Danica Favorite on What It Takes to Be a Romance Novelist
Denver author Danica Favorite estimates that she wrote fifteen to twenty novels before she got the first one published — so many that she can't even recall the exact number. Romance novels tend to draw snickers from the literary crowd, but it's hard to think of a "literary" writer with that kind of dedication. Favorite wanted to write romance. And she knew from the outset she wanted to write for no one but Harlequin, so she kept dauntlessly at it until Harlequin picked her up.
Favorite reads and signs copies of her latest, The Lawman's Redemption, Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Aspen Grove. We talked with her in advance about the book, and what it takes to write romance.
Westword: What is the book about?
Danica Favorite: So, it’s called the The Lawman's Redemption, and it's set in Leadville during the silver rush of the 1880s. It follows a character named Will Lawson, who’s come to town looking for the bandit who framed him, and his only lead is a woman name Mary Stone, who’s just moved to Leadville; her family's made a fortune in the silver boom. She doesn't want anyone to know about her past with the bandit, who shows up on the scene and announces their engagement — of course he's just trying to get to the family fortune. Through a series of events, Will and Mary have to team up against the bandit, and in the process, of course, they fall in love.
What made you want to write romance novels?
I've just always really loved romance novels, but I'm also really... I do not like things that aren’t happy endings. The trend right now in books is they all have these weird endings, and I don’t like that. I want things to be happy. In romance novels that’s guaranteed: it’s going to end happy – and I think that we need more of that in this world. We need to believe things will work out okay.
Tell me about how you broke into the biz.
What happened for me is that a long time ago – I’ve been at this for a while – I was a stay at home mom. I had this baby, and I was just kind of bored. It was like, this baby just looks at you all day, and none of my friends had babies, and I was like, what do I do? So I was reading a romance novel, and I thought, maybe I could do this. So I started looking into Harlequin, and Harlequin.com has a great forum for writers. I joined the forum and learned a lot about the writing craft, and then I joined Romance Writers of America. Eventually I got an agent and I sold sold my first book.
You said you’ve been at this a while. How many books have you written before this?
It took me twelve years to sell my first book, Rocky Mountain Dreams, which was out in November. The Lawman’s Redemption is my second published book — it came out in July — but I’d written about fifteen to twenty novels prior to that.
That is a lot of novels!
It is! I always knew that I wanted to write for Harlequin. People think they're simple books, or that they're all formulaic, but they're not. It's actually kind of hard to break into. But now that I've broken in, I'll go back and try to edit some of those books and see about getting them published.
November to July — that's a pretty fast turnaround.
Well, when I sold the first book I already had the second book done. My third book will be out in April. I also write pretty fast.
It probably helps to have 15 or 20 novels in the can. Is that pretty common for romance publishing, to put books out in such quick succession?
It is. The thing about the romance reader is that they are voracious readers. They want to read lots of books,so once they read your book and they like it, they want more and they want them fast.
Your books have kind of a mountain theme. Is that something you’ve always done?
That’s something that I’ve developed with this series. All my books are set in Colorado, but this particular historical series I set in Leadville, because I love Leadville. My husband’s family, when they came to America, they moved to Leadville, so we have a lot of family connections there. I write about the things that I love. I love Colorado and I love Leadville, so it just seems like an obvious thing to write about.
What was the research process like for writing a historical romance novel?
It's been kind of a cheater process. I spend a lot of time in Leadville, and when you spend so much time in an area you get immersed in it. I’ve been to all the museums in Leadville, I’ve talked to lots of people who have old timer information, and I read everything I can get my hands on about Leadville, so that’s been something I’ve been doing even before I started writing, just because I like Leadville so much.
I have to ask: Is Danica Favorite your real name?
Sort of — it's my maiden name.
Follow me — and tell me what to write about — on Twitter @jefotte
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