Please welcome today’s Guest Chef, er Chefs, our very own Darcy Crowder and her daughter, Brenna Lauren Crowder – both contributing authors to the newest edition of the Mossy Creek Hometown Series, published by Belle Books.
Novelist and screenplay writer, Brenna Lauren Crowder, writes women’s fiction at the rate of about a pot of coffee a day. When she’s not garbed in her pajamas, hovering over her laptop and her latest project, she’s probably researching her thesis or spending much needed fun time with friends, loved ones and her Bichon Frise, Cooper.
Women’s fiction novelist, Darcy Crowder, has a knack for tugging on heart stringswith her down-to-earth characters and soulful pros. On days when she’s not elbow deep in her latest novel or volunteer work for her local RWA chapter, she can be found plotting the next perfect family get together, enjoying the great outdoors near her beloved cabin in the woods, or wrestling her Bichon Frise, Cooper, from the arms of her equally beloved daughter.
Q: So ladies, tell us, did you co-author your stories in Homecoming In Mossy Creek?
D: Actually, no. We each have our own story in the Mossy Creek anthology. Mine is titled, ‘Shine On, Harvest Moon. It’s about an ex-football player who sets out to help his wife win a contest, thinks he’s ruined her chances, and ends up realizing that sometimes what appears to be an unlucky turn of events can actually be fate working in our favor.
B: My story, Mossy Creek By Any Other Name, brings a fresh new character to the Mossy Creek cast, Hermia Lavender. She’s the young new drama teacher at Mossy Creek High and she’s toting some big time aspirations. With a little of her parent’s star-studded good luck running through her veins, she happens to pull off what could possibly be the most original take on the Romeo and Juliette play Mossy Creek, or anyone for that matter, has ever seen. She even manages to stumble into a little love story of her own.
Q: What’s it like to have a mother/daughter who is also a writer?
D: For me, it’s a blessing beyond measure to share my love for writing with my daughter. To have another writer in the family, someone who totally ‘gets’ my love of story, can share opinions and insights with me, understands the ups and downs of this magnificent wild ride called publishing, is an absolute gift. We bounce ideas off each other, critique for each other, and support each other. She’s my greatest champion. Not only am I proud of the beautiful, independent woman she’s become, I’m absolutely in awe of her talent. This young lady is poised to take on the world. Watch out people! <g>
B: I can’t imagine a scenario any more perfect than the one my mother and I have been blessed with. She’s my best friend and my greatest supporter. I’ve always been in love with story. I’ve always known that this was the world I wanted to be in, but I can honestly say it’s been my mother who’s forged the path ahead of me, helping to be sure I knew what I needed to know. She brought me to my first writer’s conference back in high school and I fell in love. Since then it’s been a wild ride. We understand each other and the challenges that diving into this industry brings. Our individual approaches to writing are pretty different. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses and I think that’s a good thing. We’re truly invested in one another’s success and I think that makes for some really amazing critiquing and mutual support.
Q: Are there any similarities/differences to the way you each approach writing?
D: I have to say, Brenna is more of a natural than I am. She makes it look effortless. <g> It’s safe to say we are both plotters, and character driven story tellers. I usually visualize my lead character in an opening scene first, then the ending comes fast on its heels….it’s the murky middle I have to coax along. I need to have all my turning points figured out, character arcs and usually some other key emotional scenes before I start writing. And I need a quiet, hopefully isolated place to work. Brenna on the other hand….
B: I usually get an idea and BAM, the major turning points just come to me. Obviously, they’re never perfect right out of the gate, but it’s a definite starting point for my outline. I figure out my GMCs and create note cards for individual scenes. I’m obsessed with developing my characters to extremes while I’m still plotting. I like knowing them so well that I don’t have to sit and think about what they would say or how they would act under certain circumstances. I get to know them so well that they literally take over from there. It’s a lot of work up front, but I enjoy it and there’s less editing on the back end. And unlike Mom, I absolutely can’t work in silence. Music is a must and I do some of my best work in a crowded, noisy room. Go figure. J
Q: What are you currently working on?
B: Gosh, that’s a loaded question. <g> I actually have several projects on the table right now. I’m collaborating with historical author Beverley Kendall on a regency historical winter-themed anthology set to come out in 2012. I have two single title women’s fiction novels that I’m tightening up and getting ready to send out. I’ve also got a screenplay in the works paired with a companion novel that I’ll be writing in the spring as soon as these others are off the table. So I’m a busy girl, but I work best under pressure.
D: I think it’s safe to say Brenna runs circles around me. <g> I’m currently focused on polishing a women’s fiction novel in response to several requests, and will soon begin fleshing out my next single title. In addition to the Mossy Creek Anthology, I have a story in Tales From A Momma’s Heart, another anthology published by Belle Books due in the spring of 2012. I also have a children’s story idea I’m seriously considering. And when I’m not writing next year, I’ll be Chairing Georgia Romance Writer’s Maggie contest.
Q: Just for fun, what do you look for in the perfect hero/heroine?
B: I think the trick to the perfect hero is coming up with a guy who you would actually like if you met him in real life. He can’t be too perfect. If he has a really rocking sense of humor and an amazing personality I think it’s important that he NOT look like a Greek god. I mean, come on. If a hero is devastatingly handsome, there needs to be something exceptionally down to earth about him, like he enjoys looking at nerdy comic books or singing karaoke. There definitely needs to be that very human element, no matter what.
As for the perfect heroine, well, she needs to be smart and confident in herself. She needs to be a woman that other women can identify with, someone whose shoes a reader will want to step into. I think a savvy heroine will earn and keep a readers respect, and to me that’s very important. And again, that magic balance. Beauty has to be much, much, more than skin deep. A really great heroine is a woman whose smart, stands up for what she believes in, and most importantly, isn’t afraid to fall in love. J
D: I agree with Brenna. The perfect hero has to embody true to life qualities – no one is absolutely perfect. He should be willing to admit he doesn’t have all the answers, even if it takes exhausting every other possibility first. <g> Seriously, I believe in writing flawed characters who eventually discern their own vulnerabilities and don’t shy away from the hard work of making theirs and other’s lives better. To me, that’s a true hero – the guy who sees the need and takes action.
And the perfect heroine should be able to rise up to the challenge to do the same. No white knight for her. Again, real people are flawed, so our characters should reflect the very real struggles of what it means to be a fulfilled, successful woman; whether she defines success as bringing up a happy, well-adjusted family, or running a multi-million dollar corporation like a well-oiled machine. Again, I agree with Brenna on this one. A well-written, memorable heroine is a woman other women can relate to, who can be vulnerable, yet have a deep inner strength. Someone who knows, or learns, that love is worth the risk.
Q: Do you see yourselves collaborating sometime in the future?
B: Absolutely. We’ve talked about it and brainstormed about what kind of stories would lend themselves to that kind of teamwork. Personally, I’m kind of itching to write a children’s book together. I think that would be a lot of fun and just a really positive experience.
D: Definitely. A children’s book would be wonderful to do together. And maybe a screenplay….we’re both huge movie fans. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Brenna were to publish a successful screen play one day. She’s a natural. <g>
Back Cover Blurb:
Welcome back to Mossy Creek!
The eighth novel in the acclaimed Mossy Creek Hometown Series continues the warm, witty and wise doings in a small Southern village you’ll want to call home.
The town that ain’t going nowhere, and don’t want to.
Homecoming in Mossy Creek
It’s been over twenty years since Mossy Creek experienced Homecoming, and they’re determined to do it right! And you know Creekites…if there’s something interesting going on, they won’t rest until they know about it. So when a letter shows up at the Police Station with a warning about ugly secrets hidden in the time capsule buried twenty years ago, the whole town is abuzz with the possibilities. Amos, Ida & Win put Peggy Caldwell and Louise Sawyer on its trail, hoping the sleuth-loving ladies can find it before the week ends at the Homecoming Dance. Meanwhile, Amos & Ida tangle in a deserted Haunted House. Ardaleen & Inez scrimmage at the Bake Sale. Pearl & Spiva spar as they volunteer at the Booster Club Canteen. All of your favorite characters are back as Mossy Creek celebrates Homecoming with festivities that make Southerners cheer. Football. Homecoming Queens. Parades. Plays. It’s all happening during Homecoming in Mossy Creek!
Thank you, ladies! Can’t wait to read your stories in Homecoming In Mossy Creek. And for our readers, Darcy and Brenna are happy to give a free, autographed copy of Homecoming In Mossy Creek to one lucky commenter!