Saturday, February 16, 2013

Interview with Romance Author Erica Lucke Dean

Give us a quick introduction yourself and your book.
I'm a northern girl living in a haunted farmhouse in the North Georgia Mountains, with my husband and occasionally one or more of my mostly grown children. That is, when they deign to honor me with their presence. You know…when they run out of money and need a place to stay. I spend my days having deep philosophical conversations with my 13 chickens, 6 ducks, 5 little piglets, a few cats, an OCD terrier, and my 180lb lapdog…err…Mastiff, Indiana Jones. I write a daily blog about my crazy life, as I try to figure out how I've managed to survive this long. My new book is a fluffy romance about a romance-novel-obsessed private banker who falls in love with her rich client then realizes he might be a hired assassin. I think of her as an American Bridget Jones, who's maybe a little more on the shy side, but stumbling her way through life on the ultimate quest for love.

What inspired you to write your first book?
The first book I ever wrote (still unpublished, but who knows…maybe one day) was inspired by a two week vacation at my mother's house almost 15 years ago. I found myself bored to tears in the evenings when she would hit the sack before the sun dropped below the horizon, and I had nothing to do but dip into her never-ending supply of dime store romances. I would categorize it as a romantic thriller and it has all the elements of a traditional, heaving bosom romance, heavy on the cheesy cliché's and indiscriminate sex. Yeah…it might need a little work.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I try to go for the light, humorous take on things at all times. I know, you can't always do that, and that's ok. But when at all possible, you'll find me being light and funny. Life is too short not to squeeze every drop of joy out of it.

How did you come up with the title?
If I tell you where I got the title for To Katie With Love , it might ruin the ending, so you'll just have to wait until it comes out and read it. But shhhh…don't tell anyone.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Is there a message? Hmmm…yeah, love is out there if you're willing to take a few chances to find it. Just remember, sometimes it doesn't look like what you expect it to. I don't know if that's in the story, but it should be.

How much of the book is realistic?
A few of the characters are based on real people and real events back when I worked as a business banker for a major Fortune 500 financial institution. I can't say what or who to protect the innocent…or the guilty…take your pick.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
See the above answer. My characters are always based on flesh and blood people. Some I knew intimately, some I studied via interviews or television appearances. But I think if you don't have someone in your head, the character doesn't seem real. I don't know how other people do it, but that's how I do. I see them move, hear their voices, feel their presence…all in my head of course. All in my head.

What books have most influenced your life most?
When I was a kid I read A Wrinkle in Time and that inspired me to want to escape reality and live in the fantasy world. I think I've been doing that ever since.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

If I had to pick one person to be my mentor it would be Stephen King. He's had a long, illustrious career and he seems to know what's important in life. He also crafts a kick ass story.

What book are you reading now?
You mean when I'm not re-readingFifty Shades of Grey ? I've been known to read Pride and Prejudice to kill time. I loved Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter . And I've had a blast doing a beta read for Laura Kolar's soon to be released YA novel Captive Art .

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I recently read Katie Moretti's I Thought I Knew You , and really enjoyed that. Kelly Stone Gamble has a new book coming out soon, They Call Me Crazy , that I was able to get an early copy of. I can't wait til that one hits the shelves. I already mentioned Laura Kolar. Honestly, there are so many awesome writers out there that I've been fortunate enough to meet I'd never be able to list them all here.

What are your current projects?
Well, To Katie With Love is coming soon, and after that I have a fluffy paranormal romance, Suddenly Sorceress (if the title doesn't change) that should be the follow-up. I also have half of the sequel written for TKWL, a cheesy romance to edit, and a few other irons in the fire. Oh, and my blog is a constant work in progress. I think of it as more of a cautionary tale for the rest of the world. I am the girl who blogged The Bikini Wax Disaster , after all.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

The support I get from other writers I've met through social media has been amazing. Twitter, Facebook, Google+…I can't stress enough how much I appreciate each and every one of them. Their guidance…support…friendship…I don't know if I would have taken the steps necessary to get published had I not met these people.

Do you see writing as a career?
I see writing as a calling. I'd love to get paid to do it, but it wouldn't stop me from writing if I never saw a dime. Being a writer is not what I do…it's who I am.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Ask me that once we've finished the last round of edits and it makes its way to the formatter. Right now, I think I've tweaked everything I could possibly tweak, but I suspect I'll find an error somewhere after it's in print. Isn't that always the way?

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I think I was in kindergarten and my teacher gave me a pencil and taught me how to write my name. I haven't stopped since then.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I didn't have to say anything. Silvia already knew the only real man I'd ever be interested in. She also knew he was completely off limits.
So where did that leave me?
Right here. Smashed into a booth, three hundred and sixty five days away from the big three-oh, breathing in second-hand smoke and sipping shots with the people who were nearest and dearest to me in the whole wide world…the people from work.
I had just one word for that.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Two things stand out as challenges. One…patience. I can't seem to find it in me to be patience with a single step in the process. And two…sleep. I don't sleep. When I'm on a creative roll I'm like a chick hopped up on three pots of coffee and bag of sugar. It's my natural propensity toward being high-strung. But I embrace it. I get a lot of work done that way.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
That's like asking me what my favorite color is…or my favorite day of the week (ok, that's easy…Tuesday, because I do karaoke on Tuesday) but my favorite author totally depends on what mood I'm in when I pick a book. My tastes run the gamut from Poe to Shakespeare to King and then take a turn at the corner of Twilight and Fifty Shades. It's all about the mood, baby.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I haven't flown since 1998 due to an overwhelming fear of heights that makes me certain my plane will crash. I also avoid escalators, open canyons, and high heels. I do get into cars from time to time and take long trips. I know this is silly because the odds of dying in a car crash are infinitely higher than dying on a plane, but phobias don't care about data, do they?

Who designed the covers?
Streetlight Graphics is doing my cover, and I can't wait to see it. Just a few weeks away now.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing any book is just making yourself sit down and do it. Finding the inspiration and letting it take you down whatever path it feels like taking you. For me, I have to be in a good mood to write funny. Being sad is detrimental to the process. But luckily, I'm a fairly happy person. I try to see the positive in everything.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that people have no idea what really goes on inside a bank. We really did talk about inappropriate stuff (sometimes just out of earshot of the customers) and went out for drinks almost every Friday night.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I'll give you the same advice my dad gave me, what seems like, a million years ago. Writers write. That's what we do. If you want to be a writer, sit your ass down at a computer, or a notebook, or a damn napkin and start writing. That's it. Just write something.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Let me entertain you. Just hop on and enjoy the ride. I'm writing this stuff for you. Without you, it's just a bunch of words on a page.