Welcome To Debbie's Den

Debbie takes a well-earned break this month and opens the doors of the Den to Connie, our Editorial Assistant, who relished the chance to sit down and chat with one of her favorite authors. Have no fear, Debbie-fans! Debbie herself is hard at work putting together a schedule of interviews that is guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of any romance lover.
Sharing Some Time In The Den This Month is
Treva Harte
Perfect, by Treva HarteTreva Harte is one busy lady! Best selling author of Ellora’s Cave e-books, lawyer and mother, somehow she manages to keep it all together and churn out hit after hit. Treva’s unique brand of writing, coupled with her outrageous futuristic plots is what keeps folks coming back for more. Her characters are strong minded women, with heart, and guts, and a soft spot for an Alpha Male.
Married to her own Alpha Male, and fellow lawyer, she’s a member of the RWA chapter in Washington, a P.E.A.R.L. award finalist, and nominated for two Love Readers Choice Awards. Ms. Harte is quick witted, smart, and one of the first women responsible for bringing the genre of romantica to the public.
Like many of her fellow authors, Treva is so busy that she has yet to get that "perfect" photo taken. Instead, she asked if we could use the cover of her novel Perfect. We agreed. Somehow the words "perfect" and "Treva Harte" go together.

Hello Treva, we're so glad you could join us for this chat.

Being a government attorney full time, does that make it difficult to fit writing into your busy schedule? Would you like to write full time someday?

The short answer is yes, it makes it difficult. The more I write and the more writing obligations and deadlines I take on, the more difficult it is. I could give you the long answer but I don’t have time. I recently did email my list of things to do for the month to a critique partner. After many paragraphs (I’m sure she fell asleep before the end of the message) I said, “Just shoot me. I couldn’t do all this if I had no family and no full-time job.”
Every writer wants to write full time. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that luxury.

Your concepts for plots/story lines (i.e.: “The Wildling”, and “The Deviants”) are outrageously wild and unique, where the heck do they come from? Are these concepts from philosophies you’d like to see become realities? Like the concept of keeping men as subservient pets in “The Wildling”, or men and women living on separate planets as in “The Deviants”.

I don’t really know where they come from. Just for the record, I really do like men and my DH is an Alpha type guy. Maybe I wouldn’t mind a few male pets or to have men go away for a few weeks to an all guy camp somewhere…Actually I think it comes from how differently men and women can see the world. Those differences can be really amusing. If I exaggerate the differences a bit or turn stereotypes upside down just for the comic effect then…poof!…somehow it turns into The Wildling and The Deviants.

You make the transition from one premise to the other for a book (i.e.: futuristic-time travel-contemporary etc.) with such ease, what’s it like to be inside your head? [LOL] and what sub-genre do you prefer?

If you were inside my head you’d probably want to tidy it up. I’m sure it’s cluttered and things are all in the wrong place and stuff sort of sloshes around from place to place. It looks sort of like my house, in fact.
I like writing paranormal because it allows me to break rules…or at least follow my own rules. That’s the closest I can come to saying what sub-genre I like. I veer from comic to somewhat serious as well. Sometimes I just need to take a break from one genre and work with another. That kind of attitude will never endear me to a print publisher. Even my EC publisher wants me to write funny all the time. But I seem to get my nominations for awards for the serious stuff. Go figure.

Your writing (or my perception of it [snort]) is simple (hence my perception [bg]), and straightforward, with no flowery prose. Do you find that’s from your experience as a lawyer, where your point needs to be made in a clear and concise manner?

Eh? What lawyers do you talk to? Lawyers never write things in a clear and concise manner. We do get paid by the hour, you know. If I do write concisely, it’s probably because of my journalism background from long ago. Or maybe because I think that’s the best way to communicate. It takes a lot of hard work to keep sentences simple.

From concept and planning stages to fruition, how long does it take to complete a book?

It depends. Usually not too long. I spit out 5-6 novels, novellas or short stories the first year EC took me on. Maybe more. I’m gradually slowing down, but if I am really into writing my story and don’t have too many reality interruptions, I can do a decent-size book in three months, start to finish. Shorter stories take less time. But that time frame is becoming harder for me to do. Maybe I’m maturing as a writer—or maybe I’m getting tired.

How do you feel about receiving an unfavorable review? Do you get angry or take it as constructive criticism?

Well, it depends on whether I find the review to be constructive or not. I’ve had negative reviews that I can learn something from and I know the reviewer has thought about my work before writing a criticism. I was a reviewer once myself, though I found it too hard to stay one once I turned author. It’s difficult to be objective when you know what it’s like on the other side. Actually I’m not usually angry about bad reviews. I can get really worried that I’ve failed to convey what I meant to readers, though.
Um…are you trying to tell me something about an upcoming review?

How do you feel about the e-book forum? Ellora’s is obviously less inhibited in the erotic forum; did you choose e-publishing because of that? Would you like to someday be published in print?

I chose e-books and Ellora’s Cave because they were willing to publish me. The benefits of fewer restrictions became obvious to me rather quickly, however. I really don’t follow rules very well.
Sure. I’d like to be published in print. But if it never happens, that’s OK. I enjoy what I do now. Plus my 84-year-old mother will never read anything of mine as long as it’s an e-book. If my erotic stories ever make it to print I have a lot of explaining to do.

Is it difficult to squeeze such a good plot in between all that moresexmoresexmoresex? (Connie having a good giggle right now, but a very serious question)

Well, yes, sometimes it is difficult. You need a plot where sex is going to be the most important thing going on. That sounds obvious, I suppose. But I had a story where a lot was going on—it hadn’t been geared for EC to start with—and it was hard to squeeze moresex in when bad guys were chasing the hero and heroine and the world had to be saved.

In your writing you display a very wry sense of humor. Would you say that’s an accurate portrayal of your own personality?

I guess so. I tend to get funnier as my situation gets more desperate. OK, maybe nothing life-threatening is going on, but as my stress mounts I realize I care a lot less about what people think and I just say what’s on my mind. Usually it comes out funny. Or I hope it does. Maybe it just comes out peculiar.

My perception of your heroines is that they are very easygoing, independent women, with a lot of heart. Do you base your characters on real life people?

I don’t do it on purpose. Sometimes people creep in and I realize later what I’ve done. The shrink in Why Me? was based on someone I disliked. Em in Why Me? turned out to be based on one of my critique partners. I’m not sure I really have any others. But I like real women who are easy-going, independent and have heart so perhaps that’s why I want my heroines to be that way.

I loved Adan and Arness in “The Wildling,” (my first Treva Harte book) but I wanted to know more about them, will there be a sequel to “The Wildling”?

I think so. I actually started a sequel and then got called away to do some other stories that have deadlines. I suspect my Aridzone characters will demand more attention soon, but first I have my Valentine’s Day anthology story where the heroine hallucinates into a strange fairy tale…that’s the best way I can describe it…and then another story for a summer anthology. That will be about a trophy wife who time travels away from her “perfect” marriage. I also have a contemporary series coming out. Then I can get back to Arness and the gang.

How do you feel about receiving awards for your writing? Is their one that eludes you?

Um. I like awards. Who wouldn’t like awards? But I feel uncomfortable in contests. (Maybe it’s because I never win any!) They all elude me, though it’s been nice to be nominated for things. I don’t write for awards though.

What would you suggest to new authors about getting published, any tricks to the trade ect?

Well, no. I was frustrated and annoyed when I was unpublished, just like anyone who tries to write. But I kept writing. I joined a professional writing group, which was good for me in all kinds of ways. I took my writing seriously and I kept trying to improve. I got published because a friend of my husband’s used to own a reviewing website and recommended I try to write reviews there. I thought it would be a good way to find out what the market was like and what got published. The EC publisher was a fellow reviewer. Now maybe that was dumb luck but I also was working to learn more in as many ways as I could and an unexpected avenue opened up for me. Is that a trick of the trade?

What’s an average day like for Treva Harte? Where is your favorite spot to write, and when do you write (at night, morning)?

An average day? I’d like to have one. I get up early in the morning—usually around 5, unless I have to be in the office that day and then I get up at 4:30. I check email, write a little if I have time, and then start my other job. As soon as they wake up, the kids and DH bug me throughout breakfast time until they get off to school and work. (“WHERE is the butter?” “He’s picking on me, Mom!” “I have something important to tell you right now!”) Once it’s quiet—assuming my mother doesn’t call or the computer doesn’t malfunction that morning--then I try to settle in and finish the day job. If I’m done early enough, I write a little before the kids get home. We do the dinner and homework thing. Then I try for something mindless but writer-related after they go to bed. That, of course, is the ideal day. Most of my writing gets done on weekends…except that lately the day job has been creeping in on my writing time.
I like to write wherever I can find a working computer. Or a piece of paper and pencil. I’m not picky.

What do you like to read? Who are some of you favorite authors? What kind of music do you listen to?

I don’t read as much as I did before I started writing…unless you count all the critiquing I do for other authors. Some authors I make time for are Nora Roberts, Jennifer Crusie, Linda Howard, Suzanne Brockmann and a lot of EC authors that I won’t list because I’ll forget a name and hurt someone’s feelings. No, wait. I have to mention Shelby Morgen because she is my main critique partner and best friend and she will physically hurt me if I don’t mention her.
The polite answer is what I listen to in music is eclectic. The real answer is my DH and I tend to have differing tastes, though after 16 years we’ve come to some compromises. He likes jazz, punk, opera, some really weird stuff. I like more mainstream rock, country, reggae, Cajun. We compromise with bluegrass, rock classics and Latin music. Now the kids are daring to express their musical preferences. You never know what you’ll hear when you enter the house.

I want to thank Ms. Harte for joining me, and helping me successfully turn out my first interview. Not only was she a pleasure to interview, she is gracious, funny and kind.

Please click on the bookcover
(resting on the mantel) to visit Treva's website


Take a look at some of the books ARR has reviewed by Treva Harte.

Changing the Odds:The Deviants II
His Mistress
His Mistress
Nicely Naughty
No Time To Dream
Second Time
The Deviants
The Deviants III: World Enough
The Seduction of Sean Nolan
The Wildling
Time Of Her Life
Time Will Tell
Why Me?

Next month: Lucy brings a guest to the Den - Joanna Wylde. Won't you join us?

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