Thursday, January 22, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome! My 50day/50blog tour is stopping here at my house today! I'm so glad you could join me. As you can see, I'm pretty laid back. Please make yourself at home. Check out the video library (My YouTube BookTrailers are posted along the right side of the blog) and once you're done here, visit some of my favorite blogs.

As soon as people learn I'm a writer, these questions almost always follow. I thought I'd answer them here.

Where do you find your story ideas?

They find me. Maybe it's a bit of historical research. A painting that begs a question. A strain of music that starts a story scrolling in my mind. A character that steps out of my subconscious and demands I tell her story. Once I have a kernel of an idea, I play with it, develop it, test it to see if it matters enough to propel me for 400 pages.

Why do you write under 2 different names?

Because I like having to maintain two websites. Just kidding. The suggestion to use two names came from my editor since the style of writing is so different for each name.I write sexy, light-hearted historical romance as Emily Bryan and dramatic epics as Diana Groe.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, though I've always been a voracious readers and was intrigued by the writing process. I've been--hang on!--a professional opera singer, a teacher, a choir director, a home-schooling mom, a realtor and a banker. My daughters say I'm a Renaissance Woman--I've done a bit of everything.

Now, I'm a writer.

Guess I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.

Publishing is such a competitive business. How did you sell your first manuscript?

With a good bit of luck! I realized early on that I didn't want to just have a book published. I wanted a writing career. That meant I needed an agent. After winning a few writing contests, I attracted an agent who shopped my work out. She sold my work to Leah Hultenschmidt at Dorchester and I've been blessed to have terrific editorial support ever since.

Unfortunately, my agent has suffered some health problems and is closing down her agency. Once again, I find myself without representation. I will miss her terribly and will never forget that she was the first publishing professional who gave me hope.

Now, I have to start the agent hunt once again.

Now wait a minute! You're already published. What do you need with an agent?

While it's true that I have a very good working relationship with my editor, I really don't want to have to haggle with her over the details of my contract. I'd rather keep my collaboration with Leah on an artistic footing.

Why do you write those type of books? (This question is usually accompanied by an eye roll and is typically asked by someone who knows me, goes to church with me, knows my kids, and has at least one of my books tucked under their arm)

The obvious answer is so YOU will buy them.

But the subtext of the question is 'Why do you write books with explicit sex scenes in them?'

The answer to that is that I write about life. All of life. Every scene in my books must serve the story. And I can't tell my characters' story without telling all of it.

What advice do you have for beginning writers?

Write everyday. Creativity is a muscle. It will grow stronger with regular exercise. Read about the craft. Attend workshops and writers seminars. Find critique partners you trust. Don't quit. If I can do it, you can do it. Good luck!

I'm giving away copy of Vexing the Viscount today to one lucky commenter. If you're a writer, what question do you regularly get asked? If you're a reader, is there something about writing you've been dying to know but were afraid to ask?


Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

My favorite is "You write books? Can I buy them?" This is the good question. Yes, yes, they can. I hope they will. Sometimes the questioner will make a pouty face when I mention my titles are in electronic format, but I prefer to remember the gal at church who outright squealed and exclaimed that historical romance was her favorite genre. Coincidentally, I'm stealing part of her wedding vows for a part in an upcoming book.

I always answer the "what kind of books are they" question with no hedging. Historical romance. Again, some pouty faces, but see above.

Subset of above question might be "are they Christian books?" To which I answer that apple trees only grow apples. I am a Christian and I write books for the general market. If a questioner is curious about the content of my books, there's one really easy way to find out; read one.

Nynke said...

I wouldn't ask why you (and all those other lovely writers) write historical romance with explicit sex scenes; I'm just happy to read them! Without them, a large and essential part of the experience of falling in love would be lost, I think.
Unrelated to this, but related to VtV: did you know that another gold hoard from Roman times (although buried by Celts) was recently discovered in England? It even involved a secretive archaeological dig, much like Lucian's might have been :)
Here's a link:

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Emily,
Sorry I missed posting on yesterday's blog. I got home really late. However, I did go check it out to see what new things you had to say . . . and nearly rolled out of my chair laughing. Amazingly, some people just might do some of those things!

In answer to your questions today, I could say I have I basically have the same answer for both: Oh, YOu're a reader, what do you like to read? and Oh, you write? What do you write? The answer to both is ROMANCE, with the exception that I also love to read Reference books. (How nerdy can you get?)

However, when the answer of romance is dissected, it becomes a bit of a different answer. I love to read historical, intrigue, and some paranormal and erotic. Within the historical context, I prefer Scottish/English historicals and pirate stories. my shelves are lines with Harlequin Intrigues. I like paranormal dealing with psychic abilities; As far as erotica goes, I only like m/f, and the relationship needs to be developed enough to make the sex meaningful.

If I ever get published, then the stories would be along the same lines as what I like to read, since that is what I like to write.

Good luck, Emily, with finding a new agent. I started reading Pleasuring the Pirate last night, so I don't think you should have too hard of a time.


Unknown said...

I am so excited that I have been introduced to you. My friend told me about your books and I so excited to go out and get one of them. I love historical romance novels. I look forward to following you and your blog tour!

Asylumgirl said...

I'm curious about how you organize yourself, your ideas and your office in order to write. I would love to be a writer but I really just don't know where to start and I feel like it has a lot to do with organization, of which I severely lack.
Also, do you write a book from start to finish or write bits here and there and then piece them together?


Anonymous said...

I have a story to share that has bothered me for a while and would like an opinion from you and your great support team! I attended a forum a while ago and a very well know published author made a very nasty derogatory remark about another very well known well respected author. As an aspiring writer I was appalled, but as a reader I was completely turned off by the person making the comment and now I wont buy her books.I understand our right to freedom of speech and choice, but isnt there a unspoken code about disrespecting your fellow writers. Am I wrong to feel disappointed by the speaker or should I just quit being so Minnesota nice!

Jane said...

Hi Emily,
Are there any genres that you absolutely don't read?

EmilyBryan said...

Anna--My books are in electronic format now too as well as print. I think it's the way of the future and you're already there, girl!

Nynke--How fun that someone actually turned up another Roman treasure! And thanks for sending me the link. That'll be good fodder for a future post.

Julie--I'm with you on the erotica. Call me old fashioned, but one man/one woman is all it takes to fill up a bed. I think there is something in the human heart that cries out for exclusivity. We want to be special, only, dare I say holy, to another person. A menage is just a tangle of limbs and firing neurons to me.

Lynn--I'm glad you've joined my merry band of blog "touristas". Rock on!

Deidre--Maybe you should start by visiting my WRITE STUFF pages. I've posted several pages on my website specifically for aspiring writers. And the answer to your question about my writing process is too long for this space, but I promise to address it in one of the upcoming stops on my blogtour. It may be about a week though. I'm trying to stay ahead of things!

Jane L: Not having read the snarky remarks, I hate to comment. The internet is great, but we often lose a large part of our intended communication. Sometimes, things said in jest fall flat without the wink and the smile.

There's no writers' code that forbids us from speaking ill of others. But my momma always told me an unkind remark is a prayer to the devil. (I was raised "Iowa nice" which is very similar to "Minnesota nice") And judging from your reaction to the writer's comments, I'd say my momma was right. The devil always answers that kind of prayer.

Jane--I'm a total wuss when it comes to horror. I can't take all the blood and gore. Some of my Diana Groe books have some fairly graphic battle and fight scenes, but I try not to go for the gross out.

Carol L. said...

Hi Emily,
I'm loving this blogging tour. Just reading all the excerpts keeps me patient until VTV finally comes out. I have also starting reading "Pleasuring the Pirate".
Love it, love it so far. But that really isn't unusual as I know I'm going to love your books. I think the love scenes you describe in your books and the men making those loves scenes so very believable and inportant to the stories are so fantastic that you should write a "How To Book" that men can buy and learn from. :)
I enjoyed your bog today Emily.

Julie Robinson said...

Well put, Emily, with regards to relationships.

When it comes to talking bad about another, whether it be writers, politicians, teachers, office co-workers, etc., I tend not to be swayed negatively toward the person being talked about, but, instead, question the one doing the talking. What is it about the other person that makes this person feel incompetent or insecure enough that they must put someone else down, instead of being positive about what qualities s(he) has to offer? Thus far, I have been fortunate enough never to hear writers do it to each other, or maybe i just don't pay attention!

Carol L. said...

Emily and fellow readers, Please forgive the errors in my spelling.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks so much for dropping by everybody. Carol, I'm so glad you're enjoying my PIRATE!

ANNA! My DH has decided to reward the early bird today. You are my winner. Please send me your mailing info through my website.

The blog tour marches on to WeWriteRomance! Please tell your friends!

Cyber hugs all around!

Shannon McKelden said...

No need to enter me in the contest (since I already won VEXING!), but I do really like your answer that you write about life so need to include ALL of life. That's a really great answer! I'm going to steal it...hope you don't mind. :-)

EmilyBryan said...

Steal away, Shannon! :)

'Course my dad would add, "Tell 'em where you got it!"