Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I'm a Canadian city-dweller, but I would love to live in a secluded cabin by a lake somewhere. The environment means a great deal to me. After all, if we don't preserve this beautiful planet, we're pretty much out of luck.
Two cats are usually perched at my side while I write, lending moral support and cuddles. I'm very fortunate to have a family that backs me in my writing endeavours. Actually, my grandmother is more supportive of my career in erotica than pretty much anyone else.
What's your favorite genre to read?
Canadian literary fiction is gold, I tell you! My favourite books are contemporary fiction, and there's something magic about the work of authors like Anne-Marie MacDonald, Robertson Davies and Rohinton Mistry. I can't pinpoint exactly what it is about Canadian literary fiction that makes it so unique and so poignant. It's humble, somehow.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
The night before, I set the timer on my coffee maker, because I can't seem to make coffee before I've had a coffee. So, I get up and pour myself a cup of coffee, then bring the coffee to my desk. What were we talking about? I may need another coffee.
Anyway, I set various goals for myself on a writing day. First, I'll set a word count goal. That is, by the end of the day, I want to have written however many words. I usually have other goals too, like writing up a synopsis or query letter, or getting right down to it and submitting my work.
Promotion, research and sorting through emails I tend to save until the evening. I'm at my peak while the sun is in the sky, so that's when I like to get the actual writing done.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
Often, for me, blocks are a matter of too much output and not enough input. That's when reading a book or listening to music or even just watching TV helps. Anything where I'm taking in rather than, ahem, putting out.
Going for a walk through the cemetery helps too, especially when I'm blocked on a name. Cemeteries are great for names. They're also infused with deep emotion, which helps me feel my way through my work when I'm too focussed on the technical aspects and need to get back to the emotion of the piece.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
My perfect hero isn't a hero at all.
I tend to write strong, assertive, sexually savvy female characters. Women who like the chase. In my hetero romance stories, that translates into heroes who are perhaps a little tentative, a little shy. These guys need some persuasion.
For instance, in my Audrey and Lawrence short story series, the flawed and clumsy Audrey won't take the married Lawrence's "No" for an answer. She's head over heels and she has to have him.
What do you do for inspiration?
I have this terrible habit of always being inspired when I have nothing to write on. In the shower, for instance. I need a pack of these crayons my little sister had when she was a baby -they were made of soap so you could write on the bathroom tiles.
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
One of these days I'm going to write a Historical. Really, I will. Cross my heart and hope to die! Ok, so I'm always procrastinating when it comes to writing that genre. As much as I'd like to write a historical, I'm so afraid that no matter how much research I do, I'll still get some detail or fact wrong. I'm a wimp in that respect. I should just dive right in.
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
Deadlines complete me! Well, not quite, but my work would never be completed without them. I have this terrible habit of starting a new project all gung-ho, but then I'm inspired with a new idea for a new story. Start up the new one, the old one falls by the wayside. But when there's a deadline in sight, I keep my nose to the grindstone until the story's finished. Deadlines drive out distractions.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
A neighbour of mine was over for dinner one evening, and he told me about this interview with an erotica writer he'd listened to on CBC Radio. Now, this neighbour, by some great coincidence, also taught me English in High School, so he knew I could write. He said, "Hey, why not give it a shot?"
So I did! I'd written plenty of erotica for, ahem, personal use, but never considered there was a market for it. Like, duh!
I figured I would do what Mavis Gallant, the great Canadian storywriter, did: Submit three stories. If one gets published, keep writing. If none get published, pack it in.
Now I realize how fortunate I was that one of those stories was selected for publication. It's pretty rare for that to happen. I didn't know that at the time, though. I figured Ms Gallant's method was sensible.