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Monday, 19 October 2015

Meet Our Authors - Donna Alward

Continuing our Meet Our Authors series, today we have bestselling, award winning author Donna Alward. Her latest release is an anthology called Not My 1st Rodeo. Here are some things she had to tell us.

1. Are you a reader? How many books a year do you read?

Of course I’m a reader! I read around 50 books a year. Mostly romance, some non-fic, some in other genres or general fiction.

2. What is your favorite genre to read? To write?

My favorite genre to write is contemporary romance, but my reading taste is firmly in the regency romance camp. I LOVE a good regency romp!

3. If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would say to them?

LaVyrle Spencer and I would say thank you – for the hours and hours of enjoyment. And also for inspiring me to want to write big, heartwarming romance novels.

4. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

My keeper shelf, a water purification system, and a box of sunscreen because I burn easily.

5. Paper or Plastic? (book or eReader)

Paper. I read about a 70/30 split paper to digital.

6. Plotter or Pantster?

Pantser.

7. What advice would you give someone who wanted to be a writer?

Write, write, and write some more. And realize that it might take several books for your work to be publishable. Don’t rush.

8. What are you reading now?

I’m just starting in on the Christmas books on my TBR. I don’t always get to them all and I can’t read holiday stories after Christmas, lol. So they get saved for the next year.

9. What inspires you?

Peace. Calm. Quiet. Seriously, when I have calm and quiet I can let down my mental guards and let in all the great stuff – and really immerse myself in the story.

10. What is your writing schedule like?

Fairly regular. It has to be. I have teenagers and I am also a freelance editor, so I have to be pretty structured. I try to hit word count every day, and then move on to the next items on the priority list.

11. What is your writing space like?

I have a lovely office. Four windows look over the yard, I have a bookcase on one side, and a futon for curling up and reading or working on paper edits. My husband has a desk and PC in there too, and other than my desk I guess there’s just my cherry filing cabinet. It’s great to have my own space. In my last house I had a 7x7 space and I shared it with kids’ toys, a fish tank, and a piano.

12. What motivates you to write?

Deadlines.

13. When did you start writing?

Officially in October of 2001. I’ve always been a writer but I didn’t start really writing until that year. I sold in 2006.

14. Who are your favorite authors?

Tough question! LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, Mary Balogh, Robyn Carr, Lily Everett, Deanna Raybourn. And a host of others.

15. Who inspires you?

My writing buddies. Several of us have belonged to the same “loop” for years. We ALL have gone through some tough stuff, but we still write. We cheer each other on, and are just there for each other. When we get to hang out in person, which is rare, it’s really special.

16. Why did you write this particular story, Not My 1st Rodeo?

I was in Texas at the annual RWA conference, and two RWAC chaptermates (Debbie and Linda) told this silly story about some fertilizer reps which got us on the topic of dating sites…and my co-writers for the series and I just thought it was hysterical. We came home and instantly started writing it.

17. Do you re-read books? If so, what book have you read the most?

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer. It might be a tie between that title and Years.

18. What is the closest book to you right now?

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. A grammar book…wow. LOL.

19. What book are you working on / promoting right now?

Not My 1st Rodeo – Samhain has it on sale until the 31st! It’s a real bargain for 3 novellas in one volume.

20. Tell us about that book, what inspired it? What does the title mean? What it’s about etc…?

As I mentioned, the story was inspired at RWA in San Antonio. I have to admit, some of the silly inspiration came from the dating site Farmer’s Only.com – a dating site for farmers. Seriously, go do a search for it on youtube and watch some of the ads, lol. We decided that we should have a dating site for cowboys and ranchers who’d been married before and survived to tell the tale. In other words, this isn’t their first rodeo. Then we just ran with it. Each story is very different. My hero’s set up by his sister, and he’s not too happy about it. J

21. Please share any links you’d like to with us.

My website where all my books are listed is www.donnaalward.com.

Thanks for giving us the scoop, Donna! We look forward to following your writing career!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Meet our Authors ~ Michelle Helliwell

Today in our Meet Our Authors series, we have Michelle Helliwell. Her debut novel, Not Your Average Beauty, released this summer, and I'm sure we can expect a lot more from this writer.

BLURB

Stephen Pembroke, the Marquess of Barronsfield, believes that where his love of beauty goes, death follows. Cursed to a loveless existence, and with his legacy at stake, Stephen makes a desperate proposal of marriage to Rosalind Schofield, his steward’s new ward - and the plainest girl he has ever met. Rosalind has spent a lifetime being overlooked for prettier faces. When she is singled out for her lack of beauty by the Marquess, she begins to doubt if she is deserving of the love she inwardly craves.

When unusual things start happening around her, Rosalind can’t help but wonder if Lord Barronsfield or his curse are who and what they appear to be. When she openly challenges Stephen about the curse, he begins to doubt everything – and comes to realize that this apparently plain, ordinary woman is not as unremarkable as he believed. Strange things are happening in Barronsfield. As they move closer to the truth, Rosalind unwittingly finds herself in the sights of the real beast in Barronsfield, and Stephen must decide if his growing love for Rosalind will be his salvation or her doom.

We asked her some questions, and here's what Michelle had to so.

1. Are you a reader? How many books a year do you read?

I am, and I tend to be a binge reader - I will read lots for a while, then go cold turkey for a bit, and so on. Hard to know how many - maybe 30 books a year.

2. What is your favorite genre to read? To write?

I read a lot of romance (mostly historical, but also some contemporary and some paranormal), fantasy, and non-fiction. I love a good non-fiction book actually.

3. If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would say to them?

Oh my gosh - I really don't know. I think I'd want to meet another human being living in a different time - someone forgotten by history - and ask them about their life, learn from them.

4. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

A solar panel that charges a cellphone. A cellphone. A book on "what do to if you're stranded on a desert island."

5. Paper or Plastic? (book or eReader)

Depends. I gobble romances in digital form. Cookbooks, non-fiction, for some reason I prefer paper.

6. Plotter or Pantster?

Pantser.

7. What advice would you give someone who wanted to be a writer?

Just write and see what happens.

8. What are you reading now?

I'm re-reading the Sword of Shannara.

9. What inspires you?

Specifically with writing - other good stories. Wind and moody weather are also good for my writer's soul. Being outdoors.

10. What is your writing schedule like?

I want to say daily but that is more of an aspiration. It moves around depending on my needs. Right now I'm writing in the evenings, after my youngest is in bed.

11. What is your writing space like?

It moves, since I don't have a dedicated space. It might be the corner of my couch, or my bed, or the deck if it's nice, but generally I'm most effective if I'm sitting at my dining room table (and I love my dining room).

12. What motivates you to write?

Not sure. I just want to.

13. When did you start writing?

I started taking writing seriously in 2008, and I wrote my first full manuscript. I didn't know what I was doing, but I had a year's mat leave and I was turning forty in 2009, and I just thought that if I didn't do this and finish, I would regret it forever.

14. Who are your favorite authors?

Julia Quinn, Sabrina Jefferies and Sarah MacLean are some of my favourites, but I love plenty. Scott Westerfeld wrote my favourite series, Leviathan, and Mary Balogh wrote my favourite hero, Wulfric Bedwyn.

15. Who inspires you?

Other people doing interesting things. Really - the world is full of people doing their darnedest to make a good life and this world a better place, and they inspire me.

16. Why did you write Not Your Average Beauty?

I've always loved fairy tales, but I remember quite clearly being given an old copy of Grimm's fairy tales and reading it through and while I loved the stories, I was also sort of disenchanted. The heroines in those stories were always the youngest, always blonde, always so sweet natured and beautiful. And maybe I've got a sweet nature (or not), but I really couldn't identify with that. And Rosalind (my heroine) just kind of popped in there. What if you aren't that stereotypical fairy tale princess?

17. Do you re-read books? If so, what book have you read the most?

I re-read On Writing by Stephen King every few years, and The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn I read when I feel like I'm in a rut. I love that book so much.

18. What is the closest book to you right now?

I'm sitting by my downstairs bookshelf and "Jane Austen: Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels" by Janet Todd is staring me in the face. It was a launch day gift from Nicola R. White, who is quite a lovely person herself.

19. What book are you working on / promoting right now?

No Prince Charming - which I am determined to get out by Christmas! It's the follow up to Not Your Average Beauty, and centres around what happens to Edmund Pembroke after we leave him in that story.

20. Tell us about that book, what inspired it? What does the title mean? What it’s about?

No Prince Charming is rooted in the story of Snow White. I was inspired by a visit to Uniacke House actually, which is one of my favourite places to visit. There is quite a lovely manor and to the side, a smaller home that might belong to the groundskeeper. There is a story that the builder of the estate, Richard John Uniacke was arrested on suspicion of Treason for his involvement in the Cumberland Revolution (during the American Revolutionary War) in Amherst. He was taken to Halifax by coach for trial, and he passed by the property and declared he was going to build a house on that estate.

I loved the idea of the rogue who becomes the prince, and it really spawned from there - a man who is really a prince (or at least, a gentleman) hiding his true identity for whatever reason. It began from there.

For more about Michelle, you can check out her website at www.michellehelliwell.com.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Meet Our Authors ~ Nicola R. White

Hi and welcome to our Meet Our Authors series. The first interview we have is with Nicola R. White who recently released her debut novel.

Fury's Kiss (New England Furies #1)

by Nicola R. White

Cover

Blurb

Hawthorne, Massachusetts has always been a nice place, a safe place - a boring place. At least to waitress Tara Walker, who dreams of more excitement than slinging plates of seafood for Cape Cod tourists. But as Tara learns when she is attacked and forced to fight for her life, fate sometimes has a funny way of giving you exactly what you wish for. Faced with strange new powers and embroiled in a murder investigation, Tara must now race to uncover the secrets of the ancient Fury that has woken inside of her - and of the evil that stalks her.

As if Tara’s life hasn’t gotten complicated enough, she is forced to ally herself with Jackson Byrne, witness to her assault and uncle to a pint-sized oracle whose fate is intertwined with hers. Sceptical, stubborn, and oh-so-sexy, Jackson wrestles with demons of his own. He is determined to ignore the attraction rising between them even faster than the body count, but like it or not, he and Tara need each other if they are to unravel the mysteries that surround them.

Sounds great! Here are a few questions for Nicola...

Are you a reader? How many books a year do you read?

I love to read! When I have time, I can read one or two books per day, but unfortunately real life gets in the way of that sometimes. In a regular week, I probably read two to three non-day job books.

Favorite genre to read? To write?

I read pretty much everything, but I like to write characters and worlds that are a bit ‘fantastic’ – paranormal, urban fantasy, and sci fi romance. I do have a gritty romantic suspense project in the works and will write an occasional contemporary short story, but I’m definitely happiest living in an imaginary world!

Plotter or Pantster?

Hmm…I’m somewhere in between. The first book in a series is largely pantsed, though I know the ending by the time I’m halfway finished. Once I finish the first book, I figure out the series arc so I don’t end up with inconsistencies or a plot that drags on and on.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to be a writer?

Don’t give up! I have a tendency to get bogged down and procrastinate when I’m 2/3 finished writing a book. The beginning is so exciting and the ideas just flow, but that 2/3 mark is when it gets really hard for me. It’s such a tease to be that close to the end—so close, but so far!

What is your writing schedule like?

I don’t have a particular schedule, though I do try to write every day. I’m a morning person, so I like to get up early on the weekends and start the day off by writing before my husband wakes up. About 2,000 words per day is pretty comfortable for me. The most I’ve ever written in one day was 10,000 words, when I was over deadline on getting something to my editor.

What is your writing space like?

I don’t actually have a set writing space. My two favorite spots are on my living room sofa and at a local coffee shop, but sometimes I write at the library or out on my deck. I live in an apartment and love container gardening, so it’s nice to be out there with my plants.

When did you start writing?

I started writing with thoughts of publication in mind about three years ago. Before that, I had taken some creative writing classes and tried my hand at fiction and poetry, but I always felt self-conscious about showing my work to anyone. Eventually, I just decided that pursuing my dream of being a published author was worth pushing through the awkwardness.

Why did you write this particular story?

Fury’s Kiss started out as a way different story! Originally, I thought I was going to write something very dark, maybe even horror, with supernatural elements—the movie The Craft scared me to death when I was younger. But as I wrote, I realized that as much as I love to read horror, I really don’t care for writing it. (At least not yet. I never say never!)

What is the closest book to you right now?

It’s a graphic novel called The Fade Out, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. It’s a crime/mystery story set in the late 40s. I love all things noir, so this is right up my alley.

That sounds great! Thanks Nicola for letting us interview you! Happy sales with your new release! You can find out more about Nicola at the links below!

Website: http://www.nicolarwhite.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Nicola_R_White
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicola-R-White/1445579489055323
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