Writing Styles of the Young and yet-to-be Famous Firsts! by Executive Editor Marsha Zinberg

Writing Styles of the Young and yet-to-be Famous Firsts! by Executive Editor Marsha Zinberg

Key words:  Lori Foster, Stella Cameron, Linda Lael Miller, Harlequin Famous Firsts

Executive Editor Marsha Zinberg is on the Harlequin Famous Firsts blog tour! Marsha was an editor at Harlequin when many of the future romance genre’s future stars were acquired. In the past few weeks she’s contacted many of the authors and they are sharing their “firsts” with us: their inspiration; their creative process; their love of the romance novel. Today, more on how they write….

Like many now established romance writers, Stella Cameron began her writing her career when her children were small, so she early developed the habit of writing at night.  Music was always playing in the background, and she still follows this procedure, setting the mood, and see-sawing through a first draft, occasionally stopping to read and make sure no threads have been dropped, and then ploughing through that initial draft another few times to layer in complexity and nuance.

Both Lori Foster and Vicki Lewis Thompson declare that their writing process has changed drastically from their methods when they first began.  Vicki used to outline copiously and print out the book as she wrote it.  In today’s writing climate, however, she feels “much more protective of the process of creation.” She avoids printing out the book until she is sure she is ready.  For her, while the story is still living in her computer, it continues to be her sole possession, still pliable clay amenable to molding.  But once it’s printed, it’s out there, in public, and harder to change.

For Lori Foster, the advent of technology takes the credit for making her a better writer.  Research is so much easier to accomplish, that her imagination is liberated.  And in the olden days, when she used a typewriter, she was much more hesitant to delete a scene. Now, she can be more creative and easily change her work at will.

Has Linda Lael Miller’s process changed?  Not really.  She’s an early riser, writes about five hours a day, can create a first draft quite quickly, and then goes back to edit.  But elements have altered around the established approach.  Linda feels she is now a much better writer, because she has had so much experience and practice, and her ability to produce a fast first draft came from her training writing category romances to deadline and her drive to make a living.  And in the early days, she had a bonus weapon in her arsenal.  She lived next door to Debbie Macomber, and the two fledgling authors swapped chapters and input every day, a two-woman support group helping each other through a lot of growth and change.  What a lovely example of friendship and generosity netting success for both parties!

Tomorrow you’ll find me at Romancing the Blog. My previous topics include: Ideas for their First Books at Bookbinge , How TechWriting Styles of the Young and yet-to-be Famous Firsts! by Executive Editor Marsha Zinbergnology has changed for writers at Plot Monkeys and part one of the creative process at the Blaze Authors blog.

As  a special treat we have provided  1 nostalgia Harlequin tote bag and 8 Famous First novels to giveaway to a reader picked at random from the comments on this blog.

Don’t forget that you can enjoy 16 free Harlequin novels by downloading them at www.HarlequinCelebrates.com. And the Harlequin Cover Art Show in New York runs May 30 – June 12th at the Open House Gallery,  New York City (201 Mulberry Street in Soho).

PS: Be sure to check out all of the books in Harlequin Famous First collection:

The Matchmakers [1986] by Debbie Macomber

Tears of the Renegade [1985] by Linda Howard

Tangled Lies [1984] by Anne Stuart

Moontide [1985] by Stella Cameron

State Secrets [1985] by Linda Lael Miller

Uneasy Alliance [1984] by Jayne Ann Krentz

Night Moves [1985] by Heather Graham

Impetuous [1996] by Lori Foster

The Cowboy and the Lady [1982] by Diana Palmer (available in September 2009)

Fit to be Tied [1988] by Joan Johnston (available in September 2009)

Captivated [1986] by Carla Neggers (available in September 2009)

Bronze Mystique [1984] by Barbara Delinsky (available in September 2009)

What would you like to ask one of the Famous First authors?

31 Responses to Writing Styles of the Young and yet-to-be Famous Firsts! by Executive Editor Marsha Zinberg

  1. Cheryl McInnis

    Hi Marsha! Another great post, I’m enjoying learning all these little tidbits about these talented ladies. I would ask the authors if they were tempted to go back to their “famous firsts” and rewrite the story using all the experience they’ve gained since being first published, or if they were happy to leave the books as they were?

  2. Chris Mead

    I think that I would ask what it is like to see their first published novel republished and when they began their writing careers did they ever imagine that they would be so popular?

  3. Margo Novak

    I really like to see the inside scoop on the writing process – especially that Stella Cameron is a ‘night writer’ (pardon the pun); I much prefer writing at night as well! I would love to know if the other authors had support at the beginning stages like Linda Lael Miller and Debbie Macomber – a friend, family member or writing group and if so how this support came about.

  4. Kathleen O'Donnell

    I enjoyed this blog very much and if I could ask one of these writers about their First book, I would ask them what they did to get it published.. What mistakes they made and what they learned about the process?

  5. Ashley

    I think it’s awesome that you guys brought these books back! I’d ask them if there was one thing they could change about their first book, What would it be?

  6. Ellen

    how interesting to see how writers started out. the enjoyment of their books is so universal they are all such great writers. thanks so much for bringing back these books. and thanks to these great ladies for letting it happen.

  7. Pam S

    Hi Marsha,

    I really enjoyed this post. How great to be able to read some insider information on how these talented authors got started. If I could ask them a question, I’d ask what inspired their first book and how did they come up with the storyline?

  8. Lexee

    I would ask these authors how they came up with the storyline, and how long it took to them get it published?

  9. Debby

    I would love to ask how they would chagne their first novel and would they ever consider rewriting it for today.

  10. Kathy

    These posts have been so very interesting. I am enjoying them very much.

  11. Caroline

    I loved hearing that Debbie and Linda wrote together … what a great story about growing together as writers and friends! It inspired me today. I am looking forward to reading the famous firsts. I read my first Harlequin at the age of 8, when my mom brought some home from work, and have been hooked ever since.

  12. Marie

    Great post! I would ask the authors: Which book are they the most proud of and why.

  13. Carol L.

    I love reading about the Author’s habits of writing in the early days of their careers. It’s so interesting to read about Debbie and Linda. 🙂 I wonder if any of the Authors would like to try writing in a different genre then she does ?
    Loved reading this blog. Thanks for sharing ladies. 🙂
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750@aol.com

  14. Carol L.

    Oops, one more question. 🙂 Linda, when did you know it was the western romance you wanted to write ? And thank God you did. 🙂 Love everyone of them.
    Carol L.

  15. BreiaB

    I would like to know What’s special about their writing spots? Is there any ritual or object you can’t write without?

  16. mammakim

    I would ask what has changed in the industry since they started and what the best changes were. What has changed in their writing styles since the first book and has it been difficult to go with the changes of the industry ?

  17. Pamela Keener

    Thank you for your blog. It had very interesting tidbits.
    My question is do you ever travel to the faraway places in your books.
    I loved Maya Banks The Tycoons Pregnant Mistress. I loved her discription of the Greek islands.
    Love & Hugs,
    Pam Keener in PA

  18. Pamela Keener

    Oops Maya Banks is not a favorite first please forgive my goof.
    PK

  19. Marial

    I would ask if they thought their first stood the test of time. Have they changed and evolved since their first release, how has the romance market and tastes have changed?

  20. Crystal B.

    Great post. I would ask the authors how they perceive today’s reader in comparison to the readers they had when they first published? Are they the same or different?

  21. Valerie

    This is a really interesting post. I love hearing how authors write, and it was very interesting to read how these well-established authors got started.

    I’m going over to the other blogs to see some more interesting posts.

    Valerie

  22. Ruth Chesick

    Enjoyed this post – I like to have background info on favorite authors.

    I have been reading HQ’s as I call them for over 40 years.!!

    I remember enjoying Betty Neels among many other authors.

  23. MarthaE

    Interesting “first” memories! If I like a particular author I try to collect ALL of her (or his) books starting with their first! Then I like to read them in order to see how the writing changed. I would be curious if authors start out with a particular genre in mind or a particular plot.

  24. Maureen

    How amazing that two such talented and successful authors lived next door to each other. It was so interesting reading about how these great authors write and what has changed.

  25. PhyllisC

    I enjoyed this post very much. I love hearing about the authors and finding out that their lives are as “normal” as the rest of us.

    I love to read all these authors stories. I would ask them what is their favorite book they wrote and their favorite by another author.

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  27. Kat

    I’d like to ask what motivated them to keep their butts in their chairs and actually finish a book when they, presumably, didn’t know much about writing novels when the first started.

  28. cheryl c.

    I have enjoyed following your Famous Firsts blog tour. I am learning so much about some of my favorite authors and their writing processes. You have done a good job of making each blog topic unique.

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