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?
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
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?
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
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.
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.
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?
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
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.