Guess what happened this past week? Gerri published! She’s thrilled and we’re happy to have her visit SMP today.
SMP: Gerri, welcome! What would you most like your readers to know about you?
Gerri: Thank you so much for inviting me here today. I would like my readers to know how much I love writing and that I hope they enjoy reading my novels as much as I enjoy writing them. My writing motto is “Adventure, Danger and Romance … because the journey to happily ever after should leave you … breathless.” I hope my readers enjoy the journey they are taking with me through the pages of my novels.
SMP: Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?
Gerri: I started writing when I was 8 years old, so I guess you might say I was nearly born with a pen in my hand. When I have an idea, I make notes so I won’t forget. Then whichever character screams the loudest to get out, that is the story that gets written next.
SMP: When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?
Gerri: In 2007 I took a job that required me to take a 4 hour per day train ride. After about a year of reading a book or more per week, I decided to make those four hours work for me. When in 2009 I had a vivid dream about a dream catcher, I decided to try my hand at writing, I wrote every day while on that train ride and “According to Legend” was born. It will be released in November, 2012 by Soul Mate Publishing.
SMP: How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
Gerri: Don’t hate me … it flew from my fingertips. It seemed as if I was possessed or channeling some deceased writer. It took me two and a half months to write it. The real journey began after that when striving to find out how to get published, I got involved with a writers group. The writers in the group showed me the ropes and I learning a lot about how to go about getting published.
SMP: Literary Inspiration: throughout your life, what novels have lifted you, made you think, “Someday I want to create something like that….”
Gerri: As a young girl, probably like many others, I read the Nancy Drew stories. Through high school I read what was assigned. It wasn’t until my college years that I started reading romance. The very first romance novel I read was “The Flame and The Flower” by the late, great, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and I was hooked on romance. But what really got me thinking I wanted to try my hand at writing was the Twilight series. After reading all four books in one week, I happened to see an interview with the author. In the interview she said she dreamed Twilight. I thought, hey, I could do that if I only had a dream. Then one night I had the vivid dream about the dream catcher, and “According to Legend” was the result. Since that time, I wrote “A Pirate’s Ransom” which made it to the publishing desk first. But fear not, Legend is close behind.
SMP: Let’s talk about romance. How do you set the mood for your characters, what do you draw from that helps your H/H achieve oneness with each other? And how much conflict do you give them, along the way?
Gerri: I write Historical Adventure Romance, so all my stories have a lot of action. “A Pirate’s Ransom” is a swashbuckling and exciting story about a woman, Lady Catherine being captured by the handsome pirate Captain Edmund Drake. The mood, well here is the recipe for Pirates. Take one beautiful woman trapped aboard a pirate ship with the handsome Captain, add confined quarters, add some moonlight and mix with a fierce mutual attraction = romance.
In this particular novel, I drew from a past love in my life. At one time I was engaged to a very romantic man. One of the scenes in this book was a memory of one of our encounters. (blush).
As for conflict, I’m mean to my characters. I throw everything at them, and then I take everything away from them. I ask myself, “what would happen if …?” a lot.
SMP: What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?
Gerri: I was getting ready to throw in the towel on the idea of ever having a writing career. I was at a turning point. I remember saying to a friend that I was going to give it one more month and if someone didn’t pick up one of my stories, I was going to give up writing. Then it happened. I got “the call,” well, in my case it was an email. I got an email from Soul Mate Publishing, telling me they loved my books (I had submitted two)! I was so excited I was jumping up and down, but it was 10:30 p.m. so I had to wait until the next day to be able to tell anyone. Needless to say, I hardly slept at all that night. But I did scream, jumped up and down and did the happy dance with my two pugs.
SMP: Writers face many challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?
Gerri: My greatest challenge is self-doubt (I call it the “Dreaded Doubt Monster” and while I’m writing, he tends to sit on my shoulder). As I was writing, he whispers, first in my right ear, “What makes you think you could ever write a novel?” then he whispers in my left ear, “You will never make it as a writer.” And even now, knowing A Pirate’s Ransom is published, and I have a second book coming later in the fall, I am still plagued by that nasty scoundrel of a Doubt Monster. Now he’s whispering, “Do you think anyone will buy that book?” or “What if it get’s bad reviews?” But the thing he whispers that I hate the most is, “What if your readers hate it?” What do I do to silence him? I keep writing. I keep selling novels and pray that my readers love them.
SMP: What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you? The most challenging?
Gerri: I love everything about the writing process, even the edits, but I think the most exciting thing is when a new idea blossoms and grows into the plot for a new story. The most thrilling, is getting the opportunity to share my story with the world and the idea that my readers will love reading it as much as I loved writing it for them.
The most challenging for me … I have two challenges. The first is not to spill the story out too soon. I’m still learning how to draw things out and pull my readers along with me. My second challenge is not to go off on a tangent. I’m a panster so this is a major challenge for me. These days, I have taken to writing a very loose outline (and I do mean loose) in an attempt to keep my characters in line.
SMP: How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?
Gerri: When I get an idea, I sit down and start writing. If I like where it’s going, I make a very loose outline. I like to give my characters permission to tell me their story and to take me where they want to go. This can be a challenge and sometimes it’s difficult because those characters tend to have minds of their own!
SMP: Who or what sparks the ideas for your stories?
Gerri: Anything and Everything. For example, I am working on two different manuscripts at the moment; one was inspired by listening to Spanish guitar music and the other by watching fireflies. I see or hear things and get an idea that seems to take over my thought process. That’s when I know I need to jot the idea down because it is probably going to become a novel.
SMP: Tell us all about your new release!
Gerri: I would be delighted to. My new release, “A Pirate’s Ransom” is about Lady Catherine Nettleton whose father has arranged a marriage for her. She must travel from the Spice Islands to London. Well, before I run off at the mouth, here is the blurp from the back of the book:
Despair filled Lady Catherine as she boarded the ship for England, and toward marriage to man she’s never met—the Duke of Devonshire. But the sea is no place for a lady. She’s captured by the Pirate Captain, Edmund Drake and held for ransom; a ransom that has nothing to do with coin. But when she’s stolen from him, he realizes she has captured his heart. She becomes the pawn in a dangerous rivalry between two pirates—the handsome pirate Captain Edmund Drake and his notorious and fearsome opponent, Blackbeard. How far will Captain Drake go to reclaim his prize? Which pirate will decide her fate? And who will pay … A Pirate’s Ransom?
But … let me share a little secret with your readers … The Duke plays a larger part in the story and who the heck is the Contessa Theodora de Lorenzo and what part does she play in Lady Catherine’s life? Oh my, guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out.
SMP: How about divulging five things about you that very few people know?
Gerri: Well, let me see. (1) I love to cook. In fact, I have several original recipes. I have even given thought to trying out for Master Chef, but chickened out.
(2) I’m addicted to watching The Harry Potter movies. I’m a huge JK Rowling fan and whenever one of the movies is on TV, I’ll watch it – no matter how many times I have seen it.
(3) When I was in college, I had a pet skunk (de-scented). Her name was Melon (because she was round like a little Honeydew) and she followed me around like a dog.
(4) I enjoy gardening and now that I live in a condo, I miss it. I love planting things and watching them grow – sort of like planting the idea and watching it grow into a novel. Hmm.
(5) I am a former skydiver. Yes, I have jumped out of perfectly good planes. I have 56 skydives to my name and let me assure you, it’s the most exhilarating thing a person could ever do.
Now for something exciting: I’m having a contest. Readers, I invite you to visit my website www.gerribrousseau.com and click on “Claim the Ransom” for details. This is a chance for one lucky person to sail away with all the booty!
SMP: Gerri, thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with us, today!
Gerri’s wonderful debut novel, A PIRATE’S RANSOM, is available here: