Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so thrilled to have Denise Weimer as my guest. First off, her latest release sounds so good! And, I love her answer about researching to help get past writer’s block. That’s the first answer like that I’ve seen. Brilliant! Denise is giving away a copy of her latest release – read on to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense, mostly set in her home state of Georgia. She’s authored a dozen traditionally published novels and a number of novellas. As a managing editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, she also helps others reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.
Tell us about your current release. Bent Tree Bride is the story of a mixed-blood lieutenant of the Cherokee Regiment who falls in love with his colonel’s daughter during the War of 1812:
Susanna Moore can’t get him out of her mind—the learned lieutenant who delivered the commission from Andrew Jackson making her father colonel of the Cherokee Regiment. But the next time she sees Lieutenant Sam Hicks, he’s leading a string of prisoners into a frontier fort, and he’s wearing the garb of a Cherokee scout rather than the suit of a white gentleman.
As both Susanna’s father and Sam’s commanding officer, Colonel Moore couldn’t have made his directive to stay away from his daughter clearer to Sam. He wants a better match for Susanna—like the stuffy doctor who escorted her to Creek Territory. Then a suspected spy forces Moore to rely on Sam for military intelligence and Susanna’s protection, making it impossible for either to guard their heart.
What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? I’d like to see more Christian fiction that deals with life’s tougher issues in a sensitive yet candid way. I write both lighthearted, formula romances and novels that have much deeper themes. I believe there’s a place for both. But I know it makes me nervous to deal with those grittier issues … and the same thing for writing realistic frontier action. You walk a very fine line giving the reader an honest experience and offending the most sensitive readers, and that is often reflected in reviews.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Stop trying to force the story and go do something else, usually a walk. Using another part of the brain, “tuning out,” as it were, can allow ideas for scenes to drop into your head with all their rich, sensory detail. Another quite different tactic, especially for a historical, is to go back to research. If I’m struggling to start a scene, facts and history can provide a stronger framework for creative storylines to unfold.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I started writing around age eleven, when my parents would take me to historical sites, and my active imagination created stories about who used to live in the beautiful homes or quaint towns. From that time forward, I knew I wanted to be a writer. And soon after, an editor. Amazingly, I got to become both!
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I begin with research, then add in my main fictional plot points. I have a general idea of how I want the characters to develop and what events will trigger growth (or regression!), but I leave a little room for the characters to surprise me.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Yes, unless I am writing for a specific imprint that requires a shorter length, or a novella, the desired word count for most publishers is around 80,000 words.
Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you started this story? For Bent Tree Bride, I remember receiving a call from one of my author/editor friends. She had an idea for a Native Patriots Series. We discussed it and invited a couple of other authors to write stories about Native American patriots who fought in different wars. I drew the War of 1812, which worked out great, because I got to use a character who had been a child in one of my previous novels, The Witness Tree, set in 1805. The story flowed out in an amazing six weeks, a record for me and one I will probably never top. In it, I felt I hit my stride as a writer of American Eastern frontier fiction as well as the culmination of my training as an editor.
Unfortunately, publishers weren’t interested in a series, but I’m delighted Bent Tree Bride can still reach readers as a standalone.
Here is where you can find Denise online:
Denise is giving away an ebook of Bent Tree Bride to a reader! See below how you can enter to win: