Happy Thursday! Please help me in welcoming Lynne Marshall to 'Off the Keyboard' this morning. Welcome, Lynne.
Thank you for inviting me, Sarah! I’m very happy to be here.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Yes. I’m a late bloomer when it comes to writing, having been an RN for thirty years, and only a writer for the last eleven. I didn’t tell my co-workers what I was doing with my spare time until I’d sold a short story to Woman’s World magazine. I live in Southern California, about forty miles outside of Los Angeles with my husband of almost thirty years. Our two children live out of state, so I help fill my empty nest with my writing. My husband and I love to travel. I’m a Curves devotee and a power walker. Our sweet dog died last March and we are in between dogs, right now, but I love dogs to bits. My RN background helped me break into the Mills and Boon Medical Romance line in 2005.
ONE FOR THE ROAD is a midlife coming of age story for a new widow named D’Anne who happens to be forty-six years old. She’s stranded outside of Nashville and penniless and needs to take drastic measures to get back home to California. Tyler, a one-hit wonder ten years prior, needs cheap transportation for a three-week comeback tour ending in Las Vegas. Desperate D’Anne has one possession left, a forty-foot deluxe recreational vehicle. You get the picture by now, right?
Since I believe it’s never too late to fall in love, and love has a tendency to show up when least expected, I went ahead and wrote this road trip story. It’s got a fun cast of secondary characters, namely the band and D’Anne’s two grown kids. The three rowdy musicians keep things hopping along with their own problems, which D’Anne keeps sticking her nose into, and her sons let her know they think she’s taken a detour from Nashville to Nutsville by renting out her RV to Tyler and the band. I even threw in one sweet old dog named Dexter. Oh, and I should mention that somewhere between Nashville and Vegas, D’Anne and Tyler fall in love.
What is the most emotional scene you had to write in this piece?
There is a blowout scene between D’Anne, and her son Randy. As a mother, my children mean the world to me, and I’ve been blessed with great kids. Yet I’ve noticed that some kids come out fighting and make life miserable for their moms. Randy is such a character, and there comes a time in the story where D’Anne is completely sick of his harsh judgments about her and has to confront him. She tells him she doesn’t care what he thinks anymore, that he needs to grow up, get over himself, and let her follow her own path. It devastates him, and makes her feel like the worst parent on earth, but it is necessary. For both of them. It tore me up to write that scene.
That would be a difficult scene to write. How did you start writing?
I call it my late midlife crisis. LOL. I thought I was flipping out because these characters started forcing me to think about their story. I thought something was wrong with me, that I was going crazy or something, because they wouldn’t let up until I started to write their story down. Boy did that open a Pandora’s box of new experiences!
I bet! Which comes first, plot or characters?
Characters. Two faces push their way into my mind and I must be able to see the conflict before I can begin to plot.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m an in-betweener. *grin* I have a plot in mind when I begin a book and try to stick to it. This never goes the way I’ve planned because the characters keep surprising me with scenes of their own, which, of course, moves the story in different directions. So, though I do plot and develop a conflict grid before starting a story, I am totally open to my “pantser” side.
What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?
Since I was a young girl, I was aware that the books I liked the best had love stories in them. Yes, I enjoyed all kinds of books – To Kill A Mockingbird was the greatest book I’d ever read at age twelve – I discovered Forever Amber in my early teens and thought, wow, they can write these kinds of stories? From then on I kept looking for more. I came late to romance reading, but was really happy to discover it because it always irked me in literary books when the whole book was about a relationship and in the end the couple didn’t make it. What? I loves my HEAs.
Me, too! What are three things you wish you’d known before you began your writing career?
I didn’t begin writing with a career in mind. As I went along and discovered I could actually conceive a story, write it down, AND finish it, I changed my perspective and thought about writing to publish. Here are three things I would have liked to have understood before writing five full length novels.
1. Figure out which genre you write in and stick with it, because if you blur the lines of genres you WILL have trouble selling your book.
2. Category writing is one of the hardest jobs on the planet!
3. Promotion is an ugly beast that will eat you up if you let it, yet you must dance with that beast, whether you want to or not.
What’s next for you?
I am currently contracted for another Medical Romance for Mills and Boon. It will be number eleven. I am impatiently awaiting my first ever Harlequin Special Edition release in March 2012 titled, Courting His Favorite Nurse. I just contracted a Champagne Rose to The Wild Rose Press titled – An Indiscretion. (I’m very happy about that) And I have my fingers crossed for another Last Rose of Summer contract, though am currently holding my breath, and I see revisions in my future, first. Sigh.
Where can we find you on the web?
I have a lovely little website titled: Life, love, and the pursuit…, where anyone can find out about me and follow my blog, which I post once a week@ www.lynnemarshall.com
Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Yes, please! How open are you to new authors? With the gazillion books out there, how do you discover authors you’ve never read before, and what makes you give them a chance?