Lorraine Heath: Romance Without Outlines

Bestselling romance author Lorraine Heath explains why she doesn't outline her novels before she writes them and how that affected her revisions on her latest release, Scoundrel of My Heart.
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Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her novels have been recognized with numerous industry awards and appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

Lorraine Heath

Lorraine Heath

In this post, Heath explains why she doesn't outline her novels before she writes them, how that affected her revisions on her latest release, Scoundrel of My Heart, and more!

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Name: Lorraine Heath
Literary agent: Robin Rue, Writers House
Title: Scoundrel of My Heart
Publisher: AvonBooks
Release date: March 30, 2021
Genre: Historical Romance
Elevator pitch for the book: Lord Griffith Stanwick knew as the spare he didn’t stand a chance of winning Lady Kathryn Lambert over, not when she needed to marry a man who would inherit a title. But after his father commits treason, Griff loses everything and Lady Kathryn finds herself irresistibly drawn to the dangerous man who survived London’s darkest corners.
Previous by the author: Beauty Tempts the Beast, The Earl Takes a Fancy, The Duchess in His Bed, The Scoundrel in Her Bed, When a Duke Loves a Woman, Beyond Scandal and Desire, plus 40 other titles.

Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath

Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath

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What prompted you to write this book? 

I wanted to explore what happens when you lose everything: wealth, position, power. When your life is suddenly not what you expected it to be. How might you deal with it, how might you cope, how might you adjust and change? How might others now view you differently?

(Not Your Grandmother’s Harlequin: Writing Romance in the 21st Century)

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? 

From idea to publication took about 2 ½ years. I began exploring the idea while writing Beauty Tempts the Beast (Oct. 2020). That book involves the sister of the hero in Scoundrel of My Heart, and she is also adjusting to the change in their circumstance. Griff is introduced in that book, but I didn’t start working on his story until I turned in that manuscript. Griff’s story took six months to write and then spent a year in production.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title? 

Not really, but then, I’ve been in publishing for 28 years now.

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Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book? 

I always find surprises in the writing process, especially because I don’t outline. I have a general idea of what will unfold in the story but it’s always a journey of discovery as I write. For this story, in particular, the revisions involved some major changes because I’d devoted too much of the story to the hero and heroine’s relationship before the hero lost everything. I needed to develop their relationship to a greater degree after the upheaval that kept them apart for the better part of the year. What I had originally envisioned as the instigating moment that brought them back together changed, and that affected other areas of the book. It’s always amazed me how one small change can affect so many other aspects of the story.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

As with most of my stories, I hope this one will bring readers some solace from the daily grind and worries. But I also hope it will serve as an inspiration that even when it appears all is lost, there is a way through the darkness. I hope it provides an emotional journey from desolation to happily ever after and that in the end uplifts the spirit.

Lorraine Heath: Romance Without Outlines

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Write the story the way you envision it, but once you have turned in the draft, be open to editorial suggestions that could make it stronger.

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