Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Interview with Thyra Dane

Thyra was my second interview. We will both have stories in the winter historical anthology published by the New Romance Cafe, Kisses and Other Scandalous Pastimes.

Thank you for being a part of my journey as a writer and interviewer. I hope someday to meet in person.

Today I have the luxury of visiting with a new writer friend, Thyra Dane. Some may recognize her name from her years of writing fanfiction. Welcome to the Creekside Café, Thyra. It’s almost fifty degrees here, I imagine our North Carolina winter seems more like spring to you.

view from Thyra’s cabin

Thyra: Yes, I was born in Denmark and grew up just south of Copenhagen. We traveled a lot when I was a kid. When I was 18 I moved to California and then to Norway when I was 19. I met my husband in Norway and live in Oslo now.

Thyra: Thank you so much for having me here, too bad it is only by way of our computers.

Sherri: What would you like to drink today?

Thyra: Tea, tea and tea. I drink different kinds of tea at different times of the day. High on caffeine in the morning, no caffeine in the evening. Right now I’ll take tea with ginger. Yum. And just to be clear, to those of us who live in cold climates, tea is always hot. I’m not yet quite over the shock of people serving me iced tea when I ordered tea in North Carolina.

Sherri: I have a terrible secret that could get me tossed out of the south. I don’t like iced tea, sweet or otherwise. You’ve been to North Carolina before?

Thyra: I have. Several times, actually. One time I drove down the coast from Washington DC to Florida with my husband and two friends. Later I visited my good friend, author Suki McMinn, in Tryon. She and her husband opened their home to me and my family, which was incredibly nice. That last trip was part of a vacation where we visited nine southern states in one summer.

Sherri: Wow that gave you a lot to write about. How long have you been writing?

Thyra: I’ve been writing for a long time but it wasn’t until I found fanfiction that I realized that romance was my genre.

Sherri: I’m not familiar with fanfiction.

Thyra: Fanfiction is huge and is essentially about taking characters from books, movies, TV shows etcetera and playing with them.

50 Shades was originally a Twilight fanfiction named Master of the Universe and one of the most popular fanfictions. It’s the same place I published my fanfiction.

We were a great writer’s group. We encouraged each other and quite a few have branched out and become published authors. Suki McMinn and others have done very well by self-publishing, which is very encouraging.

Sherri: Have you published a novel yet?

Thyra: I did have a nibble with a publisher but they went out of business just as I was finishing my story. They wanted a Viking romance and I did write one, but I wasn’t pleased with it so it was probably just the same that it was never published. I am planning on writing a Viking series about three sisters. I have the titles ready: The ShieldmaidenThe Healer and The Wife. I also have the stories outlined but I always stumble over some historical details. I LOVE the Viking age and don’t want to mess up on historical facts. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible not to since we know so little about the Vikings.

Sherri: Write the stories. Continue to research but don’t let the details hold you back. I believe we often let our fears cripple us. As we’ve been emailing back and forth for this interview, I have enjoyed your sense of humor.

Thyra: I’ve been reading a lot of romance and I feel that this is what has made me a better writer. I have found my voice, so to speak, and know that I need to write stories with a dash of humor or it just won’t work for me. This is why most of what I’m writing these days is contemporary romance.

Sherri: Do you have another job or do you write full time?

Thyra: I am the manager of a PR agency that does PR and marketing for schools for young adults. I love my job and I love writing. What I don’t love is the fact that the day only has 24 hours and a week only has 7 days. I need moooore time.

Sherri: Don’t we all. I work full time, write and chair my local writers’ group, plus have a very large family, six sons and nineteen grandchildren. Some days feel like there is no end and others need another twelve hours just so I can finish what needs to be done.

Thyra: Wow, 19 grandchildren! That must be a lot of fun!

I have two kids, one is 17 and one is 19. The oldest is away for school and is actually leaving for a school trip to Japan tomorrow. My husband and I met each other when I was 19 and he was 20. We’ve been married for 29 years now.

Sherri: What do you enjoy about writing?

Thyra: I love creating characters and making them do fun things. I love the creative outlet, I love thinking about my characters, trying to solve a difficult situation and suddenly having a great idea. Unfortunately, my great ideas usually come just as I’m closing my eyes and going to sleep.

Sherri: What do you feel are your writing strengths and weaknesses?

Thyra: I would like to think that my humor is my strength and, of course, that I have inside knowledge to Scandinavia. My weakness is procrastination.

Sherri: Who are your favorite authors/genres?

Thyra: I have a lot of favorite authors. I love Suki McMinn’s books and also authors like Laura Kinsale, Courtney Milan, Sherry Thomas, L.H. Cosway, Mhairi McFarlane and Roni Loren. I read all subgenres in romance and the only thing I look for is quality writing and well written characters. Historical, contemporary, urban fiction and even alien romance – I’ll read anything as long as the story is good.

Sherri: Would you like to tell everyone how we met?

Thyra: We met through The New Romance Café (Facebook Group) and through the anthology project we’re both participating in. I’m very excited about that book project because I finally managed to finish a story. I’m terrible at beginning new stories instead of actually finishing some of the many I’ve started over the years. I guess, I needed the deadline.

I have an old blog that was very popular (over a million readers of one of the blog posts) but it doesn’t fit my writing now. It was for my fanfiction. So I’m currently moving the best parts to a new blog I’m currently creating: I hope to have it up and running in a few weeks.

Sherri: Thanks, Thyra for visiting with me today. I’m looking forward to reading your story in our spring romance anthology, Love in Bloom. The anthology is due out in March 2019. The proceeds will go to Pink Ribbon International. 

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Creekside Chat with Jennifer Lane

I am excited to welcome Jennifer Lane to Creekside Cafe. I met Jennifer through Nancee Cain’s Cain Raisers Facebook Page. You all might remember Nancee from a previous interview. Thank you, Jennifer, for stopping by the cafe. Can I get you something from the barista?  

Jennifer: Thank you for this opportunity. I’ll take an iced hazelnut coffee.

Sherri: Make that two, it sounds great.

Iced coffee with milk in vintage jar

Jennifer: How cool that you’re parlaying your journalism background into your author blog.

Sherri: I can hardly call writing for the small local paper a journalism background but I enjoy chatting with fellow writers and readers. My time with the newspaper did teach me to writing short pieces quickly, and on a schedule, as well get comfortable asking questions. Sometimes, the hardest thing is knowing which questions you should ask.

Have you been in North Carolina before?

Jennifer: I swam at a meet at UNC’s pool in college, and I’ve vacationed at the Outer Banks. I love the beach!

Jennifer at 8, the year she started competitive swimming.

Sherri: I enjoy the beach too. I’m only a passable swimmer, but I’m not one to just lay about in the sand, I love to swim or walk on the beach picking up seashells.

Where are you from? Where do you call home?

Jennifer: I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio and live two hours north in Columbus. I’ve also lived in Indiana and Washington State for graduate school. My sisters live in Illinois and South Carolina, where I visit often.

Jennifer with best friend Gwynn visiting her sister in Chicago.

Sherri: One of my sons and his family lives in Ohio but I’ve not had the chance to visit.

Jennifer: Ooh, where in Ohio?

Sherri: Bucyrus, I believe that is in the southeastern part of the state.

What type of work do you do? Has it influenced you writing?  

Jennifer: I’m a psychologist, meaning I love to explore character motivation and growth. People fascinate me. We all have good reasons for what we do, though sometimes it’s a challenge to uncover those reasons.

Sherri: With your education and observations, you probably have more insight, I often feel like Dear Abby at the ABC store. Working with the public in a small town, people often tell me things they might not tell a family member or close friend. I guess it is like the bartender or hair dresser. People need someone to talk to, not necessarily solve their problems but just someone to listen. I don’t mind being that person and it gives me insight into people.

Jennifer: Listening nonjudgmentally is SO important, but we often have trouble with letting negative emotion just sit there without trying to fix it.

Sherri: Yeah, I’ve learned I can’t fix everyone’s problems, but I can listen and care. Do you craft your stories with characters first or do you have a plot and build characters to fit the story?

Jennifer: What an interesting question—I’ve never been asked that before. Characters first, for sure. I was more of a plotter when I first started writing, but now I let the characters take me on their journey.

Sherri: Do you write full time now, or hold down another job as well as write?

Jennifer: Writing is a hobby of mine. No way can I pay the bills with my measly writing income!

Sherri: Don’t I know it. I have dreams of being able to make a living with my writing. I have a great following locally but have yet to do more than build up my hopes.

How long have you been writing?

Jennifer: Although I enjoyed creative writing as a child, I never envisioned becoming a writer. Then, in my thirties, I became obsessed with the TV show, Prison Break. I found fan fiction on an internet forum, and at first, I thought, “What losers write stories about TV characters?” Fast forward a few months and of course I became one of those losers. The words flowed out of me—my first story was over 200,000 words! I kept writing and learning more about the craft, and I found a small publisher who released my debut novel, With Good Behavior in 2010. Since then, I’ve published eight novels and two novellas.

Sherri: I never knew about fan fiction until recently. I think I would have loved trying my hand at it. I used to come up with scenes for shows I liked.

What genre books do you write?

Jennifer: I write sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. What do you write?

Sherri: I write contemporary suspense with romantic elements but hope to write some historicals also. Do you plan to write any other genre in the future?

Jennifer: I branched out into psychological thrillers with my latest novel, Twin Sacrifice. I included a little bit of romance because I can’t seem to stray from that genre. I might write another thriller or venture into an entirely new genre in the future.

Sherri: What is your latest project?

Jennifer: My work-in-progress is an adult sports romance featuring coaches from rival universities. I am fortunate to have a wonderful critique partner, Nicki Elson.

Sherri: Is Nicki also a published author? How did the two of you meet?

Jennifer: Yes, Nicki writes contemporary romance—I love her “It Series” starting with When It Hits You. Nicki and I met through Omnific Publishing (where I also met the lovely Nancee Cain!)

Sherri: I believe Beta readers and critique partners are vital to us being accomplished writers. Learning to take criticism and address plot holes or other issues makes us better writers.

What do you enjoy about writing?

Jennifer: I love immersing myself in narratives, losing myself in the plot and characters. It’s a path of self-discovery. I also enjoy refining the craft of writing.

Sherri: I think you hit it on the head when you said, self-discovery. We learn more about ourselves as we study others. I hate to use the over-used term of ‘finding ourselves,’ but I think that is a very real part of what we do. When we empathize with others, we discovery our own capacity for love and acceptance, and learn to accept ourselves.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests, besides writing? Do these show up in your writing?

Jennifer: I was a college swimmer and volleyball player, and I have a blast swimming laps and playing rec volleyball in addition to all kinds of exercise (walking while listening to audiobooks or podcasts, cardio machines, weight-lifting). My sports romances lean heavily on my Sporty Spice interests. I also enjoy traveling and spending time with family, and it’s intriguing to explore family dynamics in my stories.

Sherri: My hobbies tend to be more sedate. While I love swimming and walking, I don’t do nearly enough of it. I enjoy dancing and singing too but other than reading and writing, I consider cooking my favorite hobby. I love to discover new recipes. I’m an avid Food Network fan. Do you have a favorite food/recipe?

Jennifer: I love Asian cuisine, including Japanese, Thai, and Chinese food. I’ve become obsessed with my Instapot, and here is one summer recipe for Hawaiian Chicken Tacos that turned out pretty well:

Sherri: I will have to check out the Hawaiian chicken tacos, unfortunately half my family can’t eat pineapple, but I love Asian cuisine. One of my daughters-in-law is Cambodian. She cooks Thai and Chinese. She has even introduced me to Indian food. My daughters-in-law have spoiled me, both my oldest and youngest cook for me and I love learning new recipes and sampling new foods. My oldest son has even taught me to eat Sushi, something I never expected to like.

What are your writing strengths and weaknesses? What seems to come easy for you and what do you have to work harder to get right?

Jennifer: I’ve been told that I write good dialogue, though I have to be careful to balance dialogue with exposition so as not to write an entire novel full of character conversations only. I find life so interesting and complex that sometimes I bring too many issues into my stories. I want to learn to write more concise plots while keeping layered characters.

Sherri: Who are your favorite authors or genres?

Jennifer: Pamela Clare is my favorite romantic suspense author. Her I-Team series wows me with its careful research and swoon-worthy heroes. Elle Kennedy writes hilarious sports romance, and Colleen Hoover’s contemporary romances really shine. I also enjoy thrillers from Nelson DeMille.

Sherri: I’ll have to check out these authors. Wow, I think we’re about out of time. It was so good to have you stop by. I do hope to chat with you again.

If you enjoyed my chat with Jennifer Lane, follow her on social media and you can find her books at through the links listed at the end of this interview.

I hope you all will stop by again, you never know who will be stopping by Creekside Café.

Jennifer Lane, Author
Psyched Publishing
Sports Romance and Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Twin Sacrifice Psychological Thriller
Blocked New Adult Volleyball Romance
Aced (Blocked #2) New Adult Sports Romance
Spiked (Blocked #3) New Adult Sports Romance
Streamline New Adult Swimming Romance
Swim Recruit New Adult Novella (free!)
With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series #1)
Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series #2)
On Best Behavior (The Conduct Series #3)
Twitter: JenLaneBooks
Facebook: Jennifer LaneAuthor Jennifer Lane
Goodreads: Jennifer Lane
Pinterest: JenLaneBooks
Instagram: JenLaneBooks