Today marks the start of our much anticipated American Title V (ATV) interviews. As most of you may already know, the American Title Contest is sponsored by Dorchester Publishing and Romantic Times BOOKreviews Magazine. This will be the fifth year the contest has been running. This year there are only eight finalists versus the usual ten, and the categories have been left open to encompass all categories of romance fiction. For a complete list of the eight American Title V finalists, you can go to the RT blog September archives by clicking HERE. Scroll down until you see September 5, 2008. It’s the second to last blog entry.
As former American Title finalists ourselves, we want to show our support for the current ATV finalists by hosting interviews of them here at Title Magic. Here is the schedule of interviews for this week.
>> Monday (today): Mai interviews Edie Ramer
>> Tuesday: Helen interviews Qaey Williams
>> Wednesday: Lexie interviews Tamara Hughes
>> Thursday: Trish interviews Barbara Longley
The remainder of the ATV finalists interviews will be posted next week – just in time for voting for the first round of the contest which begins the following Monday, November 10th. Round 1 voting will be on the First Line. Please visit often this week and next to get to know your fellow ATV finalists.
Now, without further ado, let’s get these interviews started! Please join me in welcoming American Title V finalist, Edie Ramer, to Title Magic. Edie’s finaling manuscript is titled DEAD PEOPLE. Her short stories have been published in National magazines and she is also co-creator of an inspirational website for writers, www.writeattitude.net.
MT: Thanks for joining us here at TM, Edie, and congratulations on the ATV final! Can you tell us where you’re from?
ER: First I want to thank Mai and the other American Title IV finalists for having us. Mai, you’ve been a huge help to me, right from the beginning when I emailed you about the cover letter. :) Now, back to the question. I live in southeastern Wisconsin. Right now everyone has their Halloween decorations out and leaves of all colors are covering the lawns. It’s beautiful.
MT: I hear the weather’s been rather warm up there for this time of year. What category does your finaling manuscript, DEAD PEOPLE, fall under?
ER: It was warm, but not today! Like I said, it’s nearing Halloween, time for DEAD PEOPLE to come out and beg for candy. (That’s awful, but I couldn’t resist.) DEAD PEOPLE is a light paranormal.
MT: Can you give us a quick 100 words or so blurb about the story?
ER: When Cassie Taylor talks, ghosts listen. She wants to heal their souls so they can leave earth. Brooding songwriter Luke Rivers wants to give his newly found daughter a normal home, but he discovers his new house in small town Wisconsin is haunted by a ghost with an attitude. His ghost whisperer has an attitude too – even before someone tries to kill her. So why does he have the hots for her? And why does she lust after him? He wants conventional. She wants acceptance. No wonder she thinks men are hard and DEAD PEOPLE are easy.
MT: That sounds like a great story. Very fun and with just the right touch of kickass attitude. What was your reaction when you first found out you finaled?
ER: When I found out I’d finaled, I felt pure happiness. I wanted it so badly -- or something else wonderful. Though I didn’t expect it, I hoped for it. To me, the American Title is the romance writer’s version of American Idol. Getting a request for the full was the “You’re going to Hollywood!” call. Getting the news that I was a finalist was moving into the top ten. Only in this case, the top eight. That’s even better!
MT: This is better than the “You’re going to Hollywood” stage. You passed that when they requested the full. This is the Top 10 – or in this case, Top 8!! Do you have a website?
ER: Absolutely! www.edieramer.com. I hope people will check it out and visit my blog. I also belong to the Magical Musings group blog, www.magicalmusings.com, and the American Title V group blog, www.loveconquers.wordpress.com. And I’m a new convert to Facebook! www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=747112424. I need friends, so look me up and friend me. :)
MT: I’m a new convert to Facebook too, and love it! Not only is it a great marketing tool, but you get to meet new people who are interested in what you write and strengthen relationships and friendships you already have. What kind of books do you like to read?
ER: I feel like Sarah Palin, saying “I read them all.” I read everything from mystery to YA, and especially romance in all the genres. I read non-fiction too. Right now I’m reading a book on life between lives.
MT: I’ll refrain from making any kind of comments regarding Sarah Palin, lol. The life between lives concept sounds interesting. Who are your auto-buy authors?
ER: I can put names down here! My auto buys are Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jayne Ann Krentz, Jennifer Crusie, Amy Knupp, Jan Kenny, and many more. I recently ordered Karin Tabke’s HAVE YOURSELF A NAUGHTY LITTLE SANTA and Liz Kreger’s PROMISE FOR TOMORROW. I have Cynthia Eden’s MIDNIGHT SINS on pre-order. I’m looking forward to buying Helen Scott Taylor’s THE MAGIC KNOT in February.
MT: Sounds like your average reader then. :) What is it you like most and admire about the heroine in DEAD PEOPLE?
ER: I admire Cassie’s bravery, the way she goes on with her life and doesn’t feel sorry for herself, despite her unloving childhood. No self-pity allowed. And she hasn’t allowed her childhood to harden her heart – against dead people. Live people ... well, that’s another story. I also like her snarky tongue. In real life I’d love to have her as my friend.
MT: She sounds like an interesting person, and a strong character. What is you like most and admire about the hero in DEAD PEOPLE?
ER: My songwriter hero, Luke, was the only child of a free-living and loving parent. He didn’t know his father, and his childhood was unstable. He wants to do a better job for his newly found eleven-year-old daughter. He wants to do the right thing. I love that about him. Plus he writes really good songs.
MT: Who wouldn’t love a man who loves music and is dedicated to his child? Can you tell us more about the conflict in your story, DEAD PEOPLE?
ER: It would be easy to say the major conflict was finding the person who killed the woman who’s haunting Luke’s house. But the major conflict is Cassie’s and Luke’s gaping wounds. They’ve been used and abused. Neither of them believes in happily ever after. Neither of them trusts that another person will love them without reserve, without wanting anything except to be loved by them in return. Even Luke’s daughter has been hurt by her drug-addicted mother. Although there is humor in DEAD PEOPLE (there is! Really, there is!), their lives haven’t been easy. In one way or another, they’re all damaged.
MT: So it’s a character-driven book, versus a plot-driven book. I’ve always found that most romances are character-driven. It enamors the reader more to the book, in my opinion. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
ER: I agree with your so much about characters! It’s the people that linger with me after I’ve read a really good book. I recently took a right brain/left brain test and I came out in the middle, leaning toward the right brain. That’s how my plotting is too. I know the basics about my characters (subject to change). I know the premise, their GMC, their primal needs (I got “primal needs” from Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CAT!), an idea of the ending, and a few things that will happen along the way. That’s usually it. As I write I get insights and revelations. It keeps the story interesting for me. If I’m surprising and delighting myself, I hope I’m doing the same thing for the reader.
MT: Well, we can safely say that you’ve done the same thing for the editors at Dorchester! What do you like to do when you're not writing?
ER: I read books. The local librarians know me well. I watch favorite TV shows. (Is anyone else drooling over the lead actor in The Mentalist?) I spend time with my family. I walk my dog and pet my cat. I did a research road trip the other day with a friend, and had a blast – and a great lunch at a Turkish restaurant. I’m addicted to my email and spend too much times on blogs. I’m a serial dieter, and one day I will finally lose those last five pounds.
MT: You and me both, Edie!
Thank you so much for taking time out today to join us here at Title Magic. It was a pleasure learning more about you and hearing about Cassie and Luke. Best of luck with DEAD PEOPLE in the contest!
ER: Thanks, Mai! You and the other American Title IV finalists are awesome for doing this!
If you want to learn more about Edie and her writing, you can find her at:
Stay tuned tomorrow for our next American Title V finalist!