Some of you might remember that Edwina "Eddie" Columbia first came on the scene as an aspiring writer, which is how I met her during the summer of 2005 at Lori Foster's & Dianne Castell's Get-Together. She immediately puts people at ease with her friendly personality and wonderfully wicked sense of humor. When I heard she was going to be published, I was pretty excited for her. She's a wonderful person and I just love her writing. I'm seriously anxious for the next installment. (Chop, chop Eddie *g*)
Awhile back I interviewed the very funny and interesting Eddie, and now I'm finally posting what we talked about. Sorry, Eddie, for taking so long!
SA: "Mistress in Training" is your first published book. How long did it take you to get published, and how does it feel now that your "baby" is out there for all the world to see?
Although I've been an avid reader of romance since my early twenties, I didn’t start writing until about six years ago. After bending the ears of my friends with a story that kept rolling around in my head (the main characters, Lady Edwina and her knight in shining armor, Sir Geoffrey, after hubby, Jeff, of course) I guess everyone got sick of hearing about it and I was advised, none to gently, to put butt in chair and write the darn thing already.
Hence, the story of my heart, Armored Heart, was born. Still sitting "under the bed" I might add, since I knew squat about writing at the time. Didn’t know a POV from an SOB. But hey, I wrote a book!
Then the learning process began and several books later, "Mistress in Training" made an appearance.
As to how I feel -- Excited, happy, privileged, scared. I think when you're newly published you run the entire emotional gamut. But mostly I feel privileged, and blessed that my 95 year-old mother is still here to share in the joy of my getting a book published.
And for anyone wondering, yes, she did read it.
SA: What was your inspiration for "Mistress in Training"?
I started out dabbling in Time Travels only to learn there wasn’t a strong market for them at the time, so it seemed a natural progression to ease into straight historicals. My objective was to write a book with a good balance of steamy love scenes and plot, incorporating my love of majorly alpha males and feisty heroines. A brand of "Sophisticated Sensuality" was what I was shooting for.
SA: Tell us about your WIP (work-in-progress). Isn't this a sequel to "MIT"?
Yes, "Hellion in Taming," is the next book in what I hope to make a three-book series. In this book, Amanda Beaumont, Amelia’s gambling, gun-toting cousin comes to England for a visit. The book will also include some interesting twists and turns I hope the readers will enjoy.
SA: Who, or what inspired you to write? Did you read one of Erin's (McCarthy) books and think "I could do better than this?" LOL. Just kidding. I adore Erin and her stories. She is fabulous.
You are too funny!
Yes, Erin is FABULOUS! And I would be lying to say she hasn’t been an inspiration to me in many things throughout the last few years, but I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing her when I first started writing.
Truthfully, I think my inspiration was a culmination of all the wonderful books and the authors who wrote them that I’d read throughout the years. The ones that made me laugh, cry, and sigh, and especially those "page turners" that had me staying up all night, even when I had to work the next day. My greatest dream was to someday be listed among their ranks. I’m hoping "Mistress in Training" is the first step on that path.
SA: Do you have a critique partner or do you go it alone? And do you revise as you go along or write the story then go back and revise?
Yes, I do belong to a wonderful, outstanding critique group. Most of us have been together for years, adding a new member or two along the way. My personal writing preference is to do some editing along the way. I need things ironed out fairly smoothly as I go along. I don’t plot, so I’m what they call a "pantser" or seat-of-the-pants writer, so I need things fairly solidified in my mind before I move on. That’s not to say I don’t go back and change if one of my characters decides to take off in another direction and throw me into a tailspin.
Then once the book is done I go back and edit the whole thing and then get a fresh pair of eyes or two to go over it and find anything I might have missed.
SA: What was the first romance you ever read, and how old were you (If you don't mind my asking)?
Yikes! You expect me to remember back that far! LOL Lucky for you it’s the short-term memory that’s going and not the long-term. Actually, I was in my early twenties. (Around the time when the first Star Wars came out.)
Actually, it wasn’t the first book that got me hooked, because I didn’t especially like it all that much, probably because it didn’t have enough romance. But here are a few books that I cut my teeth on and from then on, I was caught, hook, line and sinker….
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss - "The Flame and the Flower", "The Wolf and the Dove", "Shanna". Rosemary Rogers – "the Crowd Pleasers". Bertrice Small, "The Kadin". The Kadin was especially memorable. Bertrice’s books back then would not be PC now, but they certainly were the taste of the forbidden back then. I still remember the scene in the harem with the horse’s tails! Uhummm, back to the questions…… (Hey wait! I want to hear this!)
SA: How did you find out about "MIT" getting accepted? How did you react, and what did you do to celebrate?
How I found out was I got, "The Call," as we say in the publishing world. As an aspiring author, I don't think a day goes by when you don't think about it, dream about it, talk about it, rehearse what you’ll say. Something cool, sophisticated, business-like to impress the caller. Not …. "Get outta town! I can't believe you're buying it. I really thought it was going to be too hot for you"
Then, while you’re mentally wishing you were bent over behind the cocked, back leg of a mule and someone had duct taped your mouth, the person on the other end starts laughing. (Um, okay. Whatever floats your boat(?))
Moving right along now….
Ahhhh, the celebration part. That was almost better than the call. After the shock wore off, I told my husband. Then after much excited hugging and kissing, and a few snoopy dances, we grabbed a bottle of iced wine we’d been saving for a special occasion and headed for the Jacuzzi. Sorry, the rest of that story is censored. (Spoil sport!)
SA: What are you currently reading, and how do you find the time? Do you think your writing affects how you read?
Coincidentally enough, I just finished reading a fun, great book, "High Stakes," by my buddy, Erin McCarthy. If you haven’t already read it, I would suggest picking it up. It’s the best sexy vampire fun I’ve ever had. (I did read it, and I loved it. Erin's my girl).
I’m in the habit of reading for at least a half-hour to an hour every night before I go to sleep. Lucky for me, once my husband goes to sleep, my having the light on rarely bothers him. Could be he’s just gotten use to it after all these years.
To answer the question about how writing now affects my reading, I have to honestly say that unfortunately, it does. It’s hard not to get caught up in the mechanics of writing when you’re doing it every day. So I especially appreciate coming across a book that keeps me so enthralled, it doesn’t matter if there were twenty point of views, or if there were a hundred typos.
But the one thing I have learned, because free time is so precious to me now, is that if I don’t get invested in a book right from the start, I’ll pass it along to someone it might interest and pick up another.
SA: Do you see yourself writing contemporaries, paranormals or any other genre?
Does the name, "Sybil," mean anything to you???? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I actually had what I called my "Sybil-period" last year and started writing in all those genre’s. Rather than consider it a waste of time, I learned I could and was actually comfortable writing in all those different genres. Whether I’m good at it or not, I hope to find out in the future as my hope is to either write for more than one house, or find one who will let me stretch my wings in different areas.
SA: What is your writing ritual and where is your writing "nook", or can you write just about anywhere?
I have a laptop, which also doubles as my home computer, so I’m pretty mobile. I can write just about anywhere. I even take it to our local Borders if we happen to go there for our weekly "date night" and type while Jeff reads.
I also just purchased this really nifty portable typing stand for my laptop, which allows me to sit just about anywhere, even lounge on the couch while I type.
But most times I can be found in my beautiful, Victorian-influenced bedroom/turned office. It’s light, airy and my husband just built me the most awesome custom furniture for it.
SA: Who do you picture when you think of your characters Julia and Brandon?
Hmmm, I hadn’t really thought about it, but if I had to pick, I think Pierce Brosnon (after a few months in the gym) for Brandon and perhaps a young Jane Seymour for Julia.
SA: Fun stuff: fave movie/fave book/fave comfort food? What hottie (actor/singer, etc) rocks your world?
This is hard for me as I’m one of those people who really have a broad appreciation of movies and music. I’m a sucker for chick flicks, but really love action movies. But I would have to say my all time favorite movie would be the 1979 Dracula with Frank Langella. I’ve been a Drac fan way before it became vogue for romance novels. I think it’s the whole dark, dangerous, alpha male, sexy thing.
As far as books, I don’t think I could pick a favorite if my life depended on it. There are tons I’ve really enjoyed, but I’m not one to re-read a book as I’m always looking for the next great new one out there.
Favorite Food…. I’m sorta a closet gourmet (at least I like to think so), so I love to dabble in elaborate, fancy foods of any type. I have a fresh herb garden just outside my kitchen door. I love to do fancy dinner parties and am not afraid to experiment on people. But my favorite comfort food would have to be Chocolate. Maybe because it’s so darn good and versatile, too!
Favorite Actor – okay, Stacy, this is where you hit the jackpot! Unequivocally, Thorsten Kaye, aka Zach Slater on "All My Children". If there were a Hero College, he’d be Fantasy 101. I even have a picture of him as my computer background. He doesn’t just rock my world, he totally blows it apart.
Good thing I’m not married to a jealous man, right? Especially, since I also have a picture of Thorsten hanging up behind my computer at home. (Does the name "Patrick Thornhart" mean anything to you??? My God people, this man is a god!)
I think that what amazes me the most about the industry is that in spite of the adversity or maybe because of it, so many who have made it to the top are so generous and giving to share what they’ve learned along the way with those just getting started. I think there’s a saying something like... "The flower that blooms in adversity is the most precious of them all." (I’m paraphrasing here). Well, if that is true, then the romance writer’s community has the most abundantly beautiful garden I’ve ever had the good fortune to walk through. From hearts of gold, precious, everlasting friendships are forged.
SA: How has been your family's and friends' response to your writing? Have strangers come up to you and given their opinion(s)?
Truthfully, it has been overwhelmingly positive. Sometimes I wonder who is more excited about my getting published, me or my family and friends.
I try to respect other people's beliefs and not judge them, and appreciate being extended the same courtesy. No two people are alike, that's what makes us such interesting creatures.
When someone makes a comment about the level of sensuality in my books, I say, "Romance novels are like relationships...some are just steamer than others." I don't feel the need to make excuses for my writing, because I'm not ashamed of what I write. In my opinion sensuality and affection are a healthy part of any good relationship. I feel very fortunate to have come from a very demonstrative and supportive family. My children were raised that way and I'm quite sure they will raise their children the same way.
SA: If you could be in an anthology with 2-3 other authors, which ones would be your dream authors?
Gosh, I don’t know. That would be like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. There are so many great writers out there. I guess I would just have to leave it up to the publishing house that invites me to do one to know who I would best fit in with.
Thanx Eddie! It was truly a pleasure. Speaking of which....here's for you ;)