With us today on the website is Treva Harte, award winning multi published author, Editor-in-Chief and part owner of Loose-Id. Treva is taking time out from her very busy schedule to spend an hour or two with us and give us an opportunity to get to know her a little better.
Hi Treva and welcome back. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. I’m sure you must be wondering what we’re going to talk about since this site only reviews Male/Male romances and you write het romances, contemporary romances and paranormal stories many of which are menages. First, let’s tell the readers something about you. This is Treva’s official bio –
Treva Harte is the Editor-in-Chief of Loose Id and is a founding member of the company. From 1988 to 2008 she was a Trademark Examining Attorney for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Ms. Harte holds a B.A. in English Literature with High Honors from the University of Arizona and an M.A. and J.D. from the University of Virginia. She is a member of both the Virginia and District of Columbia Bar Associations, the Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, and EPIC.
Here’s a more fun bio
Treva Harte has always been an overachiever. She also collects things. First it was degrees. First a B.A. in English, then she decided to go back for a Master’s degree. Not content with that, she added a J.D.. Since then she’s added a husband, also an attorney, and two children to her collection. She’s continuing her ways as an overachiever, having quit the attorney gig (too easy) and started a publishing company, while writing her wonderfully offbeat tales of passion and possibilities — in her spare time.
Why don’t we start by having you tell us something about Treva, the writer and the person.
The writer and the person started off wanting to be a writer and then, somewhere in college, took about a 25 year hiatus from romance writing. It was a gradual decision to start again but once I did, it was wonderful! Like a drug that’s really good for you. The first thrill has worn off, but I still get enough gratification to keep going.
You made a career change to a full-time writer about a year ago. How has this helped your writing?
Actually my career change was to full-time working with writing. Editing and publishing are related, of course. Having one less job has reduced my stress level enormously but the publishing still takes up a lot of time. So I’m writing about as much as I did before, actually, but feeling a lot less guilty.
Why do you write romances, other than being an avid reader of the genre like most North American women? Did you at one point ever want to write the Great American Novel but decided that romance was what you were going to write?
I write romance because it satisfies something for me. I don’t analyze it too closely. But part of it is because romance is one of the few genres that exist to give women what they want. And no, I never had the ego to think I could write the Great American Novel, even though I did get a bunch of degrees.
I read that your first published book was The Seduction of Sean Nolan, a Civil War story, 8 years ago. How has your writing evolved since then?
Nine years ago now. I think my writing has gotten better. It certainly has gotten hotter.
Which is your biggest seller in print as well as ebooks? Do you think there is a link between electronic book sales and print book sales?
Oh, my print sales are all right but nothing to write home about. Probably one of my Alpha books is my e-book best seller–I honestly don’t track them the way a good business person should. As far as I can tell, there isn’t any link you can be sure about between electronic book sales and print.
You write for many different publishers. Why is that? Do you sub different types of stories to say, Liquid Silver or Changeling Press than you would to Ellora’s Cave or Loose Id? How do you decide where to sub your stories?
I subbed my contemporary stories to Liquid Silver because they’re good people and because at the time LI didn’t take contemporary. The Changeling Press stories were very short, shorter than what most other epubs ask for. Yes, there are other epubs I would trust, but I go with epubs I trust and check their guidelines to be sure what I submit would work.
As a writer, what do you feel are the most important elements to include in a romance, other than a HEA? One of the complaints I have about romance books is that many times the HEAs are forced or contrived, especially in a novella or short story. How do you avoid that trap?
You do it right. That’s one of the main challenges in any genre writing — to know the rules, use them and not make it look contrived.
Many authors write series books, as do you, and they are usually well received by readers. What do you find satisfying about writing a series other than building a readership base?
Usually it’s the chance to revisit a world and characters you love and dig a little deeper.
You have a lot of menage stories in your portfolio. Why did you decide to write menage stories rather than M/M romances?:) I read a few of the excerpts from your recent books and they have some pretty hot scenes between the guys, yet you always insert women into the relationships. Why is that?
Well, I answered that mostly in the next question but also, hey, I like women. I like exploring relationships. I think a woman can add zest.
One of the problems I have with menage “romances” is that I think (as do many other readers) that adding a third person diminishes the intimacy of the relationship. A third, usually a woman, seems to be included mostly for the purpose of having babies. Do you feel that the guys in your books need a woman to “complete” them? What would you like to say to those readers who prefer a twosome (het or M/M) rather than a threesome?
I’m fine with readers reading whatever they’d like to read but they might want to give other couplings a chance. After all, up until a few years ago I had no idea reading m/m or menage would be so fun. I like menage because it allows the possibility of real instability in a relationship. I’m not sure if I like trying to achieve balance in chaos or chaos in balance but I like the idea that it’s much trickier to do than with any couple. Also, I like m/m scenes but any book where I’ve had a lot of them seems to not be as popular as others I write. I figure I must not have it down right yet.
What advice would you give to new and aspiring writers?
Write it, research it and be prepared to edit it. And enjoy writing because trying to be a writer is way too hard if you don’t.
As a writer you have to work with your editors in a different capacity than as part owner. How do your editors keep from being overwhelmed by the powerful persona within the company and give you their best advice as editors?
Well, I don’t think I’m all that intimidating. And when I write, I want to know what works and what doesn’t before the readers read the book. I also have enough ego to think I can fix most problems, so I’m good with having problems pointed out.
On your recent radio interview with Sascha Illyvich on Radio Dentata, the show with no name, Sascha asked you a number of questions about publishing and I think your answers were quite thoughtful, but I would like to ask another question. How do you differentiate and prioritize your roles – right now you are part owner of Loose Id, Editor in Chief, as well as a writer. How do you keep these responsibilities separate when writing?
I’m so glad you heard it. My power was out at the time, so I haven’t had the chance yet. I’m pretty good at priorities and usually Loose Id comes first — there are a lot more people depending on me to do that than my writing. As to the writing — I just write. Loose Id is not a part of that until later when I worry about whether I’ve written something good enough for LI.
Writing is mostly a solitary profession but you have a family that requires a significant amount of your time, as do many writers. One of the complaints I hear all the time from writers is that there is not enough time in the day for a relationship and family in addition to writing. How do you resolve the issue of family time, “me” time, and writing time as well as your very complex business responsibilities? I notice that there’s a bed in your office.:) Do you have many late night/early morning writing spurts?
I pretty much don’t have down time during my waking hours but since I happen to like what I’m doing most of the time, that’s all right.
Do you think that someday you’ll write an M/M romance with no women?:) I would love to review one of your books on the website, but we only review M/M
I try but somehow my inner writer keeps throwing me a woman. I could try to analyze that but I’m not sure that would help. But someday I might.
What do you think is your most important accomplishment as an author?
I don’t know. I did have the chance to see someone make a speech about an important milestone in her life where she said some very bad things were happening in her work and her world and I helped her cope when she read my stories. That was wonderful, of course. I’d like to be able to do that but I don’t count on it.
Your Alpha series is very popular with fans, and include Walk Away, Stay, Home, Beg and Hunted Down. I read a couple of the early books and enjoyed them. What’s next in the story arc?
Well, probably nothing. I really meant to stop with Home. Then I wrote Hunted Down and realized that I’d started up a whole new set of questions which I hope I answered with my last two Alpha stories. I feel done now. I’m not big on a series going longer than three books, so I already did more than I should. Of course I might get an inspiration about my Alpha characters someday. But I’m not counting on it.
Tell us about your newest release Heal, part of the Alpha series.
Heal is mostly about the youngest Alpha in the pack and the vet he is supposed to protect from harm. The vet has a difficult past and no reason to trust weres. She starts off by being attracted to the hero but thinking he’s just a pretty boy who can’t help her. They both learn differently. Of course it’s not just about that and yes, there is sex.
I believe you are working on a new book, Return of the King. What’s the story about?
It’s a futuristic story that’s mostly a Western about people who hide secrets and are on the run from the warring factions in their world, especially the current government. It’s a very dangerous place to fall in love.
What are your planned releases within the next 3 – 6 months?
Planned? Yes. Um. (I don’t plan too well in my writing.) Probably Return of the King although I’ve been getting this little nagging feeling about writing a different story (one that might turn into m/m actually!) Yes!!! but that might be because I hit a rough patch with ROTK and I want to distract myself.
This is the section of the interview where you fly by the seat of your pants with no parachute and hold on for dear life. I promise that I’ll keep it clean. *g*
Some of the recent books I read featured guys with a guiche or tats. Is this something you would like personally on a man?
Only if he also has a penis. (very funny Treva) And a mind. (even funnier) And a sense of humor. I guess the accessories are way low on my priority list.
Which of your guys do you think would be the hottest in bed as part of a threesome? Is there a chance that you would join him in an alternate universe ? (This is a fantasy so there is no cheating involved) *g*
Um, hmmm. You do need to realize that when I’m done with a story, I kick all my characters out to make their way in the world and forget about them. So the guys I’m writing about now are the sexiest ones. And they are pretty sexy. We have the handsome, perfect on the outside hero who is literally dying on the inside, and the scarred, crippled hulk who sneaked into my story and has taken up a lot more room than I expected him to. I’m not sure the heroine of the story would let me share, though.
What kind of man turns Treva on (as opposed to what kind of man turns you on in RL)?
Treva the author and the person in RL are probably similar here — a guy who is a little edgy, smart, funny, complicated. We like that. Of course now that I’m older someone who is a little less edgy and more interested in doing housework would be worth a fling or two.
I have actually read some of your books and the sex sizzles. Is this a learned skill? (Meaning, is this purely your imagination or are you taking a few tips from your past ?)
A few things in the stories are based on RL. But I have never had sex with werewolves. On a sort of different note, my Post interview dug up a lot of old boyfriends, who emailed me. It’s really nice to know they remember me fondly.
If I fancied myself as a writer and asked for your best advice, what would you say, other than take a hike? (Be nice):)
You have already done the market research and you have a lot of fans, so you’d have an advantage there. If you really wanted to write — and you’d have to be sure about that because it’s no fun unless you really do — then you should write a story, find someone(s) you trust and who won’t hold back to critique it and then submit it to the best place you can think of for that story. Of course your reviews and your day job and everything else will suffer because then you’ll get obsessed and there will be rejections and bad reviews and all kinds of stuff you’ll hate to deal with. But if you really want to write, you should. Because if you love it, there’s nothing else like writing.
How many men work for Loose Id? Just asking.:) Does LI have a virtual office or are there real people working for you and your business partners in a bricks and mortar building? If so, are there any hot guys there? Can I have a few phone numbers for my friend Tam?:)
Do you mean authors? In terms of non-author workers, we have two males. As to authors, I could give a rough guess — maybe 8 – 10 percent? We mostly use virtual offices but we do have a bricks and mortar office in San Francisco that stores our paper. The hot guys there are my partner’s DH and some UPS delivery people. I don’t think I can give phone numbers. (Damn, foiled again) *g*
Have you ever done anything bad with chocolate? A writing team that I steal from occasionally loves a dessert called chocolate orgasm which is a real dessert, and I’m wondering if you ever had it, and if so, what did you do with it other than eat it. *g*
You mean eating it isn’t bad enough? I think I’ll leave that right there.
Thank you for indulging me Treva.
I love to indulge people. Thank YOU.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Treva Harte for taking the time from her extremely busy schedule to answer my questions. I did notice that she gave very lawyerly (is that a word?) answers to some of my questions and skated around a number of others but I heart her all the same. Treva was a good sport and if ever I decide to try my hand at writing I’m sure she hopes that I’ll lose her email address. Bad Treva. (Never! You must send it to me first.)
Treva’s Washington Post interview can be found here
Treva Harte’s contact information