The Inventor | (Romancing Europe LLC September 14, 20110) | Steampunk/Erotic Romance
For the Countess of Caithmore, a life of wealth has led to misery. Abandoned by her husband and widely accused of being nothing more than a porcelain doll without passion or intelligence, she has ventured into dangerous territory and commissioned the help of the most famous inventor in New Europa for a scandalous project.
In the depths of his laboratory, she will submit herself to a custom-built machine that will determine the extent of her coldness once and for all. The answer she craves carries a hidden risk, however, and the man whose invention has proven her ability to feel passion may not accept the role of lover-by-proxy for long.
Please describe your writing environment.
I move around a bit, but in the past year, I've written from an apartment outside the castle square in Krakow, a table close to a pretzel stand in Prague, a sunny meadow in Slovakia and a wooden house with a sputtering boiler and a homemade tree elevator in Zakopane.
Please tell us your latest news!
I've actually released three steampunk romance novellas in the 'Fantasies of New Europa' series in the past six months. The debut novella, The Inventor, has risen into Amazon's top 100 paid titles in Romance Anthology about twice a week for the past six weeks, so I'm very happy about that.
Do you see writing as a career?
I agree with a lot of other writers who claim that it's a calling. Way too much work to be a career. I've had some nice, well-paid techie jobs where I clocked off at five and didn't think more about it. I've always been a storyteller and a writer, though, and I can't turn that off or put it away. Characters come to me, no matter where I am, or what I'm doing, and they live out precious moments of their lives with me. They teach me things I could never learn otherwise. Wherever that comes from, and whatever's behind it, there's not a career on Earth that can match it. So, more of a calling, I guess.
Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing? If so what is it and please describe it.
I have a small Chinese dragon carved from wood that I picked up after a Love Parade in San Francisco. He was supposed to bring luck, but we're past all that now, and his job is just to channel the love.
Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing?
My life doesn't actually allow for many rituals. I've learned to write on buses and in train stations, on kid's playgrounds and in malls, hiding in the closet just after Christmas dinner, trying to get the words out before dessert. My favorite setup is a quiet room, with a little wine and a little moonlight. That's the best.
What's been the most challenging part of writing for you?
Balancing eroticism and adventure. With Inventor, it was easy, because the premise is inherently sexual, and the story plays out in an old, European-style city, which is familiar ground. Ian and Leda are both rebellious in their own individual ways, and they mutually decide to engage in this scandalous act which brings them together. The second novella in the series (Admiral) was more challenging because it introduces a richer world, complete with an exotic heroine, and the fulfillment of desire is also an emotional rebirth for the hero. That was tough, extremely tough, and I learned from it. The third and fourth in the series were a little easier to write, because I placed the focus on introducing eroticism in more direct ways, exploring what really creates sizzle and weaving those elements into a beautifully represented adventure. That's what I'm striving for with the 'New Europa' series---to find that perfect little adventure. And yeah, a lot of days that really kicks my butt.
Do you have an interesting quirk?
I'm mostly quirks. I'm an American who lives in a very old, steampunkish house, high in the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, among odd, artistic, eccentric and highly forgetful people. I'm a feisty science nerd and a corset collector who talks to herself in multiple languages. Lots of quirks.
Do you like to mix genres?
I love to mix and blend genres, even though it can be risky. I don't think I could do a straight historical or a traditional paranormal right now, even though I love reading both sub-genres. I just don't have the attention span for writing them. My interest is currently in blending erotica into adventure and Jules Verne flavored fantasy. That will keep me busy for a while.
What inspires your writing?
My work is completely character driven. I find a character (or one of them finds me) and I spend hours figuring out what's going on with them. They always have a particular need, a strength, or a vulnerability, which--in turn---attracts another character out of the ether, and so the story begins to weave itself together.
How many books do you plan on writing each year?
I have both novellas and longer books in the works at the moment. Between them all, I plan on publishing another 6 titles in 2011.
How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
I've been lucky, in that I've been able to travel a lot. I learn so much from doing that. I research the various machines and devices, and cultures, that I incorporate into my work, but the most important things I've learned have come from meeting all kinds of people and passing through all kinds of places. Romance is everywhere. That's a cool tidbit :-)
What's your favorite drink?
Margarita, on the rocks, with sugar on rim. Elixir of the Gods.
What main genre do you write in?