Monday, August 1, 2011

Interview with Julie Anderson

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing my lead female character from my latest novel - Circles Interlocked.
Victoria Adams:  Welcome Julie.
Julie Anderson: Thanks for having me.  I haven't been interviewed by a blogger before.
Victoria: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Julie:  Ok, well, I'm Julie Anne Anderson and I'm a dancer.  I was born and raised in Westland.  I graduated from Westland Predatory Institute. Go Hawks!  Right after prep school I joined The National Dance Company.  I started in the corps de ballet and worked my way up to soloist.
Victoria:  What's a corps de ballet?
Julie: It means body of the ballet.  Simply put, when a soloist is performing there's often a group of dancers supporting her.  They are the corps.  Think of it as the starting point of your dance career.
Victoria:  Since this is a romance blog, anyone special in your life. (Just to let my readers know, Ms Anderson's cheeks just turned red. :-) )
Julie: Yes, there is someone special.  His name is Robert and I knew him back in prep school, but we broke up and have recently gotten together again.
Victoria:  You're a beautiful woman, so I'm guessing this Robert must be quite handsome.
Julie: He's tall and very strong.  He's built like a dancer and he has the darkest eyes I ever seen.
Victoria: So what happened between you two?
Julie: Robert comes from an area called North Shore and he used to run with a gang called Shoresmen.  I'm the oldest of daughter of Judge William Anderson.  Robert and I should never have met, but we did and we fell in love.  Then Robert's bad boy heritage emerged and he cheated on me and I ran away to join the dance company.  I was hurt.  My heart was broken.  I couldn't face my family or my friends.
Victoria: A painful moment in your life.
Julie: Very much so.  I couldn't believe how he'd broken my trust.  When you're young that first big love and first break up seems to be overwhelming – like the end of the world.  I didn't date anyone for several years.  Then I met a man, Vincent, but deep down in my soul I knew he wasn't the right man for me.  I tried to ignore the truth that it was Robert that I loved.  I saw him one day.  He doesn't know this.  He was at his girl friend's cottage…
Victoria: His girl friend?
Julie: Yes, her name is Cornia Kroft.  They were together on the beach, and I was walking along a path and came out of the woods a few feet behind them.  My heart stopped.  Did he ever look good. He'd just come out of the water and was drying off.  Picture him standing there, dripping wet and the sun shining on his muscular body.  I think my pulse is racing at the memory.
Victoria: So how did you two get back together?
Julie: We accidently woke up in bed together.
Victoria: Pardon?
Julie:  We woke up in bed together.
Victoria:  Well, that wasn't the answer I was expecting.  It seems I've run out of space for today's blog.  I'd like to thank Ms Anderson for joining us.
Julie: It's been a pleasure.
Victoria: Next week, I'll be interviewing Ms Anderson's love interest – Robert Holiday.  Until then – Happy Romance.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Romance Heroes.

We all have a picture in our head of that perfect man – physically describing him wouldn't be beneficial here as you might prefer muscular blonds and I prefer tall dark haired hunks.  But we have that picture.  But what makes a male a hero?  A dictionary type definition is - a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
The list of heroes is long – firefighters, police officers, paramedics, soldiers, sailors etc.  These are definitely men of courage who daily perform noble deeds. I think of them as "Noble Heroes." But my blog today is about the Romance Hero.  The male in the story who is supposed to sweep the heroine off her feet and carry her away to "happily ever after" land.
Now if your hero is a noble hero, you're half way to the happy ending.  There may be numerous pitfalls and dangers the characters have to survive, but a noble hero always overcomes all. (Although it may not happen until the sequel.)
   What if your hero is a "bad guy"?  He could be super bad – vampire or werewolf.  Or, like my hero in Circles Interlocked, bad by association.  As a teenager, Robert ran with a gang and the stigma of that follows him throughout his life.  More than once, he lived up to his image – fought a gang war, got involved in the drug trade, lied to and cheated on his girlfriend.
So why is he my romantic hero? Brave deeds and noble qualities.  In Circles Interlocked, Robert accidently wakes up next to his former girlfriend.  The one woman he loves and the same woman he lied to and cheated on.  His misdeeds and lies have created a wide and long wall between them and Robert is unaware of how to break down the separation.
Years have passed since their last face-slapped meeting and Julie has developed a prescription drug problem.  Robert steps up and helps her, even though he is clearly aware of her raging hatred of him.
When Julie is in danger, Robert charges in to save her, fully knowing he could be killed.  His sworn enemy would be satisfied with killing Robert or the woman he loves.  The romantic hero has to figure out how to keep them both alive.
What was your favourite romantic hero like?  Was he a noble hero or a bad boy?  Or was he really bad – a vampire or werewolf type character? What was it in that hero that made you want to cheer for him?  Do you know any one like him?  (Unless of course he's a vampire?)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Romance of Vacation

Vacations are a break from our everyday lives.  Need to possibly get away from the stresses of a job, or the boredom of life.  A vacation can be something as exotic a cruise in the South Pacific or as simple as relaxing by the pool with a good book.  They can also being family oriented - a week a Disney - or - as mine are now, quieter and more intimate with my spouse.
One Spring Break vacation in Florida, I was sitting on the beach reading an historical romance.  I don't remember the title or the author, but it was about the warring clans in Scotland.  I was so engrossed in the feel of the story - the language, the culture- that when someone spoke to me I was jerked backed to the present and it took a moment to realize where I was.
Has that ever happened to you?  Has a book so enthralled you that you felt you had fallen into the pages and was living the story?  Tell me about it.  What pulled you into the book?  The story?  The characters?  The plot?  The scenery?

The week's post is short.  I'm going offline for a week and must leave soon.
Next week Pages of Romance will return but probably on Thursday instead of Monday.
Hope everyone - that means you Mart - has a wonderful week and gets out and enjoys some romance in the summertime.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What is Romance?

What is romance?
The World English Dictionary defines it as - a love affair, esp an intense and happy but short-lived affair involving young people.  
Excuse me?
Alternate definition - a narrative in verse or prose, written in a vernacular language in the Middle Ages, dealing with strange and exciting adventures of chivalrous heroes.
Chivalrous heroes – now we're getting somewhere.
One more attempt - any similar narrative work dealing with events and characters remote from ordinary life.
Characters remote from ordinary life – not necessarily.  Some romance writers have vampires or werewolves falling in love with humans.  The characters may be "remote from ordinary life", but the romance that is presented in the story is as wondrous as any human romance.  I applaud the authors who pen these stories.  It is quite a challenge to make the reader fall in love with a throat-ripping, snarling werewolf and be cheering for him by the end of the story.
In my latest, my heroine, Julie, is a dancer; a ballerina to be exact.  Is that remote from ordinary life?  A ballerina would say no.  To her, her life is normal.  She works, has friends, dreams and aspirations.
    Circles Interlocked presents Julie as an aging dancer nearing the end of her career.  Her current boy friend has proposed and she is faced with the most complex decision of her career – continue to dance and risk chronic pain or face the emotional pain of retirement.  And just to complicate her decision, her former lover falls back into her life.  He's the one who cheated on her, broke her heart, ruined her trust in men – but is still the one she loves.   
First romance description - a love affair, esp an intense and happy but short-lived affair involving young people.   That is the prestory to this romance.  Julie and her ex were in love.  They were young and it was a passionate and short-lived affair.  Life has a way of complicating things and the affair ended but the story continued.
Second definition - a narrative in verse or prose, written in a vernacular language in the Middle Ages, dealing with strange and exciting adventures of chivalrous heroes. Circles Interlocked is a contemporary story – so for the sake of argument the reference to the Middle Ages is going to be ignored.  By the end of the story Julie happily discovers her ex has lead some "strange and exciting adventures" and is definitely her chivalrous hero.
Final attempt - any similar narrative work dealing with events and characters remote from ordinary life.  Being in a romance takes people out of their ordinary lives and tosses them into a whole new world.  That's what being "in love" is all about as Julie will learn on her journey through Circles Interlocked
Definition for romance – merge the three - a love affair, intense and happy involving a heroine and chivalrous hero and dealing with the strange and exciting adventures of life.
What's your definition of romance?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Romance Stories

Romance – sigh. Romantic stories –double sigh.  What's more romantic than Cinderella?  Poor little orphan meets Prince Charming.  They fall in love and live happily ever after.
This past weekend I got to spend a moment witnessing the modern version of Cinderella.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and his wife Kate) were in Ottawa, Ontario and so was I. The beautiful, but common, young Kate meets tall, charming Prince William and romance blooms – ah sigh.
Can you tell why I write romances? You gotta love a great mushy heart tingling story. Romance is everywhere. Even a sci-fi techno thriller concept like Matrix has a love story theme running through the three movies tying them together. The world may be ending, there may be aliens invading, but we wait for that moment when her gaze meets his and then we know everything will be alright
Storylines are as varied as the months of a year - a roguish pirate kidnaps a feisty princess. A centuries old vampire loses his heart over a beautiful high school girl. Sometimes we love our heroines to be strong and in charge and sometimes we melt when they are in distress and are rescued by the hot, sweaty but gorgeous fireman as he carries her out of the burning building.
Story locations can be exotic even in the most ordinary of places. Two words – horse ranch. This can conjure serene visions of horses standing in corrals or grazing in meadows.  And from horses it is a logical – but wonderful- jump to cowboy. And that's all that needs to be said – cowboy. Tall, rugged, suntanned, dusty, sweaty, politely tipping his hat and saying, "Ma'am."  What wonderful person invented cowboys?
Your favourite romance – what was the story line (cop and victim, werewolf and human)?  Why did that capture your imagination?  Did you want to be the heroine and spend a day living her life? Or was it the allure of the hero?
I think mine is Cinderella. What captured my imagination were the illustrations in the book. I used to stare at them and imagine myself waltzing with the Prince. I hadn't thought of this before, but maybe it was that story that inspired me to be a romance writer.
Now it's your turn; tell me about your favourite romance story.

As an aside and tie in to the lead paragraph – I had the honour of meeting Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.  She is a charming, beautiful woman. I didn't meet the Prince/Duke as he was chatting with people on the opposite side of the road. But the impression I received from watching him was like witnessing the future. He will be King, but for now, he's a man in love with his wife.
 Everyone put their hands over their hearts and sigh – ah romance.