Moi, as a writer, especially one who leans heavily on dark paranormals I really struggle to inject homor into my romances. ;) Lucy Woodhull, the super-duper author who has agreed to share her debut release with us, does it so seamlessly that in addition to laughing out loud while reading her book, I really had a moment of writer-envy! And that, my friends, is a high compliment ;) since, I personally believe a book is meant for relaxation and if I can take that away from her book—the entire credit and some more goes to the author, ie Lucy J
With those words, let me welcome Lucy Woodhull into the spotlight! I hope you enjoy chatting with her as much as I did.
What steered you towards romantic fiction? And where do you think your stories fit?
I’ve always read romance and loved it. I adore a happily ever after! My first was the Rosemary Rogers book Bound By Desire. I have no idea where I got it, but it’s a filthy Old School to end all Old Schools and if my mother had known I probably would be typing this from a maximum-security nunnery. One thing I never found a lot of was funny romance, although I think it’s more prevalent now. I grew up with a dad who loved Mel Brooks, the Blues Brothers, Monty Python, and movies like Love at First Bite. It’s really no wonder I developed a compulsion for rubber chickens. If you only enjoy angsty heroes who sullenly writhe in their tragic, sorrowful angsty angst, then I might not be the author for you. But if you like an alien dude with a tail and a snappy comeback, then maybe try Ragnar and Juliet.
Humor is a bit of a red-headed stepchild in the romance world/publishing in general (perfect for me with my Totally Natural™ red hair), so one of my goals is to make unrepentantly humorous romances more popular. Sometimes at the end of a long, crappy day you just need something to lift your soul, you know? And booze. Booze helps, too.
Interesting history there, Lucy! I fell in love with Rosemary Rogers too ;) And I’d rather snort with a romance novel than with booze! LOL!
Could you share your major milestones in your writing journey so far? And what next?
Getting Ragnar and Juliet accepted by Liquid Silver Books was definitely an amazing day. The wonderful Tina Burns at LSB emailed me to accept the manuscript twenty-four hours after I sent it, and the turnaround was so short I felt sure I was getting a “don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out” letter. When I read her happy email I cried and ran to my husband, who saw my face and thought I’d had a rejection. Hmmm… maybe I should have let him “comfort me” before I told him the truth…
Within the same month I got my agent, Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank of Fairbank Literary. She’s representing a humor (non-romance) work of mine. To have nabbed one of the best agents for humor out there was amazing and baffling. I can’t believe I get to play with the big girls! It’s been a great year.
What's next is more romance, to hopefully get my humor book sold, and then, someday, to be able to unleash a parody on the unsuspecting world. Bwahahahahahahaaa!
My secret, evil, ultimate plan? To bring back the . Come on, publishers! What’s not to love‽
I really had to google up interrobang! Don’t even ask me what I initially assumed that as ;) And yeah, sometimes, I do have a dirty mind… Congrats on getting the agent, Lucy! Hope you can sell your books and we get to see many more on the bookshelves (both virtual and otherwise)
So, what are some of your writing tips and tricks?
Ha! It’s cute that you think I have a “technique” besides grabbing the Cheez-Its and trying to get my cat to stop sitting on the keyboard. My stuff is funny (at least to me), so when the funny is not coming, I put the laptop down and return later. If I have to think too hard for the joke, it never works. I’m a 100% pantser. I could be the Queen of Pantsers. I am the High-Poobah of Planning it Ahead of Time Sucks. I tried plotting for one book – once I’d worked out all the details of the story I became bored and didn’t want to write it anymore. I love having events unfold unexpectedly in front of me, and have the characters naturally develop their quirks, tics, and issues, plot and personal, they must to resolve.
I usually work from a premise (female bounty hunter goes after a hot, innocent man, like in Ragnar and Juliet) and then just start writing. After a while, even I have to figure out a general direction for the book, so that’s when I open up a Word doc and type nothing more than “this happens, then that happens, then they get naked (yes!), then the other happens, the end.” This basic road map is usually all I need. The other thing I’ll do is keep a list of plot points and character arcs I must tie up before the end so I don’t forget. But even then your beta readers can save you from a screw up. When he read Ragnar and Juliet, my husband pointed out to me that, as it was originally written, I’d accidentally blown up a bunch of innocent concubines. Oops. That’s not very funny. Sorry, concubines!
The ever present pantser in me is nodding at what you’re saying, especially parts about developing the characters as we write. I usually get closed-mouth treatments from both H/h, if I try to get to know them before their story comes J Oh, and I’m glad you didn’t blow those innocent concubines up!
What are some of the most important things you have learnt as an author that you didn't when you were a writer?
The biggest thing I’ve learned since I began serious writing a few years ago is to trust my voice. I’ve had people try to drown me in writing “rules.” Sure, it’s important to study and learn what the preferred, current writing techniques are and proper POV and such – you must learn them so you can choose when to blast them to smithereens.
Not everyone is into my kind of humor, and I can appreciate that. But I learned that when I trust in what I’m doing, in what flows naturally from my (weird) brain, that’s when I do the best and, ultimately, succeed. So my advice to the aspiring author (am I not still one of those‽) is to learn it all, know the rules, read the advice, get the critiques – but then decide which to use and which to throw out because they don’t work for you. I hate absolute “rules” in art. J.K. Rowling has multiple point-of-views that switch with no warning in the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and none of them are Harry’s. Rules can be broken – telling a good story is what matters most. Love what you write and others will, too.
Ah, that’s the perfect wisdom summed up in a nutshell! Aspiring authors (like me), take notes here;)
Last, but not the least.. Writing vs social networking. How do you find the perfect balance?
That’s a hard one! You must get out there, but you must also get your ass in the chair and write something. I’ve tried all the platforms and decided I can’t be everywhere at once. So I mostly keep to my blog, Twitter, and now Goodreads. I just have fun and find that readers who enjoy my silly blogging about nothing may also enjoy my books. One piece of advice: if you stand on a street corner and try to sell romance that way, it doesn’t turn out at all how you think it will. And never let a guy named Icepick be your agent.
Icepick..LOL! I never thought about it that way ;) Wonderful perspectives, Lucy! Thanks so much for being a sport and being here with me today!
Thanks so much to Ju for being my very first interviewer! She was extremely gentle, and I highly recommend her to other first-time… writers.
Aw, thanks so much for your kind words, Lucy J Honored to be your first. I love having authors on my blog – a writer’s life can get very lonely otherwise! So thank you!
RAGNAR AND JULIET BLURB:
Bounty hunting is usually so easy. Flash a little cleavage, mix a roofie cocktail, and Juliet has her man right where she wants him: out cold, ready to be swapped for cash. Her passions are freedom, trashy clothes, and pie -- not necessarily in that order.
Hunky alien ship captain Ragnar doesn't deserve torture at the hands of the psychotic king who hired Juliet; he liberated one of William the Nefarious' illegal concubines. Juliet can't ignore such a noble act. She doesn’t trust men, but this one, with the kindest smile she's ever seen, picks away at her resolve to stay aloof and clothed. He's just so...nice! Crazy she can deal with; sincerity is terrifying.
Before she gives in to her irrational urge to get a timeshare with him (and his cute tail), they're caught by the bad guys. Ragnar disappears and abandons her to her disgusting captors -- so much for togetherness. Perhaps he’s not such a saint. Even worse, Nefarious William (who prefers "Bob") has nominated her for Concubine of the Evening. This dubious honor does not thrill her, and only a few hours remain before the king’s mind-altering drugs obliterate her free will.
Sexual slavery might not be fatal, but Juliet would rather die. Of course, the third option (run away to a beach and hump Ragnar silly) is the best, if they can live that long.
And lovely friends, Just show Lucy some comment love and she’ll pick a winner for hr book – Ragnar And Juliet. The book is fantastically hilarious ;) And I bet you wouldn’t be able to put it down once you start reading it. You can find her at : http://www.lucywoodhull.com
PS: Winner will be picked by Thursday and announced on Friday! So comment away!