“You can’t make a baby in one month with nine women.” I am indebted to a very savvy engineer for passing along this bit of wisdom. Although he probably didn’t intend that it should, his words apply to the way I write books.
I write a fair amount, usually finishing four manuscripts a year. This means I spend many, many hours at the computer, but it also means I spend many hours away from the computer. Writing is a job, but it’s also a calling, at least for me. By this I mean, the pursuit of a well crafted book is not a matter of assembling parts, following a set of directions, double checking my work per the QA protocol, and then standing back to admire my successfully built widget exactly 120 hours later—though sometimes I wish it were.
At this point in my career, I meet my characters first, usually when I’m behind the wheel of my truck, tooling around rural Maryland. I write a few chapters to introduce Hero and Heroine to each other, and then, when I have a sense of what their character arcs are going to look like, I start begging the universe for the details regarding the external conflict(s) that will support those arcs. This involves incense, muttering, threatening to do housework, consuming carbohydrates, and otherwise fretting over the book.
A day job helps a great deal in this creative process. Thanks to the day job, I must maintain some sort of schedule. Thanks to the day job, most of the bills get paid most of the time—I’m not sure I could come up with much fiction if I were also worried about the roof over my head. Thanks to the day job, I have to talk to real, live people sometimes, and I have to use parts of my brain that aren’t connected to Regency England of the Victorian Highlands.
I do not always enjoy that day job, to be honest. I’m an attorney who represents children in abuse and neglect proceedings, enough said. Some days, it gripes me sorely to have to push away from the computer and the WIP and go deal. Most days, though, I know my conscious brain needs a rest from the writing, and the day job provides that.
The day job—my particular day job—also makes me really, really grateful for the many blessing inherent in being a romance writer: solitude, unstructured time, literacy, bodily and emotional safety (in my case; can’t speak for some of those paranormal folks), a functional imagination for happy things, the wherewithal to buy good books and go to writing conferences.
So I don’t think of the day job as something I have to balance, most of the time. It’s part of what allows me to write the stories I do. In an indirect way, because I have a front row seat on so much human suffering, the day job is also what propels me back to the computer for book after book. We need child welfare attorneys and judges and social workers, at least for now, but we also need happily ever afters, even if they’re only fictional.
I need to read them, I need to write them, and I need to believe in them—for the romance writing, but also for that dreaded, dear and not always convenient day job.
The Virtuoso by Grace Burrowes – In Stores November 2011
A genius with a terrible loss…
Gifted pianist Valentine Windham, youngest son of the Duke of Moreland, has little interest in his father’s obsession to see his sons married, and instead pours passion into his music. But when Val loses his music, he flees to the country, alone and tormented by what has been robbed from him.
A widow with a heartbreaking secret…
Grieving Ellen Markham has hidden herself away, looking for safety in solitude. Her curious new neighbor offers a kindred lonely soul whose desperation is matched only by his desire, but Ellen’s devastating secret could be the one thing that destroys them both.
Together they’ll find there’s no rescue from the past, but sometimes losing everything can help you find what you need most.
Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes – In Stores NOW!
A luminous holiday tale of romance, passion, and dreams come true from rising star Grace Burrowes, whose award-winning Regency romances are capturing hearts worldwide.
All she wants is peace and anonymity…
Lady Sophie Windham has maneuvered a few days to herself at the ducal mansion in London before she must join her family for Christmas in Kent. Suddenly trapped by a London snowstorm, she finds herself with an abandoned baby and only the assistance of a kind, handsome stranger standing between her and complete disaster.
But Sophie’s holiday is about to heat up…
With his estate in ruins, Vim Charpentier sees little to feel festive about this Christmas. His growing attraction for Sophie Windham is the only thing that warms his spirits—but when Sophie’s brothers whisk her away, Vim’s most painful holiday memories are reawakened.
It seems Sophie’s been keeping secrets, and now it will take much more than a mistletoe kiss to make her deepest wishes come true…
Grace Burrowes is the pen name for a prolific and award-winning author of historical romances. The Heir, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and was selected as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for 2010. Both The Heir and its follow-up, The Solider, are New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. She is a practicing attorney specializing in family law and lives in a restored log cabin in western Maryland without a TV, DVD or radio because she’s too busy working on her next books. For more information, please visit http://www.graceburrowes.com.
Sourcebooks will give away 2 copies of Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish. 2 winners, US and Canada only. Please leave a comment with your email address.