Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mah jong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.



HBW Calendar

  • 11/02 - Handbag & Book, Barbara White Daille
  • 10/30 - Handbag & Book, Vicki
  • 10/26 - Handbag & Book, Joanne Guidoccio
  • 10/23 - Tina Donahue
  • 10/19- Last days of summer
  • 10/16 - Handbag & Book, Karilyn Bentley
  • 10/12 - Last Year was Tough. This Year was Tougher
  • 10/09 - Handbag & Book w Pam Thibodeaux
  • 10/05 - Found object! And it's all Mine!
  • 10/02 - Handbag & Book w VB

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lorraine Heath

Lorraine's writing "is as elegant and noble as the lords and ladies her novels depict." (Plano Profile) Her first romance, Sweet Lullaby, was published in 1993. Since then she has written a RITA award winner, won a Holt medallion, an RT Reviewer's Choice award. Her books have hit the USA Today, Waldenbooks, and New York Times best seller lists. She is a gracious and kind person who is very generous with her volunteerism.

So, Lorraine, you know we had to be friends with our Batman connection - her mom won a contest and was kissed by the original Joker from Batman and I married Batman. This is great fun.

You write a bunch of books - contemporary, historical and young adult. How do you do this? Is one genre easier for you to write? And will we see another contemporary from you?

Along those lines, who inspires you? What author do you run to the bookstores and buy?

Did I say I am thrilled you are here? Thanks so much for blogging with me.
VB

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lorraine:
As a follow-up to Vicki's question. Do you have a preference? Do you enjoy writing one genre (Young Adult, Historical, Contemporary) more than another?

Liese Sherwood-Fabre

TracyG said...

Lorraine,
Congratulations on Just Wicked Enough. It's selling out faster than I can find it in bookstores. You are so generous with your time, sharing information and mentoring other writers. Who mentored you?

Pam P. said...

What inspired you to write in the Young Adult genre and where do you get your ideas for these books?

Anonymous said...

Have you ever had a plot that you had envisioned for a specific historical time period and then changed to another time period in order for the book to appeal to a broader group of readers?

At this point in your well established career, what type suggestions does your editor give you?

How much do the trends in what selling influence what type of book you write?

Which type of character is the easiest and the most fun for you to write?

lorraine-heath said...

Thanks so much for having me, Vicki. I bet you thought I forgot. Actually, I was thinking today was the 15th. Did get a lot of work done, though, but would have rather been playing with you guys as promised. The Batman connection made me smile.

I actually don't find writing different genres too hard. The historicals are usually emotionally-tiring to write. The YA are like taking a mini-vacation. I think also because the historicals are in 3rd person and the YA's in 1st, I'm able to switch voices more easily.

Yes, I do want to write a contemporary. I have one that I'm desperate to work on but right now my schedule is busy trying to meet the deadlines that I'm contracted for so I haven't had time to play with the contemp.

lorraine-heath said...

Liese: I really like writing both genres. They're so different that I think it helps to keep me fresh.

Tracy: Actually, I didn't know any published writers until after I was published. I was part of a small critique group shortly before my first sale but everything I've done in the world of publishing has pretty much been trial and error - not a method that I recommend.

While I don't think I can credit anyone with actually mentoring me, I have had some wonderful authors who offered help in the form of endorsements or other means of support when I needed it.

An example is Jennifer Blake. We were both signing books at a literacy luncheon in Houston. We were sharing a table. She had a line of probably 50 readers. It was my 3rd or 4th book. I had no line. She reached over and took one of my books and started praising my book to her readers, encouraging them to give me a try. Such a gracious lady.

lorraine-heath said...

Writing for the Young Adult has sort of come about by happenstance. An editor who I'd worked with wanted someone to write a YA novel and she asked if I was interested. I thought it would probably be a one-time thing, so the success of the YA's has been a pleasant surprise. And how much I enjoy writing them was a surprise as well.

lorraine-heath said...

I haven't changed a plot from one time period to another in order to appeal to a wider audience - but I have changed a story that I was writing for an adult audience to one for a teen audience.

Thrill Ride was originally a story that I'd written as a contemporary before I was published. It was written about 16 years ago. The characters were in college. There was a lot of sex, drugs, and rock n roll. I knew it would be a hard sell so I never sent it out. When I was looking for a plot for a YA novel, I remembered that story and decided that it would work if I took out the sex and drugs . . . moved it from a college dorm to a summer amusement park dorm, made them high school kids . . . and just made it fun.

As for what sorts of suggestions do editors give me these days? The same ones they've always given me, ways to make the book better, stronger. As a matter of fact, I'm never comfortable if they aren't giving me suggestions. I know that I'm far from being a perfect writer and editors bring a distance and an insight to the story that can take it to the next level. I look for that from my editors.

Trends influence what I write to the extent that they influence the contracts that I'm offered. I started out writing westerns; the market seemed to slow down. My editor suggested I start writing stories set in England. So I embraced that suggestion.

I don't think any character is easy to write but I love the challenge of writing compelling heroes. I really enjoy writing heroes. I find sympathetic heroines hard to write. I think because I don't understand why they aren't falling all over these wonderful heroes that I'm writing.

Vicki Batman said...

Honestly, Lorraine, I didn't think you ran off to Mexico.

I'd like to know what kid of writing turns you off? What stops you from writing?

How have you shocked your readers?

I finished Just Wicked Enough last Friday. It's so good. Could you tellus a bit about it?

As I read several things had to be earmarked. For instance, the whole American Bride thing. Can you comment on this?

I love your continuing play with the color idea. How did this come about?

Then I was struck by the mother having Alzheimer's disease. I have to say I haven't read about this in any historical novels before and appreciate very much how you incorporated it in the story. What made you decide to use Alzheimer's?

lorraine-heath said...

I'd like to know what kind of writing turns you off? What stops you from writing?

I’m not sure if there is a type of writing that turns me off. I will set a book aside if it doesn’t hold my attention, and I’ve found that if I set it aside, I don’t usually pick it back up.

As for what stops me from writing . . . just life. Sometimes situations arise that have to be given priority or they are distracting.

How have you shocked your readers?

Not that I know of.

I finished Just Wicked Enough last Friday. It's so good. Could you tell us a bit about it?

Thanks, Vicki. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. The story was actually the first of the series to come to me, but I decided to write A Duke of Her Own first in order to lay the foundation for the series. I’d planned to write Just Wicked Enough last, but the characters wouldn’t leave me alone, so I went ahead and wrote it. I loved Michael from the moment he introduced himself.

As I read several things had to be earmarked. For instance, the whole American Bride thing. Can you comment on this?

I’m fascinated by the American heiresses’ obsession with marrying the nobility during this time period. A fascinating book is “How to Marry an English Lord” which goes into Anglomania. I know I’ve had readers who didn’t really like Kate’s overbearing mother, but quite honestly, she was typical of mothers at the time. “The Glitter and the Gold” is the autobiography of American heiress, Consuelo Vanderbilt, who married the ninth Duke of Marlborough in 1895. Her mother pushed her into the marriage. I know it’s hard to imagine with our liberated ideals this days, but during this time period you did what your parents insisted – regardless of your age and in many instances, regardless of your gender. If you were a son and your mother said, “You will not see that woman” you did not see that woman.

I love your continuing play with the color idea. How did this come about?

This was one of those treats that just happened as I was writing the story. It wasn’t planned, I was just writing along and suddenly here was Kate trying to explain how little he knew about her—didn’t even know her favorite color—and in typical male fashion, Michael missed the point entirely, wasn’t really listening, and suddenly thought he just had to guess the right color. Once he made the first guess, I realized it would be a recurring part of the story and that I could have some fun with it.

Then I was struck by the mother having Alzheimer's disease. I have to say I haven't read about this in any historical novels before and appreciate very much how you incorporated it in the story. What made you decide to use Alzheimer's?

I’m not really sure that it was my decision. It was simply as I began to envision the story, I came to realize that Michael and his mother were struggling with the devastation of this disease. It was a challenge because it didn’t have a name at the time and no one had really identified it as a condition until Alzheimer discovered Hannah. I have friends who have faced the challenges with love ones and I worried how my using Alzheimer’s might be taken. I considered other mental conditions but I kept returning to Michael dealing with his mother’s Alzheimer’s. I tried to be sensitive while including it in the story.

Vicki Batman said...

Since we spoke about the color thing and how humorous that was, how does humor fit into your books?

And you mentioned this idea just popped up. How do you get your ideas besides being the lucky one with one magically appearing?

You mentiioned how the idea for this book came about, what is next in store for you?

lorraine-heath said...

Since we spoke about the color thing and how humorous that was, how does humor fit into your books?

I strive to create stories that provide an emotional read and I think it’s important to incorporate humor when I’m most interested in giving the reader a heart-wrenching read because I don’t want to take the reader down without bringing her back up. I also think that humor can make the sad moments more compelling. Usually, not always, but usually there will be a moment in the story where the heroine makes the hero laugh or smile—and it’s her being able to create that joy for him that makes him fall for her or realize that he’s fallen for her. I just feel that humor is such an important aspect of life that it needs to be woven through stories.

And you mentioned this idea just popped up. How do you get your ideas besides being the lucky one with one magically appearing?

A lot of ideas come to me by reading journals or nonfiction, observing life. I’m sure there was something that triggered the color guessing. I just don’t know what it was. I’m afraid I’m what Catherine Spangler refers to as an unconscious writer (yes, she means unconscious. You have to listen to her workshop to understand). I just write without giving a lot of thought to where I’m going—which can get me into corners sometimes that I can’t get out of.

You mentioned how the idea for this book came about, what is next in store for you?

I’m trying not to be too mysterious about this, but I’m not yet ready to talk about the next story. I want to wait until it’s in production and all is a go. 

I will tell you that it’s probably not what readers are expecting. Shh. That’s all I’ll say.

Vicki Batman said...

Hmmmm. I love intriguing, but secrets drive me crazy!

As we wind up this interview, I have to ask: Your ideal fictional hero would think you gorgeous if you .............. (fill in the blank).

And finally, how much do you love cake?

elainec said...

Lorraine,
I'm looking forward to reading "Just Wicked Enough". I've liked all the books of yours that I've read.
elainec

Pam P. said...

Lorraine,
I've really enjoyed your answers. Thanks for spending time with us. Just Wicked Enough is on my "to read" bookshelf. Maybe I can start it this weekend.
Thanks again,
Pam

lorraine-heath said...

Your ideal fictional hero would think you gorgeous if you ..............

were 101. Have to admit to always getting a warm feeling when I watch elderly couples walking along, holding hands, still enjoying each other’s company after all these years.

And finally, how much do you love cake?

You know, I almost said my ideal fictional hero would think I was gorgeous if I sat around eating cake all day. And it is so bad for me! But yep, love, love, love white cake with white icing.

Elaine and Pam: Thank you so much. I hope you’ll enjoy the story.

Ladies, it’s been a treat to be here with you. I’ve really had fun. Hope you’ll have me back.

Oh, and, Vicki, I suppose I could at least give you the title for the next book: In Bed With the Devil . . . coming in June.

Vicki Batman said...

Oh, Lorraine, that is so sweet about growing old together.

That new title is devilish.

Thank you so much for coming. I probably owe you...Cake!

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