When I was a kid, I used to write stories with titles like “The Dead Body Ravine” and “Night Terror” – not that I’m any kind of horror writer but because it freaked my mom out. I started my first romance novel in high school but soon set it aside when I married and started a family. Finally, in the mid 1990s, it happened that I had to drive to Amarillo, TX from the small town I lived in for my yearly defensive driving course (be glad you aren’t on the roads with me!). That same day a NYT Bestselling romance author, Jodi Thomas was speaking at the community college and I went to listen. It was great and I thought, I can do that! So I bought some writing books and started trying to write a novel for real. It was a historical romance but there was a problem. While I was great with dialogue and one liners, I struggled with the setting and descriptions so I didn’t get very far.
In 1998, I owned a regional magazine and we interviewed artists for each issue. I decided to call up Jodi Thomas and see if I could interview her. She agreed and came over to our office. Of course half way through the interview I was gushing about this book I wanted to write and babbling on like a crazed stalker. Her eyes glazed over like most authors’ do when faced with yet another person who has the greatest idea ever for a book. But she was encouraging and even invited me to her critique group!
I was so excited I could hardly sleep and I tried in earnest to find a way to fix my problems with setting and description while letting my dialogue shine. Then it hit me: in the opening scene I would have him immediately chase her through a rainstorm, at night, directly into a cave! Yeah, that’s it! Then all they could do was talk, I mean its dark, right? So no description was necessary! It was genius – or so I thought. The critique group quickly set me straight and ripped the chapter apart. I went home wondering if I really had what it takes and even considered giving it up.
I’m glad I didn’t. Jodi became my first mentor as an author and still is. Years later she told me she intentionally threw me in the deep end and knew that either I would sink or swim. Turns out I’m a swimmer! Some writers’ journeys to publication are relatively short while others, like mine, may take a decade or more as I had to work through a lot to really find my voice. Liar’s Fire is the culmination of that effort.
A contemporary romance, this book really reflects those things that appeal to me as a writer. The characters are imperfect in many ways and on many levels, but all are people you would really want to know and be friends with. In every book, I use in interesting mix of fiction and real life drawing on many experiences that I have had or that people around me have shared. For example my main character, Serena, got pregnant in high school and it left her with many emotional scars. So did I. So I know firsthand the emotional repercussions of that experience and I think it adds depth and realism to the story.
Two of my characters who provide much of the comic relief, Nolea and Will, are a conglomeration of people I worked with when I was in financial services. Many of the circumstance – and much of the dialogue - came straight from real conversations. You know what they say, truth is stranger than fiction and it turns out its funnier too! All of my books have an animal in them somewhere and the star of this book is Shadow, a boxer owned by my hero, Tyler. Shadow is a real dog and is owned by one of my poker buddies. I think animals allow an author to convey emotions and show depth of character in a way that is not always possible without them.
I get asked all the time what I want readers to take away from my books. My bottom line is that I want readers to laugh so hard they pee and cry so hard snot runs down their lip and I will do or say almost anything to make that happen. One thing I learned direct from Jodi was that rules are made to be broken and only way to make an impact is to surprise, thrill, but certainly satisfy the readers. I hope that is what I’ve accomplished with Liar’s Fire.
I’m offering three free copies of Liar’s Fire! Just go to my website (www.deeburks.com) and enter your email in the contact form with the phrase “Pick Me!” in the email before Feb 1. I will draw the winners and send three luck readers an autographed copy of Liar’s Fire.
I'm proud to announce my latest book, Liar's Fire is now available from all major retailers and is also available on Kindle! The first in the Cooper Brothers series, its funny, hot and filled with lots of great romantic tension! Here's a quick tease:
Three Dates. Three Hours.
No Commitment. No Kidding.
It seemed like a really good idea at the time to Serena Finley, editor of the Cranfield Reporter-Star. Faking a romance couldn't be that hard could it? No one said it had to be read and if everyone thought she was in love, they'd stop hounding her to find a man. Serena knew could do this and no one would ever be the wiser - best case scenario.
Then Tyler Cooper walked into her life and best case scenario became iffy. He fit her idea of Mr. Wrong in every way. From a failing business, to limited social skills, Tyler would never have made her list of datable men. He was a cowboy for heaven's sake, who probably wouldn't know cashmere if it bit him in the butt. But she needed his help and he needed hers, which made him perfect. Until tonight.
Somewhere in the midst of the pretend and the lies, her heart had been drawn to his. His kisses stirred her soul while his friendship gave her the strength to deal with old hurts and past heartaches. Serena knew this had no future. She was bound for Manhattan; Tyler was determined to stay in Texas. Would she risk everything for a chance at real love? Or walk away from this flame with her heart in ashes?
Dee Burks has been in the publishing business for more than ten years. She has written articles for Magazines such as Credit Union Business, Saddle Baron and Route 66 as well as working as a business book reviewer for Kiplinger’s. In 2006 she started a ghostwriting firm with her business partner Liz Ragland and has personally ghostwritten over 40 books including six Amazon.com #1 bestsellers. Dee also has taught writing classes on the collegiate level including Ghostwriting and Freelancing, Writing the Great American Novel, and Writing Your Memoirs. Her first book, Picks & Shovel: How to Cash in on the Gold Rush in Ghostwriting was publishing in 2007 and a new revised and expanded version is due for release in 2011. Liar’s Fire is her first contemporary romance.