Today, I’d like to introduce Joanne Lockyer in the final installment of “In PRO-suit of publication, Regency GH Edition.” Joanne is the only 2012 Regency GH finalist I’ve met in person, and I can assure you she is as lovely as she is talented! Welcome, Joanne. Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself?
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Wendy! I live in Brisbane, Australia. These days, I have the fortune to work at a fabulous, flexible science writing related job several days a week. I devote the other days to working on my manuscripts.
Sounds heavenly! Jumping right in, will you share the twitter-pitch of your GH finaling manuscript?
It’s the story of a lone adventurer who has stolen his family’s fortune yet never spent a cent, and the beautiful shipwreck survivor he plucks from the English Channel.
Love it. You’ve packed many story questions into an intriguing pitch. Right away, I want to know more about this mysterious hero. What do you love about this story?
I write hero-driven stories. The guys in my books carry some baggage! The hero of my GH manuscript, Jonathon Lecky, is by no means a typical regency hero. A lone wolf, a commoner, he reflects the type of men who pit themselves against mountains and sail solo around the globe. And while he works to his own moral code, he is also a lawbreaker. At one point in the novel, my heroine, Rachel Cavanagh, contrasts him to her infamous privateer grandfather and observes, “Her grandfather had been a man’s man as much as a ladies man. Jonathon Lecky was all man’s man.”
OOOh…you have a future reader in me! Where were you when you received the GH call?
Actually, I didn’t find out I finaled by phone! However, I did stay up all night in the hope the phone would ring! (Yeah… I was pretty hopeful!). My critique partner, Elizabeth Essex, received her RITA call at 9 a.m. Texas time (midnight Australian time). I was so delighted! Meanwhile, my phone remained stubbornly silent. At 5 a.m. Australian time (2 p.m. Texas time, when the full official list was supposed to be up), I took myself to bed, far more gutted in reality than I had earlier convinced myself I would be, should no call eventuate.
Three hours later, I was woken by a phone call from my mother, who said I needed to check the RWA website. A crazy, excited email from Elizabeth Essex revealed my name had appeared on the list twenty minutes after I went to bed!
After believing I hadn’t finaled, I then spent the whole day in shock. Wasn’t complaining though! Ultimately, RWA did call, after politely waiting for Australian business hours! I think GH/RITA calls are one of those things no one minds being woken for in the middle of the night!
What a roller coaster! Can you share any ah-ha moments related to writing?
I can chart a few great leaps. The first was attending the Romance Writers of Australia conference in 2006, three months after I got serious about writing. I arrived at that conference with a full ‘ugly duckling draft’ of my first manuscript; along with a draft query letter the visiting US literary agent quickly tore to shreds. I had written the first manuscript largely from instinct, rather than an understanding of craft. Attending a writing conference early was invaluable. Budding writers should get themselves to a conference quick smart!
In subsequent years, I’ve benefited immensely from Michael Hauge’s workshops and Margie Lawson’s lecture packets.
Margie Lawson is such a talented teacher. And, I completely agree about conferences. When RWA came to NY, I went on a mission to convince as many local writing friends to sign up as I could. Yes, conferences can be expensive, but they offer connection with your peers, networking with industry professionals and perspective on current trends…and that’s before you factor in the fabulous workshops! Worth. Every. Penny.
Switching gears, what’s your favorite romance?
I can’t narrow it down! Absolutely anything by Laura Kinsale. I adored ‘The Bronze Horseman’ by Paullina Simons. And I think Maire Claremont, who will soon be published by Signet, will become a future favorite . . .
I haven’t read Paullina Simons, but I love Laura Kinsale. I’ve read Flowers from the Storm about ten times. Talk about a hero with baggage!
For readers who might not know, Maire Claremont was last year’s Golden Heart Winner in the Historical category. I’ve read an excerpt and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Dark Lady.
This has been so much fun! Any parting words of wisdom?
Sure! I have been doing a lot of revisions lately and I am always looking for ways to ‘write smarter’. While I am very much a plotter, I have realized sometimes I don’t plot ‘deep’ enough – not on the first draft anyway! (I would love that to change!). Characterization can still feel a little flat on the page.
One solution? Returning to the main characters’ backstories, or developing the relationships between characters. “Show” (not tell) the nitty-gritty detail in backstory/character planning. Say, for example, the heroine does not get along with her elder brother. Instead of having the pair snipe at one another, brainstorm: What are three things the brother has done / continues to do to set his sister’s temper off like a Chinese firecracker? Wherever possible, consider both the event and consequence.
1. He is always reckless when he rides the estate’s most valuable horse. On the first occasion he nearly brings the animal back lame, the heroine snaps his riding crop in half. The second time, she tips a bucket of chaff over his head in front of his friends. For the latter, he’s never forgiven her.
2. He consistently recites their father’s various financial ‘words of wisdom’, yet their father left his children with a mountain of debt.
3. He is constantly buying new shoes.
It is amazing how many other ideas this approach can trigger! Our life experiences reveal our character and our substance. So too these details for our characters 🙂
What a wonderful suggestion. Hummm…sounds like a great future workshop, too! Thanks so much for being here Joanne.
And, in honor of the Regency Golden Heart Category, commenters today will be entered to win a e-book copy of 2009 Regency Golden Heart Winner and 2010 Regency Golden Heart Finalist Sara Ramsey‘s Heiress Without a Cause (In the e-book format of their choice).