29 August 2007

Lynsay Sands - a class act

As of late I have been seeing the downside of being a romance writer. Few would believe how cutthroat this business can be, how a "friend" can turn on a friend because of jealousy. It's very disheartening, that when a writer should be happiest, so much negative comes along and tries to spoil that joy. It makes those special people, true friends, all the more precious. I have been very lucky to have some special friends, Dawn Thompson, Leanne Burroughs, Diane D. White, Victoria Bromley, Monika Wolmarans, Maggie Davis, Carol Anne Applegate are just a few of the wondeful people who have touched my life, supported me.

There are none more special that Lynsay Sands. Lynsay came into my life when I face a dark moment, that point where you are ready to give up because you see only rejection and futility. She is a very good friend, and I have proudly watched as this talented lady has climbed the ladder to be a big name in romance books, a consistent bestseller with both her historical romances and her vampire series. That is simply amazing. I do a happy dance each time I see her make the NYTimes bestsller list--often with 2 and 3 titles at the same time.
Only, that isn't why she is special to me. It's the many kindness she does straight from her heart. Like the time, when she spent nearly 12 hours helping me fix my computer because no one else could do it. She encouraged me to push to get published at a point when I was ready to give up. I doubt very seriously I would be print now had it not been for her truths and prods.

She just proved how wonderful she is, yet again, by her latest backing. Barnes and Noble is doing a promotion for her upcoming book, Holidays Are Hell anthology with Kim Harrison, Vicki Petterssen and Marjorie Liu. Each writer had to answer a series of questions for them to be posted on their website.

Here is an excerpt from Lynsay's questions. I have to admit I am humbled, once more, by her kindess, continued support, and most importantly, for just knowing this caring lady.

What are your ten favorite books, and what makes them special to you?

This is a hard question for me. I am horrible at recalling names and titles. Aside from that, when it comes to books I’m kind of like a cheap tart dropped amongst a boat load of sailors. I love them all. While I keep every book I read, I’ve never read a book more than once (there’s always another one to read.) However, regarding favorites . . . For me the first book that stands out in my mind isn’t one but many. The Nancy Drew series. I adored those books when young and am pretty sure I read every one. I don’t think they have a single author but various. Either way, I couldn’t tell you names of authors or even book titles, just that I loved the books and that if I couldn’t grow up to be Nancy Drew and have the adventure and mystery in life that she had, then growing up to write such things is a lovely alternative.

Another early influence was Julie Garwood’s early works. I’m afraid when I was young I was completely turned off historical romance by some pretty horrid bodice rippers owned by my grandmother on my father’s side. Stories from the day when the “hero” could be completely horrid to the female; abuse her verbally, treat her cruelly and even rape her and yet the heroine “loved him” and understood he was just “wounded” and that – with the love of a good woman – he could be tamed, changed, healed. Ugh! Bleck! Yuck! I mean geeeeeeez, how could any woman fall in love with a man who starts out by being beastly? Puhleeeeze!! So, I was totally anti-romance, and then, while I was in University, my sister brought me a Julie Garwood book. I’m afraid I can’t remember which one, but she brought it around and said I should read it. I wasn’t interested. She pestered me to read it. I just kept shaking my head with disgust and muttering “Historical romance! No thanks!” She assured me it wasn’t “like that” and begged me to read it. Nope, not me. This went on for months. I forget now how she actually convinced me to read it. It might have been sheer determination and that I read it just to get her off my back. Certainly, I read it expecting to toss it aside after a chapter or so and inform her – with some vindication – that historicals were utter crap. Instead, I had to admit it was good, and fun, and the hero was actually worthy of the title. It was the first time I saw historicals as something that could be fun and entertaining.

If I’m going to list favorites, I also have to mention anything by Dean Koontz. I’ve been reading him FOREVER. Okay, that makes us both sound ancient, but you know what I mean. Dean Koontz just somehow manages to grab you with the first paragraph and hold onto you until the end. And while he’s listed as a horror writer, really his books usually have everything in them; suspense, adventure, action, romance and even mystery. I’ve never read a Dean Koontz I haven’t liked.

And then, of course, there’s J. K. Rowling. Few people have managed to avoid getting drawn into her Harry and Hogwarts world, and I’m afraid I was in the first wave of converts. How could you help but love a story that was like a fairy tale. There’s poor Harry a male Cinderella being treated so shabbily and forced to live under the stairs until along comes Hagrid to inform him he’s special. He taken away to an amazing world, an incredible and fascinating alternate reality where he’s famous and where he finds a family of his own as well as people who care about him. It’s classic!

The most recent favorite I’ve found is Deborah MacGillvray. I read her first book Restless Knight before it was published and gave a quote for the cover. I don’t often experience envy of other author’s skills, but will admit that I did while reading Restless Knight. This author is very, very talented. I am not big on books that spend thirty or forty pages describing a room or scene. They bore me. I’ve always felt self-conscious about admitting that because someone once said that it was a sign of the MTV age and immaturity and a short attention span. Basically, they made me feel a complete idiot with “immature and unrefined” tastes for not enjoying a three page description of a leaf on the ground. Well, my answer to that will now be that it’s a shame to waste so much space on such descriptions when a really gifted writer can give you enough description with just a few deft words that you can feel the warmth of a fire on your cheek and hear the crackle and hiss of it as it burns. Ms MacGillvray can do that. That first book was exceptional and I have since purchased her second historical as well as her two contemps that have followed . . . now I just have to find the time to read them. That’s something I’m looking forward to. If they’re half as good as her first book, I know I’ll enjoy them. I guess I’d best stop there. Each favorite author or series I’ve mentioned has anywhere from 4 to 60 books so I’ve definitely done the ten.

If you could choose one new writer to be “discovered,” who would it be -- and why?

Deborah MacGillvray – The woman can write. Everything of hers I’ve read so far is great, but her historicals are especially powerful. Her plots are solid, characters are loveable and she has a way with description that draws you in and puts you right there with the characters amongst the heather and mist.

No comments: