by Mary Brand
TW: I first joined SARA in 2007 when I was in the process of writing my first novel, a horrible mess of a YA romance that involved chapters told from the point of view of a horse. I got my first rejection letter for this manuscript on Christmas Eve 2007. Bah Humbug. But really, it was so bad. It is somewhere on my old laptop and will never see the light of day.
SC: What sub-genre of romance stories do you write?
TW: I write sweet, inspirational romance as well as hotter, glamorous contemporary romance and modern retellings of classic books and movies. Also, all of my books have dogs in them. Right now I’m writing a book with my very first cat character—a white kitten named Tutu.
SC: What about the romance genre appeals to you?
TW: Everything. I love romance. I love all the floaty, wonderful feels that a good romance novel brings the reader. I adore the genre so much.
SC: Do you consider yourself a romantic?
TW: Yes, of the mushiest, girliest sort.
SC: What are your ultimate goals as a writer?
TW: As long as I can make a living writing things I love I will be delighted. I do have a dream, and that is to live in a country abroad for a few months and write a book there from start to finish.
SC: If you could have any actor/actress cast as the hero/heroine of your latest work, who would you choose and why?
TW: RYAN GOSLING. (I’m sorry…did I just scream that?) I don’t think I need to explain why.
SC: Nope. What is the best book you’ve ever read about the craft of writing?
TW: There’s one book that I always consult when I’m plotting a new story—The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines, Sixteen Master Archetypes. I heard about it at an RWA workshop in 2012. It helps me get a good solid sense of who my characters are before I get started writing.
SC: Do you have a writing routine? What does it involve?
TW: I like to write at a cupcake bakery near my house. Bird Bakery on Broadway. Any writing routine usually involves flavored coffee.
SC: I’m a Diet Coke girl myself. Do you have any writing superstitions?
TW: I don’t think I have any superstitions, but I do have favorite pens. They are from a hotel where I stayed in Rome. I brought four of them home. Three have run out of ink, so I’ve only got one left. Clearly a trip to Rome is in order.
SC: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hidden talents?
TW: I dance in a belly dancing company. Seriously.
SC: Awesome! Sounds like a lot of fun. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
TW: Seeing the finished book for the first time. Does that count as part of the process? As far as the actual writing part, I love the very beginning and writing the first kiss scene.
SC: What would happen if you didn’t write?
TW: I would be bored out of my mind. I love a good, creative outlet. Also, writing is a way to experience all the different lives I wish I could lead.
SC: How do you know when your research is done?
TW: It’s never really done, but you can’t spend all your time doing research. Eventually, you just have to start the book. Questions will come up as you write and you can address those as they arise. I wrote a book set on a reindeer farm a while back. At the beginning of the project, I emailed a reindeer farm in Alaska and asked if they would be willing to answer my questions. They were so helpful! As I wrote the book, I compiled questions and sent them to the reindeer farm once a month or so. Right now I’m writing a book for Love Inspired that is set at a wolf sanctuary. A wolf sanctuary in Colorado has generously agreed to answer my questions much like the reindeer farm did.
SC: Can’t wait to read that one! Name one thing you absolutely can’t write about.
TW: I doubt I will ever kill off a dog in any of my books.
SC: Could you name one of the challenges you had writing or as an author and how you met that challenge?
TW: This past year has been a bit of a challenge. My single title book series for Harlequin’s HQN imprint was cancelled after the second book was released. Of course I was very upset at first. But I love writing. I just want to write the kind of books I love. I restructured the single title book I was working on so that it would fit one of Harlequin’s category lines instead. Any romance writer who has been around for a while will tell you that they’ve had to reinvent themselves a time or two. It’s so easy to get discouraged in this business. But if you believe in the stories you wish to tell and work hard at your craft, you can find your way. Know what you want. Don’t be afraid to go for it as many times as it takes. Every good writer has experienced rejection in some form or another.
SC: Great advice, Teri! Thank you for your time. And Happy Holidays!