I sat down virtually with paranormal romance author Rowan Worth to discuss writing, love, and dogs.
1) Do you have pets? If so, what kind and do they help you write your books?
We’ve just gotten two new “puppies.” Dasher and Blitzen are now almost 5 months old, and are shepherd/lab mixes—a brother/sister pair we rescued. We were told they’d be “medium sized” dogs … they’re already almost at 40 pounds, so that theory is pretty much shot. It’s been a while since we have had dogs—we used to have three: Shiloh, a shepherd/elkhound mix who was most often mistaken for a black wolf, Caber, a male border collie rescue, and Ceilidh (Kay-lee), a female border collie. Shiloh had a role in my current series I’ll get to later. It’s great having dogs back in the house. I’d say the best way the new pups are helping me write is getting me away from the keyboard and outside regularly. As a writer, it’s really easy to become totally sedentary. These two are going to help keep me healthy!
2) Why do you write what you write?
That’s a surprisingly tough question. I read voraciously—starting with fairy tales and British children’s books. Enid Blyton was a favorite—she wrote books about children having grand adventures. Sir Arthur Ransome was another favorite—again, kids with wild imaginations having wilder adventures during school breaks. Then I moved on to the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. Andre Norton broadened my interest to magic and then science fiction. My Mom and Grandmother read Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, and Nora Lofts. I found Anne McCaffrey, and the card catalog lead me from the Children’s section to the Adult section of the library for the rest of her Dragon books.
I realized liked Georgette Heyer, but I loved Mary Stewart and Anne McCaffrey. I liked the mysteries and adventure. Looking back, yeah, I was also wishing that Trixie and Jim would get together, and that Nancy would dump Ned for Frank Hardy … I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, but thought they’d do better with a dash of romance—and I missed the happy endings.
I was writing before I knew I was writing books. I had stories in my brain that were set off by other things I read, or dreams, or whatever. By college, I had spiral notebooks full of what I termed “story bits”—solely for my own entertainment. I knew I wasn’t an author. That concept was far too presumptuous to believe.
One day after college, on a road trip with my then-boyfriend, we stopped for the night at his brother’s house. I had finished the books I had brought with me, and the sister-in-law said I was welcome to read any of the books in the guest room. It was a stack of Harlequin romances.
All I knew about that kind of book was that everybody looked down on them. Hid them. Denied reading them. But … that was all that was available, and they seemed fairly short. I skimmed the back, chose the one that seemed to have a bit of mystery to it, and fell into a new world.
When I left, I had a bag of books to take with me. And I realized this was what I wrote. It wasn’t Hawthorne. It wasn’t Ovid. It wasn’t even Shakespeare. And that was okay.
I went home, wrote down a bunch of author names and backlist books, and binged at the library. And discovered the Romance section of the bookstore. My book budget has never recovered.
My day jobs tend to be stressful—I’ve worked in the fields of natural disaster mitigation, radioactive waste management, sexual assault mitigation, and high-stress defense contracting proposals. Believe me when I say the happy ending is a requirement for my downtime.
3) What inspired your latest book? Was there a story, person or place that set your creative wheels in motion?
Oddly enough, it was a bad dream and a storm. One night, while my husband was away for business, I sat bolt upright in bed just before 3 a.m., just suddenly wide awake and somewhat panicked, with no clue as to why. A split-second later, there was a gigantic boom of thunder. I realized the lightning must have been what woke me up. Within seconds, the rain and wind hit—and with the next flash of lighting with its nearly simultaneous crash of thunder, something moved on the bed next to me. I jumped about ten feet before I realized one of the dogs was sleeping pressed up against my leg.
I grabbed the pad of paper and pen from the bedside table and started scribbling down impressions—the jump of terror, followed by the surge of relief, the sounds of the storm, the chill in the air. And all of a sudden it was a scene. It quickly became a sexy meet between the hero and heroine, but I needed to raise the stakes; up the tension. I started sifting through options, looked at the dog again—my black wolf—and thought, “Ha, ha…what if he’s a werewolf and she doesn’t know it?” At that point, I didn’t really write paranormal. But I needed something to keep the words flowing, and that worked “for now.” More and more words made it to the page. I kept telling myself I didn’t write werewolves/shifters. I wrote until dawn. After breakfast, I typed it up and emailed it to my critique partner, saying, “So, this happened. Let me know what you think … ’cuz, I don’t write paranormal.” About half an hour later, she emailed me back and said, “Shut up and keep writing.”
Have I mentioned I’m not a plotter? I realized after about 60,000 words that wasn’t Book One of the series. Yeah, that “first” scene turned out to be partway through Book Two of the series. I’ve got PAST IMPERFECT out now, and PERFECT STRANGER coming out soon. The next three books of the series will follow shortly.
4) If you were gifted with the opportunity to go on your dream vacation, where would you go?
Right now, my dream vacation spot is Tahiti. I’d love to just veg out in clear blue water and white sandy beaches for a while. Quiet, just the sound of the waves and glorious flowers.
5) If you are married or in a relationship, how did you meet your significant other?
Mark was my boyfriend’s best friend.
Heh. Interestingly, after the breakup, I got all my boyfriend’s friends. Mark and I were “just friends” for years. Everyone used to tell us we were really dating because men and women can’t be just friends. We’d scoff at them. Finally, one Valentine’s Day, he suggested we try a “real date” since everyone assumed we were together anyway. Next May will be our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and we have two kids.
What a cool story for how you two met! The friends to lovers story is a popular one with romance readers and you lived it. LOL!
You can learn more about Rowan’s books here.
Rowan Worth grew up loving the happy ending while traveling all over the world in a military family. Books fed her voracious appetite for adventure and excitement, yet also provided continuity and comfort—and still do. Whether reading or writing them, she prefers her books with action, adventure, and a happily ever after.
She writes from her home in central Virginia, where she lives with her husband of almost 25 years, and her two children and two dogs. She is currently the president of the Washington (D.C.) Romance Writers chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA). Her romantic suspense manuscript Lacy’s Gift (now Touch of Lies) came in second in the esteemed Georgia Romance Writers “Maggie” contest for unpublished authors and recently finaled in the Wisconsin “Fab 5” contest. She is represented by an agent with the Irene Goodman Agency in New York.