Today I’m sitting down with long-time CR-RWA member Lonnie McManus to talk about why she loves writing romance, and why she thinks CR-RWA is a great resource for writers at all stages of their careers.
Cara Connelly: Hi Lonnie! You’ve been a familiar friendly face at CR-RWA ever since I joined back in 2010, and I’m so glad to have this chance to find out a little more about you. For starters, I’m wondering how you got involved with the chapter, and what it means to you.
Lonnie McManus: I joined CR-RWA in 2003. I was looking for a writing group and saw an announcement in our local newspaper about the chapter having a meeting and decided, after checking it out, the chapter was just what I was looking for. I’ve learned so much over the years from fellow members, the monthly workshops, and had the opportunity to meet with well-known authors and industry professionals who’ve always been willing to share information about writing and the publishing industry. I can’t stress enough how much the chapter can help both the beginning author and the seasoned pro through the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and news.
Cara: I couldn’t agree more! What got you started writing romance?
Lonnie: I write romance because I love the genre. It has so many opportunities to write any type of story you want, from contemporary inspirational to science fiction to mystery. It seems like there is a spot for everyone. Plus I a love a happy ending, something you don’t always get in other genres or even in real life.
Cara: What type of stories do you write?
Lonnie: I write romantic suspense with paranormal overtones. I’ve tried writing historical as I love the genre but keep slipping back into suspense and the paranormal. I think it’s because I’ve always wondered about things that go bump in the night and I love thrillers.
Cara: Can you tell us some of your favorite authors, and any who’ve inspired you along the way?
Lonnie: I’ve been inspired by a diverse group of writers, from Dean Koontz who told me “Lonnie, May you always have a silver bullet when you need one” in a letter. I always read the awesome storyteller Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb to study character and story development. I love Robert Crais and Michael Connelly who have let their characters grow throughout their various series. I especially like JoAnn Ross, Karen Robards, Amanda Quick, Eileen Dreyer and Kristan Higgins for their wonderful stories and interesting, layered characters.
Cara: So many of my own favorites are on that list! How about writing advice? Have you gotten any that stuck with you?
Lonnie: The best writing advice I ever got was from agent Steve Axelrod during a CR-RWA panel discussion. Someone in the audience asked him how valuable was it to attend lots of conferences to listen to other writer’s workshops. He said in his opinion the best thing you can ever do for your writing is to sit down and write. The only conference he recommended was RWA National and that was for networking. Nora Roberts always says pretty much the same thing—“Sit your butt in the chair and write.”
Cara: Great advice, indeed. Thanks for sharing it, and for taking the time to answer my questions today. I know you’re busy revising your paranormal thriller THE LAST DARK ANGEL for submission. I was lucky enough to hear you read the opening pages, and I can’t wait for the rest of the story!
Good luck with revisions, and thanks for stopping by the blog!