Of course you want to know, what is LLC 2015? It is short for LoveLetter Convention 2015, and it takes place in Berlin, Germany, on May 2 and 3, 2015. There are lots of German authors attending, but there are also some really nice (and famous!) authors from America, Canada, England and Australia.
Connie Brockway is one of the American authors attending. We had a blast in the previous 3 years, and to add to the advance fun of the event, we have decided to do some interviews with the authors we will be meeting. Some of them are attending for the first time; others had a great time in a previous year and are coming again! So if you have the opportunity to visit Berlin for some sightseeing, why not attend the convention as well? Or let your family do the sightseeing, and you do the convention. If you want to check it out, here is a link to the website:
Our guest today is Connie Brockway, author of many historical romances, and some contemporary ones.
Aurian: Welcome to Utrecht, Connie. Would you like something hot to drink in this cold weather? Hot chocolate with whipped cream, tea or coffee? And of course some Dutch cookies.
Connie: Dutch chocolate! And cookies. And whipped cream. Hey! Don't be stingy with that cream!
Freya: Can you tell our readers who might not yet know you or your books, a little about yourself? Something that is not in your official bio (which is at the bottom of this post).
Connie: There’s already too many unsubstantiated rumours out there and apparently I feed into that. It’s not my fault. I say (or write) something innocent and people jump to the wrong conclusions. For instance, that alien abduction thing? More of an encounter. And one of those mutts is actually a purebred Springer Spaniel.
Aurian: Could you tell us why you are attending a convention in Europe? Have you been in Berlin before? Or other places/countries in Europe? Were you surprised at being invited to a convention this far away?
Connie: Though I’ve been to Germany three times—in fact, once at the Love Letters convention in Weisbaden - I’ve never been to Berlin and I am very much looking forward to it. I had such a lovely time in Germany in 2004, that when I heard this year’s was being held in Berlin and saw one of the convention coordinators at Romance Writers of America last year, I basically asked to be invited. Happily, she humoured me! Berlin has such a long and storied history. I love history and I love travel. Luckily my husband does, too. It’s our number one indulgence. I end up in Europe about every other year and have done for decades.
Freya: Berlin is a beautiful city. Are you planning to do some sightseeing before or after the convention, or touring the country? Or is this convention part of a larger booktour through Europe?
Connie: Amazon will be hosting an event right after the convention, but it’s only for one day. Afterwards, I’ll be sightseeing. I am the consummate tourist! I have been feverishly researching the city and formulating an itinerary. We’ll spend three more days in Berlin and then another 3-4 in the countryside. Some of my best travel adventures have come about as the result of driving around a country with nothing more than a vague notion of what direction to head. Which, now that I think of it, is how I have written some of my favourite books, too. I hope to end up in Zettemin, the place from which both my great-great-grandparents immigrated.
Aurian: If you could see only one monument/famous building/historical place in Berlin while you are there, what place would you absolutely have to see?
Connie: One? NOT FAIR! I must to go the site of the Berlin wall AND the Brandenburg Gate (at night) AND as an avid gardener, I couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t see the Potsdam Gardens AND as an avid art collector, I have to hit Kunsthaus Tacheles. AND in between…
Freya: Have you been to Europe before? Perhaps even visited Holland? If not, would you like to?
Connie: Yes and yes. Many times. I’ve logged hundreds of hours at the Amsterdam Airport but I’ve also spent some days in the city (I’m even now waiting for the tulips I nabbed from one of the farmer’s markets to make it’s springtime appearance). While Amsterdam is the only cities I’ve visited in Holland, I have my eye on a bike and barge trip through the countryside next year.
Aurian:Lol Connie, I will give you the same answer I gave Susan Elizabeth Phillips: if you want to go on a cycle tour through Holland I will gladly follow you by car. And I do hope your tulips will bloom beautifully!
Karin: I have read "The Lady most likely" which you wrote with Eloisa James and Julia Quinn. I didn't know what part of the book was yours. There are no distinct lines which say: this part was written by ...
In this day and age it is not so very difficult to communicate (even long distance if necessary) but I still wonder how that works for three authors to write one single book together. I have seen books written by several authors that are closely connected by one theme but I have never read a book like that. So, how on earth did that work?
Connie: It helps greatly that we are friends who respect and admire each other’s work. The initial idea was Eloisa’s brainchild and she invited both Julia and I to take part. It sounded like it would be fun so, being a fun kind of girl, I jumped at the opportunity. And I have to say, it was tons of fun. We met in New Orleans and booked three rooms in the French Quarter at this charming inn with an interior courtyard. All the rooms had windows we kept open and through which we could see each other across the courtyard. We’d spend all day cloistered in the room, writing then, in the evenings, we would get together and hammer out whatever issue arose during the day— i.e. what was the backstory for such-and-such a character? What is happening with couple B and C, while couple A take center stage?
The only truly co-authored parts were the beginnings and ends. We got together and wrote a sentence or a paragraph, then we’d read little snippets, make editing suggestions or adding on to each other’s dialogue, before compiling it. We spent five days doing this. It was incredibly hard work but exhilarating. And if you have to spend days writing then eat out every meal, well, New Orleans is the place to do it.
When we returned to our various homes, we had a very clear idea of what we were doing and just finished our individual sections. Then we emailed them to one another and made small changes or suggestions (neither Julia or I ever did figure out Eloisa’s hero’s name—she kept changing it!)
Freya: I have read several of your earlier books, and now I am reading The Songbird’s Seduction. I had to laugh out loud a few times. It is more a “comedy or error” story, while your earlier books were more emotional, more character driven (and made my cry). What do you prefer to write?
Connie: Thank you! As for writing humor or pathos, my interest in both runs in streaks. I’ll go through a period of light and laughter and then suddenly be inspired to write a very dark story. I don't honestly prefer one over the other, I have come to appreciate that I can only write in the tone that interest me at the time. I’ve tried writing “dark” when I wasn’t feeling it and it came off reading forced and jerky.
Freya: I have also read My Dearest Enemy, and a big part of the story are the letters the main characters have written to each other. In the epilogue their child wants to publish those letters. As I loved to read the snippets of the letters, I would also love to read more of those letters, perhaps as a special on your website?
Connie: I absolutely LOVED writing those letters. But while that is a brilliant idea, I would worry that adding them to the website would water down their effect in the book. I have toyed with the idea of using letters in a new story, but , well, at the risk of sounding incredibly full of myself, the letters from My Dearest Enemy would be a hard act to follow.
Aurian: On your website, you call for all Downton Abbey’s fans to read The Songbird’s Seduction. Have you watched all the seasons? And do you recommend other t.v. series for those who love your books?
Connie: No, I haven’t watched all the seasons. I’m waiting for the final season and then I intend to do a binge. A giant wallow!
I’m not sure my television watching tastes in any way are indicative of the sort of book I write, but here goes! Most of the television shows I prefer are either very nasty pieces of psychological twistedness or huge sweeping fantasies. I like The Blacklist, Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, Hannibal…see what I mean? I don't think you’ll find any elements in common with what I watch and what I write. Maybe there’s a good reason for that! If you can figure it out please, tell me!
Aurian: Thanks for the interview Connie! We do look forward to meeting you in Berlin.
Connie: Bedankt! Ik kijk uit naar uw komst, ook!
Aurian: (Translation for my foreign readers: Thanks! I look forward to meeting you as well).
So tell me, reader, have you read any of Connie’s books, and did you enjoy them? Some of my reviews of her books will post soon.
- Author picture -
Where to find Connie Brockway?
- bio -
Connie's early years are shrouded in mystery. What we do know is sketchy and incomplete but will be presented here in lieu of another way to fill space.
Brockway claims to be a native of either Minnesota or New York. Neither has been confirmed. She also claims to be thirty-two. No one has even bothered looking into this.
We do know she was attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota when she became involved with medical student, David Brockway. At some point they apparently legalized the relationship because when next she surfaces, she is sporting a new surname and a daughter.
A decade of relative anonymity ensues– except for the infamous alien encounter photographs which have, of course, now been debunked. No substantiated records occur until 1994 when Brockway published her first book, PROMISE ME HEAVEN.
Since then she has written over twenty full-length novels and anthology stories, bringing the current number of her books in print to over 1,500,000 published in thirteen countries.
Brockway has twice received coveted Publishers Weekly starred reviews and unqualified recommendations from Library Journal, as well as two starred reviews from the Library Journals organ, BOOKLIST. Her 2004 title, My Seduction was named one of 2004s top ten romance by that same industry magazine.
An eight time finalist for Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award, Brockway has twice been its recipient, first in 1998 for My Dearest Enemy and in 2002 for The Bridal Season. Her books regularly appear on national and regional bestseller lists and are frequent Doubleday/Literary Guild selections.
Today Connie lives in Minnesota with her husband David, a family physician, and two spoiled mutts.
© 2015 Reviews by Aurian