An Interview with Becky Lower

Please help me welcome Becky Lower to my blog today. Be sure and leave a comment. There will be a prize drawing and one lucky commenter will win.

What genre do you write and why?

I have an ongoing series of historical romances featuring the Fitzpatrick family, and set in America in the 1850s. In a totally different vein, I’m shopping around a baby-boomer contemporary about three sisters who are in their 40s and haven’t gotten along for twenty years. And I keep plugging away on my time-travel story, which has taken me years to research and write.

Tell me about your current series.

It’s called The Cotillion Ball Series. The Cotillion was introduced into America in 1854 as a way to introduce young ladies of affluence into society. The Fitzpatrick children needed to take their place in society, so Ginger is the first to experience the Cotillion. She is The Reluctant Debutante, which debuted in July. The second book, The Abolitionist’s Secret, is about Heather Fitzpatrick, who participates in the Cotillion the following year, and is swept off her feet by a southerner. She hides her abolitionist activities from him. You know that’s not going to go well. I am just wrapping up the third book in the series—this time it’s about one of the brothers, who is living in St. Louis. The focus is not on the Cotillion, but rather the wagon trains that leave every spring from St. Louis on the way west. But the Cotillion does factor into the story at the very end.

What movie best describes your life?

I would have to say it’s “The Holiday,” starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. My life has been sort of like Kate’s in the story. Always falling for the wrong man and thinking he feels the same way when he just wants to use my mind, or my connections, or my wallet. It took me a long time before I figured out those men who floated in the background of my life were the ones to really focus on. And, before it was too late, I found the career I’ve always wanted—that of a romance writer.

What is your next project and when will it be released?

The Abolitionist’s Secret is due out in December, 2012, by Crimson Romance. I entered it into a few contests prior to Crimson accepting it, and was told that it would never see the light of day, because I talk about slavery in the context that it was discussed in the 1850s. So many people romanticize about the Civil War but forget why it was fought. Because of the time frame in which my series is placed, the rumblings of an impending war are a part of everyday life, regardless of where in the country the story happens. I like to show how historic events were a part of my characters’ lives and how it affected them. It brings the history books to life. Fortunately, Crimson Romance had an open mind and saw that I approached the explosive issues of the time with dignity and accuracy.

Do you have critique partners?

I have several critique groups, and they are all amazing. I live in a small college town and meet weekly with a group there. It’s comprised of all types of writers, from poets to fan fiction to paranormal to romance. They bring a fresh perspective to my work. My other group is strictly romance writers, but is about an hour’s drive away, so we post chapters to our loop and critique each other that way during the month. We have one face-to-face a month, where we try to educate ourselves on various topics. And I have my cousin, who is also a writer. She sees everything I write before I send it out. She’s been invaluable.

What is most difficult for you to write? Character, conflict or emotions? Why?

I always struggle with conflict. Why can’t two people, who are both wonderful, complex characters, just meet, fall in love, and get married? The simple answer is because that would make for a boring book. I usually write my scene, then go back and look for places where I can insert conflict. Sometimes it comes easy, as with The Abolitionist’s Secret. There’s enough conflict there for several books. But I am continually aware of it as something to strengthen in my work.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write or do you avoid it?

Since I’ve been writing historicals set in America, I’ve been reading a lot of them. Some are excellent, but I start picking them apart, since that’s my genre. To the casual reader, they’re fine. I may not get every detail right either, but I try to pay attention to the history, the decorum, the dress, things like that. So, I’ve kind of steered away from American historicals and have gone back to my old standby—Regency romances. I don’t know that much about every nuance of the Regency period, so I am a casual reader there, and if something is not historically accurate, it doesn’t stand out to me. And, they’re fun.

11 thoughts on “An Interview with Becky Lower

  1. Wow! I can only imagine the kind of research that goes into a period piece. I did a short story in college that I did TONS of research and all it was a collection of letters. I even went through the trouble of staining them with tea to “age” them. Your series sound amazing!

  2. Hi Becky – your series sounds interesting. I’m glad that you write to what the thoughts of the time were, rather than the “politically correct” thoughts of today. And, I think in historicals, it’s important to relate your story to important events at the time. I’m sure you’ve read all the John Jakes books…I used to just devour those when I was a teenager. All the best – and I hope you have many sales!

  3. Thank you all for your responses. I admit to being a bit of a history junkie, especially when talking about the Western expansion. I always wanted to roll to the West in a covered wagon, or to live in a border town, like Deadwood. Through my writing, I can do this. I’m having a great deal of fun with this series. Fortunately, there are nine children in the Fitzpatrick family, so I can continue to write about them for years!

  4. Hi, Becky – From the moment I read the drafts for “The Reluctant Debutante”, I had never enjoyed historical romance although I enjoyed history in school, specifically dates. As my cousin, and through your writing, you taught me otherwise. This is a wonderful interview with Cindy and I enjoyed reading some things I didn’t know. Your life has been filled with excitement and challenges and that’s what makes you the wonderful writer you are.

    I know you are going to be a very successful writer because everything I have read of yours, I truly believe will be published. Just keep putting the word out there and don’t stop kicking down doors. Love, your cousin, Sharon Lee Fernberg

  5. Ginger and Drake danced their way into my heart when I read The Reluctant Debutante and I’m eager for the next Cotillion installment. Becky’s penchant for detail delivers rich historical romances.

  6. Hi Becky,

    Very interesting interview. You really know your history and I appreciate all of the research you do to make your books relative to “their” time.

    Good luck with the book.

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