Hello everybody! Today I’m EXTREMELY please to welcome Natasha Dean, author of “What Happens in Vegas” to Coffee and a Keyboard. I’ll be reviewing “What Happens in Vegas” on 9/13. Spoiler alert – the book is great!
When and why did you begin writing?
One of the reasons I started writing in romance (in 2005) was because I was fed up with what I call Dysfunction Masquerading As Conflict. You know what I mean: she’s supposed to be self-sufficient and stubborn, but she’s shrill. Or he’s “wounded” and that’s the reason he’s allowed to emotionally abuse her, and be a jackass because “it’s romantic. He secretly loves her.”
One of my favorites is the external conflict that a five year could solve. She needs the rind of an orange, and he needs the inside, but oh-uh!! There’s only ONE orange. What are they going to do? So the reader suffers through hundreds of pages of “come here,” “go away,” hot sex, more sex, and oh, look, more sex and right when she hits the 100th orgasm, she realizes she really loves him, but boo hoo, there’s that problem of the orange. Then she either gets pregnant and runs away, or sees him having dinner with another woman and runs away, or realizes it’ll never work in this mad, one orange world, and runs away. Inevitably, she gets hits by a truck or car (no doubt, driven by the now, completely pissed off romance reader). Then, she wakes up in a hospital, sees him. He’s all “oh, I love you!” and she says, “It won’t work. There’s only one orange.” Then he solves it all by saying, “No, we can share the orange.”
Then there’s more sex…well, except for the reader whose too busy poking their eyes out or seeking professional help to even consider having sex.
It annoys me. Vexes me.
There are GREAT romances out there. Why couldn’t more of the books I read be like them. And I thought, “Okay, Big Mouth. You can criticize, but can you step up to the plate and write a book that is more in line with the romances you love?”
And that’s how I started.
What inspired you to write your latest book?
The Crimson line of The Wild Rose Press had a call out for stories that revolved around a jewel, and I’m a total sucker for Romancing the Stone’s Joan Wilder. I wanted to do something funny, irreverent, and have a Joan-esque type of character: a woman tossed into circumstances beyond her control, but who still emerges victorious (if a little bruised).
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Big message: when stuck in a closet with an intruder in your house, have more than a broom as a weapon.
Really, I just want my readers to have fun, to laugh and relax, and give themselves a little reading TLC in their busy lives.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Oh, that’s a long list. Truly, it’s books I love (Nerd in Shining Armor, One for the Money, anything by Dean Koontz) because they make me want to work hard to do the best job I can. But I also love books that I can’t stand—poor plots, annoying characters—because they also push me to work hard.
What book are you reading now?
Actually, I have three: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot), Dragons of Darkness (Antonia Michaelis), and Salamander (Linda Sillitoe & Allen Roberts).
Plus, I work as a writing coach, so there’s some great unpublished stuff I’m reading.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Everything that’s in between the covers. Seriously. Plot, character, description—it’s all hard—and we haven’t even touched on editing, yet. But that’s what makes it such a rush for writers: persevering to get from “once upon a time” to “the end.”
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Agatha Christie said it best: “There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for reading. You make all the long nights and early days worth it!
And last but not least…what is your favorite kind of coffee?
Ha! I don’t think what I drink can count as coffee: a full mug of warm milk, a tiny squish of coffee (because as much as I LURVE the scent and taste of coffee, it never loves me back), and a TON of sugar…I don’t even think it counts as a café latte, but it tastes sssooo yummy…
(VL – Oohhh! That does sound yummy. )
You can also connect with Natsha here:
September 16-Guest Post and Giveaway@Darlene’s Book Nook
September 19-Review@Oodles Of Books
September 20-Interview@Book Marketing Buzz
September 23-Review@Urban Girl Reader
September 23-Review@Lady Lit Reviews
September 26-Review@Romancing The Book(Valerie)
September 27-Review@Frequent Reader, Infrequent Blogger
September 28-Review@ Sweeping Me
September 29-Review@Socrates Book Reviews
September 30-Guest Post@The Book Faery Reviews