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Q: Have you ever considered having some of your couples from your books from 10 years ago make cameo appearances in your future books? So we know how they are doing and such. Like Sara and Alex from Bond of Hatred.
A: Yes I think this is a good idea and I will keep it in mind, most probably for my next Greek Tycoon story.
Q: I’ve read 2 of the 3 books in the Sister Brides trilogy starting with 3 and working my backwards and I was curious whether there will ever be a 4th book featuring the much younger sister discussed in the 3rd book?
A: The Sister Bride trilogy (An Arabian Marriage, The Disobedient Mistress and The Heiress Bride) is followed by a longer length single title (Dark Angel) about the fourth sister Kerry.
Q: I was wondering why your male heros are all Europeans (Greeks, Italians, Spaniard, Russian) or Arabs. Being Irish yourself, why you don’t write a novel with an Irish, English or even a North American Hero?
A: My male heroes are all European / Mediterranean because that is my fantasy male and Presents stories traditionally feature these nationalities. An Irish hero wouldn’t fire my imagination as easily. I would be scared of getting a North American (different speech, different culture) hero wrong and English heroes just don’t seem that exciting to me although I did have a couple of English heros early on – Jake in An Insatiable Passion and Blaze in An Indecent Deception.
Q: Why do many presents authors not include parents in their stories?
A: I think so many Presents authors don’t include parents in the stories because there isn’t the space for many supporting characters in series romance novels. I only tend to put in a parent if he or she is crucial to the plot but I do agree that they can ground the heroine and add an extra depth to the story.
Q: Is there going to be a 4th book with Jen as the heroine in the Brides of L’Amour series?
A: The Brides of L’ Amour series (The Banker’s Convenient Wife, The Italian Boss’s Mistress and The Frenchman’s Lovechild) was originally planned as a four book deal but my publishers changed their mind and the story featuring Jen was never written.
Q: Will your backlist be released as eBooks?
A: You can find a number of my books in eBook format (including collections) at Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Google Play. Many of my books are also available in Kindle format from Amazon UK and Amazon US. You can also download Kindle software free of charge for the PC (check system requirements), Apple® Macintosh® (check system requirements), Android, iPhone & iPod Touch and Blackberry.
Q: What’s your favourite book?
A: The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien but in the romance field Arabella by Georgettte Heyer first inspired me as a twelve year old reader.
Q: Where do you get the inspiration for your locations? Do you go there or research them? If research, how do you research them? / I was just wondering if you have travelled to the many settings you use in your novels (Greek Islands etc) or do you search the Internet?
A: I’ve been to most of the places that I write about in Europe but not all. I also do research through books and the net and consider picking up some interesting facts in that way an entertaining part of my work as a writer. I do like to get a feel for a place so that I can picture it in my head while I’m working. Research is also a marvellous excuse to buy more books!
Q: Are any of your characters based on real people?
A: No but I do suspect that what I observe of human nature and the problems we all suffer do tend to pop up and colour my writing. But these ideas are much more likely to be inspired by something I read in a newspaper or magazine than by someone I know. I don’t think I would have many friends if I used their secrets to fill out my characters. I also find it a complete turn-off to find any character reminding me of someone I know, even by having a similar name.
Q: How do you like to spend your downtime?
A: Reading, walking, relaxing in a bubble bath, sitting by the fire, painting my nails, wandering round the garden, talking to my husband at the end of the day. All very ordinary pastimes but the most precious when time to unwind is short.
Q: If you could interview any author who would it be and what would you ask?
A: The author I would have liked to meet – had she not died in 1887- is Mrs Henry Wood or Ellen Wood, a Victorian novelist who wrote what were called “sensation” novels that contained romance, scandal, adultery, murder and murky family secrets. Her most famous book was East Lynne in which an aristocratic wife succumbs to an affair and then returns to her ex-husband’s household in the disguise of a governess so that she can see her children again. I own all her books and she was an excellent story-teller with a very good grasp of human nature and she was particularly skilled at depicting rural life. What I would like to ask her would be what she thinks of the world in which we female authors write and live in now for we have a great deal more literary freedom in our stories than she enjoyed. In East Lynne the illegitimate child is killed off in a train accident to suit the unyielding morals of the day. There was no such thing as a happy ending for those who transgressed in the Victorian Age and my goodness wouldn’t we miss the secret baby plots if we had to kill off our heroine to punish her for her sins? East Lynne was my grandmother’s fave book and I believe that that is where my mother got my name from.
Q: Who decides M&B/Harlequin titles?
A: Harlequin now decide book titles. With so many thousands of books published over the years finding a title that hasn’t been used before by Harlequin would be a very difficult. The chances of an author coming up with something new and different are slim as they don’t have the resources to check out the previously used titles.
Q: What writing tip/advice would you give to other would be authors? / How did you break into the industry and any tips?
A: Harlequin and Mills & Boon both offer excellent writing guidelines on their websites so that would be a good place for a would-be writer to find useful information about writing for them. Some authors also have a lot of useful tips on their websites. Some people sign up for creative writing courses or holidays. I would advise you to read a lot of the books from the romance line which you are aiming to be published in so that you get a feel for the kind of plot and character which sells. Develop your own voice rather than copying another author’s style. Look for a twist on a traditional plot which will make your work a little bit different and give you the chance to stand out from the crowd. And try, try again because if I had given up at the first or even second rejection I would never have managed to become a writer. Even when an editor shows interest in your work you may still have to do revisions before you can hope for acceptance. All writers work in different ways and what helps one may not help another. I start with chapter one and go to the end but some writers write different episodes in their story first and then cobble them together.There is no right or wrong method. I do a basic plot plan before I start writing which ensures I have sufficient material to go the distance but leaves enough space for me to go with any good ideas that come up while I’m writing. Time to finish a book? It takes me about two months now but when I first started writing it took me six to nine months to complete one. Character traits? I think most writers are keen observers of human nature but I don’t think we would have many friends if we used their personality traits to people our books.
Some useful links:
Q: Who is your favourite contemporary author?
A: I have too many favourite authors to list but current favourites are Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs and Donna Leon. At present I’m reading paranormal fantasy and crime books. In between times I read non-fiction history books and have a particular interest in the Tudors.
Q: Why did you choose to write romance and not another genre? Have you ever thought about writing for another genre and if so what would it be?
A: I have always been a great reader of romance and the desire to write my own romantic fiction was a natural development. I haven’t ever thought of writing for another genre although I do daydream about creating the world’s sexiest vampire!