Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


My guest on Vintage Vonnie today is the warm and engaging romance author, Lynne Marshall. Please welcome her to Vintage Vonnie.

First of all, I’d like to thank you, Vonnie, for having me as a guest at your wonderful blog.  I have met so many lovely new authors over at The Wild Rose Press, and you are one of them.  You’ve sent me a list of questions, and I thoroughly enjoyed answering them.

1.       What authors and genres do you like to read?

I love to read contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance, as well at non-romance books.  My favorite authors are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, LaVyrle Spencer, Kristin Higgins, Linda Howard, Allison Brennan, Jennifer Crusie, Jill Marie Landis, Jodi Thomas, Deanna Raybourn, and Susan Crandall.  Just to name a few.  Non-romance, Jodi Picoult, Sandra Kring, Elizabeth Berg. I read male authors, too! I could go on and on, there are just so many fabulous authors out there.  Makes me a little queasy thinking I’ve thrown my hat into the ring.

2.       Do you enter writing contests? If so, has this been a positive experience for you?

Oh, I’m a big believer in contests.  I started off in the Romance Writers of America entering a lot of chapter contests and getting the snot slapped out of me. I was also dubbed a contest slut by my fellow RWA chaptermates. I learned a lot, and I also grew a thick skin.  Eventually I caught on and started making the finals in contests with a few of my entries.  One for the Road won and was a finalist in six or more contests a few years back.  The judges loved the story and the idea of having an older heroine. Though the manuscript got requested by an editor and found me an agent, the big print publishers weren’t interested, so I’m grateful for The Wild Rose Press and the Last Rose of Summer line. 

Since I’ve been published in category romance, I’ve entered published contests, too.  A couple of my Medical Romances for Harlequin, Mills & Boon have done well in contests.  Temporary Doctor, Surprise Father, was a finalist in the Greater Detroit Book Buyers Best 2010 contest, short contemporary category, and The Heart Doctor and the Baby just won the short contemporary category in the 2011 Winter Rose Contest.  So, as you can see I still enter contests.

My advice for contest entrants, if the critique from the judges rings true, or more than one judge says similar things, take another look at your entry and consider making some changes.  As with all critiques, take what you can use, and what makes your story better, and don’t torture yourself about the rest.  We’ll never please everyone.  It’s impossible.

3.       Do you ever dream of writing in a different genre?

I can’t say I dream of it, but I have thought about tackling a cozy mystery.  Also, when I see movies like Win Win, where the story is so wonderful, I fantasize about writing general fiction, bigger stories with lots of secondary characters and storylines.  When I realistically consider what that would entail, I get exhausted. Not that writing romance isn’t hard enough!  In all of my reading years, I’ve always been most drawn to the romance portion of any novel.  I guess, in the long run, I’m hooked on romance.

4.       What part of the writing process brings you the most pleasure? The most angst?

When I begin a new book, I feel completely overwhelmed.  Yes, I’ve written the synopsis, written up a conflict chart, gotten feedback from either my critique partner or, if it is one of my category books, my editor.  Facing that blank page is always daunting.  And the first three to four chapters feel like wading through molasses.  That’s the angsty part.  Eventually I’ll stumble into the “zone” and get so caught up with my characters and their story, that the words flow and flow, and a snowball effect happens toward the end of the book, and whew, I end up holding onto my hat by the time I write The End.  Of course, that’s just the first draft, but I’ve managed to tackle this beast of a story and toss it onto the page! Hooray! From there it is re-writes, editing, revisions, more re-writes and editing, reading, re-reading.  Well, you know the process.  The part that brings me the most angst though, is waiting for reader responses.  Until I’ve had some feedback from readers, I can’t relax or breathe easily.  My nerves are all a tangle just writing about it for your blog, Vonnie!

5.       What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on another Medical Romance for Harlequin.  I’m happy to be under contract with them and have, what I feel, is a good romance story in the works.  The hero is my favorite kind – tortured.  And the heroine is a solid non-glamorous type of girl (my favorite kind of heroine) who has been dealt a serious blow.

And I’ve also got some good news to share.  In July I contracted with The Wild Rose Press for a second book.  This one is for the Champagne Line and it is called, An Indiscretion.

6.       Tell us about your current release…or soon to be release.

Vonnie, I’d love to!  ONE FOR THE ROAD, on sale now, is a road trip, a romance and a mystery all rolled into one big, hopefully fun, story.  I think the best way to tell you about the book is to use the back book cover blurb:

D’Anne Palmer and her husband had a life others dream of—traveling the US in a luxury forty-foot motor coach, going where they wanted.  Suddenly, D’Anne finds herself a widow with her only asset being the motor home.  Without funds to return to California, she decides to hire out the RV.  

(My actual words for this section were:  D’Anne Palmer and her husband are on their cross country, last ditch, mend-it-don’t-end-it marriage tour when he drops dead.  This was gently edited by my wonderful editor at The Wild Rose Press – LOL)

Tyler White was a “one-hit-wonder” ten years ago.  At a crossroads, he decides to attempt a comeback.  He’s hoping the three-week tour he’s put together will reignite his career.  All he needs now is some cheap transportation, and the widow with the RV might just fit the bill. 

D’Anne and Tyler discover a lot about themselves—and each other—as they journey from Nashville to Las Vegas, via Texas, with the band and Tyler’s dog.  Can close quarters really help a has-been singer on the comeback trail and a widow with California style find love?

As you can see, the trickiest part of this story was having a new widow – her husband has died six weeks before the book begins – fall believably in love again.  I worked very hard to make the transition slow and realistic, and I haven’t had one complaint about it yet, so hopefully I pulled it off.

One thing the blurb doesn’t mention is the secondary mystery which involves D’Anne’s deceased husband.  As usual, he’s made a mess of things, and she’s left cleaning it up. One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was I got to write a car chase scene involving a forty foot deluxe RV, a Hummer, and a beat up VW bug.  Ah, the joys of writing the stories of our hearts, right Vonnie?

Thanks again for having me guest blog.  I’d love to know what your readers think about books that don’t quite fit into one category.  For example, One for the Road is a road trip, a midlife coming of age story, a romance and a mystery.

Readers, do you enjoy books that are hard to categorize?

As well as Barnes & Noble, Digi Books Café, Fictionwise, and many more online e-book stores.


Vonnie Davis said...

I'm so tickled you've stopped by to visit. I've been on the go most of the day and just now got home. I have your book, ONE FOR THE ROAD, on my Kindle and hope to soon get to it.

Lynne Marshall said...

Thanks so much for having me, Vonnie. Hopefully we'll have a few more visitors stop by later.

As you know your book is next on my TBR list. Looking forward to it.

thanks again,

Mona Risk said...

Lynne, I am so happy you are still writing for M&B. I love your medical romances. One For The Road is on my TBR list. I'll take it with me on my next trip.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Mona,
Thanks for that. Yes, I was very fortunate to have an editor who believes in me and kept asking when the next story would be coming in.

Vonnie - I know you have a medical theme going in Storm's Interlude, and I look forward to checking that out.

Thanks so much for taking One for the Road on your next trip, Mona. With all the traveling you do, I'd kind of like to swap with my book. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sarah Grimm said...


One for the Road sounds wonderful. I already have it on my TBR, but plan on moving it up the list!

Jannine Gallant said...

Interesting that the beginning of the book is the most challenging for you. Me, I fly through the beginning and then run out of steam and sputter to a stop in the middle. I agree that waiting for reader response is where the real angst comes in!

Lilly Gayle said...

One for the Road sounds great! And I know what you mean about that queasy feeling when you think of all those other, fabulous authors out there. But TWRP authors are not just good writers, they're a great support system!

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Sarah, Thank you so much for giving One for the Road a try. There are different levels of conflict, some dramatic, and some downright silly. Now you've added more angst for me, waiting for fellow authors to report back. LOL.

HOpe I don't let you down.


Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Jannine - I guess the reason the beginning is so tough for me is because I'm working with strangers, just getting to know my characters, and they're breaking me in. Somewhere after chapter three the ice is broken and things move faster.
I've heard that one of the reasons people run out of steam in the middle of the book is because of unsustainable conflict.
I hate conflict in my personal life, and sometimes I rush to fix things in my books a little too soon.
One thing is for sure, we never stop learning craft as writers, do we?

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Lilly,
I have definitely learned, as the new girl on the block, how supportive TWRP authors are. I am trying my best to show some love right back!

Thanks so much for stopping by Vonnie's blog.

Melinda said...


Congrats on the book. Its so exciting when you get a book published. Your book is on my must read

Walk in harmony,

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Melinda!
Thanks so much for the positive thoughts. I agree, having a book published is one incredible feeling.
Thank you for putting me on your must read list.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Lynne
Great blog. Yes I have always liked romances that are a little different from the norm. Yours sounds fascinating. I will go check it out.



Caroline Clemmons said...

Lynne, congratulations on your successful career. I too like heroines that are a little different than the norm. Thanks for sharing.

Lynne Marshall said...


Thanks so much for commenting on my question about reading books that don't quite fit into the general market. I'm thrilled you're going to check out the book. I have most of the first chapter posted at my website, if you'd like to see how the story takes off.

Thanks for reading the blog.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hello and thank you so much for your good wishes, Caroline. I think there are more than a few of us who like a heroine who may be past her prime.

Thanks for reading the blog.