Author Sharon Sala used to drag race, Heather Graham knows some GREAT ghost stories, Courtney Milan looks like the model on the cover of Proof by Seduction and Vicki Lewis Thompson named characters in her Sons of Chance miniseries after beloved family members. And this was just day one of my author interviews. Is my job cool, or what?
We had quite the day at the Disney Dolphin as conference attendees started to fill up the halls and outdoor spaces getting acclimatized to the layout and temperature of the facility. They keep the hotel ice box fresh, so much so that we all feel rather like chilled produce. The conference really kicks off tomorrow with a marquee event known as the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing. The “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing has become one of the most popular events at RWA’s annual conference. More than 500 romance authors participate in this two-hour autographing event, and each year thousands of dollars are raised and donated to ProLiteracy Worldwide. Since 1990, RWA has donated more than $600,000 to literacy charities. It’s not uncommon to see readers with bags, boxes and even wagons piled high with books signed by their favorite romance writers. Yes, I PROMISE to take pictures!
But, back to my day today. We started off this morning with Courtney Milan who dropped by to talk about what devious plans she has for everyone’s favorite 18th Century Hero, Ned. Now Ned was a secondary character from her debut novel and is the hero of the upcoming MIRA Books title, Trial by Desire. We chatted about how difficult it was to take such a likable character and put him into some not-very-nice situations, how Courtney approaches research and why lessons learned from this century help inform our current one. Oh, and we also found out how she really feels about housework.
Setting up for another author interview. Can you guess who by the book cover?
Unfortunately we had to stop taping…a LOT! It seems that the Disney Dolphin is undergoing renovation and at times we couldn’t hear over the drilling, sawing, sanding and crashing from the suite above us. Several calls to the front desk produced enough quiet for us to finish up with Courtney (who was incredibly gracious), but we then had to move our other interviews to a quieter location in the hotel. That meant moving lights, cameras, sound equipment, décor, etc. to not one, but eventually three different locations until we found a decent enough set up and the quiet we needed. And of course this also meant last minute phone calls to authors to let them know about the switch. And then the alarms went off and the evacuation began….
Did I mention the cold? That I was actually wearing a sweater? And that when the alarms went off I had to stand outside on the grounds of the hotel with other guests in 31º Celsius Florida heat and humidity…in. A. Sweater. Thank goodness it was just a false alarm.
Jayne wishing it were just a little cooler outside.
15 minutes later, the unflappable Vicki Lewis Thompson showed up to our new location and talked about the appeal of cowboy heroes, the wonderful world she’s created in Jackson Hole, the setting for the Sons of Chance miniseries and about how the original name for the series was actually the Second Chance Ranch and why it was changed. She also told us what it takes to nab a Chance man, but you’ll have to watch the video to find out!
Sharon Sala made me cry today when she talked about how much reader letters mean to her, and then blew me away with stories about her drag racing days…REALLY! After crashing two vehicles she told me that her survival seemed to indicate to her that she was being saved for bigger things. Lucky for us, those things involve close to 100 books and the sexy and powerful heroes of her current Storm Front series set in Louisiana. She told us a couple of tips of the trade, about those things that make for a strong and sexy hero and what’s next in the Storm Front series.
Heather Graham knows ghosts! Ok, maybe not personally, but she tells a pretty mean ghost story and according to her, Key West is one of THE ghostiest cities in the USA which is why she chose it as the setting for her Bone Island trilogy. She also had some secrets to share about how she wove fact and fiction in writing about the history of Key West and about some of the real characters who caught her imagination while working on the books.
I’m not sure when I’ll be back at my computer tomorrow with my update from Day TWO, since I’m giving an all day digital workshop with Malle and Jenny and Angela James, but I promise to check in and tell you more about my adventures from the 2010 National Romance Writers Conference in Orlando and who I have scheduled for round two of author interviews on Thursday.