Roz Denny Fox
Welcome to The Long and the Short of It and our first author interview. We are thrilled to have Roz Denny Fox with us today.
Roz started writing while working as a secretary at an elementary school in Phoenix by freelancing a series of self-help articles and a short story. Her youngest daughter and friends, all voracious readers, were consuming Harlequin/Silhouette books like crazy and badgered Roz to write a romance. She moved to Seattle in 1986 and took a college creative writing class, meeting other writers who introduced her to Romance Writers of America. She attended her first national conference and came home to write the book that would be her first sale to Harlequin Romance in 1989 under the pseudonym Roz Denny.
She went on to write five more traditional romances. When I asked her when she first considered herself an author, she said, “I kept thinking it was a fluke that anyone bought my stories, so I probably had to see three or four on bookshelves before I really believed I could continue to pen stories readers wanted to buy."
Her editor moved to Superromance and invited Roz to submit a longer, more mainstream-style book. With this move, Roz added her real last name. Her thirtieth book in the Superromance line will be released December 2007. She is not content, though, with only writing for Superromance. She has also written for Harlequin American, Signature Selects, and has just written her first Harlequin Everlasting Love.
Since she’s written so many books, I asked her what advice she would give to a new writer just starting out. “My best advice to new writers is to first be a voracious reader of the type of book you think you might like to write. Then invest in joining a writers' group. Learn the craft and then embark on writing your first book.”
She didn’t always want to be a writer, though. She said, “I went through different phases depending on where I was in my life. I can remember wanting to be a cowgirl, an Olympic swimmer, a nurse, a reporter, and probably several other interesting careers. I blame it on being a Gemini. It's nice that by being a romance writer I can give interesting careers to my characters, and then in turn research what they'd have to do to be successful at their jobs.” One thing she’d like scientists to develop is a more indestructible car, so maybe one of her characters could work on that.
Talking about characters, I wanted to know which came first in her writing, the plot or the characters. She said the characters always come first… and that sometimes she has characters running around with no plot. In those cases she envies the writers who can start out with a great plot. But, in any case, she says, she finally realized that every writer does it their own way.
With that in mind, I asked her what she considered the most important elements of good writing. “Fashioning characters readers care about,” she said, “give them a believable plot, and be sure to tie up all loose ends.”
She does a lot of tying up the loose ends, she says, in “what I call the witching hours between midnight and three a.m.” because of being a lifelong insomniac. It works for her, because she has definitely been productive since she started writing professionally.
Be sure and visit Roz at her website. She has a pile of fun things to do there and she loves hearing from her readers. She says, “Hearing from readers who are in some way touched by my books is like ice cream on the side of chocolate cake.” Roz, after all, is first and foremost an avid reader herself.