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Category Archives: Author Interviews

Interview with Jeannie Lin, Part I

Jeannie Lin grew up fascinated with stories of Western epic fantasy and Eastern martial arts adventures. When her best friend introduced her to romance novels in middle school, the stage was set. Jeannie started writing her first romance while working as a high school science teacher in South Central Los Angeles. After four years of trying to break into publishing with an Asian-set historical, her 2009 Golden Heart® winning manuscript, Butterfly Swords, sold to Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Find out more about Jeannie Lin online at http://www.jeannielin.com

**Jeannie is giving away a copy of her current release BUTTERFLY SWORDS and the eBook THE TAMING OF MEI LIN. If you’d like to leave a comment, you’ll be added to our random drawing. Winners will be contacted via email, so be sure to provide your email if it’s not linked to your profile.**

I’m very excited to have Jeannie visit us at Romance Divas. Not only is she a friend, but a talented author and it’s been amazing to watch her career explode. I met her years ago at my local LARA chapter and this shy, delicate flower has transformed into a savvy promoter, social butterfly, and inspired many others who have written the book of their heart to continue to take chances. Jeannie is an author to keep an eye on and I certainly see great things from her in the future.

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You’re an author that has really proven that taking chances and writing what you love pays off. Not only did you win the Golden Heart for BUTTERFLY SWORDS but you also sold the same week to Harlequin during the RWA conference 2009. We love stories about “the Call”. Do you remember what you were doing or how you felt at that time?

I do remember because I was in the middle of a Pilates session and doing crunches with some diva buddies: Eden Bradley, Sandra Barkevich, MG Braden and Christina Cross. I think Vivienne was there too. When the phone rang, I jumped up to grab it and everyone got real quiet. I think I had a delayed reaction because I was very calm. I took notes about who I was supposed to meet that week and where I was supposed to go. When hung up and announced that I was going to be a Harlequin author, everyone ran up and hugged me. All the divas then marched me down to get my First Sale ribbon and I remember tearing up in the elevator when I finally realized it was going to happen. I wanted to run around and hug everyone in sight.

Your debut novel is getting serious buzz. Some believe you’re creating a new trend with this type of Asian historical. Is it added pressure knowing that this could draw attention to this genre where others have tried previously and were unsuccessful in gaining an audience?

Dear Author started raving about the book before anyone had seen anything. I remember Jane tweeting that she “hoped it didn’t suck” and I think she wrangled my editors into handing over a copy. When they told me this, I seriously hoped it didn’t suck either. I do feel normal author worries about whether the book will sell given that Asian historicals haven’t sold well in the past. So the buzz actually gives me hope.

The thing about the pressure is there’s not much for me to do now other than promote and pray. So I don’t feel pressure as much as I feel a huge sense of anticipation and antsyness. The book is printed up now, with all its good parts and bad, quirks and flaws. I can’t fix it anymore.

Did you ever imagine that your Tang Dynasty historicals would be so well received and embraced? What was it about this time period that inspired you to create such an amazing world?

When I think of how many people are stepping up to support Butterfly Swords, it makes me want to cry. These are people who know nothing about me and who are not my friends or my mom. That’s so wonderful, so absolutely wonderful.

What really inspired me to go to the Tang Dynasty were all those movies I saw in my childhood: Legend of the Condor Heroes, Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre. And there was this fantastic series about the Empress Wu of the Tang Dynasty and her daughter, Princess Tai Ping. Hours and hours of Hong Kong serials, burned into my brain. All that drama and angst! So perfect for romance.

What should we expect to see from you in the future?

I have more Tang Dynasty stories to tell. I’m playing right now with some of the paranormal elements of wuxia. It’s a series that involves Taoist sorcery and demons and jiangshi and it’s so much fun. One day, when I’m brave enough, I’ll finally write the women’s fiction that me and the Little Sis have been planning.

What is the biggest misconception you’ve come across about being a romance author?

That selling one book means I’m on the fast track to bestsellerdom and the rest is easy.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?

I’m alpha dog fierce…despite the crying and the unbridled sentimentality.

I can imagine your books being made for film due to the epic storytelling. If you could cast the characters for this BUTTERFLY SWORDS, who would you choose for the hero and heroine?

A huge costume drama with lots of gratuitous cinematography! Hee hee. I wrote up a blog that will post on Vauxhall Vixens later in October. My top choices are Ewan MacGregor and Marjorie Liu for Ryam and Ai Li. Maybe younger versions though. Russell Wong would make a killer Li Tao.

What is the most extreme thing you’ve ever done and what did it teach you about yourself?

I joined with a group of teachers who were trying to change the world and we wrangled together a small learning community at one of the toughest schools in the nation. Basically it was a school within a school. It took a lot of balls and smarts to do it, and some days it just tore your heart out. We made a lot of mistakes, but we also accomplished some great things. The students loved us for it, some teachers and administrators hated us for it. I learned that it takes a certain sort of person to seek that kind of challenge and risk.

If you were a nail polish color, what would it be called and why?

Ruby Dragon Red. Umm…cause I like dragons and it sounds cool? Ruby Dragon is my nickname over at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood.

What advice do you have for unpublished writers?

Keep writing forward. Everything is fixable.

Any words for your readers?

I hope you enjoy! The next book is even better. 🙂

Interview with Kelly L Stone

Kelly L. Stone started a successful writing career while working a full time job. Her women’s fiction novel, GRAVE SECRET (Mundania Press, Sept 2007), was called “powerful” and “well written” by RT Book Reviews. She is the author of the TIME TO WRITE series, a set of motivational books for aspiring authors. The third book in the series, LIVING WRITE: The Secret to Bringing Your Craft Into Your Daily Life (Adams Media) has just been released. Kelly lives with her family in Florida.

To learn more about Kelly, visit her website at:

www.AuthorKellyLStone.com

**Kelly is giving away a copy of her current release LIVING WRITE to one luck winner. If you’d like to leave a comment, you’ll be added to our random drawing. Winner will be contacted via email, so be sure to provide your email if it’s not linked to your profile.**


I love your website and blog because you tap into the other part of a writer’s artistic brain. Your books are useful, inspiring, and gets your creative juices flowing, so what inspired you to write them?

My books usually start out as a question. For instance, I always wanted to be a writer but I couldn’t figure out how to find the time to write. Then I read some books on the psychology of achievement and learned that many successful people get up early in the morning and do their own *thing* for a few hours before the day begins. That gave me the idea to get up at 3:30 in the morning and write for a few hours before work. After I did that for a couple of years, I started getting published—my literary novel was bought by a small press, my essays were published in bestselling anthologies, and I landed assignments in national magazines like Family Circle, Cat Fancy, and others. People started asking me where I found time to write; that was the question, and the answer was TIME TO WRITE which was published in January of 2008. After that, I started to wonder how people with limited writing time could maximize their creativity so that they got the most bang for their buck during their scheduled writing time. That gave me the idea for THINKING WRITE which is about how to use the power of your subconscious mind for writing and creativity purposes. Last, LIVING WRITE started with the question of how can people capitalize on small steps in order to achieve big writing goals.

You also write romances, do you find it’s easier or more difficult to write than your non-fiction?

It’s been a learning curve for both. Now, after 3 non-fiction books under my belt, the entire writing process is quicker for me because I have so much practice—for example, TIME TO WRITE took me 6 months to write, LIVING WRITE only took three. I have less experience writing fiction, so it’s a tad more difficult for me right now because I’m still on that learning curve. However, I don’t think any writing is *easy*. I think all writers at all levels struggle to continually improve their craft.

We love stories about “the Call”, do you remember what you were doing or how you felt at that time?

I was actually at work when I got the call from my agent that she wanted to represent me. Several months later when she sold the proposal for TIME TO WRITE, I got this tingly sense of anticipation early in the day and actually stayed up late that night, in the kitchen, literally standing by the phone (I did not know in advance that she would be calling that night.) When the phone rang, I knew it was her calling to tell me she’d made the sale. Those were two of the best days of my life so far.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your current release.

In addition to being a writer, I’m a licensed mental health counselor. I was born and raised in the south and can’t imagine living anywhere else. I am an animal welfare advocate and a lot of my early published work is about issues affecting animals. LIVING WRITE is about how to capitalize on small steps to achieve your big writing dreams. The official release date is Sept 18th. Like THINKING WRITE, it also comes with a CD with 4 guided meditations for writers.

What should we expect to see from you in the future?

I’m working on a paranormal romance series right now, and probably more writing books!

If you weren’t a writer what career path would you choose?

I always wanted to be an archeologist and do something exciting like discover long lost ancient cities.

What are you reading right now?

Shadow Game by Christine Feehan

What is the biggest misconception you’ve come across about being a romance author?

That it’s not as difficult to write as other genres. Not so. I read a quote once that said, “Easy reading is hard writing.” I’m sorry I can’t remember who said it, but that is true for all writing.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?

I was on Romper Room when I was 4.

Now for a fun round of ‘getting to know you’.

Man in uniform, or a hands-on man? Uniform
Whipped cream or ice cream? Ice cream (my Achilles heel)
Naughty or nice? Mostly nice although naughty can be conjured up when necessary.  🙂
Spontaneous or planned? Probably more *planned* than I wish I were J
Coffee or tea? Definitely coffee
Cosmopolitan or beer? Cosmo
Tropical island or mountain cabin? Since I live on the beach, I’ll go with mountain cabin
Sexy stilettos or flip flops? Flip flops—that beach thing again
Holey Jeans or casual khakis? jeans
If you were a nail polish color, what would it be called and why? I’m not really sure, although something to do with chocolate springs to mind.

What advice do you have for unpublished writers?

Write on a schedule. Set a time every day or week that you will write and then stick to that schedule no matter what. That is the key to getting the book out of your head and on to the page.

Any words for your readers?

Thank you for your support! I get so many great emails from people telling me how much the TIME TO WRITE series has helped them finally start writing the book of their dreams despite how busy their day to day lives are; those emails make my day!

Spotlight On, Vonna Harper

Falcon's CaptiveHaving written since dir was new, Vonna Harper knows where most of the bodies are buried. Thanks to her nearly useless sociology degree, she became a social worker but escaped her legitimate job when her first child was born and gave into her dream to write. With some 50 published stories under her belt, she’s still trying to figure out how its done. Vonna lives in beautiful Oregon with her husband and is blessed to have her sons and grandchildren in the same valley.

For more information on Vonna, visit her at: www.vonnaharper.com

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**Vonna is giving away copy of FALCON’S CAPTIVE. If you’d like to be added to the random drawing, please post a comment. Please provide your email address if it is not linked to your username. For US Residents only.**

How long did you write before you got published? What made you decide to write erotic romances?

My “writing” career began as a child when I wrote and illustrated my own comic books with the Lone Ranger’s horse as the protagonist but in reality, I’ve been in the right place at the right time at least four times. My first serious try at writing a book was a bust–forgot to include conflict. Then I cut my teeth on confessions so had learned a lot before category romance in the U.S. took off. Thanks to a friend’s nudge, I was one of the early American writers.

Do you think the erotic market is slowing down or do you feel it’s going to stay around to a little while longer?

I don’t see it slowing down but I do see a crowding of the market. Ebooks remain available forever which means current releases vie with stories that are years old for the reader’s money. Evolution is part of every genre so I’m interested in seeing what new trends might be. For me, I’m working on marrying erotica with suspense.

Can you tell us about your upcoming release? What inspired you to write it?

Falcon’s Captive which comes out July 27 was the first in my latest contract with Kensington Aphrodisia. I love that my editor lets me loose to write what turns my crank. I’ve done a lot of capture (as opposed to BDSM which I can’t wrap my mind around) and there are elements of that in FC. Because I’m drawn to wide open spaces, I settled on a remote desert area and threw in some shape shifting. Not sure what inspired me beyond wanting to explore characters with the wild in their souls. Man against nature elements.

What do you like best about the writer’s life? What do you like least?

I love, love, love when something new starts to perk, the honeymoon stage where all things are possibile, characters are becoming multi-layered and I’m diving into research. The least fav is probably when life keeps me from the computer. I get mean. 🙂

When you purchase a book, what grabs your attention the most, the cover or the blurb? Or what helps you make a decision to buy it?

Its probably a combination of cover and blurb. The cover of course makes the first hit but in a blurb I’m looking for conflict both among characters and in a strong plot.

If you were a nail polish color, what would it be called and why?

I don’t wear nail polish so that’s out of my comfort zone. I love earth tones so maybe brown.

Have you ever done anything that is out of character or impulsive? What did it teach you about yourself?

Oh yes, there’ve been several times but since I don’t want to wind up behind bars–seriously, the older I get the more comfortable I am staying with what’s true to me.

What advice would you offer to the unpublished romance writer?

Its easy to say read and write and keep on doing those things but I’ve long put knowing the business at the top of the list. Reality is that in today’s business world, there are limits to what unpublished writers can accomplish. I’m not trying to discourage anyone, just saying that I’d be mighty surprised if a new writer would break into the Big Apple publishers right out of the chute. Fortunately, there are many small hungry publishers–if the unpublished writer is professional in what she offers those publishers.

Interviewed by Jax Cassidy

Blogging with Erin Kellison

Erin Kellison is the author of the Shadow Series, which includes Shadow Bound and Shadow Fall.  Stories have always been a central part of Erin Kellison’s life. She attempted her first book in sixth grade, a dark fantasy adventure, and still has those early hand-written chapters. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English Language and Literature, and went on for a masters in Cultural Anthropology, focusing on oral storytelling. When she had children, nothing scared her anymore, so her focus shifted to writing fiction. She lives in Arizona with her two beautiful daughters and husband, and she will have a dog (breed undetermined) when her youngest turns five.

To find out more about Erin, visit her online at:
http://www.erinkellison.com/

Erin is giving away an autographed copy of SHADOW BOUND. All you have to do is comment and you’ll be added to the drawing. Make sure we’re able to contact you to claim your prize. Winner will be chosen at random on July 2nd.

Please tell us about yourself. How long and hard did you work before getting published?

I was in 6th grade when I started my first book. Over the years I began many more, but for one reason or another, I never finished. I always found a reason why the current manuscript wasn’t working and why I should switch to this or that other story. A break-though occurred when my sister suggested that she and I co-write a book (a mystery suspense). It took us five years going back and forth, with some extended breaks for kids and school, but we finished. I learned a tremendous amount during that period. During the last year, when that book neared completion, I challenged myself to complete a whole book on my own, in a genre close to my heart. That book became Shadow Bound. It took less than a year to complete and sold out of an RWA chapter contest.

What is your current project about? What other projects do you have in the works?

My current project is getting the word out about Shadow Bound and its sequel, Shadow Fall (July 2010). I’m developing a series website in addition to my author site as well. Readers can find it at www.SegueInstitute.com. Book three in the Shadow series, Shadowman, is in the works as well.

SHADOW BOUND has an interesting premise and it involves the world of the living and the dead, how did you come up with the idea? How do you think your book will fair in today’s market when paranormal seems to be everywhere?

I started with the idea of using a banshee, which I hadn’t yet encountered as a heroine in PNR. The defining characteristic about the banshee for me was that she heralds Death with her scream (or wail). I went on to consider who she (now Talia) was as a character and ultimately placed her right at the brink of mortality (our contemporary world) and Twilight ( the fae world).  With such a dark legacy, Talia needed a man, Adam Thorne, strong enough to both embrace her heritage and fight by her side.

I hope readers enjoy it. How it will fair in the market is really up to them. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Your covers are gorgeous. Since most publishers don’t give authors much of a say on what cover they’ll get, did you have any input?

Thank you! I was thrilled when I saw them. I answered a publisher questionnaire about my ideas for the covers, what the heroes/heroines looked like, etc. In a way, the cover for Shadow Fall is very much like the scene I excerpted from the book for one of the questions, but really, the wonderful artists at Dorchester just did a fantastic job. I couldn’t be happier.

What was the most important thing you learned once you’ve become published?

Time management is critical. I thought I was pretty good at it before I got The Call, but I’ve really struggled to find the time to cover everything. I recommend new authors create a plan and stick to it.

What is the biggest misconception about romance authors that you’ve come across?

That it’s easy to write a romance. I defy anyone with this preconception to write one. They will be humbled in short order.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done, and what did it teach you about yourself?

Hands down, the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is have kids. I’ve never been more terrified than when I brought my first child home from the hospital. It was that experience that gave me the courage to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. I had to at least try, give it all I had, for myself and for the hope that I could teach my kids through example to live their lives to the fullest.

If you were a nail polish, what would it be called and why?

Moody Blue—I tend to go for the blues/purples/blacks and that name sounded better than Bruise.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?  Any last words for our readers?

Aspiring writers, go for it. Right now. Write your best story and get it out there. This dream can come true.

Readers, if you’d like to learn more about my books, please check out my website, www.erinkellison.com. I usually have a contest running. Right now, the contest is for a Nook. All you have to do is enter.

Kathleen Dienne

Kathleen Dienne has been a reporter, a theatrical stage manager, a ghostwriter, a sloganeer, a video game consultant and a marketing analyst. Fiction seems to be the most honest stuff that she’s written.

She is very lucky to have the enthusiastic support of a brilliant husband, a delightful toddler and several elderly beagles. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, and if she’s not reading, she’s taking photographs of the husband/toddler/beagles and making elaborate scrapbooks. Secretly, she practices Italian with those “speak and learn” CDs in hopes of someday moving to Tuscany. So far, the only person picking up Italian with any fluency is the toddler.

If you’re the sort of person who enjoys watching how a writer avoids writing, please come over and hang out at http://www.kathleendienne.com. Sometimes there are recipes. You can also find her on Facebook (friend her or fan her!) and follow her on Twitter (KathleenDienne). Finally, she loves hearing from readers, so feel free to drop her a line at KathleenDienne@gmail.com.

Please tell our readers and members a little bit about yourself?

By day I am a consultant and a freelance writer. By night, I write erotic fiction. But the lines kind of blur, because I work from a home office. So if I absolutely have to attend a meeting featuring powerpoint and people talking to hear themselves talk, I can mute the phone and do something for one of my stories… and all in my comfy pants. It’s not really the writer’s paradise it sounds like it might be – I’m doing all of this so I can be home with my toddler and have dinner ready for my husband, he of the good health insurance and the top quality plot solutions. It is interesting to switch between Finding Nemo and sex scenes.

Also, if you have just made a joke inside your head about “Nemo” as a euphemism for a body part, congratulations, we have the same kind of dirty mind.

You have a new release coming out with Carina Press. How was your experience with this new ePublisher that is a division of Harlequin?

Fantastic, start to finish. I tell stories that don’t fit anywhere – the novella that came out on June 21 was a contemporary erotic romance that hinged on the concept of parallel universes, for example – so when I saw that Carina Press was looking for stories that couldn’t be pigeonholed, I jumped to submit. (I also wanted to go digital, not traditional, but I fully admit I wanted the heft of a traditional publisher for my digital work!)

And then the experience itself was fantastic. ePublishing moves so much faster than traditional publishing. I submitted my story in January, got the call in February, and the book went on sale in June. The Harlequin digital team has been great – I have been working professionally in social media since before it was called that, and I still learned a ton from their Social Media bootcamp. No one is ever too busy to answer questions and support newb authors, including the Executive Editor. The other writers are so enthusiastic and helpful. Finally, I can’t say enough good stuff about my editor, Melissa Johnson. She’s just a genius when it comes to spotting the real problem with a manuscript instead of the problem’s symptoms, and she’s hilarious to boot.

What other projects do you have in the works?

Carina Press just acquired my second novella – it’s an erotic romance with a cool action element. I’m trying not to talk about it too much, since we’ve just started editing!

I’m working on several Victorian-era pieces. Victorian erotica is pretty mindblowing, and I love the historical period.

What inspires you? What were your writing influences?

I am a huge science fiction and fantasy nerd. (My stories involve… well… science fiction, fantasy, and/or nerds – more on that in a second.) Heinlein, Asimov, McCaffrey. Mercedes Lackey was my gateway drug and I just finished her back-to-basics Arthurian tale. Sheri Tepper blows my mind and I can’t understand why she doesn’t get listed with the one-name greats. I love Louisa May Alcott and Agatha Christie, too.

The thing about those people is that they tell great stories. There’s metaphor and symbolism and depth, but the number one thing is a ripping good page turning story, and they never lose sight of that from the first page to the last. That influences me more than anything else.

I’m inspired to write when I hear a snippet of conversation between two people in one of my daydreams. Put it this way – if I overheard something like it at a Starbucks, I’d want to scoot my seat over to hear more. Since I’m in my own head, I get right up close and play out the scene. If it holds my attention for a couple nights running (getting a toddler who doesn’t want to go to bed down for the night involves a lot of time in dark quiet rooms), I figure it’s worth a shot and I toss it in my idea file.

What helped you make the decision to become a romance writer?

Honestly, it’s because these are the stories that compel me to write them. I have tried many other genres, and the romantic stories are the ones I stay interested in long enough to finish a manuscript!

That’s the big reason, but another reason is that my characters want to have their stories told. Many of the people in my stories are nerds. But their stories aren’t about their nerdiness. They’re just people, people who read a lot and play computer games and sing in choirs and collect movies. A nerd is just as likely as a jock to be great in the sack, to fall in love, to make a partner complete.

What is the hardest part of being a writer? The easiest?

The hardest part is treating it like a job even though you won’t get paid for another year… if you get paid at all. But if you only write when you feel inspired or artistic, you’re not going to finish much. You’ve got to treat it like a job, and make it a priority. That can be really hard without external feedback, and there just isn’t any. You’ve got to be your own source of strength and discipline.

The easiest thing is talking about your work. It’s like bragging about your kids, but people ask you to do it!

What is the biggest misconception about romance authors that you’ve come across?

That we’re not writing “real” books. That we’re hacks churning out the same three plots. That because there’s a happy ending (and the books are written by women for women starring women), the resulting work is of less aesthetic value than one of those dreadful things where everyone dies after pissing and moaning for three hundred pages. And rainclouds are a metaphor for how your mother never liked you. Or possibly testicles.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

Finish something and mail it to a publisher. I don’t mean to be flip – I have many, many friends who are terrific writers, and haven’t done either of those things. Finishing something is one of those things that is easy to say and easy to do. Butt in chair. Hands on keyboard. 250 words a day, minimum, and you’ve got a novel in less than a year. (This POST is more than a thousand words.)

I have been writing professionally for ten years, and I am not particularly remarkable. I just know I’ve got nothing to lose by hitting send (after carefully reading and following the submission guidelines).

Any last words for our readers?

Thank you so much for BEING readers, of anything. You make the world a better and more interesting place.

Rebecca E Grant

Rebecca E. Grant believes that love is unstoppable! For Rebecca, writing women’s fiction with wonderfully erotic elements is a little like cooking. First, she likes to lay her hero and heroine out gently on a well-oiled surface, take some seasoning up in her hands and smooth it into them until they’re so flavorful they’re ready to pop. Then she lets them steep awhile in a nice marinade. When they are at their most succulent, sometimes she will put them in a slow-cooking oven and turn them over and over, and other times she’ll toss them on a blazing grill to sizzle. Either way, at some point in the story, they are going to devour each other!

Currently an innovative educator with a PhD in organizational development, Rebecca lives in Minnesota on the edge of a wetlands, where wild turkeys and other creatures teach her balance and renewal. She loves the four seasons, long walks, early mornings with a steaming cup of coffee and late nights filled with stimulating conversation, a bottle of amusingly insouciant wine and good friends.

Rebecca began writing women’s fiction in April of 2009. Liberty Starr is her first published romance.

To find out more about Rebecca, visit her online at: http://www.site.rebeccaegrant.com/

Please tell our readers and members a little bit about yourself?

Awhile back I had a significant birthday (never mind which one 🙂 ) and a friend said “You’re so serious so much of the time, Rebecca. Do something special to celebrate you.” She then suggested I have my horoscope read. I laughed and agreed to it because it felt like a fun, adventurous thing to do—even if it was a bit silly.

Knock me over with a feather—it was an amazing experience and the first of many steps I took to get to know myself better—to help me remember who I am—because in our ‘hurry-up-competitive-goal-oriented’ world it can be so easy to forget. One of the most important things I remembered is that I’m a romantic.

The first time I saw the snow-covered Rockies I was nearly knocked out by what a romantic backdrop they made. (I may have been slightly influenced by the fact that I was utterly in love at the time.) Then there’s the White House. The first time I saw it I was struck by the romanticism of the many lives—leaders—drama—and life-changing decisions that structure has given shelter to (again, quite possibly I was influenced by the tall drink of water whose arm was around me at the time).

Even as far back as when I was six or seven and tried on my first pair of roller skates—the kind that clipped to the bottom of my shoes—I was instantly enamored with them because I realized just how fast those skates would take me down the street to see Kenny, the love of my life.

Is it any wonder I write women’s fiction and romance?

You have a new release coming out with Carina Press. How was your experience with this new ePublisher that is a division of Harlequin?

Carina Press has to be the best experience any author can have. Let me give you a couple of examples of what it is like to work with them.

First, they responded to me before their published deadline. I wasn’t sitting around wondering… “should I follow up with them?”

When Angela James called me, she was warm and personable. She made me feel wonderful about my book, and very special as an author. I was momentarily overwhelmed thinking, “Holy cow, they chose my book!” It took me a moment to process. I remember Angela said something like, “Everyone here just loves the book.”

I swallowed hard trying to catch up. “Everyone?”

“Oh yes, we were talking about it at dinner and everyone loved it.”

“Dinner? Everyone?” (still processing 🙂 )

Working with my editor, Jessica Schulte was such a positive experience. First, she has a great sense of humor. She was endlessly patient and responsive. I really felt like I had a partner. She was professional yet friendly. She suggested changes but left the writing to me. At one point she advised me to remove a character from the story because that character was actually a distraction. I might have really struggled with this except that Jessica had already demonstrated such skill. I knew I could trust her judgment. Of course, she turned out to be right!

I’ve spent the last twenty years as an innovative educator working to bring online education from ‘the shadows’ into the light of day. So, I know what it’s like to introduce something new to the world. I’ve also worked with a number of start-up organizations and they all have one challenge in common—overcoming poor communication because they’re moving so fast.

Carina Press is the first new organization I’ve seen that not only understands the importance of relationships and communication, but they actually deliver it. For example, they gather their authors together about once every two months or so to share information and facilitate a sense of author community. Carina has demonstrated to me that they recognize how important it is to build something together.

I just can’t say enough great things about them. Don’t even get me started on their cover art! Every cover I’ve seen is just yummy!

What other projects do you have in the works?

My erotic novella, SWEET COERCION is coming out in December. I have two books out to various pubs right now. One is NAKED HOPE, a contemporary romance involving a psychologist, a concert pianist who is also an international heartthrob and his ten-year old daughter who suffers from traumatic brain injury.

The second book, WILD THE WIND, is a historical romance with erotic and paranormal elements that was inspired by the legend of ‘the lost colony of Roanoke’ where entire colonies disappeared in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It is a sweeping epic and the first of an ongoing series.

Currently, I’m writing WOLFE’S DEN, a story that takes place in both 2010 and 1256. The book has erotic and paranormal elements, star-crossed lovers, covers a span of more than 700 years, a sexologist, and a highlander who keeps sweeping me off my feet 🙂

What inspires you? What were your writing influences?

My number one inspiration is the reaction from readers. After all, they’re the experts when it comes to knowing what they’re looking for, and what feels satisfying to them.

I also have a wickedly coy muse who teases and tempts me with the ideas she whispers into my ear.

I’ve been fortunate to have friends who believe in me, and mentors who did not hold back. For example, there are two authors, Ana Seymour and Kathleen Eagle who not only inspired and influenced me, they rescued me from what I’ll call ‘writer’s oblivion’ where I would have remained if they hadn’t been both generous and direct.

I met these two women while taking their class, “How to write women’s fiction and romance”. That class literally changed my life. It was tough to hear all the critique, and even tougher when they explained to me that while they loved my story line, I wasn’t ‘there’ yet as a writer because my style was too stiff (years of academic and business writing had rubbed out my spontaneity).

Then one day in class they talked about the difference between romance and erotica. Suddenly, my wicked little muse (I love her by the way) began to whisper all kinds of things into my ear. I was sitting in the back of the room when she said, “You could write erotica. It will act as a lubricant, and your voice will stop sticking.”

My eyes popped wide and I nearly choked because (as you’ve probably guessed by now) if I was a stiff writer, the probability that I’d be comfortable writing erotica was a long shot. But that voice was indubitably my muse—and who was I to argue with her?

Two days later, I found a private corner. There, hunched over my computer I wrote a short piece of erotica as a writing exercise…

… and then a longer one, and an even longer one. Every sentence shocked me. Not because I think there’s anything wrong with erotica, but because I had no idea it was in me… and there was nothing stiff about my writing … at least not about the dialogue anyway!

What still cracks me up is that the erotic story I wrote when I was working to loosen my voice landed me my first publishing contract.

After I got the hang of erotica, I developed an approach to writing romances that is not as graphic as erotica but is steamy enough to send you to the shower (or else I haven’t done my job!).

What helped you make the decision to become a romance writer?

Well, the truth is, it took me a long time to embrace my desire to be a romance author. What actually happened was this.

I was a closet writer. My friends like to tease me because they know me to be fiercely private, yet over the past year I have begun writing about the one thing that gets attention from the masses faster than anything else: sex, with love being a close second.

Yet, even though these things are uppermost in our minds—or at least up there with the uppermost—we don’t go around telling business associates and casual acquaintances about our love lives or our sexual fantasies… even though we all have them, right?

We don’t rent out billboard space to announce our latest lover, or go on Lenno to talk about the Kama Sutra position we discovered that drives us wild.

For all that sex and love demand so much of our attention and hold our curiosity, it’s still very private.

That’s why I was a closet romance writer.

It all began one day about twenty years ago, when I hopped up out of bed and decided to write a romance novel. (Like it’s that easy…) Only two people knew I was writing romances. So, I wrote in secret. The story just poured out of me, and when I was done I called it When the Time is Right. I sent it off to a number of publishers and received a fistful of rejections. Not long ago, I ran across a musty-smelling copy of that old manuscript and laughed all the way through it because it was so genuinely awful. Really, the only thing to do was enjoy how sweetly terrible it was, and be grateful that no publisher had ever thought ‘the time was right’.

A few months later, I (secretly) wrote a second novel, Maestro’s Melody. This one was only slightly better than the first but I loved the story so much, I tried to get it right for about five years, but couldn’t. So, not only was the time not right, but the melody was flat as well.

Well, life happened and one day the calendar told me that twenty years of family, friends, education and career had come and gone. I had long since abandoned the idea of ever becoming a romance author—it had been fifteen years since I’d even thought about it. Then one day a year ago last April, the urge snuck up behind me and caught me in its net once again. Intrigued with this long lost idea, the first thing I did was (secretly) rewrite Maestro’s Melody and give it a new title.

All these years later I was still writing in secret for two reasons. First, I didn’t know if I could produce a book that was worthy of the romance genre. Second, for so much of my life, I thought one of the most important things—perhaps the most important thing—was to be taken seriously—and that no matter how much I wanted to write romances, it was not a serious undertaking.

I thought that, right up until one of my test readers sent me an email. In it she wrote:

“Your writing opened my mind and heart to new possibilities and opportunities. Your story delivered personal life messages to me. It reminded me to stop being so stubborn, to allow myself to be loved, to live with passion, and that it’s ok to open up my heart. You never know where it might take you.”

Well, I burst into tears because in that moment, I knew that not only did I want to write romances, it was a very serious undertaking, and I was finally able to say out loud to others, “I. Write. Romances. They’re intimate, hot, tender, and where appropriate, not so tender. They’re filled with intrigue, laughter, hope and provide an opportunity to disappear into the sheer fantasy of the moment. To marvel at the miracle of love, and the way one human body folds into another.”

It took a reader to show me that doing what I love to do most—what never feels like work—is not only meaningful to me, it’s meaningful to others as well.

So, this is why I said earlier that it’s the readers who inspire me most.

I want to say just a little bit more about this question. It’s my personal belief that every human being is authentically unique. That we each have something extraordinary to contribute to this world—something no one else can do—and if we don’t do it, the world will never have it. It will be lost forever.

I’ve had any number of philosophical discussions with people about this and know many believe that if one person doesn’t do X, someone else will. To this I say, very likely so. But it will be someone else who does it… and so it will be different.

So, to be perfectly honest, I believe my decision to become a romance author was made before I ever stepped into this lifetime. I wrote a creative nonfiction book a couple of years ago titled ARIANA SINGS. In it, I talk about my journey to find my voice—to discover my authentic self, and my belief that we are who we are, and do what we do, because we made a contract before we came into this world to give the world something, as only we can.

Writing romances is one way for me to fulfill that contract. It allows me to be me.

What is the hardest part of being a writer? The easiest?

First, the writing. I said it doesn’t feel like work—and it doesn’t. But it does mean l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g hours at the keyboard grappling with ideas and images until they play well with the story.

Another challenge is the competition for attention. Books have to compete with so many other forms of entertainment and relaxation.

Of course, then there’s the challenge of attracting readers, publishers, and agents. With the advent of computers, email, and the Internet it’s so easy for people to write—including me. I can’t imagine writing a book without a computer. More and more manuscripts are created and presented to publishers. That slush pile is gigantic.

The easiest part of being a romance author is being in harmony with mind, body and spirit. When I do what I love, I experience joy. I have to believe that joy is passed on to others through the story.

What is the biggest misconception about romance authors that you’ve come across?

So, this won’t be original—every romance author experiences this. Almost the first thing people ask me is “where do you get your material?” and then they look at me as if I just spent the night before doing all the things I write about in my book.

I should have such an exciting life!

Being an author is all about listening to my imagination and being able to go there in my mind and heart. Sure, we write about what we know, as any good writer should. So, for example I’ve never been to Istanbul (is it still Istanbul?) or studied that country, which means I’m not going to write a story with that setting. But I don’t have to do the rough and tumble with the cowboy in my story in order to write about love, or love expressed through sex, or sex-just-because-there-was-no-way-not-to-in-the-moment—without experiencing every single detail for myself.

Still, if people want to think that I lead an amazingly exotic life with endless nights of sexual bliss, I can only smile and think that perhaps in my next life, maybe I’ll sign up to do just that J.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

Well, I still consider myself to be an aspiring writer. Without plunging you back into my personal philosophy too deeply, I believe that every author, no matter how many times she or he has been published, is still an aspiring author, because we write to please for our audience. To give them something special, wonderful, fulfilling, memorable.

My best advice is the same thing every author ever said to me. Keep writing. Don’t give up. It’s easy to be distracted by other story ideas. For me, it’s usually about 40,000 words into a manuscript and other ideas begin to tempt me. I have to keep saying to myself “don’t do it! Don’t let yourself be distracted. Make a note of the idea and keep working the current story.”

The other bit of advice I would offer is simply this: be open to feedback. Seek it out, but be careful that what you’re really seeking isn’t a pat on the back.

The class I mentioned earlier was all about being able to embrace critique. Every time I left that class my wounded ego would say to me, “What a load of crap. Don’t listen to them.” My ego wanted me to lick my wounds. And believe me, I did. But usually about halfway home I would say, “Great that you believe in me ego, but I have to kick you to the curb because you would keep me writing the same way, and I didn’t go to this class to learn how to keep writing the same way. I went to class to learn how to become better.”

As an educator, I can’t count the number of times students have come to me asking for feedback. Every student needs (and deserves) encouragement. But so often, they come seeking only a pat on the back and aren’t looking for ways to improve at all.

We can’t learn anything new if we’re not open to critical feedback.

Any last words for our readers?

Yes. Back to my personal philosophy for a moment. I think it’s important for every romance writer to know why they write romances.

I told you earlier that I wrote in secret because I was immature, I lacked wisdom, I didn’t believe in what I had to offer, and I thought writing romances wasn’t a serious undertaking. All of that is true. But the overarching reason I wrote in secret was because I didn’t understand why I wanted to write women’s fiction and romance.

Here’s what I finally figured out. It’s my belief that in today’s world where fear and obligation so often define our priorities, we ache to remember love—to remember what it felt like the first time the object of our desire reached out to brush the hair from our face—what it feels like to be so wholly in the moment, nothing else matters except the transcendental, extrasensory experience romance evokes. There’s nothing like it.

As a romance author, every day I have the privilege to write about the human body and the human heart—how they respond to love, to desire, to joy, to pleasure, to sadness, to hope. And every day I believe more firmly that love is unstoppable!

Blogging with Laura Bickle

Laura Bickle has worked in the unholy trinity of politics, criminology, and technology for several years. She and her chief muse live in the Midwest, owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats. Her short fiction has appeared here and there. Embers, her debut novel, is first in an exciting new urban fantasy series that continues with her forthcoming second novel, Sparks. More information is at www.salamanderstales.com

Laura also writes as Alayna Williams. Alayna’s “debut” is Dark Oracle, Pocket Juno’s June 2010 release. More info on her work can be found at www.alaynawilliams.com


Laura is giving away a copy of DARK ORACLE to one random commentator. Winner will be announced on June 18th.


Please tell us about yourself. How long and hard did you work before getting published?

I’m a bit of an odd duck. My educational background is in criminology and library science, and I’ve worked in and around criminal justice for the past twelve years. I live in the Midwestern U.S. with my husband and four semi-reformed feral cats. In my spare time, I enjoy belly dancing and amateur astronomy. Not at the same time, though. Shimmying can really screw up your right ascension.

I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I’ve been writing novels for the past ten years and submitting for two before I got my “break.” It can get tough, because it seems as if the goal is so far away. But persistence is key. Every rejection brought me closer to someone saying “yes.”

Do you think the paranormal / urban fantasy market has been over-saturated? Do you find it more competitive or difficult to obtain a readership because of this?

It’s a very competitive market, with a lot of great ideas in the ether. Urban fantasy is harder to sell to editors now unless the concept is really out of the box. And one hopes that readers will be accepting of unusual ideas.

I know that there’s a vast sea of books out there, but I’m hopeful that readers will give my books a shot.

What is your current project about? What other projects do you have in the works?

In EMBERS, which was released in April, Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department. She spends her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya—who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern—suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon an ancient entity that will burn the city to cinders. By Devil’s Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya—with the help of the ghost hunters and her fire salamander familiar, Sparky—can stop it.

I wrote DARK ORACLE as Alayna Williams, and it was released a week ago. Tara Sheridan swore off criminal profiling after narrowly escaping a serial killer who left her scarred for life. By combining Tarot card divination with her own intuition, she must help an intense federal agent find a missing scientist who has unlocked the destructive secrets of dark energy. The agent, Harry Li, draws her out of her self-imposed exile and back into the world.

I have sequels to both books in the works. SPARKS, the sequel to EMBERS, will be released in September. The sequel to DARK ORACLE will be out in March 2011.

What was the most important thing you learned once you’ve become published?

The most important thing I’ve learned is that getting published isn’t a destination. It’s not over when a book hits the shelves. There’s a whole lot of additional worry, waiting, and wondering about how the book will be received, how much it will sell, the possibility of future contracts, etc.

What is the biggest misconception about romance authors that you’ve come across?

I think that romance authors are often misperceived as not taking risks with plot and character. I don’t think that’s true – I’ve read so many beautifully plotted romances that also focus on character development, and bring an element of the unexpected to the table.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done, and what did it teach you about yourself?

The most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is taking up belly dancing. I’m a pretty reserved person by nature. It helped me get out of my shell a bit and not be afraid of an audience. I’ll never be a professional, but it helped me loosen up a bit and have fun.

If you were a nail polish, what would it be called and why?

“Cosmic Coral.” I’m an amateur astronomer, and am fascinated by anything I can stare at in the night sky.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers? Any last words for our readers?

The single most important step along the path to getting published is finishing. The next step is having the discipline to do it again. And again. Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s the whole learning-by-doing thing.

And I’m deeply appreciative of those folks who pick up my books. I know that there are a lot of urban fantasies out there on the market, and I appreciate readers taking a chance on mine.

Kelly Lynn Parra


Kelly Lynn Parra’s earliest stories were told with paintbrushes, but upon discovering the drama, forbidden love, and danger of romance and suspense novels, those paintbrushes were replaced with a keyboard.

Now a multi-published author, she has created memorable characters such as a graffiti artist, a psychic teen, and a tough undercover narc. A two-time RITA finalist, she divides her time between her novels, freelance writing, and the adventures of motherhood, where she juggles her home life with two children, a tattooed husband, a sweet poodle, and a stealth turtle.

To learn more about Kelly and her writing visit www.KellyParra.com.


Please tell our readers and members a little bit about yourself.

Hello Romance Divas, thank you so much for allowing me to chat with you all! I’m Kelly Lynn Parra and I’m debuting into romantic suspense fiction with Carina Press with my novel Criminal Instinct.

I started my publishing career in young adult fiction, writing as Kelly Parra. My novels are Graffiti Girl and Invisible Touch published with MTV/Pocket Books. I tend to write books about underdogs who beat the odds, because who doesn’t love a good underdog story?

My experience has been really wonderful. The Carina team wants the e-press to be the best it can be and it shows in all of their hard work and amazing ideas. They are also helping the authors with on-line publicity and gathering us for monthly chats to bring us up-to-date with Carina’s plans.

What other projects do you have in the works?

I’m continuing to write young adult and I’m toying with a potential sequel to Criminal Instinct. The problem is so many ideas to choose from!

What inspires you? What were your writing influences?

Movies and wonderful books inspire me. The tension and action in movies that have me on the edge of my seat, and characters in books who are original and who I would love to know in real life.

As a teen, the one author that kept me awake long into the night was V.C. Andrews. Although back then I never thought I would one day be a writer. While I was pregnant with my first child I discovered the wonderful world of romance through Nora Roberts.

Since then I’ve discovered so many fantastic authors such as Marjorie M. Liu, Dianna Love, Rachel Caine, Janet Evanovich, Anne Frasier, and Rachel Vincent.

What helped you make the decision to become a romance writer?

While reading a bio of a Harlequin series author, I realized she was a stay-at-home mother writing romance novels. I was staying home with my son and wondered if I could write exciting and passionate love stories. So one day I took a chance and called it hobby. Once I joined on-line forums and chapters and took some workshops, becoming published turned into a dream.

What is the hardest part of being a writer? The easiest?

The hardest part for me is writing everyday. Sometimes the muse doesn’t want to work while I have a list of household chores to do or a baseball game to race to on time. *grin*

The easiest part of writing is creating characters and storylines from my imagination. I used to be an artist and I’ve always been very visual. This helps me to see what I’m writing like a movie playing in my mind.

What is the biggest misconception about romance authors that you’ve come across?

That writing is easy and that romance is all about sex. LOL. But these misconceptions usually come from people who are worried about how the world views them, and of course they are entitled to their opinions.

I know why I read romance and it’s to take a step into another world for a little while. To experience fiction that is out of the box and keeps me riveted. And I’m proud to read every genre that I enjoy.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up and try not to take negative feedback too personally. Keep writing even after the bad contest comments or the rejections. Be open to creative advice and work to make your book stronger.

Also, please realize there is always more to learn. I’ve written three books but there’s always room to hone my craft and to make my storytelling better.

Thank you again for reading! I hope you are a excited as I am about the launch of Carina Press. And I hope you’ll give a newbie romance writer a chance and check out Criminal Instinct on June 7th, 2010. Happy Reading!

J. Wachowski

J. Wachowski writes stories, screenplays, school excuses and anything else that pays.

She lives with her family on the midwestern edge of civilization, but is often sighted lurking at jwachowski.com.

Please tell our readers and members a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Chicago. I’m a sturdy Midwesterner. I have one of those faces that seem familiar—people always smile at me and say, “I know you…don’t I?”

You have a new release coming out with Carina Press. How was your experience with this new ePublisher that is a division of Harlequin?

Incredible. This is the leading edge of the publishing industry. A lot of smart people–visionaries and risk-takers–are working on this new company. I’ve already learned so much, everything from marketing through social media to specific process skills related to the collaborative nature of the electronic medium. This is my first book, so I’ve also learned the fundamentals of polishing a manuscript for publication, as you would with any publishing house. I feel lotto-lucky to have had this opportunity.

What other projects do you have in the works?

I’m working on screenplay right now. Rewrites on a novel will be next.

What inspires you? What were your writing influences?

For big picture inspiration—my muse likes me to get out of the house. Change of venue, some people watching, that always gets my brain cooking.

When I need crank-it-out, scene-by-scene inspiration—I hop in the shower and warm my head. This started back in college. I always reviewed for tests in the shower. I think better under water.

My biggest writing influences are my parents. They modeled a love of books. When I was in kindergarten, my Mom built my Dad a bookcase that took up an entire wall as an anniversary gift. That sucker was filled to overflowing with every kind of book.

Consequently, I read everything. Non-fiction. Fiction. Literary and popular. The London Review of Books and SmartBitches. Never enough time to read everything I’d like.

What helped you make the decision to become a romance writer?

This is a great story. It sounds like I made it up, but it’s true!

I was attending a writing conference in North Carolina. I had been selected for a special “master class” in writing with a famous literary type. Picture a dozen, edgy, serious people in black, clutching espressos.

The teacher ended our first lesson by telling us in all seriousness that we could expect to have one book published, but due to the fickle nature of the industry, our second book would never do as well as the first and our careers would probably be over after the third. “It’s a numbers game,” he said. Everyone nodded. We were dismissed for a coffee break.

Fighting a headache and a growing sense of malaise, I wandered into a panel discussion on popular fiction. Two romance writers, one mystery and one fantasy writer.

I listened to them say things like: “I’m so lucky!” “My office is in a closet. And I get up every morning at five a.m. and I write before I go to work. It’s great.” “Writing keeps me sane and happy.” “I still can’t believe it when I get a check. They pay me money to write!”

Wow.

I decided right then, I wanted to be with these people. Most writers feel compelled. I respect the ones who can also feel, and express, the joy of the work.

Being a writer is a Zen Koan—a puzzle that embodies two contradictory thoughts. You need to feel so compelled to tell the story that no one else matters. And you need to feel compelled to make your story understood by others. I think of it as: playing alone, with others. Learning to balance those two contradictory positions is the hardest thing for me as a writer.

Although spelling and punctuation are a close second.

What is the biggest misconception about romance authors that you’ve come across?

That they are stupid. Although, “misconception” isn’t a strong enough word. It’s really plain-old, ugly, bigotry.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

“Sit vis nobiscum.” (latin: May the force be with y’all.)

Spotlight on Nicola Marsh


Nicola is giving away a copy of her latest release A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON, her UK release this month, to one lucky commenter. Winner will be chosen at random on June 18th and will be contacted via email. Please provide this info if you wish to be included in the drawing.

NICOLA MARSH, USA Today Bestselling Author

Like so many other talented romance authors, you’re proving that there shouldn’t be a stereotype associated with romance. In fact, you worked as a physiotherapist for 13 years before making the leap into romance writing, what propelled you to finally take the leap?

I’d been saying for years “I’d love to write a book one day”…so I did!  I was at work, between patients, and googled ‘romance writing in Melbourne’.  I stumbled across the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, went along to a few meetings and it opened up a new world for me.  Talk of synopses, partials, POV…it was like they were talking another language at first but thankfully I quickly cottoned on!

Congratulations on contracting your 24th book! Writing for Harlequin is a dream for many authors, how has your experience been writing for their category romances? Any advice for writers trying to break in?

Know the market.  Harlequin has many different series, each with specific guidelines, so read widely in the series you’re targeting to get a feel for what the editors are buying.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere! Headlines in the newspaper, snippets from a magazine story but mostly in the middle of the night, when I’m just drifting off to sleep and the title, first line, first paragraph come to me fully formed. I jot it down and the next morning, off I go!

My first book, THE TYCOON’S DATING DEAL, came from a speed dating article I was reading at work one lunch time.  I thought “hmm…sounds like an interesting concept for a book” and thankfully the editors at Harlequin thought so too.

Do you have plans for writing single title romances or another genre outside of contemporary?

I’ve written 2 mainstream contemporary romances which I adore but unfortunately, in this market, those books are a hard sell.  I’d be competing against Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson (so I’ve been told!) so for now, those books are on hold.

That said, I’m super excited about another mainstream novel I’ve just completed.  My agent is too, so fingers crossed!

Do you have any writing rituals you follow?

Yes, plonk my butt in the chair every day and write.

It’s as simple as that.

No matter how much I’d rather curl up with a book or watch a great TV show, writing is my job so I need to treat it as such.

The words won’t write themselves so I have to do it, every day.

Be dedicated to your craft.

What is the most extreme or spontaneous thing you’ve ever done and did it impact your life in any way?

In my late twenties I took off for the UK and Europe on my own, the first time I’d traveled alone.  The experience was liberating and taught me I could do anything if I wanted it badly enough.

What is the biggest misconception about romance authors that you’ve come across?

That we’re frustrated housewives dabbling in a hobby.  *Shudder*

What projects do you have in the future? What should we look out for?

This month I have a triple release!

In the USA, THREE TIMES A BRIDESMAID…(Harlequin Romance) hits the shelves along with OVERTIME IN THE BOSS’S BED (Harlequin Presents Extra).

In the UK, my recent Romantic Times finalist for Best Harlequin Romance 09, A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON is being re-released in an anthology DESTINATION: SUMMER WEDDINGS.

All 3 books are set in my gorgeous home city, Melbourne (though Overtime in the Boss’s Bed features Sydney and a Whitsunday Island too, while A Trip with the Tycoon is also set in India, on a luxurious train journey through Rajasthan.)

Great armchair travels!

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

Write, write and write some more.  No matter how uninspired or tired you are, sit down and write, even if it’s a few hundred words.  The more you write, the faster you become, the easier it is, the more habit-forming.

The way to discover your voice is by writing.  Play around, try different genres, have a ball, follow your dream.

Any last words for our readers?

I absolutely love interacting with and hearing from readers, so please drop by my blog http://www.nicolamarsh.blogspot.com And you can find me on Twitter and Facebook too!

Author Bio:

USA TODAY bestselling author Nicola Marsh writes flirty fiction with flare for Harlequin Romance and Modern Heat/Presents.

She’s had 24 books published and sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide.

She’s a Waldenbooks and Bookscan bestseller, has finalled in several awards including the HOLT, Booksellers’ Best, Golden Quill, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, Laurel Wreath, More than Magic and won several CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Awards.

A physiotherapist in a previous life, she now adores writing, raising her two little heroes, sharing fine food with family and friends, and her favorite, curling up with a good book!

For more information on Nicola, visit her at: www.nicolamarsh.com

Interviewed by Jax Cassidy