Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday Promo- Terry McLaughlin

Today I have the privilege of showcasing Harlequin Supperromance author Terry McLaughlin. An RWA chapter mate and fun person. She's here to share some about her and a blurb from her June release, A Small Town Homecoming.

Why do you write romance?

The simple answer is: I fell in love with love stories.

I'd always loved "the best parts"–the romantic subplots–in every book I read or movie I saw. But I had no clue there was an entire section of the bookstore devoted to those best parts.

I stumbled across the genre when I read Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts, which I found in a 1994 Reader's Digest Condensed Books anthology. It was one of the best stories I'd ever read. Ever! I went to the bookstore the very next day and asked a clerk if Nora Roberts had ever written anything else :-).

By the time I'd read a few more romance novels, I was completely hooked on the genre. In fact, in the past fifteen years, I haven't read much other than romance. I had a lot of catching up to do. Happy sigh :-).

How long does it take you to write a book from conception to out the door?

That depends on a number of factors: whether the book is a stand-alone or part of a series (where the characters and setting are already defined), whether I have a lot of travel or family commitments during the period I'll be working on the story, and whether that "conception" part requires a lot of planning and research.

The fastest I've ever written a book was approximately three months (one month to work up the conception/proposal and two months to complete the book). That one was the third in a series, and I knew the characters and their situation extremely well.

The slowest? Before I was published, I fooled around for nearly two years finishing a manuscript (which was eventually published). Nothing like contractual deadlines to keep me focused and productive ;-).

Usually I write a book in 3-4 months. I consider myself a slow writer–I don't produce all that many words or pages (or ideas!) on any given day. But once I get going, I slog along steadily, seven days a week.

Where do your story ideas come from and do you have a book or file box with ideas?

I have no idea where my story ideas come from. Most of the time I'm simply struck with a daydream-like vision of a character or a scene. I do a little informal brainstorming (as little as possible) to see if I can come up with an important scene or two, and then off I go. I'm not much of a plotter :-).

Twice I've tried designing a story to fit a certain list of requirements. For instance, I've recently completed a proposal for a Cinderella tale, and I'll soon begin work on a themed series suggested by my agent.

No, I don't keep a file box or a notebook filled with story ideas. I don't get all that many ideas, so I never forget the one idea–or two–I might have in mind at any given moment ;-). I worry more about not finding an idea when I need one!

Blurb for A Small Town Homecoming

All architect Tess Roussel has ever wanted is to open her own design firm. She gets the chance when she returns to Carnelian Cove and wins a coveted waterfront project. It's the contractor hired for the job who's got her distracted. John Jameson Quinn isn't her choice. And definitely not her type.

Tess doesn't go for brooding bad boys–especially one who isn't shy about going after what he wants. And he wants Tess. Never mind that he's got a scandalous past to overcome. A daughter to raise. A boss–Tess–and a town to answer to. Quinn follows his own drumbeat. Only, now Tess is starting to hear it, too. Because he's good. And they're good together.

Her design. His construction. Can they build a love to last?

Terry, thanks for chatting with us today!


Caroline said...

Terry, hi, I loved getting to know you. I laughed out loud at the Nora part. Isn't it remarkable that it's possible 'not' to know about romance novels. It's amazing.

Anyway, your books sounds fun and sweet. Good luch with everything. And thanks for sharing....


Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Waving, Terry. What fun to find out things about your writing I didn't know about. You are truly an inspiration for me and have given me encouragement when I needed it. Your stories are great and this new one especially sounds like one I am going to add to my Terry McLaughlin collection.

Helen Hardt said...

Hi Terry, nice to get to know you. I actually attended a workshop you gave on dialogue two years ago. Very helpful!


Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Terry! 3 to 4 months to complete a book without plotting it all out? I am completely in awe!

Best of luck with your stories!!

Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi, Caroline :-)! Congratulations on the upcoming release of your first book--love that gorgeous cover :-)!

Funny, the booksellers at the local Waldenbooks laughed out loud at my Nora question, too ;-).

The best part of stumbling across the vast, undiscovered territory of romance so late in life (I was forty) means I'll never run out of fabulous books to read. I'm constantly discovering new-to-me authors and plowing into their backlists. Heaven :-)!

Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi, Paisley :-)! What a treat to see you here. Wish I could see you in person--I'd collect one of your famous hugs :-).

Thanks so much for the kind comments, sweetie. I love your writing--you sure do craft one heck of a first kiss scene :-)!

Tia Dani said...

Hi Terry, Nice interview. Your June release, A SMALL TOWN HOMECOMING, sounds like a great read and is going on our to buy list. Good to get to know you.
And, 3 to 4 months to complete a book! Oh-My-Gosh you're amazing! Wish we could write like you do.

Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi, Helen :-)! Thank you for letting me know my babbling about dialogue was helpful. I appreciate it :-).

How is your writing these days? Productive and wonderful, I hope :-)!

Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi, Susan :-)! I think the important bits of the plot are probably there, bubbling around inside me, before I write "Chapter One." The first scene has to be there, anyway ;-).

The truth is, I'm easily bored. If I had to sketch out an entire book before I started, then I'd feel as though I'd already told that story, and I wouldn't want to go to all the trouble of writing it ;-).

That's one reason I hate writing synopses so much--the more I have to think about what's going to happen, the more it loses its freshness on the page. Some of my biggest surprises--the ones that came out of nowhere while I was working on a scene--have led to some of my best work, I think.

I wish I could be more of a plotter, though--I'd feel more in control of this crazy process!

Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi there, Tia Dani--thank you so much for the kind words :-)!

It's easy to write a book in 3-4 months when you've got a support system like mine. My husband lets me work without interruption--he even cooks dinner for me when I'm on deadline and brings me cups of tea. What a sweetie, hm?

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Terry,
I've gotten to know a few Harlequin authors lately. You all are doing a super job keeping your stories fresh, and sales are up. Congratulations. I wish I could write a book as fast as you, maybe someday. Looks like a cute story. Good luck with your sales.

Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi, Kathy :-)! Wow, I'm blushing here. On behalf of all Harlequin authors, I thank you for the compliments :-)!

I don't think I'm a fast writer. My usual day's work is about 1,000 words. A lot of people can write 1,000 words in a day; 1,000 words for sixty days in a row equals the word count for a Superromance.

And sixty days is only two months--so if it takes me 3-4 months to write a book, that means I'm goofing off either 1/3 or 1/2 of the time ;-).