Lark was one of the first writers to volunteer to be interviewed when I sent out my call, and I’m so glad she did! Since I always buy at least one of my interviewees’ books and read it before going on to research the author and put together what I hope will be interesting questions, this interview introduced me to a new favorite author.
Question 1: I truly loved Dangerously Yours. Your world-building was seamless, the characters of Lex and Bodie were engaging and the plot escalated smoothly along a trajectory linked to Bodie’s character arc. That’s pretty much the trifecta. Given that Dangerously Yours is your first novel, where did you learn to write so seamlessly?
Thank you, Jeanne! It’s always a thrill when someone loves one of my books.
Dangerously Yours was my first published book, but not the first one I wrote. That was a 400 page, single-spaced mess which will never see the light of day again, but it taught me I could finish a book.
Then I discovered RWA and ate up every craft workshop at our three local chapters and the national convention. I kept writing and connected with a fabulous critique partner—Sarah Andre who you interviewed here in December. She, too, was serious about publishing and is still the first person who reads my polished “final” draft.
My next manuscript was a romantic suspense that finaled in some contests and garnered requests (and rejections) from several agents. Meanwhile on a trip to Paris I visited a wonderful place called Deyrolle and came up with an idea for a book about a man who had the ability to bring taxidermied animals to life. That man became Adrien Durand, the hero of what was eventually published as the second Durand book—Irresistibly Yours. I struggled with that story—wanting to create a serious conflict for a damaged man—and might have given up if not for Sarah’s insistence that I finish. That manuscript got me my agent, Becca Stumpf.
Although it seemed that my publishing career was about to take off, Becca saw both the potential and flaws in that manuscript and had me rewrite it for her twice before she’d submit it to editors. Unfortunately, after all our work, it was an out-of-the-box story and didn’t sell. I so loved Lex Durand in that book, I wrote her book while Adrien’s was out on submission and that became Dangerously Yours.
By the time Dangerously Yours sold, I was getting more confident in my writing and storytelling. Then my editor at Diversion, Randall Klein, ruthlessly cut out all the “boring stuff” and taught me about pacing. The end result was a book I am very proud of—thanks to everyone who helped me learn craft.
That’s a long answer but learning to write has been a long process for me—and I think it is for most people. And there’s always something new to learn from workshops, reading, talking with other authors, and most of all writing. Hopefully each book I write will be better than the last.
Question 2: You decided to publish with Diversion Books, the publishing company founded by Scott Waxman as the e-book arm of his literary agency in 2010. What made you select Diversion?
My agent knew the Diversion people and submitted Dangerously Yours to them along with other publishers. When they offered a contract, I felt we’d be a good match. They not only published e-books, but distributed print books of my series to bookstores including B&N and local indies. I loved working with my editor—a brilliant guy who didn’t let me get away with romance-y clichés and helped me hone my voice. Working with the team has been an invaluable experience that taught me a lot about publishing.
Question 3: From the bio on your site, it sounds like you’ve done a lot of traveling. What’s your favorite destination and why?
That’s a hard question. There are so many places I adore–sailing in the British Virgin Islands, and exploring England, Scotland and Ireland are trips I can do over and over.
That said, I love France and return there whenever I can. My husband and I often rent an apartment in Paris in the winter. It’s only a couple doors down from Deyrolle, the inspiration for Irresistibly Yours. Being Parisian for a week or two when all the tourists are gone is fun and relaxing, and we feel like we’re part of the life of the city, not just visitors.
In other seasons we rent houses in various areas of the countryside—the Dordogne, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Côtes d’Azur/Provence. There are so many things to do—visit chateaux, browse village markets, enjoy beaches or mountains, or just watch the sunset from a terrace with an excellent glass of local wine. Plus we’ve made some dear French friends over the years. The lifestyle, food, and culture feel natural to me—maybe I was French in a past life or have French ancestors, and the country is in my blood.
Lark Brennan’s love of reading, writing and travel has led her to a string of colorful jobs and a well-worn passport – as well as several years spent sailing and diving in the Virgin Islands. Her travels have inspired her romantic suspense series, The Durand Chronicles, which takes place in some of her favorite destinations–the British Virgin Islands, Paris, Glacier National Park, New Orleans and Scotland.
Lark dreams of one day moving to the South of France, and in the meantime lives in Texas with her brilliant husband and two adorable canine “children.”