I am so excited to welcome Amy Rose Bennett to BookEnds! She writes sparkling, witty Regency-era romances. She hooked me from the start with an amazing opening scene and thoroughly entertained me from start to finish. On top of that, she’s such a pro and an absolute delight to work with. I’m sure we’ll have good news to report soon about upcoming books, but in the meantime, here’s what Amy has to say in her own words.
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I try to write every day, even if it’s just a little and even when I’m on holidays. I don’t have a dedicated office space. As long as I have my trusty laptop with me, I can write almost anywhere, although my favorite spot is the couch in my lounge room. In the last twelve months I’ve become much more disciplined about my writing and when I’m at home, I set myself a daily word count and a time frame of a certain number of weeks to get the first draft done. That seems to be working nicely for me.
Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g. burning a candle if you’re having trouble getting started at the computer or writing longhand first if you’re feeling uninspired.)
I don’t need to do a lot to get me ‘in the mood’ to write. Usually I just open up my current work-in-progress and briefly review the scene I finished the previous day before diving in. If I do have trouble getting started, I tend to write longhand notes about the scene—the aim of it and how I can move the plot forward in the most interesting way. Or sometimes I’ll jot down the dialogue and fill in the extra details later e.g. action tags, descriptions to set the scene. If I’m really not feeling the love so to speak, or just stuck, I’ll listen to music that evokes the emotion of the scene to wake up my muse, or I’ll get up and do something else entirely like a bit of housework. Whilst I’m working, my mind often untangles the snarl and then I’m ready to jump into my story again.
Why did you choose the genre you’ve chosen (historical romance)?
I don’t think it was really a choice; the need to write historical romance has always been a part of me. From a young age I was obsessed with history and period costume—I have vivid memories of poring over the plates of historical dress in my parents’ old Collier’s Encyclopedia set and reveling in old black and white period movies like ‘My Cousin Rachel’, ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’, and ‘Wuthering Heights’; I think I might have been a little in love with Laurence Olivier. But when I first read ‘Jane Eyre’ that was the moment I became totally hooked and knew I had to write historical romance. (And yes, I’m totes in love with Mr. Rochester … but don’t tell my husband or my other book boyfriend, Jamie Fraser).
What is the hardest part about writing historical romance?
For me, it’s getting lost down research rabbit holes instead of writing and avoiding anachronistic language. I’ve always got my nose stuck in one dictionary or other checking on the etymology of words and phrases!
What genres do you write? Read?
At the moment I write Regency and Scottish historical romance set during the second Jacobite Rebellion. But I have ideas for novels set during the medieval period, Victorian era, and even some cross-genre novels that contain paranormal elements. My taste in books is eclectic. Of course I love reading all kinds of historical romance, but I also enjoy contemporary romance (particularly on the hot side), paranormal YA romance, and gripping psychological thrillers novels aka grip-lit. I can’t resist a Nicci French novel.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received? I used to struggle with making sure everything was ‘just right’ before I could move onto the next part of my work-in-progress. Which meant I would procrastinate like crazy when it came to getting the first draft down. So the best advice I ever took on board came from a Ravishly article I read last year, ‘You Aren’t Lazy—You’re Just Terrified: On Paralysis And Perfectionism’ by Jenni Berrett aka #OCDame on Twitter. I love this particular pearl of wisdom from Ms. Berrett: “Do the work. Write the story. Wash your dishes. It will never be perfect, but that does not mean that it can’t be good”. It resonated so well, I wrote an 80K novel in a little over a month!
Plotter or pantster?
A little from Column A, a little from Column B. I have to know exactly where the story is headed and the goal/motivation/conflict of the hero and heroine before I begin to write a new book but I do like to work out the finer details along the way.
Synopses, love them or hate ‘em?
I loathe them with a passion. It’s worse than pulling teeth to write one. In fact, I’d rather go to the dentist. Seriously.