Friday, February 23, 2007

Thursday Talk-Time with Joanne Rock

Join us in welcoming too gorgeous for her own good Joanne Rock, fantabulous Blaze author as she gives us the low down on a...


I think I have a European Muse. She likes to close up shop in the afternoon to recharge and she only remerges briefly late in the day if I promise her a multiple course meal. With wine. Further proof of my theory is that she can’t seem to come to terms with the American idea of a two-week vacation. She presses for something closer to eight and considers it a compromise when she allows me to break up the time into two or three week spurts.

I’m sure she’s all that keeps me sane when I want to write, write, write. But I’ll admit, sometimes her slower work ethic makes me crazy. Lately I’ve taken to bribing her into a happy frame of mind by dragging her to the movies, giving her the idea that we’re taking a break by letting the silver screen tell us stories instead of pouring our hearts out on the page for other peoples’ entertainment. Writers learn early on in their careers to indulge their muse wherever possible and this has been a great chance for me to be inspired and for her to venture out of the house in something besides pajamas.

Most recently, we watched The Illusionist with Edward Norton and Jessica Biel. While my muse swooned over the period gowns, I marveled at the rarity of seeing an old-fashioned love story brought to life in a gorgeous film. Part Catherine and Heathcliff with the heroine and hero from different stations in life, The Illusionist taps into some of our most persistent romantic fantasies. We want to believe that love heals old wounds and triumphs in the end, and this movie delivered. I came home inspired with new ideas while my muse thought we took the day off. Perfect.

Too bad my purse can’t afford a movie every day to keep us both productive and happy. Which brings me to my love of matinees and Netflix, Tivo and pay per view. We watched Goldie Hawn in Seems Like Old Times recently and adored every moment of crazy intrigue. The highly comedic slant isn’t all that close to what I write, but I still came away with great story prompts. What spin would I put on the divorced heroine who comes face-to-face with a tempting bad boy ex? Or how might I juggle a heroine who kept her secrets under wraps for fear of disrupting her outwardly perfect life?

Coming home with tangible creative questions is a great way to justify time spent in the theater or in my living room with a new DVD. I can call this work time as long as A) I’ve mentally plotted the story arc along with the film, including a deviation arc for what I would have done differently if it was my story; B) I’ve stockpiled intriguing character traits from what I’ve seen onscreen and C) my muse doesn’t know I’ve called it work since it counts as down time in her book.

So please… help a writer out. Seen any good movies lately—recent releases or old stuff I might have missed? My muse and I would both love to know!

Joanne Rock writes sexy contemporary romance and medieval historicals for Harlequin when she’s not raising three sports-crazy boys with her equally sports-mad husband. She loves the Arthurian tales, the concept of chivalry and an occasional baseball game. Learn more about Joanne’s books at

Don't Look Back is out now!


  1. Hey Joanne! :)

    The best move I've seen recently was Stranger than Fiction. It was wonderful, and unexpectedly so. :) I think it's a must for all writers. The Lake House was also wonderful, for different reasons. I've just finished re-watching all three X-Men movies, and those are always fun. Learn something new every time I watch them.

    We watched Little Miss Sunshine, and it was okay, but I have to admit, I don't see what the craze was about.


  2. Hey Sam! I've heard Stranger than Fiction was wonderful. Can't wait to see this one!

    Interesting about Little Miss Sunshine. I thought it was great but my husband was missed the lack of a bigger story. I guess the characterizations were what made it so strong for me. So rich, and yet we weren't pounded over the head with each character's sense of identity. I thought the teenager boy who didn't speak was awesome. When he inked "Hug Mom" on the paper as a note to Olive... my mother's heart surely did squeeze :-).

    Between that and Grandpa's ultimate "In Your Face" move from the grave via SuperFreak, I definitely liked it.

    Am adding Lake House to my list. That's Keanu, right? Will have to take a peek.

    Thanks, Sam!

  3. I love A Knight's Tale with Heath Ledger. And some of the older Cary Grant / Rock Hudson films. Pillow Talk makes me laugh every time

  4. Lis, I'm a huge fan of Knight's Tale too. Aside form the characters, I really enjoyed the purposeful anachronism of the overall message, the music, some of the costumes and such. I thought it was cool to bring some modern sensibilities to the Middle Ages and see how we'd rock this time period today.

    I've never seen Pillow Talk though and I love, love, love old movies. One of my mom's favs is Picnic. One of mine is The Philadelphia Story (possibly Cary Grant at his most delicious?). But yes... Pillow Talk's going on the list!