WisRWA Calendar

Jan 01
2018
2018 Fabulous Five Contest Opens for Entries
Are you an unpublished author? Consider entering the 27th Annual Fabulous Five contest. Polish and submit your first 2,500 words (word count is firm!) to one of seven categories. Your entry will be reviewed by three preliminary round judges. The top five finalists in each category will move onto the final round where their entries will be judged by one agent and one editor. The contest opens for entries January 1st.

For more information, click the contests link on the navigation bar.

***As an added bonus, every entrant who opts in will be entered into a drawing for a free registration to the October 6 WisRWA Fall Workshop featuring Heidi Cullinan. All entrants will be entered into a drawing to receive a detailed critique from a WisRWA published author. Number of critiques is TBD at this time.***
Feb 12
2018
Stop Dissing Romance! Panel at Boswell Book Company
Join WisRWA at Boswell Book Company on February 12 at 7 PM for a presentation on the romance genre and its role in the publishing industry by a panel of Publishing Professionals. Bobbi Dumas, a freelance writer, book reviewer, romance advocate, and founder of Read a Romance Month will moderate. More information to follow.
Feb 15
2018
Last Day to Enter Write Touch Readers Award Contest
February 15th is the last day to submit your entries for the 2018 Write Touch Readers Award contest. All print books must be received that day. E-entries must be submitted by 11:59 PM CST.

For more information: http://wisrwa.org/contests/contest-write-touch/
Mar 01
2018
Last Day to Enter Fabulous Five Contest
March 1, 2018 at 11:59 PM CST is the last day the Fab Five Contest will accept entries. Entries cap at 35 entries per category and all entries received after the deadline will be returned.

For more information: http://wisrwa.org/contests/contest-fab-five/
Oct 06
2018
WisRWA 2018 Fall Workshop
Mark your calendars for the 2018 Fall Workshop on October 5-6, 2018 at the Grand Lodge Waterpark Resort, Rothschild, WI. For more information, click the Workshop tab.
Apr 05
2019
WisRWA 2019 Write Touch Conference
Mark your calendars for the 2019 Write Touch Conference April 5-7, 2019 at the Milwaukee Hyatt in beautiful downtown Milwaukee. More details to follow!

Meeting Times

Feb 07
2018
Green Bay
11:30-2:00; 1951 West, 1951 Bond Street, Green Bay

Ins and Outs of Novellas

Green Bay Area member, Kayla Bain-Vrba will share her process on how to write a novella.
Feb 10
2018
Chippewa Falls
10-12; Volume One, 205 N Dewey St, Eau Claire

Social Media for Writers

Karissa Zastrow will speak on “Social Media for Writers”. Her presentation will focus on tips and tricks to help you use the most popular social media platforms to promote your writing without burning hours of your precious writing time. Check our event on the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Facebook page and let us know if you are attending!
Feb 10
2018
Wausau
10:00 - 12:00; Marathon County Library, 300 North First Street, Wausau WI

Pacing Dialogue and Action Scenes - Your Story at Your Speed

Pacing is moving your story forward smoothly, at your speed. Not everyone wants a bucolic amble, either. The goal of this workshop is to help you take control of your writing pace – to make your story travel at the pace you want, so that you can tell the story you want to tell.
Feb 17
2018
Milwaukee
9-11:30 AM; Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level), 2500 N Mayfair Rd, Wauwatosa

WisRWA Milwaukee Writing Circle Hosted by Milwaukee Area member, Tricia Quinnes

Get ready to write! We'll have a write-in day with sprints and brainstorming help as needed.
Mar 07
2018
Green Bay
11:30-2:00; 1951 West, 1951 Bond Street, Green Bay

How to Write a Series

Green Bay Area member, Lily Silver will share her process on how to write a successful series.
Mar 10
2018
Chippewa Falls
10-12:30; Deb’s Café, 1120 122nd Street, Chippewa Falls

Fear of Writing and Publishing: Success and/or Failure

Is fear holding you back from realizing your dream? Are you afraid of the writing/publishing process, afraid of failing after all your best efforts, or, yes, even afraid of actually succeeding? Then this discussion is for you.
Mar 10
2018
Wausau
10:00 - 12:00; Marathon County Library, 300 North First Street, Wausau WI

The Nitty Gritty Down & Dirty – Truth About Writing the Break-out Block-Buster Novel

A fun guide to plotting: Why start from scratch and reinvent storytelling? This workshop is a guide that reveals the structure and elements in huge bestsellers. We will see how successful authors break out by satisfying readers’ needs.
Mar 17
2018
Milwaukee
11:00-2:30; Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level), 2500 N Mayfair Rd, Wauwatosa

Get Ready to Indie!

WisRWA Member, Nicolette Pierce will share details about self-publishing. Find out if self-publishing is right for you, when to know if you're ready and many more things surrounding this type of publishing.

WisRWA Newsletter



Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Bobbi Groover

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring Wisconsin-based authors and members of Romance Writers of America (RWA). As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the seventh interview of the series.

Bobbi GrooverBobbi Groover
Historical Romance Author

Bobbi Groover is the author of SEASON OF THE SHADOW and THE INN AT LITTLE BEND. Being an accomplished equestrienne, her love of horses placed her settings in a time when horses were the mode of transportation. THE INN AT LITTLE BEND was Winner of the CBRM Blue Ribbon Award, Winner in the Published Beacon Contest, Finalist in ACRA Heart of Excellence, and a Finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. For more information and to read reviews and watch the trailers visit her website.

 

RTW: What attracts you most about writing romance novels or the romance genre in general?

BOBBI: For me the romance genre is all encompassing. I write in the timeframe of antebellum America, a time when romance was…well…romantic. There was no Internet, no emoji hearts or kisses to send with the tap of a finger. People spoke face to face. Yet in their story there can be mystery, even psychic experiences that they don’t understand and are loathe to talk about. Within the story there can be murder, intrigue and even espionage. Within the wax and wane of the romance, the writer weaves a tapestry depicting the complexities of the lovers’ day to day lives. Is it a ‘romance’ novel? Surely it is but it is not just a story of two people who find love, it is a story of the time in which they live, be it nineteenth century or present day.

What I find most attractive about writing romance is giving the reader a heartthrob or possibly a heartache. I want the reader to care about the characters, to become one with them and miss them when the story is finished. If the characters come alive for the reader, then I’ve done my job as a writer. Bottom line…just because it is classified a ‘romance’ novel doesn’t mean the story isn’t a compelling, page turner as well.

 

The Inn at Little Bend

RTW: Have you ever felt dismissed because you write romance vs ‘serious’ fiction? Have you ever been tempted to use initials to disguise your gender as a writer?

BOBBI: Quite often I have been at a social gathering, meeting new people, and someone asks what I do with my days. (Odd question but people actually do ask.) When I tell them I’m a novelist I can see the interest in their eyes. However, when I tell them I write romance, the interest dies and the smile fades. Their expression clearly states that somehow writing ‘romance’ is not really writing. “Oh, you write trashy stuff.” With that statement, I have been summarily dismissed. “No,” I respond to their blatant disinterest. “I write romance interwoven with an intriguing story.” Depending on the other person’s expression I’ve sometimes even continued. “Are my novels fine classical literature? No. Actually, they are fun, light reading, but with a powerful story and irresistible, heart stopping characters that I hope will grip you to the very last page.” At this point I sip whatever is in the glass in my hand and smile sweetly as any good romantic heroine would do. I love the romance genre and it is ‘serious’ fiction to anyone with a heart beating within them.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been tempted to use initials to disguise my gender as a writer. I’m honored to be a part of the genre. No matter what the gender of the writer, when lovers meet sparks fly. There’s a story to be told, and I feel privileged to present it.


Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Nicolette Pierce

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring Wisconsin-based authors and members of Romance Writers of America (RWA). As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the sixth interview of the series.

Nicolette PierceNicolette Pierce
Romantic Suspense Writer

Award-winning author Nicolette Pierce is a member of The Authors Guild, Moraine Writers Guild, and Romance Writers of America. She is the prolific author of the romantic suspense Nadia Wolf, Mars Cannon, and Metal Girls series, as well as the spin-off character novels that accompany the series.

 

RTW: What attracts you most about writing romance novels or the romance genre in general? 

Nicolette: I love men. They intrigue me and it’s fun to explore them through writing. My pen is law, but it’s exciting when they try to break the rules.

 

RTW: Is having your latest novel optioned for a movie something that interests you? And what do you think would be up and down sides to someone making your story into a Hollywood movie or Hallmark movie of the week?

Nicolette: That would be an interesting experience, but I’m not currently knocking on Hollywood’s door. Several fans have said they could see my books up on the big screen, yet would they maintain their flavor? I’m not sure. I rarely say no to opportunities, and that would be an amazing one.Melting Point by Nicolette Pierce

 

RTW: Do you let other people read your writing before you submit it to a publisher or an agent? 

Nicolette: Yes. I feel it’s important. I’m in a writers group and when they are through pulling my work apart, then I give it to my mom. “They” say not to give your work to family or friends because they won’t be honest with their feedback. “They” haven’t met my mom. I think she might have an evil streak in her. But I value the feedback immensely. In the near future, I might start using beta-readers as well.

 

RTW: Are you traditionally published or self-published? What do you think are the pros and cons of self-publishing?

Nicolette: I am happily self-published. That’s not to say I don’t look for growing opportunities, but I’m not stunted with self-publishing either. The path is my own, which I like very much. Pros: The sky is the limit? Nope. Not even the sky can hold you down. You are your own boss and make your own decisions. Your success or failure is completely in your hands. Cons: It’s a lot of work and a few learning curves to navigate.


Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Mia Jo Celeste

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the fifth interview of the series.

Brenda Nelson-DavisMia Jo Celeste
Dark Worlds Ripe for Redemption
Mia Jo Celeste is from a family of English teachers and authors. After fifteen years as an English for Language Learners teacher, she is trying her hand at writing. She has completed four fantasy novels, the first of which is published by Wild Rose Press. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband and sons.

 

RTW: In the play, the character Olivia partially blames the failure of her first book on her editor’s choice in covers. How important do you think covers are to a book’s success or failure?

Mia: I believe readers really do judge books by their covers and that a compelling cover can pique a potential buyer’s interest. When my publisher hooked me up with an artist, I sent her all kinds of pictures of period gowns. I wanted to have my heroine facing off evil in a to-die-for dress and that’s exactly what I got.

RTW: Have you ever received a bad review? If so, how did you handle it? Did it ever discourage you or make you question your worth as a writer?Other Than by Mia Jo Celeste

Mia: When I first started writing, I entered a lot of contests. I would stew over critical comments from judges. One fall I entered the same 25 pages in five contests. In one contest, the pages earned an incredibly low score. In two others, they received an average score and in two others they reached first or second place with almost perfect marks. I wondered how the exact same words could inspire such diverse results? I finally figured out that writing is art and readers’ reaction to art is subjective. Opinions vary. When I get any review, I remind myself—opinions will vary.

RTW: What would it mean to you to see your book for sale in an airport terminal shop?

Mia: I’m really looking forward to this experience. I hope it happens soon and for me it’ll be a measure of success. When it happens, my friends and followers should be prepared to see pictures and selfies of me with the book. No doubt, I’ll tweet and blog about it.

RTW: Do you let other people read your writing before you submit it to a publisher or an agent?

Mia: Yes. I believe that writing is communication and I regularly ask critique partners and readers for feedback to make sure my writing conveys the message I want to get across.


Promotion Thursday – October Edition

PromotionThursday2It’s Promotion Thursday for October. Check out where you can find our WisRWA authors this month.

Sandy Goldsworthy will be at the 2017 Ozarks Indie Book Fest in Springfield, MO from October 19-22. Bringing authors, bloggers, and readers together, the Ozarks Indie Book Fest has features over exhibitors and panels for all.
Proceeds from the event benefit Companions for Heroes and Loving Paws Rescue. For more information, visit their  website.

Sara Dahmen will be at the Heartland Fall Forum in Illinois with her publisher, SillanPaceBrown Group, and speaking at the Moveable Feast on October 12 at noon, and doing a signing her book Widow and showing off her cookware on October 13 all day. She will also be at Beer & Books at the Black Kettle Eatery & Pub in Columbus, WI on November 2 at 7 PM.  Beer & Books is a reading/signing/book event.

Maxine Douglas will be signing her books at the Fall Author Festival being held at the Chickasha Public Library on October 27th, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

Melonie Johnson will be sharing who her Book Boyfriend is in the October edition of the HEA USA Today column, on 10/27.


Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: DC Thome

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the fourth interview of the series.

davethome-350DC Thome

DC (David) Thome lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He started writing as a newspaper reporter, then as a self-employed journalist and advertising writer. Now he writes feature stories and has a weekly column on automotive technology called “Gadgets & Gizmos” that runs in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

 

RTW: What attracts you most about writing romance novels or the romance genre in general?

DC: Women are more interesting to write about than men. Even books and screenplays I’ve written that are not romances tend to have female protagonists. I’ve fallen in love with four of my female leads, including the heroine of each Fast Lane book. I mean literally fallen in love. With fake people. That I made up. After I was done writing each book, I even went through the dopey, mopey withdrawal that comes after a relationship ends. By contrast, I never feel all that close to my male heroes.

 

RTW: Are you traditionally published or self-published? What do you think are the pros and cons of self-publishing?San Fernando Dreams by DC Thome

DC: All of my novels are self-published, though The Incompetent Witch Series is part of the “Magic and Mayhem Kindle World” of best-selling author Robyn Peterman. She invited me to write novellas that use her books as a starting point and then Amazon publishes them. Experiences I had with Hollywood helped me decide to self-publish. I’d had two agents in L.A. and four of my scripts were optioned by production companies. But every time, the deal collapsed when one guy, the last stop on the way to a paycheck and a career knocked over the whole house of cards. No one can do that with my novels.

 

RTW: How heavily does “New York Times Best Seller” weigh in an author’s favor? Will that sell books?

DC: Stanford University’s Business School concluded that “the majority of book buyers seem to use the Times‘ list as a signal of what’s worth reading.” So even if it doesn’t make me a “legitimate author” in my own mind, it does in the minds of readers. And in that sense, it’s huge. It means you have a built-in audience interested in your next release.


Get Ready to Submit with Cheryl Yeko

Cheryl YekoMilwaukee WisRWA member Cheryl Yeko will be at the October meeting to work with participants on GETTING READY TO SUBMIT! This is a hands-on workshop, so bring your query letter draft, summary, synopsis, author bio, elevator speech, and pitch. We will work on tightening up the elements needed to make your novel sound publish-worthy. Cheryl is Senior Acquiring Editor at Soul Mate Publishing and accepts submissions for Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, and Erotica. Jennifer Rupp, Milwaukee area contact, asked her a few questions about her work.

JENNIFER: As an editor, what is your biggest pet peeve?

CHERYL: First, I love being an editor, but I guess the thing that bugs me the most is when I receive a submission that doesn’t follow the formatting guidelines. That’s one more step I have to take to get the manuscript in reading order. Or worse yet, they just copy and paste the submission into the email itself.

JENNIFER: Do you ever say, “Yes! This is the one,” after reading the first line of a query letter?

CHERYL: No. The query letter may grab my attention enough to ask for a submission. But it’s really the synopsis, and first chapter of the manuscript that sells the story (or not).

JENNIFER: Are there any particular tropes that you love or hate?

CHERYL: The misunderstanding trope is not my favorite. You can have misunderstandings in a manuscript, but that isn’t enough to carry the entire story, in my opinion. I love the secret baby trope. {I know, right? Don’t tell anyone.}

JENNIFER: When you meet someone at a pitch session, what are you really looking for?

CHERYL: I’m looking for a good story. Pure and simple. I assume whomever is pitching knows how to write. I don’t care if they pull out a cheat sheet and read their pitch to me. It’s all about the story.

JENNIFER: You work for Soul Mate. Did you have to submit a query letter to get your books accepted?

CHERYL: Only for my first book, PROTECTING ROSE. Now I just let Debby (my editor and owner of SMP) know I have a manuscript and send it over for her to take a look at. She’s never turned one of my books down yet . . . knock on wood.

WISRWA: If you didn’t work in the publishing industry, what would you like to do?

CHERYL: Retirement maybe? 😊 I love my work with Soul Mate Publishing and don’t want to do anything else. Besides being an author myself, and Acquiring Editor, I’m also the Cover Art Coordinator, where I get to work with all the amazing artists to make our book covers rock, as well as create the monthly newsletter, and handle all their social media promotions.
I wouldn’t change a thing!

by: Jennifer RuppJennifer Rupp

Jennifer Rupp is the Area Contact for Milwaukee Chapter of WisRWA. She writes under the name of Jennifer Trethewey. Cassie Hanjian of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency in New York represents her Highland House historical romance series. Jennifer has placed in the SOLA Dixie Kane Memorial Contest, Indiana’s Golden Opportunity Contest, and WisRWA’s Fab Five Contest. She’s a member of Wisconsin RWA, a PRO member of RWA, Red Oak Writing Studio, and Wisconsin Writers Association.


Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Mary Hughes

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the third interview of the series.

 

Mary HughesMary Hughes
Strong Men. Stronger Women

Mary Hughes is a lover of stories that crackle with action and love. A mother, a flutist, a binge-TV-watcher of NCIS, Elementary, and Wynonna Earp. She writes wickedly funny romantic adventures and scorching hot paranormal romances, fast-paced reads with challenging heroes— and resilient heroines who aren’t afraid of a challenge.

 

RTW: In the play, the character Olivia partially blames the failure of her first book on her editor’s choice in covers. How important do you think covers are to a book’s success or failure?

MARY: Oh yeah, cover art is vital. It’s the story’s clothes, the mood lighting, the rich red color that tells a consumer the story apple is ripe. Even the title font plays into the promise, flowing script for high fantasy, jaggy for a tale of suspense, quirky for comedy. It’s the first taste of what kind of story is to come, and make no mistake, we do judge a book by it!

 

Night's Caress

RTW: Have you ever received a bad review? If so, how did you handle it? Did it ever discourage you or make you question your worth as a writer?

MARY: Yes, bravely on the outside and screaming on the inside, and yes. Anyone who says bad reviews don’t hurt emotionally is lying. Although some bad reviews are actually good for the author. A box set I was in had a two-star review complaining there was too much sex. The very next reviewer said (I’m paraphrasing), “I read the two-star review, and I’m so glad I did…because I love sex! I snapped this puppy up!”

 

RTW: What attracts you most about writing romance novels or the romance genre in general?

MARY: I love the spark that brings two people together. It’s so much fun watching them try to figure out what’s going on. I’m truly inspired by the work and the meeting of minds and hearts that goes into making a real couple. But when it comes right down to it, I love romance best because I’m a huge sucker for a happily-ever-after ending, lol.

 


New Release Tuesday – September Edition

NewReleaseTuesday2

 

Each month, WisRWA will announce the new books our members have published. We call it New Release Tuesday.

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases.

 

Bad Boy Billionaire's Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad Boy Billionaire’s Lady (Billionaire Ever After anthology) by Mary Hughes

 

Night's Caress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night’s Caress  by Mary Hughes

 

Kinky Briefs Thrice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kinky Briefs, Thrice by Seelie Kay

 

Joshua's Prayer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joshua’s Prayer by Oliva Rae


Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Barbara M. Britton

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the second interview of the series.

 

Barbara M. BrittonBarbara M. Britton
Award-Winning Author of Romantic Adventures from Ancient Israel to Modern Day USA

Barbara Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Southeastern Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. Barb writes romantic adventures for teens and adults in the Christian fiction and mainstream markets. She enjoys bringing Bible characters to light in her stories. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. You can learn more about her books on her website.

 

RTW: In the play, the character Olivia partially blames the failure of her first book on her editor’s choice in covers. How important do you think covers are to a book’s success or failure? Have you always been happy with your editor’s choice for your cover?

BARBARA: Covers can make or break a book. Olivia is right! Most readers do not know that covers are specific to genres. Vampire romances will be shaded in black, white, and red hues and have a dark feel. I write Biblical fiction, so my covers are attractive women wearing head coverings. Also, the author usually has no say in their cover art. Gasp! I was fortunate that I love my covers. The president of my publisher designs them herself and she does amazing work.

 

Building Benjamin by Barbara M. Britton

RTW: Do you let other people read your writing before you submit it to a publisher or an agent?

BARBARA: You bet I do. Every writer should have one or more critique partners to review their work. Before an agent or editor reads a manuscript, an author should have beta-readers scour the entire manuscript for errors, plot holes, and character development. Its best to have several eyes on a story before it goes to a publishing professional. Writing contests are excellent sources of feedback too.

 

RTW: How important are reviews to writers and why?

BARBARA: Reviews help readers understand if a book will fit their reading preferences and that is beneficial. Unfortunately, the number of reviews a book receives has become the end all for getting books noticed by certain companies. Marketing tasks and creating discoverability have been added to the writer’s busy life. So, if you like a book, please review it. This leaves more time for a writer to write.

 

 


Sex With Strangers Book Fair Interview: Anna Durbin

During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the first interview of the series.

Anne KennyAnna Durbin
Author of charming tales of the Beau Monde.

Anna Durbin is the author of charming tales of the Beau Monde. Having grown up reading sagas of chivalry and romance, she began crafting her own elaborate stories in her imagination at a young age. It was only natural that she would one day write them down. Her first novel, King of Swords, was a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist. For more information on Kings of the Tarot series, visit Anna’s website.

 

RTW: In the play SEX WITH STRANGERS, the main character Olivia is wounded by a devastating review of her first book and abandons a promising career. Have your ever received a bad review? If so, how did you handle it? Did it ever discourage you or make you question your worth as a writer?

ANNA: I once submitted a couple of chapters of an unpublished manuscript to a contest and had a judge tell me she hated the hero and heroine—couldn’t stand either of them. In fact, she told me she hated them so much that she wouldn’t have completed reading the submission except that she had to fulfill her obligations as a judge. It was pretty harsh, but when I got over the initial hurt—because it did sting a little to have her be so nasty—I smiled. I laughed even, thinking that if I was able evoke that strong of a response (good or bad) from a reader, then I was able to hit them on some emotional level (good or bad) with my story. And besides, it’s all subjective. That same manuscript was a finalist in another national contest.

 

RTW: What attracts you most about writing romance novels or the romance genre in general?King of Swords by Anna Durbin

ANNA: To me, romance is all about living vicariously through the heroine (or hero). If the author is very good, I feel transported into the story, into the very heads of the leading characters. It’s the greatest form of escapism that I can imagine and one that I enjoy immensely. Even more than a movie!

 

RTW: Have you ever felt dismissed because you write romance vs “serious” fiction? Have you ever been tempted to use initials to disguise your gender as a writer?

ANNA: I was at a non-romance writers’ conference a couple of years ago where everyone was asked at the beginning of the session what genre they wrote. And nearly everyone said “literary fiction.” When I answered that I wrote “romance,” the leader of the session gave me such a look of derision and outright disgust that I thought I might be asked to leave. As to whether I’ve ever considered using my initials to hide my gender, I haven’t, though I do think there is a bias among some readers of literary fiction that men are somehow “better, more serious writers” than women who write romance.