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, when was the last time you did the ironing in your house? *g*
What a laugh that you should ask that question. Everyone in my family knows that I don’t iron. I hate irons and irons hate me. (Have killed three so far).
I had to iron three suits and three shirts (for my husband and two sons) and my outfit last weekend for my cousins wedding. Otherwise, I normally take the clothes out of the dryer a bit damp, shake them out, hit them against my legs and fold them. This girl will do anything to get out of ironing.
The first book of yours that I ever read was Hocus Pocus, and I recall how much I liked the plot device of having the heroine be the victim of a spell, which meant that she always had to tell the truth, where did the inspiration for this book spring from?
My inspiration came from the spell that I wrote. I wanted to write my first book, but I didn’t know where to begin. Once I had the spell, a whole bunch of ideas started popping into my head of things that could happen to Amanda and Mark, and off I went writing from the seat of my pants.
You currently write for Cerridwen Press, which is the mainstream sister of Elloras Cave, (famed for their verrry sexy books). Have you any plans to write for EC in the future, if not, is there a particular reason why?
Oh yummy, Elloras does have steamy books. At present, I’m developing a style that is more sensual/erotic. Don’t know if it’s hot enough for Elloras. Till then I’ll keep on writing and learning.
What are your thoughts on writing love scenes? Do they present any particular challenges? Do you let anyone else read them before they are published?
I find writing a really great sex scene takes time and effort. I want to get right into the heroines/heros heads and bodies and really describe their emotions, positions, the heat and excitement that is building. I want the reader to become a part of the escalating sensations and to finish the scene satisfied. (and turned on)
Do I let anyone read them? I’ve been forturnate enough to belong to a critique group that’s helped me get where I am today. They’re absolutely honest and generous with their thoughts, ideas and critism. They’ve read all the sex scenes I’ve written so far.
I tried using my husband at the beginning, but I always ended up getting sidetracked.
When you develop your characters, do you model them on people you know in your life, or do they all come from inside your head? Is there really an Aunt Lilly out there? *g*
Hehe, I modelled Aunt Lilly after myself. (my character, not my age) I’m a typical first-born, Italian, Aries female who always seems to get into trouble. Otherwise, I pull characteristics from my family and friends and add them to my characters. It makes them come alive and become more three dimensional.
Writing romantic comedy has to be one of the hardest things an author can do. With so many readers with differing views on what is funny, and what isn’t, is there an element of risk involved in writing a comedic book?
There’s always an element of risk writing comedy because it appeals to a person’s intellect. Sure my readers will have differing views on what is funny, but in the end aren’t we all the same?
Do any of members of your family read your books, and if so, what kind of feedback do you get from them?
Some of my family have read my books and are amazed. They’ve given me only positive feedback. Every once in a while they’ll call me if they think up any ideas for future books.
What were your favourite books as a child?
Alice In Wonderland
The Flying Carpet, and anything else I could get my hands on.
What does a typical day as a writer consist of?
A typical day for this writer consists of sending off my sons to school, putting the house in order, getting dinner ready by lunchtime and writing till about 2:00p.m., then going out to pick up the boys, having dinner and closing myself in a room around 9:00p.m. (when the house has finally grown quiet) and writing till the early morning hours.
Not glamorous at all.
If you only got 5 books to keep for the rest of your life (the horror!) which would they be?
Oh, that’s easy, all of Karen Marie Moning’s Immortal books.
Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)
Besides Ms. Moning’s books, I try to stay away from paranormal books because I don’t want them influencing my stories. Instead, I stick to the Harlequin Presents and any Historicals I can get my hands on. Particularly enjoy Margaret Moore and Jennifer Ashley (two very funny ladies)
Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?
My close romance writer friends are my critique group. Together we’ve weathered the rejections (and there were many) and celebrated (with champagne) our successes.
There’s Molly O’Keefe who wrote for Flipside and will soon have her first Super-romance coming out soon, Michele Young whose first historical, “Pistols at Dawn,” published with Five Star, will shortly be available on Amazon, Mary Bray who was a Golden Heart finalist last year, Maureen McGowan recently agented with the Knight Agency, Sinead Murphy recently agented with The Ferguson Literary Agency, and Susan Daly who is on the homestretch of polishing her contemporary romance and submitting it to the an agent who requested it.
We all started with the same dream and have been each others cheerleading section.
When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?
Five years ago when I turned the big 4-0, I figured this was a good a time as any.
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’d love to shadow women who were unique. Cleopatra; courtesan Madame de Pompadour, or the concubine Lola Montez. I’d want to ask them questions about the men in their lives. (and their secrets)
What is the greatest challenge facing women in today’s world? Have women’s issues been given short shrift by the mainstream media and/or politicians?
In some countries the greatest challenge facing women is being able to survive. To not get raped. To be able to feed and cloth themselves. Having the right to choose one’s husband, their education, or their words.
In the middle of all the ugliness that exits on our earth, whispers from beaten women have turned to loud cries that are finally being heard.
How many times did you get rejected (if indeed you did) before you got published?
After I finished writing Hocus Pocus, (the first time) I did an agent blitz my first year and sent off a query letter to 130 agents. I ended on a roller coaster ride of requests and rejections. Thirty didn’t even bother answering.
130? Wow, that’s a lot!
What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?
My ultimate goal is to continue to write books that people will enjoy and for one of my stories to be adapted for TV or better yet, made into a movie.
Although they account for more than half of all books purchased in the U.S., with over 51 million romance readers in the United States, the genre has not always received the respect it deserves in the literary world. Why do you think that is? Could the scorn be based on the fact that 90% of the readers are female? Is this merely sexism in the form of literary snobbery?
Perhaps a bit of both.
Which of your books is dearest to your heart, and why?
Hocus Pocus because I got to spread my wings.
Which of your books has achieved the most commercial success so far, and what do you think made it so successful?
Again, Hocus Pocus because it appealed to so many people. The reviews have been great and the response from readers has been tremendously satisfying because I really made them laugh.
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 don’t go back and read them. My philosophy is, ‘don’t look back, just keep moving forward.’
Just recently, it was suggested that reader reviews aren’t as credible as reviews by your peers, and that only writers/authors should be able to review books in the first place, what are your thoughts on this?
A reader review and a writer review, in my opinion, are two different animals.
A reader will look at your story differently than a writer. A reader may enjoy your work and tell you what appealed to them, what made them laugh/cry, why they hated it, but they may not be able to point out why your book did or didn’t do this for them.
A writer will point out exact problems. Point of view switches, weak/or no hooks, telling as opposed to showing, great/poor dialogue, too much back story that tends to slow down the story and pace, etc. They look at your book and dissect each element and tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are.
Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?
Nope. Thank God and knock on wood (tapping my thick head) I’ve been very lucky only to have positive reviews.
Recently, it was alleged that e-book authors don’t have the same earning potential as print book authors, what are your thoughts on this?
Since I’ve never gone up to a print book author and asked, “So how much you make on your last book?” I really can’t compare the two. And since I’m a new kid on the block, people will not know of me yet. I do know that erotic e-books sell reaaaallly well.
Do you think that RWA should have a separate erotic romance category in the RITA awards?
In my opinion, no. Erotica is an element that might, or might not, be found in a book. A Western, a paranormal, no matter how you slice them, are still a western and a paranormal. But hey, that’s just me.
When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?
Three years ago I went to the Dominican Republic. (Time for a holiday)
Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?
Just one? I’m married, not dead. HEHE!!!
If you could choose one publishing company to write for, who would you choose, and why?
Wow, that’s a tough one. All of them have come a long way and are doing fantastic jobs at marketing and distributing their writers. If I had one I’d pick Random House/Dell because of the fantastic job they do with their covers and promotion. But at this early stage of my career if any publisher came to me, I’d be ecstatic.
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)
Easy, Oprah. She keeps reading books that are serious and deeply emotional. I’d like her to laugh and fall asleep with a smile on her face.
If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?
I guess that would be the biggest distributor, Harlequin Romance.
Name your top five favourite romantic films.
Somewhere In Time
Kate and Leopold
What Women Want
What was the last book you read, and did you enjoy it?
Spell of the Highlander, by Karen Marie Moning and yes I enjoyed it and all her books so far. (Keep checking her website for her next book)
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?
So far I’ve only written two books, Hocus Pocus and Now You See It. . ., and I’ve been lucky with my readers/reviewers responses.
What do you enjoy the most and least about being a writer?
Most – the satisfaction of seeing the smiles on my critique groups faces when I get a scene right.
Least – being alone for most of the day with only my characters to talk to.
Have you got any words of wisdom for the aspiring writers out there? Any good research sources?
Believe in yourself. That’s what Oprah has said and I’ve followed her advise.
The second most important thing came from Dr. Phil. It was, “find something in life you to be passionate about, then invest in yourself.”
I did both and so can you.
Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?
I’m presently working on a story about a werewolf who doesn’t want to be what he is and won’t accept his mate. He just wishes she’d leave town. I’ve got a heroine who won’t leave town and has an agenda of her own.
Sounds fab Teresa! I’ll be looking forward to reading that when it comes out then!
Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these very nosy questions!
It was my pleasure!
That’s it from me folks, as you can see, I haven’t totally abandoned the author interviews, if any other authors catch my fancy, then I’ll probably have a bash, but for now, it’s ciao from me!