Hello Ms. Wolf, and welcome to Coffee Time Romance. My name is Venus, and I am thrilled to speak with you today about one of your newest releases “Too Hot For A Rake”.
What is a typical writing day for you? We would love to know a little bit about the woman behind the stories. Can you give us a glimpse into the daily life of Pearl Wolf?
I am no longer married and I live alone in one of the greatest cities in the world. Here is a typical day: After breakfast, during which I read the New York Times, I head for my office and begin writing. My concentration skills are such that I can write even when it’s noisy. When my stomach grumbles, I stop for lunch. Back in the office, I answer email, work on publicity (like this) and take care of personal business. I do try to get out of the house for a walk every day. Three times a week, I work with a trainer at my gym. I play duplicate bridge at a club two or three nights a week. I meet with my critique partner once a week for lunch during which we discuss our current projects and offer constructive feedback to on another. I also dine out with friends and family. I attend writers organization meetings. Most of them meet on Saturdays once every month and I learn a lot from my colleagues. I also give workshops on occasion. I spend January through February in Florida to escape from the snow and the cold, but I’m active there in the writing community as well. In short? I live a life full of joy, surrounded by loving friends and family. What more can anyone ask, especially at my age?
I understand you recently celebrated your 80th birthday. Did you do anything special?
Absolutely! My whole family flew to South Beach, Florida for a four-day weekend to help me celebrate this landmark. Having my sons and their wives and my wonderful grandchildren was a delight.
What is the secret to finding a balance between your family and your writing?
Writing is my business. I set aside time to write every day. The only interruption I’ll allow is a request from one of my three grandsons.
Can you introduce us to your hero and heroine in TOO HOT FOR A RAKE?” What makes them tick?
Lady Helena Fairchild sneaks into her betrothed’s bed only to discover she is lying next to a notorious rake. When her fiance’ discovers them, he calls off the wedding. Helena is mortified and feels her life is over. Her family sends her away to Waverley Castle to avoid the nasty tongues of London’s scandalmongers. To her chagrin, she finds that her escort on her journey is the stranger she mistook for her fiancé.
Lord Desmond Bannington, returns to England from the brothel where he lives when he learns he is the new Marquis of Waverley. For the sake of his beloved grandmother, he seeks redemption from his roguish ways. It is his growing love of Helena that helps him realize his goal.
What inspires you to write the stories you create?
Interesting question. I have published three nonfiction children’s books and four adult novels in my lifetime. Each one was inspired by a different motive, yet I must admit that I felt compelled to write them.
What’s the strangest inspiration you ever got for a story idea?
It happened in Manhattan where I live. I was having dinner and noticed the illusion of a ‘shadow’ building that disappears during the day. It sits in the air space between two hi-rise apartment houses. In my imagination, this building houses 300 vampire families. My hero is the vampire janitor. At night he works as a janitor in a university law library where he meets his love, the night law librarian. Together, they . . . sorry! You’ll have to wait for publication to read the rest.
What do you look for in a good novel? Which genre are you personally drawn to? What were your favorite authors as a child thru teens and now as an adult, have your taste changed?
I am drawn to believable characters with their human flaws as well as their strengths. As to genre, historical fiction is my favorite. In each of my historical works, I aim to depict the setting in which I place my characters with as much realism as possible. As a child, I recall devouring the Honey Bunch series, though now I barely remember them. I do recall she was an adventurous tyke, which is probably what drew me to her. Novels about large families drew me to them as a teen right into adulthood. I love sagas and my favorite author then was Thomas Wolfe. Now, since I write historical romance, I share my absolute favorite author, Georgette Heyer, with many of my colleagues.
When writing your description of your hero/heroine what feature do you mainly start with? Eyes, age, hair color, etc? On average, which of your characters get the best lines and why, hero, heroine, baddie, sidekick, etc. What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?
Before I begin a new work, I do extensive character studies in file format, one file for each major character. I have an obligation to the reader to describe their physical attributes as soon as possible. As for emotional attributes, these dictate each character’s conversational pattern, ie: dull, witty, pompous, friendly, mean and so on. Good chemistry between lovers is hardest to describe, I think. It may begin with physical contact—a touch, a look of longing. Why do we fall in love is an age-old question writers attempt to answer. I have a brief description on character arc on my website for readers: www.pearlwolf.com. I work from a detailed synopsis, but that can change during the story’s unfolding.
If you could live in one of your stories for just one day, which would it be and why?
I’d like to be Olivia, the hero of TOO HOT FOR A SPY. She’s gutsy, she breaks all the rules, she overcomes every obstacle put in her way in order to reach her goal and she gets her man on her terms.
Is there a character that was the hardest to write? The easiest? Have you ever patterned a character after someone you knew?
My current hero is tricky. In order to win the heroine, he must play a dual role as a highwayman and a marquis. There are no ‘easy’ characters for me. Bits and pieces of people I know always find their way into my novels.
Which of your female characters did you find the hardest to write about and why? As above, but male?
Helena, the heroine in my current TOO HOT FOR A RAKE, was the most difficult because she is most unlike me at the beginning of the book. She’s timid and insecure. I’m pleased to add that she grows in stature and learns to stand up for herself by the story’s end. The Duke of Heatham appears in both TOO HOT FOR A SPY and TOO HOT FOR A RAKE. He is the flawed father of my heroines. He also led me down his own surprising path, which was great fun.
How difficult is it for you to re-write a whole scene/chapter because your editor does not agree with what you have written and he suggests changes?
Not difficult at all when you have a top-notch editor. His scene changes made my book much better. I also learned a great deal in the process of rewriting.
Have you ever had to start a book all over again after you are almost complete?
Funny you should ask. I’ve had to begin my current Regency historical work countless times. With the draft I’m working on now, I think I have it right. Who knows?
When a new book comes out have you ever been nervous over readers’ reaction to it? How much does reader reaction mean to you as an author? What do you hope readers get from your books?
Of course I’m nervous, at least until the sales figures come in. When I write, I keep the reader in my mind, for readers are the very reason I write. My readers aren’t shy about letting me know their opinions. Unwise is the writer who ignores their comments when a reader takes the trouble to share opinions with her. Since I write historical fiction, I hope I’ve transported them back to a place in time that seems real. When they finish reading one of my books, I want them to think, “Yes. That is how it must have been.”
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Learn your craft by reading books on writing, by joining writers’ groups and going to conferences. The two best things you can do? Read, read, read. Write, write, write.
Where do you look when you need inspiration? What motto do you have that you say over and over when/if things get tough for you?
I read or I listen to a favorite book on tape or I take a long walk. Does shopping count? I have a writing friend who gave me a great mantra. Do it anyway!
Any special upcoming works?
My current work in progress is tentatively called: THE HIGHWAYMAN’S LADY. The setting includes London’s colorful underworld, Lord Damian, a marquis determined to win the hand of the daring Lady Serena whose wild ways he must tame first.
Is there a question you wish readers or interviewers would ask more?
Ask what else writers do besides writing that relates to their work. My answer to that would be publicity and research.
Where can fans get more information?
My website features chapters from all my novels as well as a newsletter that keeps fans informed of my doings. www.pearlwolf.com. I can also be found on facebook and twitter.
Thank you again for answering my many questions. I hope you had as much fun as I did.