Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday Guest- Vonnie Davis

Vonnie Davis lives in southern Virginia with her writer husband, Calvin, and one disgruntled cat. Calvin has him on a diet since his belly sways back and forth when he runs—the cat’s tummy, not Calvin’s. She has six grandchildren she’d love to tell you about, but space here is limited.

What led you to write romance?
Romance is what I read. Except for the occasional suspense read, like Robert Ludlam’s Bourne series or an interesting biography, I read exclusively romance. I don’t care if it’s historical, contemporary or paranormal, as long as it’s a story of two hearts coming together. If it is, I’m right there with the characters, cheering them on. Yes, I am a romantic.

What do you feel are good traits for becoming a romance author?

The desire to improve. Competition is fierce out there. The world is full of romance writers—there are well over 10,000 delightful, talented writers in RWA alone. To even stand a chance, one has to learn the craft and learn it well. I have a degree in English with a concentration in technical writing. I retired as a technical writer. I knew how to write. What I didn’t know was the craft of writing. Point of view, character development, character arc, conflict, conflict resolution and on and on. Silly me, I thought all I had to do was write a story.
A broad knowledge of the genre. This is why I almost exclusively read romance. Although I have a few established favorites I enjoy, I mainly read debut authors. Older writers—those repeatedly on the NYT best sellers list—are selling on the merits of their names and the numbers of their followers. Debut authors are held to a higher standard. Their writing is crisper. Their storylines more unique. My advice to new writers is study debut authors. They were published on their talents and strengths of craft.
A universal love of men. One of our goals as romance writers is to make our readers fall a little in love with the heroes between the covers of our stories (pun intended, ladies). Study men. How they talk in incomplete sentences, grunts and growls. Observe them when they’re happy, when they’re bragging, when they’re preening for a woman, and when they’re madder than all get out. And they are such a delight to observe.
A desire to portray women in a positive light. Are you old enough to remember weepy, fragile women in older romances? They used to drive me bananas. I love strong women. I write about women who’ve turned adversities into advantages. We are not airheads who can’t go through life without a man. We can do quite well on our own, but when a man comes into our lives who adds a special dimension, well…
A willingness to allow your characters to lead you around by the nose. And they will. They will invade your dreams, niggle at you while you’re watching a movie and sit on your shoulder and hiss remarks in your ear. You know, encouraging things like, “Woman, are you nuts? I’d never do that. You’re making me sound like a submissive female.” She thumps my head with her index finger and then pushes up her sleeves. “Write what I tell you. Let me show you how to handle this arrogant alpha male.”

What's next from you? I have a short story (novella) accepted into the Honky Tonk Hearts Series, tentatively titled Those Violet Eyes. (Yes, I do love my Texan cowboys…sigh). I also have a romantic suspense, Mona Lisa’s Room, going through final evaluation by a senior editor. This fast-paced story is set in Paris, my favorite city in the world.

Blurb for Storm's Interlude:
Nurse Rachel Dennison comes to Texas determined to prepare her new patient for a second round of chemo. What she isn’t counting on is her patient’s twin brother, Storm Masterson. Despite her initial attraction, Storm has two things Rachel can’t abide: a domineering personality and a fiancĂ©e.

Half Native American, with the ability to have "vision dreams," Storm dreams about Rachel for three nights before her arrival. Both are unprepared for the firestorm of emotions their first encounter ignites.

Ultimately, it is Rachel’s past—an abusive, maniacal ex-boyfriend—that threatens to keep them apart…and Storm’s dreams that bring them together again.


“You might as well come out and join me.” His deep voice caressed her senses and beckoned. How did he know she was watching him? She wiped her hands over her shorts in a nervous gesture. Did he know how long she’d been standing there, staring, dreaming…yearning?
Embarrassed, Rachel stepped out onto the porch and stood next to the man who had moved into her mind—lock, stock and saddle. “Good morning.”
He saluted her with his mug. “Mornin’.”
His eyes were so intent on her that, for an instant, her mind went blank. Her attraction to this man had to be channeled into friendship—merely friendship. “Thank you for burning me that CD. I can’t wait to play it.”
“You’re welcome.” A faint blush crept up his neck.
She took pleasure in his discomfort. If she felt uneasy around him, she was glad he was obviously suffering from the same feeling. “How long have you been up?”
“An hour, give or take. Did you have your yogurt?” He drained his coffee and set the mug on the porch railing.
“Good. I don’t want any low-sugar episodes like yesterday morning.” He jerked his head toward the horizon. “This is the best place to watch the sun come up. Our best views of sunsets are on the patio, but here, right here is the spot you get a great view of the sunrise. Nothin’ like a hill country sunrise.”
The curve of the golden sun peeped above the mountains in the distance. Shimmers of apricots and reds undulated like dancing rays celebrating the birth of a new day. Birds began singing as if to welcome the sun. “Oh, you’re right. It’s beautiful. I guess you do this every morning? Drink your coffee and watch the sun come up.” She looked up at him.
He never spared her a glance. “Yup.”
His freshly-shaved face was relaxed. The smell of his soap and aftershave filled her nostrils. She wanted to bury her nose in his neck and inhale his masculine scent for hours.
She smiled again. “You always so talkative in the morning?”
“Yup.” He turned slightly and smiled at her. She laughed. Lordy, but he had a disarming smile. His dark eyebrows wrinkled. “Why do you wear such revealing clothes to run in?”
She glanced down at what she was wearing. Frankly, right this minute, she couldn’t remember what she’d put on. “What do you mean? It’s just a white running bra and red shorts.”
“Running bra?”
“Not that kind of bra.” She slapped his arm. “Running bras are made for women to wear in public. They provide more support for…for…our…ah…the running female.”
“Yes, and more eye candy than the average guy’s heart can take.” He looked over her shoulder at her derriere. “Damn if those shorts shouldn’t be declared illegal.”
She’d had enough. “If you don’t like the way I look, then don’t look at me.”
“Easy now. Never said I didn’t like it.”
She huffed an irritated breath. “Then what?”
He grabbed her upper arms and hauled her to him. “Then, this…” His lips crushed hers and sparked a response like two electrical wires arcing, sending showers of white-hot flashes. Fireworks. Oh, yeah, there were most definitely fireworks. She fisted her hands in his long hair.
His tongue swept across her lips, a silent request. She opened her mouth and accepted. He moaned and moved a powerful hand to her bottom, pressing her to him.
When he lifted her, her arms wrapped around his neck, their hungry lips fused, seeking what they both needed. Oh, God, this was even better than the first kiss, even better than his kisses the other night on the horse. He turned and pushed her back against the pillar. She wrapped her legs around his waist. “Rach…God, honey.” His teeth scraped down her neck, and her eyes crossed.

Buy Links: -- Amazon. -- Barnes and Noble Nook -- The Wild Rose Press


Calisa Rhose said...

Love the interview Vonnie! and have to read this book.

Carole St-Laurent said...

Vonnie, excellent excerpt!

It's true the competition if fierce, and yet, I find romance writers are very supportive of one another. It's great to be part of that community.

Sarah Grimm said...

OH, yeah! Love the excerpt, Vonnie! Looking forward to reading this one!

Vonnie Davis said...

Calisa, thanks for stopping by. I'll be visiting you on Saturday and am looking forward to it.

Vonnie Davis said...

Oh, Carole, truer words were never spoken. I've gotten so much support and help from other romance writers. It's a great community to be in.

Vonnie Davis said...

Hi Sarah, let me know what you think after you read it. I had so much fun writing it. The story just flowed right out, except for what I call the "closet scene." Whew, I struggled with that...

Caroline Clemmons said...

vonnie, you are so right about the competition being fierce. Your writing is great, so you should be all right.

Paty, I love your blog site. Great photo of you.

Sue Palmer Fineman said...

I love Storm's Interlude and can't wait to see what you come up with next.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Vonnie and Paty!
first off, Paty, congrats on your recent review for Spirit of the Lake.

Vonnie, your comments are so insightful. I agree that best sellers do tend to rest on their laurels, and debut authors (or new to single title books) are the ones to watch. Great advice.

Best of luck with your Paris book.

I'm on chapter three of Storm's Interlude, and loving it, though admit to reading two books right now. (crazy I know, but there are so many good ones to read!)

All the best wishes for huge sales.

Lynne Marshall
One for the Road

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Vonnie, you are such a delight to ready and SO smart. I really must pick up your stories and spend more time with you and your characters.

My characters are alot like yours - they absolutely dig in and lead me around by the nose. If I don't pay attenton to what they are saying, the shut up and then I have to plead my case, beg their forgiveness and then do as they say. Since I hate the silence, I try to stay track.

I have just revised my fourth story for the third time and am about to type The End. Seems the third time is the winner because they won't shut up.

Nice spending time with you today.

Judith Ashley said...

Another voice chiming in agreement that debut authors are published on the merits of their writing. I still have my favorites long time authors - just love the communities/families/world's they've developed.

Paty Jager said...

Caroline, Thanks!

Lynne, Thank you. That review was icing on the cake of Spirit of the Mountain placing so well in the Lories.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Vonnie, I love your take on writers. The competition truly is fierce and not enough authors study their craft or know the importance of getting it right.

Great excerpt, Storm's Interlude sounds like a great story!

Paty--Caroline's right, that's a great photo of you!

Melinda said...


Congrats on the short story and I know your love for Paris so I know it will get published too.

You are one awesome lady and writer
Love you bunches


Vonnie Davis said...

Caroline, thanks for your kind words and for stopping by today. I'm so late in responding. This was one of our "out-and-about" writing days. We start out at Bob Evans. They hook me up to a coffee IV as soon as I settle into a booth. We eat a huge breakfast, drink mass quantities of coffee and write for about 3 hours. Then we move on. Today we went to Starbucks for green tea lattes and a few more hours of writing. Followed by dinner at a Chinese buffet. I'm fuller than a tick right now, but feeling good about all I got written.

Vonnie Davis said...

Sue, I'm back to reworking my first book. I wince as I read it; and I thought it was SO perfect at the time. But I love the community of people in it, so am trying to make it better which is like taking a buzz-saw to it.

Vonnie Davis said...

Lynne, you are SO right, Paty got a great review on her book. What's more impressive is she took the time to mention in detail ALL she liked, which was a lot.

Thanks for stopping by. Let me know what you think of the book once you finish it.

Vonnie Davis said...

Paisley, thanks for your generous words. I'll have to tell the story of how the hero in "Mona Lisa's Room" kept me awake one night. I was sound asleep when someone slammed our bedroom door. I sat up in the bed, looked around in the dark all bewildered, my normal state, I know, but I was even more so. Hubster was snoring, so I snuggled up against him and was about asleep when BAAM went the door again. This time I saw who slammed it. It was Niko, my handsome French special agent. He was angry. "Watch," he commanded. I flopped onto my back. "Ok," I moaned. He stepped into an interrogation room, slammed the door and started yelling. My heroine was blindfolded and tied to a chair. Then the scene faded. I waited. Nothing more. "That's it? You woke me for that little bit?" Oh, I was NOT happy.

Vonnie Davis said...

Judith, oh so do I. I love Debbie Macomber's Promise Texas series. I've read them at least 3 times. Thanks for stopping by.

Vonnie Davis said...

Paty, thanks for having me here today. Congratulations on your book doing so well.

Vonnie Davis said...

Nicole, we study other writers as we read them--even if we don't realize it--and we learn from online workshops. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Vonnie Davis said...

Hi Melinda, so glad you stopped by. The more we write the better we become. Keep writing. That's what I keep telling myself--write, girl, write.

Tanya Hanson said...

Terrific interview, Vonnie. Congrats on the book. It sounds just up my alley. And Paty, totally love the site.