Welcome everyone to another Day in the Writing Life. Today we feature Beverley Eikli who writes romance, adventure and intrigue — some with an erotic slant.
Warning : Some content may not suitable for under 18.
In one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling. Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk a bit about my writing life. I write erotic historicals as Beverley Oakley and Regency Romantic Intrigues as Beverley Eikli. I’ve always been a passionate reader of social histories, particularly the years between 1750 and 1900, and of the novels written during that period, too. I love to include lashings of intrigue in my books together with strong sensuality – or, sometimes, more explicit sexuality (although its generally sweet erotic) depending on the theme and characters, which is why I took the pseudonym Beverley Oakley.
What time of the day do you write? As the ‘trailing spouse’ of a pilot whose taken me to live in 10 countries, routine is not something I allow myself to get used to for very long. Life’s always chopping and changing, especially now with changing rosters. Therefore I’ve become an opportunist and I’ll grab whatever window I can to write. I try to meet my daily quota of 1000+ words and will generally succeed if my husband is away for a few days. Often I’ll write all evening, however when he comes back from flying I like to spend that time with him.
What’s the first thing you do before you begin to write? The routine question again! Nothing’s ever the same two days running. My thoughts are usually all over the place though the iPhone’s calendar and message alert have been huge boons to my organisation, particularly my promo schedule since I do quite a lot of blogging. Well, I’ve found that in order to get the words flowing I need to have thoroughly thought about what’s happening in the next scene before I sit down to write it. Therefore before I go to sleep I brainstorm the scene I want to write in the morning, and when I walk our Rhodesian Ridgeback, Homer, I plan the following scene. I try to get an hour’s writing done in that blissful silence before the girls wake up.
Do you spend much time reading over the previous day’s work? ‘Turn off your internal editor’ has been great advice which I’ve tried with some success to follow. I therefore read only from the beginning of the previous scene to orient myself into the headspace of my characters. Occasionally I’ll put on the kitchen timer for a 20-minute speed writing session if the words are just not flowing. That often works wonders for kick-starting a lagging scene.
Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser? I used to be a pure pantser but after having to rewrite the second half of my first three published books I realised I had to change my modus operandi. I now start with a set-up, allow my characters to reveal themselves and their hitherto unknown devious motivations (my books are full of intrigue) and then I stop for a big brain-storming session. I guess I’m influenced by Charles Dickens’ amazing plot twists and turns and his characters’ often extraordinary backstories and motivations but it’s too easy to get caught out by trying to be ‘too clever’ so I have to plot quite carefully before writing to ‘The End’.
Do you have a schedule that you follow for your writing time? I’m more of a goal setter than I used to be. It’s taken many years but now my entire income is related to writing or teaching writing at university and in the wider community. In the early days it was just so exciting to have one book published, but there wasn’t much income coming in. Now that I have a backlist of seven books with more releases this year, it’s a case of the stone gathering moss, but I have to be strategic. I have to write, but I also have to get my name out there. My latest project combines my love of writing with my love of history and of costume. This year I have a number of author or library talks lined up on “The Influences behind the changing silhouette between 1750 and 1810”. When I was 18 I spent a year at the London School of Fashion studying pattern cutting which has stood me in good stead my whole life. For my talk I wear 1780s stays over a linen chemise with hip “improvers” multiple petticoats and finally the polonaise, all made according to patterns of the day.
Do you give yourself any writing rewards for achieving goals? Seeing the book out is my reward but I’m very creative when it comes to coming up with an excuse to reward myself on an ad hoc basis. My reward next year for having two releases in January is going to the Romantic Times conference in Kansas City in May. My husband is flying me to LA (as in, he’ll be the pilot) two weeks beforehand and then we’re setting off on the back of his motorbike to go camping in the Nevada Desert before whooping it up in Las Vegas, and then off to the RT conference.
Do you take time out to stretch, rest your eyes etc and if so do you do any exercises at your desk or between sessions? I find it hard enough getting enough time to sit and write when there’s so much to do around the house and with young kids and my husband away such a lot. The messy kitchen is reproaching me even as I write this. But you live your life according to your priorities and I’ve decided I’d rather say, “I’m glad I managed to kick-start my new series by writing three novellas in six months” rather than, “My kitchen is always spotless but I wish I’d written at least one novella in the first six months of last year to kick-start the series.” (I guess it would help if my writing space wasn’t actually part of the kitchen.
Beverley Eikli writes Regency Romantic Intrigues. She writes erotic historicals as Beverley Oakley. Her racy Regency romp Rake’s Honour has just been shortlisted for an Australian Romance Readers’ Award. Recently she won UK Publisher Choc-Lit’s Search for an Australian Star competition and her winning entry, The Reluctant Bride, will be published in September. Saving Grace, part of the Momentum Hot Down Under collection was released on Jan 15 and her next release, Her Gilded Prison, will be published by Ellora’s Cave in April.
January 01, 2013 Momentum: Saving Grace
Coming Soon from Ellora’s Cave: Her Gilded Prison
Thank you Beverley, for sharing a day in your writing life. We wish you every success.