Angela Claire's first love was romance novels, but she resolved to give them up temporarily for law books (which were considerably less fun). In a quest for a 'responsible' career, she headed off to Harvard law school, obtained her diploma and settled into a corporate law practice in New York city...which she hated! After staying in the rat race long enough to pay back her massive student loans, Angela returned to her roots in the Midwest and is now raising two active boys and working as a lawyer at a more leisurely pace than big city law firm life would allow. She writes in her spare time and finds romance in real life with her husband of 24 years. If you would like to contact Angela at [email protected], she would love to hear from you.
Q: How did you find your way from practicing law to writing romance?
A: Actually, sad to say, I find the two things have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Despite what you may have seen on "L.A. Law" or "Perry Mason", the day to day practice of law is very dry and boring. There is no whisking off to tropical islands to close deals or fending off the advances of billionaire clients while saving struggling companies. There are really just reams of paper and trivial details and anxious folks wanting you to tell them what they want to hear. Which is where romance comes in! (Did anyone say 'calgon take me away...?!') I can't tell you how many times I've tuned out of listening to some blowhard in a boardroom and imagined myself as an FBI agent in a safe house with a gorgeous guy. In fact, that's how I came up with Saving McCade, my first book. If only the old guys in the Boardroom knew...
Q: When do you find the time to write?
A: When nobody's looking at work....? Just kidding. I do a lot of my writing at home in the evenings and on the weekend. My sons are both teenagers now and (this will come as a surprise to those of you with young kids), they really tend to need you a lot less in those years. So as much as I start every Saturday morning seeing if the boys want to 'play', unfortunately I usually get a no on that. It seems playing zombie video games with their friends trumps hanging out with mom and dad. But at least it gives me a lot of time to write.
Q: Is this the first time you've tried writing romance?
A: Actually, no. I tried my hand at it in the nineties when my sons were little. For a few months, my saint of a husband would take the boys out for one day on the weekend and I would sit at my computer letting my imagination go wild. I had a great time with it then, but when another publisher read the first three chapters of my book and asked for the whole thing and then turned it down anyway, I was crushed. Despite some encouraging words from the editor at the time, I found I couldn't take the rejection (and preferred to just hang out with my husband and kids rather than keeping at trying to write). Now that I'm older, I'm much better with rejection! (And, as mentioned in my previous answer, my kids aren't as keen on hanging out with me on the weekend now anyway!)
Q: What do you think of e-books?
A: They're great! In fact, it was only after I got a Nook and started reading some Emma Wilde e-books (she's fabulous) that I thought to try my hand at writing again. I think the e-book format is more conducive to first time writers; publishers can take a chance on an unknown because they have to invest relatively less cash than they do with print books. My husband laments the potential demise of print books, claiming he likes the feel of a 'real' book. And God knows, he's got about a million of them crammed into his study at home. But as I tell him, books used to be written on papyrus by hand...and did the invention of paper and a printing press mean the demise of the book? Of course not! As long as we have writers and, just as importantly, readers, there will be books, whatever form they may take.
Q: Romance gets a bad rap most of the time for being escapist or lowbrow. Are you embarrassed to read it or write it?
A: Absolutely not! I get infuriated when people mock romance books or equate romance reading with being brainless. It's absolutely ridiculous. As a life long reader of romance and a first time writer of it, I'm proud of the opportunity to give women (and I acknowledge it's mostly women) the opportunity to just let go of real life and imagine themselves in an exciting situation with an exciting guy. Most of us would not really want to be stuck on a tropical island (even if it was with a hot guy), but what's wrong with dreaming of it? It relieves stress the same way that some men get stress relief by watching other men bat a ball around or punch each other out. No one suggests men who watch baseball or boxing are stupid just because they do it. Everyone understands it for the leisurely activity it is. I would hope someday the rest of society would see romance reading in that light. (That being said, I admit I do keep my vast romance collection on bookshelves in our bedroom, rather than the living room! But that's just because we romance readers are misunderstood!)
Q: Is Angela Claire your real name?
A: No. I can't let those old guys in the Boardroom know what I'm really thinking...
Q: How did you come up with your pseudonym?
A: I always wanted to have a little girl. Unfortunately, it never happened. (My sons hate to hear that!) So I had a girl's name picked out in advance and was never able to use it... Angela Claire. For a long time I settled for just naming our cat (who is a girl) a version of it... Clairie... but now I finally get to use the full name!
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