Firstly, thank you to Jerrica and the other ladies at Timeless Quills for inviting me to feature on their site. I am honorued to have been asked.
I started writing Regency Romance because my mother loved the genre. I had begun to write when I was in my teens but my efforts were very naive and I lacked sufficient life experience then to make the characters shine. Later in life, I picked up the pen again and my mother's eyes lit up when I told her I was going to write a book for her. I just wish she had been able to read it. She died three years ago and it is a regret of mine that she never read a single word I have written. That book was 'The Honourable Gentleman'. Although it was the last book I released, it was actually the first one I wrote.
'A Gentleman and a Scoundrel' was a spin off of the Honourable G. I released it first as an experiment and to my surprise it did really well. 'The Bluestocking and the Rake' is the last book I wrote and the one I am happiest with. I really wanted to try and emulate the fun and banter of the Georgette Heyer novels which I feel is missing from a lot of modern day Regency Romances—many focussing on action between the sheets rather than two people falling in love. I hope in Bluestocking that I managed to achieve that—I certainly had fun writing it! And I think I fell in love with Lord Marcham (shh, don't tell my husband).
I am proud and not a little surprised to say that 'The Bluestocking and the Rake' has done really well in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. The book is a semi finalist in the Romance category. What happens after that, I don't know yet but please drop by my website www.myhistoricalromance.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/historicalregencyromance for further news.
Well, I am writing a short story at the moment which I am hoping will be the start of a new series. I am also writing Mr Deverill's story but I currently have writer's block on that one! And I am writing some modern day romances too. Too many ideas, too little time…
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I'm afraid I can't answer that. I can never see my character's faces in my head. That sounds weird, doesn't it? I know them as people and as personalities and what makes them tick but their appearance is secondary in importance to me. When I write them, I become them, so it's hard for me to see them from the outside. Does that sound completely crazy? Er, yes, probably.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Ha! I wish I knew! I always get stuck at about 75% of the way through a book and it's usually when I have two or more possible ways I could go with the story and cannot make up my mind which route to take. One thing that helps me is to put the laptop away, get out a notebook and pen and just write. It doesn't matter what your handwriting looks like, it doesn't matter if the prose is clumsy—you can tidy it up later. Just write and explore the options. Get the ideas flowing and sometimes you hit on something that gets you going again.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I print the bad ones off and use them as toilet paper—no I don't, only joking. That would be way too disrespectful. I use them to wrap my rubbish in… Seriously, though? I stopped reading them a long time ago. Both good and bad reviews were starting to affect the way I was writing. I was writing to please them rather than to please myself and that is not a good place to be—you start to lose your soul.
I love to read, visit big country houses, go to the cinema but actually, because writing is not my day job, it is my relaxation too. When it is going well, and you are lost in the world that you have created, there is nothing like it for escaping from the stress of every day life!
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
My husband would laugh to read that I have such a thing! He regularly pulls my ego up from the floor, dusts it down and sends it off into the world with a stern talking to! But the closest thing I have to a motivational phrase is the song my mum use to sing,
'You've got to accentuate the positive
eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
But don't mess with mister inbetween'
What is your favorite book?
I love too many to choose just one. Sebastian Faulks 'Birdsong', Cormac McArthy's 'The Road' and Patrick Gale's 'Rough Music' are all fantastic. If I want a pick me up, I turn to Georgette Heyer: 'Faro's Daughter', 'Regency Buck' and 'Sylvester' are three of my favourites. And of course, P&P.
Who is your favorite author?
I can't pick one. I could give you a list a mile long! Michael Robotham for his 'grab you by the seat of your pants' thrillers. Patrick Gale and Maggie O'Farrell for their beautiful, effortless prose. Charles Frazier, for his sense of place and atmosphere. Joanna Trollope for her sharp observations on the modern day world and the people in it. Cormac McArthy because he is just awesome. David Nicholls because he's hilarious. Georgette Heyer because she is the original and the best Regency Romance writer and the author who made me, as a young teenager, finally 'get' reading.
What is your favorite movie?
Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner.' I also love Alfred Hitchcock's 'Marnie'. Sean Connery is sex on legs in that film!
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I can't think of a famous person. I would like to meet my Welsh Great Grandfather and ask him where my maiden name originates from. It's a family mystery and I'd love to know the truth!
What is the most interesting trip you have ever taken?
For our tenth wedding anniversary we went to Sorrento in Italy. It was the honeymoon I wanted all those years ago but couldn’t afford at the time. The area is full of history and absolutely beautiful. Capri was the most stunning place imaginable and once you get away from the crowds, peaceful. The trouble is, my husband fell in love with a gorgeous hotel and wants to holiday there, at approximately £10K for a week! I gotta sell me a LOT more books to afford to stay in a shack on Capri!
What was your most embarrassing moment?
My life is one long embarrassing moment. I was born with my foot in my mouth. You know the girl who leaves the loo with her skirt tucked inside her knickers? That's me.
*White wine or red?*
Do I have to choose? I love both.
*Coffee or tea?*
Tea but I love filter coffee too.
Cook dinner or order take-out/delivery?
Cook. I have been with my husband for fifteen years and we have never, in all that time, ordered a take away. It just never occurs to us. We put the iPod on while we cook and usually end up dancing around the kitchen and playing air guitar with the fish slice!
*Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?*
Love both. My Dad has an ice-cream maker and recently made lemon ice cream with Limoncello and lemon curd - fabulous!
Pancakes or eggs?
I'm British so we have pancakes only once a year on Shrove Tuesday. We have them with lemon and sugar and usually end up making way too many and we end up like fat little chipmunks, too full to move!
*Sleep in or get up early?*
I have never been the sort of person who gets up at the crack of dawn. The thought of waking up with the sun is appealing until you realise that most people who do that are in bed by nine in the evening! I like my evenings too much to give them up.
*Laptop or desktop for writing?*
Laptop. We live in a tiny cottage so I don't really have anywhere I can call my writing space. Usually, it's me sitting on the bed with the laptop across my knees! We are hoping to move house soon and top of my list is a little room I can call my own, with a desk, an easy chair and shelves for all my books!
To celebrate my interview with the fabulous ladies at Timeless Quills, I am doing a free give away of 'The Honourable Gentleman' on Amazon running between 8th and 12th July 2014 inclusive.
US link: http://www.amazon.com/Honourable-Gentleman-Regency-Gentlemen-Book-ebook/dp/B00H5MVJII/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404561270&sr=8-1&keywords=the+honourable+gentleman
UK link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Honourable-Gentleman-Regency-Gentlemen-Series-ebook/dp/B00H5MVJII/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404561215&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=the+hounourable+gentleman