Posted by Susan Sey Jan 29 2012, 12:26 am in guest blogger, Lois Greiman, Susan Sey, Uncorked
I’m going to go ahead & admit this: I’m not a joiner. I talk to the people in my head as a career choice, and just yesterday I seriously considered going out in my Miss Piggy pajamas. (In my defense, they are fleece & pink & delightful.) So when I learned that I probably needed to join a writers group to get any better at writing, I’m not going to lie: I resisted. Hard.
But I knew I needed help, & eventually I gathered the necessary courage & did it. I went to a meeting of my local RWA chapter. And do you know what happened? I met some of the most generous, talented writers I know. One of them was Lois Greiman, who looked like an absolute super star to this terrified newbie. She had horses, long blond princess hair & was published. In multiple genres. Good heavens.
I was too scared to actually speak with her, so I just glommed all her books. I enjoyed every last word, from the historicals to the mysteries. And when I finally worked up the courage to say hello in person (it took several years), I was delighted to find her warm, generous & down to earth. Her 7th Chrissy McMullen mystery is just out, & I’m thrilled to invite you all today to share our conversation about it.
Susan: Welcome to the Lair, Lois! Thanks for joining us today. I mentioned earlier that you’re a multi-genre author. What draws you to write in multiple genres and what’s your favorite?
Lois: I swear I have ADHD. There are always a couple dozen ideas floating around in my head, characters demanding to get written, plots suggesting the what ifs. I’ve branched out from writing strictly romance because so many things interest me, but almost everything has an element of romance in it. I love writing (and reading) snarky/flirty dialogue. Recently I told my agent I’d like to do a post apocalyptic book. She laughed out loud, then said, “Oh, you’re serious. But Lois, you write humorous romance.” I said, “Well yeah, it’d be a funny, sexy post apocalyptic.” So, to answer your question, I’m not sure what I like best. I may not have found it yet.
Susan: An excellent excuse to keep us all happy by continuing to write in multiple genres! Now your Chrissy McMullen books fall into the mystery/romantic suspense camp. Chrissy is your psychologist heroine who can’t stay out of trouble or away from Lt. Jack Rivera. Tell us a little bit about this world & where it came from.
Lois: Back when I was writing strictly romance (and loving it) I used to ride horses with a friend of mine. She’s a psychologist and would tell me about her clients and her dates. Eventually, I thought, these guys should be one and the same because they all need help. It wasn’t too much after that when I decided to craft a character similar to that friend. She was clear in my mind from the first moment and has always surprised me with the amount of crazy one LA psychologist can encompass. But she IS growing as is her relationship with Lieutenant Jack Rivera. It all seems very organic, very natural. I just give Chrissy the reins and let her run.
Susan: So this is Chrissy’s 7th outing. Who is she, and what keeps you coming back to her as a heroine?
Lois: My daughter says Chrissy is me. Personally, I’m pretty sure that Chrissy and I should BOTH be insulted by the idea. But the girl makes a pretty good point. A book club once invited me to a Chrissy McMullen party. I was so surprised that they had all my favorite high caloric treats there then realized that it probably wasn’t a coincidence because Chrissy just happens to have the same taste as I do. She’s much tougher than I am though. Tougher, funnier, sassier. It takes me five drafts to think of the things she says spur of the moment. I get so much wonderful mail about her that I can’t seem to let her go.
Susan: Wouldn’t it be nice if real life offered us five tries to get a conversation right? I love that part of writing. What’s Chrissy up to this time?
Lois: When I began writing this book, Rivera and Chrissy were all cozied up together. I’m ashamed to say that I couldn’t allow that. Apparently I love conflict, in fiction at least. So I broke them up before the first scene just because I enjoy seeing them fight. But their relationship had grown to the point that even though Rivera is the one in trouble this time, he goes down swinging in an effort to keep Chrissy safe. If you’d like a little taste of who they are together please feel free to check out my website.
Susan: I’ve heard Jayne Ann Krentz talk about writers identifying their “core story,” the theme they seem to come back to again and again no matter what world they’re writing in. Do you have a core story? If so, does it stretch across all the genres you write in?
Lois: I think she’s right. We are who we are, and although I’ve written children’s stories and mysteries and historical romance and paranormal romance, they all seem to deal with the power of love. I believe in happy endings. If I want to be depressed I’ll read the newspaper.
Susan: Sheesh. No kidding. I’m a die hard newspaper subscriber, but sometimes I don’t get past the comics. So what are you working on now?
Lois: Excellent question. As I’m sure you know, it’s virtually impossible for an author to only work on one project at a time. Since I’m just getting Uncorked out in print now (you can order it online from Amazon) I’m digitilizing a number of my out of print historical novels while working on a series we’re currently calling Hope Springs. It’s set on a ranch in South Dakota and involves a woman who plans to sell her parents’ ranch and move on with her life. But neglected animals and abused children keep lining up at her barn door. It feels very close to home since I grew up on a cattle ranch and currently tend to take in every broken down horse that crosses my trail. The first book will be released by Kensington in November. So… I’d better get cracking.
Susan: Wow! That sounds like enough to keep a girl busy. Thanks for swinging by today, Lois! We’ll look forward to hearing all about Chrissy & her adventures, & seeing what’s going on in Hope Springs.
Lois will be popping in through the day to answer any questions you might have for her, and she’s giving away an Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter, so let’s chat! To get the conversation started, here’s what I’m wondering: Have any of you ever based a character (if you’re a writer) on an actual person in your life? Or (if you’re strictly a reader) have you ever recognized anybody you know in a book? Tell us about it! You can change names to protect the innocent…
Want to hear more from Lois? You can check out her website, or find her on Facebook & Twitter. You can find Chrissy McMullen on Facebook, too!