Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Interview with Bronwyn Storm

First of all, congratulations on your recent signings. We can't wait to hear all the details.

Are you comfy? Is the martini to your liking? The chocolate of sufficient quality? Yes? Then let us begin.

You've sold two items to The Wild Rose Press, is that correct? A short story and a full-length novel? Please tell us a little about the two works.

Yes, I did sell two stories, though I wasn't surprised. When one has talent like mine and a drive to succeed, publishing is just a matter of time.

Er, sorry India, what was that?

Goodness, you're right. My pants are on fire. Ah, well, on to the truth then, shall we?

It was a total shock to find out my stories had been accepted.

The short story "I Love You a Latte" is through the Last Rose of Summer line (older heroines) and is all about Annie Langdon: If love was coffee, then for Annie Langdon, it would be thick, black, leave her with a bitter taste in her mouth, and acid in her stomach. Since the forty-six year old walked away from her cheating husband five years ago, her heart’s desires have centered around her café and losing a few pounds from her plump frame. The day Devon McMaster walks into her restaurant, however, Annie’s heart begins to perk under his southern drawl and down-home charm. Devon’s smile packs more punch than a triple-shot espresso, and with a personality tastier than coffee-cream chocolate, Annie's about to learn that men, like coffee can come in all sorts of decadent varieties.

"Ethan's Chase" is a full length novel, through their Champagne Line:

Ethan Phillips knows that he can’t out-run Cupid’s arrow, but for the past five years, the advertising executive has managed to outwit the tricky cherub with a series of dekes and fakes. Who knew Cupid would get smart? Instead of piercing Ethan’s heart with an arrow, he douses it with amaretto-flavored coffee. For Chase Logan, spilling coffee on a man’s cashmere coat turns from an exercise in diplomacy into a battle of wills — one that she loses. Even worse: from that night on, the stranger’s blue eyes and firm body invade her dreams — but that’s all right. A computer programmer is allowed to have a fantasy sex life — especially when her position as owner of Bits and Bytes doesn’t allow her time for love with a flesh and blood man. But what is a girl to do when her dream-man steps out of her fantasy and into reality as her new client? Take the contract and run, that's what! But with Ethan in hot pursuit, Chase is about to lose more than her breath, but her heart, as well.

Cool. Can't wait to read both. Tell us, what were you doing when you received the "the call"?

When the Latte call came in, I was in Toronto visiting my parents. We were watching a movie, and I had just run upstairs to check email one last time, and there it was. I was in such a state of shock, that when the call came for Ethan a few days later, I'm afraid, I still can't remember where I was!

Precisely how shocked and amazed were you?

If my dogs and cats had suddenly developed the ability to speak English, French, Italian and Spanish, and I'd come home to find they were alternately holding an animal version of the UN, cooking me a 9-course dinner and dusting the furniture, that would not have shocked me as much as finding out I was finally a published writer.

How did you celebrate the news?

We had intended a night of quiet celebration — dinner, perhaps a show, but I think my ecstatic screaming must have alerted the entire block. The next thing I knew, they'd shut down the street, held an impromptu parade and declared my home a historical site...my pants are on fire again, aren't they? Well, it's partially true — except the part about declaring my house a historical site. It's already in the history books...

When may we expect to see your work in print?

Because Latte is a short story, it will only be available as an e-book and it's coming out in December. Ethan's Chase, however, should be out in the early part of 2008...I'm afraid I don't know the precise date as yet.

How long did the process take, from first submission to successful sale?

Five very long, very monotonous (i.e., "I'm such a hack, why did I think I could do this?") years.

How long have you been writing?

Five very long, very monotonous — oh, wait, I already said that. Five years, give or take. If University papers count, then ten.

What else do you have in the works?

I have three stories due in the next year (insert hysterical scream of "WHAT THE (*&$#% WAS I THINKING?!!!"): a re-telling of The Elf and The Shoemaker; a contemporary with a stubborn dairy farmer and a delicious, yummy Conglomerate owner; and a fantasy that will take an entire page to describe, but we'll say that it pulls in Greek, Norse, Haida and Christian mythology and centers around characters whose emotions can create worlds.

Ooh, so very exciting! How has your recent success changed your life, if at all?

Well, other than the statue of me in Wilfred Webb park and the mobbings every time I step on to the street, not much. Oh dear, someone lend Annie a hand. I think she's choking on her martini.

Okay, the second big, most glorious thing is that I can finally say I have a career and when well-meaning friends tease/question me about "Are you published?" — is that not the question that ranks in the top 5 of "Questions that make Writers Twitch" (the other twitchy questions are the ones that center around how we come up [no pun intended] with our sex scenes) — I can answer, "Yes. I am." Then I dance around in a whole Lord of the Dance meets Disco with a light dusting of Snoopy's happy dance, Dance.

The biggest, most glorious thing is that my wonderful husband who has done everything short of writing the stories in supporting me, promised that once I was published, he would take a larger part in the household chores. What I really love, is that he offered this reward with a straight and earnest face, as though he's not aware that he already does the lion's share of work in the house. But now that I'm published, he's taken over the two days that I would make dinner — and anyone's who's eaten my shoe leather of steak, and knows his juicy, succulent, delicious talents with spices and ingredients, can attest to the fact that it's a brilliant, wonderful thing that I'm no longer in the kitchen. I know the firemen (who conveniently enough, live two blocks away) will all sleep better now that they will no longer be at my house every night...although, I will miss their yearly Christmas presents of fire extinguishers and take-away menus.

Who do you credit as your greatest inspiration?

Hmmm, do you mean which author inspire me to write? The list is enormous. I would have to say that great writing and crappy writing equally inspire me. Great writing because the author's ability to sweep me into the story and make me believe I'm reading about real people, I think, is a miracle. Truly. Mental telepathy and hypnotism all rolled into one.

Some authors: Dean Koontz, Amanda Ashby (granted, I haven't read the whole story, but I've been salivating for its release since I read the preview for You Had Me at Halo), Johanna Melaragno, Stacy Dawn, India Grey (oh Lord, she's turning red and choking on the cavier! clap her on the back!), Natasha Oakley, Loretta Chase (thank you, Eva, for that amazing recommendation) Nina Davies, Anne Perry, J.K. Rowling, there's a whole boatload more, but my brain can't think as it's still frozen on the image of India choking...I'll have to add to the list as I remember the names. I also have non-published friends, whose stories I read, and I think they're fabulous!

Also, really, REALLY badly written books inspire me. I can't help but feel reassured that if crap can get published, then we all have a fighting chance. Plus, it's a great thing to read books (okay, so I read the first three chapters, then the end) and think of what I don't like, then I try to avoid those things in my writing.

To what do you attribute your remarkable success (besides hard work and dedication, of course)?

Honestly? My support network. As you Scribes & my other friends/family well know, but are much to gracious and wonderful to ever admit, I am a walking nut bar. Totally neurotic and without hope of redemption. Those close to me have an amazing knack of knowing when to cuddle and when to kick my a——, and between all of your black-belt loving karate moves, I keep toddling along the path of writing, hacking out my stories.

So thank you, my Darlings, without you, I never would be published.

Finally, the question we've all been waiting for, would you care to tell us your real name?

I would, truly. But I'm in the witness protection program. I found out the secret to the Caramilk bar, and since the day I found out how they got the caramel into the Caramilk bar, the Cardbury people have been out to get me. I still have nightmares of them standing outside my window, holding the door shut so I can't get out, eating chocolate and not sharing a single, solitary piece with me...I had to join up with the Chocolate Protection Program, just so I can buy my Caramilk bars.

Annie, India, pass some more chocolate around if you please.

Visit Brown here at Scribes' and at her own blog, Brown's Town. Her website is located at www.bronwynstorm.com.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chasing children chasing life

My latest work contract is finished. Now the hallelujahs may begin. Bring 'em on!

I've spent the past few days chasing my daughter and her friend through the park, watching them flit from monkeybars to swings, from shimmering pools to grassy knolls, all the while luxuriating in their joy. This is the essence of summer. Running, laughing, shouting without reserve.

I feel privileged to be invited along.

In more cerebral moments, I've been contemplating what to write, now that I finally have a chance to get back at it. I've decided against reviving two manuscripts: an historical romance I started more than a year ago, for my focus invariably strays from the couple into other territory, a harbinger of defeat for any romance writer; and the historical I abandoned three years ago featuring an unreliable narrator, a ghostly heroine, and a nineteenth-century band of English artists. I have little time and this manuscript, of which I am still fond, requires too much: too much research, plotting, and effort, for I have set the bar high. I know the next contract is just around the corner, and I'd hate to see this manuscript languish yet again.

So I have decided to turn my hand to young adult fiction. After all, the editors and publishers have been urging me to do so for years. Why not give it a go? The research is not onerous: reading Inkheart, Tales of Desperaux, The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, Tom's Midnight Garden, and, today, Bridge to Terabithia. My daughter and I read such books as a matter of course. And I've already begun to see the world through her eyes as I watch her lope through the heat and promise of summer. Nothing else is required beyond imagination and a laptop. And time.

I can't think of a better way to spend the summer.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reading Jacqueline Wilson over my daughter's shoulder...

...in the doctor's office, no less.

It may not have been as enlightening an experience as Reading Lolita in Tehran but I've come to realize the enduring power of the 2005-07 children's laureate's prose.

When my daughter first started consuming Wilson's novels at the tender age of seven, and at a very impressive rate too, I was not overly enthused. Wilson has a style that appeals straightaway to children — one wonders if she's a wise, sophisticated child trapped in the body of a middle-aged woman — and her focus is invariably on the tough choices children must make, told with a unique sense of humour which appeals to children and adults alike. Her characters range from orphaned children in foster homes, to children negatively impacted by divorce, poverty, abuse and neglect. I remember wondering if we might ever encounter a well-adjusted child in one of Wilson's books, and reminding the one in my custody that not every kid in the world belongs to a disaffected family. Of course, for a child in a stable environment, chaos is just too attractive a setting to give up.

Now that my daughter is ten, books have become conversation pieces. Now we can easily discuss why characters behave as they do. Ask ourselves what we might do in a character's shoes. How we might behave in similar circumstances. It is great fun, in fact. Of course, I may not think so later when the books she brings home involve drug abuse, sex, murder.

I suppose I should gird myself now!

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rush to the shops

Hey, folks, India's novel has hit the newstands (in the UK). Head directly to your nearest bookshop before there are no more copies left.

To read a review of The Italian's Defiant Mistress, visit Romance Reader at Heart.

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