I’m excited to continue my Beau Monde PRO series In PRO-suit of Publication with Martha Ferris. After getting a degree in theater, Martha wrote and produced two plays for the Oshkosh Garden Theater, a Christmas pantomime for the greater London area as well as a talk show for Chicago Public Radio. She has been a regular contributor to Context Magazine and had a Valentine’s Day romance published in the Corvallis Gazette Times. Additionally, her romances have won awards in the Heart of the West, the Heart of the Rockies and the Lone Star competitions.
Ms. Ferris and both signed with the same fabulous agent. Since then, we’ve exchanged manuscripts and I assure you that her future readers are in for a treat. My writing is better for her input and I’m grateful to count this talented writer as a friend.
So, let’s get down to business. What’s the twitter-pitch (140 characters or less) of your favorite finished manuscript?
The Handfasting is one of my favorites, and the most recently completed work. It’s a medieval with Maggie MacBede and Talorc the Bold:
They were two stubborn people, tangled in a skirmish of love,
Two powerful people, whose enemies fight to divide.
Ooh, enemies fight to divide, thrilling! And, I love a strong heroine. What is it that you love most about that story?
Characters are my favorite part of any story, and that’s true with The Handfasting. I get a real kick out of Maggie MacBede’s artless impulsiveness and how that plays against The Bold’s, male obtuseness.
I love Maggie. Like so many women she has no idea of her own power, of her inherent beauty. Talorc captures my heart because he sees all those things in Maggie, and he learns – the hard way, but he learns – that he can’t be everything and all things, and that he is vulnerable. He needs Maggie to balance who he is.
Ah, the gentling of a hero. One of my favorite things about romance, historical romance in particular, is the process of character transformation.
Writing about transformation triggers it’s on transformations. Will you describe an ah-ha writing moment and its trigger for us?
Tough question as, I believe, one of the reasons writers write is because the process is so full of ah-ha moments. Let’s see if I can limit them –
Last fall my writing expectations where at a ‘give-up’ low when “the call” came from Rebecca Strauss of McIntosh & Otis. I had researched Rebecca and the agency concluding that she was my quintessential choice for representation. At the same time, I feared both she and McIntosh & Otis were out of my league. That moment taught me never, ever give up. There are times when you don’t like your own work, when you think you are your only audience. That’s the nature of the beast, deal with it and keep on going.
There is one other ah-ha that enhanced the process of writing for me. During NANO I wrote one of my all time best scenes when the muse, the mood and the desire were not there. A time when I would normally have told myself, “not tonight honey.” That is when I learned how to write like a professional. It was a great learning experience.
Keep on going & write like a professional, both so true. Someone once said that writing a novel is like building a house with your face up against one brick! But, while we are toiling away, there is always the reward of sinking into a chair with the fruits of a fellow romance writer’s labors. What’s your favorite Romance and why?
My immediate response is Flowers in the Storm by Laura Kinsale. I love the dark and the light, the conflict and balance of opposites and the way each is awakened, in some way, by the other. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
But then, I will always treasure my very first romance, Lord Stephen’s Lady by Janet Radcliff, and authors whose books I collect like Jayne Ann Krentz (with all her aka’s), Jude Deverauxe, Joan Wolf, Julia Quinn, Jennifer Cruise etc. etc. etc
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read Flowers from the Storm. Everything about it is wonderful–near invisible plotting, characters challenged to their core and a love that transcends speech! *sigh*
Any other thoughts/advice on pursuing publication?
Write with abandon, with no expectations, don’t give up and, most important, get out of your own way. The first page is always the hardest for me because I try too hard and trip over myself instead of letting the story have its own way. Also – remember, only one thing can keep you from getting published: not writing. So write, and have fun.
What a wonderful thing to remember! Thank you so much for agreeing to chat with me today!
If readers have any questions or comments for Martha, please feel free to post. One lucky commenter will win Two Traditional Regencies by Beau Monde author Shannon Donnelly in the e-format of their choice via Smashwords.