Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day 2: A Closer Look at Regina

We're back today with the regal Regina Scott, so get settled on your setee and let's get to know this woman who's an intriguing blend of old fashioned charm with modern day sensibilty.

2k8: Tell us, Regina, where do you do most of your writing?

RS: Actually, a lot of my writing is done on airplanes. I work part time as a consultant, and I have to fly all over the country to meet with clients. If I have any work I can do on a plane, of course that comes first. But very often, there’s nothing meaningful I can do squished between two other people for hours at a time, so I write. My first drafts are all done longhand in blank lined journals. To me, the act of writing is a creative process that comes to life in longhand, while the act of editing is an analytical process that really fits best on the computer.

When I’m home, I work in my office, and I surround myself with things that inspire, so when I look up from typing away, I get an instant boost. The silk wall hanging my friend gave me years ago has fairies hidden among the falling leaves, prompting me to look for the unexpected blessing. A needle-point bookmark a reader made for me reminds me that someone out there appreciates my work.

One of my favorite energy boosters is a hand-written sticky over my computer, a quote from author Kate Douglas, who wrote for 20 years before making her first sale. “When I wrote the stories I wanted to write, the way I wanted to write them, when I finally stayed on a path that led to my own satisfaction, the Grail fell softly into my lap.” That speaks to the core story that fills my writing: know who you are and be true to that person.

2k8: That's an excellent value to hold to. Can you tell us how LA PETITE FOUR came to be? How did you begin writing it and make the transition from adult fiction to young adult?

RS: I’d written almost 20 books for adults, but I felt as if something was missing. Then I read a great article in an industry publication about how every author has a core story, a theme that comes out no matter what genre they write in. I got to thinking about my core story: coming to know who you are and how you fit in the world. That works very well in romance and fantasy, two areas I was really interested in. My agent pointed out that I was missing an obvious genre: young adult literature. She thought my voice would be perfect.

I’d read some YA with my sons, but my agent’s enthusiasm made me go out and scour the shelves. Our local library has an awesome YA section, so I read everything I could. And everything I read told me this was where I wanted to be!

One of my published adult books, A DANGEROUS DALLIANCE, featured a quartet of young ladies, sort of a Greek choir for the heroine. I’d had fans ask if I would ever write their story. Here was my chance! I focused on the leader, Lady Emily Southwell, and started writing. Her voice came so easily that I knew I was on to something.

2k8: It's always magical when things just click as if they were meant to be. So, how did you find a publisher for it? Was it hard making a switch?

RS: My agent wasn’t sure how a YA historical would do in the market, so she sent just the concept to several houses. We were stunned with the answers: “We want to see this when it gets done!” Razorbill wasn’t actually one of those houses. Going with them was what a friend calls “A God thing.” My editor called my agent up out of the blue and asked to have lunch, during which they discussed all kinds of things that might fit Razorbill’s list. Purely as an extra, my agent threw in LA PETITE FOUR. My editor loved it, everyone else there loved it, and they made me an offer I was delighted to accept.

2k8: What a wonderful transistion. Did anything else surprise you or catch you off guard when you were writing the book?

RS: Emily’s voice. She was the most real character I’ve ever written. She’ll tell me exactly how she feels about a situation. As we were working through the revision process, my editor suggested a change that seemed pretty basic to me. To my surprise, Emily refused. No matter which way I wrote it, she wouldn’t cooperate. I finally demanded to know why, and she told me in no uncertain terms. Wow. I had no idea she felt that way, but you can be sure those feelings got factored into the story, making it stronger.
You gotta love it when your characters take charge! Regina, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Come back Wednesday when we'll take a walk in Lady Emily's shoes.


debbierfischer said...

Regina, I love your inspirational things around your work space. And how interesting that you write longhand! Can't wait to read the book. :) deb

Sarah Prineas said...

Happy launch week, Sir Reggie!

I will snap this one up, read it, and send it to a friend in England--she loves Georgette Heyer and YA books, so it's perfect.

Marissa Doyle said...

Speaking of Sir Reginald... (*cough*cough*where'saphoto?*cough)

Regina Scott said...

You guys! One of the interview questions was "what will people not know to ask." I couldn't think of anything! But maybe I should have confessed to being Sir Reginald. Full story at http://www.lapetitefour.com/sirreggie.html.

Barrie said...

Oh, I like the idea of decorating my office (in my case, very small space) with inspirational objects. :)

And, Marissa, thanks for getting Regina to come clean with the Sir Reginald story. :)

daphne grab said...

great interview, regina! i can't wait to read the book!