Vonnie, tell us a little about yourself. When did you start writing, how long and what do you write?
I am a study in arrested development. I started college at 44, met the love of my life at 53 and published my first book at 63. After marrying Calvin nine years ago, I traded the tailored clothes of a technical writer for the feathered boa of a romance writer. My husband’s a published author who wanted me to have my life-long dreams fulfilled, too. He vacuums daily and unloads the dishwasher so I can keep kissing the computer keys with my fingertips. I’ve been seriously writing for five years with one book published and three more under contract.
That’s a wonderful story… And should I say it? I’m envious. My husband could take a lesson from yours about helping with the household chores. LOL. Congrats on the other contracts!
What can you tell us about Storm’s Interlude that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt? Was it an easy write? How long did it take you to write it?
Oh, that’s easy. I was in a major snit when I started writing Storm’s Interlude. After several rejections of a romance I’d devoted over two years to writing and rewriting, I was fuming. Of course I should share at this point that the book deserved rejection, but I was too emotionally invested to see all its flaws. I’d set out to write a romance with a gentler, more sensitive hero. Can we say, “Boring?”
So on this particular day when I was quite pissy over all the rejections, I powered up my laptop determined to give publishers the Alpha male they seemed to prefer. I wrote the most bizarre opening scene I could think of. The 90,000-word story flowed, was written and into my agent’s hands in three months.
Wow, now that’s determination!!! Good for you!
Are you a pantser or plotter? What can you tell us a little about your writing process?
I am a pantser who sometimes plots mentally. To me, writing outlines or developing a storyboard is playing at writing. My time is better spent writing the story. That’s not to say you’re wrong if you plot. Whatever works for you is right for you.
My process? Usually a character comes to me and demands my attention. I get a feel for him—yes, the hero presents himself first—aren’t I lucky? I do this by designing my characters from the inside out. I begin with what makes them tick, what past hurts have they endured, what pushes their buttons, what passions do they have and so on. Lastly I think of their appearance.
You sound just like me!!!!
I write contemporary, historical and romantic suspense. Yet there are a pair of golden eyes watching me from the recesses of my mind. These eyes stare at me, quietly watching. Waiting. One night, when I was almost asleep, the eyes moved closer in the body of a large bear. I nearly wet the bed. Then the bear shifted to a man in a kilt. I shook my head. “Sorry, you’ve got the wrong writer. I don’t write paranormal stuff.” He lifted the covers and slipped in bed beside me. “Aye, lassie, ye will. Let me tell ye how bears came to be extinct in Scotland and the curse me family has endured for over a thousand years.” Is it any wonder some writers drink?
OMG!!! That is too funny!
If you could be any fictional character—including your own, who would you choose and why?
Gee, this is a hard question. She’d have to be strong. Right? Intelligent. For sure. With a dash of snark. And swirls of style. Oh, and honey, she’d have to wear stilettos on her mile-long legs. Someone like Gwen in my romantic suspense, Rain is a Love Song. It’s with an editor now and I should know by the first week of May if it’s a “yay” or “nay.” The things she did dancing on a pole in a strip club in Budapest while working undercover drove poor Jean-Luc insane. Oh, I do love a woman who can make a man drop to his knees. Don’t you?
Yes, I do! She sounds awesome.
What is your favorite TV show or movie?
I adore Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” He loves the Left Bank almost as much as I.
I’ve never seen it, but maybe I’ll have to check it out.
Okay, since I write both vamps and cowboys, I want to know, which is sexier: Vampires or Cowboys?
I love a cowboy who moves in a loose-jointed way and can be a solid part of my life in the sun, in the shadows and in the showers.
Sounds like my kind of man.
Excerpt: Remember that opening scene I wrote while I was fuming? Here it is –
Someone swaggered out of the moonlit night toward Rachel. Exhausted from a long day of driving, she braked and blinked. Either she was hallucinating or her sugar levels had plummeted. Maybe that accounted for the male mirage, albeit a very magnificent male mirage, trekking toward her. She peered once more into the hot July night at the image illuminated by her headlights. Sure enough, there he was, cresting the hill on foot—a naked man wearing nothing but a black cowboy hat, a pair of boots and a go-to-hell sneer.
Well, well, things really did grow bigger in Texas. The man quickly covered his privates with his black Stetson. Rachel sighed. The show was evidently over. Should she stand up in her Beetle convertible and applaud? Give a couple of catcalls? Wolf whistles? Maybe not.
She turned down the music on the car’s CD player. Sounds of crickets and a lonely bullfrog in the distance created a nighttime symphony in the stillness of this isolated stretch of country road. Lightning bugs darted back and forth, blinking a display of neon-yellow glow.
The naked man strode toward her car, and Rachel’s heart rate kicked up. Common sense told her to step on the gas, yet what woman wanted to drive away from such a riveting sight? Still, life had taught her to be careful. She reached into her handbag and extracted her chrome revolver. Before he reached her car, she quickly slid her gun under the folds of her skirt.
Just let him try anything funny—I know how to take care of myself.
Both of his large hands clasped his hat to his groin. His face bore annoyance and a touch of chagrin. “I need a ride.” By his bearing and commanding tone of voice, she guessed the man was used to giving orders and having them followed.
Her gaze took a slow journey across his face. Even in the moonlight, she could see traces of Native heritage. His shoulder-length ebony hair, too long for her tastes, glistened against his bronzed skin. Proud arrogant eyes sparked with anger.
Because Rachel believed in indulging herself, she allowed her gaze to travel over his broad shoulders, muscular chest and tight abdominal muscles. She saw a thin trail of dark hair starting below his navel, and, knowing full well where it ended, she fought back a groan. Her eyes slid back up to lock on his. “You need a pair of pants, too.” Knowing her voice hummed with desire, she cleared her throat, hoping the naked man hadn’t noticed.
He looked up at the sky for a beat. “Just my freakin’ luck! A birthday party gone bad, and now I’m bein’ ogled by some horny kid with damnable blue eyes.”
What the heck was wrong with her eyes? She quickly glanced in her rearview mirror and saw nothing amiss. She narrowed those “damnable blue eyes” and sneered. “Look, buster, I’m not the one prancing around Texas naked as a jaybird. I’ll have you know I’m hardly a kid.” She glanced down at the black cowboy hat. “And, furthermore, stop hiding behind that big ol’ Stetson. From what I saw, a French beret would do the job.”
There, let the arrogant fool stew on that while he strutted back to whatever rock he’d crawled out from. She slammed her car in gear and sped off.
She swore she wouldn’t look in her rearview mirror. Nope, she would not look. As if the mirror were a magnet emitting a powerful homing signal, her gaze slowly slid to the glass surface. He was standing where she’d left him, his Stetson tilted back on his head, his hands fisted on his narrow naked hips and his mouth moving. He was no doubt cussing her out.
A smile blossomed; a French beret would never hide all that. Wait until she e-mailed Lynda, her best friend. She’d never believe her story of a naked man on a narrow, deserted road in the hill country of Texas.