Identity and Transformation

Mary Jo Putney on Mad Heroines and Other Favorite Themes

Mary Jo Putney fans generally have only one quibble with the author: the wait between new books. Long-time fans actually envy newcomers who have yet to discover the joys of the entire Putney catalog. Luckily for fans new and old five Mary Jo Putney titles are scheduled to hit bookstores in the coming year. Readers will be treated to everything from a reprint of her rare first novel, a Regency, to Putney’s first contemporary — something for just about every mood.

First up from the desk of the award winning author is The Wild Child, a story that Mary Jo describes (not necessarily tongue-in-cheek) as “your basic mad heroine and imposter fiancé story”.

Read our review of The Wild Child

Subversion: You describe The Wild Child as “your basic mad heroine and impostor fiancé story”. Can you tell us a little more about this one?

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Inspired By The Giants

Meet Debut Author Tracy Sumner

Readers are talking about Tracy Sumner’s debut, Carolina Rose, set in her native South Carolina. Subversion managed to catch up with Tracy before she started packing up her belongings for a move to Utah—a long way from home and a long way from favorite city, Chicago.

Read our review of Carolina Rose

Subversion: What was your inspiration for Carolina Rose?

Tracy Sumner: Gone With The Wind and Margaret Mitchell, Vows by LaVyrle Spencer (the first romance I ever read), Stephen King. Any great book—Anna Karenina, A Separate Peace, A Knight In Shining Armor. Oh, so many—romance and other genres—Jane Austen. If you love to write, or it nags at you, any great piece of writing will inspire. No particular inspiration for Adam and Charlie’s story—they just sort of popped into my head.

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TBB’s, TBR’s, and Glomming: Celebrate Romance! 1999

Old Friends Meet for the First Time at Gathering for Readers and Authors

For readers of romance novels, the Internet is a dangerous place. Hazards range from author sites filled with tantalizing previews of upcoming novels, with its seductive “one-click” feature, and, most perilous of all, the discussion lists where tips for great reads are exchanged at lightning speed.

Registration for Celebrate Romance! must be received by April 30, 1999. For forms and details, visit the Celebrate Romance! website

Not only do the lists introduce readers to a whole new vocabulary (TBB, TBR, and other delightful acronyms) but they also bring together like-minded individuals from around the globe. Discussions are fast and furious, and it doesn’t take long before the others on the lists feel like old friends. Because good friends are naturally inclined to meet in person, it was logical progression for Celebrate Romance! to be conceived.

Celebrate Romance! is a gathering of on-line romance readers and authors, and the second annual celebration will be held from May 21 to May 23, 1999 in Philadelphia, PA. Those attending the conference will have an opportunity to sit down with favorite authors (many of whom they have already “met” on-line) and attend sessions relating to their hobby. Unlike other conferences, Celebrate Romance! is designed for readers – not writers. Continue reading

Secrets of the Author

Jo Beverley On The Mallorens and Writing

From traditional Regencies to dark medievals to sensual Georgians, Jo Beverley tells powerful stories that keep longtime fans eager for her next book and compels new fans to eagerly track down her backlist. The latest from Jo, Secrets of the Night, is certain to cement her status as a star of the romance genre while inspiring healthy debate on the controversial theme.

Jo mixes natural storytelling talent with a love of English history (she has a degree in the subject from Keele University in Staffordshire) to unfold her tales of strong women and heroes who are their matches in every way. Her books have won four RITA awards, placed her on the New York Times’s bestseller list, and earned her a spot in the Romance Writers Hall of Fame for Regency Romance.

Read our review of Secrets of the Night

Subversion: How did you get started as a writer? Did you always want write?

Jo Beverley: I did always want to write, yes, and to write historical romance. I have an attempt from when I was in high school. I hadn’t a clue how to get published, however, and thought it was as likely as becoming a Hollywood star or a pop singer. Continue reading

Cowboys, Babies, Brides … Oh My!

Where Has All The Variety Gone?

It sneaks up on me about this time every month. At first, I’m excited. Then, I’m confused. Finally, I’m disheartened. It all starts when I look at the new romance titles for the month. I read a wide variety and happily note titles of interest from the entire genre – until I get to the current category releases. Then my world comes to a screeching halt.

Don’t get me wrong: I love categories. I cut my romance teeth on this subgenre and still enjoy reading a great category. It’s simply that, lately, there seems to be a feeling of sameness to the group. For example, in the past two months alone, there are over twenty-five category titles with story lines revolving around cowboys, babies, or brides – and those are just the ones that I know about.

And please don’t get me started on the poor book that had the misfortune of boasting a cowboy holding a baby on the cover! It was probably a great read. The chances are good that the author gave her readers a fresh spin on an old story. I’ll never know. Between the cover and the synopsis, I feel like I’ve already read this story.

Word on the street is that the cowboy/baby/bride themes are very popular with readers. Based on what I hear from other readers, I’m not the only person out there who is … er … turned off by this trend. While I haven’t done a scientific survey, my stab at the reason for this obvious disconnect is simple: people who buy romance are voracious readers and if category is their thing, category is what they buy. Continue reading

But What She Really Wants To Do Is Write

Mary Wolf Bought Her Publisher and Turned It Into a Huge Success

Mary Z. Wolf had her first book, The Marriage Patent published by Hard Shell Word Factory, a pioneer in the field of electronic publishing. She then turned around and did what every author dreams – she bought her publisher. While some may think that that guaranteed future publication, Hard Shell is growing so rapidly that Mary Z. Wolf, publisher, frequently has to tell Mary Z. Wolf, author, “… shut up and wait, her time will come” – and it will, just as soon as things settle down.

We have some wonderful books that I’m sure print editors practically cried at having to turn down … because they … didn’t fit comfortably enough into that publisher’s line.

The bad news, for Mary-the-author, is that Hard Shell is a bonafide success.

Hard Shell Word Factory was founded in November 1996 by Teri Lea Chandler. According to Wolf, Chandler “had the foresight to see electronic publishing as the wave of the future” and established a haven for quality authors who, for a variety of reasons, weren’t being considered by the New York publishers. Wolf, who had been exploring the prospect of starting her own publishing company, bought Hard Shell from Chandler. Continue reading

Brave New World

Romance Authors on the Cutting Edge of Publishing

As the world of traditional publishing begins to appear bleaker and bleaker from the perspective of romance writers (and quite often from the perspective of romance readers seeking more variety from the genre), the future looks very bright indeed for authors who publish electronically.

Ginny McBlain, President of EPIC, says “[t]wo years ago a well known agent spoke on electronic rights at the RWA conference in Dallas. At that time, he didn’t think authors need concern themselves with electronic rights before the year 2000. Just this week, EPIC has learned that this
same agent is advising all of us to be very careful about retaining our electronic rights.”

While sales currently appear to be “slow but steady” according to Electronically Published Internet Connection (“EPIC”) vice-president and e-author Marilyn Grall, she and other authors (both traditionally published and e-published) believe the industry is on the verge of exploding. Sales of electronic books are poised to increase dramatically with the advent of handheld readers such as NuvoMedia’s Rocket eBook, and those increased sales mean more opportunity for authors. Continue reading

Who’s That Lady?

The Many Sides of Author Nancy Gideon

Nancy Gideon cheerfully cops to her “split personality”. After all,
it’s a trait that has allowed her to publish nearly 40 stories since her debut in 1987. Currently, it’s alter ego Rosalyn West who’s in the spotlight with her The Men of Pride County series published by Avon Books. The third book in the series, The Rebel, is now
available with the fourth, The Pretender, due in June, 1999.

“Sometimes, it’s hard to remember to set
aside time to write!”

The series, set in the post-Civil War United States, allows Gideon to indulge her love of history while tackling tough issues relating to the aftermath of the war. She notes that this difficult period in history provided her “the opportunity to contrast differences…North and South, past glories versus future changes, and the struggle love goes through to find a common ground.” Exploring these conflicts “led to infinite possibilities for characters to display strength, courage and emotional growth.” Continue reading