Monday, October 22, 2007

Welcome Dee Davis!

The Lady Novelist welcomes Dee Davis this week to Got it Goin On. Her highly acclaimed first novel, Everything In Its Time, was published in July 2000. Since then, among others, she’s won the Booksellers Best, Golden Leaf, Texas Gold and Prism awards, and been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Holt and two RT Reviewers Choice Awards. To date, she has sold fifteen books and three novellas. Her most recent novel, Chain Reaction, was a Golden Leaf finalist for Best Single Title at the New Jersey Romance Writers conference this October.

A town destroyed…A sole survivor…A terrible secret…
Artist Mia Kearney has the perfect life: A successful career, a home she loves, amazing friends…until her world explodes one hot August morning. Lone survivor of a nuclear accident, Mia awakens in a government facility, faced with Homeland Security agent Nicholas Price, a man who wants answers she knows she doesn’t have.

When Mia escapes, Nick has a choice to make. The CIA wants him off the case, but instinct tells him not to let Mia out of his sight.

Now the web of deceit that’s woven tightly around them is about to unravel, and someone out there won’t be satisfied until Cedar Branch’s last surviving resident is dead…

Q: Tell us a little about yourself, what is your background and how long have you been writing before you were published.

Q: Tell us about when you got “the call”

I was actually asleep. And was so excited by the news that I hung up on my agent before I realized that I had no idea who I’d actually sold the book too. Had to call her back to find out for sure. And then spent the rest of the day shaking with amazement and excitement.

Q: What made you choose romance?

I’m a sucker for happy couples and could never get enough. Wanted more with Meg and Calvin, cried when I didn’t get to see Cinderella get married (TV version), thought Aragorn and Arwen should have had more “screen” time…you get the idea. Basically, I love a happy ending. And as a romantic suspense writer, I love the idea of integrating the suspense plotline with the romance.

Q: What you do love about writing romance?

The riding off into the sunset moment, and the moment when the hero and/or heroine realizes they don’t have to go through life on their own.

Q: Your new book A Match Made on Madison is kind of a departure for you, being more women’s fiction. It also involves professional matchmakers. What sparked the idea? Was it a character? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?

The idea actually came from an article in the New York Times that my agent sent to me. From there the idea of Match evolved. My love for Jane Austen’s Emma also played a part in that evolution.

Q: Did you have to do any major research for this book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?

Unlike my suspense novels, I really didn’t do major research for the book. Although I did call on my experiences in Manhattan and of course on my favorite places in the city. Hence, many of Vanessa’s favorites are in actuality also mine.

Q: You started out writing time travel, and now you write romantic suspense for HQN, and anthologies for Berkley (Hell with the Ladies, Hell on Heels) along with Julie Kenner and Kathleen O’Reilly. What has that been like? How do you juggle multiple projects?

I like writing different kinds of projects. Although to be honest, both the time travels and the anthologies are romantic suspense at their basic core, which means that it’s not as much of a departure as one might initially think. Juggling projects can be tricky. Good time management is the key. And a lot of BIC (butt in chair).

Q. What/Who do you like to read?

I read a little bit of everything really. Madeline L’Engle was a favorite. Also C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. Mary Stewart is my favorite author. I am currently into Emily Giffin, and Barbara Samuel. And I always buy Michael Crichton. I tend to love books more than authors, although I do glom when I find someone new. My favorite book is probably To Kill A Mockingbird. Although My Brother Michael and A Wrinkle in Time are close seconds.

Q. What is your writing process? Do you plot extensively first or do you tend to “fly in the mist?” Has your process changed over time? Do you write multiple drafts or clean up as you go?

I like to think of it as a road map. I know where I’m starting and where I’m ending. And a few main points along the way. The rest tends to develop during the journey. I think my process has remained pretty much the same over time. But I will say that each book is a little different. Sometimes the plot comes wholly baked and sometimes it’s a bit more sketchy. But with suspense there has to be at least some idea of plot right from the get go. I pretty much write one draft and clean up as I go. I have to know what’s happened pretty much as is in order to be able to know what’s going to happen next. It’s anal, I’ll admit it. But there you have it.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

Write something every day, do your homework, treat writing as a career not a hobby, listen to others—but filter that through your own common sense, trust your instincts as a writer, and believe that dreams can come true.

Q. There was a recent article called "Harm in reading romance novels," Do you think romance novels harm or empower women?

I think it’s too easy to try and label things one way or the other. It’s a trap we’ve fallen into of late. A book, movie, game, whatever – does not have the power to do any of that. It can inspire us – but ultimately the choice is ours. So I’d argue vigorously with those who say there is harm – because the truth is that it’s a story. And at the core, its purpose is simply to entertain.

Q: Romance has garnered the biggest market share in genre fiction, yet it gets the least respect in popular and literary culture. Do you have any thoughts on why that is? Do you find this prejudice changing?

I know that a lot of people believe it’s improving. But personally I haven’t seen any change at all. But the truth is that all genre fiction is degenerated. And pretty much always has been. I think there are a multitude of cultural reasons for that. And in all honesty, it’s not particularly fair, but also not likely to change.

Q. What are you planning to work on next?

I’m currently working on Set-Up in SoHo, the follow-up book for A Match Made on Madison. And playing with new ideas for my next romantic suspense.

Thanks Dee! You can purchase both of Dee's books Chain Reaction and A Match Made on Madison from Barnes and Noble, and

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