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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Taking The Bounce: Get Back Up and Try Again By: Courtney Leigh


To give y'all a little of Courtney Leigh's background... I graduated from UC Davis (after I studied abroad in Scotland for a year!) with a double BD in Political Science and English. I gave up a plush job to move to Arizona and work part-time at my parents' dog boarding kennel. I did that to start my writing career. Now I'm a published freelance writer, and all the closer to being a published author. We all know it's a matter of the amount of grit and sweat (and sometimes tears!) we're willing to invest, that makes us persevere.

It was a journey for me to find my fiction genre. But once I made the commitment to 20th century historical romance, I had a former editor from Harper & Row tell me my writing was absolutely superb (yay!), but 1940s war-time romance didn't sell (argh). I got that a lot in the responses I received to queries from agents and editors alike. This is the blurb for Seasons of Change...

A soulful love that transcends the atrocities of WWII Europe...

American expatriate and Resistance legend, Evangeline, vows to lay down her gun. Only upon Colt's insistence, an American soldier whose love promises a happiness she feels unworthy of, Evangeline agrees to leave Europe and returns to her family's Texas cattle ranch. Her personal war has just begun.

As she waits for Colt stateside, she must face the demons from her past for the sake of her future. When love and happiness are the prize, will her resolve be enough to defeat a home front enemy she never encountered as a spy in Europe?
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Seasons of Change speaks to those who have bravely waited for a loved one's return, or who have fought to return home themselves. Evangeline and Colt prove that love and determination are more powerful than any bullet, any bomb. Any war.
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It has taken me almost a year to bounce back from being told that war-time fiction was a hard-sell. But now that I have had time to really think myself into a clearer vision, I have bounced back with vigor. I've heard the phrase, "Taking The Bounce," as a way to describe getting up and trying again. I like it, so I use it. For some reason it keeps me thinking positive thoughts...

I took the bounce by asking myself how I could effectively pull a larger crowd of romance readers into the catacombs of history. What I came up with, which has become a new, true passion, is Decopunk.

Decopunk romance covers the 1920s to the 1930s (and into the early 40s) Art Deco aesthetics, and is a futuristic rendition of the past--just as Steampunk has done with the mid-to-late 1800s--by introducing modern technology (cell phones, laptops, speed detectors, jet engines, etc.) that didn't exist in real-time history. Have any of you seen Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow? How about The Shadow? There's even an episode in season one of Fringe that covers Decopunk.

But I haven't read anything in the romance genre that coincides. The closest I've come to what exists in book form that aligns with my vision, are comic books. And they are very popular when they're done right (hey, I know the readership is different, but it's just a matter of very, very visual description, people!).

So as part of my bounce back, and making the bounce work for me, I've been working on two Decopunk manuscripts that are fresh, new, and vibrant. Some of you may wonder what these romances are about, but I'm still in the developmental stages, so unfortunately I don't even have blurbs for them--because I don't know the endings myself yet (gulp!). In order to find out more about these bounce-back stories, you may want to follow my future blogs on RTG. I'm planning an exciting April...

Tell me what you think about the idea of putting Art Deco aesthetics with modern technology and romance. Can you imagine Gretta Garbo or Vivien Leigh holding smart phones (cased in mahogany with silver-plated industrial detail, and touch screen technology)? When have you, as writers, had to bounce back with a vengeance? Give me your story.

5 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Courtney, I don't believe that 20th Century Historical Romance doesn't sell - Kristina McMorris and our own, Margaret Tanner, are two authors who come to mind who are published (and recently) in that genre.

However, the idea of DecoPunk is a new concept to me. I can imagine Gretta Garbo holding the cell phone who described (not so much Vivien Leigh for some reason).

I've had many 'bounce back' events in my life. The most recent was a MVA in 2004 that left me unable to drive, at times unable to walk without a cane, and at other times with a scrambled brain. Of all the problems I had, the scrambled brain was the most terrifying. I am truly grateful I found Dr. Brown and Debbie D (physical therapist who specialized in scrambled brains) because I'm pretty much back to normal now.

Looking forward to your April post!

Diana Mcc. said...

Interesting post! I'd never heard of DecoPunk before this post. I have only read a few Steampunk books, and found it hard in a couple of them to relate to the story. Every genre has it's on quirks. Good luck with finding a home for your MS.

Shannon said...

Great post!
DecoPunk is a new term for me too. It seems to bridge the gap between SteamPunk and DieselPunk.

Agree with Kristina McMorris. Her books are becoming more and more popular. I think as we get further into this decade, we're going to see a lot more books with the sweeping romance of WWI and WWII.

Courtney L said...

Thanks for the encouraging words and comments, guys! I really appreciate it...you'll hear about the journey as it unfolds:)

Anonymous said...

Courtney, interesting post - love your idea of Decopunk but don't believe the hype that WWII romance doesn't sell - stick with it!

KL Mullens