When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I began creating stories before I could write the alphabet. I loved cursive writing, still do, so back then I’d string a lot of curlicues together to create my “words,” tape or glue everything together, then force my poor brother to listen to my tales while he was strapped into his highchair.
Then, a few years after that, when my friends and I played Barbies, it was always with these outlandish plots. I swear to God that a friend of mine and I created the television show Lost WAY before it ever aired. Eventually, Barbies gave way to just talking about our “stories.” And by the time of middle school our “stories” were all about romance.
It’s odd, but from high school until many, many, many years later, my writing didn’t have much in the way of romance. It took me a long time to steer back to romance, and I’m so much happier for it.
Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
It wasn’t until more than ten years into writing that I suffered my first block, and, man, it sucks. I think each writer’s block is personal. So, for me, I had to figure out what was personally blocking me. I hadn’t taken a break for many years. I mean, I hadn’t even taken a break when my mother passed away. I kept writing and working my day job and going and going and going until eventually I had my block. The words weren’t coming to me; the story wasn’t coming to me; nothing was happening. The more I panicked over the situation, the worse it got. That’s when I—forgive me for sounding all new agey—stepped into my panic and surrounded myself with the block. Instead of fighting it, I surrendered to it. It helped me see I needed to take a break every so often. It helped me to understand what I was going through, and, in turn, that helped my writing become more emotional and more creative. I think having the block aided my writing, but, again, it does suck when going through it.
What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
Duchess of Mine follows the real travels of Detective Frank Geyer on his now infamous case of trying to find missing children. I knew his trek would begin in Philadelphia and go to Cincinnati, Detroit, Toronto, and other cities of late-nineteenth century America. What surprised me the most was Detroit’s history. I’d driven through the city only once, and I never would have imaged it had been called the Paris of America. It had been the epicenter of culture, art, as well as an economic stronghold. Now, when I think of the abandoned buildings of Detroit, I can see it’s beautiful past.
And what’s surprised me after writing the book? Hmm...how many compliments I’ve gotten for the cover. I don’t know why that surprises me, but it does. J
Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I converted the guest room into my office. It still has a small bed, but now my dog sleeps on it. Yes, spoiled black lab he is. I have a huge 1970s desk that I love to write on, a filing cabinet for my research, and other assorted office supplies. Oh! I almost forgot to talk about my laptop! You see, I finally made the big religious conversion of switching to a Mac, and I am in love with all things Apple now. I have seen the light and I could go on and on about user-friendly computers, but I’ll rein it in now.
What are some of your favorite books and why?
To Kill a Mockingbird will continue to be a favorite of mine until eternity. As I age and reread it, I am more and more amazed at the power of that story, the craft of it, how beautiful it is. Yeah, I love that one.
I didn’t start reading romance until ten years ago. So I have a lot of catching up to do. And I feel if I started listing off favorite books of mine, I’d forget something really good. So let’s just say, I have tons of favorites. And lately paranormal romance has been my favorite subgenre.
What are you working on now?
Ha! The last question segues into this one perfectly! I am working on a paranormal romance series now. I love time-travel romance and always will. BUT I really wanted to work with a more modern setting, modern jargon. Plus I’ve been dying to work with some contemporary military heroes, which I can do now! Squee! The new series features many paranormal elements with military men. Wish me luck with that!
Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre? Which one and why?
Well, I don’t think I’ll ever veer far from the romance genre, but I do want to dive into more subgenres. I’ve had a contemporary crossover mystery idea I’ve been thinking of for more than twelve years. It would be much darker than anything I’ve written so far, but I can’t wait to write it. And erotic romance is something I’ve thought about a lot too. Gosh, I’d like to write it all!
If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Honestly, if writing wasn’t available, I think I’d shrivel up into a dustball. I LOVE writing and I can hardly think of doing anything else.
And even though I’m an historian, I don’t think I’d like to do much more in academia. Sorry to all those in Academia Land, but if I had to figure out one more index, I’d have torn out all my hair. So, if I really had to pick something else it would be a close call between photography or fashion. I’m in love with all the artistic things photographers can do and am a hobbyist photographer myself. But I would love to make clothes that looked beautiful for real-sized women. Maybe I’d do both!
What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
It wasn’t until I was published that I ran into some serious trouble. See, I’m a people pleaser. I don’t mind getting a bad review. But my problem is I want to make that particular reviewer happy. So sometimes I’d be writing my next story, thinking about how to make that reviewer happier with the next book. BUT I can’t do that. I need to only focus on what will make THAT particular book better. And sometimes there will be no pleasing some people. I had a negative review for tying up all the loose ends at the end of my book. And there have been a few times where the negative reviews might not even be about my books. I had one review where the reviewer talked about characters I had never written about.
I have to say that writing has really helped me with my people please problem in that I don’t do it nearly as much. Instead, I try to focus on what’s best for that particular book. And I ask my editor and my critique buddies too who’s opinion I value but don’t feel the need to please. See, that’s why I love writing! Helping me personally as well as professionally!
Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Of my own books, I have to say my favorite hero and heroine are in my latest release, Duchess of Mine. Gabby Murray and Michael Cameron had me laughing a lot while writing about them. Sometimes, they had me in tears too, which I love to connect that much with my characters.
Of hero/heroines of all time...gosh, that’s a toughie. Well, my first thoughts are of some of my favorite movies. I love The Fifth Element, for the kick-ass heroine Leeloo who saves the world, and the scarred but sweet Korben Dallas. There’s Hawkeye in the movie rendition of The Last of the Mohicans, saying, “Stay alive. I will find you. No matter how long it takes. No matter how far. I will find you.” Oh, my heart flutters when thinking about that. And I loved Broken Sword and Flying Snow in the movie Hero, even though they had a sad ending. Maybe I just loved them because of the amazing cinematography of Hero. It really is one of the most visually beautiful movies of all time, but I did enjoy the love between the hero and heroine, both assassins. So cool!
Seventeenth century Highlander Michael Cameron should have been prepared for his journey to Philadelphia in 1895. After all, it wasn't the first time he'd been kidnapped by two mischievous muses, who delighted in taking him by surprise and shuffling him off to far-flung lands and eras. But nothing could have readied him for angelic Gabriella Murray, the Duchess of Northampton. She’s a beautiful, lovely, gorgeous—did he mention just how bonny Gabby is?—duchess, and he’s a lowly Scot. How is he going to solve the missing children case the muses have given him with such a distracting woman?
Becoming friends with a muse, Gabby feels her life has taken a turn for the fantastic, which suits her fine, since being a duchess is gray and depressing. So, when that muse asks her to go on an adventure imitating her idol, Sherlock Holmes, of course she says yes. However, Michael, who is to play her Dr. Watson, is quite possibly the most handsome and intriguing Highlander she’s ever encountered. Lord, Sherlock never had to contend with an overwhelming desire for Watson. How can she concentrate on the case when he’s more fun than she’s ever had before?
As Michael and Gabby hunt through the mean streets of cities such as Chicago and Detroit, they dive deeper into a world of danger and violence. Fighting against their growing attraction to each other, they race against time to find the children, knowing that with every corner they turn, they might be too late.
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About Red: As a military historian by day, sometimes Red does feel a bit clandestine when she writes romance at night. No one knows that while she researches heroes of the past and present, she uses everything for her characters in her books. Her secret's been safe . . . until now. She lives in Montana with her family and far too many animals but never enough books. She loves her readers, so please feel free to contact her at http://www.redljameson.com
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