I’m pleased to welcome Mr. Bill Haggart to my blog today for the second installment of “In PRO-suit of Publication.”
Bill was a history major, has taught both high school and college and now owns his own educational consulting business. He generously shares his knowledge within Romance Writer’s of America and within the Beau Monde, he is our expert on all things military-related. Last year, he was voted “Teacher of the year” by the Beau Monde’s membership for his informative classes and interactive teaching style. Bill is more than an excellent teacher and history buff; his time-travel regencies have placed in four contests in just this past year alone.
Welcome Bill! To start, please share the twitter-pitch (approx. 140 characters) of your favorite finished manuscript.
Favorite? Tough. That’s like asking a mother which of her 12 children is her favorite, even if most of them look like Quasimodo. [Which several of my manuscripts resemble in a literary sense, lots of heart but ugly as sin.]
My favorite: Telling Time
A gentle-bred Regency lady is catapulted into present-day England, where the clash of cultures and an arrogant American ‘corporate aristocrat’ make the sparks fly.
Yea! I was hoping you’d pick that one. I’ve had the pleasure of reading Telling Time and found it to be a pitch-perfect love story! What is it that you love most about that story?
I love the contrasts and similarities between Regency society and the present day. I had fun with not only the varieties of culture shock the Lady Victoria Covington suffers being thrust into the modern world, but how her values and ‘old’ strengths not only make her admirable, even in our electronic, ‘let-it-all-hang-out’ age, but how she also wins the heart of a thoroughly modern man.
There are some interesting similarities between our time and the Regency, aren’t there? I don’t know that I’ve thought of it quite that way.
Being a writer in PRO-suit of publication has many challenges, but a challenge is usually followed by the reward of insight. Could you describe an ah-ha writing moment and its trigger?
The ah-ha moment was realizing how powerful the choice of sensing verbs were’ particularly which senses to ‘favor’ for a character. Verb choices and descriptions paint such vivid pictures of not only the characters’ POV, but also powerful descriptions and conflict.
The trigger was something Julia Ross wrote in the May 2002 Romance Writer’s Report: “Even when a scene is deeply emotional and full of sensory input, it’s often more powerful to limit the character’s awareness to just one or two senses at a time.”
Great Quote! You gave a very well received class through RWA Elements called The Power of the Senses, right? Will you be offering the class again soon?
I just finished a class on March 25th, so the next one will be several months from now.
Hear that, readers? Watch for it!
I always find the best authors & books through recommendations from friends. Can you tell me about your favorite Romance and what it is that gives it that distinction?
My Favorite Romance? The one I share with my wife…
But you’re talking about novels, right? One reason I turned to writing Romances is that all the books, from SF/F to thrillers and comedies, I enjoyed and re-read contained romances at the core. A number of what I consider great romances, ones I love, aren’t officially Romances. Perhaps because they are sparse, deeply embedded as the spine of a larger story, they have more resonance for me. Some of my favorite non-romances built around terrific romances are:
Don Quixote USA: A very funny book with a doofalous hero drawn to a Latin Hottie.
Dorsai: (SF) Two ‘special’ people that don’t know they are literally made for each other.
Leave It to Psmith: The whole story is P.G. Woodhouse’s marvelous character Psmith following after his love-at-first-sight and his eccentric and funny courtship.
Congagher: A marvelous Western romance by Louie L’Amour. The whole book is about the two lovers finding each other in a very unforgiving wild west. Good movie, too.
None of them are called romances.
The first ‘Romance genre’ I read was Jude Devereaux’s The Princess and I was hooked, though I immediately hunted up Regencies, being a Napoleonic history buff. [or nut, as the case may be.] I continue to re-read The Princess. It is definitely one of my top ten.
What I loved about The Princess was certainly the historical setting [WWII], but again the sharp clash of cultures, the American naval lieutenant and the Princess of a small European Duchy, two ways of seeing the world, where both have to open their eyes and see past it all to recognize and value each other. It’s a great dance.
Before you go, do you want to share any other thoughts/advice on pursuing publication?
All I can say is what I have found to be true: Write and keep writing. It’s the only way to learn to write. Find a group of writers, a RWA chapter, and definitely find some committed critique partners. I have found some real friends as well as writing support and inspiration that have weathered the last ten years…as well as helped me weather the rough spots of becoming a writer.
And speaking of rough spots: Put your manuscripts out there every chance you get, contests, agents, other writers, distant relatives, etc. Be ready for the emotional bruises—you’ll live, but actively develop a thicker skin. Why? Because that’s an integral part of the publishing business and the profession you aspire to. If you can’t survive the unkind comments of one contest judge, what will you do once you’re published and facing scads of book critics, editors and your reading public?
Great advice! Thank you so much for being here today, Bill! Readers, if you have questions or comments for Bill, please post.
Tomorrow I will choose one commenter (by drawing a name from a hat) and he/she will win a e-copy of Delle Jacobs Lady Wicked, down-loadable from All Romance. I’ll announce the winner in the comments section, so please check back.
My In PRO-suit of Publication interviews will be on hiatus next week while I road-trip through the redwoods, but be sure to check back on May 12th for my interview with M.E. Ferris.