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Frequently Asked Questions

What do I say when my friends make fun of romance books?
When are you going to write Erik’s book?
Are you going to write Utah’s story?
Are you going to write more "Fiddler and Fiora" or Firedancer stories?
Are you going to write more historicals?
Are you going to write more Donovan stories?
Are you going to add on to any of your old series?
Is there more than one Mackenzie historical?
Next book?
Why do you write under different names?
What is your writing schedule like?

What do I say when my friends make fun of romance books?
Ask your friends why are they sniggering about a book that involves a man, a woman, and love. Would they rather read about murder, mayhem, and revenge? Disappointment, dismay, and depression? If so, fine.

But their choice of reading material isn't inherently superior to yours. Just different.

And if the word "formula" comes up:

Do point out that mysteries/thrillers are formulas--the mystery is always solved and the good guys win. Same for science fiction. Almost all popular fiction is descended from the heroic tradition of good vs. evil, gods vs. mortals, etc. In this fiction, people rise above their limitations and grab the brass ring against the odds.

Literary fiction? By definition (formula?) literary fiction CAN'T have a tidy, upbeat resolution. Does that make it superior because it is more "real"?

No. It just makes literary fiction part of the modernist rather than the heroic tradition. Since the modernist philosophy has only been around for a century or so, and the heroic has been around for thousands...you do the math.

Have fun discussing reading with your friends.

When are you going to write Erik’s book?
Erik's story will appear as part of the contemporary romantic suspense MOVING TARGET (June 2001)

I have just begun a new "cycle" of books. These revolve around some kind of rarity—gems, artifacts, art. Rarities Unlimited is a company that is a collaboration of talent whose purpose is to Buy Sell Appraise Protect all that is rare and beautiful. Of course, where there is rarity and beauty, there is always greed and danger…

MOVING TARGET is the first of the Rarities books. It is the story of the Book of the Learned, an illuminated manuscript that is a thousand years old, more precious than the gold on its pages and the gems in its cover. Serena Charters inherits a leaf from the book, a leaf that holds the secret to the location of the rest of the manuscript. Erik North is a calligrapher of great skill, a man who understands the past, a man who believes that some things are worth dying for—or killing for, if it comes to that. The Book of the Learned is one of those things.

Are you going to write Utah’s story?
I have no plans for writing any book except the one I’m working on right now. Life just isn’t predictable one year down the road, much less 3 or 4.

For example, I had planned a lot of Fire Dancer stories but left my publisher because I simply couldn't survive on the money they paid me for a book. No other publisher at the time wanted to take a series that another house had begun. End of Fire Dancer series.

I had planned to write Utah's story; then my publisher at the time decided it didn't want any more books from me, because I insisted on getting my out-of-print books back from them. End of Utah.

Sometimes, even staying at the same publisher doesn't guarantee predictability. I planned on writing Erik's story after Enchanted (but not before!) because he just kept "growing." Then my publisher decided it didn't want more medievals. Good-bye, Erik. [ed. note: Welcome back, "Erik"! See #1] So I did Only Love and two more westerns.

Then I decided I really missed contemporary settings. My publisher agreed, I started writing contemporary romantic suspense, and I'm very happy. If that changes (doubtful, under one name or another I've been writing contemporary fiction for 30 years), I'll let everyone on the bb know.

Are you going to write more Fiddler and Fiora or Firedancer stories?
No plans for them at the moment. See #2
Are you going to write more historicals?
None are planned.
Are you going to write more Donovan stories?
I hope to, but don’t have any scheduled.
Are you going to add on to any of your old series?
When it comes to picking up old series and adding on to them...the longer it has been since the original books came out, the less likely it is that I'll ever write more in that vein. As I've said before, series are linear; life isn't.
Is there more than one Mackenzie historical?
No. RECKLESS LOVE is the only published story about that set of Mckenzies. It is loosely related, of course to the contemporary books, FIRE AND RAIN, OUTLAW, GRANITE MAN and WARRIOR.
Next book?
I'm working on a book called THE WRONG HOSTAGE. It's suspense with a passionate twist.
Why do you write under different names?
Originally I wrote only science fiction under my own name, Ann Maxwell. Then Evan and I collaborated as A. E. Maxwell on mystery/suspense novels. If a publisher wanted a pseudonym and/or there was a contractual conflict with using a previous name, a new name was invented. Thus, Elizabeth Lowell, which is my middle name plus Evan’s middle name, even though I write the Elizabeth Lowell books by myself. Confused yet? Just wait. One publisher wanted a woman’s name on the spine, even though Evan and I were collaborating. Thus, the Ann Maxwell romantic suspense books.

Under any name, and whether set in the past, present, or future, I write fiction that celebrates the possibilities of life.

What is your writing schedule like?
I work as many hours a day, as many days a week, as it takes me to get a book done on time. As writing is only part of the work of a novel—research, especially on the suspense books takes several months per book—there are too many times when my work week is illegal! Once I have done most of the research on a novel, I begin a synopsis. This is when I choose character names. (Always the first thing I do. How can you write about people who have no names?) The synopsis takes as long as it takes. I’ve never done one in under two weeks. A month is about average. As for the writing itself, if I average 35 pages a week, I’m ecstatic. I try to do it 7 pages a day and then catch up on the weekends if/when I fall behind. Once the book is turned in, I have to set aside two weeks out of my future schedule to go over the line-edited ms (when my editor asks her questions) and the copy-edited ms. Plus several days for final proofs. Fortunately my publisher doesn’t require a month-long tour each year. That sort of thing really trashes a schedule. Not to mention a writer!