I’m honored to welcome Valerie Bowman to this week’s In PRO-suit of Publication, a blog series celebrating Beau Monde Members who have finished and at least one manuscript and have met the requirements for PRO status as defined by Romance Writers of America.
Valerie is not only a PRO, she is a professional technical writer and editor. In 2010, she founded a network of writers known as the La La La’s-who support one another in their mutual goal of excellence in romance writing (and getting published, of course!).
As if these achievements were not impressive enough, her Regency historical, Secrets of a Wedding Night has been lighting up the 2011 RWA contest circuit with finals in the Washington D.C. Romance Writers Marlene contest, the North Texas Romance Writers Great Expectations contest, the Valley Forge Romance Writers Sheila contest and…drumroll….the Regency Category of the 2011 Golden Heart!
Thank you so much for being a part of the Valerie, I’m so excited you agreed to be interviewed!
To start, what’s the twitter-pitch (140 characters or less) of your favorite finished manuscript?
Wow! This was difficult. 140 characters isn’t enough! But here goes:
Lily is rumored to have written a scandalous pamphlet. Secrets of a Wedding Night has scared the ton’s young ladies from the marriage mart. Recently jilted Devon issues her a challenge: write a retraction or prepare to be seduced.
OOh, sounds fabulous! Oh, and just to let our readers know, this is the manuscript that caused a Marlene final round judge to gush: “I loved every minute of reading this and am eager to get more.” So you have contest judges hooked–but what do you love most about that story?
I began dating my boyfriend shortly before writing Secrets and I love that I was able to put a little bit of our courtship into the story. Lily can take care of herself, for sure, but Devon rescues her from a spider (which she detests!). Guess who else hates spiders? Right before our first date, I was trapped in my living room by a giant, brown spider. When my boyfriend arrived, I was forced to ask him to dispatch the blackguard for me. Luckily, he was good with that! Note: He let it loose outside.
Oh! *sighs* brave and valiant–the perfect hero. It sounds like life has added spice to your writing–would you describe another ah-ha writing moment and its trigger?
Pretty much everything in Dwight Swain’s book The Techniques of the Selling Writer was an ah-ha for me. Luckily, I read it early on. If you haven’t read it, read it. It’s difficult to read, but worth it.
I agree. I brainstorm from worksheets inspired by his thoughts on scene and sequel structure, and I always find ways to strengthen hooks and transitions I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
So often we aspiring writers are told ‘write what you know’–which is, of course, important. But we wouldn’t have chosen this genre if we did want to ‘write what we love.’ So, what’s your favorite Romance and why?
The incomparable Judith McNaught’s Once and Always. I’m sure I’ve read it at least 50 times. She has such great tension and dialogue and Jason Fielding just has to be one of the hottest heroes of all time. Plus, I’m a sucker for a story that involves a pet dog, or wolf, as the case may be.
I haven’t read it, but you can bet I’m going to pick it up now! Would you like to share any other thoughts/advice on pursuing publication?
There is no rush or time limit on getting good enough to land that publishing contract. Take your time. Learn. Study. Read every book on craft you can. Take workshops. Ask questions. Read all sorts of books to learn from other writers. Know what your ultimate goal is and keep your eye on it. Oh, and one more thing: spend time on your query. Let someone else read it. It’s really important!
So true, and so easy to forget! Every moment feels so essential–but it is so important to remember that time is really on our side.
Thanks so much for being here!
Readers, the randomly chosen winner of this weeks comment contest will win an e-copy of Ann Lethbridge’s The Gamekeeper’s Lady, which they can download from the e-bookstore, All Romance. Check back tomorrow morning when I’ll announce the winner!