In PRO-suit of Publication

This week’s featured Beau Monde PRO and Beau Monde volunteer is Suzy Kue, our chapter Newsletter editor.

Suzy’s tagline is “Historical Romance with a Kick of Culture Clash,” which I think is fantastic! Suzy is working on her second novel, a Victorian which is temporarily called Bounty Hunter, which will be changed, she notes, because the term bounty hunter was used until just after the time period for her story.

Welcome Suzy! So, over here at the PRO interview series, we’ve been starting with the twitter-pitch of your favorite finished manuscript. What to share?

Wow! That’s the hardest thing to do! But excellent practice. Still perfecting it but here goes:

Bounty Hunter becomes protector when runaway heiress is in danger. Can they find the killer before they kill each other?

Chills! Love it. What do you love most about that story?

I love working on the dialogue between a former American captain and a proper English miss. He commits any number of social faux pas that he’s able to charm his way out of by sheer force of his personality. And my heroine, as a lonely young girl, spent a great deal of time reading through Shakespeare and any number of other plays, thus she likes to speak with a flair of the dramatic and quipy one-liners.

Oh, this sounds absolutely yummy–lots of potential sizzle. It sounds like you really know how to create vivid characters! Will you describe an ah-ha writing moment and its trigger?

To quote the movie the Matrix, “It’s one thing to know the path and another to walk that path.”

So true!

The ah-ha moment for me, after years of dabbling and rewriting the same 3 chapters over and over again, trying to make them “just perfect” I finally followed the advice of, “Let the first draft be crap. You can’t edit a blank page.” My first MS, a multicultural historical that I have shelved for the moment, is the book-of-my-heart, but is not quite market ready. It took me 4 years to write because I kept editing along the way. My current WIP, which I have enrolled in my local RWA chapter’s PALs Challenge (which gives you specific deadlines to finish your book) is immensely helpful in keeping my on task. I have found that the deadlines make all the difference in the world. . . I guess another ah-ha moment. And my first crap draft is done! Have started editing to enter in Golden Heart and start querying agents later this year.

I’m so excited to hear you talk about this and I completely agree. I learned a great deal from April Kihlstrom’s Book-in-a-week. More recently, Candace Havens’ fast draft (2 weeks, 20 pages a day, no looking back) brought these very points home for me. You can’t rush revision, but you can help yourself by having an existing framework. Here’s to getting those drafts done!

So, What’s your favorite Romance and why?

I cannot not pick one, there are too many great books and authors that I have read.  But I can tell you who some of my favorite authors are . . .Julia Quinn tops the list, Sabrina Jeffries, Sally MacKenzie, Eloisa James, and newcomer Anna Randol round out the list.

All fabulous, I agree–and three are or have been Beau Monde members? Any other thoughts/advice on pursuing publication?

Find support, whether it’s through a local chapter or an online one, having writing buddies that are going through the same struggles that you are makes a world of difference in an otherwise lonely career. My family, although supportive, have no clue why it’s taken me so long to write one book. They figure that I should be able to pop out a book in a month (I wish) and that all romance novels are Bodice Rippers (shudder). So having writer friends that you can share your trials and tribulations with is essential for emotional wellbeing.

I’m so glad you stopped by, Suzy. Good Luck with Bounty Hunter!

Thank you so much for the opportunity. I really appreciate it.

Comment and win a e-book copy of Carolyn Jewel’s Lord Ruin. Drawing to be held by 10 am PST Saturday 9/24.

I’d like to welcome Sarah Tormey for the next installment on In PRO-suit of Publication. In addition to being a Beau Monde PRO, Sarah also served the chapter as last year’s Royal Ascot co-coordinator.

Sarah spent several years as a mass merchandise sales representative for a NY publishing house before leaving to pursue her dream to become a published writer.  She’s an avid reader, a tireless Beau Monde volunteer and a loyal advocate for the Romance industry, especially for the Regency romances which hold a special place in her heart.

She loves horseback riding and she and her husband have explored such romantic locals as Costa Rica and the French Pyrenees on horseback. It isn’t surprising that after penning several Regencies, her latest stories explore the 21st century world of Army Rangers. Sarah lives in Brooklyn NY with her husband and family and is represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Agency.

Thanks so much for being here Sarah! I’m so excited to hear about your all-new Army Ranger series. What’s the twitter-pitch (approx. 140 characters)? 

When Major Cole arrives at Sam’s animal rescue farm for an Army-sanctioned vacation, Sam comes face-to-face with the man who has haunted her fantasies for the past decade.

A reunion story with horses and an Army Ranger–I’m hooked. Can you tell me what to you love most about that story and, perhaps, a little bit about your switch from Regency England to 21st century New York?

This pitch is for Rough Riding Ranger, my first series contemporary. After completing two Regency manuscripts and receiving oodles of rejections, I decided to follow an idea I’d had for a contemporary when reading a non-fiction book, Horse Soldiers, about a team of Army Rangers who were sent to Afghanistan and instead of trucks they were given horses. Only one of them knew how to ride. I thought what if the Army sent them to an upstate horse rescue farm for training? While I love the initial idea, my favorite part of the story is the heroine. Sam, short for Samantha, doesn’t need the Army Ranger hero to rescue her. She just needs him in her life—and in her bed.

Oh that’s fantastic. And I love that the story was inspired by a true event!

As you were spinning worlds in with Rakes and Rangers, I’m sure you learned a thing or two about your writing process. Could you describe an ah-ha writing moment and its trigger…

After about a year of submitting my first completed Regency manuscript, I received an amazing rejection from an editor who had read the full. It was full of details about what I needed to improve and work on. I read it over and over for a month and then I completely rewrote the project—featuring a heroine with epilepsy. I’m still not sure it will ever sell, but the process and in particular that one rejection, made me a much better writer. I firmly believe a good, detailed rejection can inspire and push an aspiring writer to take their work to the next level.

Wow! I’d love to read about a heroine with epilepsy. My favorite romance is Flowers from the Storm, where the hero suffers an aneurysm, but since the medical community had little information about such things, he’s assumed to be insane–a gripping and sometimes heart-breaking read. What’s your favorite Romance and why?

Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series (I can’t pick just one). Her characters come alive on the page, leap off, and follow you around. And when I was selling romance, she was my favorite author to sell. I would get so excited I would literally be bouncing up and down in my seat. I think it really helped me get a bigger buy and top row endcap placement :).

Of course, I also have a favorite Regency. Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I. No particular reason other than I love the series and would happily reread this one over and over.

I haven’t read any Suzanne Brockmann (and I think I may be the only one), but will definitely pick up books from the Troubleshooter series. Julia Quinn is, of course, a master. Any other thoughts/advice on pursuing publication?

Keep writing. My favorite project is always the one I’m working on and that helps when the rejections come in. I think ok agent/editor didn’t like that one, but I’ll blow her away with my next manuscript. This helps me keep going.

I know I’m inspired!  Can you tell us a bit about what’s next for you?

Right now I’m working on In the Ranger’s Bed, another contemporary intended for the Harlequin Blaze line and another historical.  Someday My Duke Will Comeis a Regency era battle of the sexes, in which an exchange of favors leads to a house party that ends in a false engagement, which leads to a scandal, and eventually, love.

I love the sound of that Regency! Thanks so much for being here, Sarah. 

If you have any questions or comments for Sarah, please post! One lucky poster will be chosen at random and will win a copy of Be My Bride by the Beau Monde’s president, Regina Scott. Be My Bride features Three Regency Novellas: Sweeter Than Candy, A Place by the Fire, and The June Bride Conspiracy.

Now that summer has wound down, it’s time for a few more PRO interviews!

This weeks featured Beau Monde PRO, Suzi Love, is an elected member of the Beau Monde Board, serving as the chapter’s PRO liaison as well as maintaining the chapters’ blog and twitter accounts. She hails from Down Under. During last years floods, coordinated a gathering of books including children’s books and Romances for those who were suffering.

Not only has she poured herself into volunteer work, she has also been racking up contest finals. One of the contests she has finaled in is the Beau Monde’s Royal Ascot contest.

Thanks so much for being here, Suzi. As usual, let’s start with the twitter-pitch (140 characters or less) of your favorite finished manuscript?

Mathematically-minded Lady assists Determined Duke to foil a madwoman’s plot to control London’s Stock Exchange.

Oh fabulous! How original & exciting. What to you love most about that story?

I love heroines who are a little off kilter! This one being a mathematical genius means the rest of the Beau Monde regards her as an oddity.

Love it. I think heroines that have something that sets them apart in an unusual way are the most interesting to read about. There is so much potential for internal conflict that influences external conflict. It sounds like you’ve developed a story with those illusive twin drivers: entwined plot and character. Could you describe an ah-ha writing moment and its trigger?

At the conclusion of our Romance Writers of Australia conference each year, there is a tradition of….‘Stand Up’ if you have…

The President calls out writing achievements from the very top to beginners eg …

Stand Up if you’ve made the Times Best Seller list this year – Made your first sale – Entered your first contest – Attended conference – Are the Spouse or family member of someone standing…

Until the entire room is on its feet and cheering.

The first time I was part of this, I cried. Then I looked around and thought about how much each writer had achieved in those 12 months, and through their own hard work. I vowed that each year I’d have worked hard enough to add something to my own list of… Stand Up If You Have….

What a wonderful story.  I had a similar experience with NJRWA. They used to give carnations out to anyone who had reached a milestone, from finishing a story to submitting to an agent or editor to being published. I don’t know why, but those carnations were real motivators to take it to the next step.

So, I’m sure your nightstand holds a novel or two. What’s your favorite Romance and why?

All Amanda Quick’s books take pride of place on my ‘Keeper’s shelf because I adore the energy and inventiveness of the early Victorian era she writes about and because her heroines are always out of synch with the rest of the world. These heroines’ differences entice heroes with their own peculiarities, and despite inevitable and frequent clashes between the two strong personalities, the author makes it clear from the moment the two cross paths that the hero knows he’s doomed. Helpless to resist her attractions, and despite his valiant efforts to retain control, he willingly accepts his fate.

Ah, so romantic!

Agreed! Do you have any other thoughts/advice on pursuing publication?

As you can see by number 3, my only advice is work hard. Write as often as possible, read as much as you can, get involved in the industry.

Great pointers! Thanks so much for being here Suzi!

One commenter will receive a copy of each book in Beau Monde author Candice Hern’s Regency Rakes Trilogy.