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Diane Haeger

Ms. Haeger writes historical fiction.

2/9/98 6:58:56 PM Opening "Chat Log 2/9/98"

Sushiwritr: Tonight we'll be hosting historical fiction author Diane Haeger. She sould be arriving soon.

DarylR4596: Wow, great timing, Paul. :D

Valatin: A log of tonight's chat will be uplaoded to the file libraries.

Sushiwritr: Ah! Even as I speak. :-)

Valatin: Then the mystery folk will scoot. Night all :>

Sushiwritr: Ben, I emailed you a proposed "greeting."

Sushiwritr: Anyone who wishes, plese do stick around!!!

FalcnEdie: how's that?

Sushiwritr: I've been IMed!

DLHaeger: Paul, maybe it'll just be you and me this evening. :)

FalcnEdie: I'm ready :-)

Sushiwritr: Our crowd tends to trickle in over the first few minutes . . .

Sushiwritr: Sarah is here!

DLHaeger: Just a bit of levity. :)

FalcnEdie: I'm here! I'm here! <waving arms enthusiastically>

TatumVe: hello hello

DLHaeger: Evening, Edie. Or do you prefer Falcn? <g>

Sushiwritr: Shall we begin?

Sushiwritr: <--I'm Paul, he's Ben.

DLHaeger: Great.

FalcnEdie: Ben :-) thanks

FalcnEdie: I'm undercover

TatumVe: lol

FalcnEdie: that's why the Groucho mask

DLHaeger: Gotcha.

Sushiwritr: I'm running the Log for posterity.

Sushiwritr: Well, *I* have a question or two.

FalcnEdie: Posterity is late again, huh?

DLHaeger: Since I'm here. :)

Sushiwritr: Perhaps I'll delegate myself to start things rolling, eh?

FalcnEdie: cool

DLHaeger: Go right ahead Paul.

AnacondaOz: Hi there

Sushiwritr: In "Pieces of April" you use a lot of Scottish brogue.

Sushiwritr: (Hi Judy!)

Sushiwritr: We've had tremendous arguments about "writing" accents.

DLHaeger: Irish brogue, Scottish burr. But, yes, I did.

DLHaeger: How so?

Sushiwritr: How to you do this and maintain readability?

FalcnEdie: hi Judy :-)

Sushiwritr: Where IS everyone???

FalcnEdie: Hi Sarah :-)

Sushiwritr: Not even many surfers tonite.

TatumVe: Hey Ben

Sushiwritr: How to you do this and maintain readability?

DLHaeger: I'm not sure I know what you mean. My characters don't use it exclusively...

DLHaeger: But in the case of Pieces of April where part is set in Scotland and the other part in the..

Sushiwritr: Some of our members have used, we decided, an excess of jargon, slang, etc.

DLHaeger: U.S. I wanted readrs to be very clear on who was speaking and to "see" how it would...

DLHaeger: sound, if that makes sense.

Sushiwritr: Yes, and you did it well. :-)

Sushiwritr: But accents, if written literally, can be very dense.

DLHaeger: I agree. And so my goal was not to be terribly literal but to give the...

DLHaeger: reader the sense that they were hearing Scottish people speak, not Americans.

Sushiwritr: Thanks. (Hello Matt, Donna. Questions?)

DLHaeger: Without a bit of the burr, I don't feel the sensation of "being" in Scotland as you read...

DLHaeger: would have been there.

Mstrebe: (nope.) (is this a whisper?)

Sushiwritr: Aye, me lassie.

DLHaeger: Most mail I've gotten has indicated that people didn't feel I hit them over the head with it

DRLIVES: Hi, have we discussed research...sorry that I'm late, but I'd like to know how Diane does

DRLIVES: research


DLHaeger: Hi DR. Well, it depends whether I'm doing a historical or a contemporary really.

Sushiwritr: Donna, ga.

DLHaeger: But with few exceptions, the first thing that works for me, is that I really...

DRLIVES: How are they different in the method?

DLHaeger: must go to the locations in which I set the story.

DLHaeger: Well, research for an historical, especially my based-in-fact novels (my 1st 2)...

DLHaeger: required a huge amount of historical knowledge, costume, music...

DLHaeger: etc. They also took me a lot longer.

DLHaeger: For the contemporaries, I still visit the country, work on dialogue, as we were just ...

DLHaeger: discussing, etc... but the lengths to which I need to go are not quite as great nor...

DLHaeger: as time consuming.

DLHaeger: DR, was there some particular aspect of research you were wondering about?

DRLIVES: do you worry about putting in too much background information, and how do you keep it all

DRLIVES: straight?

DLHaeger: For the historicals, you mean?

DRLIVES: yes, although both, could be a problem

DLHaeger: That was always a challenge and I usually over wrote. LOL

DRLIVES: and then the pruning shears?

DLHaeger: Courtesan, my 1st novel was bought at 1,200 pages! Simon&Schuster

AnacondaOz: it must take ages

DLHaeger: then asked *me* to cut up the baby I'd spent 4 years creating!

AnacondaOz: (Hi people)

Sushiwritr: <--wow, had heard first novels could never be so long!

DRLIVES: and your enthusiasm stayed fresh?

DLHaeger: Oz, I think I'm a bit better at it now, but in the beginning it was really hard.

DLHaeger: I took editors at their word to just tell the story until I was finished. LOL


DLHaeger: Not the way I approach the task nowadays!

DLHaeger: DR, if the story is compelling enough, and I really get into the characters, yes, then...

DLHaeger: the enthusiasm is there.

FalcnEdie: have you ever had historical research create a serious kink in your story line?

AnacondaOz: good question

FalcnEdie: I mean, in the original concept versus the end result

DLHaeger: Sure. Absolutely. In Courtesan the "hero" as they call it dies in the end.

DLHaeger: Not great for historical romance. Nor was the fact that at one

DLHaeger: point he also fathered a child by another woman, who was not my heroine.

DLHaeger: Getting around 2 hurdles like that, and still making you cheer for him and them...

Sushiwritr: Readers would scream at "fudging," I suppose.

DLHaeger: felt like a huge challenge.

DLHaeger: Well, you know, I just told the story in that one. I didn't know enough to fudge, to be...

DLHaeger: honest with you. I was just totally driven to tell the true French

DLHaeger: story to an American audience. Fortunately for me, S&S liked it as it was.

DLHaeger: Plus, there are always readers who write and correct you, so you're right about that!

FalcnEdie: LOL

Sushiwritr: (Guys, don't make Donna ask *all* the questions!)

DRLIVES: I can imagine!

FalcnEdie: gotta love those who pay attention

DLHaeger: Or curse them! LOL

DLHaeger: Just kidding!

AnacondaOz: ?

Sushiwritr: Judy, GA

AnacondaOz: You said that you want the readers to cheer for the hero/heroine....is this always on your

AnacondaOz: mind as you write?

DLHaeger: I think, yes. But not in the way a romance writer is constrained by it.

DLHaeger: I want readers to love my characters. To care about them.

DLHaeger: But because I don't write straight romance anymore, I don't need

DLHaeger: to write only about white knights and damsels in distress.

DLHaeger: I like people with flaws.

AnacondaOz: So, making people love the flaws is a challenge?

DLHaeger: Not love the flaws, but feel compelled by the characters who have them.

DLHaeger: Want to know them.

AnacondaOz: okay

Mstrebe: Making people love the people in spite of the flaws would be the challenge, I think.

DLHaeger: I didn't enjoy writing about perfect people who always end up blissfully happy.

AnacondaOz: no, that would be a drag

AnacondaOz: :)

FalcnEdie: how about history taking you someplace more intersting than the original idea?

FalcnEdie: for instance, once when I was introducing an alcoholic (1700) I discovered it was not at all

FalcnEdie: thought of or treated as today

FalcnEdie: not entire story, just a scene or situation

DLHaeger: Ms, I try not to make the flaws so awful that you would have to love them in spite of them.

DLHaeger: I just think flawed people are more interesting most of the time.

Typosarus: ?

Sushiwritr: Typo, GA

Typosarus: What is the one major difference in what you write now and your first book?

DLHaeger: My first book was a sweeping historical saga based on a true story...

DLHaeger: I am now under contract to write shorter contemporary fiction with a bit of mystery.

DLHaeger: So that's a pretty major difference.

Typosarus: Thank you, yes it is very different. GA


DLHaeger: And takes a *lot* less time!

DLHaeger: 9 months instead of 4 years, to be exact!

Sushiwritr: DR, GA

DRLIVES: Why did you make the switch? Is that part of what you said in your bio on keeping up with

DRLIVES: the times? GA

DLHaeger: Yes, I think so. Courtesan was a very difficult sell even 5 yrs ago...

DLHaeger: It was long, set in France (not a favorite country editorially)...

DLHaeger: and as I said earlier, the hero dies in the end.

Sushiwritr: ?

DLHaeger: But more than that, contemporaries have proven much more bankable.

Sushiwritr: Sushi, GA ;-)


DLHaeger: I mean from the publishing aspect!

Sushiwritr: The question that's always asked: do you use an Agent? Did you get one first?

DLHaeger: Although, actually, if it takes me less time and I sell more books.. LOL

DLHaeger: Yes. Absolutely...

DLHaeger: I know the debate. People ask me all the time if I really think they are ...

DLHaeger: necessary. My answer after being involved in this for a while now is...

DLHaeger: that sometimes they are a necessary evil...

Sushiwritr: <-- seeking Agent as we speak. :-)

DLHaeger: You pay them a percentage right off the top, but a good agent simply...

DLHaeger: has contacts that most of us don't.

Gusto2writ: ?

Sushiwritr: Gusto, GA

DLHaeger: They can also be a good line of editorial help too, if you get one who does that.

Gusto2writ: some agents charge 10% others 15,

Gusto2writ: what do you think is fair?/

Gusto2writ: GA

DLHaeger: Most NY agencies I know of charge 15%. That's pretty standard.


DLHaeger: It hurts to pay it, to be honest with you, but as I said before...

Rpanthr: ?

DLHaeger: the contacts they have, and the knowledge of what your book is worth...

DLHaeger: is in my opinion worth the investment.

Sushiwritr: Let's give Rp a first shot: Rp GA

Rpanthr: where can someone just starting find an honest agent

DLHaeger: It can also cut your time in an editor's to-be-read pile, in half or better.

DLHaeger: Hmm. That is tough. My first one was not, so I understand the concern...

DLHaeger: I think the best thing to do, literally, is to ask around.

DLHaeger: Listen in on these sorts of conversations, ask published authors who their agents are...

Rpanthr: and if you dont know who to ask?

DLHaeger: Also, in The Writer's Market, they often list the clients particular houses...

Typosarus: ?

Rpanthr: /

DLHaeger: represent. I wouldn't imagine really successful authors would..

Sushiwritr: (I'm combing the Writer's Digest listings. )

DLHaeger: stay with anyone other than a really reputable agent.

Sushiwritr: DR, GA

DRLIVES: Rpanthr asked my question. Am I asking too many questions, Paul? ;-]

DLHaeger: Paul, that's what I did in the beginning, honestly.

DLHaeger: And there's a risk involved.

DLHaeger: But I also signed a short contract at first.

Sushiwritr: Good idea. Donna, yer doing great. Typo, GA

Typosarus: Given free rein (and a healthy advance) where would you begin to write an original story?

Typosarus: Character? plot? setting?

DLHaeger: Wow! If I knew that!!! LOL...

DLHaeger: Well, Scotland and Britain are still huge sellers...

Typosarus: So setting is the biggest consideration?

DLHaeger: As to character, plot and setting, I wouldn't want to go giving any million selling ideas...

DLHaeger: away, just in case!

FalcnEdie: LOL

DLHaeger: I will say that suspense and mystery are supposedly really the...

DLHaeger: "sure thing", as they say, if it's well written and compelling.

Sushiwritr: ? and GA to me:

Sushiwritr: You began "April" with a NT Bible quote.

Sushiwritr: I'd think that would make an east coast publisher leery.

DLHaeger: LOL... Why is that?

Sushiwritr: Not being "pc" and all that . . .

DLHaeger: Oh.

Sushiwritr: Heck, schools are about to celebrate "Special Persons Day" this weekend.

DLHaeger: Well, what can I say? Not HarperCollins, apparently! <g>

Sushiwritr: Amen to them, then. ;-)

DLHaeger: That's funny, Paul! Actually, I know what you mean. But in the...

DLHaeger: case of that particular novel, so much is tied up in religious faith...

DLHaeger: and, if you'll pardon the word, "sin" that it just seemed to fit.

Sushiwritr: Comes with the package, then.

DLHaeger: I think so, yes.

Sushiwritr: I note many more Catholics than others, in the role.

DLHaeger: I don't always use quotes.

Sushiwritr: I wonder why that is?

DLHaeger: But sometimes they just seem to want to be there.

DLHaeger: "In the role"?

Sushiwritr: Of a religious character.

Sushiwritr: Many Priests, few pastors.

Sushiwritr: (Ditto for TV)

DLHaeger: Well, let's face it, Catholics are the only ones not allowed to marry or be sexual beings.

Mstrebe: (got to bail--great discussion. Thanks Ms. Haeger.)

DLHaeger: That in itself creates the conflicts in many instances.

Sushiwritr: Makes for story tension, then?

DLHaeger: Night Mstrebe! :)

Typosarus: (It's the easily recognized collar)

Sushiwritr: LoL

DLHaeger: It's probably the easiest form of it, yes.

DLHaeger: And I think the collar is kind of another taboo past which we don't tread...


Sushiwritr: DR, GA

LdyElysium: topic?

DRLIVES: When you first start out, do you know the end of the story?

DLHaeger: It probably wouldn't have has much punch if the hero had been a Presbyterian minister, able

DLHaeger: to marry.

Sushiwritr: natch

DRLIVES: How far do you get into a detailed plot line?

DLHaeger: DR, not always, actually. That's a great question...

DLHaeger: Because often there is a point for me when the characters take...

DLHaeger: over their own story, if they're full enough that is, and sometimes...

DLHaeger: the end I envisioned for them is not the one they want. I don't know...

DLHaeger: how much sense that makes, but it does happen to a lot of authors.

DLHaeger: DR, I'm pretty detailed, actually. But the finished product is rarely close to what I began.

DLHaeger: with.

DRLIVES: oh good! that happens to me, too.

DLHaeger: There are other authors I know who stay with it all the way, and that works for them.

DLHaeger: DR, I actually think it's the more common scenario, really.

DRLIVES: thanks.

DLHaeger: Because there's so much creativity involved, I don't think I'd want to stick to a format...

DLHaeger: that closely.

AnacondaOz: ?

Sushiwritr: Whoops! DR got bumped. Ana, GA

DLHaeger: Oh, dear. :(

AnacondaOz: Do you enjoy writing?

DLHaeger: It'd be a pretty thankless job a lot of the time if I didn't! LOL

Imaginit1: ?

DLHaeger: Seriously, I do enjoy making a story from nothing, creating people, etc...

DLHaeger: Once it's finished anyway. Earlier on, it can really torment an author.

AnacondaOz: So, if writing is your career, is it a thankless job sometimes?

Sushiwritr: (Dr's back.)

DLHaeger: It can feel like it at 4am, sure.

DLHaeger: And if you write 1 book a year, there's 1 month of notoriety, and 11

AnacondaOz: Everything takes application.

DLHaeger: months of discipline, research and a lot of solitude to pull it off.

DLHaeger: Absolutely!

Imaginit1: What are the titles of some of the books that you have written?GA

DLHaeger: And it can be difficult sometimes. Especially if you're at a stage in the work...

DLHaeger: where you feel it isn't working, or you just aren't getting it.

DLHaeger: I have 4 novels published: Courtesan, The Return, Angel Bride...

DLHaeger: Pieces of April. And on June 5th, Beyond The Glen will be released.

DLHaeger: Thanks for asking, by the way! :)

DLHaeger: Paul, for you, that's a bit more Scottish burr coming in June! <g>

Sushiwritr: LoL

DLHaeger: Hopefully it won't seem like *too* much!

AnacondaOz: :)

Sushiwritr: We have an anonymous question for you.

Sushiwritr: How shall I put it?

DLHaeger: Hmm. Those can be dangerous! :)

Sushiwritr: Have you quit your day job?

DLHaeger: LOL

DLHaeger: Yes, actually, I've been fairly fortunate with my writing and it has been my...

DLHaeger: full time job since Courtesan was published.

Sushiwritr: Whoa!

DRLIVES: great!

LdyElysium: wow!

Sushiwritr: ::turning green with envy:::

DLHaeger: Well thanks. But that's why talking with folks like you is so much fun...

DLHaeger: because as I said earlier, even though I've done well with it, it's a fairly...

Sushiwritr: Yup, the hour has already wheeled by, and it's late,

DLHaeger: solitary profession most of the time.

Sushiwritr: for those who are stuck Back East.

Typosarus: ?

Sushiwritr: Typo, GA, quick!

Typosarus: Hundreds write few are published What made the difference for you?

DLHaeger: That's easy. Having a story I felt absolutely driven to tell.

DLHaeger: I was possessed by it for four years.

Imaginit1: ?

Sushiwritr: I know the feeling.

DLHaeger: Thankfully, I guess, it showed in the writing.

Typosarus: Thanks

DLHaeger: I'd love to hear about it sometime Paul!

Sushiwritr: Do you have time for Ima's ?

FalcnEdie: hmmm I've got just four years into mine now

DLHaeger: And please feel free to e-mail me if anyone here didn't feel comfortable...

DLHaeger: asking questions out loud.

Sushiwritr: Ima, GA

FalcnEdie: 700 pages

DLHaeger: I answer all of them. It takes me a while sometimes, but I do.

DLHaeger: Ima's?

Imaginit1: Which one(drove you)?

DLHaeger: Hey, see Ben! That's a good sign! LOL

FalcnEdie: LOL that's what I was thinking :-)

DLHaeger: Imag, the only one not still in print, funny enough! Courtesan.

Sushiwritr: Imagine's will have to have the final Q, unless DLH can stay on.

DLHaeger: S&S has kept all my others in print since then.

DRLIVES: DL... you're welcome to join us anytime. Enjoyed your insights.

Imaginit1: ?

DLHaeger: DR, well thank you! That's a great compliment! :)

DRLIVES: mean it!

Imaginit1: When was it published?

DLHaeger: 1993

DLHaeger: Several folks on Bookaccino (my other haunt!) have gotten it in used book stores.

Imaginit1: Thanks

Sushiwritr: Well, the hour is up.

Sushiwritr: We're the last group of the day,

DLHaeger: Thanks Paul and everyone for having me!

Sushiwritr: so don't feel you have to run away.

Sushiwritr: Anyone who's interested in our group, please email me.

Sushiwritr: Thanks much, Diane!

DRLIVES: clap,clap,clap

FalcnEdie: clapclapclapclapclap

AnacondaOz: Thanks, Diane.

DLHaeger: My pleasure.

Imaginit1: ditto

Sushiwritr: Will send out the Log shortly.

LdyElysium: ::clapclapclap::

Typosarus: Much obliged Diane.

AnacondaOz: I don't think I'll give up my day job unless I'm sufficiently driven.

Sushiwritr: My wife made spaghetti tonite, so I'm being drawn away by powerful forces . . .

DRLIVES: Have to go...one of those tired easterners...see ya next week

DLHaeger: LOL

DLHaeger: Good night, Paul! <g>

FalcnEdie: I'm off, too thanks again Diane

AnacondaOz: night, Paul

AnacondaOz: Bye, Ben

Sushiwritr: Thanks everyone, and good night, all.

FalcnEdie: it's midnight here

DRLIVES: bye all

FalcnEdie: bye Judy

FalcnEdie: Bye paul

JewellLan: bye, all!

FalcnEdie: bye Donna

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