Interview with Connie Mason

Connie Mason is a bestselling-author of more than 30 romances and novellas. She was named "Story Teller of the Year 1990" (by Romantic Times Magazine) and won the "Career Achievement Award" in the Western category in 1994 (also by Romantic Times Magazine). Connie Mason lives with her husband in Florida.

Two of her books have been published in Germany: "Sheik" (1999, Cora Verlag, German title: "Haremsnächte") "Pirate" (2000, Cora Verlag, German title: "Die Rache des Piraten") But we hope that more of her wonderful books will be published in Germany!!!

Angela: Would you please take a few minutes to tell the German readers a little about yourself? Where you live, some of your likes and dislikes? A little about your family?

Connie Mason: I live in Tarpon Springs, Florida, on Florida's Gulf coast.  I have three grown children and nine grandchildren.  On July 1st of this year my husband and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.  I like to read, cook and dance.  I also enjoy travelling around the world when time permits. Many years ago, during the 1960's I lived in Mannheim, Germany and found the people and country delightful.

Angela: How did your career as an author start?  Did you have difficulties in the beginning getting your books published?  What did you do when you saw your first book in print for the first time in bookstores?  Did you have a party? Or drink a bottle of Dom Perignon?

Connie Mason: I've always wanted to write, even as a school child, but instead got married and raised my children. After my children left to pursue lives of their own, I turned to writing.  I wrote my first five manuscripts in longhand on twelve legal pads and used a typewriter.  Now I write on my computer using Microsoft Word.  After I finished my manuscript, I sent out letters and sample chapters to publishers.  That first manuscript was accepted by Dorchester and the rest is history.  Seeing my book in print for the first time was like a dream come true. I don't think I did anything special to celebrate, just enjoyed the moment.

Angela: How do you do your research for your books and where do you get all the ideas for the plots from? How much time do you spend on research before you start a new book?  Is it a continual process until the book is finished?

Connie Mason: I thoroughly research all my books.  I use the library, internet and my own library of research books.  I also travel to many of the places I write about.  My ideas come from my head, my imagination.  I usually spent 2-4 weeks researching and often continue my research as my story progresses and is finally finished.

Angela: Can you describe one of your typical work days for us?  How many hours a day do you average writing?

Connie Mason: I rise early at six am and usually walk two miles.  Then I have breakfast, read the morning paper and straighten the house.  I begin writing at nine am, break a half hour for lunch and write until three or four pm. I try to do two 5000 word chapters a week.

Angela: Some of your books, like the wonderful "Sheik", are written in a very sensual style.  Where do you get your ideas for writing the scenes from and what do you think about the erotic romances your colleagues Robin Schone, Susan Johnson, Thea Devine or Bertrice Small write? Do you read their books?  Who is your favourite author and why?

Connie Mason: If an author feels comfortable writing sensual romances, it shows in their writing.  I read many of the authors you mentioned and enjoy their works.  I prefer a sensual read, myself, and enjoy writing them.  Again, the ideas come from my imagination.  In fiction writing, one can do just about anything with words.  I read many authors across the board.  Some I enjoy, others I don't.  One of my favourites is Heather Graham.  One of my new favourites is Stephanie Laurens, who writes for Avon.

Angela: How many books do you write in a year?

Connie Mason: I write three books a year.  Two for Leisure and one for Avon.

Angela: You have written more than 30 romances.  Do you have a favourite hero/heroine among them all?  Do your heroes/heroines have living models, like friends, family or a romance book cover model?

Connie Mason: My heroes and heroines are pure fantasy, fashioned after no one in particular.  I couldn't possibly name a favourite, they're all my children.

Angela: What do you think about the change of the relationship between the hero and heroine since the 80s, the emancipation of the heroines?  Did authors really like to write about forced seductions, rape or tortures that the heroines had to go through until change came about within the last few years?  Or were authors forced to write in this style?

Connie Mason: I don't believe any author enjoys writing rape, tortures or forced sexual encounters in their books today.  I don't know why certain authors wrote them in the early years of romance, but it didn't last long.  Heroines today are strong, independent women who are faithful to their one love.  The same holds true for heroes.  Once they meet the heroine, they remain faithful. Mostly, anyway.

Angela: When one of your books gets a bad review, how do you handle that?  Are you disappointed or do you try to improve yourself in your next book?

Connie Mason: There is probably some disappointment when an author gets a bad review. As for myself, I ignore it because 99% of my reviews are good.  I'm not going to let one or two bad reviews throw me.  There are certain people and review sites that enjoy trashing authors.  One reviewer in particular is vicious. I'm one of her targets.  She doesn't bother me at all since I consider the source.

Angela: When you finish a book, is this chapter close for you or do the heroes and heroines stay with you in your mind?

Connie Mason: Once I finish a book, that's it.  I have to move on to new heroes and heroines.

Angela: As established and respected as you are, have you ever requested a certain model for one of your book covers? Do you have influence in the style of your book covers?  Are you sometimes disappointed about a finished cover?  Do you have favourite cover models?  Or would you prefer that no models be used?

Connie Mason: I have often requested a certain model or pose for my books and sometimes get what I want.  I have a certain amount of control over my covers, especially with Leisure, but Avon always asks me how I'd like my cover to look.  Just about all cover models are capable men with extraordinary looks and I love having models on the covers or stepback covers on my books.  I prefer it to flowers, animal, etc.

Angela: How do you handle family and your writing career?  Is your family understanding to the time that you have to give your career?  Is it sometimes difficult for you?

Connie Mason: At the present my husband is the only family I have at home.  He is a great help to me in many ways.  My husband, daughters and son are proud of my work.

Angela: Lets talk about your fans for a minute. How do you feel about your fans? Do you maintain contact with your many fans?  What impresses you about them?  Do you find them demanding?  Will you be attending the Romantic Times Convention in Houston this year?

Connie Mason: I am grateful for my fans.  Without them I wouldn't be answering these questions today.  They put me on all the bestseller's lists.  I maintain contact with many of my fans.  They write and I write back.  I answer all my fan mail, which runs in the hundreds each year.  I'm constantly impressed by the faithfulness of my fans for my writing.  They buy every book and look forward to the next.  They are not demanding, they are encouraging.  Their praise for my work makes me want to keep on pleasing them.  Yes, I do indeed intend to attend the RT Convention in Houston this year.

Angela: What are your future plans? Are you going to continue to write the types of books you write presently or possibly change genre?  If so, what would you cross over to?

Connie Mason: My future plans are to keep writing the same kind of books my readers love to read.  Nothing will change.  Historical romance is the genre I love.  No cross over.

Angela: It has been said that Romance Novels have had their day and are on the way out.  Do you agree with this?  How does it make you feel to write such wonderful books and be part of this industry?

Connie Mason: Romance novels sold make up 53% of the mass market.  Believe me, they are not on the way out.  They grow more popular daily.  There will always be romance novels to read long after I'm gone.  I feel privileged to write for so popular a genre.

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Dieses Interview entstand im Februar 2000 zwischen Angela W. und Connie Mason für:

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