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Author Sat Sep 07 2013

Romance Writers' Collaboration was Written in the Stars

Thumbnail image for WrittenInTheStars_HighRes.jpgAs veteran authors of the romance genre, Chicago-based Sherrill Bodine and Patricia Rosemoor have been crafting entangled love affairs for over two decades. Rosemoor has written 90 (that's right, 90) novels, many for the Harlequin Intrigue imprint (among others); and Bodine has written 19 novels, as well as a co-written comic book called Whispers From the Void.

In celebration of the release of the authors' first co-written novel, Written in the Stars (available in ebook format only), the duo will host a digital launch party at McNamara's restaurant (4328 West Irving Park Rd.) on Tuesday, September 10 at 6pm. The free event will also be streamed online, and viewers may download their copy at the same time (the goal is to reach 5,000 downloads in one hour.) To watch online, tune in here at 6pm on September 10.

Book Club caught up with Bodine and Rosemoor before the big event.

When you first began to write romance, what attracted you to the genre?
Patricia Rosemoor: I was in Europe for a couple of weeks and had run out of reading material, so I looked for an English language book in the train station, and ended up with Angelique by Sergeanne Golon, translated into English. As a kid, I always fantasized about girls/women being the heroes of their own stories (which in the old gothics I used to read, they were not), and Angelique fit the bill. She swashed her buckles with the best of the men. When I got home, I explored more of the new romances with strong women and kept thinking I would love to write one of these.

What do you love about writing romance, or genre fiction in general?
Sherrill Bodine: I truly loved writing Regency novels for Fawcett/Ballantine - the rhythm of the language, the pacing of the story, the description of the fashion and lifestyle of the period fascinates me. I was equally fascinated by writing the historical part of Written in the Stars, particularly Elizabeth's journal entries which tie together both parts of the book. The language flowed so naturally from my pen- THAT doesn't often happen when I'm writing. It was very special!

What about writing romance or genre fiction are you not so crazy about?
PR: Tropes. The familiar things that readers expect out of their stories. I love the unique, pushing the envelope, creating something that no one else has thought of.
SB: When I hear a reader say, "Oh, I don't read that kind of book," it makes me a bit crazy because they are missing some really powerful, compelling stories written by fine authors.

You've written an impressive amount of books. If a reader has never read your work before, which do you suggest starting with?
SB: My last three books were written as Sherrill Bodine, and are sassy sexy books set in Chicago. Definitely a reader should start with Talk of the Town, A Black Tie Affair, and All I Want is You. But if they like a historical read, they should start with the Regency novels I wrote as Leslie Lynn for Fawcett - they will soon have new life in digital editions under my own name.

PR: It all depends on the type of book a reader is looking for. If she wants to read unique, something that pushes the envelope, then Written In the Stars would be perfect. Reincarnation has been done before, of course, but not in the same way. If the reader would like something more familiar (with characters who have some psychic ability), The McKenna Legacy books would fit the bill. See Me in Your Dreams is the first in the series.

Why co-write a novel? What were the pros and cons?
SB: Written In the Stars naturally lent itself to two authors - my historical voice and Patricia's contemporary voice. We have been friends and critique partners for years so it was a very natural give and take. Plus we are both very open to constructive suggestions when critiquing our stories, always given gently, of course, because of our fragile author egos!

What's your take on the "ebook only" format?
PR: That it's a work in progress. The industry is currently in a huge upheaval. Traditional authors who have made a print living in this business for years are suddenly finding it harder to get contracts because of the fast changes. Every traditional publisher wants only bestsellers and is now trying to catch up to the digital presses by trying out authors there. And to catch up to Amazon, which now has its own romance and mystery/thriller lines (both digital and print), in addition to the publish-your-own-novel-free-for-all. Many of us have become hybrid authors. Both print and digital and maybe even indie. But the dust hasn't yet settled, so it's hard to say what the publishing industry will look like five years from now. Or even one year from now. In the meantime, we're all just trying to breathe.

Is your life like a romance novel? Why or why not?
PR: Yes and no. When I met Edward, it took one date to know he was the one, so much so that when I went out with a guy who'd been on again, off again for nine years, I felt guilty and told him good-bye. Edward was my soulmate and continues to be, though unfortunately, a brain tumor took him from me. But if there's a next life, we'll find each other again...

SB: I eloped with my husband when I was a freshman in college and it is still a love match. Just like the ending of any good romance, we are living happily ever after!

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Jackie Crawford / September 11, 2013 1:13 PM

Great interview! The book sounds like it could be pretty interesting, I might have to look in to it. I do love a romance read with that added element of mystery or suspense. I just read a great book that also had those elements, called “Publics: Libertas Aut Mors” by Baltazar Bolado,; made for a great read! Thanks for the post, interview and suggestion!

Lara Levitan / September 11, 2013 9:02 PM

Thanks, for the comment, Jackie, and for sharing your selection! Sounds juicy.

Tim Edwards / September 27, 2013 1:11 PM

Jackie, my girlfriend loves those kinds of books as well, and since her birthday is coming up I'll have to look in to the one you suggested. I was looking it up
online and found it on Amazon but just wanted to let you
know that the title is listed as “Publius: Libertas Aut
Mors”, just as an FYI. Thanks for the article and
suggestions from both of you, I think she'd like both of
these books.

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