Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guest Post: Secret Desire by Susan D. Taylor

Please welcome author Susan D. Taylor who is promoting her book, Secret Desires.  She joins us today with some thoughts as she answers our questions: "What inspires you to write?" and "How do you write a realistic romance?"  

Susan is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Amazon Gift Card from all the different tour stops.  Check out the raffle copter below!

Publisher: Etopia Press
Date of publication: February 2013

By day, Claire Robertson is a staff writer for a small publication in Seattle. But when the lights go down, she writes sizzling and oh-so-naughty erotica. She keeps these stories safely tucked away, hiding her secret fantasies of her hero, Dustin Murray. The man who stole her heart six years ago. And then jumped into bed with her twin sister.

Dustin never forgot Claire, or her twin sister’s lies that tricked him into sleeping with her. Nor has he forgotten that her sister’s threats have kept him silent for six years and cost him the woman he loved. Now that Claire’s returned home, Dustin isn’t about to lose her again. But it’ll be another thing to convince Claire he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to win her back.

When Claire accidentally sends the wrong story to her editor, things really heat up. With hot the new black in publishing, her editor thinks he’s struck gold and queues the story for publication. The last thing Claire needs is for everyone to learn that she’s got secrets of her own…

Thank you Kari and Autumn for allowing me to visit today. Great questions too. Let me put on my thinking cap. Here goes.

Being from a family of educators, I think we’re pretty curious people. I married an engineer who loves the act of problem solving. For a person with a desire to wonder and ponder, and who has a natural affinity with the written word, writing is the perfect fit. I am that person. There’s always a “what if” roaming around my head and conversation is filled with what-ifism’s and oh-wouldn’t-it-be-funny.

In writing romance, there are countless issues or conflicts present within all love stories. Some are organic or germane to the story and characters. In Secret Desire it became a woman’s quest for self-identify amidst her own expectations and those of her family. Claire Robertson was cast as a journalist (I love picking out a character’s job and lifestyle) so I had to find out about the industry which I (professionally) had not yet become a part of until the actual manuscript was contracted. This was my debut novel so anything I’d written up to that point didn’t help in giving me the information about the publishing industry. Fortunately, I love research and the investigation of information. I taught special education and biology for years. Research a big part of educating children especially those students with individualized learning needs.

Then there was another part of the love story that involved trauma and grief. Polar from a happy, fun sexy read. Right? This became tricky in how to handle the central exterior conflict of Secret Desire. From my education experience in graduate school, I realized it was imperative that the emotional boundaries of Claire be realistically portrayed. I used the ideas of the grief process through which Claire, the heroine was stuck in the initial stage of denial and avoidance. I drew from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, one of the most famous grief counselors. She wrote extensively (On Death & Dying, 1969) about the process outlining steps that we go all through (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). I was acquainted from my own experience with grief, teaching, and reaching students. Teachers receive a lot of trauma counseling in this day and age.

In contemporary romance writing, parts of the story should be factually based and current. I believe authors are charged with bringing to the forefront realistic issues within the scope of their story. It requires balance to embed facts within fiction so it isn’t a dump of information. Whether it’s Pike Market in Seattle or the Interstate going from Columbia to Mill Spring, North Carolina, giving readers a sense of reality and helps ground a story so that the emotional and sensual parts that need to fly, won’t disappear but will resonate within readers.

It was challenging to write Secret Desire, a bit more than some others but that’s why writers draw from reality. This process is cathartic to some degree.

Again, thank you for allowing me to visit and speak about contemporary romance writing today. 

On Death & Dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
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