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Dane, Adrianna

NS : Today we are interviewing Romance author Adrianna Dane, author of ESMERELDA'S SECRET published by Amber Quill Press. Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to talk with us today.

Adrianna: Hi, thanks for having me.

NS : Glad to have you talk with us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Adrianna: I've lived from coast to coast. I was brought up in a small town in central New York. After marrying, I worked as a legal secretary in Washington, D.C. (living in Northern Virginia), then on to Billings, Montana, where we lived for ten years, and now I reside in the state of Washington.

NS : Sounds a lot like me; I've also done the coast to coast thing.

Adrianna: My husband and I have been married for thirty-one years, and we have three wonderful children: a daughter and twin sons, and one adorable granddaughter, who just turned one. We've moved into the empty nest syndrome-it's just my husband and I, and our very spoiled furry child, Mikala, who is part sheltie. Mikala is a rescue dog and is my constant companion these days, lying under my desk, or in my lap when I'm at the computer. My husband and I have agreed it's about time to focus in on my writing-so here I am. I'm a member of Romance Writers of America, the Olympia Chapter of RWA, the Kiss of Death Chapter, and EPIC.

NS : We're all glad you did focus on your writing. You also write under the name Tess Maynard. Why did you choose to write under two different names?

Adrianna: My original pen name was going to be Tess Maynard, Tess, being a nickname for Theresa (my given name), and Maynard was my father's first name, so has some sentimental meaning. Tess writes Romantic Suspense and less explicit Romance-sort of, and some general fiction. Adrianna came about because I was having trouble writing the sensual scenes: I needed to break a block on writing. Growing up in an Italian Catholic family kind of throws a damper in my way when writing those hotter scenes. So I had to get past it.

NS : I have to ask. What did you do to get past it?

Adrianna: We all have little tricks for breaking blocks, I guess. Mine is Adrianna. Adrianna is a bit of an imp-and very curious. Can you see that devilish twinkle in her eye? Little did I know it would be Adrianna's writing that took off first. It's funny how you think you are headed down one road, and you end up in a totally different direction. Just proves it pays to be flexible.

NS : It sure does, opens more doors and gives you more options for versatility. ESMERELDA'S SECRET was your first book; was it difficult for you to write?

Adrianna: Actually, it wasn't. It fell together very quickly. J.W. and Willow were very vivid-as was Esmerelda-in my mind; my muse was definitely working with me on this one. It has passion, misunderstanding, rediscovery . . . and a little mystery that's finally resolved. What was tough was staying in the parameters of the word limit. I ended up cutting about 5,000 words to meet the guidelines on this one. Cutting was difficult.

NS : Wow! I've been writing a little myself and that's a lot of cutting! Do you have any new books coming out soon and what are they about?

Adrianna: Yes, I do. Under the pen name Tess Maynard, I've written a Romantic Suspense novel titled SHE MOVES THROUGH THE FAIRE, and it should be released in late 2004 or early 2005 from Amber Quill Press. Stop by my website (www.tessmaynard.com) to read an excerpt and take a peek at the great cover art created by Trace Edward Zaber, who is wonderful at interpreting what I envision to represent my stories.

I will be releasing the first book in a planned series entitled The Diary of Lillian Manchester. This book is titled THE STRANGER and will be part of the AmberPax Collection entitled Western Roundup scheduled for release in November, 2004, from Amber Quill Press. I'll be in the company of several other great authors with this collection, namely, Marianne LaCroix, Caitlyn Willows, Lyndie Lamont, and Deirdre O'Dare. I'm excited about this one because it is an Erotic Western Historical Romance-a departure from my usual Contemporaries. I'm also working on another book that will be included in an upcoming AmberPax collection, probably to be released early in 2005. And I have several other projects in the works as well.

NS : Sounds like you're really keeping yourself busy! Why did you choose to write Erotica?

Adrianna: I have come to the conclusion that this genre chose me, not the other way around. It's not the only genre I write in, but it's the one I have been published in first. I like words, I like creating romantic stories, and I like using words to create a very sensual, emotional, romantic journey for two people. I guess writing Erotica, at least for me, isn't just about writing explicit sex scenes, as some might think who do not understand the genre. It's about the sensual journey of discovery, the words I can use to invoke it, and trying to create that imagery as passionately as possible. I don't have to "cool down" the words I use, and that's why I'm drawn to this genre, I guess.

NS : Passion and romance is something we all desire to have in our lives. It takes special talent to write it well, which you do. With that said, do all your stories have a similar theme, content, etc?

Adrianna: The only similarity is that they are about romance, love and deep commitment, and they have a happily ever after-at least so far. But writing fiction isn't boilerplate, things change, our perceptions change as to what those terms can mean, and tomorrow I could be coming at it from a whole different perspective from what I write today-even in the next minute it could change. There are no boundaries to imagination or life's impact on it.

NS : Change is a good thing. So, when did you start writing?

Adrianna: That would go back to when I first learned to write. I'd say I wrote my first play when I was about ten. I wrote a lot of poetry in high school. I have always read, always written-at least that's the way it feels to me. I've always had a vivid imagination: channeling it is quite another story.

NS : Writing is a great way to express yourself. About how long does it take you to complete a story?

Adrianna: No two stories are ever the same. Some take several years, some several weeks, sometimes months. It can depend on the length and how complicated the plot is going to be, how difficult it is to get a handle on the story line, the characters, etc. If I have a deadline and just a "germ" of an idea, I'll sit down and do the research, try to loosely outline, then sit and write the character sketches, first draft, etc. I might do some storyboarding. The process varies with each story. If there isn't a deadline, it could take forever from start to finish. But I do tend to be goal-oriented and set my own deadlines, so that helps in getting to the end. I can be rather disciplined that way-but that's probably the only way I can say I'm disciplined. Boundaries kind of irritate me: I'm always trying to expand them.

NS : We all need to have boundaries but many times they really irritate me too. Have you ever thought about writing serial type stories?

Adrianna: That's kind of what The Diary of Lillian Manchester is. The series will follow the "adventures" of Slade McCord and Lillian Manchester across the post-Civil War West. And Lilly is quite a wildcat, very much a woman of the Old West; Slade is a man scarred by the war and past family history. If you've ever listened to the song "You Will Be Mine" by Faith Hill, that's our Lilly. Stay tuned to my newsletter to find out more about the music and Lilly and Slade's story.

NS : I like Historical Romance stories and it sounds like one I'll have to check out for sure! Do you have a personal website and/or newsletter group where readers can go to find out more information about you and your stories?

Adrianna: I have two websites and I try to keep them updated regularly: www.adriannadane.com and www.tessmaynard.com There are story excerpts and a few short stories at both websites, as well as favorite links, other author links, etc. Oh, yes, I've just added a message board. I also send out a newsletter, Mystic Musings, with updates, recipes and just chatting about what's going on with me. Subscribers are automatically signed up for a monthly drawing, so I encourage everyone to sign up.

NS : Our readers should be sure to check those out! Earlier we discussed your upcoming works. Please tell us which of these we can look forward to seeing come out first and when you expect the rest of them to be released?

Adrianna: I expect you will see THE STRANGER released first, sometime in November 2004. SHE MOVES THROUGH THE FAIRE is tentatively scheduled for later this year or early 2005.

NS: Great! That's really soon! Where do you get inspiration for your stories from?

Adrianna: Inspiration comes from everywhere. From my dreams, a newspaper article, a picture in a magazine, someone walking down the street-inspiration is all around me. The more I write, the worse it gets.

NS : Sounds like me! I keep paper all over the place; in case I get an idea, I can quickly jot it down before it leaves me. Finally, do you have any advice you would like to offer to new writers wanting to get into this market?

Adrianna: Write . . . write . . . submit . . . submit. Join a good critique group. I'm a member of a critique group at Critique Corner, which I located through Yahoo Groups. It's a small group of people, about four or five of us and they have been invaluable to me. I do recommend a small group where you can get several viewpoints, but not too many. And the second thing is to write and revise to a point, but then you have to submit it . . . somewhere. It's never going to be perfect. My first published short story was with an ezine on the Internet. Looking at it now, it certainly could do with revisions, but there comes a point when you do have to let someone else read it. Having that first story published changed the road I traveled. My first paying publication was a short personal experience story in FATE Magazine. The acceptance, when I received it, was very exciting. I felt validated all of a sudden. It was a small thing, but a big step for me. All of it happened because I made a conscious choice to send my work out. Develop a career plan-and follow it. And join good support groups. No one understands a writer better than another writer . . . and when you get a rejection (I have a folder of them), no one can commiserate better, and help pull you back up.

Well Adrianna, Thank you once again for talking with us here at Novelspot. Good luck with all your future projects and we hope you continue romancing your readers for many years to come!