Roxanne Howard and I met as all authors meet each other—hiding in our homes, furiously typing words into a bright screen, and then sending these words hurtling through cyberspace to other authors asking for their opinion about our floating text representations. Isn’t it absurd? Yet we live and die by these hurtling text fragments. I have the honor of counting Roxanne among my most esteemed beta reader friends. She’s one of the best, and if it weren’t for her eyes on my words, well…I don’t know where I’d be.
(Probably still staring at my bright screen pounding out words, but, you know, super confused about what the hell I’m even doing with my life.)
Without further ado, I present to you…ROXANNE D. HOWARD.
Hi Roxanne! Thanks for agreeing to appear on my blog. I think these interviews should come with a warning, but I’m glad you’re up to the task. Now, let’s just get straight to it. Can you tell us how you even decided to join the amazing yet sometimes-frustrating, sometimes-zany, often-wild world of being a romance author?
Hey! I was thrilled when you said you wanted to interview me! For anyone reading this, Ember is by far the best beta reader I’ve ever come across. In addition to being an amazing author, she really nails anything that stands out in a manuscript, and helps it to shine. If you’re lucky enough to do a manuscript swap with her or have her help you beta read, she is phenomenal.
Aww, thank you! *blushes*
And I am totally down with interesting and out-there interview questions. You know, I think writing romance for me started when I was a kid playing with Barbies. They all had to have tragic backstories and complicated love lives. As I matured, that translated onto paper. I’m weird like that. 😉
Tragic Barbie back stories! That’s amazing. Though I’m not sure you could get more tragic than Becky, the one in a wheel chair, who they just completely phased out of existence. Do you write romance full-time, or do you still juggle the dreaded day job/millions of side gigs?
I like to write full time when it’s possible and the kids are in school, but sometimes it can be hit-and-miss. I managed to crank out six books last year, but I’m currently riding the wave and focusing more on parenting and volunteer work right now. It’s nigh to impossible to write all the time when you have a day job; I could never have managed to write as much as I do if I was still working in corporate, so my hat is off and body bowed to those who manage to work full time, parent, and write amid all they have to do.
Roxanne is a pen name of yours. Have you shared with the “regular world” your romance writing, or do you keep them separate?
Y’know, I was completely separate with my pen name and my normal ballet mom/normal life up until a month ago, then I realized writing romance novels and having them traditionally published is something to be proud of, not to be concerned about what other people think! So I’m still writing romance under the pseudonym of Roxanne, and everything else under my real name. But I no longer find it necessary to hide that I’m a published author. I’m proud of my accomplishments, and every other romance author should be too.
Congrats on the big reveal! I’m still waiting to let my proverbial cat out of the bag. Someday she might just escape on her own. Anyway, what do you think about combining all your work under your real name? Good or bad idea?
I think that it’s a bad idea, because of the sexual content. My books are all plot-driven and about character arc and personal development, but because it is high heat romance, I do think it should be under a pseudonym. I am working on a children’s series for my daughters, and I’d like to publish that under my real name, so I think it’s good to separate the two, though I do know two author friends who publish everything under their regular name.
What about switching exclusively to sloth-inspired romcom’s featuring hideous detectives and their multi-dimensional alien hijinks? Good or bad idea?
He he, you know what, nothing is a bad idea. Seriously. In my book the more interesting and fresh the dynamic and plot, the better. If the writer is good enough, the story can work. Also, I don’t like heroes and heroines who are too pretty. I need flawed people. I’ve actually got a book on the backburner that does have aliens in it. Whether it will ever see the light of day is anyone’s guess. 😊
I’d love to read an alien book of yours! Be sure to tell me when it’s available. Bonus points for flawed aliens. What’s the sorriest response you’ve ever gotten from someone when you told them you were a romance author?
Miraculously, even the very religious friends I have haven’t been judgmental in the slightest. Part of the reason I started out with a pseudonym was because I’m quite straitlaced in my everyday life, moming it up to the nines. But I haven’t had any negative kind of response from anyone, actually! I’m sure I will eventually, but even the most devout, churchgoing person I know said “that’s really cool” when they found out I write romances. I love that no one has judged.
That’s amazing that people have been so receptive. What’s the most heartwarming response you’ve ever gotten?
“I had a feeling you were a writer. I could tell when I talk to you. You have a kindred soul about you. I’m not at all surprised, but that’s really cool.” That made tears well up, and this was someone I expected to be appalled or offended by the love scenes in my novels.
Wow, that’s so lovely! It just goes to show that opening up to people, despite what we think they might say about us, is usually worth the risk. Now, be honest—what’s your least favorite part about writing erotic romance? Do you have any adjectives you just can’t stand? I think it’s hilarious when my legit writing-related work emails refer to the proper spelling of male ejaculation slang, but hey. All in a day’s work.
Oh gosh, what a loaded question! I don’t like the word “baby” or “daddy” in love scenes. I cringe at them. My editor made me put in “baby” once or twice for Sonnet Coupled because of the age of the characters, and while it worked in the content of the scene, it’s just not my cuppa tea. I like for love scenes I write to be very charged, organic, and real. When something I write starts reading like trashy porn, then I have to crumble it up and chuck it in the garbage. Love scenes need emotion and a real feeling, because they’re the lynchpin of a relationship coming together, and something beautiful that the reader can remember. Yes, it can be hot, but I need it to be about the two characters finding common ground and cementing how they feel about each other. I will say this; very good sex scenes are hard to write. Seriously.
Seriously serious! They are the hardest for me to write, too. You have a couple daughters—do they know about what mommy writes? Will you explain to them, or (gasp) let them read it someday?? What about grandma and grandpa??
No. And no. I would never show my children the romance novels I write. They understand I write for mommies and I’m a published author, and that’s all they know. I am writing a series of children’s books for them as well as a YA dystopian novel, so they will be able to read my work eventually. But I have no intention of having them read any of the romance I write, unless it’s a clean romance and when they are adults. I’m actually working on a clean romance right now that I’ll probably publish under my real name, so that might be a possibility when they’re eighteen or so, if it’s a cute-meet rom-com. But I keep my novels under literal lock and key, and my children’s innocence is my top priority at all times. My mother knows what I write. She’s never read any of it but she’s impressed, and my MIL and FIL just found out. Not sure how they feel about it, but everyone has been very supportive thus far.
OK, here’s the fire round. Pick whichever feels right:
Bollocks or Bolsters? Huh? Uh, bollocks.
Hank or Tammy? Hank.
Fried or Grilled? Grilled
Azure or Cerulean? Azure
PDF or DOCX? PDF
Cum or Come? (Yeah—shout out to the work emails!) Come
Very good. Now, to wrap this up, let’s end on a “I’m trying to conduct a semi-normal interview” note. What’s a piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer out there who hopes to someday see their own romance (or hideous detective alien hijinks) novels published? What has been the most helpful advice that you’ve received on your own career path?
Don’t ever, ever let anyone sway your belief in yourself. Hold on tight to your dreams, and pursue them no matter what. Write even when you don’t feel like writing. The best advice I ever received was “write away, right away.” Meaning, if you know you have a novel in you, don’t put it off because you’re scared, or because someone put you down and said you couldn’t. If it’s inside you, sit down, grab a pen or computer, and let it out!
Dang, that’s a good one! On that note, that’s about all we have for today. Thanks for giving us a peek into your world, Roxanne! We can’t wait to read your latest release, SONNET COUPLED!
Thank you so much, hon! I had an absolute blast.
ER nurse Sonnet Mendoza’s new housemate Griffith Parker proves there is more to a man than meets the eye, and shows her there’s more to life than just her career.
Roxanne D. Howard, Author: Quality Erotic Romance with Substance.