Welcome to the fifth hour of my New Year Blog Bash in honor of the release of SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER! I'm having a wonderful time and hope you are, too. My guests have been terrific and remember, you can always scroll down and catch the posts you may have missed. And if you leave a comment for each one, you're entered to win in a new drawing each hour! Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you.
I have to apologize to my next guest. I've been talking about hosting my Casablanca sisters, but ML Buchman is my Casablanca brother! I know you're going to love his brand of military romantic suspense.
As far as what question I hate as an author, it has to be "When are you going to write a 'real' book?" Meaning a non-romance novel. My books have been featured in PEOPLE magazine. One is displayed at the Museum of London Docklands next to Johnny Depp and Errol Flynn memorabilia. My work has been translated into seven different languages and SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER has already been contracted to a Russian publisher.
Sounds like a real book to me.
Ok, ML. What questions do you hate?
ML Buchman: There’s a bunch of them, like coworkers who can’t believe that I’m still working despite being published. I just laugh.
But there’s a tricky one, “Where do you get your ideas?” The real problem is that this is an earnest question rather than one based on lack of knowledge, like there is only one J.K. Rowling. It is asked because someone liked my book and they want to know how I came up with “that.”
So, it’s one of the questions I try to answer honestly. Of course, the question is often phrased, “You’re a guy. Who admits his first love is science fiction. Who has never been in the military. So, how do you write military romantic suspense?”
“By accident.” I discovered romance fiction about fifteen years ago when my fantasy publisher took me to Romance Writers of America National Conference to prove that men could write romance. Seven guys, 1,800 women, all very serious about romance. Let’s just say it was an educational time and I consumed the writing, the storytelling, the temporary setbacks, and the happy endings. And the more I read, the more my writing shifted.
My characters began to care more about each other than themselves. They struggled to tell story that I didn’t know how to tell. I’ve tossed several completed romance novels in the trash trying to learn how to tell these stories. It was a goal, a quest. That’s how I started writing romance.
The military came from a foodie suspense novel, “Swap Out!” The hero needed rescuing and his true love’s estranged daughter shows up in a military helicopter to rescue him. I didn’t expect her to be military. I didn’t know how to write a warrior, but she was. So I studied. I read accounts by retired Navy SEALs. I talked to Coast Guard heli-pilots and a woman who served in Iraq as chief mechanic on a Black Hawk.
The more I read of and spoke to these kind, amazing people, the more I grew to respect them. The more I wanted to tell their stories. Also being a geek and a former small airplane pilot, I became fascinated by the helicopters as well. Romance, military, women who fly helicopters. One step more: the first women to fly the secret helicopters of the U.S. Army’s 160th Aviation Regiment, The Night Stalkers.
I think that is why so many authors shy off that question, “Where do you get your ideas?” They aren’t born whole. Each is unique, personal, complex. They arrive as a glimmer in the eye, as a hope that can’t be looked at directly or it might fade, nursed, coddled, built until finally the story is so clear and strong that we must write it. That specific story. That specific tale.
Thanks, ML Buchman (more at http://www.mlbuchman.com)
And a huge congrats to Mia Marlowe for today’s release of “Sins of the Highlander.” Whoo-hoo!
Mia: Sounds fantastic, ML. And may I say, Hoowah! What a cover!
Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win ML Buchman's THE NIGHT IS MINE. Another winner will be chosen to receive their choice between my eNovellas,