Today Dee Ann Palmer sits down for an interview. Dee Ann writes romance in several subgenres, some with a touch of murder or suspense. Learn more about her and her books at her website and blog.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I’d sold shorter pieces of fiction and non-fiction, had won awards, but I had this idea that real writers wrote books and sold them. So I began one. I had no idea what I was doing, didn’t know about genres. When an author in my critique group mentioned my “romance” novel, I was surprised.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
The first thing I wrote and mailed -- cold -- to a magazine was purchased and published. I had no idea that writers were paid for their work!
It wasn’t as easy to sell my first novel. It was rejected by 27 literary agents, but purchased by the first e-press publisher who read it.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Hybrid. My romances have been published digitally and in print by Amber Quill Press, LLC, since 2004. I’ve recently regained rights to my male/female erotic romances, reduced the sex level to sensual, and have been indie publishing them.
Where do you write?
I work on a PC in a room where my husband is too often working on his laptop at the same time, and he interrupts me at times. Until she passed away on April 7th this year, Ella, our adored older cat, often slept on the shelf above me.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Music’s an important part of my life, but it demands my full attention, so I usually write in silence. I did listen to Native American music while writing the final draft of Where Eagles Cry. However, turbulent Rachmaninoff and Brahms concertos set the pace when I composed some hot sex scenes for two recent erotic stories, written under a pseudonym.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
I may use snippets of experience from something in my life, such as setting this particular novel in the valley and state where I live, but my characters are usually fully fictional. My plots are born when I put my main characters together and put them in motion. I’ve tried to plot ahead, but my brain defies me in this. I can’t do it until my characters are in motion. And my characters don’t fully develop until I’m into the story.
Describe your process for naming your character?
I research popular names for the period and/or country. To assist my readers in keeping my main and secondary characters straight, I choose names that don’t sound alike, begin with different letters and have different numbers of syllables. Matching the names to the characters is important to me. A strong hero named Wilbur is not believable, but a nerd might be. Can you imagine Scarlet O’Hara with her original name of Pansy?
Real settings or fictional towns?
I use both, but if you’re using a real town you need to be sure you get it right. Saying you turned left onto Mountain avenue from Third street while traveling south will throw some people out of the story if they know you should be turning right.
Actually, a fictionalized area of the valley in which I live is the setting for Where Eagles Cry. I have a writer friend who, no matter what I say, is absolutely certain she knows exactly where it is.
“No, Pat. I’m telling you…I made it up.”
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Probably Ivanhoe. It’s a classic, and one of the time periods I love. It’s why I wrote Christiana’s Choice. And I used that time period for a shape-shifter fantasy called How to Seduce a Knight.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I just got to do one! After Knight Of The Captive Heart was released, I realized it had an error of history in it. I had to wait several years before getting my rights back. It’s now the indie book How to Seduce a Knight…with the error corrected. Whew.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Heroines or heroes who do something stupid.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Fresh water, food and shelter. Dull, isn’t it? I know. But you asked.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Working under a bully. A mean girl grown up. Fortunately, I was able to resign and get a better paying job under a much nicer supervisor. Later, I contributed to a book by a psychologist about girls who were bullies on the playground and still are. All grown up.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Can’t pick one out of the thousands of books I’ve read over my lifetime.
Ocean or mountains?
I prefer both and, luckily, we’re within an hour of each, plus the beach.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
I was raised in San Diego, went to college in San Francisco. Love big cities. Live in a medium size one now.
What’s on the horizon for you?
My WIP is extending A Night to Remember—my 2K contemporary romance included in Exquisite Quill’s 2014 A Holiday Anthology, Volume 2—to 38 or 40K. Watch for Savage Lust, the 5K Amber Allure prequel to Night Train, my vampire series.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
Right now you’ll only find historical romances on my website. I’m hurrying to post some previously released contemporaries and time travels.
Where Eagles Cry
Jilted by love in 1834, Cara, a young Bostonian woman, sails to Mejico’s rugged California to make a new life for herself. She takes a position as companion to the wife of Don Miguel Navarro, the tough and irresistible owner of a major inland rancho, and finds herself as deeply drawn to him as he is to her. Love may break her heart again for even though his wife has the mind of a child due to a mysterious fall, Cara would never be mistress to a married man.
Undercurrents she doesn’t understand swirl through the ranch. Native superstition says that when the bells ring and an eagle cries, someone will die. Several people have. Will the next death be hers? Until ships sail again for Boston, she’s trapped between danger and an impossible love.