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Grace Willows is the writing team of Robin Woods and Julie Brookshier. The pair have been writing together for the past five years and have published 13 books. They specialize in contemporary, paranormal and suspense romance novels.
When not working, Brookshier enjoys researching history, gardening, sketching portraits, camping and cooking. Woods enjoys gardening, camping and reading.
The writing team is the author of Legend of the Crescent Moon. They are the next author to be featured in my interview series focusing on historical fiction and historical romance authors.
Grace Willows on Writing
What is your writing process like?
Brookshier: I usually begin our story lines. I always have plots running through my head. I can see each story idea unfold like a movie. I send the ideas to Robin and she picks out one she really likes. I will then write the plot with the characters as the “movie” plays in the back of my head. I have to get the material down before it “vanishes.” Robin then fills in all the details and then works her magic
Woods: I then take over the storyline and add the details that bring the stories to life. I add my own special twists into the book and fill in the background. We then edit the story for content, continuity and grammar. After the story has been edited for the last time, we read it once more. Those pesky grammar errors have a way of showing up at the last minute.
Traditional publishing, self publishing, or a combo? Why did you take the route you did? Brookshier: We chose self publishing because we needed to be able to work at our own pace. Robin and I both work 40 hour plus jobs. We needed to find a way to write that would allow us to fit in our day jobs with our dream job, writing. To us writing is as natural as breathing but we couldn’t have a publisher assigning a deadline and still be at work all those hours.
What was your biggest publishing struggle or lesson learned?
Brookshier: Our biggest lesson in publishing has been to edit the book after you believe you are done editing. We always edit each book three times for grammar, content and continuity after it has been completed. But we have learned the hard way, that even with extensive editing it is very easy to have a grammatical error “sneak” into a finished book.
Tell me about your latest release.
Brookshier: Our latest release is Legend of the Crescent Moon. What if a legend from the 14th century came true and a modern day woman was whisked back into the past. Could she survive? Could the 14th century survive her? We love historical romances and wanted to find a way to bring a modern day woman in medieval times. So we created an urban legend and found a way to turn it into an historical romance!
What was its inspiration?
Brookshier: The inspiration for Legend of the Crescent Moon was actually a challenge Robin gave me a few months back. She mentioned an urban legend I had talked about creating and told me I needed to “write that story.” The next thing I knew the word “Have ye never heard the legend of the crescent moon?” popped into my head. The moment I heard those words we were off on another adventure.
What’s next for you?
Brookshier: We are going to releasing another historical western romance story Last Minute Bride soon. Imagine the madam of a bordello whose livelihood has just burned down and all she has is the money hidden in her bosom and the clothing on her back. Her best friend is the local town’s schoolmarm who through a series of events beyond her control has been promised in marriage to a wealthy rancher in a distant territory. Last Minute Bride is a fun filled historical romantic romp through the old west with a madam that will remind you of Mae West!
Who is your favorite author and why?
Brookshier: I like Jayne Ann Krentz and her Amanda Quick series, because I enjoy the fun quirky plots and interesting twists and turns in her stories.
Woods: I enjoy a wide variety of subjects and genres and I have a favorite author for each. I can tell that the book I read when I was a teenager that really touched me the deepest was Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. It was the mid-70’s, and I was trying to ‘find myself’. I decided not to run away to Haight Ashbury in San Francisco and settled on reading Siddhartha instead. Good decision if I may say so. I keep thinking I ought to read it again but I don’t think it will have the same impact on my psyche as it did when I was 17. I can’t even really tell you what the story was about, other than the main character sat under a tree by a stream for some incredible length of time. All I know is, it changed the way I thought about myself, my life, my being.
Grace Willows on History
What is your favorite historical era and why?
Brookshier: My favorite historical era is two fold. I love the old Wild West, but also like the medieval era. I like to research information on the way people lived back then, especially preservation of food and architecture. I also like to research time periods that tug at the beginning of time’s fabric. I guess I just love history.
Woods: I like the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It was a time of great industrialization in the U.S.
What historical figure would you like to spend a day with and why?
Brookshier: I would love to spend the day with Abraham Lincoln. He was such a pivotal person during such a crucial time of our country.
Woods: Stephen Hawking. I would like to sit and listen to him discuss black holes and baby universes.
Name three historical events you’d like to witness if you had a time machine?
Brookshier: The signing of the Magna Carter
The Roswell Incident
The assassination of President Lincoln
Woods: The Philadelphia Experiment
The Roswell Incident
The Moon landing
Do you enjoy genealogy? If so, what’s the most interesting story you discovered in your family tree?
Brookshier: I enjoy genealogy very much. While doing some researching it, I found out I’m related to Queen Elizabeth and Henry VIII. It explains a lot. Ha.
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The Fine Print
If you are an historical fiction or historical romance author and would like to participate in this interview series, click here.
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