Shari

Edie said...

Shari, love the motto! Maybe I should put it on business cards.

Thanks for your good thoughts and positive karma. I can use them. :)

EmilyBryan said...

Edie! I didn't know Donald Maass had a workbook. I have read the words off the page on my Writing the Break-Out Novel. Now I know there's another tool I need in my kit.

Shari--Chocolate seems to be the drug of choice among writers. The world thinks we romance writers are all about bon-bons and feather boas. At least they have it half right! :)

Nancy said...

Emily and Edie, wonderful interview!

The premise of DEAD PEOPLE has always intrigued me, and I'm thrilled about you being a finalist, Edie!

From what I've seen from the beginning, all the finalists have wonderful books. I think you should all get a contract! :)

Light,
Nancy Haddock

Karin Tabke said...

Edie, you know I love this story! I hope to see you in Orlando in April!

LuAnn said...

What a great story idea you came up with.

Edie said...

Emily, after Maass wrote the first book, he used the information with his own clients and said the results were dramatic. He started giving weekend workshops, and then he wrote the workbook.

I haven't done the exercises at the end of the chapters yet -- the three other times I read it, I just hoped it would sink into my brain -- but I plan to do them with my wip. I'm interested in seeing what will happen.

Edie said...

I think you should all get a contract!

Nancy, if only you were a Dorchester editor ... LOL

Thanks for stopping by!

Edie said...

Karin, I hope so too! It would be a blast.

Edie said...

LuAnn, thanks! I love my characters and the story. It was fun to write Dead People -- even the rewriting.

Meagan Hatfield said...

Edie, I'm SO pulling for you on this one - have been voting from work and home, and wish I could be there live at RT when you win it all!!!!

Great interview too, btw. ;-)

Carolyn Matkowsky said...

Edie,

Your book sounds wonderful. The TV show "Ghost Whisperer" is one of my favorite shows. I'll be one of the first ones to buy your book. I just know you're close to being published.

Carolyn Matkowsky/Cara Marsi
Fellow Elements RWA Member

Meagan Hatfield said...

Oh, and ditto on the Maass workbook - it's awesome! Run out and buy it, Emily. You won't be disappointed. Just make sure you use pencil so you can use it over and over for each new book.

Ellen said...

Hi Edie,
Wonderful interview! And Dead People sounds like a fantastic read :) Ellen

Michelle said...

Edie is being way too modest about the work she did on DEAD PEOPLE. She reached in to that story and pulled out the diamonds, then polished them until they glittered. I am looking forward to the day I have a copy of DEAD PEOPLE on my bookshelf. :)

Edie said...

Meagan, I love your confidence in me. Bless you! And thanks for the votes!

Sandy said...

Hi Emily and Edie,

Great interview. Wonderful questions with interesting answers.

Edie, the Heathcliff with a guitar would make a great start to a blurb. Smiles.

Edie said...

Carolyn, thanks! I actually started writing Dead People before Ghost Whisperer was out. I haven't watched the show, but I've heard from a CP that the only similarity is both heroines want to help dead people leave earth. There's enough difference so that it's not derivative, yet it shows there's a readership for Dead People. I hope. LOL

Edie said...

Meagan, I'll use a separate notebook. I'm looking forward to it. Sounds so much better than doing my taxes, which I plan on doing tomorrow.

Edie said...

Ellen, thanks so much for your support!

Edie said...

Michelle, when it's published, I'm mailing you an ARC and an autographed copy, so when it happens, make room for two books.

Edie said...

the Heathcliff with a guitar would make a great start to a blurb.

Sandy, that's brilliant! I didn't think of that. Thanks!

Lynnette Baughman said...

Edie -- best of luck. It sounds like a winning story. Maybe even a movie!!!
Emily -- terrific interview! Did you know that I, too, am a member of WisRWA, even though I live on Washington's Olympic Peninsula? I finaled in the Fab Five in 2007, and my husband and I knew some people in Door County. Neither of us had ever been to Wisconsin. So we went. Had a great time. It's an outstanding RWA chapter.
Lynnette
Edie

EmilyBryan said...

Lynnette, I'll be coming to Washington next week to speak at Eastside RWA on the 10th! Can't wait to visit the Great Northwest!

I so agree. Edie's story sounds wonderful. Best of luck!

Edie said...

Hi Lynnette! I love Door County. I wish I'd bought a house there years ago, when they were much cheaper. Now it's the vacation spot in Wisconsin.

Thanks for your comments on Dead People.:)

Edie said...

Emily, thanks! Voting ends tonight, so we'll find out soon what will happen.

EmilyBryan said...

Fingers and toes firmly crossed for you! :)