Interview With Jamie Beck
We are thrilled to announce CRW Weekend Writing Retreat!
Join us at Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY October 12-14, 2018, for a weekend of writing, plotting, and brainstorming!
Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned writer, you’ll get hours of uninterrupted, peaceful writing time to work through an idea or complete that unfinished manuscript.
Meanwhile, read on for an interview with national bestselling author Jamie Beck, who will be giving two workshops on Sunday, the last day of the retreat:
Contemporary Romance Writers: Welcome, Jamie!
Thank you so much for joining us today!
Why is having a retreat with “uninterrupted writing time” so important? What are you looking forward to most about the weekend?
Jamie Beck: Almost every writer I know works on her manuscripts from some space in her home. I think this fact makes it especially difficult to disconnect from other responsibilities, whether those relate to a day job that spills into the evenings, the demands of raising a family, or those household projects that can’t be ignored. Giving yourself a chance to make the writing a priority–and to physically step away from all of those distractions–is invaluable.
And giving yourself more than a few hours is even better because you can really get into a flow and make tremendous progress on your project (no matter what stage it is in). The added benefit of doing so at a retreat with other writers is that you also have new creative energy to tap into when you find you’ve written yourself into a corner!
Personally, I’m looking forward, as always, to meeting new-to-me writers and authors who share the same passion for romance and storytelling that I have.
I always leave workshops and retreats feeling energized, too!
CRW: Of all the possible workshop topics out there, you chose emotion and genre blending. What led you to those topics?
JB: The genre-blending workshop came about because of my own experience trying to get a traditional publishing contract when first started in this business. I got my agent based on my Worth The Wait manuscript. She loved it but, in 2013, she couldn’t sell it. The romance editors thought it too women’s fiction-oriented for their lines, and the women’s fiction editors thought it too romance-driven.
My publisher bought it to prevent me from self-publishing the story before it published In The Cards. My debut did well, but when the book that no one wanted released just a few months later, it sold like gangbusters.
That told me that my gut had been right–there was a market for these blended stories. Then, eighteen months ago, I’d heard that many romance editors were starting to ask for these kinds of books, so I thought the topic might be of interest to many contemporary romance writers.
The emotion workshop came about because a lot of the feedback about my work tends to mention the emotional component, and I am often asked for tips about deepening the emotional elements in a story. My workshop is very practical in nature and breaks down the building blocks or tools that can be combined to heighten the emotional resonance in any story.
It is geared toward the beginning to intermediate writer, although even seasoned writers should find the review beneficial (sometimes we get into a rut with our own style, but when we are presented a known concept in a fresh way, we take something new away for ourselves).
CRW: What specific skills will you be focusing on, and how will participants benefit?
JB: As I mentioned above, I approach things from a very practical, action-oriented mindset. My goal is for all attendees to leave my workshops with easy-to-understand tips that can be put into practice on their works-in-progress immediately.
CRW: In one of your “Ask Me Anything” videos, you explain that you’re neither a pantser nor a plotter. At the retreat, there will be as many different processes as there are participants. How will you accommodate that?
JB: I don’t know that process matters. If you are a plotter, then the tips and takeaways can be applied while you are plotting your story. If you are a pantser (or a plotter who is already in the middle of a draft), they can be employed during revisions.
The bottom line is that I will be discussing different tools available and/or making suggestions about how to do certain things, but at the end of the day, each writer will only take away what resonates and then disregard what doesn’t work with her process.
CRW: Can you tell us anything about your current projects? (Some of which we might even see you working on during the retreat?)
JB: Presently, I’m writing the third Sanctuary Sound novel (The Wonder of Now), involving a breast cancer survivor who is facing new challenges while falling in love. Up next is a brand new series that kicks off with a sister story that also contains a little mystery and a little romance.
CRW: In your opinion, what is the appeal of contemporary romance? How will your workshops relate to the genre?
JB: I think the majority of readers love contemporary romance because these stories are, at their heart, about transformation and hope. Yes, readers love our heroes and get tingles during that first kiss (or first “fill in the blank”), but the real feels come more from the idea of a broken or lonely character healing the wounds that hold him or her back and finding the satisfying relationship he or she deserves.
And while other subgenres (historical, paranormal, etc.) often offer these things, too, contemporary romance is the most accessible, true-to-life category, so readers can really see themselves in these books.
My emotion workshop goes to the heart of my belief about what readers want from a romance. And the genre-blended workshop talks about making sure the romantic arc is strong despite other story elements (such as a family drama) present in the novel. Either way, this all relates directly to contemporary romance.
CRW: Anything else you’d like to tell us?
JB: Just that I’m honored to have been asked to come speak at your conference and look forward to a terrific day.
* We hope to see you there! *
National bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than one and a half million copies. She is a Booksellers’ Best Award and National Readers’ Choice Award finalist, and critics at Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing novels, she enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.