Today I welcome fellow cookie monster and Crimson Romance author Brenna Chase to my blog. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Florida, but I joined the Army out of high school. I became an air traffic controller and was stationed in what was West Germany. That’s where I met my husband. We’ve been married almost twenty-five years and have two daughters. I love history, and I have a bachelor’s degree in that field. I taught myself to knit several years ago, and find that a fun, relaxing hobby. I also enjoy classic movies, and of course I read, especially romances and the classics, although I lean toward the medieval stuff. I’ve lived in the Midwest for the last couple of years.
What a great background for a writer. What is your research process like? Do you enjoy it?
I love research! I have a process that I’ve used since college, suggested by my English professor, and it’s really very simple: ask a question, have that in mind as you do your searches, and once you’ve answered it, you’re done. Except for writing the paper of course! But it’s hard for me not to get carried away following trails sometimes; there’s always something interesting wanting attention. I didn’t have to research much for this project, though I did, mostly on fashion, but I also read about the cotton industry in Lancashire, which was Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Darkshire.”
I like your professor’s suggestion, but I also get lost on “side trails” when I research. Is there an aspect of writing you favor over others, e.g. dialogue, exposition, description of a scene, setting, or character, etc.? Is there one that is more difficult for you?
I like writing dialogue. Sometimes that’s what comes first as I’m thinking about the premise and the plot. I think I do pretty well with exposition, but I tend to gloss over setting and description, and sometimes action as well, the first time through. Thankfully I have good critique partners who push me to work at it.
Good critique partners are so vital! What are you currently working on?
I’m bouncing back and forth between a couple of contemporary short stories and a Regency novella.
Has writing changed how you read books now, Brenna?
Since I’ve gotten serious about my writing, I pay more attention to everything. I still enjoy the story, but I study how the author developed the premise and how the plot unfolded, her character development, and of course, how she’s handled setting and description. I haven’t gotten to the point of marking up my used paperbacks, but I might.
Oooh, another great idea. I’m going to get a marker and a paperback right now! How would you describe your writing process? Do you outline? Let the muse lead you? Or something else?
I’m still trying to figure out a writing process. You’d think that after several years writing I would have one, but I was writing as a hobby, so I just went with the muse whenever she spoke and would often jump into something new without too much thought about what I wanted to do. Unfortunately I would get bogged down more often than not. So I’m trying to do more planning. I don’t know if I will ever be a detailed plotter, but I can see the advantage of it.
What food or beverages do you turn to while you are writing? Are you a stress eater on deadline or a “lack of inspiration” eater when ideas are not flowing?
I have a horrible sweet tooth, and I love chocolate. I usually go through a few snack size candy bars a day. And cookies. I love cookies. But I often nibble on almonds, pecans, or peanuts, too. Fruits and my laptop don’t get along though. As for beverages, usually water, although when I’m writing love scenes I go for a glass of white wine if we have any on hand. I love a good Spätlese.
Well we’re snacking soulmates! Was there a scene that was more difficult than others? One that you pondered whether or not to include it?
The first love scene between Mr. Thornton and Margaret was difficult to write. Well, there’s a lot to think about to begin with when writing that first time between a couple, and this is in a classic novel, set in the early Victorian Era. So I worried and worried whether it had the right mix of tenderness and heat, and whether or not the motivation was believable. And then of course I worried whether or not it was too soon for them to be intimate. In the end I decided to leave it and see what the editor thought.
I had the same struggle with my first love scene between Emily and Jonathon in Love’s Destiny. One of the gifts of inviting authors to my blog is realizing that we share many of the same struggles—and triumphs. Thanks for being my guest today, Brenna. I wish you great success with your writing.
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