Welcome book fiends and coffee aficionados! Today we are lucky enough to be chatting with, and learning more about, talented author Amie Louellen. Thanks for taking the time to be with us today, Amie! To start, could you tell us something about your recent release, Brodie’s Bride?
I would love to tell you about Brodie’s Bride. (It’s what we writers live for!) First thing, it’s a marriage of inconvenience with a whole lot of ‘fish outta water’ thrown in for good measure. Savanna Morgan—the heroine and Brodie’s Bride—finds herself in a very compromising position. After tailing her fiancé and discovering that he is the cheating slimeball she’d thought all along, she ends up in a seedy little bar sharing drinks with Brodie. One too many and the next thing they know, it’s the next morning, and they are married. But Savanna’s father, the very wealthy casino owner, is not about to bail her out of this mess.
Savannah was quite the fascinating character. From socialite to wife, she changed quite a bit emotionally throughout the book. Do you plan the evolution of your characters before writing or are you more of a pantser?
I am definitely a plotter. That’s not to say that once I get all of my ideas down and actually start writing the book that I don’t deviate a little from my plans, but I have to have a pretty clear picture as to where I want the story to go before I can take it there. A character like Savanna has to have some redeeming qualities. Let’s face it, not many of us have the sort of life she lives. There had to be some way for the readers to connect with her. Despite the fact that she has money, she’s really not so different. She has her own set of troubles and faults. She gets cheated on, lied to, disowned, and ends up married to a stranger. But somehow she manages to pull herself up by her bootstraps and keep on going. And because of this, she finds out things about herself that she never even knew. Even the ‘average’ girl can relate to that.
Not just in this book, but out of any that you have written previously or are working on, who is your favorite character and why?
That’s a hard one. Though I adore my heroes and heroines, a lot of times it’s my secondary characters that I really fall in love with. They aren’t bound by the rules like the main characters. For example, Brodie’s grandmother, Nan, and her sister Blaire. *I love* them. They don’t listen as Brodie and Savanna protest that their marriage isn’t real. They do everything in their power and more to push Brodie and Savanna together. It makes for bright comedy and lots of mishaps between the couple that might not have been there without their meddling.
Who is your favorite author to read for pleasure? Do you stick with romance or do you read things that are nothing like you write?
I love, love, love Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Love. And though I would like to say my romances are ‘like’ hers…well, they’re both printed on paper, right? Usually I don’t read much different than what I write. Contemporary romance is my all time favorite. But if there’s a romance I’m there—historical, paranormal, and inspirational. I read them all. And then some. But it’s probably best not to get me talking about Harry Potter! :)
Brodie was a contractor and parts of his work sounded very believable. Did you have to do much research before creating his character?
I did some back-handed research. Which means it sort of fell into my lap. At the time that I started Brodie, my bestest friend was married to a contractor. So I got to hear construction speak—a lot. My favorite brother-in-law is a construction worker, and my husband actually worked in this field for a while. But I try not to include *too* much research. After all, the reader came for the romance, not the business. But it takes a lot of research in order to gain what you need for a story. Then you feed in only enough to make the story believable, and toss the rest aside.
What was the strangest inspiration for one of your books?
The writer in me says I should make up a great story to go here, because I don’t have a fabulous answer. Most of my inspiration comes from music and watching people. Sometimes I’ll see something on a movie or a show and think, “Why couldn’t that have gone the other way?” And that in itself is the inspiration. There is a story however that I started with my previous writing partner years ago. One day, we’ll get back around to it. But it has the most interesting inspiration of anything I’ve concocted.
When my family lived in the Caribbean (Yes, it was beautiful. Yes, it was wonderful. Still not positive why we came home), my husband worked with a guy who went out for a solo dive and was never seen or heard from again. Stuff like this even gets a comedy writer’s muse going into overdrive. I was obsessed by him for days, weeks, even longer. That incident spawned a suspense story (with just a touch of humor to make it real) that I hope one day to finish with said partner.
I loved the scene when Savannah is dreaming and ends up on top of her own wedding cake. Do any of your own dreams or fantasies ever get put into a story?
I have a book that started due to a dream I had once on an airplane. Not that where I had it matters, but I was on a long flight and fell asleep. Not a deep sleep, but that ‘almost aware of the things around, but still dreaming’ sleep. And this man with the most beautiful brown hair and a deep frown threw his arms into the air and said, “So I guess I should just marry the next woman I see.” I spent the rest of the flight and most of the next four months trying to figure out who he was and why he had to get married. As for fantasies, nuh-uh…mum’s the word on that one. *wink*.
What do you do when the characters stop 'talking' to you while you are writing?
If the characters stop talking, there’s a problem. I just get up from the computer, and grab a notebook (the kind filled with paper) and post up somewhere to write out options. Most often times my characters shut up, or the scene doesn’t work because I’ve pushed them in the wrong direction. Sometimes it’s just because their motivation isn’t clear. Once I get it all lined back up, everything falls into place and the characters start sharing again.
The dialogue between the characters in this novel as well as the relationships between them and the secondary characters was both fun and very realistic. What would you advise aspiring writers when it comes to writing such fun banter?
Come and hang out with my family—yes, we’re that crazy. But seriously, watch things that you think are funny. Why do you think it’s funny? Study humor. Like research, I think a writer has to overdo it in order for it to become a second nature. Humor succeeds in many ways, but the best advice I can give is if it doesn’t work, scrap it. And that’s the hardest thing to do.
Aside from bringing characters to startling life on the page, do you have any other hobbies that keep you busy?
I work full time at the day job (44+ hours a week). I’m married and have a almost-eleven year old nearly-genius son. Husband and child are enough to keep me busy around the clock! But that’s why I love them so much. If I’m not running to guitar lessons, baseball practice or Cub Scout meetings, I try to find time to read, watch a movie or just relax with some counted cross stitch. But mostly I just enjoy my “boys.”
Do you have anything else you would like to add/say to our readers?
Well…thanks for coming by and visiting with me. And thank you Virginia, for taking the time to read Brodie’s Bride and giving me the opportunity to talk about it. My newest release Love Potion Me, Baby will be out sometime next year. It’s about—of all things—a love potion! :)
Well, fellow book addicts and coffee lovers, it was truly a pleasure to get to know a new author and thank you for stopping in to read with us today. I also want to make sure to thank the author for the worlds you create and transport us to with your words and mention that we look forward to more great reads in the future!