Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Author Interview – Meg Benjamin

What movie do you love to watch?
As a thorough-going romantic, I have to admit that I love Casablanca. My romance-writing friends have told me repeatedly that it’s not a romance since it doesn’t have a happy ending, but I’m not sure I agree. Rick and Ilsa can’t end up together without destroying Ilsa’s marriage, and Ilsa’s marriage to Viktor is important. Rick and Louis heading off to fight the Nazis isn’t exactly an unhappy ending. And before that happens you have all that wonderful dialogue (“I came to Casablanca for the waters.” “There are no waters in Casablanca. We’re in the desert.” “I was misinformed.”). It’s just a marvelous movie.
What makes you angry?
A lot of things make me angry, but the one that’s most relevant here is the attitude some people (frequently book reviewers at national magazines) have toward romance writing. While other forms of popular fiction like mysteries and thrillers get lots of love, romance writing is treated as if it’s some lower form of literature. Alternatively, romance novels get labeled “mommy porn,” a phrase I really hate! I think there are two main problems for these critics—the fact that romances always have positive endings and the fact that most romance readers are women. There’s still a kind of double standard here where books that women like can’t be taken seriously, even when they’re better written and more intriguing than books for men.
How do you think people perceive writers?
Based on the reactions I get when I tell people what I do, I think most people consider writers to be slightly weird. The question I get asked most often is “Where do you get your ideas”. I don’t really know how to answer that—where does anyone get ideas? You see things, you read things, your hear things and all of that makes you think of something else. I don’t really think writers are all that different from non-writers. The only real difference is that we translate our ideas into stories. And, of course, we have the time and the drive to write those stories down.
What’s your next project?
The third book in the Ramos Family/Medium trilogy, Happy Medium, will be released by Berkley InterMix in January 2014. Like Medium Well and Medium Rare, the hero is a reluctant medium. He’s Ray Ramos, the youngest Ramos sibling, a carpenter who specializes in home renovation. He needs to find some extra money for his latest project, a King William mansion badly in need of a makeover. Enter the heroine, Emma Shea, personal assistant to a flashy TV medium who’s looking for a séance location. Of course, it turns out that Ray’s house is haunted. And of course, Ray and Emma have to get rid of the ghost before the televised séance takes place.
Do you find the time to read?
Yes I do, even if I have to do it when I’m on the treadmill! I think all writers need to read while they’re writing. Reading sort of “primes the pump” for writing, at least as far as I’m concerned—they both come from the same creative part of your brain. I don’t usually read the same kind of thing I write. So, for example, I like to read historicals and regencies while I’m working on contemporary stories and mysteries while I’m doing paranormals. But my own words seem to flow more easily when I’m reading someone else’s.
Medium Rare
Rose Ramos was a reference librarian, until she inherited her grandmother’s house—and the family talent for connecting with the other side…
Moving into the lovely Victorian in San Antonio’s King William District is a dream come true for Rose—and also a nightmare. That’s the only explanation she has for the man hovering above her bed. But Skag is a ghost who’s been part of Rose’s family for generations. And now he’s all hers.
When Evan Delwin, a reporter out to debunk the city’s newest celebrity, posts an ad looking for a research assistant to investigate a famous medium making his home in San Antonio, Skag suggests that Rose apply for the job. Delving into the dark side has its own dangers for Rose—including trying to resist Delwin’s manly charms. But as the investigation draws them closer together, the deadly currents surrounding the medium threaten to destroy them all…
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Genre – Paranormal
Rating – R
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