Josh Lanyon first sold to Harlequin in 2010. Josh’s All’s Fair series debut was Fair Game, followed by five more titles. What Josh loves most about writing for Harlequin is working with other publishing professionals. “It makes life easier when everyone knows what to expect and what their role is. And of course Harlequin delivers great covers, great editing, great formatting, all of which result in a great reader experience.”
1. What book first got you hooked on Harlequin?
Touched by Fire by Jane Donnelly. I think I have every romance she ever wrote.
2. How did you celebrate selling your first manuscript?
My very first manuscript? I took my parents and sisters out to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. It was the first time I’d ever picked up the check for the entire family. It felt like a real turning point. And I suppose it was!
3. Which of the many books you’ve written has stayed with you the most and why?
Of the titles I’ve written for Harlequin, I would say Lone Star has probably stayed with me the most. The loneliness of Mitch, a brilliant dancer growing up lonely and isolated in a small, western community — the ugly duckling, I guess — really stuck with me. It’s a story about someone with the courage to break free and go after the life he dreamed of. It’s a terrifying and lonely choice, but in real life you have to be willing to take risks to get the things you really want.
4. What’s top of your TBR pile?
I’m currently rereading all the Agatha Christie Tuppence and Tommy books — and loving them.
5. What book do you wish you’d written and why?
I can never answer this question! I guess there is no one particular book I wish I’d written, but I wish I could write with the power to move someone, even change someone’s mind — which can mean changing someone’s life — the way Mary Renault’s The Charioteer moved and changed me
6. What’s harder – first or last lines?
Last lines. By far. I usually rewrite my last lines several times. My first lines rarely change.
7. How do you choose your characters names?
I usually spend a lot of time picking the names of the main characters. If the name isn’t right, it’s hard to get a feel for the character. I pore over and over the pages of a generic baby names book. For supporting characters, I’ll pick names based on whatever is around me. I might grab a first name from a business card and a last name from an object in the room or a color or someone I just emailed.
8. How do you push through writer’s block?
I suffered severe burnout a few years ago, so I’m no longer a fan of pushing through writer’s block. I believe in working regular hours and taking weekends and holidays off. And a couple of vacations a year are not a bad idea. You’ve got to refill that creative well! I think sometimes what people refer to as “writer’s block” is actually a story that has derailed and the author can’t see or can’t face retracing her steps to the last point where the story was working.
9. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever had?
“Good enough” is never good enough.
10. Your preferred writing snack?
A tablespoon of crunchy almond butter
11. Who is your favourite fictional couple?
That’s a tough one! Maybe Sally and Mac from MacMillan and Wife, which was a TV mystery series when I was growing up. Mac was a worldly, slightly cynical police commissioner and Sally was his much-adored younger, naïve but intuitive new bride.
12. If you could rewrite your life, what would you change?
I’d have started writing fulltime earlier. Although I don’t know that twenty years ago I would have been as grateful and appreciative for all that I have now.
13. What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
Well, among other things, I’m actually quite shy.
14. What is your most overused word?
It’s a tie between “apparently” and “little.”
15. If I wasn’t a romance author, I would have liked to be…
Well, I’m mostly a mystery author. 😉 But I did think a lot about becoming an archaeologist. Unfortunately, I don’t like camping enough.
16. When was the last time you said ‘I love you’?
This morning. In a bad Russian accent a la the Sascha character in Casablanca. My husband and I will call that to each other if we’re asking for something the other probably doesn’t want to do. “But I loff you!”
17. What does love feel like?
It’s very different from romance or infatuation. Love is knowledge and certainty. It is the ability, willingness to put the other before yourself. To forgive even if you can’t forget, and move on. It’s a mix of affection and desire and trust.
18. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Watching The Professionals. It’s an old 1970s British crime show starring Martin Shaw and the late Lewis Collins. I have the entire series on DVD.
19. What’s your most romantic song?
It changes regularly. Right now it’s “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic.
20. Every hero needs a…
We hope you all enjoyed these insights into the wonderful world of Josh Lanyon! Don’t miss Josh’s latest book, Fair Play, out now!