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Author Name: Kayla Perrin
Website:
www.kaylaperrin.com
Genre: Romance and mainstream women’s fiction
Latest book in shops now:
A Season of Miracles BET Books

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Target, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs? (grin)

Hey, do they actually have Target in the U.K.? They don’t have them in Canada, where I live, but I do shop at an equivalent—a store called Zellers. And I bought LOADS of stuff there over the holidays. Most recently a “Diva Karioke” machine for my 3-year-old who is a little star. As for the loaf of bread, my men servants always buy them and never tell me the price—sorry! :)

Actually, we don’t have Targets in the UK… yet. *g*

What were your favourite books as a child?

I am currently suffering from post Triple Deadline Dementia, and drawing a serious blank. I can only say that I loved to read, and read voraciously—everything. It’s the main reason I started writing my own books from the time I could first hold a pencil. Judy Blume was one of my favourite authors, though (and I’ll have an essay in a collection of essays about how she affected young women’s lives next year…).

Did you read romance books as a teenager?

Actually, I didn’t! Well, I did read a lot of Sweet Valley High, which had romance plots in different books in the series. So if that counts, yes. But I didn’t read my first Harlequin romance until my early twenties—at which point I thought, “Hey, I should be writing these!”

I guess every girl read SV High books when they were teenagers huh?

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

Ha ha ha ha ha. Okay, now that I’ve stopped laughing, I have to ask—are you serious? Well, I suppose you are. So. Well. It definitely consists of procrastinating until the sun goes down.

At least when I’m trying to write the first draft. It’s easy to be distracted since my daughter isn’t in full time daycare (something I need to rectify!) and she wants my attention pretty much the whole day. Plus, no matter how I might try to change my schedule, I create best at night.

Try writing at night and getting up in the morning to be a mother. I’m constantly sleep-deprived. Which is when I need my men servants to rub my back with exotic oils just to alleviate all my stress!

I’m liking the sound of your men servants Kayla, can I borrow them sometime? *g*

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

To Kill A Mockingbird, The Chrysalids, Are You There God It’s Me Margaret, Envy (by Sandra Brown), and Where Are The Children?

Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)

Oh, just discovered Carl Hiassen! He sets his hilarious mysteries in Miami, a place where I lived for a while and adore. Also, since a writing partner and I have set a chick lit mystery in Miami, I thought it was fitting to start reading his stuff. I didn’t know he was so much fun. I’m having such a blast reading the Carl Hiassen books that I know I’ll be disappointed when I get through them all.

Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

I have lots of romance writer friends, and my closest is Brenda Mott, who is my writing partner for the chick lit novel I mentioned. The book is called How To Kill A Guy In Ten Days, and I have to say, it’s hilarious!

Nina Foxx is one of my newest friends (don’t ask about the cruise to the Bahamas…!) Tina Wainscott is also a great friend, and each year we throw the Wild and Wacky Be A Diva Party at the Romantic Times convention—which is quite scandalous and lots of fun. I’ve met practically all the big names at various conferences, including Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Jennifer Crusie . . . and the list goes on.

Ooh what a name dropper, lol! Bahamas eh, my imagination’s just gone wild!

When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

Honestly, I have been telling stories since before I could hold a pencil, and started writing them as soon as I was physically able. My desire to write has been with me right from the beginning. I even sent my first book to a publisher when I was 13 years old!

How long has it been since you first got published?

My first book hit the shelves in 1998. I got that contract at the end of 1996.

How did you get your first book published? Did you have a mentor?

No mentor! I’m the type of person who tends to work alone and I want only the editor’s input! No critique group for me, thank you very much. When it comes to stuff like grammar, I never had a problem, as I was an English major.

I knew instinctively that I had what it took to become a published writer, once I put my mind to it, which I did on January 1, 1996. It was my New Year’s Resolution to have a publishing contract by the end of the year—and I did! What helped me was going to the national RWA conference and meeting with editors and agents. I met an editor from Genesis Press there who requested my book (which I told her was written, but neglected to tell her it was written as a screenplay).

After frantically writing the book to meet her requested deadline (September), I heard in December that they were offering me a 2-book contract.

Which of your books do you feel that you are best known for?

Definitely If You Want Me. I get more fan mail about that book than any others, and if I meet people who have read my books, it’s usually that one. Also, a lot of people know me for The Sisters of Theta Phi Kappa (mainstream), which was an Essence Bestseller.

Have any of your books been optioned for a movie?

So far, one – Sweet Honesty. Unfortunately for me, Viacom bought out BET just before they were going to go into pre-production for my book, and everything was put on hold. Currently, two producers are very interested in another couple of my books: Sister’s In Pink(sorority hazing leads to murder) and Getting Even (launching Harlequin’s Spice line in May).

Earlier this year, Harlequin bought Arabesque books from BET, what were your thoughts on this, and what do you consider are the pro’s and cons of such a move, and also, what do you think the future holds for Arabesque books now?

You know, I’m not really sure. Harlequin is a powerhouse, so I’m sure the books will see much wider distribution. I also think that with them buying BET, it shows that they know African American romances are here to stay.

I like that an author’s backlist (like mine) should be get a second chance at life with hopefully larger distribution. But, in a way, I’d prefer to see Harlequin incorporate AA romances into their other lines, which they are doing to a small degree.

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the advantages and disadvantages of shelving African American romance books, separately from general romance books, what are your thoughts on this? Should AA books be shelved separately, or should they be kept together?

I think that a combination of both options should be explored. Some stores definitely benefit from the separate section. The patrons who want those books head straight there and find a whole lot to choose from. But in more multicultural stores, I think it’s wise to do a combination of both separation and integration—to reach as many customers as possible.

If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

Oh, great. You’re throwing in a serious question. Well, I’d have to say Jesus. I’d love to talk to Him and ask all the questions of the universe that we currently don’t have answers to!

Something along the lines of how come we women bleed for a week, without dying you mean? *g*

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

First and foremost, I want a career for many years. If I achieve that, then it’d be a career-high thrill to hit the New York Times Bestseller list.

How has the romance industry changed from when you first started writing, and which of these changes were you happiest/unhappiest with?

I see a lot more diversity now with ethnic characters (African American, East Indian, Chinese, etc) and the biggest change is the move toward chick lit. I actually like this change. I find that change helps keep things fresh and interesting and I’m devouring lots of chick lit as well as romance these days.

In this day and age, do you think it’s possible for new romance writers to make it without having some kind of presence on the internet?

I think it is possible. Especially if your publisher gets behind you and promotes you in a seriously big way. That said, and internet presence is certainly helpful. I need to revamp my website, which I hope to do soon.

In your experience, what would you say was the most effective method of marketing a romance novel?

Hmm… Advertising in Romantic Times Magazine.

Which of your books is dearest to your heart, and why?

I’d have to say my first book, Again My Love. That’s my baby. My firstborn.

I first stumbled upon your work in a Mother’s Day anthology, published by BET, since then, I’ve noticed that you seem to write in a lot of anthologies, was this a deliberate choice on your part, and if so, why?

It wasn’t a deliberate choice, but I’m happy to do it because, like your own experience proves, a new reader can find me through an anthology she might have picked up because of another author. They’re also short and sweet and fun to write.

I’ve always wondered about this, but as an author, once your books are published, do you actually go back and read them yourself, and if so, are you able to enjoy them, or do you perhaps see things that make you want to chew your own arm off in frustration? (grin).

You know, I can’t say I’ve re-read one of my books in its entirety, but I definitely will pick one up, open to a passage, and read. And yes, I’m entertained! I’m usually pleasantly surprised, and sometimes amazed at what I wrote in terms of not remembering I actually wrote that.

For me, it affirms that my stories come from somewhere deep inside of me I have no control over until I’m in front of the computer. There are some books that I definitely cringe a little at wishing I could re-write something, but I don’t obsess over it because I can’t change it, so what’s the point?

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

Yes! One reader once told me I used “Oh my God” too much. Since then, I try to cut down on the usage, but it’s a common expression people use every day, so I can’t eliminate it entirely.

Earlier this year, RWA attempted to try to define romance, and it caused a bit of a furore round the romance blogosphere, due to the limitations of the definitions. What were your thoughts on this at the time, and do you think it’s possible/necessary to define romance in a way that doesn’t exclude other sub-genres?

I’m all for opening up the definitions. I think the romance genre is growing up to reflect the times, at least where the reader and writer are concerned. We’re not babies. We can handle some “blurring.” If you read Gimme An O! then you know that the hero is technically married when he gets involved with the heroine.

A reviewer wrote that had she been reading for pleasure, she would have closed the book at that point, but since she was reading for review purposes, she kept going, and was glad she did because she said she thoroughly enjoyed how the story played out—something she would have missed if she judged the book by the “constraints” of the romance definition.

When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

The Bahamas. On an author cruise put together by TJ Butler. This is where I roomed with Nina Foxx …

Oh aren’t you gonna spill? Pretty Please?

Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?

Does it have to be in a book? Because I love Bo and Hope from Days Of Our Lives dearly and will always love them as my favourite romantic couple.

I’ll let you have Bo and Hope *g*

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

Hmm… Characters with issues of trust.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

My father!

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

Nora Roberts.

What was the last movie you saw?

At the theatre: After the Sunset. At home: Cheaper by the Dozen. Hilarious!

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

When Harry Met Sally, The Mirror Has Two Faces, While You Were Sleeping, How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, and I’m drawing a blank. There are so many to choose from! Just realized that I chose all romantic comedies. I also loved the combo of Before Sunrise/Before Sunset.

What was the last book you read, and did you enjoy it?

I read Paranoia by Joseph Finder (his High Crimes was made into a movie with Morgan Freeman). I was BLOWN AWAY by this book. It was over 500 pages and I didn’t want it to end! I also love the suspense genre quite a bit.

Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?

I don’t cringe. But I have some that I’m less fond of. Usually, I get lots of mail re those with people telling me how much they love them! Like Fool For Love.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

My flexible schedule.

What do you least enjoy about being a writer?

The fact that my flexible schedule leads to a lot of procrastination.

As well as being a successful writer, you have a major interest in drama. You’ve appeared in several stage shows as well as films, and you’ve also worked behind the camera. Is the movie industry, an area you’ll continue to be involved in along side writing, or is it something that you’ve put on the back burner for now?

It was on the backburner, but now, I’m really feeling the urge to find a way to produce and direct my own film. Furthering this dream is a new program I picked upt that helps you edit videos and pictures to make your own DVDs. Over the last 5 days, I’ve made around 10! I was up till 6 a.m. this morning working on that—not my revisions for my book (shh! Don’t tell my editor!). I really want to find a way to produce a feature film within the next two years.

As you’ve been there, done it, and have the badge to prove it, what is the number one advice that would you give to aspiring writers out there?

Don’t give up! Persistence really is key.

Since all authors are readers, too, do you have any books you’ve especially enjoyed over the last year or so that you’d like to recommend to readers who’ve enjoyed your books?

Paranoia by Joseph Finder, The Givenchy Code by Julie Kenner, Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen and everything else he’s written! I can’t say I read a lot of romance last year, but that’s okay.

Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?

I’m really excited about my next book, Getting Even. It’s launching Harlequin’s new SPICE line and it’s what I like to call erotic chick lit. Don’t look for any real romance though (the big clue is that the title is GETTING EVEN).

Three women who are screwed over by the men in their lives plot some delicious revenge. It’s a lot of fun, and it hopeful in terms of a romantic note, but I wouldn’t call it a romance.

Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these very nosy questions!
Your welcome. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my men servants are waiting….

Ooh please, don’t let me hold you up *g* Thanks Kayla!

OK, that’s it for this week, next week, Julia Quinn will be in the hot seat! (Hopefully) *g*

Ciao for now!

Poor thing…
Picture courtesy of Eve *g*

So, I was having a heated ‘debate’ with the Tall Guy about our National Health Service (NHS). My argument was that us Britons don’t know how lucky we are, that anybody who desperately needs to be treated will be treated first, and questions asked later.
Not like the American system, where they virtually check your wallet before they determine, whether they’ll let you live or not.

He argued that, at least Americans don’t pay the same rate of income tax as we do in order to support the ball and chain that the NHS has become. He also argued that waiting lists grow longer every year here for vital organ operations.

He has a point, as do most of the other Britons who use the same argument, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s a certain security in knowing that if the love of my life was rushed to hospital with a life-threatening injury, the medical staff at any of our hospitals would do everything they could, to make sure they could save him first, rather than checking to see if he had adequate health insurance.

The US do lots of things better than us Brits, but I’m afraid that looking after their people aint one of ‘em.

*Cough* Katrina anybody? *cough, cough*


Check out the size of that effing needle!

I’ve often wondered why people get involved with drugs in the first place. This is obviously very naïve of me, but I’m not talking about your down and outer, who’s chance of avoiding drugs is usually very slim.

I’m not even talking about celebrities and sports stars ( Ben Johnson anyone?) with more money than God, who quite frankly should fucking know better.

No, I’m talking about people who should know better, but somehow don’t.

I’m talking about your average professional. Doctors, lawyers, POLICEMEN!

I was once told that people in the above professions are some of the worst offenders.

How the hell does that compute? (Mind you, I’ve often thought one of the partners in my local GP surgery was on drugs, but that was mostly because he had seriously bad hair.)

Actually, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

A friend of mine is married to a policeman. I’ve known them for absolutely donkey’s years, and I recall being somewhat shocked when my friend’s husband decided to light up a spliff (weed) whilst I was in their house.

I tried to not have an opinion on this, but I just couldn’t do it. This was a man who’d sworn to uphold the law, and he was making a mockery of those very laws.

I obviously asked him what the fuck he was smoking.

He told me that it was good for stress. WTF?

In a world where drugs has literally taken over, it sickens me to learn that we can’t even trust the law-makers in our land.

I think I must be one of the only people I know who hasn’t ‘experimented’ with any type of banned substances. I was just never interested when I was younger (yes I was called a pussy, but at least my brain cells are more or less intact), and I’m still not.

Quite frankly, I’d rather have a Cornish pastie. Lots of calories, I know, but at least I’m not tempted to fly off a fucking building because I think I’m superman.

Also, what’s that whole shooting up thing about? I find it difficult enough to have a tetanus jab. I’m certainly not about to volunteer to have a needle shoved into my arm every day.

Sheesh.

Author Name: Sharon Sala
Website:
http://romanceauthorspage.com/sharonsala/
Genre: Romantic suspense
Latest book in shops now:
The Chosen

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Target, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs? (grin)

Okay… the last thing I bought at Target was a T-Rex dinosaur mountain (for my 4-year old grandson’s Xmas present), and the bread I buy is $2.19 a loaf. I’m picky about bread. It has to be whole wheat or at least cracked wheat. None of that gummy white stuff for me.

Sharon, I have to tell you that your book, The Way To Yesterday inspired me to write the first ever gushing fan letter. It was an amazing story, where did you get the inspiration for Daniel’s character?

I got the inspiration for The Way To Yesterday from a dream. That’s where almost all of my stories come from. Daniel’s character was such a sweetheart. I used my son, Chris, as a pattern, though, because he’s such a great dad to his three little girls.

Have you ever been approached by a film company, to option any of your books for the big screen?

I’ve had people who worked in the film industry express interest in some of my stories, but nothing’s ever come of it.

What were your favourite books as a child?

My favorite books as a child were the Zane Grey stories and the Tarzan books. I liked adventure stories a lot.

Did you read romance books as a teenager?

As a teenager, the Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill were the ones I liked best.

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

A typical day for me is answering email in the morning. Doing shopping and running errands during the day and writing the most in the evening and at night.

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

I don’t know if I have five favorite books of all time. I don’t reread books much. Once I know what’s going to happen, the story has lost most of the interest for me. But, if I had to make a list, the Holy Bible would be on the list, as would my old Better Homes and Garden cook book.

Too many favorite recipes that I used to make for my kids who are now all grown up. Also, Palomino by Danielle Steele, because it was the first romance book that made me want to write romance. Another book would be the family history book that my mother and a cousin compiled. It’s not just a “family tree” book, but a book with funny and poignant stories about the people who were my ancestors.

It’s humbling to know that, but for them and their sacrifices, I would not be who I am. And the last favorite book I guess I would put on the list is a little Golden Book with a character named Grandpa Bunny Bunny. It was an Easter book that my children absolutely loved and I can still remember them climbing up into my lap with that book to be read.

Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)

I haven’t been reading a lot of anything at the moment, because I don’t allow myself the luxury when I’m on deadline. However, I love James Patterson’s mysteries, Patricia Cornwell’s mysteries, and Lisa Jackson’s romantic suspense stories. Also the J.D. Robb series that Nora Roberts writes. All spectacularly good stuff.

I have to agree about Cornwell and JD Robb!

Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

My closest friends are romance writers, and high on the list is Janis Reams Hudson, who has been my best friend and savior through 2005, which turned out to be the saddest year of my life. I lost my fiance, Bobby, to liver cancer at the end of June and my Auntie two days later also succumbed to cancer.

Wow, tough year indeed, I was really sad to hear about your loss Sharon, let’s hope 2006 is a much better year for you.

When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

I don’t know exactly when I thought about writing, but as I said earlier, Danielle Steele was my first inspiration. I wrote my first book of any kind in 1980, then another one in 1981 and stuck them under the bed because they were so bad. However, the bug had bitten me.

How long has it been since you first got published?

My first book came out in 1991.

How did you get your first book published? Did you have a mentor?

I just sent my book to a publishing house and the first place I sent it to, bought it. No, I didn’t have a mentor. I had to trust my own judgement in everything. However, Kate Duffy was my first editor and I valued her guidance greatly.

Which of your books do you feel that you are best known for?

I’m not necessarily best known for a single book, so much as a style of books. My stories are very emotional, contemporary and dark, but with really wonderful characters to love. Readers comment a lot about a book called Jackson Rule, and another book called Out of The Dark.

Both very good books!

If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

My one-on-one conversation with a famous historical figure would be with
Eleanor Roosevelt. I think she was a woman ahead of her time.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

My ultimate goal in writing is to write stories that my readers can identify with.

How has the romance industry changed from when you first started writing, and which of these changes were you happiest/unhappiest with?

The industry has changed a lot since I got in the business. There are less publishing houses to submit work to, stricter guidelines in which to do it, but you still have to be able to tell a good story to get the book sold.

I think I’m happiest about the quality of work that’s being published, and least interested about the e-books. I still like to hold a book when I read, and feel the paper between my fingers. I work so much at a computer that I do not enjoy reading from one for entertainment.

In this day and age, do you think it’s possible for new romance writers to make it without having some kind of presence on the internet?

I really can’t say how much impact the internet has on the romance industry other than to provide another way to purchase books. I’m not particularly pleased about the fact that used copies of my books go up for sale on the internet almost before they’re available in the stories.

I don’t get any royalties on resales. Just the initial few cents per book for original sales, so you can understand where I’m coming from.

I know a few authors who would agree with you actually Sharon, so you’re not alone on this.

In your experience, what would you say was the most effective method of marketing a romance novel?

In my experience, the most effective method of marketing a romance novel is to leave it to the experts, which happen to be my publisher.

Which of your books is dearest to your heart, and why?

I have a couple that are near and dear to my heart. One of them is Sweet Baby. Another is Out of The Dark, and also The Chosen.

I’ve always wondered about this, but as an author, once your books are published, do you actually go back and read them yourself, and if so, are you able to enjoy them, or do you perhaps see things that make you want to chew your own arm off in frustration? (grin).

Once in a while I will go back to one of my books and reread a particular scene just to visit the characters. It sounds strange, but I do miss them when the book is finished.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

Despite criticism, comments and suggestions from reviewers and readers, I write what I want to write, the way I want to write it. If they like it, then wonderful, but if they don’t, then all that means to me is that book wasn’t meant for them to read, that it was written for someone else to enjoy.

Good philosophy.

Last year, RWA attempted to try to define romance, and it caused a bit of a furore round the romance blogosphere, due to the limitations of the definitions. What were your thoughts on this at the time, and do you think it’s possible/necessary to define romance in a way that doesn’t exclude other sub-genres?

I have no comment regarding the definitions of romance. If people want to define it and categorize it, then that’s their headache. There are sub-genres of romance that I enjoy and there are some that I absolutely hate, so.. it’s personal preference after all.

A lot of well known authors who first wrote within the romance genre, seem to have moved away from traditional romance, and are now writing paranormals, suspense etc. (e.g. Linda Howard, Catherine Coulter) Why do you think this is?

This question has to do completely with the one before. Romance is romance, whether it includes suspense, erotica, paranormal, gothic, etc. I don’t know why the other authors write what they write, but I know why my style has changed some over the years.

I would sincerely hope that I’ve learned to tell better stories in fewer words, and that I am now allowed to write the kind of stories that I want to, not necessarily what my publisher wants me to write. I have always like the gothic, paranormal, suspense stories more than just straight character driven, family sagas…
therefore, I’m writing what I like to read. Not trying to keep up or change with the business.

When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

The only time I’ve ever been overseas was to Italy. I was in Milan, Naples and Positano. Memorable cities for a memorable trip.

Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?

My favorite romance hero and heroine of all time? Vincent and Catherine from the television series, Beauty and the Beast.

Oh I loved Vincent and Catherine!

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

Typically, I write dark, tortured hero/heroines who have to overcome some big issue in their life before the story ends.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

If only one person could read my book, I would want it to be the person who intends to make all of my books into movies.

Good answer *g*

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

I have no idea who the most influential person in the romance genre is. My friends would be laughing at me now as I’m writing this, because I am constantly oblivious as to what’s going on in the industry. Half the time I don’t know agents from editors and never know what house is looking for what style of work.

What was the last movie you saw?

I can’t remember the last movie… maybe Hidalgo with Bobby before he died.

Name your top five favourite romantic films

Top favorite romantic films. Oh my. The Last Of The Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis, Ghost with Patrick Swayze. The Ghost And Mrs. Muir, Out Of Africa and Sleepless In Seattle.

What was the last book you read, and did you enjoy it?

The last book I read was the latest Harry Potter book… the Half-Blood Prince, I think it is.

Sweetbaby is one of my favourite books ever, can you tell me where you got the inspiration to write such a moving story?

The inspiration from Sweet Baby came from an incident that happened to me when I was six. School was let out early one day without notice, so when I got home, my family was gone. We lived far in the country and I was so scared. Convinced that I would never see them again. I didn’t even realize that I’d used that for the basis until the story was over and published.

Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?

No, I’ve never written a book I didn’t like. I wouldn’t have turned it in otherwise.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I most enjoy the freedom of being able to work at home, and to share the stories in my head with people who love to read.

What do you least enjoy about being a writer?

My least favorite thing about writing is the length of time between turning in a piece of work and getting paid for it.

Oh yeah, I never really gave any thought to what kind of impact that might have on authors before…

As you’ve been there, done it, and have the badge to prove it, what is the number one advice that would you give to aspiring writers out there?

My best advice to anyone wanting to write is join a writer’s group. It is without doubt the best thing you can do for yourself. After that, sit yourself down and write.

Since all authors are readers, too, do you have any books you’ve especially enjoyed over the last year or so that you’d like to recommend to readers who’ve enjoyed your books?

No, I can’t recommend a particular book other than ones I’ve mentioned earlier, by writers I admire. Just read. It’s the best hobby a person can have.

Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?

My next book is called Nine Lives by Sharon Sala, and it will be out in the fall of 2006.

Sounds great Sharon, thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these very nosy questions!

You’re very welcome. Thank you for showing the interest in my and my work, and I hope this hasn’t been delayed too long for you.

Don’t worry, I totally understood, smooches!

Okey dokey then, that’s it for this week, next week, I’ll either have, Kayla Perrin, or Julia Quinn, in the hot seat! Until then, au revoir dudes!

California…. Knows How To Party…

Sunday, January 22, 2006
Posted in: Uncategorized

Last week, I met with the producer of a fashion exhibition that’s usually held in Los Angeles.

I met with her, because this year, they are holding the show in Manchester, England.

We got on like a house on fire, and I happened to mention that the Tall Guy and I were contemplating going to California for our hols this year.

She got very excited about this, due to the fact that herself, and her partner live and work in Los Angeles.

This was supposed to be a business meeting, but we totally digressed, and she was so enthusiastic about her home town that by the time we parted company, she’d extracted a promise from me that I’d call her when we were ready to book, so that she could advise me on the best places to stay. Nice woman.

So The Tall Guy and I have decided that Los Angeles will be our main holiday destination this year. We’re just going to pretend that the crime and violence that’s usually associated with this city is nothing but a vicious rumour.

So Kate Rothwell, (bless her cotton socks) kindly sent me two of her books, Somebody To Love, and Somebody Wonderful.

This is the review for Somebody To Love.

Here’s the blurb:

My Verdict.

I found Somebody To Love quite hard to read, purely because Araminta got on my second tit. I think she was supposed to be portrayed as a strong woman, but she never really came across as being particularly strong. She came across as a woman, who seemed to let life and events dictate her actions.

I could understand that she didn’t want to be used and abused by Griffin, thus she kept him at arms length, but on the other hand, she went to work for a man, who wasn’t above murder, and beating women. What kind of fucked up logic is that? OK maybe she didn’t know he was a twat when she originally went to work for him, but I still couldn’t forgive her for staying with him for so long, and refusing to give in to the lovely Griff. Yeah, yeah, I know she she stayed for Olivia’s sake, blah blah effing blah..

I thought it was fairly obvious that Griffin was a decent bloke, plus he was rich, and quite frankly, she wasn’t, so why not just go for it? I guess I just wasn’t convinced by her motivation for not wanting to shag him senseless.

On the plus side, I liked Griffin. I liked the fact that he never tried to hide his feelings from Araminta. I hate the kind of conflict that has the lead characters playing push-me-pull-you, all the way through a damned book. There’s nothing guaranteed to piss me off, more than conflict that can be resolved with a conversation or two between the hero and the heroine.

The book itself was well written, (even if Araminta needed a good kicking or two), the plot was mildly interesting, and the chemistry between Araminta and Griffin was convincing, and had the heroine not been so wish-washy (yes Kate she was!), I would have enjoyed the book a lot more.

Overall, Somebody To Love was ok, but I wasn’t blown away by it.

A Northern Whale In London…

Saturday, January 21, 2006
Posted in: Uncategorized


Barge carrying the Northern Bottle-nosed Whale

A bottle-nosed whale lost its way , and somehow ended up in the Thames River in central London yesterday. It was there for over twenty-four hours, and seemed to be getting more and more disoriented, so today, rescuers decided to intervene. The magnificent mammal is currently on a barge on the way back to the sea.

Godspeed Mr Whale, and I hope you get well soon. I’m sure you’ll be with your family again in no time at all…

UPDATE:
The whale has died. I’m absolutely gutted.

Author Name: Catherine Anderson
Website:
www.catherineanderson.com
Genre: contemporary and historical romance
Latest book in shops now:

My newest release is on the shelves right now,
Summer Breeze. Fabulous reviews thus far, by the way. I was holding my breath. Now I’ve let it out. Big happy sigh.

Oooh after I read Keegan’s Lady, that’s next on my list to buy!

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Target, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs? (grin)

I’m laughing. The last thing I bought at Target was a pair of snow boots for a teenage girl from our Christmas giving tree at church, and, yes, I know how much a loaf of bread costs. I went shopping for groceries just tonight. Didn’t buy bread, though.

Have you ever been approached by a film company, to option any of your books for the big screen?

I had one nibble from Hallmark, but nothing ever came of it. Big, sad sigh.

Hey, give it time, Annie’s Song may make it onto the big screen yet. *g*

What were your favourite books as a child?

Peter Pan (I pretended to be Tinkerbell most of my early childhood), Cinderella, Pinocchio, Snow White, and The Night Before Christmas, which I made my mother read to me even when it wasn’t the Christmas season.

Did you read romance books as a teenager?

No, but I did watch a few romance films, as in lots of them, and I wrote romances as a teenager as a hobby. My best friend had to listen to me read them aloud, bless her heart.

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

All the things every other working woman does, except that I write for a living. I do laundry, make the bed, tidy up, dress, and go to my office. Right now I’m making mashed potato soup! We had a bunch of mashed potatoes in the fridge, so I got on the Net to find recipes. I found some good ones!

Mashed potato soup? Is that like an American thing?

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

Uh-oh, the question I dread and never answer. To do so would be to say one friend of mine is more precious to me than another. I know the people who wrote my favourite books of all time, and I love them.

I also know and love the people who didn’t write my favourite books of all time, but wrote other books. I wouldn’t hurt the feelings of a friend for anything, so I’m sure you understand why I keep that information to myself. Sorry.
OK, I’ll let you off with that one. *g*

Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)

Right now I am so busy trying to get my own book written that I’m not reading much of anything. No time!

Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

I live on a ridge in a remote area, and over the years, I’ve fallen out of the habit of keeping in touch with my writer friends and rarely get to see them. When I do, it’s lovely!

Three who helped me in different ways early on in my career are Stella Cameron, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Ann Maxwell. I also greatly enjoy the company of Christina Dodd, Susan Wiggs, whom I haven’t seen in years, and countless others. During the Get Caught Reading at Sea cruise, I had a lot of fun catching up with old friends and making new ones.

I blogged a while ago about the lack of books featuring blind or deaf lead characters, and an author suggested Annie’s Song. I went to Amazon and ordered it. One word. AMAZING! I am now in the process of gobbling up your backlist. Why did you decide to write a book like Annie’s Song, in a time when romance writers in general, traditionally tend to shy away from lead characters with physical disabilities?

I wrote Annie’s Song because life touched me, and I believed and still believe that what moves me in a beautiful way will also move others. I took a big risk because I believed that. And my readers didn’t let me down.

Annie’s Song received an award from Waldenbooks, and I will treasure it always. I was inspired to write Annie’s Song by a little deaf girl. I was her teacher. Her name was Tina, and knowing her changed my life. Over the time that I spent with her, I fell so in love with her, and she gave me a new understanding of deafness and how it impacts one’s life.

I vowed to write a book someday about a deaf girl if I ever became a published author. When that day finally came, I wrote several books before keeping that vow. The rest of the story you already know.

You also wrote Phantom Waltz, which I expect was more of a challenge due to the extent of the heroine’s disabilities. I recall wondering how you were going to deal with the intimacy issues between Ryan and Beth, (which I thought you handled excellently btw), did you worry that your readers might have been put off by the love scenes between these two people, and what research did you have to do to make sure you got the whole physiological aspects right?

I had to do a lot of research—doctors and nurses—but I especially paid attention to personal journals of people with paraplegia. I never worried about readers being put off by the love scenes because the essence of the story was focused on the deep emotional attachment between the two characters, not about sexual gratification.

Bethany would have been happy with Ryan, regardless, and Ryan loved her so much that fireworks weren’t that important to him, either. The fact that they found ways to enjoy physical intimacy with each other was the topping on the cake, so to speak.

When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

I wanted to write books before I knew how to spell my name. My mom was a writer, and I used to play with my dolls at her feet, creating my own little stories, while she clacked away on an old Underwood typewriter.

She gave me a love of the written word, and her faith in me encouraged me to become a writer. I was also fortunate enough to marry a great guy who supported my writing.

How long has it been since you first got published?

My first sale was in 1986. I believe the book, Reasonable Doubt, a Harlequin Intrigue, was published in 1988, but I’m not sure of the year.

How did you get your first book published? Did you have a mentor?

I went to a writer’s conference and attended a class taught by Stella Cameron. She encouraged me early on, and others helped me out, too. I finally got published by working hard, being willing to do revisions, and not giving up when the manuscript was floating around at Harlequin for almost two years.

Which of your books do you feel that you are best known for?

Hmm. That’s a good question, and I have no idea how to answer it. I think my readers could better tell you which of my books I’m best known for writing.

OK guys, anybody else think they know the answer to this?

If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

I wouldn’t want to speak to a famous figure. I would want to talk with a woman from an ordinary walk of life about her daily routine, the fashions of the day, her favourite recipes, her social activities, and her feelings about love and marriage.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

Writing has been very good to me, and I don’t really have any goals except to do my best to write meaningful, enjoyable books that my readers will love.

How has the romance industry changed from when you first started writing, and which of these changes were you happiest/unhappiest with?

The romance industry has become far more sophisticated, I think, and I love the fact that romances can now touch on real-life issues and needn’t be all fluff. Romance writers today are, in my opinion, putting out some of the best fiction in the marketplace, well plotted and beautifully crafted. We’ve come a long way, baby.

I totally agree with you on that Catherine.

In this day and age, do you think it’s possible for new romance writers to make it without having some kind of presence on the internet?

Absolutely. To make it in today’s marketplace requires the same thing as always, a great book. Everything else will follow.

In your experience, what would you say was the most effective method of marketing a romance novel?

Marketing strategies help the sales of a wonderful book, but I can’t honestly say which strategies work the best. It’s a changing marketplace, and what works one time may not work at all the next time.

I think the most important thing a writer can do for herself is to write the very best book that she can. I firmly believe that strong writing, well-crafted stories, and a distinctive voice will win out in the end.

Which of your books is dearest to your heart, and why?

When asked this question, I always start to say this or that book is my favourite, but then I remember another book and then another that are also precious to me. In truth, no one book is dearer to me than another. I put my heart into each and every book that I write, and each is special to me in some way.

Well my fave is Annie’s Song *g*.

I’ve always wondered about this, but as an author, once your books are published, do you actually go back and read them yourself, and if so, are you able to enjoy them, or do you perhaps see things that make you want to chew your own arm off in frustration? (grin).

I learned the hard way (from wanting to chew my arm off in frustration) not to read recent titles. Writing is an ever-changing process, and I could keep editing a book, revising the scenes, and messing with it forever. A couple of years ago, I did read my out-of-print single title books, and enough time had passed that I could enjoy them without feeling a compulsion to change them.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

No. I have been deeply affected by reviews, both negatively and positively, but I try never to let one person’s opinion encourage or discourage me to change my style. I think that would be a grave mistake.

Instead I try to remain true to the things in my writing that brought me to the dance, and when I dance the last dance, I hope to still be employing those strengths. If a writer alters her voice to please a few, she runs the risk of altering the very things that make her work distinctive.

Earlier this year, RWA attempted to try to define romance, and it caused a bit of a furore round the romance blogosphere, due to the limitations of the definitions. What were your thoughts on this at the time, and do you think it’s possible/necessary to define romance in a way that doesn’t exclude other sub-genres?

I wasn’t aware of the debate and can’t really comment on it.

A lot of well known authors who first wrote within the romance genre, seem to have moved away from traditional romance, and are now writing paranormals, suspense etc. (e.g. Linda Howard, Catherine Coulter), why do you think this is?

I can’t speak for other writers. I can say, though, that I’ve enjoyed the results. The two authors mentioned above have written some great books. Perhaps it’s a case of evolving style and voice, or maybe their interests and passions have changed. Who can say?

When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

My last overseas trip was to Australia. It’s been a while since I’ve taken an international flight. Next we hope to visit New Zealand.

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

I try to create real people, struggling with real issues.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

If only one person could read my book, I’d choose myself.

Good answer, I’ve never had that one before!

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

Kathleen Woodiwiss is considered to be the mother of modern-day romance.

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the advantages and disadvantages of shelving African American romance books separately from general romance books, what are your thoughts on this? Should AA books be shelved separately, or should they be kept together?

That’s really a marketing question, and I’m not qualified to answer it. Where do AA novels sell best, and where do they get the best exposure? It seems to me that more readers would find the AA titles and read them if they were shelved with other romances. When I go to a bookstore to find a book, I head directly for the romance section. If, say, a romantic suspense novel were in another section, I might never see it.

What was the last movie you saw?

Polar Express.

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Somewhere in Time, Gone with the Wind.

Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?

The only book I’ve ever felt that way about was an early title that got absolutely butchered by an editor during revisions. Then the editor quit, another took her spot, and I was asked to revise the revisions, putting much of the book back to the way it had been in the first place.

By the time I finished the final revisions, the story felt like a patchwork quilt to me with ravelled edges. I have never read it, and when I see it, I shudder and keep walking. It is not my work, but the work of two editors.

Lol, sorry but I just had an image of you walking quickly past this particular book, wearing a long raincoat with big old sunglasses on!

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

Being able to do what I love to do and being allowed to follow my dream.

What do you least enjoy about being a writer?

I least enjoy unkind reviewers who seem to derive pleasure from trashing a book. I have been fairly fortunate in that regard, but harsh reviews upset me, even if they aren’t reviews of my work.

My heart goes out to the writer who got bashed. I believe all reviewers should remember that theirs is only one opinion and that someone else may completely disagree. I also believe that a master reviewer is someone who can comment honestly on a work of fiction without slashing it to pieces.

As you’ve been there, done it, and have the badge to prove it, what is the number one advice that would you give to aspiring writers out there?

Keep writing and don’t get discouraged! Secondly, don’t fall into the trap of revising one story, over and over and over.

Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?

My newest release, Summer Breeze, is on the shelves right now. It’s about a young woman who hasn’t stepped foot outside her home in over five years and the man who suddenly appears on her doorstep and turns her world topsy-turvy.

Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these very nosy questions!

Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed. I’m honoured.

Well, that’s all for now folks, next week, I’ll have Sharon Sala in the hot seat!

Erm… so I realise that it’s author interview day today, but I ran into technical difficulties. Hopefully I’ll be able to post Catherine Anderson’s interview tomorrow. (As soon as I find the bloody thing! Goddamn Auto-Archiving!!)

In the mean time, I’m off to bed, I’ve given myself a headache looking for the effing thing. Sheesh!

Happy Martin Luther King Day…

Monday, January 16, 2006
Posted in: Uncategorized


Happy MLK Day to all you guys over in the states. To mark today, I decided to post an excerpt from the late Reverend King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

I’ve always loved this speech. I love that it speaks of hope for the future, and as far as I’m concerned, his words still hold true today, as much as they did, all those years ago. Regardless of whether or not you’re American.

I decided to re-join Afroerotik under a different name, just because I could.

Every now and again (especially when I have nothing interesting to write about) I’m going to post random rants from that crazy group owner.

Today’s random rant is brought to you by the letters B, I, T, C and H, and by the numbers 6,6, 6. *g*

Afroerotika gives us her thoughts on marriage:

“Marriage is not only dead, rigor mortis has set in, its been embalmed, buried and mummified.

I can’t get over how dysfunctional, diseased, and distorted people are, how fucked up society is, and we’re holding on to some notion of an institution that has it’s very foundation built on the oppression of women.

I think humanity is dead. People are so steeped in their own dysfunction with no desire to change. Men objectify women, are passive agressive, manipulative, emotionally immature. Women are materialistic, get their sense of value from their beauty, have relinquished morality for money.

No one is willing to look at themselves and see where they are flawed. Everyone demands perfection in their partners without looking at themselves and their own pathologies. We are holding on to belief systems that are assinine.

We are validating belief systems that are detrimental to our mental and psychological health. For every single person reading this that says, “yeah, people are like that,” are the very same people that have no clue how absolutely dysfunctional they really are. I can’t even cry any more tears for marriage. It’s so cold and in the ground it’s pathetic.”

Does anybody else get the feeling that she’s desperate to get married? *g*

So, I spent a few hours in casualty last night.

The Tall Guy and I are refurbing the house, ready to put it up for sale. We want a bigger house with a double garage, and more land. The double garage is The TG’s idea. I couldn’t care less, we have a double drive and a single garage at the moment, and neither of us park our cars in the garage. I’m looking forward to the increased space for my books though.

Anyway, I was helping him carry a heavy box of tiles downstairs, when I experienced a really sharp pain in my back. I tried to shake it off, but found that I had trouble straightening up.

Five minutes later, I was bent over double on the floor. I couldn’t get up, and my breathing was choppy at best.

The Tall Guy started having a panic attack when he realised something was wrong, and he called the ambulance services. Sigh.

It was the single most humiliating moment of my life, due to the fact that I was wearing low slung jeans that just about revealed my crack (bearing in mind that I was on all fours on the ground), plus they were old, and once upon a time when I was younger, I’d thought that cutting holes into them was a cool thing to do.

Well, it wasn’t. I looked like an effing hobo. It didn’t help that my hair was a mess, and I looked like a frickin Biafran. At least my underwear matched (kind of).

Anyway, the paramedics brought in a tank of Entonox (gas and air) to relieve the pain. This was the best bit, I felt drunk as a skunk, and it was a heady feeling.

Once they’d determined where the pain was coming from (the right side of my back) I was rushed to hospital.

I felt a fool all the way there, and I was very conscious of my mode of dress, and the lack of make-up. (vain much?)

Anyway, when I got to the hospital, the nurses and doctors were busy dealing with six trauma victims, that had also just been rushed in.

Paul and I sat in one of the patient cubicles, waiting to be attended. I was fairly happy, as one of the nurses had left a tank of Entonox, which I liberally inhaled. It didn’t do shit for the pain in my back, but it sure made me feel fabulous. Paul, the spoilsport, kept telling me not to overdo it. I told him to eff off, and continued inhaling to my heart’s content. He gave up, and just continued to rub my hands in support. Bless him.

Anyway, I ended up with a hairy Greek doctor. He made me take my top off, and I thanked Oprah there and then, that I hadn’t put one of my see-through bra’s on. That would have been too humiliating.

Apparently, I’d torn a muscle on the right hand side of my back, so he cheerfully told me that I’d be in a lot of pain for the next few days, and that he would get one of the nurses to give me an injection in my arse to help with the pain. I just about nearly fainted when he mentioned the ‘I’ word. I’m not too fond of needles. Twenty years later, and I still recall how painful my Rubella jab was. So no, Needles aren’t my thing.

Anyway, the nurse brought in the needle, and proceeded to stick it into my arse. Yes, it fucking hurt. The Tall Guy helpfully told me that the needle was humongous. Bastard.

Anyway, I’m pumped up with drugs, and Paul and his dad are currently driving me nuts, with the constant drilling, and various other DIY noises. I think I’ll go and have a lie down for a bit.

How was your weekend?

Tyra Banks Or Naomi Campbell?

Saturday, January 14, 2006
Posted in: Uncategorized


Naomi and Tyra

I always knew there was something I didn’t like about Naomi Campbell.

I watched the Tyra Banks show earlier this week, and I felt fully justified in my perfectly reasonable hatred of her (OK hatred may be too strong a word).

Basically, Tyra asked her why she’d been such a bitch to her early on in their career, and somehow, Naomi managed to make it all about her without answering a single question directly.

Naomi doesn’t interview well, mostly because she isn’t intelligent enough to handle face to face criticism (thus lying about taking drugs). Towards the end of the show, when she’d realised how fake she’d come across (plus she’d had about half an hour’s break to rethink her attitude), she launched into this whole speech about how she was sorry if she’d caused Tyra any pain, and how proud of her she was blah blah fucking blah. Tell me nobody bought this rot. Seriously.

Tyra strikes me as being somebody who I could go out and have a laugh with. Naomi strikes me as being somebody who would smile beautifully at you, whilst stabbing you viciously in the back with a machete.

I could be wrong of course, but I bet I’m not.

Tyra was always the classier of the two, and waaaaay prettier, big forehead or not.

I think My Boobs Are Getting Bigger…

Saturday, January 14, 2006
Posted in: Uncategorized

So, I was putting my bra on today, and I discovered that my breasts have grown. Yes they have.

I’ve always been a 34/36B (OK So I’m guessing because I’ve never actually been measured before) and if I’m honest, I’ve always been pretty happy with the size of my plums.

Having said that, I was gratified to see that they are now much more rounded . My friends used to tell me they were shaped like lemons. They were right of course, but now they are more like oranges. Fabulous.

Anyway, I’ve had enough of talking about goddamn reviews, so in the interest of moving on, and making everything all about me, Dakota Cassidy dedicated a post to yours truly. It was a lovely surprise actually, I really appreciated it. Go read, and post gushing comments now!

PS. Any negative comments will be deleted by the blog owner… erm…you guys know I’m kidding right?

You Can Reeeeeally Go Off Some People…

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Posted in: Uncategorized

So AngieW’s got her column up on RTB. This month, she’s tackling crappy reviews and gushing reviews and whether or not authors have the right to ask for negative reviews to be removed from review sites (Amazon). Interesting column. I was with her all the way.

Upon scanning the comments however, I came across a post by Mary Janice Davidson:

“As a published author (Undead and Unwed, The Royal Treatment, etc.) I’m sort of amazed that *other* authors even care about Amazon reviews.

Doctors can only be reviewed by other physicians, you can’t supervise teachers without a graduate degree, you can’t get a doctorate without the help of someone else who has one…or, more likely, a whole committee…the list is endless. But any asshat can post a review on Amazon and trash a book. Or love a book. So who cares? It’s never going to be an even playing field. I’ve gotten gushes and I’ve gotten the “axe to grind” kind, and I pretty much ignore ‘em all and keep my head down and write.”

I was nodding my head in agreement, until she started insinuating that unless you’re a writer, then you’re not qualified to review books. WTF?

I think it’s great that she keeps her head down and keeps writing, but why make the comparisons between writers and doctors? That makes about as much sense as Britney Spears marrying Kevin Federline.

Anyway, seeing as I was in such a good mood, I felt it was necessary to share some of my legendary pearls of wisdom:

“Marianne, I’m not gonna disagree a little with what MJD wrote, I’m gonna disagree a whole lot. Basically as far as I can figure, in MJD’s opinion, if you aren’t a writer, then you shouldn’t be allowed to judge a book? What absolute bollocks. Who paid for the book in the first place with their hard-earned cash? That’s right, the ignorant reader.

Whether authors appreciate it or not, readers have every right to trash a book if they want to, or to wax lyrical to their heart’s content over certain books/authors. For me, the key thing is honesty. If you’re honest, then as far as I’m concerned, that’s all that matters.

I may disagree with certain reviews, and usually do, but I’d say that was my right, wouldn’t you?

Of course no author wants to see their baby kicked up and down the street, especially after the hard labour that went into producing it in the first place, but I still firmly believe that if you’re a writer, and you put your work out there, you’re asking for it to be publicly scrutinised. Suck it up.

If it’s a good review, great, if it’s a bad review, then just bloody well grin and bear it.

Worse things happen at sea.”

Talk about suffering from NYpublisheritis. Sheesh.

Author Name: Loretta Chase
Website:
www.lorettachase.com
Genre: Historical Romance
Latest book in shops now:
January 2006 THE LION’S DAUGHTER (reissue, March 2006 LORD PERFECT (third Carsington brothers book)

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Walmart, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs? (grin)

Terry scuffs. Our various breads cost between $3 and $4 a loaf.

What were your favourite books as a child?

Alice in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows, Little Women and other Louisa May Alcott books, Nancy Drew. The Anne of Green Gables series. And do comic books count? Because I was horribly addicted to them.

Oooh all my favourites!

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

Gazing in desperation at a computer screen for as long as I can stand it. Some days are less desperate than others. Some days I have to review a copy edit or page proofs instead.

Some days are devoted to research. There’s no system. I just try to work things out so that the book is finished more or less on time.

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

I have a Top Two. After that, my list of favorites heads toward infinity. Here are the top five that come to mind today: Tomorrow could be very different–except for the top two:

Charles Dickens’s BLEAK HOUSE.
Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Mark Twain’s HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Thomas Wolfe’s LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL
Hunter L. Thompson’s FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)

I read a lot of different authors. Just finished a Jennifer Crusie. Before that, Anne Perry. I’m a big mystery fan and recently became addicted to Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight series and Ashley Gardner’s Regency era series.

Last fall I discovered Margaret Maron. I’m also partial to Laurie R. King, Lindsey Davis, Caroline Graham, Ngaio Marsh, and Janet Evanovich, among other mystery writers I always enjoy. I love Terry Pratchett.

I’m still working on Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series. And George MacDonald Frasier’s Flashman books. The Rumpole series by John Mortimer. And since I love research, there are usually history or other non-fiction books in the TBR pile.

Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

Most of my friends are romance writers. Those of us who work in the Regency era tend to gravitate to one another. You’ll see us in clumps at conferences.

When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

I started wanting to write books about age six or seven–about when I started reading them. I don’t know what the inspiration was. I loved stories, and that’s when I first remember making up stories with a beginning, middle, and end.

By age 8 I had written a play. It was a terrible play, rather in the style of the picaresque novel, with forty or fifty acts and nothing holding them together but the heroine–but hey, I was 8.

If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

Charles Dickens. I would ask to borrow his brain for a few years or decades.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

Immortality.

OK, that makes sense *g*

How has the romance industry changed from when you first started writing, and which of these changes were you happiest/unhappiest with?

Everything’s changed since I first started writing my novels. Shoe styles, for instance. And didn’t there used to be a lot more publishers and distributors?

There were more than half a dozen publishers to whom I could send my first manuscript–a traditional Regency. There were more romance lines overall, which gave writers more choices and opportunities.

It seems much harder these days to get published and stay published. But the whole business world has changed. The same thing that’s happened in publishing has happened in other areas–advertising, for instance. So the world changes. That’s life. You adjust. I knew this was a risky profession when I got into it, and I’m happy to be still working.

In this day and age, do you think it’s possible for new romance writers to make it without having some kind of presence on the internet?

It’s hard for new writers to make it whatever they do. But no one can make it without writing a book people want to read. I think that’s where every writer, new and experienced, needs to focus 99% of his/her energy.

In your vast experience, what would you say was the most effective method of marketing a romance novel?

Publishers are the most effective, when they invest substantial resources (i.e., money) in promoting a book. They have much more clout and much more money than Average Author, whose efforts, by comparison, have a negligible impact on sales.

I think our time’s better invested in writing, which is something we can control.

With the alleged decline in historical romance, do you think there’s an element of risk in continuing with books set prior to the 20th Century?

Writing fiction is a risk, no matter what the genre. If you’re not a risk-taker, being an author might not be your best choice of career path.

This is not, for the majority, either a stable or lucrative profession. But it’s my profession and in many ways it’s who I am. If I couldn’t get published in historical romance, I would write something else.

While I can get published, I plan to work hard and enjoy living in the early 19th century England of my imagination.

Which of your books is dearest to your heart, and why?

The one I just finished–because it’s finished.. And really, I do love it. I can’t write a book I don’t love. Then I fall in love with the next book.

I’ve always wondered about this, but as an author, once your books are published, do you actually go back and read them yourself, and if so, are you able to enjoy them, or do you perhaps see things that make you want to chew your own arm off in frustration? (grin).

I can go back and read them…to a point. As the years pass, my interest wanes. Over time, I change; my writing changes. It’s hard to relate to books I wrote ten years ago. It’s hard to relate to the clothes I wore ten years ago.

How do you feel when inevitable comparisons are made between Lord Of Scoundrels and your later works? Would you prefer your other books to be judged on their own merit?

I get all cranky when someone compares Book A to Book B–whether the comparison book is mine or someone else’s.

It’s the artist attitude or a maternal attitude, or maybe it’s both. I feel protective of this thing–this world and its people–that I’ve created out of nothing.

What mother wants to hear one of her kids described as inferior to another? That’s the emotional reaction, the artist’s reaction.

The reality is, everyone compares. So getting cranky and wanting each book to be judged on its own merits is perhaps unreasonable. After all, people compare Jane Austen’s books. Charles Dickens’s books. They compare works by Shakespeare.

And then, for me, Lord Of Scoundrels is a special case. I have trouble getting seriously upset about the comparisons, because I’m too aware that readers are still discussing a book that came out more than ten years ago.

For me that’s a taste of immortality. Those “inevitable comparisons” tell me that people have found the book memorable. It’s struck a chord. It was something special. It seems slightly insane to get cranky about that.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

No. I can barely influence my writing. It comes out the way it comes out. You may not be surprised to learn that the majority of efforts to influence me are along the lines of “Write faster.” How I wish that one worked.

Earlier this year, RWA attempted to try to define romance, and it caused a bit of a furore round the blogosphere, due to the limitations of the definitions. What were your thoughts on this at the time, and do you think it’s possible/necessary to define romance in a way that doesn’t exclude other sub-genres?

I couldn’t see any reason to make a rule about what is or isn’t romance. We’ve done fine all these years without a formal definition. Besides, creative people mostly don’t like rules and will break them anyway.

When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

Where we always go: England. We spent a week in London and a week touring Derbyshire. I always want to stay longer, never go often enough. It was way too long ago: six years.

I had a feeling you’d say England. I can’t think why *g*

Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?

Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy.

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

The kind who are wittier and much more articulate than I am.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

But I want everyone to read my book. I hear from so many different readers with so many different points of view, and it is amazing the insights they have. I can’t bear to choose just one kind of reader. And you can’t expect me to. I’m a Gemini.

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

I have no idea. In the Regency era stories, the two big names are Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. As to the romance genre as a whole, I’m neither widely nor deeply read enough to say who the major influence is/was. I’m familiar with any number of authors who innovate, inspire, raise the standards, who make me think, “I wish I’d written that.” But their name is Legion.

What was the last movie you saw?

The Wedding Date.

Ooh loved that film!

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Of contemporary films: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Under the Sun, Bread and Tulips, Monsoon Wedding. There’s also a long list of movies from the 1930s and 1940s with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, etc.

What was the last book you read?

Jennifer Crusie’s WELCOME TO TEMPTATION. I’ve actually read her more recent ones, but my TBR pile is not only a mile high but out of order.

Heheheh, I so know the feeling.

Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?

Not over a book. I cringe over mistakes in the books. Historical errors make me wild–but for an American writer especially, Regency era England is a minefield, and there’s always something to trip over.

Infelicities of phrasing trouble me. Some terrible copy edits–which I fought in vain–make me grind my teeth. But the books as a whole don’t worry me. Though I like to believe my work’s evolved and improved over the years, I’m also sure that each book was the very best I could do at the time. There isn’t one I’m sorry I wrote or feel ashamed of.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I just enjoy writing. Or just have to do it whether I enjoy it or not. Then there’s the not having to get up and dressed for work part, which is terrific. And living in my own special private world in my head.

What do you least enjoy about being a writer?

Facing the blank screen.

As you’ve been there, done it, and have the badge to prove it, what is the number one advice that would you give to aspiring writers out there?

My standard answer is practice. Write a lot. I always recommend taking college courses that demand lots of writing (not necessarily creative writing courses, which I scrupulously avoided) and/or getting a job that involves lots of writing. In these situations, you have to write more or less intelligibly whether or not you feel like it, and you have to meet deadlines. This is great training for writers of genre fiction.

Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?

The third book in my Carsington brothers series, Lord Perfect, is out in March 2006. The hero lives strictly by the rules; the heroine is completely beyond the pale. The back cover copy posted on my website offers a vaguely coherent summary of the story.

Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these very nosy questions!

Thank you for inviting me. It was fun.

Coming up next week, it’ll either be Catherine Anderson, or Sharon Sala, but for now, that’s all folks!

So, I discovered a new author list today. I don’t think I’ll be participating much… Check out some of the conversations: (hehehe)

Example 1
“Anyway…I want a guy that has a special cock like Orion’s. His cock has these rings encasing it. The rings heat up and vibrate when in a woman’s cunt. OH Baby! that would spoil you for any other man’s cock for sure. LOL”

Example 2
“FUCK me now! *whimper*”

Example 3
“He can park his ass in my bed anytime. Cock-alic-ious for sure.”

Hmmmmm… and here I thought I was the queen of too much information.

Oh, did I mention that a couple on the group are blatantly having an affair? No? Well, they are. Apparently, the guy’s wife is an alcoholic, which excuses his behaviour totally…

Preachy? Sanctimonious? Not I ladies, I just look on and marvel at how funny life is… (Or not, if you happen to be the wife who’s being cheated on)

This Bitch Seriously Needs To Get Laid…

Thursday, January 5, 2006
Posted in: Uncategorized

I usually lurk on a group called Afroerotik . I guess you could say that the purpose of the group is to discuss sexual issues from a black perspective.

Anyway, I originally joined because I thought there might be some interesting debates, and you guys know how much I like to have my say.

As I read the posts from the group owner, one thing soon became obvious. This bitch needed to chill the fuck out.

She’s an aspiring writer who shares her stories with the group. This is a good thing. However, she tends to get damn right scathing, if she doesn’t actually get any feedback from them, after she posts an excerpt. This is not a good thing.

I’ve been amused for months by her various rants. I rarely posted because quite frankly, the bitch is as scary as Tom Cruise on anti-depressants.

She was always going crazy at the group for not talking about what she wants them to talk about, which was one of the reasons why I rarely participated in the discussions.

She’s the kind of angst filled black woman I would usually avoid like the plague. All her subjects are usually centred around racism, which kinda gets wearing after a while.

What I did notice, was that on the odd occasion that I decided to contribute, my posts never actually showed up. I just assumed this was because I’d made a mistake. I soon figured out that that the owner wasn’t letting my posts through. WTF?

Anyway, let me give you an example of the type of rants that she regularly indulged in:

“I’ve had the flu for a week now. I was too sick to even get out of bed for a few of those days. Even in my fevered, aching delerium, I was ever hopeful that there would be some sign of intelligent life in this group, some sort of discussion that would be challenging people to look at ourselves and change our perceptions. I understand, the holidays and travel and family and parties take up people at this time of year.

I’m also quite sure I specifically said that if I don’t see some sort of effort to really discuss deeper issues and start working on healing ourselves in this group, that AfroerotiK would go bye bye.

It seems more than obvious to me in the last several weeks that people would be content to let this group be a regular ole Ebony Chat group that asks about what everybody did on the weekend and not much more. I’m extremely disappointed in the effort of the members of the group to show support for my writing.

I have contributed enough short stories to this group to fill two books. You want to know how many comments I got from people on the last story I wrote? ONE. ONE comment!

I wrote a story about an interracial couple that fell in love and engaged in alternative sex and ONE person out of 17,000 found the time and energy to comment. Is that not a storyline that deserves dialogue? You begged for audios. I gave you FREE audios. I gave you a FREE 40 minute podcast discussing Black sexuality. What did I get in return? NOTHING!!!!

I give up. You don’t appreciate what I do so why should I bother?”

Who the effing hell sends out a post like that to members of her own group? Whatever happened to trying to win friends and influence people?

This is one of her latest posts:

“I was all prepared to shut the group down. I’ve begged and pleaded and begged some more about getting more feedback only to be met with people who swear they will contribute more and never do and others who seem to take pleasure in calling me names and getting an attitude when they post one single message and I don’t respond to it.

I’ve asked what exactly is so hard about giving feedback and the only response I get seems to be that I’m too smart and people are intimidated by responding or that the issues are too trivial to respond to. As many people seem to take pleasure in telling me exactly how enlightened they are, the same ones that seem to feel that the group is best shut down, I’ve yet to read one thing that is particularly inspiring, that is would lead me to keep the group open.

Shutting the group down, however, will shut the door on the potential for my vision. I might be the only person that sees the vision but without the vehicle, we can’t get there. So I have to endure being called names, I have to endure people not accepting responsibility for their dysfunctional behavior, not acknowledging where they need to grow because this is the only place where growth can happen.

The thing that will make the name calling and the dysfunctional behavior more tolerable is companionship. I can’t keep doing this alone. There are emotionally evolved black men that have healed themselves from patriarchy and misogyny and I deserve their companionship. {K: Yeah, but you may need an attitude adjustment first}

I deserve love and affection from someone that has moved beyond their childhood issues, who has a vision for the future that isn’t tied to pussy, money or validation of their dysfunction. I’m not sure what’s been keeping me from forming a relationship with someone healthy but I resolve to take more chances, to put myself in places where I can meet the type of men that I am interested in. I resolve to continue to heal myself to create a space to find companionship with a like minded individual. I know he’s rare but he does exist.” {Only in your dreams Bitch}

Need Ritalin much?

Check out some e-mails that we exchanged:

Karen:

“I’ve sent several posts to this list, but for some reason they don’t appear. Can I assume you moderate them, and you pick and choose which posts appear and which
don’t? I haven’t flamed in any of them, so I find it difficult to understand why you wouldn’t let any of them through.”

Afroerotika:

“You don’t contribute when I post why should I let your messages through?”

Karen:


“Don’t you get tired of angst Afroerotika? I think you would be Much better off worrying less about what the group is talking about, and just be grateful that you have such a lively list.


You need to just step back and breathe. Not everybody wants to talk about deep and meaningful subjects all the time, life’s just too short. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. People don’t like being told what they can discuss and what they can’t. You really need to just chill out, and stop trying so hard.”

Afroerotika:

“I get tired of people like you. You are now no longer a member of the group.”

I’ve been removed from the group. Wow, I’ve never had that happen to me before. Does this mean I’m a badass?

Anyway, here’s my final e-mail to her:

Karen:

“People like me? I thought I was just giving you sound advice actually. You worry too much about stuff that in the great scheme of things don’t matter all that much. Do you know how bitter you sound when you go off on one?

I never attacked you, but you obviously felt that I did and for that I’m truly sorry. I get it, it’s your group, and you control things, but aren’t you doing exactly what you advocate against? You’re limiting free speech. I had an opinion on the Tookie Williams debate the other day, but you didn’t bother letting that through. That was my one attempt at posting in response to a current issue, but you obviously felt that it wasn’t good enough, or it didn’t gel with your thoughts.

That’s kind of messed up don’t you think?

I’ve seen some of your posts where you complained about people sending abusive e-mails to you, I wonder now, if some of the e-mails were along similar lines to mine? All I ever did was put my point of view across. It wasn’t me who used the phrase ‘people like you’ which is incendiary in itself. You did that, not me.

I’m sorry you didn’t have the courage to let my posts through, but it’s your group, and you’ll do what you want.

You strike me as being a very unhappy person, and I think that one day, you’ll look back, and wonder why your knickers were in such a constant twist. Life’s truly too short, and you ought to just chill out, and enjoy being alive.”

She has yet to respond. I wont hold my breath. Normally, I relate quite well with special needs cases. This moronic bitch couldn’t even get along with Mother fucking Teresa of Calcutta.

I wonder what kind of medication she’s on….