Steam rises from Peggy Bird’s spicy romance novels. A fellow Crimson Romance writer, she is here today to tell us about her journey as a writer. Welcome, Peggy! Start us off with a little bit about you.
I’m the luckiest woman I know. I’ve been everything I ever wanted to be (except a ballerina. That was never in the cards, I’m afraid.) But I’ve been a nurse, worked on public policy, had a good marriage (on the second try), raised a terrific daughter and become good friends with two step-daughters, been part of a small business, headed up a non-profit, been an artist and a writer. I’ve traveled and lived in another country. Now I get to use all that experience in my writing.
What a wonderful life you are living! Let’s get to that last career—talk about the books you’ve written. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your book? How did it develop?
I’ve written two series for Crimson Romance. The first, the Second Chances series, came about because I had a couple characters in mind that needed that second chance to find happily-ever-after, as I did. The characters drove the stories. The second series, the one I’m writing now, is a holiday themed series. I’m a sucker for any holiday and think there’s nothing more romantic than celebrating just about any occasion with someone you love. The latest, Unmasking Love, is set in Ashland, Oregon and begins with a Halloween party. It may be my most favorite book yet. What’s more mysterious and romantic than meeting at a costume party where you can’t be sure who’s behind the mask?
How do your characters influence your writing? Do you have disagreements with them?
My characters, as I said, are the story. And do they ever disagree with me! They talk to me; they invade my dreams; they refuse to do what I think they should be doing. Sometimes, they are more real to me than the people around me when I’m deep into writing about them. But it’s important to me that I know them inside and out so I can make the reader care. I can’t get hooked on a book, a play or a movie unless there are at least one or two characters I can root for. So I wrestle with the characters I create until I’m pretty convinced the reader will fall in love with the hero and want to be the heroine.
I agree that relating to characters is one of the most vital parts of a story. How do you handle spicy sex scenes and relatives? Are your family and friends supportive or do they choose not to read your books because of its sensual nature?
Funny you should ask. I have teenaged grandkids that are dying to read my books but their mothers won’t let them. Well, except for the 18 year old who just went off to college with one of my books to read on the airplane. She told her high school classmates what I write and reported back to me that they thought I was cool. (It took me a long time for 18 year olds to think I was cool but I finally made it.) On the other end of the spectrum is my 92-year-old friend who has read of couple of my books and is convinced I have had a better sex life than she did. And then there are those in the middle who buy the books but skip over the sex bits. They just roll their eyes and introduce me as their friend who writes the steamy books.
I often wonder if people who say they skip the sexy parts really do. Tell us about the funniest/craziest/most interesting thing that has happened to you as a writer.
Weird but true story: I was having an annual mammogram and the technician was chatting with me to help make me forget that she was about to squash a sensitive part of my anatomy in a cold machine. She asked if I still worked. I told her what I did. She then stopped between takes to write down the names of the books available in our local library and which one was set in our hometown. When it was all over, I handed her one of the postcards I had from my most recent book. It was truly one strange, and limited, marketing opportunity.
Great example of taking advantage of any situation. What are you currently working on?
I have one more holiday book to finish for Crimson Romance, The Gift of Love, which will be released in mid-2015. And I’m playing around with a memoir entitled, Cooking Lessons. Then there’s the woman’s fiction book I’ve outlined and am chomping at the bit to work on and the three short memoir pieces I’ve been honing for about five years. One of these days, I might actually get one of them in shape enough to submit someplace.
Oh, I can relate. I have about eight different writing projects on the drawing table, and I love each one! Thanks so much for visiting with me today, Peggy. I wish you all the best with your current and future books.
Visit Peggy at: