Today I’m delighted to have the gorgeous Bree Verity on my blog. Bree grew up on a diet of love, romance, old movies and musicals and it’s no wonder she writes love stories – contemporary or historical, she doesn’t mind. Love and romance are timeless.
She lives in Perth Western Australia with her teenage son, her long-suffering partner, and her two attentive rescue dogs, Millie and Boofhead. She keeps it very quiet that she is equally a cat person.
She dreams of travelling the world, going off-grid and building a tiny house, although she realises she would very quickly go crazy in a confined space.
Thanks so much for being here today, Bree. Please tell us your story behind the story!
Quite a while ago now I attended my first writer’s group meeting, at a quaint white house alongside a lake, around which a university had grown.
I was struggling to complete what I thought at the time was my Magnum Opus, a novel of epic proportions, set in France during the revolution, that would bring me much fame and fortune on its release.
However, I had stumbled. It was incomplete. I was concerned that I didn’t know enough about the times, the customs, the laws. I had researched extensively, read many books, studied many articles. But I still felt dissatisfied.
Then, somewhere during the discussion at that first writer’s group, someone said, “Write what you know.”
It seemed a revelation. Of course! How on earth could I write about the French Revolution when I know nothing about it?
I set about creating a series of contemporary romance novels, set in Perth, Western Australia. I know Perth. I also know what it’s like to be single and in Perth. I figured I would write the contemporary series, find my writing feet, and then, when the time was right, go back and finish my historical.
I wrote the first contemporary novel quite quickly, using a Camp Nanowrimo month to get it done. It felt awesome, writing those words – you know the ones – The End. I think writing The End validates you somehow as an author. That you have the chops to craft something all the way to The End is a highly satisfying and smug-worthy feeling.
The book was published with little fanfare and, as expected, was downloaded by some of my friends and very few others. I wasn’t concerned by this. I knew it wasn’t a great book – it was a nice, fluffy, sunny day read. I continued on, writing the prequel story, and then started work on the second novel.
Writing these was my apprenticeship. Learning the craft, building characters, understanding plot, and then delving into the wild world of self-publishing; all my skills were honed writing the contemporary books.
I finished writing the second book and, while the satisfaction of writing The End was the same, I had a feeling in my gut that I simply couldn’t ignore. It gnawed at me, trying to tell me something. And it was only very recently that I realised what it was.
In writing that which I knew, I had stopped writing that which I love.
If you go for a browse on my Kindle, you’ll find hundreds of books, and at least half of them are historicals. I love the feel of stepping out of my time and into someone else’s. I love the pageantry and the manners and the romance. And I realised THAT was what I wanted to write.
So, I went back to my Magnum Opus (which over the years had shrivelled a little to become an historical romance, perhaps a little short at 75,000 words) and I finished it.
Writing The End on that book was a revelation. I understood for the first time that I didn’t need to know all the details, so long as my readers are transported by the story. It’s amazing the detail imagination will fill in.
The novel has been trimmed, changed and reshaped now, into something unrecognisable from the first drafts, but a novel that I am so proud of, mainly because it is a book that I would like to read. It’s currently with a couple of publishers. Hopefully it’s a novel they, too, would like to read.
I still plan to complete my contemporary novel series. They hold a place in my heart as the books where I learned to write people instead of situations. Where I took heed of a piece of writing advice to “Write what you know” and completed three stories all the way through to The End.
But I will be amending “Write what you know” to “Write what you love” in my author’s vocabulary. Being in the game for the long haul, writing what you love is a much better game plan.
Visit her website and blog at www.breeverity.com, ‘VeryBreeVerity’ on Facebook, or @VeryBreeVerity on Twitter.