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Elizabeth Lowell




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  • Sunday, August 19, 2007

    FROM THE X-FILES TO THE SEX FILES

    Okay, I confess, the title of this blog ia a rather pitiful ploy on my part to grab your attention. (Gotta love that alliteration though.) It seems that actor David Duchovny (Agent Mulder of the long-running TV cult classic "The X-Files") is starring in a new series for Showtime called "Californication" and it's all about --- you guessed it --- SEX.

    But I digress . . . as I so often do. This blog is, in reality, the final Q & A with Elizabeth G. So here goes with part three.

    CBELL
    asks what top ten romance novels I would take to the beach.

    Oh, boy, I’ll name ten romance authors instead. (I could easily name a hundred.) This is just off the top of my head and not in particular order. I’d pack historical romances by Stephanie Laurens, Loretta Chase and Julia Quinn. I’d take Christina Dodd’s new paranormal series. Something by each of the Quills, natch. (That’s not cheating. As you may recall from Part 2 of my Q&A, I count the Quills as one.) A Cathie Linz contemporary romance. Ditto for Shirley Jump. I’d like to read a Nalini Singh book, so I’d pack one of her recent paranormals. The latest from Christine Feehan — maybe a Drake sisters book. And just for old time’s sake: a vintage Julie Garwood historical.

    EVERSCOI
    is curious about what comes first, characters or plot?

    In the case of NIGHT LIFE, it was definitely the character of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Seti had been in my mind for a long time, which is why it was so exciting to see him get his own book and spawn an entire series, Pharaohs Rising.

    But the kernel of an idea can come anywhere, at anytime and from anything. I still remember driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike once when I glimpsed a building up on a hill. I pulled off onto the side of the road and said to my husband: “You drive.”

    Now my husband is used to my sometimes “unusual” behavior, so without a word we got out of the car and switched places. He drove. I got out a pen and a pad of paper and began scribbling like mad. From that one glimpse came an entire book.

    KATHY H
    asks how we find time to read other authors' books and if we each have a favorite.

    I’ve always been a reader first and foremost. I became a writer as an extension of my love of reading. I’m also very lucky because I’m a very fast reader. It took me a long time to realize what an advantage this was. (As a kid it seemed like something of a bother. I was only allowed to check out four books at a time, so I had to make endless trips, it seemed, back and forth to the library on my bike.)

    Do I have a favorite author? Again, I could list a dozen. No, make that two dozen. No, three. You see the problem. :-)

    REBECCA
    asks how to make a green ghost martini and also how I keep my rear in the chair so that I can write.

    See Jayne’s answer regarding the green ghost martini recipe. (Hint: It’s a classified Quill secret.)

    As for how I keep myself at the computer: love of writing, fascination with my characters, looming deadlines, fear of deadlines, wanting to get paid, eagerness to move on to the next story (which always seems to start about 80% of the way through the current WIP), boredom, searching for just the right word, a deep desire NOT to clean our house, an even greater desire NOT to run errands— not necessarily in that order. :-)


    MEC
    wants to know which of my books I would recommend to someone who had never tried any of my titles.

    NIGHT LIFE, the first book in my new vampire romance series based on ancient Egyptian mythology; an older book and a personal favorite, THE GOLDEN RAINTREE, about a young Quaker woman during World War One; and for a contemporary romance with humor probably LADY'S MAN. (The last two were written as Suzanne Simmons.)

    JULES BENNETT
    asks if I work on more than one project at a time.

    Yes and no. I frequently get an idea for a character or a plot point for a book I’m not currently writing. When that happens I simply create a computer file and dump everything out of my brain into it. BUT I'm never actively writing two books at once.

    SIAN
    wants to know if there is a novel by another author that I wish I had written.

    For a while I wish I’d written REBECCA (by Daphne Du Maurier.) I first read the book when I was very young and always thought it was so cool that we never learn the name of the narrator/lead character. Of course, I went through a phase when I wanted to be Jane Austen writing about Elizabeth Bennett. (Or maybe I just wanted to be Elizabeth Bennett.)

    SHOSHANA
    asked about organizing research.

    LOLOLOLOLOL If you could see my office, Shoshana, you’d realize there is nothing organized about any part of my writing, research included. :-)

    ANONYMOUS
    inquires how many people who read my books would recognize me on the street.

    On a good day and if Michael Angelo (my hairdresser) has just done my hair and if I took enough time to do my makeup properly, I look like my author photo, if that’s what you’re asking. :-) But I’ve never been recognized by a stranger in a “celebrity” sense. I always thought that was the really great part of being a writer: anonymity.

    AGTIGRESS
    wants to know if the so-called "business side" of writing -- dealing with agents, contracts, conferences, blogs, reviews, etc. -- provides balance and counterpart to the intense concentration of actually writing, or just a distracting pain in the neck.

    Sometimes it seems like a counterbalance. Sometimes it’s a royal pain. It all depends on the timing. The closer I am to the end of the book, the more I resent any interruptions.

    JOY
    asks how hard it is to recall the content of a particular title.

    If it was a very special story to me (THE GOLDEN RAINTREE for instance), I still remember it vividly 15 years later. If it was one of my early category romances, I might have to “cheat” by taking a peek at the book.

    Okay, here's another "weird" confession: I think of my books as different rooms in a very large house. If I deliberately open the door to one of those rooms, step inside, and look around for a while, more and more memories come flooding back. I may even recall the scenes that were a particular pain in the butt to write, the ones that made me laugh or cry, or the ones I never quite got right. Then I walk out again, closing the door behind me. That's how I think of my books after the fact.

    I hope you enjoyed our Q&A here at RWQ, and glimpses into the writing life and a writer's life.


    Now it’s your turn. What is one thing outsiders would be surprised to learn about your job or profession?

    Cheers!
    Elizabeth G

    16 Comments:

    Blogger DFender said...

    EG,
    My local Border's finally had Night Life in stock over the weekend and I'm thrilled to tell you that it was awesome! Rowrrr... alpha, alpha, alpha.

    You asked: What is one thing outsiders would be surprised to learn about your job or profession?

    Outside of my coworkers, most people would probably be surprised to know that I can read blueprints, create traffic zones, flag traffic, successfully estimate construction projects and run a variety of construction equipment.

    Happy, rainy Monday.

    Deb

    8:35 AM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Guest said...

    Deb~I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed NIGHT LIFE! I see Amazon already has NIGHT HUNGER posted, but without a cover. I haven't seen the artwork yet myself.

    WOW! I am impressed by all the things you do in your job! (I can't even figure out how to use our new electric can opener.:-)

    We're having torrential rains here in northern Indiana today. Stay dry everybody in my neck of the woods!
    ~EG

    1:20 PM  
    Anonymous AgTigress said...

    "What is one thing outsiders would be surprised to learn about your job or profession?"

    Oh! What an interesting question! I have many answers, but I am going to give one with which I think all the writers here will empathise: a profession is not like a hobby: what most people do not understand about genuinely interesting and even allegedly 'glamorous' careers is that, when one does them for a living, they all involve a great deal of hard work and sometimes tedious routine.

    2:25 PM  
    Blogger karende said...

    I can’t think of any one single thing that would surprise or amaze people who don’t know me well. I’ve had some odd responses from people at times, like after an extended discussion of English literature having the other person [the head of the high school English department] ask me why I never came to the AAUW meetings, then get really upset when I said I didn’t attend because I didn’t have a 4 year degree [then].

    What’s always surprised ME is that utter strangers feel that they can tell me anything, trivial and otherwise, and whatever they say will be perfectly safe with me. And some of the ‘otherwise’ things have been really horrific, too. It’s true, but they don’t know that - and while I have on occasion recounted some of the stories, I’ve never ever given away the source. I feel sometimes like I have an invisible tattoo on my forehead that says “Trust Me.”

    karibear

    2:26 PM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Guest said...

    agtigress, I completely agree with you. Any job, even those that 'appear' glamorous, involve hard work and occasionally tedious routine.

    I hope you'll share some of your other answers with us, too.

    Happy August!
    ~EG

    4:23 PM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Guest said...

    karibear said: I feel sometimes like I have an invisible tattoo on my forehead that says “Trust Me.”

    You must be one of those lucky human beings that others gravitate to! I am amazed by what people will tell a complete stranger, i.e. someone they're sitting next to on an airplane.

    Here's to good listeners!
    ~EG

    4:28 PM  
    Anonymous Ranurgis said...

    I think most people know what a pain teaching can be and if you want to do it properly, how much work is involved. I used to get pretty upset when people said that teachers didn't deserve a lot of holidays. Maybe not, but when you have to interact with more than 150 people a day, teaching specialized subjects and then prepare the appropriate lessons for 5 or 6 different classes, the chores can seem endless.

    My present "occupation" is being "on disability". Yes, you get money for doing nothing even though you try to do as much as you can. At present my biggest problem is that I have to go shopping for some heavy items. I can barely manage one of them and need to get 4. I have no car and the bus service though good still requires me to hoist these items into the bus. I'm praying for someone to help me by offering to take me shopping in their car. I hate asking people for favors. The friend who sometimes helped me out is moving to Sarnia, across the border from Port Huron, MI. My other friend is in Switzerland visiting her newest granddaughter.

    So definitely, life is not all roses for those who are on disability and unable to work. I'd much rather be working but I never know how well my abdominal pains or my hand will be, and those are just the tip of the mountain.

    dfender, your job certainly sounds interesting.

    5:40 PM  
    Anonymous Ranurgis said...

    BTW, my last vacation spot, courtesy of my brother and sister-in-law is in the news: Tulum on the Mayan Riviera is in danger of being hit by Hurricane Dean, I think it is. All the tourists are fleeing but I guess the native people will have to stay there although the Mexican offshore oil wells are being evacuated.

    I hope everybody will be able to find safe places to get away from the storm.

    6:04 PM  
    Blogger Jayne Ann Krentz said...

    E.G.: I, for one, can't wait to see the cover of NIGHT HUNGER -- I thought the art for NIGHT LIFE was absolutely fabulous. Can't wait to read the book, either!

    -Jayne

    7:04 PM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Guest said...

    ranurgis~I totally agree with your comments about teachers. Perhaps because I was once a high school English teacher myself.

    The only job I've worked harder at than teaching is writing---BUT at least the 150 people are all of my own creation. :-)

    Take care, everyone, and stay safe!
    ~EG

    7:39 PM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Guest said...

    Thanks, Jayne! I can't wait to see the cover they create for Prince Rekhmire, aka John Hunter, another fabulous alpha male in the tradition of all pharaohs. (At least all MY pharaohs.:-)

    ~EG

    7:44 PM  
    Anonymous Ranurgis said...

    Thanks for the interesting answers. I especially like the idea of remembering a book as if it were in a room by itself. A great image.

    If you want to see a copy of "Night Life" on a shelf in a bookstore in Europe (forgot exactly where), have a look at Susan Grant's blog. While on holiday, she decided to go into a bookstore to see if they had any of her books. They did, and she took a picture and since yours was alphabetically the next one, it's included. I can't remember what her blog is called and don't have it on this program.

    The new book sounds great. I guess one pharaoh who might *not* qualify as alpha is Akhenaton. I'm still not finished reading "Nefertiti" by Michelle Moran to see how she portrayed him.

    By the way, is it this period after Akhenaton's death that is the time you chose for your pharaoh(s)?

    11:31 PM  
    Blogger Stella said...

    Sue--Pharoah's Rising?

    Must tag to the profession-not-hobby thread. And the lack of glamor idea. As the minutes tick toward one in the morning I note that my favorite pink bathrobe has bleach stains on one sleeve (that would be the bathrobe I'm wearing)and my last pair of black, Isotoner slippers have holes in the bottom.

    Did you know that Nordstrom doesn't carry Isotoner slippers anymore. A salesperson told me they are too "down market." I got the same response to my request for Jockey underwear.

    If life gets much more glamorous and "fun" around here I'll need tranquillizers.

    Stella

    12:48 AM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Guest said...

    ranurgis said: By the way, is it this period after Akhenaton's death that is the time you chose for your pharaoh(s)?

    Actually my pharaohs are after Tut and Ramses the Great, too. There was a tiny murky period at the very end of the 19th Dynasty. So the ancient story/prologue of NIGHT LIFE and NIGHT HUNGER both take place in 1192 BCE.

    Thanks for asking!
    ~EG

    10:38 AM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Guest said...

    Stella, I can match you glamor for glamor in our working outfits, as you well know. :-)

    Actually, I've paid out "hush money" to my nearest and dearest so they won't spill the beans on the outfits I wear while writing. Let's just say it begins with a man's white T-shirt and goes downhill from there.

    My lips are sealed!
    ~EG

    10:46 AM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Guest said...

    ranurgis~I went to Susan Grant's web site and clicked on her blog. She had posted a photo of a bookstore in Old Town Stockholm. Right next to her books on the shelf was NIGHT LIFE by moi.

    Thanks for the fun tip.
    ~EG

    6:17 AM  

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