Wednesday, June 10, 2009

OBSESSIONS

At the core of all romance is finding true love. As a reader, we want the heroine to have all sorts of 'hot' adventures in the course finding her true love.

Please welcome back, Over Coffee, C. Margery Kempe. She writes hot sexy adventures and is fascinated with interchangable identities, strong heroines, adventure, spies, and...obsessions.

Intriguing list, isn't it?

Margery explains a bit about the power of obsessions in our writing:



Hello from London! Thanks so much, Sia, for inviting me back. I was here as part of the Ravenous Romance Ornery Eleven Blog Tour last month and I had such a great time I had to drop by again.

My novel Chastity Flame

Chastity is the story of a government operative who has a lot of sexy adventures on the way to discovering what might be true love -- she hasn’t quite been able to believe it, but she willing to risk a lot to find out. The novel also provided a chance for me to delve into some of my obsessions.

We have a tendency to look at “obsession” as a negative thing. We’re always hearing about dangerous people who form obsessions with celebrities. But obsessions can be quite beneficial, too. They form the base of any good ambitious project. I remember John Irving giving the advice about writing, “You have to get obsessed and stay obsessed” and it’s true. People ask me all the time, “how do you get so much writing done?” That’s the answer in a nutshell. The fact is that for most of us, no one’s going to pay us to write (except sometimes after we’ve already done it), so you have to want to do it very badly.

And you can use your obsessions to power that: a handful of my long-time obsessions make an appearance in Chastity Flame. My very first novel I wrote in high school was called Ace Spies, Incorporated and was a Mary Sue adventure starring a character who was clearly me and some thinly veiled versions of the Beatles (well, it was the second wave of Beatlemania in the 70s). A bit embarrassing to think of now, but I stuck with it for months and wrote a whole novel just to see whether I could do it (and yes, to have lots of fun dreaming constantly about the Beatles). The only people who ever read it were my friends. One of those friends claim to still have a copy; she’s just waiting for me to achieve real success so she can cash in on it. But it did firmly fix the writing bug into my life, though it took a long time for me to really develop it.

I also find it intriguing that even then I was interested in having all these interchangeable identities with my spy heroine. The story line was that she ordered a sort of adventure holiday as a spy, but then got caught up in the real thing (hey, sounds like a certain Bill Murray film, eh? I should sue!). I even wrote it under a pseudonym. So it’s not much of a jump to Chastity’s constant stream of fake names and identities.

Another obsession in the novel is London, my favorite place in the world ever since I first came here in 1980. I loved using various locations around town that I adore like the Millennium foot bridge and the Tate Modern. The opening scene allowed me to not only use the National Gallery, but to begin in front of a painting closely connected to another obsession: British comedian Peter Cook. Les Grandes Baigneuses is not only one of Cezanne’s most famous paintings (and the wallpaper image of my British mobile phone) but at the heart of a beloved sketch from Not Only But Also, the 1960s television show starting Cook and Dudley Moore. It’s not necessary to know this, of course -- it just makes me giggle. ;-)

My advice is trust your obsessions -- they provide fuel for your dreams and if you want to write, you need all the fuel you can get. Writing itself has to be an obsession if you’re going to get anywhere with it. You have to keep believing through long nights of bad writing and sometimes endless rejections. It always pays off if only in the fact that creating is a great joy. Sometimes that’s enough.

***

C. Margery Kempe is a writer of erotic romance. In addition to Chastity Flame, she has a number of short stories with Ravenous Romance as well as other publishers. At present she’s working onthe sequel as well as a number of other projects, while keeping busy in her other life as a medievalist and English professor. Visit her website or her blog or follow her on Twitter.

22 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Welcome back Margery, it's good to see you again. How's London treating you?

Are you requiring a true English Tea at 4:00? I can make up some of those delectable cucumber sandwiches, I always have hot scones, some wonderful Devonshire Cream, and all sorts of goodies.

Interesting Topic: Obsessions.

Dana Fredsti said...

Ermm...Scones and Devonshire cream here, please!

Margery, excellent topic and discussion! I hope you are enjoying all of your U.K. related obsessions to the full right now!

Pat Bertram said...

Margery, I like your idea of obsessions being a good thing. I'm in the market for a new obsession at the moment. My first books reflected my obsession with public lies and hidden truths, but now that I've said all I want to on the subject, I'm sort of at a loss of what to write. Which makes me wonder, do obsessions find you, or do you go in search of them?

Vivian A said...

As a serial obsessionist, I need longer bouts of each obsession.

Ooh, scone and clotted cream please. Yummm...

Margery I agree that the depth of intense attention gives us a competency that others don't have. Thanks for validating the behavior btw.

Other Lisa said...

quick note - Sia, for whatever reasons, all of your links are taking me to Pat. B's blog!

I'll be back later to comment on the actual post.

cmkempe said...

Hullo all! Sia, thanks again for hosting me today even if I am five hours ahead and a little off. Just getting that first cup of tea today -- yes, please! a scone!

Dana, you know me too well ;-) Yes, enjoying them to the full [insert silly giggling]

I do completely agree that you can't really accomplish much without being obsessed on some level. If you're lucky and get a lot of encouragement, it's easier, but most of us have a lot of slogging to get through without much cheerleading. You have to believe.

Pat, I think generally obsessions find you, but if one doesn't show up, I'd certainly go in search of a new one! I talk about it as needing to fill my head. That's part of what I'm doing in London this month -- that and scouting locations for the next Chas book that I'm working on (god, I love writing in pubs!).

Adina said...

I lived my whole life following obsessions ! Some of them I married and others ones I divorced ...LOL

In my work i like to explore the emotional charge an obsession takes on a character .

Helen Ginger said...

You're right about obsessions. We wouldn't accomplish a lot if we didn't follow our obsessions. That's true in all aspects of our life, not just writing. But it is very true of writing. You gotta be nuts, I mean, obsessed, to keep at it.

Helen
Straight From Hel

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thanks for letting me know that Lisa. I was having some trouble with the hmtls for some reason last night and with all the power surges...Pat helped me get them straight, but there's a definite glitch and I will be attending to it now.

Bear with me.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Okay, the links are all fixed now--sorry for the goof up Margery.

Thank you Lea for all your wonderful help!

Dana Fredsti said...

*eating another scone piled high with clotted cream and raspberry preserves*

I can just imagine the giggling going on, Margery!

cmkempe said...

Yes, plenty of giggling and now off to a gig with a band -- such a life! I'm glad I'm not the only one who believes in her obsessions.

Back later -- thanks everyone for stopping by.

Sheila Deeth said...

I miss cream teas. Got to save up a while before our next trip to London, but I'm sure Grantchester and cream tea will still be waiting for us. Nice to meet you.

Jill Lynn said...

Love your book cover, Margery.

I hope to obsess over my own book cover someday :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Adina, your comment cracked me up. "...Some of them I married and others ones I divorced ..."

~Sia McKye~ said...

I didn't realize how many are familiar Tea rituals, lol! Viv, for sure there is more than enough 'clotted cream' for all.

Margery, writing in pubs? oooo sounds like there's a story in that, lol! Hmmm. I do like pubs though. So many fascinating people, all ages, are there to be watched.

Other Lisa said...

Mmmmm....pubs....

cmkempe said...

Mmmmm, pubs -- indeed! I don't know why I find it easier to write there than in other places, but I've tried writing in the British Library for example and it's just too quiet, which I find distracting. Besides I sneeze really loudly and it echoes in there so much, all the heads at the desks fly up like gazelles spooked at a water hole. Research in the library and then writing in the pub nearby.

Thanks, for hosting me, Sia! I feel as if I did a crap job as a guest, but there you are. More tea!

Oh, and thanks for the kind words on the cover, Jill. I love those sunset tones and I've yet to tire of the London skyline (although wouldn't it have been brilliant to have the gherkin in there somewhere?).

Ciao!

Isabel Roman said...

I remember John Irving giving the advice about writing, “You have to get obsessed and stay obsessed” and it’s true.

That's very true. Obsession can be a good thing, and I keep telling myself that! *G* Besides, without obsession, I wouln't be published now. I'd have given up long ago.

Great interview!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Isabel, thanks for stopping by. Obsessions are a good thing in writing.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Margery, you are also on vacation in London, :-) So the time lapse is a bit restricting. No worries you did just fine.

Love the description of sneezing in the library, lol!

cmkempe said...

Thanks, Sia! And thank, Isabel for stopping by, too. I can't believe how gorgeous it continues to be, More open air theatre today, I think.