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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Becca St. John on Heroes


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Becca St. John. March’s theme is ‘Heroes’ so Becca will be talking about heroes. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.

An Accidental Writer ~ Writing was a tool, not a toy, until a stay in a haunted hotel and a bookcase full of dog-eared romances. Hooked, Becca read old romances, new romances, both sexy and sweet, until her own tales begged to be written.

Living in Florida, Becca divides her time between dreaming up stories, diving deep into history, kayaking, and swimming. Her husband gives her the space she needs by fishing in the mangroves and waterways, or watching football (the English sort) with his British buddies. Becca and her hubby break the routine with adventure travel; though, at heart, Becca is a homebody believing there is no greater playground than inside the mind.
Thank you, Beverley, for this opportunity to post on your blog! What fun!

Beverley: What do you think makes a hero, either in real life or in books?
Becca: Wonderful question and cuts right to the marrow of what romance readers have in common ~ Heroes are men who believe in love of all kinds, partnerships, familial and community, and hold up their side of these relationships. You can count on your hero, no matter what. He will have flaws, but he is tenacious in love and doesn’t let the bad times scare him away. He will take on life as it is, without trying to escape. Kind of like my hubby *smile*!
Beverley: Is it important to have strong conflicts? If yes, inner or outer conflicts, or both?
Becca: There isn’t a story without conflict, both inner and outer. That’s what we read for, to see how these characters are going to wrangle with their own inner doubts or demons while overcoming barriers in their path. That doesn’t mean there aren’t light moments, moments for both character and reader to rest but, as in real life, stuff happens and life is riddled with obstacles and challenges. The beauty of romance is the endings, with positive outcomes for all the hard work.
Beverley: Who are your favorite heroes, and why?
Becca: Ok, first I have to admit that I love all my own heroes. That’s what spurs me to write. Outside of them, my all time favorite hero is the Duke of Jervaulx, from Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale. This is a truly flawed hero whom we love, thanks to Kinsale’s brilliance.  So it shouldn’t surprise you to know that The Beast, in Beauty and the Beast, is another one of my heroes, which leads to yet another top pick, Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, from Eloisa James’s When Beauty Tamed the Beast.  Guess you can see where I’m going.
Beverley: Tell me about the heroes in your book/s.
Becca: Most of my heroes are the forceful, overbearing sorts, who need a strong woman to counter them. Like most of the men I know, they see the world from their perspective and act accordingly, pushing their own agenda. But they love, deeply, without reserve. Sometimes, it is merely their belief in marriage, family, and community that sends them off in pursuit of the heroine but, by the end, their world tips unequivocally into love and they learn to widen their agenda.
Beverley: How do you develop the characteristics for your hero?
Becca: When I can answer that, I will write a book on how it’s done. I don’t develop the characters, they step into my life and, as I write, they surprise me with tidbits. It’s an agonizing way to work, but also quite thrilling to finish a scene and sit back in wonder of these fabulous characters filling the page.  My greatest angst is that I might not do them justice because, inside my head and heart, they are fully fleshed out with all sorts of strengths and flaws.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Becca: A long time … though I never took it seriously at first. My degree was in theater. While working on the degree, I would write and produce plays, thinking of myself as a director and producer. The writing was just part of the process. At the same time, I wrote articles to help finance my life, but saw that as a means to an end, not for the ability to convey a message. It wasn’t until I was introduced to romance novels ~ as an adult ~ that the lid was lifted on all the stories and characters and situations inside me.  Dare I admit, that was 20 years ago? And I will say here, without regret, that I threw away my first seven books. They’d been reworked to death. If I ever decide to write them again, they will be better for the fresh start.
Beverley: What genre do you write in and why?
Becca: A good friend of mine was a producer at the BBC. She often spoke of how difficult it was to produce historical shows because of all the research. For years, this intimidated me from even trying to write anything but contemporary. Now, it’s all I write; Medieval romantic adventure and Regency romantic mystery. That’s my reading preference, as well. It helps that I married an Englishman and, for the first six years of our marriage, lived outside London. During that time, I couldn’t get enough of the local history and became, what I call, a castle hopper. Guess a lot of the research just happened, much like my writing, without my even knowing it.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Becca: The romance genre. Don’t get me wrong, reading is a passion, all sorts of books, but it was reading romance that created the itch, my own stories tickling me until I started writing. My mentors would have been Jayne Ann Krentz, Emma Darcy, Joan Wolf, Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught, Eloisa James, Laura Kinsale … the list goes on.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Becca: Family ~ writing time was time stolen from the family. But for me, family is not just flesh and blood, hubby and children, but an extended community of friends I choose to call family.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Becca: Silence and a keyboard ~ sometimes, when starting on a new scene, I just have to start typing to get the idea there. Something like, “ok, folks, who wants to speak up here? We’ve just had x happen and …” about that point the story starts to flow.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Becca: My husband is a whistler ~ stops me with the first note. He’ll breeze into the house, whistling the Rolling Stones or some such, while my head will be deep in Medieval Scotland. The contrast is jarring, but how can I be get angry with someone who is happy enough to be whistling?
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Becca: Tea, then coffee … tea after yoga and meditation and coffee an hour or so later when hubby wakes. Sometimes granola. I make a wicked granola, worth having for lunch.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Becca: Junk clothes ~ I live in Florida, so it is often something easy to pull on like a sundress. Nothing confining.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Becca: On a couch in my study, or in my bedroom. My worst vice is sitting cross-legged, which is awful, a real no-no.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Becca: Of course! Betty Boop! I have a little Betty Boop character who will join me on my research trip this spring. If you read The Gatehouse, you’ll learn why Lady Eleanor will be traveling.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Becca: Eleanor Roosevelt ~ she was a very strong woman, a good woman, but her life had its miseries.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Becca: Read! Better yet, kayak out into the mangroves, anchor up in this lovely secluded area, and read.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Becca: Writing this in January, so in the last throws of getting The Gatehouse released on the 30th. Lots of other things as well. Listening to the final version of Steve Worsley’s audible narration of The Reah. Working with Mary Sarah Agliotta on the narration for three books, An Independent Miss, and the first two Lady Eleanor Mysteries; Summerton and The Gatehouse. Those are due for release spring of 2017. And, of course, setting up my research for my trip to SE Asia, where Lady Eleanor will go in the next book. I leave in a week, for nearly three months, so there is a lot to do

Blurb for The Gatehouse, Lady Eleanor Mysteries, book 2
Regency romantic mystery with a touch of Gothic

A deaf aristocrat fights to protect all he loves from a killer he cannot hear

Moments before the wedding, Christopher Sterry finds the groom, his twin brother, murdered. One would expect Christopher to become the next Earl of Longford. No one would be surprised if he married his twin’s almost-bride, Helen Grove. She is, after all, his closest friend and confidante.
Except Christopher is deaf in an inflexible world that believes a deaf mute is no better than a barbaric half-wit, unfit to be an earl and quite capable of murdering his brother.
Helen waits at the altar while her groom lies murdered in the folly. But there is no time to mourn. Christopher is in danger and so, it appears, is she.  Born to marry the earl of Longford, whoever that may be, Helen ignores her own risks and crosses into the line of fire to protect the man who holds her heart.

Lady Eleanor solves crimes more thoroughly than any male magistrate. So, when Christopher, her godson, is condemned without evidence, she sets out to prove both his innocence and his competence as earl. If she fails, Christopher will die… or be returned to an asylum worse than hell.

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jlBWG0
Find all my books at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/291XLt8

You can find Becca at:
www.beccastjohn.com
Let’s be friends: https://www.facebook.com/beckastjohn
Meet you on twitter: https://twitter.com/beccastjohn1

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Becca and Beverley! So wonderful to read about your books and your journey. I'd love to be in a kayak and exploring.

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