Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Guest Author, Molly Stark

Today's Guest Author is Molly Stark, whose book Midsummer Magic came out in print on November 21. Molly is a fellow Rose at The Wild Rose Press, and after the rave reviews she's received from Simply Romance Reviews and Long and Short Reviews, we look forward to seeing more books in her Sisters of the Heart series soon!

Who are you?

My name is Molly Stark. I’m a writer and a reader, a teacher, a quilter, a baker (mmmm - eating homeade shortbread right now), a wife and a friend.

What type of stories do you like to write and why?

I love to write about the Regency period. I find the paradox of rigid manners and raw romanticism utterly fascinating. My heroines always dance to their own inner music, and during the Regency period the consequences of challenging social conventions were particularly dire.

What type of stories do you like to read and why?

I have eclectic tastes, but I love real romance -- the knee-melting, sigh-inducing kind. Sex is fine, but romance is essential.

When do you write?

I do my best writing in the morning at a lovely (quiet!) little coffee shop near my house. I can also write at night, but I need time and quiet to actually create pages.

When do you read? Where?

I confess I like to read in bed, on weekend mornings and as I fall asleep. And in the winter, there’s nothing better than curling up in front of the fireplace on a blustery afternoon, a cup of cocoa in one hand and a new read in the other.

Where did you get the inspiration for Midsummer Magic?

Funny, I remember this so clearly. I was sitting through a boring lecture, and I had this sudden image of a single scene: a young woman pinning up her hair as she talked to an older woman. The young woman warns that the man waiting downstairs will know she’s an imposter and will shame the whole family by telling the world that they tried to pass her off as his bride. The older woman argues that it doesn’t matter -- even if the man knows he is being tricked, he will be too polite to say anything. That was the seed. At that point, I had to come up with a reason the family would be trying to pull a switcheroo, and that became Midsummer Magic.

Where do you go to think?

I do my best thinking on long walks. Also, I have a very long commute, and I find that I can do some good thinking while I drive. Unfortuneately, that means other drivers sometimes catch me talking to myself. (I prefer “eccentric” to “crazy,” thank you very much.)

How did you come up with your title?

I went through several titles until, in consultation with my editor, I settled on Midsummer Magic. The climax of the book is at a Midsummer revel in Cornwall, and I loved the symbolism of Midsummer being a threshold, when the seasons change, when the veil between this world and the next is lifted, when the usual rules simply don’t apply. The magic isn’t “woo woo” magic, but the magic of things we cannot understand. Like love. Nicholas spends much of the book convincing Mira to let go of logic and believe in that kind of magic. It’s something I struggle with myself.

Why do you write?

Of course I love to tell stories, to dig into what makes people tick and build characters from the bones out. But I really write because I love words. Always have. There’s nothing better than sifting through words, weighing the nuances of their meanings, and choosing exactly the right one. I love stringing together words, not only for their meaning but for their sound. I always read my writing out loud, and pay as much attention to the cadence of the language as I do to the sense of the story.

At the tender age of twelve, Molly Stark began pilfering her mother’s historical romances, staying awake until the wee hours, lost in the lives and loves of women from distant times and foreign lands. She knew from page one that she wanted to create and share her own stories of humor, passion, and mystery . . . stories that would transport readers and keep them turning the pages long into the night. Molly lives in Texas with the love of her life and a brood of temperamental felines.


Diane Craver said...

Great interview! I do the same thing, Molly, while driving and think about my stories I'm writing! Hopefully, we aren't on the road the same time. LOL

I love reading books about the Regency period - your book sounds like one I'll enjoy!

chris k said...

Oh - now you have me drooling for homemade shortbread!! I love shortbread. Somehow my planned special k breakfast doesn't seem to cut it anymore! lol.

I find it fascinating that the entire plot for a great book can come from a single short snippet.

Do you have any more scenes in mind for the next Molly Stark book?

Kay Thomas said...

Great interview, Molly!
I'm one of those eccentric drivers, too!
I love that "hands free phones" now cover our eccentricities!
Looking forward to Midsummer Magic!

Mary Malcolm said...

Wanted to add myself to that eccentric, not crazy, person list. Oh, but I wish I only did it whilst driving. Actually, the other day I realized I was talking to myself in the middle of the checkout line at the grocery store. *grin* Unfortunately, some of the other customers noticed before I did.

Such a great interview, you'll have us all baking cookies by this afternoon and recording every snippit we can get our little hands on. Thank you, Molly!

Molly Stark said...

I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one who talks to herself. I've been thinking about getting a little digital recorder so I can actually remember some of the little bits of brilliance I come up with ... though I suspect if I listened to them later, they wouldn't sound quite so brilliant.

As for the next book, the idea for that one came from a little biography I read about a woman who was friends with Mary Shelley (as in Frankenstein). It's an unusual story for me, because the seed of the story is the hero's crisis, not the heroine's.

Margaret Tanner said...

Great Interview Molly. Your book sounds wonderful. Thankfully I commute to work by train, so I can think about my stories without worrying about running off the road. I once got carried on past my stop, I was too engrossed in my story to realize that I had to get off 3 stations back.

Molly Stark said...

Margaret - that's a hoot! We should be careful about making this information public for fear the insurance companies will start charging higher premiums to romance writers. :)