And the section Traveling Abroad is about to start, our first special guest will be Grace Burrowes. Author of seldom Historical Novels, but also a former Technical writer and editor, and still a Lawyer working in the conflict management area.
A passionate reader, and a very passionate writer. Come and met Grace Burrowes.
Visit Grace´s website [Visite o site]
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Follow Grace´s Work on Goodreads [Goodreads]
INTERVIEW With Author Grace Burrowes
Interviewer: Isabel Alexandra Almeida - Blog Our Books [Portugal]
[Our Books]:Grace, you write historical novels, what lead you to choose this specific literary genre?
[Grace Burrowes]:I started reading romance novels when I was a teenager, and back then (35 years ago), historical romance was all that was available. It’s what I know best, and what I love most.
[Our Books] :You started as technical writer and editor, and later you took a law degree and worked at private law practice in the conflict management area, what made you do such a transition in your career, what motivated you to become a writer?
[Grace Burrowes]:Writing was something I always enjoyed, and before I could write cursive I kept a journal. Right out of college, I wrote music reviews for The Washington Post, and occasionally, I’d have an article or letter to the editor published in a magazine. I gradually became aware that writing was hard for some people, but by contrast, something I needed to do. The idea of writing a novel was a frolic, a lark, something do for fun, and it’s still fun.
[Our Books]: Do you believe that before becoming a writer it is important to be a good reader? What can we learn from reading good authors?
[Grace Burrowes]:I don’t know how one could love to write, and not also be a passionate reader. Nora Roberts says you must read books to write books, and I think reading gave me a lot of passive knowledge. I’d clarify though: In the best books, it’s hard to figure out how all the craft and art are blending to create a wonderful story. In the bad books, it’s easier to see how the author missed the mark, and that’s helpful.
[Our Books]:What are some of your favourite authors, as a reader?
[Grace Burrowes]: Mary Balogh, Joanna Bourne, Carolyn Jewel, Meredith Duran, Judith Ivory, Julie Anne Long, JR Ward. Loretta Chase, Eloisa James… so many good writers!
[Our Books]:Do you have a strict writing routine?
[Grace Burrowes]: No, I do not. I prefer to write new material first thing in the day, but some days I must go tend to lawyer tasks, and writing isn’t an option. Often, I have big plans to write, but then I open a document in revisions, and I end up tending to that instead. My routine is very flexible.
[Our Books]Can you tell us how do you start your writing process? Do you outline the story and the characters at first? Has your previous experience as editor helped you in this “adventure” of writing?
[Grace Burrowes]: I’m not sure the way I write even qualifies as a “process.” I get an opening line, an image of a character in my head, and often, that’s all I have when I start the first scene. If I can grab onto what that character’s defining wound is, more of the drama comes to me, and pretty soon, more characters show up, and they have issues to resolve as well. Writing a romance, the scene where the hero and heroine meet is always interesting, and sometimes—if I’m lucky—that’s what my imagination comes up with first. I’m grateful for any little nibble, because it all contributes to creating a book.
[Our Books]: How long do you take to complete a novel? How do you do the research work? What do you like the most in your work?
[Grace Burrowes]: I have written a rough draft in as little as six weeks, but it’s a ROUGH draft, and requires many iterations before it’s worth presenting to an editor. Ideally, I need another six months at least to polish that draft before I’m becoming happy with it.
[Our Books]:As an author, what do you consider to be the main challenges in this occupation?
[Grace Burrowes]: I’d say there are two. First, an creative endeavour is subjective, and that means there are many people whom my books will not satisfy. That’s hard, but one accepts this. What’s harder is how mean some people are in their judgment of a book that doesn’t work for them. Instead of accepting that personal preference is at work, they must attack the author, and find fault, when little fault (or sometimes no fault) exists. It’s fine to not like a book—I’m a very fussy reader myself—but it is not fine at all to attack an author personally, ridicule, make fun, and disparage a work simply because it lacks appeal to one person.
[Our Books]: Among all the books you have written so far, which one do you prefer and why is it so?
[Grace Burrowes]: I’m always most involved with whatever book I’m working on now, and it’s impossible to chose a favourite. Every book has a piece of my heart.
[Our Books]:What messages and/or values do you try to convey through your writing?
[Grace Burrowes]: I think the abiding theme of the romance genre is that love will make us whole, and when we’re whole, we live a life of courage, from the heart, rather than a life of fear and limitation.
[Our Books]: What would you say to someone who asked you some advice about becoming a published author nowadays?
[Grace Burrowes]: Go for it! There have never been more ways to get published, more ways to reach readers, more ways to present your material. Literacy is on the increase, and the world will never have enough good, well told stories.
Grace´s newest novel - Darius