Chewing the Fat with . . . Gwynne Forster

Yes, I'm back with author interviews. I changed the name, since "Five Questions for . . ." was starting to pop up as often as morning toast (although these are still five-question interviews, for the most part, because authors are busy). The alternate title for these columns was right in front of my face. Don't know why I didn't think to use it in the first place.

Gwynne came to my rescue on this very busy week, in which I'm finalizing preparations for my mother's 90th birthday and trying to get some things together for my editor and preparing to change jobs and all that involves: running for labs, pre-employment physical, filling out paperwork and all of that, by providing me with a completed interview. She'd been working on a deadline herself, and I didn't think she'd get to it this quickly. Thank you, Gwynne!

Gwynne Forster was one of the earlier Arabesque authors. I vividly remember her very first novel, Sealed With a Kiss, (at a time when I was an aspiring novelist and was reading every romance that came out) and I was struck by the high quality of her writing, as well as the rather unique and emotional storyline of that particular book. which to me set her books apart from the others (Bette Ford's marvelous bold style was also a standout for me). Anyone who thinks romance novels are silly, badly written fluff should check out Gwynne Forster. You won't catch Gwynne using hackneyed and clich├ęd phrases.

I was too rushed to ask Gwynne for biographical information, but to learn more about her, just visit her website.

Without further ado, heeeeeeere's Gwynne:

Bettye: You just had a new women's fiction release from Dafina Books. Tell us about it.

Gwynne Forster: My latest mainstream fiction release, A Different Kind of Blues, is about a woman who, at age thirty-six, gets a shock that causes her to take a look at her life, and she’s not proud of what she sees. But making amends for her past is more difficult than she expected. The first and hardest step is admitting to her teenage daughter, Krista, that her supposedly dead father is very much alive. Then there’s the neighbor whose husband she had an affair with, the former coworker she got fired, and many more aggrieved acquaintances. Far from setting her free, the truth brings more complications, for the past had best be left to time. Yet, the incidents open up her life in surprising ways, bringing her experiences for which she had longed but didn’t have the courage to embrace, and offering her one last chance to start over for real. Publisher’s Weekly called it an “ode to life…wise and wonderful.”

Bettye: Sounds like a wonderfully unique and intriguing storyline (I know I said that already).

You are one of the handful of writers who writes catetory romance, single title romance, and women's fiction. Which genre is easiest for you to create? Do you have a favorite among them? Do you find you need to change settings/mood when moving between the three? (Okay, so I snuck/sneaked in 3 questions).

Gwynne Forster: Bettye, my preferences are in this order: mainstream women’s fiction, single title romance; category romance. I prefer mainstream fiction because there are no guidelines, and I can write what I see as truer to life. I can create characters and situations compatible with my understanding of socio-psychological phenomena, intra-familial relations, and my observations of human behavior. There’s less fantasy and more reality. In single title romance, which is closer to mainstream than to category, I am able to include subplots and more characters and the kinds of scenarios that can bring a story to life. Category romance is limiting, and I struggle with it. I never write two books at a time, so I don’t move between them. Since I write character driven stories, my problem is not mood, but in roping in the characters when I’m writing category. Subject matter takes care of the difference between mainstream and single title romance.

Bettye: Interesting that you complete one book at a time. I know what you mean about the different genres. I love writing mainstream, where essentially anything goes. I was also fond of single title romance. When Arabesque streamlined I was invited to write for Kimani, but since they haven't liked what I've sent them so far (my stories have too much story, they tell me) I'm thinking now that I'm simply not a category romance writer.

Your bio says you belong to your church choir. Do you have a favorite hymn?

Gwynne Forster: I certainly do. How Great Thou Art.

Bettye: Your bio also says you are a gourmet cook. What's your specialty?

Gwynne Forster: I’m supposed to be a gourmet cook. What’s my specialty? Mouth watering deserts, I guess. But I try to make every course gourmet level. For a real dinner party, I serve seven courses. For a more casual one, I serve five.

Bettye: Wow, seven courses. That makes me think of a wonderful cruise I took on the Celebrity Line . . . except I don't think even they serve that many courses!

What lies ahead for Gwynne Forster? Can you give us a sneak peek at upcoming books?

Gwynne Forster: I have a mainstream and two romance novels due out in 2009. The mainstream, A Change Had To Come, is a Kensington/Dafina book. My three Harlequin romances are Private Lives, Finding Mr. Right and Stranger In My Bed. In addition, Harlequin is reprinting three of my early Arabesque books for release in 2009. They are, Fools Rush In, Swept Away, and Scarlet Woman.

Thanks so much, Bettye, for interviewing me for your blog.


Thanks so much, Gwynne! I didn't notice until I put this column together the similarity in cadence between the title of your new Dafina mainstream, A Different Kind of Blues, and my upcoming Dafina mainstream, A New Kind of Bliss. Coincidence? Or from the mind of the same clever editor? I wonder . . . .

For those of you interested in learning more about Gwynne's novels, in addition to her website link above, click here to be routed to her Amazon page with all her novels listed in descending order of publication date.

Now, I'm off to see if I can find those doggone discussion questions I seem to have misplaced . . . .


shelia said...

Ms. Forster is one of my favorite writers. I like all of her books no matter what genre.

Patricia W. said...

Interesting interview, ladies. I haven't read a lot of Ms. Forster's books but I enjoyed her mainstream more than her category. Maybe it's because that's her preference too.

Bettye, I've awarded you the I LOVE YOUR BLOG award. See why here.

Lori said...

I love how Ms. Forster describes her approach to mainstream fiction. I'll also be adding A NEW KIND OF BLUES to the stack of other "waiting to be read" titles littering my night stand (smile).

bettye griffin said...

Thanks for commenting, ladies! And Patricia, I'm honored by your mention of my blog. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Another great interview, Bettye. I have to add that Gwynne is one of the most generous veteran romance authors I've ever met. I did my first signing with her and Donna Hill back in 1999 or 2000. It was at a black book fair in Cincinnati. I'll always remember how friendly she and Donna were. And how much info and advice about the pub biz they both shared with me that day. Gwynne even invited me to relax in her room between signing sessions. It was GREATLY appreciated, because I didn't have a room! --Reon :-)

Chick Lit Gurrl said...

OK - Bettye and Gwynne in one location? That's awesome. Been a fan of Gwynne's work for...forever! Great interview, :-)


Lori said...

Hmm . . . sorry about the previous typo. Of course I meant, A DIFFERENT KIND OF BLUES (smile). You're right, Bettye. Your upcoming title and Ms. Gwynne's are very much alike. I've already begun combining the two (LOL).