Desiree Holt who newest release, Northanger Abbey, is part of the Clandestine Classics collection from Total-E-Bound. Desiree will give away the winner's choice to a book from her backlist to one randomly drawn commenter.
"Victorian England is such an interesting time to write about and Northanger Abbey was always one of my favorites," she told me. "The challenge to 'spicing it up' comes from the fact that Catherine and Henry do not even meet until halfway through the book, so I had to think of a plot device to introduce the 'spice' earlier. I hope everyone has as much fun reading it as I did writing it."
Desiree was always what she called a "hungry reader," devouring books. Her dream, from the time she could put two sentences together, was to write a book.
"I originally thought I’d write straight mysteries, but found out I liked romantic suspense better and from there into all genres of romance," she said. She has released over 130 titles and usually has multiple works in progress. She's just done the full outlines for Locked and Loaded, book two in Attack Force and books seven and eight in The Sentinels She's also finishing up the fifth book in The Phoenix Agency, the third book in Erector Set, as well out plotting out books 5-8 in her Rawhide series.
"Of course, I'd love to do another Clandestine Classic," she assured me.
"How do you develop your plot and characters?" I asked.
"Wow. I don’t think I have a set format. Usually my characters come to me first (my friends laugh at me because I get my best ideas in the shower!). I define the characters and then play the What If game with them. But sometimes that’s not true. I wrote one book when all I had to start was one line. But I loved the line so much I developed a plot around it. And another story developed from a Letter to the Editor in the local paper."
Desiree's writing space takes up most of the wall in her great room. She has a built-in computer desk with plenty of shelves and drawers and places for her small television as well as her cats to lie down and watch her work. She has French doors on the right and a huge picture window on her left, so the room is always flooded with plenty of light.
She writes every day. First thing in the morning, she takes care of emails and promo, then she writes for six hours.
"I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis last year so I have to take more breaks during the day than I used to which has cut down a little on my production. I keep a notebook beside me in bed while I read and watch television at night and jot down ideas that pop into my head based on what I wrote that day," she told me.
"What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?"
"You can hear my friends laugh about this one. I find I do my best work when reruns of Walker Texas Ranger is on my television. I know the shows so well I barely have to pay attention to them. My son tells me I like the program because the guy always gets the girl and the good guys always win. I wonder if Chuck Norris knows how much I owe him!"
She generally starts her research for a book with the Internet because you can find just about anything there. Depending on the genre and subject matter, she may move on. She has a neighbor who has a wolf that he keeps by special permission (it was badly injured and cannot survive in the wild) who has helped her a lot with wolf habits for her shifter series. She also has many contacts in law enforcement, a reader who owns a cutting horse ranch, and contacts in the BDSM community.
"You name it, I find them," she assured me. "The most important thing to me when I write is that I be accurate."
Desiree tries to put a little of herself in each of her heroines. She also tries to come at stories from a different angle. This helps keep her work different from other books in the same genre.
"For my Night Seekers series, for example, the books are all based on the legend of the Chupacabra, which no other romance author has done and it’s a real legend," she explained. For The Sentinels I created a real agency. And for all my cowboy series, which are many, I live in the middle of ranch country in Texas so I have lots of different things to draw from."
"What is your most embarrassing moment?" I asked.
"Well, I could say it was when I was in high school and the skirt I made in Home Ec fell apart at a basketball game but probably when I didn’t recognize one of my readers at a conference and she’s someone who’s been very loyal to me. I apologized for three days."
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