Monday, March 16, 2009
Make-Believe Mondays with Leah Braemel
Today on Make-Believe Mondays, my guest is Leah Braemel.
Leah, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.
Leah: I’m working on the second novel in my Hauberk Protection series which are very hot contemporary erotic romances. The first book in the series is Personal Protection, which follows the owner of the Hauberk Protection Agency, Sam Watson. In his story, Sam’s being stalked, and he’s pretty ticked off when his second-in-command forces him to accept his own bodyguards which he feels will really crimp his style. However, the head of his team, is a spitfire of a woman, Rosalinda Ramos. While trying to guard him, Rosie discovers she has to guard herself from him, especially when she discovers that Sam’s a founding member of a very exclusive sex club. (Personal Protection is being released on May 12th by Samhain.)
To follow that story up, I’m writing the second in the series. Hauberk agent Andy Walters is dating Charlene (Charley) Larsen, literally ‘the girl next door’ who, of course, comes with a complication – Andy’s brother Daniel has had a crush on Charley since they were in high school. Their affair gets more complicated when someone tries to kill her. So Andy has to protect Charley while deciding whether to step back from the relationship for his brother’s sake.
Debra: Even the closest of brothers could find their relationship ripped apart if they both fall for the same woman. There are so many different ways that one could go.
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?
Leah: Dreams definitely play a roll in my writing. My dreams get so vivid, I have to get up in the middle of the night to write them down. My critique partner, Marley, sent me an old voice recorder she had because I was losing so much sleep getting up to write my scenes down. I’ve solved story problems,(and even real life problems) and created entire scenes or plot lines, thanks to dreaming. I think my subconscious doesn’t turn off when I go to sleep, that it churns over problems that are bugging me about my manuscript and solve them for me. So if I don’t sleep and therefore don’t dream, I notice the quality and quantity of my writing suffer.
Debra: I don't think our subconscious ever turns off really, we just don't always listen to it. A voice recorder is a great idea. Probably helps with getting it down faster before it slips away too. Things never seem to go as well for me if I am not dreaming. Dreams can tell us so much. I'm trying to listen to mine more.
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
Leah: Absolutely. Unless I feel like I’ve sat down and talked with my characters, that they’re real, I don’t feel I’ve created them properly. I do all sorts of preparation before I start writing a manuscript. I’ll “interview” my characters; I’ll sit down and write out big lists of their likes or dislikes, try and figure out their background – who they were as children, what their placement within their family was, their hopes, their fears–especially that because that gives me a good base of their internal conflicts. Once I get to around the 25,000 mark in my manuscript, if I’ve developed my characters properly, that’s when I started dreaming of them. Once I start dreaming of them, then I know I’ve written them properly. It’s to a point where if I’m not dreaming about them, then I know the story isn’t working for me. That’s when I go back and redevelop them until I do feel like they’re real. It’s very important to me to get to that point. (A psychiatrist would probably have a field day with that answer.)
Debra: It's such a good thing that you know your process for writing, what path it takes and I suspect a psychiatrist might say that is a healthy thing. But then I tend to think that when we are creating it is a very healthy thing. So whatever gets us there gets my thumbs up. lol
As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
Leah: For me it was CS Lewis’s Chronicle of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I was around seven at the time. I loved the idea that there could be a secret world hidden in the back of the closet. What kid wouldn’t dream of stepping from a mundane world into one where they can become a princess with flasks that can heal people, or talking lions or fauns. Around the same time, my sister introduced me to the idea that you could write your own stories, you didn’t have to rely on other people to make them up for you. That’s when I really let my imagination loose and started writing my own stories, not that I showed them to anyone else until about five years ago though.
Debra: Oh, I love that story (well both actually, Narnia and the story of you and your sister and your first writings) How beautiful when those worlds open to us.
Leah, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.
Leah: Thanks for having me, I really enjoyed these questions. If readers want to read any excerpts from the first book in the Hauberk series, Personal Protection, they can find excerpts at my website:
and I often talk about my writing process on my upcoming works over on my blog as well:
Debra's News/Debra is watching:
This week I will be attending Gulf Wars in Lumberton, MS Tue. through Sun. This is an SCA event and I am looking forward to wearing medieval dresses, watching the knights battle, dancing, camping and campfires. Like stepping back into the middle ages for a while. And who knows what story might be born there?
I have also been planning for the book launch of A Desperate Journey which will take place Thursday April 2nd at Burkes Books in Memphis, TN 5:30 to 7:00 pm.