In February 2014, the WCDR welcomed Eve Silver to the RoundTable meeting. This guest speaker’s talk has come and gone, but you can still learn a thing or two, and check out what you’ve missed!
About the presentation
Writing Romantic: A Creative Exploration for all Genres
Publishers today often look for strong romantic plot lines and well-written romance scenes. Regardless of genre, the inclusion of a good love story has universal appeal, tapping into the reader’s emotions and experiences. How can you enhance your novel with effective relationships and original love scenes? Eve Silver, author of over 18 romantic adventure YA and Adult novels, will discuss the differences between romance and romantic fiction, and will elaborate on the skill and artistry of developing the romance in your story. Join us and discover the sexy secrets of plot and character interaction that will add sizzle to your story and make a reader’s eyes pop!
About the speaker
National bestselling author Eve Silver has been praised for her “edgy, steamy, action-packed” books, darkly sexy heroes and take-charge heroines. Her work has been listed as a 2013 American Bookseller’s Association Best Book for Children and a Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens. She has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Quill and Quire, two RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Library Journal’s Best Genre Fiction Award, and she was nominated for the Romance Writers of America® RITA® Award. The first book in Eve’s new teen series, THE GAME: RUSH, is available now. Eve lives with her husband, two sons, an energetic Airedale terrier and an exuberant border collie/shepherd.
- RoundTable Forecast: February 2014
- “5 Questions, 1 Speaker” interview on Reading as Writers
- RoundTable Recap: February 2014
RoundTable Follow-up Interview
The following interview was conducted by Susan Croft, PR Coordinator (aka G.L. Morgan), via email, in April, 2014, as part of our on-going Past Speakers Series. Questions cover Eve Silver’s early writing, avoiding distractions, and further information about topics discussed by ES at the February 8, 2014 RoundTable.
SC: Did you know you wanted to write romance when you first started writing, or did you experiment first? If you experimented, what genres did you try before you settled on romance?
ES: I wrote my first book when I was nine. It wasn’t a romance, but rather a picture book about an unwanted teddy bear that found a new and loving home. I actually submitted it to a publisher and received my very first rejection letter. But my writing forays as an adult always leaned toward romance. I’ve written in numerous sub-genres, including historical gothic suspense, sci-fi/dystopian, paranormal, and young adult. But all my stories are threaded with a romantic element.
SC: Why do you think romance is such a popular genre with readers?
ES: Romance speaks to a human imperative and deep desire, to a connection formed, a deep bond solidified. These stories are woven with threads of hope and perseverance, strength and joy, even in the face of adversity.
SC: You said in your presentation to WCDR members that “your reader wants to remember that feeling of falling in love.” Writing is so much about making the reader feel with your characters; any tips on how to write realistic emotions without bogging down the plot?
ES: Inhabit your characters. Make the characters come alive on the page. To do this, you need to know them, to understand what makes them tick, what their strengths are, and their flaws. Let the characters’ inner conflicts, their personal demons and desires inform their decisions. Make the stakes high. Then the emotion drives the plot rather than bogging it down.
SC: What is your favourite part of beginning a novel? What is your least favourite part?
ES: My favourite part is the hope…the possibility…the new, fresh opportunity. My least favourite part is the heartbreak and struggle I know is waiting just around the corner. Writing is hard, and knowing that is my least favourite part.
SC: You said you write by the seat of your pants rather than outlining a novel beforehand. Can you talk a bit about the revision process? Once you know the plot of your novel, how do you go about pulling things together and trimming the excess?
ES: I’m a very spare writer. I rarely have to trim, but rather, I return to the pages to flesh them out and add details. Even when I turn in a draft to my editor, it’s usually on the short side of the word count and once I complete my editorial pass, the manuscript grows by at least 10%. The trick is to thread in details that support the evolving plot.
SC: Obviously, the more you write the better you get at it; an author could spend years editing and re-editing the same manuscript. How do you know when a piece is ready to meet the world?
ES: My first editor once told me that an author can tinker with a manuscript forever and still believe they can tinker some more. Left to the author, a book might never be ready. There’s always something to be changed, a word that’s more perfect, a sentence to be trimmed. At some point, you just have to make yourself type ‘The End’, let the project go and move forward.
SC: You said you’re a business woman—that you write for your market. How do you go about researching your market and predicting trends?
ES: No one can predict trends. That said, you can educate yourself about the market and make the best decisions with the information available. For example, if you are studying books that are currently being released on bookstore shelves and tailoring your story to fit what you view as an emerging trend, you’re probably too late. The books hitting shelves at this moment likely sold to the publisher one, two or even three years ago. Ideally, you want to research what’s selling to publishers right now (e.g. via a subscription to Publishers Marketplace) rather than what sold in years past. The more current your information, the better.
SC: In the ten tips you gave WCDR members for keeping the romance real, you mentioned not thinking about who would read the sex scenes once they were written. Do you have any tips on keeping your mother-in-law or father-in-law out of your head?
ES: It goes back to knowing your character, to writing your character rather than yourself. Why would your character care what your mother-in-law thinks (although she might very well care about what her mother-in-law thinks)?
SC: In “Easy Fixes for Four Common Mistakes Beginning (and Not-so-Beginning) Writers Make,” you talk briefly about the internet being a distraction and suggest two programs to help keep you writing. What other distractions do you face and how do you deal with them?
ES: Every writer faces distractions: social media, the laundry, the bathroom that hasn’t ben cleaned in weeks. Real life interferes in the form of family, friends, day job. There’s always an excuse not to write and a reason to close the laptop. We’ve all heard people say, “I’d love to write a book but I just don’t have the time.” If you are a writer, if you are driven to write, then you write. You make the time by stealing precious moments from other demands. I’ve taken my laptop on family vacations, been up before dawn and written for hours while my family sleeps, then enjoyed my vacation time with them once they’re awake. I’ve written at my kids’ kendo lessons and football practice. I’ve written while I’ve had a house full of their friends. I’ve written while sitting beside the bed of an ill family member because I had a deadline to meet. The truth is, if you truly want to write, you’ll let the laundry pile up, the dust gather, the dishes sit in the sink, and you’ll write.
SC: What was the best piece of writer-advice you ever received and who was it from?
ES: Finish the book. You can’t sell the book if you don’t finish the book. I have heard a variation of that from numerous sources, but I believe the original quote is attributable to Nora Roberts.
SC: Thank you for agreeing to this interview and for coming to speak with the WCDR membership. We had some wonderful feedback about your presentation.