Welcome, I like to thank you Rowena for taking the time out of your busy schedule to
answer a few questions for our Coffee Time Romance and our readers.
Thank you. I am delighted to have this opportunity to chat.
How long did it take you to get Forced Mate published? How long have you been writing?
A thing is worth doing, it is worth doing properly, one of my strong-willed grandmothers
used to say. So, the moment I started transcribing sexy dreams, I made a mental
commitment to get published.
May 29, 1993, was a decisive point in my writing career. I rode in a corporate pace car
at the Indianapolis 500 (Ari Luyendyck was in the race car right behind my car),
chatted about the zero-gravity experience with Chuck Yeager (who was driving the
official pace car), and met Fabio up in the Hullman suites.
A friend in the motoring press also taught me a wonderfully humiliating expression: a
Nostril Shot. That is when some body part usually ones, least attractive facial feature,
appears in a photograph of someone famous.
That weekend was anchored in my mind as the time when the heroine of FORCED
MATE made a life-changing, nostril-shot-type mistake by attending the 1993
Indianapolis 500 Ball, and being accidentally photographed as Fabio danced with the
If anyone ever wondered why FORCED MATE begins on March 31, 1994, nearly a year
later that is the reason.
I signed publishing contracts for FORCED MATE in 2003, so the numerical bottom line is
around eleven years in answer to both questions.
How did you feel the day your book was released?
Not the way you would think, actually. If one can be blasé and panicked at the same
time that would describe my feelings.
My official Love Spell launch date was November 2, 2004. It was a Presidential Election
Day, and it was raining, and I'd learned that in at least one local bookstore my covers
had already been stripped.
Stripping covers is what happens when a bookstore decides to apply for a refund from
the publisher. They rip the cover off the book and return it, and throw away the rest of
the book. It is not supposed to happen before the book's release date, or even during
the release month.
That tends to take some of the giddiness out of one's release day delight.
But, it was a tremendous thrill to see my book on a new release table and also on a
bookstore shelf for the first time. After that, I obsessed about shelf positioning, and
whether the book was face out or spine out, and how many copies the store had in
Bottom line? As soon as I am close to one goal, I set myself a higher bar. Sometimes, it
is an impossibly higher bar.
My delight upon winning an Honorable Mention plaque in the very first published
author contest I entered --THE JADA-- to display in my ads and on my website was
probably more of a Dance-Around-The-House celebration.
And Getting The Call from my fantastic editor Alicia Condon, of course. Nothing, I
think, will ever top the exhilaration of hearing that a New York editor wishes to buy one's
Can you tell us a little about the meaning of your title Forced Mate?
The title of my novel "FORCED MATE" is taken from a chess textbook, from Pandolfini's
end-game position where there are the two Kings and a few pawns. The first King to
make a pawn his Queen wins. It seemed appropriate for an inter-galactic,
abduction/royal marriage of convenience romance.
An author whom I admire, Susan Grant, specializes in writing "aviation romances".
Chess is my signature theme for my alien djinn romances. MATING NET is another chess
title, as is INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL.
In FORCED MATE, chess-play is part of Tarrant-Arragon's courtship of Djinni-vera. For
instance, my heroine rages:
"I've never known anyone who took such delight in turning a harmless game of
chess into a minefield of erotic pitfalls—" (And she accuses Prince Tarrant-
Arragon of cheating) "You set up chess positions for the sake of all the lewd
comments you can make." As she made the accusation, it flashed into her mind
that considerable intelligence would be necessary for such behavior.
Do you have a strict writing schedule?
No. Sometimes I think I'd like to have a strict writing schedule, but I don't. My life is my
job, rather than the other way around.
I don't believe I've had a typical day since my daughter was born. I'd love to be able
to write as the mood strikes me, but even if I took refuge on an out-of-the-way toilet
with my Alphasmart, someone would burst in on me, or start to yell or the phone will
ring. If I want to write, I need to get up at 4.30 am.
However, if I did have a strict writing schedule, I probably wouldn't tell you what it was.
(Imagine a friendly grin as I say this.)
The Baader Meinhof terrorist group was still recent threat when I went to live in a
corporate compound in Germany's foothills of the Taunus mountains in the early 1980s.
We were taught never to publish or keep a set schedule, never to drive the same route
anywhere. Sometimes on corporate business trips, we got driven around by some of
those frightfully glamorous-dangerous, heavily-armed mercenary types.
A little bit of some of these gentlemen went into my character Grievous, the garrulous
Englishman who becomes an alien prince's sidekick.
Do you usually outline your stories before you write them?
No. I dreamload. I go to bed thinking about a sexy situation or scene, and if something
"happens" I write it down when I wake up.
For me, the hero's character is the plot driver. I have to start by --well, this is an
embarrassing admission--falling half in love with him. After that, his adventures tumble
into place. He says or does something in keeping with his character, which gets him
into trouble either with the heroine or with the authorities.
For instance, the hero of INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL (my work in progress, and the
first sequel to FORCED MATE) has a glow-in-the-dark tattoo on his penis. It won't affect
his ability to save the day, but it might get him into a world of trouble.
Have you always wanted to write romance?
I wanted to write about characters, and most characters are more interesting to me if
they have a love life. I also wanted to write about a thirty linear foot penis which is
attached to the Cerne Giant hill-figure, and which can be seen on my website:
My struggle was over whether I wanted to write romantic science fiction, or science
fiction romance. (If the sci-fi romance is soft enough, it gets called Futuristic.) It had to
be some degree of sci-fi because I wanted my hero to be the ultimate hero. I wanted
him to be a God and an Emperor's heir, and I wanted a clash of cultures between my
hero and heroine.
As a former teacher of History (as well as English) I didn't want to take liberties with real
historical figures. I felt no such inhibitions about Darth Vader types... or indeed in
expanding broadly on Erich von Daeniken's theory that all our ancient gods and
mythological heroes were aliens or the late Francis Crick's proposal that extraterrestrials
planted the seeds of life on earth.
I've digressed. I do that a lot.
The last line of FORCED MATE is what decided the issue of whether or not it would be
primarily a romance. In a romance, the hero and heroine save the world (or
whatever), and then they declare (or prove) their love for each other. In a science
fiction, they get the romantic business out of the way then they save the world.
Back in 1997, I entered the Chesapeake Romance Writers of America Chapter's Last
Line contest. My last line was awarded Most Poignant Last Line. I wasn't about to
change an award winning last line, so that settled it.
FORCED MATE was a Romance.
What are some of your hobbies?
I dowse. That is, I can walk around a field, house or garden with a couple of bent
metal rods lightly balanced in my hands, and they will twitch and twirl when I cross an
electro-magnetic field. I do believe that these forces are important to health and
healing, and inspiration (some time, I really must get around to dowsing my office to
see whether my computer is in the *right* spot).
This is why the Cerne Giant scene is important to me, and to my story: his outlines are
said to run along natural ley lines. I do hope this prehistoric nude figure does not
confuse or offend my gentle readers, and that they will visit my website to take a look
at the original His Mightiness and his 30 linear foot erection crudely delineated in chalk
I also draw. It gives my heroes and heroines something to do.... Moreover the drawing
helps me stage manage my scenes. I may draw diagrams of complicated solar systems
to be sure that I remember where the sun is in the right place for every scene, where
and when there are--or should be--eclipses.
Also, if a love scene or a clinch is involved I tend to sketch the protagonists so that I
remember where all the necessary body parts are.
And, then there is chess. At the moment I teach chess to gifted six year olds one
morning a week.
Are you working on any writing projects right now?
I'm working on the sequel to FORCED MATE, provisionally titled Insufficient Mating
Material? (with the question mark).
I am also trying to do something special with a short story, MATING NET, which is a
prequel to FORCED MATE.
How can your readers contact you?
I'm thinking of starting a blog, but I have not done so yet. I am also planning to start a
mailing list from visitors to my website www.rowenacherry.com.
There is my snail mail address, set up for the entries to my contest, but I'd be thrilled to
receive other mail there, too.
PO Box 554
Have you ever had writers block?
Doesn't everyone have days or runs of days when either life gets in the way, or for one
reason or another they are not inspired?
Who are your favorite authors?
I've always been an eclectic reader, loving Georgette Heyer, Asimov, Tolkein,
Shakespeare, George Orwell, Harry Harrison, Terry Pratchett, Jo Beverley, Tom Clancy,
the poets Tennyson and Browning The list goes on, but I won't.
Do you have any thing to add?
I'd like to congratulate Brenda Thatcher a/k/a Brenda Clark of Mystique Books for winning my What IS the bioluminescent tattoo? contest.
And, I'd like to thank everyone for their time in reading this.
Thank you so much for chatting with us!