The girls of Night Owl Romance are pleased that you have granted us an interview
We would love to get to know you
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
Sure, Tammie. I've been published since 2006. I write dramatic epics under my real name, Diana Groe, and sexy, light-hearted historicals as Emily Bryan. I've always been an avid reader, but didn't try writing until I met a real romance writer (Eboni Snoe-author of more than a dozen multi-cultural romances. Her husband worked with mine). I guess I'd always thought writers were some sort of other-worldly creatures, but this wonderful woman showed me that writers were just people who observed keenly, imagined wildly and took the time to write it all down for posterity. I decided to give it a shot. Writing is one of the most satisfying things I've ever done.
Why did you decide to write under the two names?
I started out writing my serious "Dark Ages" romances (MAIDENSONG and ERINSONG), but after I finished SILK DREAMS, I was ready for something different. I still had another book due on my existing contract, so I asked Leah Hultenschmidt, my editor at Leisure Books, if I could try my hand at writing comedy. She agreed to it and the result was DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS. When Leah read it, she thought its light-hearted and frankly sexier tone was so different from my previous work, a new pen name was required. Emily Bryan was born. I've had a ball writing these funny, risqu‚ stories.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
I guess I feel like I am all my characters (even the guys, as weird as that sounds) because I've lived their stories in my head. I'd enjoy being Artemisia, the heroine in DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS. She's strong-minded and artistic, willing to make her own choices and pay for them. Jacquelyn, the heroine in PLEASURING THE PIRATE would be fun too. She gets to school a prodigal pirate in the proper way to woo a lady and ends up learning more than she teaches.
When did you start writing your first book and what inspired you to submit it?
I started writing in earnest in 2001, but my first manuscript was never submitted. Anywhere. It still lives in the bottom drawer of my desk where it will forever collect dust mites while it waits for the ending that will never come. It was a practice run and my learning curve was pretty steep. I was completely clueless about the reader expectations for the genre-my hero and heroine weren't even in the same state till page 300, if you can believe it! I had no idea what POV was. My heroine was irritating and my hero brave, but brainless. There are some things best left in obscurity.
Then I wrote a sad little western. My characters were getting better and even though I was still head-hopping like crazy, I didn't know it yet. I submitted this story in several contests and even won a few. It was enough to pique an agent's interest, but not enough to garner an offer of representation. Finally, I discovered RWA. I joined Eastside (living in Seattle at the time) and began attending meetings. The women there were so willing to share what they knew about writing. Thanks to my critique group, my stories began to take on deeper dimensions. My third manuscript was MAIDENSONG, a tale of passion and danger in medieval Scandinavia, my debut Diana Groe title.
Do you have an agent or do you just submit to an editor?
Vivian Beck is my agent. She sold MAIDENSONG and has brokered two more multiple book deals for me since then. I have a wonderfully supportive relationship with my editor, Leah Hultenschmidt. My discussions with Leah focus on artistic issues. It's nice to let Vivian handle the money part.
For those authors who are just starting out - What advice would you give them?
Be a student of the craft. Join a local writing group. Read "how to" books. Don't believe people who tell you to wait for the "Muse." She's an excuse not to write.
Plan your work and stick to it. I used to have a 40 hr a week day job as a banker and still produced 25 pages a week. (I'd tell people that I enslaved folks to debt by day and lust by night!) I squeezed out a paragraph or two in the morning before the bank opened, just to prime the pump. That way when I sat down to write my 2 pages each night after supper, I didn't have to face a blank screen. I had terrific support from my family. My Dear Husband did laundry and cleaned the house so I could write all day Saturday. I'd crank out 10 pages on Saturday and 5 on Sunday. Writing is like a muscle. You need to exercise it every day.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
Now that I write full-time (Thank you, God!) my page goal is 10 per day, 5 days a week. After I see my DH off to work, I assume the writing position. This involves a recliner, a lap top and my 7 pound wonder dog. I usually don my headphones and play the soundtrack I've picked for my current work in progress. I use movie soundtracks because they generally don't have words and they run a wide gamut of emotions. I have to love the music I choose because I listen to the same soundtrack for the entire time (read: months!) I'm working on that particular story. Music triggers my writing and when the revisions come back months after the story's done, the music takes me right back into the world of my book. I take breaks to walk my dog and try to spend 20-30 minutes on the treadmill. Weight gain is an occupational hazard of writing. Lisa Jackson jokes that when she's deep in a manuscript she's working her ass ON! So I try not to neglect my body.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?Yes we are begging for an excerpt, blurb . anything! Please don't keep us in the dark -
Ok, Tammie. Just for the readers of NightOwl. This snippet from PLEASURING THE PIRATE (August 2008) won't be posted anywhere else. My heroine Jacquelyn has realized Gabriel will never be able to marry a suitably wealthy woman as long as she remains there and he must marry well for the sake of his barony and the future of his orphaned nieces, whom Jacquelyn loves as well. So she's going to leave, but before she does, she has to have Gabriel one last time. Fair warning: This is a sexy excerpt. If you're under 18, please exit now.
Pleasuring the Pirate
As soon as the Caern settled into gentle quiet, she lit a candle and slipped into the secret passageway. Had she really thought she could somehow continue with their secret trysts once a new Lady Drake was installed?
Evidently her body had been doing the thinking. And still was. Already, her whole being thrummed in anticipation of his strong arms about her, his mouth searching out her secrets, his hard shaft pounding between her thighs. The moist warmth of arousal pooled in her groin.
Oh, God! What will I do without him? Jacquelyn nearly sobbed in despair. She stopped walking for a moment and closed her eyes, willing herself to shove aside all thought of the morrow. If she had only this one night, let her have it. All of it.
She turned a corner in the narrow space and almost ran headlong into him. Gabriel gathered her into an embrace and a kiss that nearly stole her soul. It certainly made her drop the candle.
He stooped and pinched off the wick with a rumbling chuckle. They were plunged into total darkness, but as long as Gabriel held her, Jacquelyn decided she wouldn't care if she was cast into perdition itself.
"I can think of better ways to set the place ablaze. Oh, Lyn, the day's been so long," he breathed into her ear as his hands roamed her curves. "I've had the taste of you in my mouth all day, but it's never enough. Come, love. Let us take our fill." She sagged against him and he led her back to his chamber.
Let me not think, she pleaded silently. For this last time, let me only feel.
She didn't let him speak after he pushed the opening closed behind them. She hurled herself toward him, pressing feverish kisses to his neck and down his bare chest. The salty sweetness of his skin made her soft palate ache. She nipped his taut brown nipple and reveled in his low groan. Her hands found the drop front of his breeches and plunged in to claim his enraged cock.
He was so warm.
A single pearl of fluid formed at his tip and she bent to take him into her mouth.
"Lyn," he chanted her name softly as she knelt to pull his breeches past his heavily muscled calves. "You drive a man beyond reason. If you keep that up, I . . . I fear I cannot be as gentle as I want to be with you."
She straightened and looked him in the eye. "Don't be gentle."
Gabriel had warned her the first time they met that there was a beast in every man, but she hadn't believed it. She had no doubts now.
In rutting glory, there was no finer specimen than the beast who now bent her over and slammed himself into her. He rode her savagely. He bruised her inner thighs with his thrusts, drew blood when he claimed her flesh with his lovebites, and marked her body and soul with his total possession.
Somewhere amid the madness she thought she heard a voice that sounded like hers. It kept saying the same thing over and over.
"Harder. For God's sake, harder."
* * *
Much later, Jacquelyn lay beneath him, fighting to draw a breath. His body still trembled with spent passion, but he raised himself on his elbows to look down at her.
"Lyn, I'm sorry for using so-"
She pressed her fingertips to his lips. "I wanted you to, just like that."
Every joint ached and she suspected she'd be sore for a week, but she needed him to take her, to ravish her. She couldn't have born tenderness.
But now she pulled his head down to her breasts. He nuzzled and tugged at her nipples for a moment before he laid his rough cheek in the hollow between them. His warm breath slid over her charged skin, sending a final burst of longing racing through her veins.
In the years to come, this was how she'd remember him, lying between her breasts, his body heavy on hers, their raging need finally stilled. Only a quiet yearning left to shudder in the wake of their fire.
PLEASURING THE PIRATE is available for pre-order now from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com. You can read another excerpt on my website. http://www.emilybryan.com as well as excerpts from DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS (which is available now) and VEXING THE VISCOUNT (Coming March 2009)
In 5 years, where do you see yourself? -In general and in you're writing career
I'll still be writing, how successfully depends on my readers. I hope to expand into a second subgenre, romantic suspense or paranormal. I'll still be married to the same wonderful man and enjoying every moment with him. I hope I'll be doing more speaking. I've done workshops for the NEC conference and the Romantic Times Convention. I'm scheduled to speak to the Rhode Island Library Association next month (NEUROTICA:THE SECRET LIFE OF A ROMANCE WRITER) and in July, I'll be giving my JOY OF WRITING SEX workshop at the PNWA convention in Seattle.
What do you do for inspiration?
I visit art galleries, museums, and libraries. I read old journals and source documents from the time period I'm writing in. I listen to music and let it tell me stories. I observe keenly. I look for details.
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
I'm half-way through a paranormal called THE UNWILLING. It's a time travel with shape-shifters and elves (think Tolkein, not Keebler). I'm really enjoying incorporating alternative time lines into my imagined history. What kind of research do you do for your books?
I hit the library, surf the net, browse in the bookstores. I'm looking for "women's history"-the little details of how people actually lived their lives, how they thought about their world and themselves, what events occurred that might change those things. Do you enjoy the research process?
Yes! Whenever I'm stuck, I research. It's like brainstorming for me. I read about things that have happened and it opens up tons of possibilities for things that could happen. Do you belong to your local RWA? If so, which one?
Yes, I belong to the New England Chapter RWA, but I also maintain a distance membership in Eastside back in Seattle, so I guess you could say I'm bi-coastal! What would you like to tell your readers?
I hope you enjoy my books. My goal is to give you a satisfying love story, an adventure, a few laughs along the way and maybe even a tear or two. If I can keep you up some night because you need to finish my story, my life will be complete. :)
Do you outline your books or just start writing? Outliner or Pantster?
I started out as a pantser because I didn't know what else to do. Since I sell on proposal now, I have to be able to write a synopsis before the book is complete. So I've learned to be a plotter, but the characters still come first for me. I have to walk around in their heads for a while before I know them well enough to tell their story. Of all the chapters in my books, I have to come back and rework the first 3 most often because I'm still feeling my way through. Revising is the fun part. The first draft is work.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you? Who are your patners?
I belonged to a wonderful critique group in Seattle and still e-critique with one of the members, Darcy Carson, who writes wildly creative paranormals. The advantage of a critique group is that each member brings a unique perspective to the table. Maybe one is a crack grammarian. Another may have an ear for dialogue. Someone else is a fabulous brainstormer. I learned so much about writing from the women in my group and miss them terribly still. I'm hoping to form a similar group here in the NE soon.
What would be the best way for readers contact you?
Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group? I have a contact page on my website at http://www.emilybryan.com . I love to hear from readers so please fire away! I read and answer all my emails, but I may be under a deadline, so please be patient. Be sure to enter my contest and sign up for my newsletter while you're there. Readers can also find me at http://www.myspace.com/emilybryanromance Please friend me! On Facebook, you can find me at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1069259467 . My blog is at http://www.emilybryan.blogspot.com . I also post frequently on the Dorchester forum at http://forums.dorchesterpub.com/ Intensely visual people (like me!) might enjoy my DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS bookpeek at http://www.veoh.com/channels/emilybryan How can readers find out more about you and your books?
If you read my books, you'll know more about me than you probably should! But you can also find out more at my publisher's website http://dorchesterpub.com . I also blog on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Distracting-Duchess-Leisure-Historical-Romance/dp/0843958707/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211230089&sr=8-1
Thanks again, Tammie for this opportunity to visit with NightOwl gang.
Thank you for this opportunity!