Friday, July 30, 2010

Cyber-Conference Author Chat

One of the types of workshops they have at RWA Nationals is the Author Chat. It's an informal setting where favorite authors can answer questions put to them by the attendees. So I thought I'd give you a chance to have an author chat today with one of my favorites~ Deb Stover.

I doubt she remembers it, but I first met Deb at the Emerald City conference in 2002. I was unpublished and green as a gourd, but I managed to sit at the same table as Deb for lunch. I'd read her NO PLACE FOR A LADY, so it was a real thrill for me to meet her. She was kind enough to let me pick her brain a bit.

And today, she's letting me do it again. I invite you to listen in to a Chat with Deb Stover!

Emily: Hi Deb! Thanks for being here today.

Deb: Thanks for inviting me, Emily.

Emily: You've written in a number of different romance sub-genres. Which do you enjoy most and why?

Deb: Yes, I'm something of a sub-genre slut--historical, paranormal, time-travel, contemporary, romantic suspense, and even one category romance. In fact, I also have work published in mystery and fantasy anthologies. My agent tells me to "Focus," and I call that the "F" word. Seriously, if I had to choose just one sub-genre in which to write, and the market was of no concern, I would choose time-travels. The reason these appeal to me is the fascination of looking at history through a contemporary viewpoint. I love writing history from both viewpoints--contemporary and historical characters--and playing with the potential time-travel paradox. It's challenging, there's always plenty of yummy research, and it's never boring!

Emily: I so know what you mean about being a genre slut. I'll be writing historical/paranormal/ adventure romance as Mia Marlowe starting next May.

Nothing is ever wasted on a writer. How have your life experiences impacted your writing?

Deb: This is certainly true in many ways. While I definitely write from character, I don't think any writer is immune to allowing some of his or her own political and/or religious experiences from creeping into a story on occasion. I try to keep my values off the page, though. After all, I've written murder scenes and I've certainly never committed murder!

The biggest way my personal life has influenced my professional life is by teaching me unconditional love. My late husband and I had one beautiful birth daughter, then adopted two newborns with special needs a few years later. Our first adopted child has Down Syndrome. She's now twenty-three and the light of my life. After losing my husband to cancer in 2005, having her steady, unconditional love and faith in me as her mother reminds me every single day what life is all about. I try to transfer that hope, and the perfection of imperfection to my characters.

Emily: OMGosh, don't you dare keep your values off the page! This beautiful spirit is why your work is so powerful.

Please tell us why we'll love the hero in your most recent release.

Deb: Ty Malone is, first and foremost, a man. He's a father. He's a grieving widower. He's flawed and vulnerable, yet strong and steadfast. And he's sexy as hell. He's a farmer with a heart of gold and enough sex appeal to melt the heart of a tough as nails former Chicago Homicide Detective.

Emily: Since my DH is an Iowa farm boy, I think your Ty sounds yummy. What's the best writing advice you ever received or what advice would you like to give aspiring writers?

Deb: Never give up is probably the best advice I ever received. I would like to add that aspiring and/or beginning writers shouldn't settle for less than they deserve. With so many so-called "small presses" popping up on the Internet now, I caution writers to be wary, and not to give away their blood, sweat and tears to just anyone who claims to be a publisher. It's easy to toss up a website and declare yourself a publisher. It's another matter to actually prove it. The same thing holds true for agents. It may take several years to find the right first home for your work, but you're worth it. Be patient.

Emily: I second that advice! Writers should realize their own worth and not settle.

What's next for you?

Deb: I'm working on an urban fantasy project that is sort of a secret, as it has media tie-in potential. I'm not at liberty to give details just yet. It's a lot of fun, and somewhat different for me.

Emily: Very exciting! Please come back when you can share your new work. Thanks for being with us today, Deb.

Here's a bit about her latest release: The Gift

Blurb: A gift turned nightmare drives Beth Dearborn to abandon all she holds
dear, until fate demands she face Ty Malone, danger, and destiny....

“Readers will rejoice at the return of one of the romance genre’s special
talents! This melting pot of murder mystery, passion and ghosts makes for an
outstanding storytelling stew!” HOT ~ 4 ½ Stars! Jill M. Smith, RT Book

Buy at Barnes & Noble (including Digital):

Buy at Amazon (including for Kindle):

So do any of you have questions/ comments for Deb today? I'd like to talk a bit about time travel romance and see how much interest there is out there. Have you read a time travel romance? Title and author, please?


Ilona Fridl said...

Oh, yes, I have a favorite time travel romance! I read it back in the seventies. It's called Time and Again. It's about a man who time travels from the seventies back to the 1880's and falls in love with a woman there. I'm sorry I don't remember the author, but I think it was the basis for a movie back then.

EmilyBryan said...

I read a really fascinating one once, set in ancient Egypt. It was called Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank. Once the American heroine found herself in Akanaton's time, she fell in love with the pharaoh's architect, who happened to be a 19th century Frenchman (another time traveler!) Needless to say that really complicated the "should I stay or should I go?" conundrum because which time would they choose? His, hers or Ancient Egypt?

Unknown said...

Richard Matheson wrote a beautiful time-travel called Somewhere In Time. I fell in love with the movie when I was a kid, and then with the writer when I grew up. He's kind of a genre slut too. *g*

That's such great advice, Deb, about being patient, but it's also the hardest to follow. I'm having a devil of a time finding an agent. But, I keep telling myself to keep looking and be patient. I want someone who believes in me as much as I do.

What a great interview.

Emily, your blog is always a blast.

EmilyBryan said...

Saranna--I remember that movie. Wasn't Christopher Reeves in it? Lovely story.

About your agent search--I assume you've been sending queries. Since you're going to be published soon, it's generally not a problem to find an agent who'll be happy to take their cut. Finding one who'll come alongside you and act as career counselor and guide is another matter. I'm glad you're being particular.

If you'd like to chat privately about your search, email me through my website.

Deb Stover said...

I believe that was Christopher Reeve in the movie, Emily. Wonderful movie.

I have a huge collection of time travel novels--mostly romance, but not all. I found THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE fascinating, but pretty depressing, too. Still, really a good book, though.

Even though I'm working on something else officially, I have what Jo Beverley calls a "play project," which is a time travel. Imagine that! :)

Saranna, I know it's hard to be patient, but you'll be glad you did. Persistence pays. Meeting agents at conferences helps. Small regional conferences are good bets, because there aren't as many people there, and they're usually less expensive. Hang in there!

Keep throwing spaghetti against the wall until one of 'em sticks.


Sandy said...

My first love will always be romantic suspense and plain mysteries even. I grew up on Agatha Christie and many others, so I don't travel far from my roots. Smile.

Vonnie Alto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vonnie Alto said...

Hi Deb & Emily,

Some of my favorite time travels are by Kristin Hannah--"Once In Every Life," "When Lightening Strikes," and "Comfort & Joy." She really knows how to add a clever time travel twist to her plots.

However, what seems difficult about writing time travel is finding a unique time travel device/paradox. In fact, I've heard editors lament this problem. I would be interested in what you two have to say about this?

By the way, I'm a guest columnist today at <>. I was asked to write a promo article. I titled mine, "How to Grow Your Name." It's my first time I've been an online guest speaker so it's an exciting experience. Come by and take a look if you have time. Click on "Articles" after you go to the 1stTurningPoint website and I'll appear.

Deb Stover said...

Vonnie, I loved WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES. It's on my keeper shelf. I think the mechanism used for the TT isn't as important as the significance and purpose of the leap itself. There should be consequences to the time travel, and they should be consistent. It shouldn't be too easy, and if something bad happens the first time the hero and/or heroine makes the leap, it darn well better happen the next time. If it doesn't, the author will lose me unless the reason for the difference is very carefully explained. I've used magic spells, curses, an electric chair, a storm, selling soul to the devil, fire, an MRI, and a haunted well. Lots of fun every time, and definitely consequences.

Have fun with your column.


Anonymous said...

I love time travel romances. I'm not home right now, so I can't check my shelves for the specific books.
Linda Lael Miller has done some. HERE AND THEN and THERE AND NOW are a linked pair and can be found in single title or combined. PIRATES is another one of her's.
Sandy Blair has one I really liked, heqartbreaking and funny at the same time - A HIGHLANDER FOR CHRISTMAS.

Janet Chapman's Highlander series is sort of time travel. It starts off that way and deals with those brought forward adjusting and finding their HEA.
I can think of a bunch of other stories i've read, but don't have a clue at the moment who wrote them or the title. I can see the books' covers in my minds eye.
Just remembered one, LEGEND by Jude Devereaux. She also did A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR which is still in my TBR mountain.
Of course there is the obvious Diana Gabaldon.
I have one sitting on the sofa at home that I was going to start but I don't remember what it was (it is an old book I pulled out of a box when I was bored.)

EmilyBryan said...

Sandy--It's hard to beat a good "who-dun-it," isnt' it?

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Bonnie--Thanks for dropping by. Here's the link to your article for those who'd like to check it out: Growing Your Name.

Vonnie Alto said...

Hi Emily--

I'm Vonnie with a "V" but I recognize almost anything that sounds close to my name. Your book cover is beautiful! And your website is a dream. Clean, easy to navigate, free of clutter yet packed with info.

I also love your blog. Excellently done with fun gadgetts/widgets. Now for some questions:

1) How did you get your blog awards? They really add color and prestige to your blog.

2)Did you create the widget, "What's New on My Blog today" or is there a generic pattern for it? I looked at the widget site and couldn't find the pattern. Does it have a fee?

3) Is the "Browse Inside" book only available to published authors? It looks like a good promo tool.

Finally, thank you for having Deb Stover chat on your blog. She's wonderful!

Vonnie Alto said...

Hi Deb,

I feel a little sheepish because I'm so behind in my reading and overwhelmed by the stacks and stacks of books I want to read now that my shoulder injury is finally on the mend. Your titles are at the top of my list. I just need to find time....

Anyway, your time travel advice makes sense and sounds like it would also apply for travel between two worlds (i.e. contemporary and fantasy for example) which is what I'm doing in my book. I need to remember your advice: that there should be consequences that happen when the characters travel from one realm to another and that those consequences should be repeated on subsequent journeys. How very interesting! Now I must make sure that I work those consequences into my plot--if I haven't already done so. Thank you for this priceless pearl.

EmilyBryan said...

Oh, dang, Vonnie. I'm sorry I messed up your name. My bad.

I'm so glad you enjoyed my website. I try to make it content rich, but minimizing clutter is always a struggle. A website is just like a house. It's easy to let it get mucked up with too many brick-a-bracks.

Now to answer your questions:
1. My blog awards came from dear readers who enjoy my blog and wanted to award them to me. They usually come with a request to pass the honor along to other blogs as well. A nice way to pay it forward.

2. I built the "What's new on my blog" widget at Widgetbox. It's free, unless you want to have the advertisement removed. I paid for that for a year, but it seems my year may have expired since I see pop ups on it now.

3. The "browse inside" widget was developed by Leisure Books, my publisher. I think it's a brilliant tool and I'll tell my editor you liked it. Anyone can download my "browse inside" widgets from Leisure, but you'll be stuck with my books inside them. ;-)

Thanks again for coming by.

And thank you Deb, for being my guest!

Nynke said...

I really like time travel plots, provided they adhere to Deb's criteria... But I really can't remember names and titles, sorry!
I think I'd enjoy A HIGHLANDER FOR CHRISTMAS, so I'll go check that out. Thanks for the suggestions, eveyone! And thanks, Emily and Deb, for the interesting discussion.