Lorhainne Eckhart: I love the romance genre, like so many others for the happy ending. For years I had a desire to write. But it wasn’t until about five years ago that I had the desire to write romance and was inspired to write my first novel. After I started I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life. So I refused to give up. It was two authors who inspired me to start writing. The first is Debbie Macomber who inspired me to start writing romance. Her story of sitting at the kitchen table and the kids at school typing her novel on an old typewriter. The second was Stephen King in his novel On Writing. His story of how he pursued writing for years before he was published.
Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?
Lorhainne: I knew the story I would write about regardless of the genre. The Captain’s Lady came to me in a dream. It is just happens to fall into the genre, Contemporary military romance. When I write a story, it’s the story that comes to me regardless of the genre.
Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you?
Lorhainne: The first fiction I ever wrote was in grade two, a ghost story. I gave it to my teacher. I gave it to my teacher. And I never saw it again.
Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novels and does it take you a long time to gather that research?
Lorhainne: I do a lot of research. So I have a clear understanding of what I am writing about. For the Captain’s Lady it was hundreds of hours to research the information. And I read everything, from Navy rules and regulations, life on-board a US Navy Ship. The layout of a ship, terminology, the setting, Military non-fiction and fiction, just to name a few. And of all that research I ma only use one line in a scene, but for me it is having an understanding of how this would play out. It may be a fictional story, but accuracy of facts in any novel are important to me.
Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your debut novel, The Captain’s Lady?
Lorhainne: Well as I mentioned before, the concept of Abby being rescued and lying on the deck of the ship, came to me in a dream. As I sat down to write the story, it was the research that much of the rest unfolded, her abduction, the malicious sexual assault charge against Captain Hamilton. All the twists and turns of the novel grew out of that one scene and the research.
Phoebe: How do you come up with each of your characters for your novels? How do you choose their names out of so many names out there?
Lorhainne: I choose names based on their personality. The names generally just come to me. There have been a few I’ve had to change the name as he just wasn’t a Harry for example. I will research as well if they are from a particular part of the country what the common names are in that area.
Phoebe: Do you have a favorite character that you really enjoyed writing about in your debut novel, The Captain’s Lady? Did you have a character that you felt you could really relate to in your debut novel, The Captain’s Lady?
Lorhainne: I really liked Captain Eric Hamilton. He is such a complex man. Many facets of a personality that stem out of such deep rooted pain. But he has such strong convictions that he is not afraid to voice, nor is afraid to make a stand. He is truly a man. There were several characters I could relate to, some aspects of Abby, Mary-Jo (I really liked her), Joan (The JAG Commander).
Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novels?
Lorhainne: I just start writing from that idea I come up with. And I allow the story to unfold from there. I do not outline a novel.
Phoebe: Have you ever considered writing a series or are writing stand alone novels your preference? How would writing each be different for you?
Lorhainne: My the third novel, has a planned sequel. Based on the complex characters and their story, this one I felt was necessary after the tragic loss suffered, that a sequel needed to be written. Other than that, my plans are for single title, stand alone novels.
Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?
Lorhainne: It took me several years to get published. I started out querying agents, although I had a lot of positive feedback, including requests for partials and the full manuscript. I did this in between my schedule of supporting my children and finding time to send out another query. After two years, I took a break. Then after receiving some good advice from a friend. I changed tactics. I decided to pursue the publisher directly. After sending out just a few queries I received two offers for publication. I accepted the offer with The Wild Rose Press, for The Captain’s Lady, which was released June 26, 2009 in both Print and Digital.
Phoebe: Do you ever get writers block? What do you do to get rid of it so you can get back to writing your novels?
Lorhainne: If I have too much on plate, which happens when advocating for the special needs, it affects my writing. I have to make sure that I focus on my children and writing first, before anything else.
Phoebe: What is your biggest reader pet peeve, if you have any? (stock characters, unresolved endings, predictability, everything wrapped up hurriedly in the end, etc.)
Lorhainne: Predictability, not enough conflict, giving too much away, wrapping things up in a hurry, all of these and a hurried ending that is predictable, I don’t like.
Phoebe: Which aspects of writing do you enjoy the most and why? And what is your biggest writing pet peeve? (overuse of exclamation points, adverbs, bad guys named Wayne, etc.), if you have any?
Lorhainne: My favorite part of writing is when I get to sit down and start writing the story. When the words flow easy and uninterrupted. My pet peeves are the overuse of adverbs (the LY) ones.
Phoebe: What is the one writing tool can you not live without?
Lorhainne: My laptop. I need to be portable so I can go work outside.
Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane?
Lorhainne: I have learned to maintain a balance. I write before the kids get up, when they’re at school. But when their home, that’s our time. No writing. I never write at night so for a personal life, I plan at night. There is the rare occasion it is during the day, but it is something I don’t make a habit of.
Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing? Do you have any hobbies?
Lorhainne: I spend time in my gardens, painting. I love art, so the kids and I dabble in rock painting. Horseback riding or we just go out and fun.
Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?
Lorhainne: Don’t give up, if you truly believe and love this work, then work harder. Go back and re-edit your manuscript a third time. Make it stronger. Take a chance and go deeper with the emotions. Read Donald Maass book on writing, Writing the Breakout Novel.
Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?
Lorhainne: If you want to write, you need to read lots. Research your topic, get your facts right, the internet and library are a vast tool for your research needs. Start promoting and marketing your book early, several months before it gets out. Debut ads take a while to pull together, look at all your options, but make a plan in advance.
Phoebe: Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)?
Lorhainne: I read so many genre’s, from romance, to women’s and men’s fiction, I like a good, well told and researched story. I also read non-fiction. I have many favorite authors so I can’t really list a particular one.
Phoebe: What are you reading now? And what do you plan to read after that?
Lorhainne: I am reading Suzanne Brockmann, one of her older releases Kiss and Tell. I do like to go back and read a favorite author’s earlier work. It’s quite interesting to see the changes. Next on my list to read is Anastasia by Vladimir Megre, this one is not a romance.