Monday, January 26, 2009

Make-Believe Mondays With Ann Lethbridge

Today on Make-Believe Mondays, my guest is Ann Lethbridge, who writes Regencies for Harlequin Historicals

Ann, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Ann: I am currently working on my third book for Harlequin Historicals, it is a story of misplaced revenge and I am enjoying it enormously. My first book with them, The Rake’s Inherited Courtesan is due out in April. I was also invited to submit a short story to their Undone line which is out this month, The Rake’s Intimate Encounter which you can download at The second book is waiting for the editor’s edits and so I am busy with number three, expecting at any moment to have to stop and go back to book number two to make revisions. Up to now all of my books have been and are regencies. I would love to write a paranormal/fantasy one of these days, but I am having so much fun with the regencies, I haven’t quite managed to fit one in.

Debra: If you're fun writing them, then you know that is what you were meant to do. I'm a firm believer in doing the things that bring us joy.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Ann: It is my characters coming alive and seeing and hearing them that usually sets me off on the path of my story. In the one I am working on currently, I envisaged a privateer firing on a fleeing merchant ship and his enemy’s daughter on board. I do tend to see and hear my characters long before I actually start to write anything down. At that point I don’t have a clue about their backstory, who they are, and why they are doing what they are doing. Once I am a few scenes into the book and sometimes even later, they begin to reveal interesting details. It makes for lots of surprises and some very interesting conversations. Now and again I will get an idea for a plot and have the character’s develop because of it, but not often.

Debra: Ah privateers. I love stories about pirates. It's nice, that process of getting to know new characters. Like meeting a new friend.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Ann: I don’t dream, as in fall asleep and wake up remembering a scene, because I rarely if ever remember anything but nightmares and they don’t usually make sense. I do however find myself entering a dream state when I’m working on a book, it might be while I am doing the dishes, or walking the dog, or just lying on the couch wondering, “what comes next” ~ I write alone at home in the day, so this is quite a frequent occurrence, and very much to the delight of my dog. I really do believe I need to achieve another level of consciousness to reach into the depths of creativity. Certainly the scenes come alive in pictures and fragments of speech, rather than in full blown paragraphs. It sometimes requires quite a bit of patience to knock them into sentences and words though.
The worst thing is getting distracted between the playing out of the scene and getting to a computer or a writing pad, because like dreams they can slip away.

Debra: I have come to believe this state is a form of self hypnosis. Maybe that is one reason it is sometimes an effort to get the story down on paper they way you see and hear it. Like a dream that waking state is an other way of being and thinking.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Ann: You ask some very interesting questions Debra. I would say to writers, keep on dreaming, but do sit down and write as well and to those who read, use our dreams to take you out of your everyday world and enjoy the ride.

Debra: Why thank you, Ann. When I came up with the questions I asked myself what I would want to know should I have a dinner party and authors all around the table. Three years later and I'm still not tired of these questions.

Ann, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

For more information you can find Ann at or rambling through regency England at with her very good friend.

Debra's News/Debra is Watching:

This is a busy week as I am revising my novella and planning for RT and book signings.

It is also my turn to blog over at Title Wave and that post will be up next.


Kimber Chin said...

A wonderful interview!
I love Regencies, my fave romance genre!
Looking forward to Ann's books.

(I love her novels under the Michele Ann Young name)

MariaGeraci said...

What a beautiful cover. Nice interview!

Ann Lethbridge said...

Kimber, and Maria, thanks for dropping by.