It's been a privilege to get to know April Bennet on the Firebirds Yahoo Group. She's fun and funny and I can't wait to meet her in person in Anaheim. I'm so glad she agreed to join me for In PRO-suit of Publication, Regency GH Edition. Welcome April!
Thanks for having me, Wendy! I have been so glad to get to know you on the Yahoo Group and have loved reading your recent interviews with our fellow GH finalists. I am very much looking forward to sharing a chocolate martini with you and the other gals in Anaheim.
Thank you April! To start, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Los Angeles, California, with my husband and two daughters, ages 4 and 7. At my day job I work on water supply policy issues. I am a former lurker, er, member of the Beau Monde chapter of RWA and fully intend to send in those chapter dues again. (I swear!) I began reading Georgette Heyer, Marion Chesney, and Signet Regency Romances when I was 13, and 30 years later I still adore romance novels set in the Regency period.
Regency does seem to become a life-long
obsession *a-hem* love among those of us who read, research and write it. Now, I'm especially excited to hear the twitter-pitch of your GH finaling manuscript. Will you share?
A poor war hero jilts an heiress in the name of honor. When he returns years later with something to offer, will she be able to forgive him?
Awww, a man committed to caring for the woman he loves. I love him already! So, tell me, what do you love about this story?
The dialogue! I love to write dialogue and so made the hero and heroine witty and self-deprecating. They spoke to each other for hours in my head, and I tried to capture the most fun and interesting bits. I also love my cast of supporting characters, that simply had to have their say. There were moments during the writing of this story when my H and H could not get a word in edgewise.
Sounds delightful! Definitely a recipe for GH success. Where were you when you received the GH call?
When I entered the GH, it never occurred to me that I could be a finalist. I was looking for feedback in the form of the score you get at the end that shows you where you fall in the spectrum of entries. So, on the day of the announcement, I was at work as usual and completely oblivious that I could potentially receive some good news. In fact, I was so oblivious in general that I filled in my home phone number as my contact number on my entry form instead of my cell phone number. My husband received the call at home from Diane Kelly and relayed the message to me. I was able to speak to her later, but that first burst of shock had subsided by then, and I was able to pretend that I was both calm and sane. Actually, Ms. Kelly probably thought I had been sedated.
*Grin* I love that you weren't aware it was 'call day'! I actually shut off my phone, scolding myself for what I thought was false hope. I'm glad I turned it back on!
Can you share any ah-ha moments related to writing?
I entered the Emily Contest in 2010 and received two great scores and one low one. It took me weeks to fortify my confidence enough to read the comments from the judge who gave me the low score. However, I very much appreciated them, and so sat down at my computer and did my best to address some of the issues she pointed out. As I was revising, I realized that much of the first section of my story was told, not shown. Making that leap in understanding was huge for me, and I did extensive revisions as a result.
Oh I agree--low-scoring judges get disparaged, but I've received some of the most insightful comments from judges who gave me low scores. I'm indebted to contest feedback. Any other ah-ha moments?
A second a-ha moment has come recently. I did not query much before I was selected as a finalist in the GH. Since the GH announcement in March, I have sent out several queries in an attempt to leverage the GH Finalist “magic.” As of last week, all of those queries have resulted in rejections. Some of them were nice, some were very constructive, but they were rejections all the same. There was a definite sting in the vicinity of my heart and a small stomp on my confidence after receiving each one, but during this process something has become clear – even if I never publish a word, I will continue to write. It is just so darn fun.
The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood gave some stats in 2011 that surprised me. Only 15 sold their GH-finaling manuscript. However, the same post noted that, taken together, the Rubies had sold, published or contracted 80 books.
One thing I know for sure--if rejections toughen your skin and increase your resolve, you are on the right track. I revisit a blog post on Terrible Minds about rejection when I need a little boost. (Warning: the language is, um, intense.)
Onto happier thoughts. What's your favorite romance?
I love Loretta Chase and think Your Scandalous Ways is her best book ever. I mean seriously – a spy and a courtesan in Venice? Yes, please! That is a definite go-to book for me. Sherry Thomas is amazing too, and Not Quite a Husband makes me weepy every time. And of course, I adore Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is wonderful (duh), but lately, I have been going back to Persuasion again and again. There is just something so heart wrenching about Anne Eliot's quiet loneliness and yearning that gets me every time. Persuasion is such a wonderful story of lasting love. Any parting words of wisdom?
Put your cell phone number on your GH entry form!
LOL, April! Thanks for stopping by, It's been wonderful having you.
Thanks, Wendy, for giving me this opportunity. I can't wait to meet you and all of the other Firebirds in a few weeks!
Readers, leave a comment for April and you will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of April's favorite book, Your Scandalous Ways.