Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Guest: Denise Eagan

It’s been almost a year since you last stopped by, how’s the writing going?

It’s been a tough year, with a death in the family and my youngest son applying for college and then leaving home. Lots of emotional changes, which can get in the way of writing romance. Romance novels, almost by definition, require a writer to pour emotion onto every page, and that’s pretty difficult if you’re already emotionally exhausted.

But these things are passing now and I’m starting to get back into writing again. One of the wonderful things about taking a forced sabbatical, is that while the words aren’t getting on the page, the creative process is never truly quiet. I’ve continued to plot, and I’ve built up this enormous back log of writing energy. It’s really starting to flow now.

What are your 2011 goals? If you have any!
I have goals but please, oh please, don’t call ‘em resolutions! Goals are something you plan to do, resolutions are things you have to do, and I’ve got a terrible rebellious streak in me. As soon as I hear “must” I think “why?” So yeah, goals. Definitely goals. And I’ve got a ton of ‘em, the typical lose 10 lbs, exercise more, eat healthier, yada, yada, yada. I have serious doubts about those.

I haven’t done it before, why believe I’ll do it now?

On the other hand, I have some pretty concrete writing goals. Having taken that little sabbatical I now have two books I want to finish this year, and I’ve only really just started them. I’ve got another that I’d like to do a substantial re-write as well, and one more that I want to do some serious plotting on. All of that, of course, requires research. And I’d like to become more publicly involved. I love Victorian history, and I really would like to share more of it. I think a lot of people have a misconception about the era, and I’d like to help change that a little. So I’ve gotten on twitter (after a lot of hand wringing because it’s more technology to learn!) and I’m trying to set things straight with 140 characters a day.

Twitter isn't bad, Dee, once you get used to it. @ladyisabel Dee's Twitter: @DLEagan

How do you overcome life-interference when it comes to your writing?

Chocolate? Okay, that doesn’t overcome it, but it sure helps with the depressing parts of that interference. I guess the best way I overcome it is to keep my brain working no matter what.

Lots of days my fingers don’t get to the keyboard. I can, though, always think about my stories, and I keep a pad of paper in my purse to write down random ideas that occur to me while shopping or driving or whatever. Eventually I get them all in a file on the computer. I also put myself to sleep pretty much every night “listening” to my characters. I starting a scene in my mind—dialogue, thought, some description—and continue to construct it until I fall asleep. That way when I do get a chance to write, a lot of the words are already there.

No, they aren’t exact. Sometimes they’re worse, sometimes better, but one way or another I’ve always got a story going. As I said, life’s challenges can interfere with the writing, but it rarely stops the creative process.

What are you working on now and what are your plans for this story?

As I said, I’m working on two stories. One is a contemporary, with a screenwriter heroine. In 30 years of writing I’ve only written one contemporary, so it’s a stretch for me. But I like challenges in writing and once I got over the initial “can I do this? Do I have the voice for it?” it wasn’t as difficult as I thought. The second one is in Victorian America 1870’s ish. Both have light paranormal elements as in psychic connections and spirits, which move me away, again, from what I’ve traditionally written.

While the characters in the contemporary are fairly light, which is where my writing over the last years has gravitated, the hero in the historical is pretty dark. That, too, is a bit of a challenge, but fun. The biggest challenge is writing two entirely different stories at the same time. Lots of characters and plot twists to keep track of. It’s requiring a lot of organization.

Of course both stories have my traditional murder element, because I just love how throwing that into the mix alters relationships. For me, that’s what's most fun about writing romance: creating characters, putting them together and watching how they work things out. It’s the discovery process that is such a kick! And not just the relationship between hero and heroine, it’s the other characters in the story and how the developing romance affects them.

As for plans, no special plans other than to finish them and submit them. We’ll see what happens after that.

Thanks for stopping by, Dee! And good luck with your goals-not-resolutions. Any time you want to visit, feel free to do so.

Both Wicked Woman and The Wild One is available in paperback ad e-book form.


Susan Macatee said...

Sounds great, Dee! It's hard to get back into writing when life forces you away, but I believe when you're a writer, your mind never stops constructing characters and situations. It's sort of ingrained in us.

Best of luck with all your goals!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Dee and Isabel, great interview. Dee I empathize with you. We've had so many crises in our family the past couple of years that it's taken a toll on my creative productivity. This is a new year, though, and I'm determined to finish two books this year. A GOAL, not a resolution. LOL So glad you're writing again and things are looking up for your family.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Good luck with your goals, Dee. Life does have a way of getting in the way sometimes. I've used my writing to 'go someplace else' when life is too difficult to bear.

I acutally tried to stop writing once, but missed my characters and my writing so now appreciate the time putting my stories to the page more than ever.

Denise Eagan said...

Thanks Susan, Caroline, Paisely. Yes, I think a writer's mind never stops asking the question "what if" no matter how bad the situation. Except in the most extreme circumstances, there's a part of us that steps back a bit and become an observer, storing the experience somewhere to be tapped into later.

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

It's great to see you excited about writing again. I agree. Writing helps at times when life threatens to overwhelm us. Our stories and characters sort of provide a place where we can step back. I've enjoyed your books so much. Looking forward to more!


Denise Eagan said...

Awwww, thanks Jeanmarie. It's hearing things like that that makes the really difficult parts of being a writer worth it.

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