This month, I was given the chance to chat with a wonderful
author who took time out of her schedule to visit with me. So,
without further delay, letís hear from
It sounds like writing has always been
a part of our life. Did you know that you would be a writer?
Gosh, I think I was born a
writer. It wasnít really a choice. I just never thought Iíd
be trying to make a living with it. Iím still not sure about
that one. (Laughs)
I started writing
funny little stories and poems in kindergarten. Stories have always
been magical for me. And the ability to craft my own tales was my
way of grabbing part of that magic.
And then I started
public school. (Cue the dark music.) I loathed English and
Literature classes. The teachers were too rigid. And I did
amazingly dismal work. There was no way I wanted to devote my life
to something that made me so utterly miserable.
Looking back, I
realize the trouble wasnít the instructors or the class work. It
was me. I was passionate about fiction and the story form. Perhaps
too passionate. I had no clue how to channel that passion. I ended
up frustrated and angry with anyone who tried to help me. That
frustration still rears its ugly head, usually when Iím near the end
of a work-in-progress. That frustration shows up and throws my
story into chaos.
You could say I
have this love-hate relationship with writing. When the words are
flowing and the characters spring off the page, I know I have the
best career in the world! Itís the days when I feel as if Iím
beating my head against a brick wall that make me question my
sanity. Those are the days when I delete more pages than I write.
I rework and rewrite every scene, trying to make it better,
searching for the charactersí voices that have suddenly gone
So, I guess you
could say I suppose I always knew I was going to be a writer. I was
just smart enough to avoid it until my 30th birthday when
I could no longer ignore those stories that had been whispering over
and over in my head, urging me to write them down.
Do you enjoy being able to write full-time?
Do you ever miss your days as an urban planner?
Yes, and yes! Getting the chance to
write full-time was a dream come true for me. It took several years
of careful budget planning to give my husband and myself the freedom
to pursue our creative dreams. You can read more about our
budgeting process at my website (www.dorothymcfalls.com).
However, with every
freedom there is a price. Writing at home can be very lonely at
times. Iím stuck with no company other than my own thoughts for
hours on end. No one is booking vacations to my head. Itís not a
lovely place. Itís more like the industrial side of town, with
half-completed buildings and old structures that seriously need to
be torn down already.
And I did find
urban planning extremely satisfying at times. It was a difficult
profession to walk away from. I was given the freedom to create
several how-to publications for the region, and I got to work with
some fabulous small towns in the creation of long-term plans. Part
of the planning process is telling the story of the place. The
process is very similar to crafting a compelling fictional tale,
only as a planner I had to stick to the facts. The plannerís job is
to document everything that is good and loved about a community:
what works, what is important, and why generations have raised their
families in that place. When that is understood, creating a
long-term plan is easy.
Tell us some of your favorites. (i.e. foods,
authors, books, movies, music, colors, and any of your other
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Chocolate (of course)
Favorite authors: Elizabeth Peters, Catherine Coulter, Kay Hooper
Favorite new authors: Tracy Anne Warren, Sophia Nash, Nina Bruhns
Favorite movies: Gee, this is a hard one. I must have a happy
ending. I actually get grumpy when I donít get one. And I prefer
comedies. Itís fun to go to the movies with my husband and get to
laugh and laugh and laugh. Iíve been enjoying quirky Japanese Anime
Favorite books: There are so many. One of my earliest favorites,
however, was the Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell. Modesty Blaise
is an ex-criminal turned British spy. I discovered her during my
teen years. She was so sexy and confident. Men loved her and women
wanted to befriend her. She became my role model!
When writing, do you plan your stories out
in advance or do they develop as you write?
Coming from an urban planning background, I
do have a certain affinity for planning. Before beginning a new
novel, I usually have a notebook filled with scene ideas, character
sketches, and short scenes. However, all good plans have to be
flexible. When I get into the heat of writing the book, the
characters often run off into new and unexpected directions. Iíve
been taken down dead-ends and written into corners more times than I
can count. And then itís back to the notebooks and playing with
ideas, figuring out how I might get my hapless character out of some
impossible situation and get the story back on tract.
I donít mind the
side roads my writing process often takes me down, though. Thatís
all part of the fun of discovering the story and learning from the
characters. If I didnít have fun with the characters I created for
the stories, I doubt Iíd keep writing.
Writing in the romance genre, do you believe
in happily ever after? Have you found yours?
Forgive me for sounding hokeyóbut oh yes, I
do believe in the happily-ever-after! I firmly believe in the happy
endings I give my characters. I know there are many who would scoff
at that notion, saying the best anyone can hope for is
But, in my mind,
keeping a relationship together and crafting an exciting story uses
many of the same skills. Both must keep focused on a common goal.
In a story, that goal pulls the scenes together and makes the plot
feel as if itís progressing in a natural manner. In a relationship,
the common goal (whatever it might be) is the glue that holds the
remain happy without work. There might be black moments and times
when the goal may evolve and grow as the relationship grows. These
times may not be easy. But that doesnít mean the relationship has
I know. Iíve been
living my happily-ever-after for the past 14 years. I entered the
dating scene late. It wasnít until college before I was brave
enough to risk my heart. Luckily (or perhaps it was fate) my first
experience with love happened when I met an incredibly sexy and
surprisingly well-adjusted college hunk. We were both in the
marching band. He played trombone. I played piccolo. I know, it
sounds nerdy, but he wasnít. I was.
And he had the
kindest heart of anyone I had ever met. So, of course, I married
him! And the rest is history...
Do you enjoy hearing from your readers and
what is the best way to contact you?
I love hearing from readers! I try to
respond to every piece of mail or email I get. The best way to
contact me would be through my
I finally have a high-speed Internet connection. Hello 21st
What appeals to you about the Regency time
period? Would you enjoy going back and being a part of that era?
Who can resist a rakish lord in tight
pants? Men in tight leather pants. Yummy!
Wait, what was the
question? Oh yes, the Regency period. That short period of history
represented a glittering golden age of romance. It was a time when
the public followed the lives of the aristocracy just like we follow
celebrities today. Crowds would gather to watch the lords and
ladies dressed in their finest suits and gowns emerge from their
carriages to attend balls. Gossip columns in the daily newspapers
spilled the dirt on the latest scandals. But beneath the glitter
and the excessójust like todayósome very real, very compelling
dramas were playing out.
romances whisk us away to another place and another world, I believe
the struggle to be loved and make our relationships work despite the
odds against us is something we all understand.
Would I enjoy going
back to the Regency time period? Me? Are you kidding? I donít
particularly enjoy camping. I am too attached to modern
conveniences. And modern medicine. Donít you dare try and pry my
ebook reader out of my hands. Iíll fight you for it. And I think I
might starve if I didnít have a microwave.
While the Regency
time period is fun to dream about, I think I was born in this time
and in this place for a reason. Iíll leave the time traveling to
the more adventurous authors.
How do your characters come to you? Is
there a character you had a hard time letting go of?
Many of my ideas and my characters come to
me in dreams. For as long as I could remember, I dreamed of
stories. Often I have dreams where I donít even play a role. Gosh,
that probably has some kind of scary psychological significance.
So, letís not think about that, shall we?
characters are composites of people in my life. And no, those
characters arenít always cast as villains. The hero in my debut
novel (THE MARRIAGE LIST), for example, was a composite of several
important men in my life. And the hero in my upcoming Regency
romance (THE NUDE) was based on my husband. In fact, THE NUDE was
written as a love letter to my husband. It was a long, 100,000-word
love letter with lots of exciting action.
I have had a few
characters that I didnít want to leave behind. Lady Iona, the
heroine in LADY IONAíS REBELLION, was one. I was fascinated by her
fearless attitude and love of life. She was everything I admired
and wanted to be. How could I let her go? And yet, the story was
While working on
revisions for LADY IONAíS REBELLION, my husband and I adopted a
happy, outgoing Papillon puppy. The name, Lady Iona, fit her
perfectly. So, in a way, I didnít have to let Lady Iona go after
How do you promote your work?
Every way possible. Well, I donít stand on
my roof and shout to the world that I have a new book outóIím afraid
of heights. But promotion is important. I might have just
published the best novel in the world, but if no one knows about it,
no one will read it. I give away magnets with my latest book cover
on them. I have contests with the book as a prize. And I talk
about my book to everyone I knowóboth online and in person. I donít
think Iíve bored anyone too much. People arenít running the other
way when they see me...yet.
Does your family support your writing and do
they read your work?
Do they ever! And Iím grateful for the
support. My mom has always been a big supporter of my writing. My
dad was my best PR man. He let the entire town know about my first
novel. My husband lets me know constantly how proud he is of me.
And he enjoys my erotic stories, which makes writing them all the
How would you describe yourself?
A little blue creature who sits in front of
a computer all day. What? Thatís not me? Hmmm... I think I need
to work on this self-image thing.
Letís try this
again. Iím the life of the party? No?
Oh, I know. I
relate to Charlie Brown a little too much. Iím often uncomfortable
in my own skin. I hate to say no to anyone. I want to save the
world. But donít ask me to stay up past 9 pmóI might turn into a
pumpkin. I worry endlessly about stupid little things, but the big
stuff I can usually take in stride.
Bottom line: Iím a
work in progress.
How do you celebrate after finishing a book
or meeting a deadline?
I reread what Iíve written and wonder how I
pulled it off. Then I start a new book. Seriously. I have too
many ideas, and not enough time or energy. When Iím nearing the end
of a book, I usually have several new characters swimming around in
my head, begging me to start their story.
It sounds like you are an animal lover? Do
you consider yourself more of a cat person or a dog person?
How can I choose? My cat (Yoshi) is my
muse. My dogs (Abu and Iona) are my heart. They are all essential
parts of my household.
gotten involved in the sport of dog shows. What a fun experience!
My Papillon puppy, Iona, isnít a perfect show dog. She gets tense
when she has to stand on the table for the judge. She ends up
arching her back and getting into the strangest postures. But when
sheís strutting her stuff around the ring with the other dogs, she
I canít imagine
doing something like that with my kitty, Yoshi. He wouldnít enjoy
that at all. But he does enjoy snuggling with me in bed. He keeps
me company while I write. Heís a cat. He does all those odd cat
things that are hard to describe, but just makes things feel right
in the house.
What would a perfect day for you involve?
A perfect day? Hmm... A new book
contract? No? A three-book contract from one of my favorite
publishers? Yes, and to have my family and friends close at hand to
celebrate with me. I think that would be just about perfect.
Is there anything else you would like to
share with us? Any current or upcoming releases?
Thank you, Lori, for this wonderful
interview! You really put me to work with your thought-provoking
As for what Iíve
been working on, my most recent release is a light-hearted and sexy
paranormal romantic suspense, Neptuneís Lair. Playboy Brendan
Cromerty isn't looking to fall in love, only save the feisty Dallas
St. John from a mystical force threatening to destroy her. But what
he discovers about himself and Dallas is more than his take-control
heart can handle.
Brendan is part of
The Protectors -- an ancient secret society that assists others like
them awaken to the mystical gifts theyíve been given.
Jo at Joyfully
Reviewed said in part, "The last two chapters gave me tingles and
goosebumps and I would have never guessed how the ending came about.
Neptune's Lair is a book not to be missed..."
Also, look for The Nude,
a new Regency Romance from Five Star/Gale in May 2009! Itís a
sensual romance with a dash of mystery and intrigue. Iíll have more
information on my website (www.dorothymcfalls.com)
as its release date approaches.