There really wasn’t one. For most of my life I’ve been fascinated by twins – especially identical ones. I’ve known a few pairs and they have always intrigued me. As a Regency author, I wondered at a scenario where a set of twins might be switched and the wrong one (i.e. not the firstborn) labeled the heir. At the same time, because I’m a purist and like to make sure the rules get followed, I wanted a way to know that the one who inherits is really the right one. Thus, The Scarred Heir.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
It’s a combination. Sometimes, I see a specific mannerism in a friend or acquaintance and wonder what their wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband might think about it and come up with my own responses. Sometimes I see a character in a movie or on TV and wonder why the writer wrote them that way and decide to explore what I think their response would be if they were met with a different set of circumstances. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Where do you go to do your research?
I spend a lot of time on the internet. I also spend my share of time at the library. When my husband and I travel, I take lots of pictures – just in case I need a visual or two. It’s harder when you write historicals because not many things are exactly like they were 200 years ago. I also use Google Earth a lot. It helps me with terrain and views when my characters are traveling.
I admire authors of historical novels. I can only imagine the amount of time and effort that goes into research. Are you currently working on any new book projects?
My most recent release is the first book in a new series. I call it the “Scarred” series because each title has the word “Scarred” in the title. But, while the first two are written and contracted (The Scarred Heir, The Scarred Heart), I’m still working on the third (The Scarred Heiress). And, I’m a very slow writer. Luckily, all three books stand alone and can be read without knowing what happened in the others. They are only linked by characters.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
Schedule? What’s that? I work a full-time 8-5 job, so writing is done in the evenings and on weekends. Time, for me, is scarce since I have a lot of other things going on as well. But, when I can spend a couple of hours in the evening at my computer, I consider that a good thing.
I totally understand that. I do freelance work during the day and only get to work on my books in the evenings and on the weekend. How did you find your publisher? What was your journey to publication like?
I have been writing since I was in my early teens, but it was only for myself. It was a way to keep an only child occupied. Creating characters and world-building was something I enjoyed. Then life intervened. I graduated high school, college, grad school, got a job, got married, and had a couple of kids. It wasn’t until the death of a favorite aunt in 2002 that I turned to my computer as a form of therapy. By 2004, I had four complete 100K-plus manuscripts sitting on my hard drive and had no idea what to do with them.
Like a lot of people, when I started considering publication (my first books weren’t written with the possibility of publication in mind), I looked toward New York. But, as I learned more about writing and the business of writing, I realized I needed feedback first. So, I entered a few contests with those first manuscripts. I was careful to enter contests where I would get a lot of feedback. Since I had no one else to ask anyway, I thought I would probably get good unbiased feedback from complete strangers. And, I was right. Based on the feedback I got, I stepped back from those first manuscripts and wrote another one. This time I paid attention to things like emotions, arcs, POV, black moments, etc. I had also joined a few online boards and made some friends, one of whom was an editor at a very small epublisher. By then, I’d also discovered RWA and joined my local chapter. One of the members was published by Ellora’s Cave and gave a talk about EC and it’s non-erotic arm, Cerriden Press. I decided to sub to them. They rejected the manuscript, but by then I’d done some more research, and decided to submit it to Samhain. Not only did they pick up that first manuscript, but they have eventually published everything I’ve written – including the first ones after some re-writing.
Thank you for sharing your journey. What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?
Certainly passive voice is difficult for me. I really do want to ‘tell’ (as opposed to show) you a good story, and my grasp of grammar isn’t nearly as good as it should be. I also have a list of words I know I overuse and once I’m finished with a manuscript I search for them as part of my polishing. In a 70K manuscript, if I get less than 20 hits, I consider it a good thing. But, my hardest challenge is creating a believable villain. I don’t know if it is because of my nature to believe the best of everyone, but I have a very difficult time creating someone who is truly evil.
A well-traveled military brat, Denise developed a love of history and other cultures during her formative years. Reading came as naturally as breathing and once hooked on romances, she determined to write one herself. Historicals are her first love when it comes to romances, especially the Regency period.
She and her husband live in the western U.S. and have two grown children. They love to travel and their current destination of choice is Germany. Someday she hopes to make it to England to see firsthand the places she has studied and writes about.
You can connect with Denise online here:
Blog: Denise's Den
Find Denise on Facebook
Check out her forum on CoffeeTime Romance
Denise, can you share with us about your new book, The Scarred Heir?
Double trouble—with a twist.
Two months. Just two more months and Sarah Standish will be twenty-one and free to come out of hiding. Not long ago she was on the brink of marrying the man of her dreams—until she discovered his complicity with her uncle’s plan to gain control of her missing father’s substantial fortune.
A wounded man appears at the inn where she lives under an assumed name, and she’s shocked to discover it’s her would-be groom. He seems to have no memory of her, yet her traitorous heart remembers.
Max Dayton awakens from a fevered dream to find a vengeful angel hovering over him. When he realizes she’s mistaken him for his twin brother, his protective instincts kick in. There must be some reason his brother assumed Max’s identity…and some connection to this dazzling beauty and the father she insists is not dead.
In a quest to untangle the twisted trail of lies that threw them together, Sarah and Max journey to London, where the mystery grows darker and deeper. And the fragile beginnings of love are threatened by a secret someone would kill to keep.
Sounds very intriguing. Thanks for sharing. So glad you guested today and I had fun chatting with you!
Hope everyone can stay and visit some more!