I have something to share with you all. I LOVE HISTORICAL ROMANCE NOVELS. Last summer I fought nightly anxiety away with tales of historical events sprinkled with REALLY good action. I have no idea how or why I started reading this genre but I am very glad I discovered them. I have a few favorites and I’ll definitely let you know, but today I want to focus on the author Genevieve Turner. I came across her book Summer Chaparral and fell in love with the main Catarina Moreno. I won’t give too many details because I don’t want to spoil it for you. Genevieve was super kind enough to do this Q&A and I hope you all enjoy it. Fun fact: Genevieve used to be a scientist.
- When did you start writing?
I started when I became a stay at home mom and needed something to do during naptime (Because cleaning wasn’t happening!) I was never a writer from birth like some authors—although I read (a lot), I’d never thought to actually write a story of my own. But then I left science and had a lot more free time on my hands and figured I ought to try writing.
- What made you want to become a writer?
After being a lifelong ravenous reader, especially of romance, I figured it was time to try to write one! I’m also very much inspired by my family history, and I wanted to retell some family legends, but with happier endings.
3.What do you like most about historical romance?
Definitely the research! At its best, historical romance can illuminate the present, since we got here from there, after all. And since I’m writing about the place I live and grew up in, I get to learn all kinds of fascinating things about my area.
4.There’s a strong sense of Mexican American pride in your Las Morenas series, what inspired you to write about Mexican Americans?
I’d say it’s more Californio pride—my ancestors first came to California back when it was New Spain, were here when it was Mexico, and we’re still here, now that it’s part of the US. Since I’m very much inspired by family stories and legends in my work, it made sense to give my characters the same background.
I also enjoy sharing the history of California with my readers, illustrating how diverse it was from the very first Spanish settlements and that California has always had a Latino population—the descendants of those first settlers are still here!
5.What is your writing process, and how long does it take to complete a project?
Usually I write a pretty messy first draft. I map out the story beats and what I want to happen in a general sense, but it takes me that first draft to figure out exactly who my characters are and how they fit together. Then I take a second pass to clean it up and add in the character layers, and send it off to my writing partner. She tears it apart and I do another pass to fix all the problems she’s pointed out.
Then I send it off to the editor, where it gets three more passes, for line edits and proofreading. With all that added in, I’d say it takes me about six months to produce a book from start to release day. I could shave a month or two off that, but it’s not my preferred method.
6.How accurate do you try to be with your historical fiction?
I try to be as accurate as possible, while also telling a good story. I generally tend to avoid details about day to day life—at least deep details—and things like clothing, since those aspects are less interesting to me. I’m more interested in how historical characters might have thought and reacted to events of the day than everyday life things, which I think helps me avoid big mistakes.
The bigger issue I deal with is convincing my readers that what I’ve written is historically accurate. People have images of how the West was from movies and books and popular culture and often those images aren’t historically accurate. But it can be very hard to convince people of that.
7.If you had to take one of your books with you on a desert island which one would it be and why?
If I can cheat a little, I’d pick Earth Bound, a book I co-wrote with my writing partner, Emma Barry. It’s got a prickly engineer hero, a super-smart computer scientist, and it was one of those books that came together with a kind of magical alchemy. I love it.
If it’s a book solely of my own, it’d have to be Autumn Sage. They’re not the favorites of most of my readers, but I loved writing Isabel and Sebastian so much. Their happily ever after was so hard fought and they so deserved it.
- Which character do you admire the most out of your books?
Hmm. I don’t really fall in love with my characters—I definitely like them and find them interesting, but they’re not always people I would want to hang out with.
I guess if it comes to characters I’d want to hang it with, it’d be Franny and Felipe, because those two together crack me up.
- Do you have any advice for writers who have an interest in historical fiction, romance, or both?
Read, read, read, then read some more. Write, write, write, then write some more. Most importantly, ask for feedback, particularly from more experienced writers, then listen to it. Honestly. It might not be right for your book, but you’ll never know if you shut down as soon as someone critiques your work.
And find a great critique partner. I never would have come this far without Emma. And find a great editor, one that gives you painful edits that make you a better writer. No pain, no gain.
- What current projects are you working on. What are you most excited for this year?
Right now, I’m working on a few things. I’m currently writing the next in my contemporary series, with a heroine that falls for the hero through his videos and books—and then actually meets him—and the next book in the NASA romance series I write with Emma. That ones got an astronaut heroine and a mathematician heroine. I’m very excited to get that one out.
But the book I’m probably most excited for this year is Juan’s book, The Gaucho’s Lady. That book’s been a long time in the making and readers have been asking for it, so I’ll be glad to finally get it out there in 2017!
Genevieve’s social media: