Interview with Elizabeth Lowell

Elizabeth Lowell/Ann Maxwell is one of the most famous romance writers today. I am sure everybody has read her Donovan series and more then one of her historicals. The romance world would be a sad place without her books!

Please visit her website at http://www.elizabethlowell.com for her new releases and booklists.

Isolde: First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where do you live and so on?

Elizabeth Lowell: I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband Evan. We spend as much time as work allows visiting our children (and first grandchild!) in San Diego, California and Phoenix, Arizona.  Right now I'm watching my grandson drool happily all over my husband; I can't tell whose smile is the bigger.

Isolde: Why do you write Romances and not Mystery or Mainstream Fiction? Is there is a special reason for it?

Elizabeth Lowell: During my writing career, I have written science fiction, "mainstream" fiction, romance, and mystery. I have enjoyed all of them. The books I am writing now combine elements of everything I've done before--history, romance, adventure, and mystery.

In any case, no matter what label people put on what I write, I will always include a constructive relationship between a man and a woman in the book, because I have enjoyed--and continue to enjoy--a wonderful marriage with my husband of 35 years.

Isolde: I love the books you and your husband wrote under the name Ann Maxwell (Shadow and Silk, The Secret Sisters etc). They had just the right mix of adventure and romance for me.

Elizabeth Lowell: Thank you.

Isolde: Your Donovan series goes in the same direction.

Elizabeth Lowell: Yes, and the Rarities Unlimited books, of which MOVING TARGET is the first, the mix will continue to slide over into more adventure/suspense.

Isolde: But of course I also like your Historicals. If you could choose, would you rather continuing writing Contemporaries, Futuristics or Historicals or something really different from that?

Elizabeth Lowell: I'm very happy with the contemporary adventure/romance that I'm writing now. It gives me the widest possible range of themes and backdrops to choose from as a writer.

Isolde: It recently came to my attention that there were several discussion on your message board about the German covers of your books. I don't want to defend the German book publishing business but there are some reasons why the translations of your books have clinch cover. First of all the German romance market is not so big as the American. And there are only a few publishers which publish romance. I also don't like it if contemporary romances books get historical romance covers but the simply reason is: German booksellers wouldn't know how to sell a romance if it doesn't have a clinch cover on it. And a big part of the German readers which are not used to the internet wouldn't know where to find her romances in a bookstore if it isn't in the bookshelve with the onces with the clinch cover on it. Maybe I can explain it better with an example. Linda Howard books were published in Germany with a clinch cover. Then for the translation of "Kill and Tell" the publisher gave the book a "normal" cover and it didn't sell and so the publisher did stop translating Linda Howard books. So as long as your books are translated, I don't mind the clinch covers ;-) because for me it is more important that you will be translated also in the future. If you know that facts, what do you think about this if there are at the moment only the two possibilities that you get a normal cover and the books might not sell anymore and the publisher stops translating your books or there will be translations also in the future but only with a clinch cover on it?

Elizabeth Lowell: I think it would be really nice if the covers at least reflected the proper era.  As for the rest, perhaps the publisher would consider toning down the clinch by combining it with other elements taken from the book itself.  Also, I doubt if it's truly necessary for the man's hand to be on the woman's breast--or crotch--for the reader to know that the book is a romance. In time, perhaps the German publishers will learn what the American publishers did: if the book is packaged so that it doesn't cause the reader to be ridiculed by others for reading what the cover plainly states is trash, the potential audience for some authors increases enormously.

Given the choice between not being translated and being brought out with tasteless, tawdry covers, I would think seriously about the whole process of translation.

Isolde: How do you do research for your books? I was impressed by all the wonderful details about jade in "Jade Island" or the pearls in "Pearl Cove".

Elizabeth Lowell: I read extensively for my research.  University libraries, bookstores, my own library, the Internet, museums; all are great resources.

Isolde: If you would have the possibility to start your career as a writer again, what would you change? Or wouldn't you change a thing?

Elizabeth Lowell: I wouldn't change a thing.  All of it is part of what I am now.

Isolde: How much do you think did the romance genre change in the last years?

Elizabeth Lowell: I think it varies with each author.

Isolde: The heroines became more independent, the heros more sensible. Did your heros also changed since you started writing romances?

Elizabeth Lowell: My heroines have always been independent, intelligent, and capable of love; my heroes have always been stubborn, intelligent, and capable of love.

Isolde: I know you have a lot of fans. How you do stay in contact with them?

Elizabeth Lowell: Mostly through my books.  ;-)  Actually, my website www.elizabethlowell.com is my most immediate connection with my fans.

Isolde: Does it disturbe you that you always hear the same questions?

Elizabeth Lowell: At least I know that people are alike all over the world!

Isolde: I've read your FAQ page so I wouldn't ask about Eric and Utah :-)

Elizabeth Lowell: Thanks! You get a gold star.

Isolde: Where do you get the ideas for your books from?

Elizabeth Lowell: I guess they came along at birth with my brown eyes and curiosity.  I've always had more ideas than I would ever have time to write.

Isolde: Can you tell us a little bit what your futuristic books are about which were published under the name Ann Maxwell in Amercia? They are not translated and the German fans would be appreciate to hear something about them.

Elizabeth Lowell: It's hard to say "a little bit" about nine books.... All of them were conceived, written, and sold as science fiction in the U.S.  Only in the last few years did a romance publisher buy and republish five of the titles as "futuristic romance."  (Shows you how accurate most labels are.)

Isolde: Are you going to attend the next Romantic Times Convention in Orlando?

Elizbeth Lowell: I'm afraid my writing schedule simply doesn't allow me time for conferences.

Isolde: How long does it takes you to write a book?

Elizabeth Lowell: Research and "growing" characters can take years. Writing takes as long as my contracts permit; usually a year.

Isolde: What are you favorite books and authors?

Elizabeth Lowell: There are way to many to enumerate!

Isolde: Do you have a favorite book or a favorite hero from all the wonderful books you have written?

Elizabeth Lowell: That would be like asking a mother to choose a favorite among her children. Impossible.

Isolde: What are you plans for the future?

Elizabeth Lowell: More writing!

Isolde: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.

Elizabeth Lowell: You're welcome.  Say hello for me to my readers over there!

© Isolde Wehr, April 2001, Die romantische Bücherecke

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Dieses Interview entstand im April 2001 zwischen Isolde W. und Elizabeth Lowell für:



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