Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guest Author Susan Blexrud

Paranormal romance author Susan Blexrud pays us a return visit today to launch Miami Mayan, the second book in her Mayan time travel series. Time travel is one of my favourite SF tropes.

Susan has written a passionate essay that all genre writers should heed. Be proud of your genre. Shout it to the rafters. I've labeled Susan's untitled post "I Am a Romance Writer, Hear Me Roar" which only seems appropriate.

Readers with ereaders can also win a copy of Delora's Necklace, the first book in the series by answering Susan's challenge question below which is - If you could live in any period of history, what would you choose…and why?

Well to start things off, my choice would be renaissance Italy in the latter half of the 15th century because after all who wouldn't want an opportunity to meet Leonardo da Vinci.

Welcome Susan!


I Am a Romance Author, Hear Me Roar!
by Susan Blexrud

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but this year I’m promising myself that I will no longer use my writing as fodder for small talk.  It’s more important than that and deserves better.  I didn’t come up with those words of wisdom.  They were contained in a little book I received from one of my critique partners for Christmas.  The book is Inspiration and Motivation, a Writer’s little instruction book, by Paul Raymond Martin.  It’s a compilation of more than 300 snippets of wisdom from prominent authors and editors.

I’ve already highlighted and earmarked many pages in this little manual, but the words about using my writing as fodder for small talk really hit home.  You see, I write romance, and among my hoity-toity neighbors, what I do is kind of a joke.  They say things to me like, “Oh, here she comes, cover your necks.”  Ha, ha.  Yes, I frequently write about vampires.  In the past, I’ve chuckled demurely, and then quickly changed the subject, embarrassed to elaborate.  From now on, I’m going to say, “Yes, you’d better cover your neck.  I could drain you in about thirty seconds.”  

What I’d really like to tell the yahoos who think romance is the bottom rung of the literary ladder is that it’s extremely difficult to write believable romance.  My writing mentor, a multi-publisher romance author, once told me, “You have to be better than romance to write romance.”  She was so right.  What she said was not a slam to the romance industry.  On the contrary, it was the key to writing multi-layered fiction.  You have to study all genres to know that what sets romance apart is not the sex; it’s the love.  But it’s not la-de-dah love where the path to the protagonists’ happy-ever-after is paved with crème puffs.  No, no, no.  It’s the hard-won kind of love where internal and external conflict rule the day until the hero and heroine figure out a way to solve their problems and co-exist.  They may have to solve their internal conflicts individually, but it helps if they can come together to solve their external issues.  Do you think that’s easy, particularly to accomplish the resolution of conflict in a believable way?  And why should readers care?  Because you’ve created characters worth caring about.
I don’t typically have enough time in the context of a cocktail party to explain the essential elements of romance, and I don’t want to come across as sanctimonious.  But I’m not going to make excuses for writing romance anymore.  Romance fiction may be the largest genre in the publishing industry, but it’s also the most competitive.  It’s not the easy road to publication.  Romance writers have to be grammarians.  They have to slice, dice, and polish their stories to perfection before they dare submit.  They have to contend with editors who send them back to the computer time and time again to add scenes that enhance the conflict or delete whole sections that don’t contribute to the major dramatic question.

So, the next time someone asks me what I do, I’m not going to hem and haw about my previous day job.  I’m going to stand a bit taller, jut out my chin, and say, “I write romance fiction.”  And then, I’ll flash a bit of fang.

Today, the second book in my two-book Mayan time travel series debuts, and I’m excited to have my hero and heroine, Ashwan and Delora, back in the public eye.  At the end of the last book, Delora’s Necklace, they were thrust from 900 AD through the vortex of time travel, and as this new book, Miami Mayan, begins, they land with a whoosh and a plunk on Miami Beach…in 2011.  The modern world brings some shocking revelations, particularly for Ashwan, whose loincloth causes quite a stir among the Miami natives.  I did extensive research for this series to make my Mayan time period authentic.  It was a brutal civilization, but also highly advanced in mathematics and astronomy.

GIVEAWAY CHALLENGE 

Tell me, if you could live in any period of history, what would you choose…and why?  Leave a comment, and one randomly-selected commenter will win a download of the first book in my Mayan series, Delora’s Necklace

Many thanks!


5 comments:

  1. Susan, I am awed by the imagination you display in writing your Mayan.
    Wonderful!
    I think if I were to choose a period of the past to live in, I would want to be a Native American in 1491.
    They had a smart, sensible way of living, and were keen on truth and honour. Also they took daily baths in a nearby stream or river.
    It is easy writing about people in the 18th and 19th century, but apart from a thin layer at the top, they had dismal, dirty lives, subjected to casual cruelty by their alleged 'betters'.

    You write some more about your Mayan, Susan!
    Congratulations.

    KATE HOFMAN

    ReplyDelete
  2. Stand tall, Susan! You have written several standout books--witty, imaginative, polished, great fun. Hope your neighbors hoit and toit their way to your backlist! :) You know I would choose the Medieval period though I would have a hard time living in it. You couldn't drink the water, there was no central heat, no medical and dental care as we know it...no baths!...yuck! I keep thinking the jousting would be exciting and then I remember--no backboards, no EMTs. No ambulances! And men who were actually stupid enough to stand on opposite sides of a field ready to hack each other to pieces. It's only romantic in a book, I'm afraid.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ Kate, thanks so much for your kind words, sweetie! I'm trying to imagine your Nordic self as a Native American. Bold move for you, but I'd have expected nothing less.

    @ Miriam, Okay, now I'm rolling on the floor, imagining EMTs at a jousting scene. Course you had me at "no baths." You're right, it's only romantic in a book.

    ReplyDelete
  4. if ic ould pick any time period it would be victorian england why its simple I locve the era the clothes the men all of it mainly because of steam punk and such

    I loveed your essay! im so glad your proud of what you do your books are awesome and deserve to have you shout about them as more then secondary commenting and personally ppl who dont get it can take a flying leap simply because the nay sayers proabbly are all closet romance readers them selves those who protest the loudest are the ones who are doing just that

    ty for the chance

    mortalsinn@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Okay, the contest deadline has passed, and SiNn is the winner. I'll contact her today to forward Delora's Necklace. Thanks for commenting, and congratulations!

    ReplyDelete

For bloggers comments are like water to a man (or woman) wandering in the desert. A precious commodity. I love to hear from everyone and do my best to respond to every post.