A TOWN CALLED VALENTINE is my debut contemporary novel set in Valentine Valley Colorado, a little fictional town in the mountains outside Aspen. My heroine, Emily Murphy, penniless after a bad divorce, returns to Valentine to sell a run-down building she inherited from her mother to finance her return to college. Of course things don’t go as planned when she meets sexy cowboy Nate Thalberg the first night she’s there. She encounters intriguing people and discovers long-buried secrets from her own past.
Ooh, that’s a tough one, because I like all these characters so much! But if I have to choose, I’d say I really like the opening scene, where Emily comes to town in the pouring rain and stops for dinner late at night at Tony’s Tavern. Newly divorced, trying to be a different woman, she flirts with Nate, and ends up playing a game of pool where the bet is a big risk for her.
3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’d always been a reader, but when I was a kid, I used to imagine how I would write a story differently. When I was thirteen years old, I wrote my first science fiction story about teenagers in space. Over the next several years, my stories were passed all around my high school. And then I read my first romance, and the whole focus of my writing changed. I originally concentrated on historical romance, which I still write under the name Gayle Callen. But I always had such a yearning to write about small-town America. It’s so fun to see this dream finally happen!
4. Tell us a little about your daily writing routine. Are you a plotter or pantser?
I’m definitely a plotter. I always loved the logic of math and science, and I need a blueprint to follow as I write. Nothing is set in stone, but it’s a good guideline. I plot everything out on index cards until I have a stack a couple inches thick, and next I write a synopsis before writing the book. As for my daily routine, I try to be at my desk by 8 or 8:30 in the morning, and work until 1. I walk my dogs, eat my lunch, take care of a few tasks, and then I’m back to work by 3 or so, where I write until I meet my daily page goal. Usually that’s 10-15 pages.
5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm…Perhaps that I really only write in one place, my office. The words seem to flow best for me there; I can concentrate with no distractions. Even if someone has a TV on in another part of the house, when I’m in my office, the distant sound doesn’t bother me a bit.
6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
To trust myself as a writer. I used to panic when I didn’t know absolutely everything that was going to happen, or when I couldn’t see the next scene. But I’ve learned that my brain keeps working on the problem subconsciously, and if I give it some time (usually just an hour or so, sometimes a night) the answer will come to me. Also, I’ve learned to trust talking my plot problem out loud. Sometimes my poor husband bears the brunt, or a fellow writer, and usually they can help me find a solution. And if not, just explaining myself tends to make me find an answer.
7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
I used to call my high school best friend my editor. She read everything I wrote back then. We’re still best friends, and I know I can go to her with any writing problem. But once I became serious about getting published, and joined Romance Writers of America, I met a group of friends who’ve made all the difference to me, both professionally and personally. I have several writing groups, the Purples and Packeteers, who share everything with me and whose friendship I deeply value. Maggie Shayne and I met before we were published, and watching her enter the business a few years before me taught me so much. And she’s always been there to answer any questions. But I think the biggest influence for a writer is reading lots of other writers. And I wish I had time to do even more of that!
8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
I’m lucky because they’ve always been there to support me, even through the thirteen years it took for me to publish my first book. Writing was what I loved, and my husband always treated it with importance, even when I wasn’t earning money at it.
9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I love the outdoors, and I go for walks every day. When I can, I take to the woods with my husband and dogs for long hikes, or snowshoeing this time of the year. I’m a skier and an ice skater since childhood. As for indoor pursuits, besides reading, I love to watch TV, from comedies to competitive reality shows. I sing in the church choir, and I’ve recently returned to crocheting.
10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?
I’m hard at work on the next Valentine Valley novel, which will be published in February 2013. My next historical, written as Gayle Callen, will be published this August, entitled RETURN OF THE VISCOUNT.
11. How can readers connect with you online?
I always answer email from my website. http://www.emmacane.com/ You can find me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/EmmaCaneAuthor and Twitter http://www.twitter.com/EmmaCane
Thanks so much for the opportunity to be here today! I’d enjoy answering any questions your readers have.
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