Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Spotlight on Europe- Interview!

Today I'm talking with Linore Rose Burkard, author of Before The Season Ends, available now from Harvest House and sold wherever you buy books.

What first drew you to Regencies?
Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen books gave me a love for the period, and there weren't any Christian regencies to be found. I wanted to change that.

How much time did you spend researching before you began writing Before The Season Ends?
Well, I researched a great deal, but in spurts, and over a long period of time, so it's hard to say. I put in hours at the library (before the internet became such a resource) and I collected books on the Regency, too. I gleaned information over a period of a few years.

What sparked the plot idea for Before The Season Ends?
I was watching a BBC show about drawing, and the woman on the show was attempting to draw this immense tree with tons of interlocking branches. I suddenly thought, "What a great tree on such a beautiful landscape!" I imagined my heroine trying to draw it, but in the book I changed that to a more adventurous scene as she gets stuck in the tree, instead. It didn't give me the whole plot idea at all, but my books generally start with ONE scene that speaks powerfully to me.

What was your reaction when Harvest House made the offer?
I was glad. By then, I'd been in contact with Nick Harrison, the editor who first approached me, for more than a month, and I was ready to get off the "self-publishing" platform. I love Harvest House--honestly, every person who works there that I've had any contact with is just wonderful. I love partnering with them to get my books out.

Having been self-published and traditionally published, what are some of the biggest differences you've noticed?
There's a big bias against self-published books--and their authors. But here's the real difference between the books: among the self-published crowd, there are many books that need a really good edit, and probably a few that never should have been published. Among the traditionally published books, there are many that need a better plot, or better characterization, or just plain better writing, BUT their 'i's' are dotted and their 't's ' are crossed. In other words, the copy-editing is usually far better. But we all know that a poor book can be published traditionally. Until self-published authors all begin to recognize the importance of good editing before going to print, however, the bias will remain. The bottom line is we should all be striving for excellence, no matter how we are published. Before leaving this question, I 'd like to add that having a traditional publisher has opened a lot of doors for me, helped me make some wonderful new friends, and is a joy for me as a writer. (I realize that not all publishers are created equal. Again, I can only say that I love working with Harvest House.)

I'm a stickler for historical accuracy, and I'm also an Empire/Regency re-enactor. Even though Regencies aren't my genre of choice I very much enjoyed the level of historical detail that you wove into the plot and setting. How do you balance inserting those little tidbits without bogging down the pace?
I think what you're asking is how do I create a scene that has enough detail to ground the reader in the time and place, but not bore them?

For me, the answer is that I put myself in the shoes of my heroine (or whoever I'm writing in that scene), and I want to see what they see, and feel what they feel. Then I describe it. I see my scenes like a movie unfolding before me; I'm the camera, so to speak. Whatever appears on the "screen" in my head is what I want to let the reader see as well. But I try to keep my camera focused on the action--I'm not going to describe what's up in the right-hand corner of that scene, unless it's something that matters. If it doesn't matter, it has no business being there. If it adds to the atmosphere--quickly--then it can stay. To other writers who may struggle with creating scenes, I would say, everything you write in must have a reason for being there. If you don't have a good reason for including something, no matter how nice it sounds, or how pretty--cut it. Actually, there's a question I ask myself when shopping that works just as well for writing--"Is it nice? Or is it necessary?" In writing--at least for genre fiction--you should only keep the "necessary."

Thank you so much, Linore! The sequel to BTSE, The House On Grosvenor Square, comes out on April 1.

Be sure to check out Mary Lu Tyndall's blog and Christine Lindsay's blog for more information about Linore and her writing.

If you love Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and the Regency period, this is one book that you will love. We are giving away a copy of the book if 10 or more comments are left.

Friday, December 12, 2008