Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Whatever the Name

Thought for the day:  Doesn't matter if ya call it a hot dog, a weiner, a frankfurter, a frank, or a tube steak, I'll have mine with mustard and onions, please.

She's hiding behind a new name.

In the last post, we kicked around the relevance of names, whether attached to a character, an object, or a book title. But when you get right down to it,  other factors matter much  more than nomenclature alone. That is, the what is more important than what ya call it. 

Likewise, the who is more important than what she calls herself. When it comes to a book, the author's byline doesn't matter nearly as much as the quality of  the writing.

Six months ago, I reviewed Anne Gallagher's novel, The Lady's Fate, an extremely well-crafted Regency romance. Since then, she's penned multiple other Regency works, and gained quite a following in the process. Admirers of this genre know they can count on Anne to deliver the goods time and time again.And now, she has a NEW NAME.

                                                               So, why the change?

                                                             To go with a new genre.
                                                             Contemporary romance.

                                                           And what's her new name?

                                             Meet Robynne Rand. (WOW! Looks just like Anne!)

And here's her new book: Remembering You.

So, how well does Anne... excuse me, Robynne... pull it off?

Like the pro that she is.

I suspect that Anne, a former chef, was adept at preparing many different kinds of dishes, and I can tell you for sure, she's adept at spinning a romance in both the modern vernacular, as well as the old-fashioned.

Let me give you a brief blurb on Remembering You:

Ten years is a long stretch of loneliness. That's how long it's been since Genna left her old hometown, how long it's been since she moved away from her aunt and uncle, and the whole big boisterous family who raised her and loved her after her parents died. After ten years of hard work and travels, she's finally landed a high-paying dream job, but before she starts, she goes home to visit her family. On her first day back, she runs into the man who broke her heart, the man who made her run from her hometown and all the people she loves. She can't possibly trust him or love him. Or can she? Is she home for a few weeks... or is she home forever?

How's about a little Q&A session? I Q'd, and Anne... Robynne... graciously A'd

1.  After writing several successful Regency romances, what made you decide to switch to a more contemporary setting for your latest novel?

It wasn’t that I switched; truthfully, it was that I had this book REMEMBERING YOU, laying around on my hard drive and I needed to do something with it. When I finished my first Regency THE LADY’S MASQUERADE (2007), we had just moved to North Carolina. I was heartbroken and I started writing RY as a cathartic exercise (Feb. ’08). As a newbie blogger, I kept hearing you needed to build a “platform” and I decided Regency was the way to go. I had more stories for that than I did with contemporary romance. And it was hard to do revisions on RY. I kept crying every time I read it. So I would stop. It’s been four years from start to publish.

2.  How difficult was it to alter your writing style from reflecting the structured pomp and decorum of yesteryear to showing today's relaxed mores and vernacular?

Not hard. I mean, I’m a contemporary person so writing in today’s vernacular isn’t difficult. It’s actually harder going from contemporary to historical. I forget about the contractions. (There were not so many of them in 1811.) Although someone *hint hint* did point out to me, I used some particular word choices in RY that really spoke of the historical era. I changed those for this latest version.

3.  Do you think romance has essentially changed from Regency times to today, or does it contain a pure essence that transcends time, place, and language?

 I think perhaps that romance has changed because human beings have all changed. For example, if we look at communication – first the letter, then the telegraph, then the telephone, now cell phones, internet, satellite. But it’s still communication.

In the lower Regency classes you were introduced, the man would ask permission to “call” on a woman. For a “date,” it was 15 minutes of sitting in the front parlour with a chaperone and not much was said. If you were lucky, you would meet after church service on Sunday and say a brief hello. Perhaps exchange a letter. There was very little emotion expressed. The man would ask for a woman’s hand, marry her and that was that.

In today’s world, you meet someone at work, or at a bar, or a friend’s party. You get to know each other a little, fall into bed, then think about long term, or not.

However, in my opinion, what I’ve found is that from Regency to present day, attraction at first sight is the key. If the woman in Regency times didn’t like the “look” of a man, she could always say no. Look at Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Collins in Pride & Prejudice. (Whether her father or guardian chose to acquiesce to her decision was something else.) The same is true today. If you don’t like the “look” of someone, you’re not going to give him a chance.

As for “love” changing, well, that’s a different animal. Don’t get me started.

4.  One of the things I found appealing about Remembering You is it's as much a love story about family as it is a boy-girl romance. To depict such realistic characters, dynamics, and traditions of an extended family, did you draw from a particular family in your life, or from somewhere else?

 Most of the family dynamics in RY were drawn from my own extended family. Write what you know, right? We’re multi-cultural and there are nuances and subtleties that are so different from the “Leave it to Beaver” “Father Knows Best” white-bread American family (if that even exists anymore). I wanted to show that even through the differences of age and ethnicity there was a strong familial bond there. I’d like to think that no matter what happens in a family, you stick by each other.

5.  Your portrayal of the long hours and backbreaking work in the restaurant business also rings very true, as well as the love your characters put into the work. Autobiographical? Does some part of you long to own and run your own restaurant?

Very autobiographical. I was a professional chef for 15 years and in the hospitality industry in one form or another for over 30 years. I was partner in two restaurants. I have thought about owning another restaurant, but it would have to be super special for me to do it. I have a daughter now, and 16-hour days are not conducive with a family. As Genna clearly states. My “big” dream is to own a small hotel – so I could host writer conferences…lol.

6.  So, what's next? Are you currently working on another project, and do you have any thoughts of expanding into other genres?

I’m always working on another project. I currently have two for the Regencies, one short story I’m going to put into a collection, and another novel I’m hoping to get out in the fall. As for the contemporary romance genre, well, I was going to finish SECRETS ON THE BEACH when I went back to Rhode Island this summer. However, that plan fell through. Not that I couldn’t finish it, but it’s just not the same as being there. I do have several other “almost-finished” mss. lying around on my hard drive, so anything is possible. But don’t look for anything contemporary from me until next spring, I think. Then again, I might just have one of those “day/weeks” where I get on a roll and don’t stop.

As for other genres – uh, no. As much as I tell myself I’d love to write a cozy mystery, it’s just not my forte. I’ll let clever people write those.

7.  Anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

Some advice – Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. (Margaret Atwood THE HANDMAID’S TALE.) From publishing houses, to agents who say no, to your mother-in-law who thinks it’s silly you should be writing instead of wrestling with dust bunnies, or even your own secret self who says you’ll never make it to a best-seller list. Don’t listen. Keep writing. Keep working at it. You might not get to New York, but with hard work and dedication to your craft, you can be published. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like seeing your name on the cover of a book.

Thanks so much for having me today, Susan. It’s an honor.

So there ya have it. 

Whether this talented lady writes as Anne Gallagher, A.R. Gallagher, Robynne Rand, or even under whatever name is written on her birth certificate, it doesn't matter. Not a bit. She can use a dozen different names, but she will always be ... one of a kind. A damned fine writer.

Anne Gallagher blog/website --
Anne Gallagher writer blog --
Robynne Rand author blog --

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Terrific interview, Susan. I've known writers, raised some, read continuously and always learn a lot from them. That holds especially true with your post. Thanks!

  2. A very interesting interview!
    I've known a few men who wrote romance novels and used female pseudonyms (no, not me!). I think their editors forced them to do this at gunpoint.....
    As for names - - Mozart would have still written beautiful music if his name was Joe Blow.

    (AND, I've found that you get more respect if you have a title. That's why I'm thinking of changing my name to Count Wallenstein).

  3. Great interview, great advice. Well done Susan, Anne (or RobYnne).

  4. Hi Susan. Hi Anne or Robynne. Great cover. Great interview! D

  5. Susan, thanks for such a great interview. It was a lot of fun.

    And for the record, you can call me Anne. Most people do, I'm used to it. But I'll tell you a secret, my real name is Robynne. But you probably already figured that out didn't you.

  6. Sus, this was a really cool post about Anne. I love the way you tied it all together.

    And I really like the name Robynne Rand. Very nice.

  7. Great interview!

    Anne/Robbyne, your advice to writers is spot on--you can't let "bastards" get to you. You have to persevere. To be stubborn. To stick to your dream.

    You have. And I admire you for that. :)

  8. Suza -- Thanks. I kind of like it too. Really.

    Bru -- Thanks for swinging by.

    Linda -- It's been my motto for a long time. Thanks.

  9. Yep, one of the best structured and intriguing interviews I've read on a blog...every. Well done Susan and Anne/Robynne!

  10. Wonderful interview! I am trying my hand at a contemporary after mostly writing historical -- and I've had to switch mental gears on things like contractions and sentence structure, just as Anne mentions. Hadn't thought about using a pen name, but first, I'd have to have an offer for the new one.

    Well, first I'd have to finish it.

    Good luck Anne/Robynne, and thanks for the interview, Susan!

  11. Geo- Thank you, dear sir. Glad ya liked it. (To tell the truth, Anne made it very easy.)

    Jon- I can understand why men might be encouraged to use a feminine pen name to go along with what most people perceive as a "feminine" genre. (Of course, Nicholas Sparks sure put the kibbosh on THAT notion!) By all mean, take on a title, milord.

    Arleen- Thanks. Anne came up with some great answers, didn't she?

    Denise- Yeah, I think Anne came up with the perfect cover. Glad you liked the interview. Like I said, Anne made it easy. Thank you for stopping by.

    Anne- I had fun with this, too. But, you give me far too much credit... I didn't realize Robynne was your real name at ALL! (GREAT name, by the way.) But, yeah, I'll still think of you as Anne.

    Suze- Thanks. Glad ya liked it.

    Suze- Really.

    February- What can I say? An interview is only as good as its subject. Thanks for visiting.

    Linda- I had a feeling you'd second Anne's advise. (September will be here before ya know it!)

    Liza- Gee, thanks. I'm glad you liked it.

    Dianne- I'm looking forward to your forays into contemporary, and have no doubt that you'll do great with it.

  12. What a lovely interview!! Thanks!

  13. Connie- Thanks. That's because Anne is such a lovely lady.

  14. Interesting interview. There's always something to learn in writing from published authors. I just learned a lot about interviewing, too. Thanks!

  15. Terrific interview. Anne & Robynne are both very talented writers. Her imagination and productivity amaze me. All the best to you both! (and Susan too, for hosting such a nice Q&A) :)

  16. Laura- I agree that published authors can teach us a lot, but don't take interviewing tips from ME. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm just having fun!

    JB- Thank you so much for stopping by to read Anne's interview. Her productivity and talent blow me away, too.

  17. This is such a great book and Robynne/Anne is a fantastic writer. Great interview! Thanks for spreading the word about a wonderful writer of both Regency romance and contemporary women's fiction.

  18. Whatever name she uses, she's a remarkable lady! Excellent interview!! :)

  19. Well, then, should I call myself Janie or Lola or Whosywhatsis?

    I No Longer Know Who I Am

  20. re the dreaded 'Highlighting'. I am informed that if you highlight the highlighting, then click on 'remove formatting', it will disappear.

    Maybe leave it a few days before trying it; I would hate to be responsible for the whole lot going!

  21. Looks good. Thanks for the interview. You always have the best posts. I am sorry I haven't been visiting more often. Hugs to you!

  22. Thanks so much again, for hosting me today, Susan. It was great! Glad you also got some new followers out of it.

    Thanks everyone for stopping by. I appreciate all your lovely comments.

  23. Great interview and congratulations Anne! That was inspiring to read. the new pic up top! :-)

  24. Great interview, and so cool getting to know you better, Anne!

  25. Anne- I completely agree, so it was my pleasure. (I'm also a fan of your books.)Thanks so much for stopping by.

    DL- Yes, she is!

    I No Longer Know Who I Am- Thought ya said your name was Boobs Galore.

    Cro- I may not lay eggs, but I'm a big chicken when it comes to messing around too much with the format. After you, dear sir...

    Skippy- I've missed you, kiddo, but am always happy to see you show up whenever you can. In the meantime, I'll keep checking on you to see what ya got cookin'. 12:34

    Anne- My pleasure. Yeah, I did pick up a new follower ... cool!

    Tracy Jo- Glad you enjoyed it, and glad you like my silly new summer header.

    Lydia- Thank you so much for stopping by to learn a little more about Anne.

  26. Hi Susan!

    I've been out of the blogoverse for a few weeks but getting back into it now.

    An excellent interview! Anne provides some wonderful thoughts. I'm not a 'romance' writer, and yet I think an element of love and relationships needs to be in almost every story to give it emotional impact. It's the universal emotion, and a part of every living person -- family, love, loss. It's what binds us to each other, and I think it helps flesh out my characters and allows a reader to connect with my story at a deeper level, whether I'm writing a mystery, a horror story, or a piece of science fiction. Or at least that's what this rookie, unpublished hack-of-a-writer thinks. ;^)

    But one thing I wonder -- was Anne's new pen name really necessary? I can maybe see if she was trying to keep it a secret, but readers who already know and follow Anne will know that she's also Robynne thanks to blogs and so forth, and readers who don't know Anne won't care that she's written in another genre. I'm just curious...

  27. Chris -- I made the agonizing decision to write my contemp. romances under a pen name because they are so different from my Regencies. SOOO different. And I wouldn't want my readers confused.
    Or offended.

    My Regencies are sweet, no sex at all. If my readers of those decided to pick up the contemp. by Anne Gallagher thinking it was another sweet romance, they would be in for a big surprise. And I didn't want to lose any of my Regency fans.

    Most of my blogger friends are writers, not readers. I think the two are mutually exclusive. Readers don't necessarily care who I am or what I do, as long as I write the books they love to read.

    And being two people isn't all that hard. Nora Roberts has done it for years.

  28. Hopped over from Anne's blog, and I'm glad I did. Great interview. How much do I love the name Robynne Rand? Fantastic!

  29. Chris- Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your break. You make a terrific point about love and relationships being important elements in every story, no matter what the genre. Without them, the story risks falling flat and the reader may find it difficult to relate. Oh, and you may be unpublished, but you sir, are no hack.

    Thanks, Anne, for answering Chris' other question about the pen name.

    Jennifer- Yeah, I agree. It's a terrific pen name. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  30. I love her advice at the end. Thank you! I needed that. :) Wonderful interview.

  31. Carrie- I think we can all use that kind of advise from time to time.

  32. so interesting!! loved reading this interview!

  33. Annmarie- I'm so glad you enjoyed it. (You'd enjoy Anne's books, too!)

  34. Great interview! Anne, I'm so glad to have "met" you and that you are so willing to share your journey. Susan, I like your questions, not typical.

  35. Bish- Thank you so much for stopping by to "meet" with Anne. We do appreciate it.

  36. Hello lovely Robynne Rand! Yay!

    I love reading about the different romantic etiquettes between contemporary and historical romances but how fundamentally, "love at first sight" underlines them all!

    Good luck Anne/Robynne!!! Thanks for the interview Susan! Take care

  37. Kitty- Thanks so much for stopping by. Anne/Robynne and I both appreciate it.