I’m delighted to welcome Eileen Emerson, a fellow 2012 Golden Heart® Finalist in the Regency Category (and fellow Dashing Duchess) to the 2012 Regency Category Golden Heart® edition of In PRO-suit of publication.
I’ve come to know Eileen as a high-energy, tremendously talented writer and graphic artist. Her first manuscript, A Whisper to the Wild not only finaled in the 2012 Golden Heart®, it won the 2011 Emily (and that is one tough contest!) and finaled in the Marlene, the Sheila, the Royal Ascot, the Molly, and the Golden Pen–all equally large and respected contests. In addition, she finaled in this year’s Beau Monde’s Royal Ascot contest and the Sheila with her manuscript, Embracing an Unloved Earl.
So glad you could stop by for a visit, Eileen! To start, would you like to share a twitter-pitch of your GH finaling manuscript (140 characters or less)?
“A woman hiding a world of secrets must work with a nobleman to heal a damaged horse. To succeed, they have to heal their own wounds first.”
Marvelous! I love stories with horses. So, tell me, what do you love about this story?
The element that first drew me into this story is the very thing that makes it unusual for a Regency; the heroine’s dog. Yes, I know dogs abound in Regencies, but Tip has a very unique talent that many readers haven’t seen before; he’s slightly telepathic and inserts images into the heroine’s thoughts. I also love that the hero is a jolly, beta male who has to face some grim realities in order to make a life for himself. It’s the heroine who’s the strong, silent type (for good reason—she’s spent a dozen years hiding from a killer, and is loathe to reveal her true identity to anyone.) I’m a sucker for stories that turn a standard conceit on its ear.
OOOh, sounds fascinating. That trope-flip is sure to intrigue readers. Tip sounds like he’ll bring an additional twist to the story.
I also love call stories. Where were you when you received the GH call?
I was working on a new book in my tiny, red office. I didn’t anticipate the call, and was rocked when it came. I have no idea what I said to the poor woman, but I’m pretty sure I did the standard “shaking, crying, blathering” thing. The same board member who called me was the one to call my sister a few hours later—she told Elisa I was “fun.” Please tell me that that’s not a euphemism for “shockingly insane.”
For readers who may not know, Eileen’s sister is the talented Ruby sister and Regency Golden Heart® *Winner* Elisa Beatty! Congrats to you both!
You have reached the finalist milestone with multiple projects. Do you have any ah-ha moments related to writing that you can share with readers?
I’ve encountered so many ah-ha moments over the past two years that it’s almost like a string of pearls I’ve been counting off with each book I’ve opened or seminar I’ve attended. If I had to choose one mind-blowing thing, I’d have to say that Deanna Raybourn’s prose introduced me to a whole new way of writing. I’ve always liked dark, rich characterizations and lots of twisty, heart-clenching angst between the hero and heroine. But… ohhh…. Such gorgeous sentences, such complex, meaty construction! I found myself almost chewing the words to take them in fully.
Silent in the Grave has one of my all-time favorite opening paragraphs. It’s two sentences and it’s fantastic (No, Readers, I’m not telling).
Yes, yes, yes! I remember the thrill I got from reading that opening—it was like a lightning bolt to the brain. I seriously had the thought that this book would change my life, and all from those first twenty-seven words. I get shivers just thinking about it now.
Exactly! Do you have a favorite romance?
Out of thousands of books I’ve read over the years, the one I keep going back to re-read is The Duchess of Asherwood by Mary A. Garrett. But I devour anything by Courtney Milan and Deanna Raybourn (obviously!) I’ve recently become a big fan of Cecilia Grant and Leigh LeValle for their excellent plotting and characterizations. I like sparkling, happy writing, too, and have read Julia Quinn for years and years.
I agree on all counts (although I haven’t yet read The Duchess of Asherwood). I just finished A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant and WOW.
A Lady Awakened had the very best “black moment.” It was so very clear to me, as a writer, and deeply affecting for those characters. Really excellent, swoon-worthy stuff. And you totally have to go read A Gentleman Undone. I ached for their personal wounds, and adored the whole premise. Ms. Grant is on my auto-buy list forever!
A Gentleman Undone is on my to-be-read list and is soon to be in one lucky commenter’s mailbox! Leave a comment for Eileen and be entered to win a snail mailed copy of Cecilia Grant’s A Gentleman Undone. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow evening.
Any parting words of wisdom?
Keep writing – every day, even when you don’t feel like it. And get yourself a good set of critique partners. Each one can help you see what you do well and where you trip and fall in your writing. I’m blessed with my most excellent sister, who kicks my conflicts to new levels every time she reads what I send her. And I’ve connected with some beloved chaptermates and other writers through RWA, and they keep me honest, humble, and—most importantly—writing.
As Deanna Raybourn said on her blog recently: “there are really only two kinds of people in the world—diminishers and enhancers.” With every contest I judge and with every suggestion I make to my CPs, I do my best to always be an enhancer.
And I’d say you are succeeding! Thank you so much for being here today.