Friday, March 02, 2012


Welcome Ann Montclair today. Born in Los Angeles, California, Ann now lives in the Finger Lakes Region of Western New York with her husband, almost teenage son, and lots of dogs and cats. A grown daughter lives in Los Angeles where she has moved to be near Ann’s parents and grandmother.

Ann’s family enjoys many outdoor activities: hiking, cycling, gardening, birdwatching, snow-shoeing and snowboarding as well as the many cultural activities WNY provides, attending theatre and concerts and visiting museums as often as possible. Inside their little cabin in the woods, it is all about cooking, music, and, of course, reading and writing. When Ann’s son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, the family embraced a healthier lifestyle, and that's also when she decided her dream of becoming a romance writer couldn't wait. Life's just too precious to waste one moment, and she completely embraces the concept of happily ever after.

Ann cut her teeth on the classics of romance literature and is still passionate about the genre. Her day job is professor of English at a community college. She attended the University of California at Los Angeles, earning a BA in English Literature. At Humboldt State University, she earned two MAs—one in English Literature and another in Composition and Rhetoric. Once she moved east, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Since then, she has published poems and non-fiction in various small publications.

Now, here's Ann to share a writing tip with readers. 

Step One in Writing a Novel: Building Your Characters

My firm belief that a great story is character driven means I spend most of my plotting or outlining time on character development. When it’s time for me to start a new novel, I spend a full week on building my lead roles.

For the hero, I start with physical appearance, current occupation, family structure, childhood events, tragedies, triumphs, unmet goals, met goals, where he lived and lives currently, pets, pet peeves, past love-life and present love-life, one motto/maxim that drives him, and then I write a few pages titled “A Typical Day in the Life of…”

Answering these questions is a long and messy process, but lots of fun. Once I’ve written all that information down on my legal pad, I name him. His name should somehow reflect his character. I try a bunch of different combinations, ask my family, and take suggestions before I settle on a name. I always live with the name for a few days before I start drafting my story.

I follow a similar process for my heroine except I add an extra section on “Where (name) will be in Twenty Years.” My female protagonist always has a clear view of where she wants to be, and my male protagonist is living day by day, never forgetting past lessons.

Once I know so much about each character, I begin to imagine how they’ll meet on the first page of my novel. Their back-story is so rich in my mind, it’s easier to imagine them in a scenario that is exciting and has some risk and something at stake.

In my first contemporary romance novel, THE BILLIONAIRE'S BAUBLE, my hero is a rich oil company owner and CEO interviewing candidates for an executive assistant position; my heroine is trying to get the job. When she enters the office as part of the hiring process, she is shocked to find he’s the guy she met in a bar two years earlier, kissed, and never forgot. The story ensues. It is fun and sexy, and David and Sloane are people I hope my readers can love as much as I do.

If you want to write a novel, knowing your characters inside and out is key. Everything evolves from them. I promise: if you do the work up front to build rich characters, your story will be easier to write.

Thanks, Caroline, for allowing me to visit your blog and its readers. Readers, come visit me! I’d love to meet you!

Ann Montclair

Available now from Soul Mate Publishing


She wants a soul mate. He wants another bauble. But once fast-track billionaire David Grant meets modern day, home spun sweetheart Sloane Porter, he finds a gem too rare to discard.

The hero is David Grant, billionaire owner and CEO of Grant Oil. He meets Sloane Porter once, briefly, at a college bar in Fairbanks, Alaska, and their passions explode. She runs away after one dance, one kiss, but neither can forget the moments they shared, even though they don't know each other's names. Sloane decides to stay in Alaska in hopes of reuniting with her "mystery man." The novel opens two years after the kiss in the bar. Sloane, fresh out of college, trying to land a job that will keep her in Alaska, enters David's office, a final candidate for a position as an executive assistant. They are mutually shocked when they recognize one another, and again they let their incredible magnetism get the best of them. But Sloane won't run away this time, and she won't be any man's one night stand. David Grant doesn't know it, but the pretty bauble he seeks will become his most precious gem.

Buy link:

Learn more about Ann Montclair from her website
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Twitter @annmontclair


Suzanne G. Rogers said...

Good writing advice, Ann, and the book sounds great. I can't wait to read it.

Unknown said...

This novels looks good...but couldn't find it in the library. Thanks for the intervciew

Ann Montclair said...

Thanks for trying, Marianne. I think the book can be lent via the Kindle library.

BJ Scott said...

great post to go along with a wonderful book and an enjoyable read. Look forward to your next book.

Meggan Connors said...

Great interview, Ann! The Billionaire's Bauble is a great book, and I hope everyone gets a chance to read it!

AM Bishop said...

I'm so glad you shared this writing advice. The layers that make up a character are so important for readers identification. I love hearing readers say they could see themselves in the characters of their favorite novels.

Ann Montclair said...

Thanks, Suzanne Rogers, BJ Scott, Meggan Connors and AM Bishop -- careful characterization is a key to unlock a reader's heart. As you all well know. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Mandi Casey said...

Hi Ann, congrats on your release, and wow, snowboarding? Phew, my son does that, I don't think I have the nads for that, lol

Ann Montclair said...

Of course you can snowboard, Mandi--cuz you're the woman!.

Sharon Ledwith said...

Believe it or not - I start with a name and build from there! My character(s) need an identity to make them real for me. Great post, Ann! Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Ann, thanks for being my guest this weekend. Best wishes for continued success!

Amaleen Ison said...

It's fantastic to hear how other writers build their characters. I always find choosing the name the most difficult thing. Wishing you much success with your book, Ann.