Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy 25th—Author Profile Ginger Chambers

Author: Ginger Chambers
Website: Find more about Ginger at
Years writing for the line: 1983-1991, 2005

Bio: Ginger Chambers had no plans to become a writer while she was growing up. But she always loved words and stories, so it was only natural that the inevitable happened. After writing over thirty books, Ginger still loves the profession she was ultimately drawn to. She considers it one of the great joys of her life to be able to create characters that come to life on the page and place them in situations that entertain her, as well as her readers.
Ginger started her career with Dell Publishing in the Candlelight Romance, Ecstasy and Ecstasy Supreme lines before moving to Harlequin, where she’s written for the Harlequin American Romance series, Special Projects — Welcome to Tyler and Hometown Reunion — and Superromance books. Within the Superromance line she authored the popular seven-book series The West Texans. Her most recent book is Love, Texas for the American Romance line. Presently, she is hard at work on another American Romance title.
Her two children now grown, Ginger makes her home with her husband near the beautiful Pacific in Northern California.

Q & A:

How long have you been published? What was your very first book?

I sold my first book, THE KINDRED SPIRIT (A Candlelight Romance, Dell Publishing), in October of 1979, so this month is my anniversary as well. It didn’t appear on the shelves until April of 1981, so the wait was a long one for an excited new author. Vivian Stephens, the line’s senior editor, soon started the Candlelight Ecstasy line for Dell, which I then contributed to. At the time Harlequin published few US authors, but when Vivian moved to Harlequin to start the American Romance line, I came right along with her. My first American Romance was #32, GAME OF HEARTS.

Describe your favorite Harlequin American Romance that you wrote. How many in total did you do?

That’s like trying to choose between your children! I feel disloyal even thinking about it … but I love animals, particularly dogs and cats, so my book where the hero is a veterinarian, PASSION’S PREY, is a favorite, as is CALL MY NAME SOFTLY. The last for an odd reason—there was a hit man in the book with orders to do away with the heroine, and all the while he was trying to fulfill his job, he had a horrible head cold. I had fun with that.

I also have a more recent American Romance, LOVE, TEXAS, #1064, which was published in April 2005. So, all together, I’ve written 11 American Romances. So far—

How was the Harlequin American Romance line different from the other Harlequin lines?

American Romance opened the door for US authors at a time when, previously, opportunities had been limited. It’s hard to believe there ever was such a time, considering the number of US Harlequin writers today, but many of us lived it. And readers responded--they loved to read Harlequin books set in places they knew or could easily visit, and which were peopled by characters who could be them or their neighbors.

How did the Harlequin American Romance line change over the years you wrote for it?

Vivian Stephens accepted only completed manuscripts before she would go to contract. And, with her track record, she proved to have a knack for choosing books that readers loved. She wanted well-written books with believable plots and characters where romance carried the story forward. I still remember hearing her say at a conference that she wanted us (the writers) to use all our senses. She wanted the stories to be sensual in the fullest sense of the word—hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch.

When Vivian left the line, Debra Matteucci became the senior editor and carried on in a similar vein. Debra was open to going to contract with a partial, though—50 pages and an outline. So I, along with other American writers, learned to do that. To this day, I’d still rather write the whole book , but then knowing the book is sold before completion is very nice too.

Over time the focus of the line changed. It’s hard to put my finger on how, but it was different. After being asked to contribute two books to the Welcome to Tyler series, Harlequin’s first continuity series, I jumped at the opportunity and loved every minute of researching and writing BACHELOR’S PUZZLE and COURTHOUSE STEPS. Along with two books in the follow-up Tyler continuity series Hometown Reunion, DADDY NEXT DOOR and PUPPY LOVE (another veterinarian book).

Since then, I’ve written for Superromance, where I’ve had 9 books published, 7 of which were my own series within the Superromance line, The West Texans, which followed the lives of the Parker family of the Parker Ranch.

Describe writing some of the first books for the American Romance line. Were there any taboos? Words you couldn’t use? What were the covers like? That sort of thing….
I never had any problem with taboos or words I couldn’t use, because my stories never went in those directions. Guess I’m just not a very venturesome person.

The silver strip on the covers of the early American Romances were beautiful and eye-catching. I was very happy with all of them. The art department at Harlequin has always been very kind to me … with one or two exceptions over the years that we won’t talk about.

Anything else?

Yes. My upcoming book! It’s a June 2009 Superromance that was originally an Everlasting Love. At present I’m desperately casting about for a title, which I’ll have to find soon, because a book can’t hit the shelves with UNTITLED on the cover. It’s about a couple who have been married for twenty-seven years, and are having problems in their relationship. An accident strands them off road in the mountains in a bad snowstorm, where they’re forced to work together to survive….

Michele Dunaway notes: Thanks Ginger. Readers--don't miss tomorrow, when we conclude the month with Anne Stuart!


Ellen said...

Ginger - I could actually see myself buying a book called UNTITLED. It would intrigue me to the extent that I would have to buy it and see why it had that title. But then I'm a little weird.

Ginger Chambers said...

LOL. Me too, Ellen. I could see myself curious enough to buy it.

Actually, though, I did manage to come up with a title that my editors like as well: ALL THAT LOVE IS. That pretty well sums up the story.

Titles are hard to find sometimes. Particularly when you're trying hard. Other times, they arrive like a gift.


Estella said...

A book called untitled would also intrigue me.

Ellen said...

Glad you and your editors were able to agree on a title--I'll be looking forward to reading it in June of 2009.

Ginger Chambers said...

Estella, that would be an interesting experiment, but I doubt any romance editor would let it slip through. We'd have to add another word to it: UNTITLED LOVE, UNTITLED RHAPSODY, UNTITLED AFFAIR.

LOL. This could be fun!


Ginger Chambers said...

Ellen, thank you. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.


Ann Roth said...

Ginger- What fun to read! And Happy Publishing Anniversary!

Thanks so much for sharing.

Ginger Chambers said...

Thanks, Ann. I appreciate it!

Also, thanks to Michele and the wonderful American Romance authors who invited me to participate. It's been great fun to remember the early days of American. And to get to meet all of you.


Lee McKenzie said...

You've had an impressive career, Ginger! Thanks so much for joining us.