Dorothy A. Bell, historical erotic romance author, joins me today. Let’s give her a hearty welcome.
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What inspires you and your writing?
I love happy endings. Happy endings, like in fairytales, where everything is shiny and rosy and no one dies, gets cut up into small itty-bitty pieces or transformed into some kind of mutant something or other doomed to live forever away from all that they love and cherish. I know life isn’t perfect like in a fairytale, it’s messy and it often hurts. And marriage isn’t always the happy ending it should be. I like a story that starts out messy but works out in the end. That way I get to hold on to my fantasy, that’s the kind of story I want to tell.
Is Royce based on anyone you know?
He’s a combination of boys I knew in high school but never dated because they scared the hell out of me. And men who drove and wrecked log trucks like damn fools and worked in the woods taking chances, nearly killing themselves to make a living. They played as hard as they worked, the same mindset. My uncle Corbin for one, he had the most evil laugh, similar to Eddy Murphy’s laugh, only not at all playful. You did not want to play cards with Uncle Corbin. He was the devil with women. They loved him, of course, tall and good looking, very funny and charming but a devil.
When did you first dream of being a writer?
I don’t think I did dream of being a writer. I never thought being a writer an attainable goal. I was brought up to believe that writers are special people. I love to read. I started writing what I would like to read. I entertained myself, never really thought that anyone would care to read what I wrote. My mother told me if I couldn’t write like James Herriot I shouldn’t write at all. But she didn’t understand, I really didn’t care for James Herriot.
What prompted you to follow your dream?
I love everything I write. Like I said, I am my own best audience. I read my stuff over and over and every time I am absolutely enthralled. I received encouragement from my husband to submit my novels to publishers. It took years and years, but here I am a published author. My mother is gone. I don’t kid myself into believing she would put what I write anywhere near James Herriot, but then I never wanted to write like James Herriot.
How did you get into writing historical romance/westerns?
That’s the genre I love to read. I started out writing Regency period. I have buckets full of manuscripts, all great stuff, of course. I like the 1800’s, that time period fascinates me because of the coming industrial age. What huge changes those folks experienced, going from horse and buggy to trains and automobiles, to telephones. I acquaint their transition to us going from cars to George Jetson-like space machines zipping around the world in minutes instead of hours.
Who are your favorite authors?
Georgette Heyer, to start with, she wrote Regency romance. Her style was formal, but interwoven with so much wit and dry humor that it titillated me and sparked my imagination. I enjoy Linda Lael Miller, her characters are very human, people I can relate to. I like that. Julia Quinn, enjoy her work very much. I read Robin Carr. I enjoy reading a series, getting to know the town and the people, each story is like coming home. I hardly ever read any non-fiction. I stay in a fantasy world most of the time. I hate it when I’m forced to come down to earth.
Can you tell us more about Royce’s name?
I thought Royce an arrogant-sounding name, as is my character. The name Cleantha, I thought an elegant, romantic name. I saw beauty and tragedy in that name.
How did you come up with their names?
I was familiar with the name Royce, but I looked it up in my baby book of names to see its meaning—royalty or king-like. The last name, O’Bannon, I found in a book of surnames. I often look through that book to find the origin of a last name, the nationality.
If Royce could change anything about his life what would it be?
Oh, that’s an easy question. He would have his mother. She wouldn’t die and leave him alone to take care of his little brother. She would be there to protect him from his father’s inconsistencies, maybe she could have prevented his father from becoming a drunken monster. I think Royce misses his mother something terrible.
Does Royce have a favorite band?
Royce IS his favorite band. When he plays his fiddle he is in heaven, he is free of all his sins and burdens.
If The Reprobate became a movie, who would be your dream cast?
I’m going to date myself here, Royce is a combination of Kirk Douglas and Richard Widmark, unapproachable, tough, sharp-eyed, incredibly fit, unkempt and proud of it. I don’t know of many current actors who would fit the bill.
Cleantha appears angelic and docile, but her resiliency and determination make up for any lack of physical incapability. Jennifer Lawrence is stunning and has that quality of appearing fragile, but in her eyes, I see determination. She would make a beautiful Cleantha. Her elegant beauty contrasting with Royce’s raw power would be perfect.
Do you prefer silence, noise, music when you write? If music, what kind?
I write when the T.V. is on, when there’s company all around, when it’s quiet, in the car. I don’t generally listen to music when I write unless it’s a specific type of music that I associate with the time and place of the story. For instance, I have some bluegrass selections that conjured up a story for me, not the Reprobate, but another story. My husband’s grandfather played the fiddle and called for dances in the early 1900’s out in Eastern Oregon where he lived. He never learned to read music. He played by ear and he played very well and had a big selection of Irish jigs he liked to play. We have a cassette of his music. That inspired me, gave me the idea for Royce’s character in The Reprobate.
Do you find yourself listening to different music depending on what scenes I’m writing?
Definitely. I’ll search the internet looking for just the right piece. Sometimes I have to in order to get the plot moving along.
Have you had any great ideas come to you in places where you can’t write them down? If so where? And if yes, have you developed a trick to keep the ideas from disappearing?
All the time, in the middle of a meeting, while I’m in the pool exercising. I would say that most of the time I remember the scenes and have no problem with recall. I live with my characters. I can go where they are in the story any time. When the story starts to lag or get sluggish, I back off. Take another look, ask myself why it’s not working. Most of the time it’s because I haven’t fully developed a character in my head. I haven’t looked into their heart to see their point of view, where they’re coming from, how they got where they are. Sometimes I don’t even have a clear picture of their faces in my head. That’s really bad. Then I do have to stop and take a good hard look.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I always know where I’m going to start and how I want the story to end, it’s what happens in the middle that sometimes becomes a free-wheeling ride. I love that part of the process. Situations and dilemmas come flying out of my head like bats in a cave; my pencil can’t move fast enough to get it all on the page. Weee! What a ride.
Milk or dark chocolate?
Milk chocolate, and I love Hersey’s Hugs with the white chocolate. I crave white chocolate.
Jaguar, Ferrari, Prius, or pickup?
Who is your favorite actor or actress?
Tom Selleck (oh, my God). Irene Dunn, funny lady.
Tree house, regular house, or cave?
History shows, DYI shows, sitcoms, CSI type shows or reality shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians?
Britcoms and DYI.
Dorothy lives with her husband in Central Oregon with one pesky longhaired Dachshund, two West Highland White terriers and one big, laidback, angora tuxedo cat. She enjoys gardening and landscaping. She is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild, Willamette Writers and Romance Writers of America.
On her blog, you will find short stories, poems and her complete Oregon historical romance titled Laura Creek Mercantile, which she serves to you, two chapters at a time. You can visit her at her website.
Where Laura Creek Mercantile leaves off, her E-Book The Reprobate begins when Royce O’Bannon and his brother Quinn blow into town.
Quinn O’Bannon knows it’s time he settled down. He has two likely candidates, both sensible, attractive, young women. However, his fantasies keep straying to Tru McAdam, that thieving, sloe-eyed vixen with the grudge against the whole darn O’Bannon family.
Tru McAdam wants to believe the O’Bannons, all of them are rotten, heartless cheats. God help her, most of all she wants to believe the handsome, arrogant flirt Quinn O’Bannon is the worst of the lot.
When destiny shuffles the cards, strange pairs show up in the hand. Who can fight destiny, not the handsome, flirtatious Quinn O’Bannon, not the thieving, sloe-eyed vixen, Tru McAdam.
Marci, thank you for hosting me on your blog today. The interview was great fun, made me dig for answers to questions I hadn’t thought about before. Thank you for all you do. I feel very fortunate and proud to have my work published by Wildchild Publishing/Freya’s Bower, it is a pleasure to work with such motivated people such as yourself and Shawn Wolfe. Dorothy Bell
It is my pleasure, Dorothy. You are a very talented author. 🙂