The Author Spotlight will focus on a different author every few weeks – it may feature an experienced writer who has a long history of published books, or a new author who is destined to be a future star. Today our Author Spotlight will be on Lee Rowan. You can keep in touch with Lee at the links following the interview!
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Author Spotlight: Lee Rowan
First off, I want to thank Lee for taking the time to answer these questions for me. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comment section below!
ABOUT THE BOOKS:
What is the title of your newest or upcoming book?
What publisher is this book being published by?
What is the publication date?
Sail Away by Lee Rowan
Purchase links: Amazon / Dreamspinner
THE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Lee Rowan has been writing since childhood, but professionally only since spring of 2006, with the publication of her Eppie-winning novel, Ransom. She is a lady of a certain age, old enough to know better but still young enough to do it anyway. A confirmed bookaholic with a wife of many years, she is kept in line by a cadre of cats and two dogs who get her away from the computer and out of the house at least once a day.
Can you give the readers a brief summary of your latest book?
Sail away again with Will Marshall and Davy Archer in this collection of missing moments from their saga. Meet some of the background players as they take center stage in tales of their own. Enjoy a journey through the family album of the Royal Navy series in the following stories: Captain’s Courtship is the tale of Cynthia Lancaster and newly promoted Commander Paul Smith, who won’t let revolution stand in the way of their love. David Archer’s cousin Christopher St. John and his fiancée wind up on the HMS Calypso in See Paris and Live. When a storm leaves Will and David Castaway on a deserted island, their fantasy is within reach… if they dare to take the chance. After the harrowing events in Ransom, Will Marshall realizes the vast difference between their social standing in their Voyage to London, and he wonders whether there will be room in Davy’s life for him after all. Finally, enjoy six short Royal Navy stories that show a glimpse of Will and Davy at the holidays—Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s day, shore leave… and a special nit-picking vignette from Charlie Cochrane.
What genre does it fall in?
Gay Historical Romance
Will you share a few words about your latest book, other than the usual blurb?
This book was a lot of fun to put together – ‘missing scenes’ that didn’t quite fit in the original stories, and a new novella that had been kind of a vague idea I meant to explore. It’s their “honeymoon trip,” or as close as they could get in this time period. Will learns a lot about Davy’s life before he was pressured to join the military to avoid a scandal… and Davy learns that Will may be a newcomer to passion, but he’s a quick study!
Give us a little insight into your main characters! Who are they?
Will Marshall is a serious, intense young man who had resigned himself to a solitary life and focused all his energy on his naval career. Falling in love–a love that could mean death if they’re discovered–has kind of knocked him flat. The circumstances and events of the story arc have forced him to reevaluate almost everything he took as a given in his life–but he feels it’s worth it. David Archer has had more than his share of emotional trauma in his short life, and thought his love-at-first-sight attraction to Will was going to be forever unrequited, but getting what he wanted has also brought challenges. Of the two, Will is more idealistic, Davy the snarky cynic… but over the course of the stories, they both change and grow. The one thing that doesn’t alter is how they feel about each other.
Will we be seeing these characters again any time soon? Is this book part of a series?
Yes, the Royal Navy Series. Four volumes at this point, plus the ‘Souls Reunited’ story, Walking Wounded, a contemporary.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style. When and where is your favorite time/place to write?
I write best in my office, very late at night, with appropriate music, but the house we live in now isn’t set up well for that—too close to the bedroom and headphones hurt my ears. I’m trying to learn to write in the daytime. That’s not working very well because there are too many distractions. (Yes, the solution would be to move or renovate. Not an option at this time, I wish it were!)
What sort of book do you enjoy reading in your free time? What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?
If I don’t enjoy a book, I stop reading–life’s too short. I’m currently reading a revised edition of Dilys Wynn’s “Murder Ink,” a quirky collection of essays, odd facts, and humor about whodunnits–my favorite genre for recreational reading. It’s very fannish, and I mean that in a good way.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Have you held any interesting jobs while you worked on your books?
Yes, since about 1st grade, when I realized that books came from human beings, not some mythical figure like Mother Goose. Interesting jobs…? Interesting jobs…? I did office work for about 20 years (I started working right out of high school and went to school at night) and at about age 30 found myself just a few miles away from a school that taught Massage Therapy. My goal had always been to find a job that would give me a flexible schedule and time to write, and that was it. Best job in the world, outside of writing. I had a wonderful dog, Shepherd-Chow, who was my receptionist and security officer. Lost her 7 years ago and I will probably miss her the rest of my life.
What does your writing process look like?
Mayhem. Seriously, it’s fits-and-starts. Right now I’ve got about 4 plotbunnies burrowing in my mental garden but getting the little buggers out and running, right now, is a challenge. My historical books take a lot of research (which I enjoy) that never makes it onto the page, and I’m reading up on prisoners-of-war in the Napoleonic era, and trying to find something heroic for Will to do that isn’t too much like other nautical derring-do that’s already been done.
Why did you choose to write GLBTQ romance? Why not another genre?
It’s funny, I don’t think I’ve ever seen writers in other genres asked this question. Why not this genre? It’s certainly not overcrowded – especially historical novels. I guess part of the reason for the Royal Navy series is that I have always been drawn to the water. I was born near Lake Michigan, and one of my earliest memories is Dad taking me and my mother down to the beach. When I lived in Chicago I could always tell where I was because I could feel the Big Lake. When a school friend’s dad invited some of us to go out on his little sailboat, I felt like I’d come home. The quiet of a sailing vessel as it skims across the water is something most modern people never experience. I wish humanity had kept up with wind power and saved the fossil-fuel travel for situations that require speed. Maybe it’s past-life stuff, maybe just that early influence—but much as I hate war, I find Age of Sail fascinating. The precision movements of whole fleets, the teamwork involved in ships that required hundreds of crew all doing what they had to do in unison… it’s amazing. I’ve read a lot of AoS nonfiction just for my own enjoyment, and all that background generates story ideas. Also… I’m realistic. As a female, in 1800, from a working-class background, I’d probably have spent my life as somebody’s housemaid, or if I was lucky, married a small businessman and spent my life up to my elbows in diapers. No way, Renee! And the notion of wrapping up my upper body and running off to sea? Also not promising. I’m not at all andrygynous. I’ll take hairbreadth escapes over a visit to Almack’s any day of the week. So – male characters. When it comes to historical adventure, women get shortchanged. I’ve always disliked gender roles, I prefer adventure stories to chick-lit, and I like real history more than even the wonderful fantasy of Xena, Warrior Princess. So – gay historical romance. There’s nothing more compelling than a love that is literally worth risking your life for. Also? I’m a bisexual woman married to another woman. And, goddammit, everybody deserves a happy ending!
One last questions…totally unrelated to books! I am a passionate foodie. Is there one thing in your pantry that you would be horrified for people to know that you eat?
Probably not. I’ve been into healthy food all my life, partly because I love animals and don’t eat meat. I admit to falling prey to potato chips in the summer – they go SO well with tomato-avocado sandwiches – but that’s just naughty, not horrifying.
Thankyou so much for answering my questions. I think my readers will enjoy learning more about you! Good luck in your future writing!