I love answering questions from my fans.  Email me at info@blairmcdowell.com with your question, and I will be happy to get back to you.

Blair with Puccini in Torre Dell Lago, Italy

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
My plots usually come to me in places I visit. I'm standing on a cliff looking down at the sea, or in the middle of a Greek temple, or on a cobblestone street in a 15th century town and my mind says..What if...? And so it begins.

 

What inspired Romantic Road?

I was in Rothenburg, on the Romantische Strasse (Romantic Road) in Germany. It was a dismal October day, damp and misty. Lights were just beginning to flicker in windows of my 15th century hotel, but the street all was foggy and mysterious. In my mind I saw a young woman fleeing down the narrow cobblestone street in terror. That was the beginning of the plot of Romantic Road.

 

What topics in Romantic Road do you think book clubs would find interesting?

The Romantic Road of the title refers to the physical route followed by Lacy Telchev, through Germany, Austria and Hungary, but it also refers to the tangled relationships between Lacy and her deceased husband, between Lacy and the three women she meets who were once her husband’s lovers and between Lacy and two very different men who profess to love her. How are these three journeys related?

 


When writing who is in charge you or your characters? How do you deal with bossy characters?
Bossy characters? I love them! I get a huge kick out of it when a character says to me, “Now just wait a bloody minute! I’d never do that!”  If I’ve done a good job of writing my character studies, the character is usually right when he or she rebels.

 

What are your tips for authors who are just starting out?

Make writing a habit. Write every day at a regular time for a set number of hours. That way the book will get done. I know this is easier said than done. But work toward it.

 

What are your marketing tips?

Get help! I realized I could either write or market. Husbands, friends, grown children, anybody whose help you can harness!

 

What does your writing routine look like?

I run a B&B. That takes my mornings. I try to write four hours every afternoon. Many days that doesn’t work---life intervenes. But it is my schedule.


How much research do you do before you start writing and how do you do your research?
While Google is a good source for some things, I'm a believer in doing things first hand. I like to be in and of the places in which I set my books. In Romantic Road my research included a backstage visit with a Diva at the Vienna Opera and a wine festival on Lake Balaton in Hungary.


Are you a planner? Or do you dive straight into writing?
I’m a planner, to the point of being obsessive. Everything has to be completed—the plot outlined, the settings chosen and described, the character studies written, before I write the first lines of my novel. That’s not to say my characters don’t sometimes deviate from my careful constructions. Oddly, once I start the actual writing, the characters take on their own lives and sometimes they simply refuse to go along with my plans for them. Alyssa James in Sonata is an extreme case in point. I wanted her to be a real bitch and she simply wouldn’t cooperate.

 

What do you find is the most challenging thing about writing romantic suspense?

I think the most difficult aspect of writing romantic suspense is keeping up the suspense. The romance part is easy, but keeping the dramatic suspense in the forefront is not so easy. A sense of impending disaster – that’s hard to do.


 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
That I could be me. That I didn’t have to write or think like any other author I’ve read, not Diana Gabaldon, not Donna Leon, nor Nora Roberts. I love reading their books, but I write as me. How freeing that is!



Which authors have inspired you?
There have been so many over the years. At present I’m wading through Dianna Gabaldon’s Outlander Series. I’m on book four. I LOVE the books of Donna Leon, featuring Venetian detective, Guido Brunetti. The single book I’ve enjoyed most in recent years is one by Iain Pears, The Dream of Scipio, in which the very complicated plot bounces back and forth in time over two thousand years. I am inspired by every good book I read.

 

What are you currently working on? Anything you can share regarding your current Work in Progress?
I’m doing the final editing on Fatal Charm. It takes place in France and involves a theft from the Louvre of jewelry that once belonged to Marie Antoinette. I find bouncing back and forth among three books and three stages of publication really challenging. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which story I’m in. A friend once told me, “You have way too many people in your bed!”

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