It is an incredible honor and an exciting moment for me to welcome Ms. Grace Burrowes to my world. Ms. Burrowes is the super-prolific author of a wonderful stream of historical romances published by Casablanca. Her release this month is Darius, and she has at least one book scheduled to come out each month for the next year! Let’s make her feel welcome and give her a chance to catch her breath!
The short answer is that I started writing about seven years ago, at the age of forty-seven, when my daughter moved out of the house. Abruptly, the house was full of peace, quiet, and time to think, and my brain went on a writing orgy. Lovely. The more accurate answer is that I’ve always felt an urge to write, though for decades that mostly found its outlet in a journal.
I have two jobs, the lawyer job representing foster children, and the writer job crafting happily ever afters. One can see how the two might complement each other. Unlike many people struggling to write while raising a family, tending a young marriage, looking after the elders, and holding a day job, my situation is fairly simple. Because I’ve waited until mid-life to attempt publication, I’m particularly eager to get a backlist up. (TM – WTG on the foster kids. I was a Guardian ad Litem for a brief time. You’re awesome)
I am an example of the person for whom all the motivational sermons make no sense. I had twenty manuscripts done before I explored publication because publication was never a goal. I still don’t have goals, I don’t write down my objectives, I don’t write every day, I’ve never had a crit partner… All those things you “must, must, must” do to find success as an author are beyond me. (TM – and yet you clearly are successful. Fellow future authors, take note! You can break the rules and still fly high.)
I write because I love to write, and my publisher has been generous enough to set up a monthly release schedule because they understand my reasoning with respect to building a backlist quickly. There are days when having one book in revisions, another in draft, a third in copy edits, a fourth in galleys, and a fifth hitting the shelves is a challenge—but it’s like trying to decide among favorite desserts, or which ride to get on at your favorite amusement park. It’s ALL good.
Darius popped up as good secondary sort, in “The Virtuoso.” I wasn’t sure why he was the one sidekicking for Valentine Windham, but Valentine and Nicholas got along with him (he popped up in Nick’s book too, as brother to Nick’s lady), so what the heck—I’m just the author. Then I wrote a story for Darius’ brother Trent, and again, Darius was skulking about, out until all hours, and giving off a quietly desperately vibe.
The guy needed a book, clearly, but what on earth was he up to, out past his bedtime, looking after everybody but himself, being so handsome and miserable? At first I thought he was stealing, or maybe trying to return goods he’d stolen. Maybe he was trying to return goods stolen by a friend’s sister. Maybe he had gambling debts to work off and THAT was what he was up to. Except, Darius doesn’t gamble with coin, only with his honor. This guy did not want to give up his story, and when the answer popped into my head, I at first did not believe it myself.
I am eternally indebted to one of my brothers for telling me that the worst challenge a man can face is to have to choose between the competing demands of honor (all my author buddies, write that down if it helps with a plot). What is the worst compromise a man could make to protect and care for his loved ones? What is the worst compromise ANYBODY who is broke, disempowered and desperate, can make…?
The answer surprised me, but it was right for this hero: Darius was selling his favors, just short of the deed, in exchange for the coin he needed to support his dependents, all of whom, were cast on his charity by the father who has also rejected Darius. When enough coin is laid before him, when he’s reached the limit of his despair and self-loathing, he makes that last, last compromise, only to find he’s found his salvation.
Oh, everything. When I started reading romances 35 years ago, historicals were all you could find. Then too, there are pioneer romances authors still writing in the historical genre, and their work has reached near-perfection. Who wouldn’t be inspired by that?
I’m writing Scottish historicals that I’m enjoying tremendously (TM – Having read the first one, I quite agree that it’s lots of fun!), and I’ve written a pair of Georgian novellas that were a lot more fun that I’d anticipated. Both the Georgians and the Victorians had their wild elements. I’ve also written a trilogy of contemporaries, about lawyers in love…
Chocolate—and most good chocolate has vanilla in it. (TM – Quite a valid point)
Edited at 12:50 PM to add: Please be aware, there is a giveaway of TWO SIGNED COPIES of Darius. All you have to do is leave a comment below (see Ms. Burrowes’ question in Comment #1 below) and you’re entered to win. This is not to be missed. 🙂