Monday, September 28, 2009

Author Interview--Rebecca Winters

Please welcome long-time Harlequin Author, Rebecca Winters. We're thrilled that Rebecca has recently joined the American Romance line!

How long have you been published?
With Harlequin, 20 years.

What advice for new writers?
For new Harlequin writers, read the line you love until it gets deep in your psyche.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Strong emotion, flesh and blood characterization, excellent story telling.

What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?
Raw eel in a bar in Barcelona, Spain

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
That all depends. Stories have come to me both ways.

When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Time indeed marches on.

Describe your writing space.
The end of my bedroom. From my desk I look out a front and a side window. Both give me a glorious view of the brilliant blue sky and the Oquirrh Mountains. Directly in front of my front window is a beautiful park surrounded on all sides by adorable new houses that look like they belong in Whoville. Above my desk is a large, gorgeous framed tapestry my mother made in fine needlepoint of Romeo and Juliet done in deep blues and reds. I can’t work in clutter. My desk has the equipment, a phone book and lotion. You’ll usually see my favorite Coke Zero Cherry drink, my cell phone, a little lamp and a beautiful vase with no flowers in it (alas).

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
We all suffer from it. I often call my dear friend Bonnie K. Winn, a renown romance writer, and we go through the ‘what ifs.’ That usually unlocks my brain enough to move on.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Anything by Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Taylor Caldwell, Anja Seton, James Michner, James Hilton. As for Harlequin writers, three stand out, but don’t forget I started reading Harlequins in the 70’s. Violet Winspear, Anne Mather and Margaret Way.

What are you reading now?
The last novel in the Twilight Series.

Do you re-read your books once they're in print?
Sure. Once in a while I get in a mood and think, hey-- I’ll read one of mine! Some of my favorites I read every year.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
I’m up at five a.m. and write all day (with breaks in between to tend grandchildren, shop, chat with family and friends on the phone, go on trips.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
This year at the Harlequin party during the RWA Conference in Washington D.C., I’m receiving an award for having written 100 books. It makes me croak just thinking about it. In the Harlequin Romance series I guess I have to say BRIDE OF MY HEART or CLAIMING HIS BABY. In the Harlequin Superromance series it would be STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET. In the Harlequin American series, I would have to say THE CHIEF RANGER.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I get a few e-mails every week. They mostly tell me they like my romances because they are emotional and uplifting.

Tell us about your family and where you live.
I have four children and five grandchildren. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, the land of mountains, blue skies and the greatest snow on earth.

Are you working on anything at the present you'd like to share?
A rodeo story for American. I’m now addicted to watching bullriding!

Did you ever eat paste or Elmer's glue when you were a kid?
Who didn’t eat both?

What did you do career-wise before becoming an author?
I taught French in secondary school.

How has the American Romance line changed since you first began writing for it?
I can’t tell you that yet. I’m only working on my third book for the line now.

What helps inspire you when you write? Do you have any ‘rituals’ (like music, candles, a favorite scent) that helps you find your writing zone?
I often burn my lilac scented candle. I use music a lot. Mostly classical piano concertos of Grief, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Tchaikowsky, Beethoven, Schumann. I also love flamenco, Gypsy Kings, Luis Miguel, Andre Rocelli. I love opera; Carmen, Aida, Tosca, Madame Butterfly. Any music that pierces or squeezes your heart.

What do you want to know about the future?
I don’t. I can only handle my day to day life. I’d probably have a heart attack to know more.

Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?
Absolutely. I prefer Coke. Pepsi taste like medicine.

Have you ever made a crank phone call?
When I was in grade school my older sister used to make me do crank calls and say, “Hey, have you got any pop in the bottle? If you do, let him out!”

Who's you're personal hero--past or present?
If we’re talking romantic, it’s Errol Flynn hands down on the movie screen. The scene with Marion in Robinhood, when he climbs on her balcony window and accuses her of loving him-- Then he professes his love for her, and there’s something about the way he says it and the way he looks at her that thrilled me as a child, as a teenager and as a grown woman. It gets to me every single time. It’s that emotion I try to put in my writing.

What is your dream car?
The Porsche 911.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
South of France.

If you were locked in a closet for one hour who would you want in there with you?
Errol Flynn as he looked in Robinhood, the Sea Hawk or Captain Blood.

If you were stranded on a deserted Island what kind of hero would you want with you--A Cowboy, a Viking Warrior, a CEO, a Forensics investigator, a Chef or an Accountant…and why?
A cowboy. He’s eternal. A man of the earth who knows how to live and survive in any century. My next Harlequin Romance is going to be a cowboy story.



Linda Henderson said...

I'm glad you are writing for the American romance line, it gives me more books of yours to read. I always enjoy your books.

Leigh Duncan said...

Wow! A hundred books? You're amazing, Rebecca. Harlequin American is indeed fortunate to have you in the family. said...


I've enjoyed your books for years. So glad you're writing for the American line, too. Now I want to go watch old Errol Flynn movies!


Rebecca Burton said...

To Linda, Leigh and Shelley:
Many thanks for your kind remarks. I've been having difficulty logging in here, so forgive my not replying individually. I'm hoping this posts, then I can start doing this
thing right from here on out.


Rebecca Burton said...

One other thing. The technician said he'd fix my name to read Rebecca Winters. That was six weeks and many reminders to him ago. I guess it will always say Rebecca Burton, but that's okay.

Rebecca Winters

Lynn said...

Hey Rebecca...(I'll leave off the last name, LOL)
Congrats on book 100. And it's nice to know there's another Coke fan out there. I'm an Idaho Native (Meridian area) but currently living in the flat land of Illinois by St. Louis. I totally miss the mountains.

Rebecca Burton said...

Hi Lynn!
We're practically neighbors, or were! Whenever I go East, I find I miss the mountains terribly. My daughter-in-law's famiy is from South Dakota. When I go to their ranch, I can't get my bearings because everywhere I look, it's flat. It's kind of a strange feeling.
I have to tell you I'm surprised anyone drinks Pepsi. It's all a matter of taste apparently. Is your move to Illinois permanent?
One nice thing about being a writer, we can go where we want, when we want. It's the best!

Lynn said...

I went to Oklahoma as a kid and thought, how do people stay grounded here? I thought I was going to fall off the earth. I sometimes feel that way here too. We plan to move back to Idaho to retire.

Totally agree on the Pepsi comment. We are a split family, my husband drinks Pepsi but if he's out, he'll drink my Coke. You won't see me doing that. I wonder if it's because I grew up with RC?

Rebecca Burton said...

I remember RC! It was okay, but something happened to me when I had my first coke in a green bottle while I was out bike riding with my girlfriend. It was icy cold. That first taste had me hooked. No more Dr. Pepper or Pepsi or Sprite or Seven-up or orange crush or purple crush or whatever crush was out there.


Rebecca Burton said...

P.S. Lynn--
Idaho's still waiting for you.

Linda Warren said...

Hey Becky,
It's great to have you witing for the American line.