Thanks for joining me today on Night Owl Romance.
To get us started can you please start by telling us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
The Price of Innocence, my debut novel, was released November of 2009.
Currently, I am working on a sequel to The Price of Innocence, entitled The Price of Deception. I'm also penning a Phantom of the Opera spin-off novel, which will be my biggest challenge.
Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
In real life I'm a paralegal by day. When I'm not working, I'm writing.
I merely dabbled at writing until January of 2008, but have always known it was something I loved. For my birthday, a group of friends at work encouraged me with gifts of writer magazines and books and said go for it! Frankly, it touched my heart deeply, and I finally ventured out into the public eye on the Internet writing articles and blogs that proved to be successful.
Eventually, I took a fiction writing course and started my first fiction novel in June of 2008. It was a struggle to finish, but finally it's available for sale and reader comments so far are very positive.
If you could be one of the characters from this book - Who would you be? And why?
No doubt my protagonist, Suzette. She is very innocent, dependent, and on a journey toward maturity. If I had one word to describe her personality, it would be naive. She sometimes appears like a victim in life, but her experiences are the things that will eventually mature her into a woman who can stand on her own.
When I reflect back on my own innocence and lack of experience in life during her age, I can see the consequences of my own foolish decisions. Experience does bring maturity - there's no doubt about it.
Who or what influenced you when you wrote this book? Did you have a CD, Songs, environment, etc?
The greatest influence were my friends that kept encouraging me. As a debut author, you go through so many doubts regarding your abilities to achieve your goal. Without friends constantly reaffirming my writing abilities, I probably would have thrown in the towel and given up completely.
Can you please give us a sneak peek into the book?
It is the tender story of Suzette Camille Rousseau, a young woman in late 19th century Paris, who makes a difficult journey from innocence to maturity. After losing a sheltered life with her father, Suzette is thrown into the harsh reality of poverty, struggling as a homeless woman on the streets of Paris. In order to survive, she faces difficult choices that offer little hope of redemption.
Her journey takes her from the charities of St. Vincent de Paul, to a local laundry house where she toils endlessly in filth and squalor. To her surprise, one of her customers is the Chabanais, the most famous brothel in France that only caters to aristocrats.
Like a fly drawn to a spider's web, the mistress of the brothel entices Suzette into a world of opulence, comfort, and beauty, but there is a price to pay-her innocence.
Succumbing to a life of prostitution, she meets a handsome English Lord who saves her from the unthinkable. When he spirits her off to another country, her past follows. A man, who refuses to forget his promise, relentlessly pursues Suzette intent on regaining her heart. He only wishes for one thing-to give her love and a life of respectability.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
My goal is that The Price of Innocence will be the first in a series of three novels. The next is The Price of Deception. As you read the epilogue to the first novel, I can only say that not all you read is necessarily truth. It sets the stage for The Price of Deception, which are the consequences of the characters' lies to one another.
It is my hope to release The Price of Deception early fall of 2010 and the last in the series, The Price of Love, the following year.
What kind of research did you do for this book? Did you enjoy the research process?
Research took months! I really wanted to make the historical background as accurate as possible. I purchased books regarding Paris history, researched burial practices, wash houses, legalized prostitution, and the Chabanais brothel that really existed. It was fascinating!
It gave me an understanding of the struggle of the poor on the streets of Paris and the lives that most women chose in order to survive. Prostitution was big business in France and strictly regulated by the government. Women were card-carrying prostitutes. and at one point over 30,000 women were registered in Paris alone.
What would you like to tell your readers?
My book is more accurately described as historical fiction, with elements of romance. I wrote it specifically for the purpose of carrying it to book two, so keep that in mind when you dab your eyes with tissue while reading the epilogue. Not all is as it appears! Otherwise, if I told you the truth, there would be no deception!
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I do not belong to a critique group. I did, however, take three copies of my manuscript before publication and passed it around to various readers for feedback. My goal is to please readers, and when I found that it did, I was content with the end result.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
I am also an avid Phantom of the Opera fan and very active in the Phantom community. Fans are insatiable to say the least, and there are many Phantom spin-off novels for sale. I have already started my own novel entitled, The Phantom of Valletta. It will be quite different, and my hope is to surprise the socks off my readers!
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
I am also an avid blogger. My first blog - Lessons From the Phantom of the Opera - currently has over 46,000 hits from 106 countries. My readers begged me to put it into print form, which I did in May of 2009. I self-published the posts into a personal journal for Phantom fans to use in understanding the story on a deeper level. The books deals with the characters, emotions, symbols, and events of the story from Gaston Leroux's original work to Andrew Lloyd Webber's famous stage version..
In addition, my active involvement in the Phantom community led to my own Internet radio show on BlogTalkRadio called All Things Phantom. We've been broadcasting for six months, and over 6,000 listeners have downloaded our show for listening.
On another note, I write a blog for singles entitled Just One Single. It's a frank blog for those never married, divorced, or widowed that are struggling with single life.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
My friends are my biggest encouragers. The Price of Innocence is self-published, but I am actively sending it to traditional houses. I've already received from extremely positive feedback from editors. However, in the meantime I'm thoroughly enjoying what readers think of it in reviews!
What was your first published work and when was it published?
Lessons From the Phantom of the Opera - May 2009
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
No doubt this will be an odd answer, but a truthful one on my part. I can only say the best advice I ever received is don't compare yourself to other authors. The worst advice I've ever received is to read the work other authors to learn.
I know that sounds bizarre in itself, but one huge lesson I've learned in this journey of writing is that you cannot compare yourself to others. Each of us are unique in our styles and storytelling talents. I find when I read what other successful authors have penned, it brings self-doubts to my own work and causes stumbling blocks.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
The Price of Innocence was birthed in my mind almost overnight and I just wrote it. During the journey, however, it took a few different directions.
The Price of Deception is outlined, but I'm finding already I'm making changes as I go along. Inspiration seems to come at the tips of my fingers while I'm writing the story.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
If we're talking romance here, it's a man who loves unconditionally. You'll find in my work that some of my characters do so automatically and that it is part of their personality. They know what true love is.
On the other hand, other characters learn what it means to love unconditionally during the story. It's a journey I take them through to teach them the meaning of sacrifice and acceptance.
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
Contemporary romance. I have a few ideas floating around in the imaginary section of my brain I'd like to pen some day.
"Penning Heartfelt Emotional Journeys"