I’d like to introduce you to the fabulous Roxanne D. Howard! Since becoming part of the Loose Id team, I’ve been lucky enough to connect with her…and I have to tell you…she’s spectacular!
I’ve also read her book, At the Heart of the Stone, and it’s wonderful! Her characters are beautiful, and their journey is one you definitely want to witness. But don’t take my word for it, hurry up and get yourself a copy and let us know what you think! You won’t be disappointed!
Anywho…without further adieu, here is my interview with the chick who’s totally awesome-sauce… Roxanne D. Howard.
At the Heart of the Stone – Roxanne D. Howard
Covert Art by Dar Albert with Loose Id
1. First of all, I loved your book, At the Heart of the Stone! Your characters are so real and rich.
Are they based on anyone you know?
Hey, Erica! Thank you, that’s really kind of you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. That’s why I wrote it, so people can lose themselves for a bit. =) The characters are actually just original. While there’s a little sprinkling here and there of people I’ve come across, they all sort of walked fully formed into my head.
2. Charles is such a tool! But you wrote him so perfectly that I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
He just didn’t get it. Was this your intention? Or are you just that good? 😉 Or…am I just that
crazy that I felt a little bad for him?
Ah yes, Charles. The man has issues. Big time (and that’s putting it lightly). Yes, I wrote him as a textbook narcissist, with sociopathic tendencies. Most people don’t ever manifest latent psychological tendencies, but in the case of the book, his came out. I realize I sound like a total nerd, but I had fun sort of diving into that. No, your reaction is awesome and exactly what I was going for. In any kind of antagonistic sort of role, there has to be a shred of humanity, something relatable, to make the villain properly effective.
3. The sexual tension…wow! Did you find it difficult to build that kind of raw lust and emotion?
Of course. It was a lot tamer when I originally wrote it. In the first draft, there was no sex at all, and it played out more like a Hallmark coming-back-to-your-roots book. It’s gone through a lot of changes, and interestingly enough, when that happened the sexual tension just sort of built on its own during the rewrites.
4. Speaking of sex… Sexuality and passion were two extremely important themes in your book,
but Charles, Niall, and Lark each needed very different things to be fulfilled. Was this difficult to
That is an awesome question. Wow. Yeah, I set out to be true to each character when I was redoing the manuscript and fleshing everything out. For Charles, everything is about him. His sexual needs are about fulfilling his own base desires. There’s a strong disconnect between emotion and sex with him. He’s not a selfless person; quite the opposite. Niall, on the other hand, is all about pleasing Lark. Her pleasure brings him his pleasure, and he really is the ideal companion because of how he recognizes the importance in meeting mutual needs through satisfying someone he loves. He aims to please. =)
Lark’s path is different from both of them. She’s on a journey of self-discovery throughout the whole book. The only lover she’s really known is Charles, and so when she starts having these intense erotic dreams of a hot Irish guy she’s never met, it doesn’t quite register until she meets him that sex can be loving and passionate, not just a means to destress or seek physical pleasure. Going philosophical here for a second, for career driven people, it’s so easy to lose yourself to what you’re doing and be so involved in your ambitions and goals, that you forget to truly live and allow yourself to love and be happy. This is something she learns throughout the book. Great question!
5. Unfortunately, sometimes the writing in erotic romance can be a bit cheesy, but yours wasn’t
at all. It was beautiful and sexy. Did you find it difficult to walk that line between hot and corny?
Thank you. When I decided to turn ATHOTS from a regular romance novel in the second draft to a full blown erotic romance novel, something that was important to me was that it not be a bun-chicka-wah-wah type of deal. Sex can be fun and hot and all of those things, but when you’re telling a story of personal discovery, or any story for that matter, the sex needs to mean something. And with Niall, it does. Yes, I really struggled learning how to marry erotic sex and what I felt like was an important storyline together, especially it being my first time writing erotic romance. It was hard, but I worked on it a lot and read, wrote, erased stuff, rewrote, until I felt like it flowed pretty well and was true to Lark and Niall’s story. Hopefully I pulled it off!
6. Do you have a favorite scene or moment? If so, without giving too much away, which one?
The wheat field scene, and that’s all I’m going to say ‘bout that! 😉 (I concur!!! Hehee)
7. Did you set out for this to be an erotic romance?
Nope. It was a cookie-cutter, Hallmark-esque coming-home tale when I originally wrote it, but after sitting dormant in my computer for seven years, the idea of it evolved until I felt like Lark just jumped out of the book, grabbed me by my shirt, and said, “Look, I love Niall, and you’re going to make this passionate and hot and everything it deserves to be, okay?” In a strange way, it was almost like I went on a journey too, as a writer. I grew up writing this book, for sure.
8. What got you interested in erotic romance?
That’s a good question, because beyond Diana Gabaldon and Jean M. Auel, the truth is I don’t really read erotic romance or erotica. It was when I started rewriting it about eight months ago. It was just the direction the book took me in, and I followed it. I had to learn to cast off a lot of inhibitions, but I am glad I did. This is their story, and I feel like I’m someone just sitting down watching their movie, letting it play out before me.
9. Do you write in any other genres? If so, which ones? If not, do you plan to?
I do. I write under pen names, and I write horror, YA, dystopian, general/women’s fiction, etc.
10. Is this your first novel to be published?
Yes, I’ve only self-published under pen names before, just novella-length tales in different genres.
11. Was it a long road to get it published?
Yes, but it was worth it. I love Loose Id. They’ve been very good to me, and they’re a very classy, warm bunch.
12. What was it like finally seeing the finished product? Did you break out in a happy dance?
Very surreal and strange. I had a burst of adrenaline the day it was published, kind of a Fred Flintstone sliding-down-the-dinosaur moment, but it wore off quite soon and I was like, “back to work!”
13. You write under a pen name, how does it feel to have an alter-ego? Did you channel her in
Lark and Niall’s more passionate moments?
It’s like a warm blanket, to be honest. I don’t really consider “Roxanne” to be someone different. The person I am on Twitter and in my blogs is me. I simply write under a pen name for privacy reasons, and so I that can be true to my writing. I’m not writing to impress my friends or old teachers or colleagues or anyone. I do it because I have a passion for it; it’s what I love. When I was writing the sex scenes, honestly Lark and Niall just took over and I was simply their scribe.
14. You’re a wife and mother. Do you find it challenging to find time to write while still wearing
your many other hats?
Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes. When the kids are at school, I usually hunker down in a secluded corner of the public library with my laptop and go to town. I have a home office, but I find the kinship of books and the energy of people around me quite motivating while writing. Other than when they’re in school, I have to just write whenever I can. Sometimes I’ll come up with an idea in my head and just jot it down while I’m waiting in the car to pick them up. You have to do what you can, when you can.
15. Is there any advice you’d like to give up and coming authors? Or to those who are debating
whether or not to submit their work?
Develop a thick skin, and be prepared to promote yourself. Publishers are there to assist you and help you get your book ready and put it out there, but you have to be willing to put yourself out there and invest in promoting your work. To anyone who struggles with self-doubt, have a big old virtual hug!!! I shelved ATHOTS for seven years of my life because I thought my writing sucked. I almost didn’t pick it back up, but if I can do it and get it out there, anyone can. Believe in yourself and your writing abilities, and never give up on your dreams.
16. Who are your favorite erotic romance authors?
A close friend sent me a physical copy of Outlander for Christmas two years ago. I’d never read it, but I thought it was an incredible read. Diana Gabaldon is a very gifted, intuitive author. I love how she’s very focused on the plot, and the sex is hot and amazing, but it’s just part of it. It’s not what the book is actually about, which makes it all the more richer. She’s extremely talented.
17. Did you and your husband do anything special to celebrate At the Heart of the Stone being
LOL We watched The Walking Dead and ate nachos and drank IBC root beer when the kids fell asleep. Fourteen years of marriage, and we still know how to party. 😉 We haven’t celebrated it yet, but we’re planning a trip to Disneyland and Universal in the Spring, so I’m looking forward to that.
18. What can we expect next from you?
I have one paranormal romance already written that I’m editing right now called Embodiment. It’s about a ghost soldier in St. Augustine. Right now I’m writing Finding a Pulse, an IR contemporary romance that I’m loving. I hope to have it finished at the end of April.
19. I’ve seen you tweet about needing diversity in books. Is this something you’ve been aware
of for a while? Or has it recently come to your attention?
Oh, yes. I’ve been like that my whole life. My childhood best friend was from Guatemala. I love friends who are different in all sorts of ways. Let me put it this way. A drill sergeant in boot camp once told our company (while we were standing in formation) to scatter and then pair up with someone of the opposite race for physical training. His words were (and I’ll never forget this), “I want to see Puff Daddy walking down the street with Alanis Morrisette!” One thing I tell my daughters is, “If you look at a garden, would you prefer to see something with just white roses, or a whole mixed variety of beautiful colors, shapes, and sizes?” We’re all different, and that’s a beautiful thing. It needs to be embraced and celebrated. From race to religion to sexual preference. We need diverse books out in the world like we need food and water.
20. What are your social media and website links?
Thank you so much for having me!