"The Heir" (Sourcebooks Casablanca) will be on the shelves December 1, 2010.
Please tell us your latest news!
"The Heir," will hit the shelves December 1, the flagship Regency romance in The Duke's Obsession trilogy. Three brothers are beset by their ducal father's penchant for matchmaking, and all three find true love despite dear Papa's meddling. The second book, "The Soldier," will follow in Spring 2011, and the final installment is scheduled for Fall 2011.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn't change anything! This book was such a pleasure to write. Gayle Windham showed up in a previous manuscript as a major supporting character with an interesting role and the kind of personality that demands its own book--sexy but reserved, determined, beset with woes but undaunted, resourceful and much in need of a heroine to rescue him from his bachelor existence. But then SHE had troubles of her own and the story just romped along from start to finish. This book spoiled me. From a craft perspective, I want twenty more just like it.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is... hard to choose because there are so many (there's a partial list on my website). My favorite vintage author is Judith Ivory. Her writing is a study in how to do it right: Terrific period detail that enhances rather than detracts, wonderful characters who bring their worlds to life, and stories so brilliant "why didn't I think of that" doesn't even begin to cover it. Then there's Laura Kinsale, Joanna Bourne, JR Ward, Meredith Duran, Sophia Nash, Mary Balogh... so much talent, so little time to read them all!
Do you see writing as a career?
I see writing as a vocation, as a calling the writer can't escape no matter how hard she tries. Whether it can suffice as a source of income is a different question, and to the writer, a secondary question. It isn't that I can write or I might write. I must write the way some people must get in their stretching, their yoga or their running. Gotta do it, no matter what or my soul starts feeling cloudy.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I am the sixth out of seven children and for much of my upbringing, we had no TV. Reading stories to the kids after dinner was one way my parents could give personal attention to three or four of us at once, wind us down from the day, and make the start of the bedtime routine pleasant. My parents also emphasized education and the ability to communicate. Writing lets me combine a life long love of story with the joy of effective communication.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you're a writer, write. Really, truly write. Don't be fooled by who has the most craft books, who drops the biggest names, who's submitted to the most popular agent, who hits the most conferences in one year, who has the most published critique partners. None of that is relevant to YOUR writing. Let others buzz and flutter around and upgrade their craft libraries because that's what they enjoy doing. You write, revise when you're ready to, and write some more.
How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
My family seems to think it was inevitable that I'd end up writing fiction. I haven't asked them why this is but I'm dedicating my first book to them.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
I used to say I wrote quickly, completing a manuscript in about sixty days. Fat lot I knew! Now I say I draft quickly, but it still takes me about twelve months to get a manuscript where I want it. You can't make a baby in one month with nine women, and so it is with my books. They need time to marinate, I need time to cogitate, and drafting the book is only one step in that process.I am more a seat-of-the-pants draftsman than a plotter, but I go to craft workshops for the gems and nuggets I can pick up there.
Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing? If so what is it and please describe it. (Pen, Coffee Cup, Pet, Blanket, Chair)
I believe that as you progress on the path you're supposed to be on, you accumulate regalia, things that both symbolize that path and guide you on it. I type in a special chair one of my friends bought for me one birthday after I'd started writing. My mother bought me my reading lamp. I drink my tea from a mug I bought at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London when I was writing my first Scottish Victorian. When I'm chilly, I wear the fuzzy I bought at the Balmoral Castle gift shop on a research expedition to the Scottish Highlands. These are just a few of my toys, totems, and treasures, and I'm gathering them gleefully.
Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example..get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place
Feed the dogs, cats and horses first then one cup of jasmine green tea in the morning, preferably from the Twinings Tea Shop in Piccadilly (they assured me the UK blend is stronger than the international version), and into my writing chair I go. Ray Bradbury's advice was to write before the day intrudes, and I agree with him. I can write later in the day, but those first few hours are my most productive. I read over the previous day's work, then away I go to Regency England or wherever the WIP takes me. I love this life, love it.
What main genre do you write in?