Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Growing up as an army brat in Britain and moving from place to place, the characters in books became my best friends. I read anything and everything, from children’s books to the ones my dad brought home from the library for him. At college I chose to major in business, but took history and literature as electives.
After years of administrative work, I finally I wrote my first “never-to-see-the-light-of-day” novel in 2000. The new millennium seemed like a good time for a new beginning. Since then I have over 30 stories published in print and e-book and have recently dipped a toe into self-publishing. Several of my books have been nominated for and won awards.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is called More Than A Lover published by Harleqin and due out May 1 2016. It is a Regency romance set in 1820, around the time of the uprisings in Northern England, when workers were beginning to press for better pay and working conditions. A gathering in Manchester later known as Peterloo resulted in a massacre of civilians by the militia. My hero, and you may sense a theme here, is a soldier recently forced to resign his commission for his criticism of what happened at Peterloo. My heroine is a single mum, but struggling to keep her unmarried state a secret since in those days it would have been ruinous.
The story deals with the issues of people struggling to overcome the mistakes of the past.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Apart from writing standing on my head at the computer, you mean? Just joking. I don’t know what is considered unusual. I am a professional writer and I write every day, pretty much. I like to be outside in the summer, and sit in my kitchen where the sun comes in on good days in the winter. I do not create outlines or plots. Plotting is an anathema to me. My muse needs complete freedom to wander where she will and leaves me to sort it all out at the end. I would have to say it is a very inefficient way to write, and often leads to many deleted scenes. Fortunately, my editors understand and do not ask for detailed synopses at the proposal stage.
I did plot a book once and as a result never wrote it. My muse said, “eh, been there, and finished it, not going back.” Never again. Other than that I would say that for a writer I am pretty normal, if there is such a thing.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The author who inspired me was Georgette Heyer. From the very first I wanted to write books set in the Regency – 1811 to 1822. I like adventure stories with a strong romance running through it and have written many soldiers.
As I said earlier my tastes are eclectic, I love paranormal stories, and novels about history, and will pick up a contemporary too, but always come back to the era known as the long regency which more or less covers the life time of George IV or Prinny as he was known in the Regency.
What are you working on now?
I am working on my next book for Harlequin, I have four more books in my contract with them. I am also working on my next book in a self-published series also set in the Regency, but it has vampires, fairies and shape shifters, set against the back drop of war with France. The first in the Series was published in the Spring of 2015 and I hope to have this next one out in May 2016.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I think the experts agree that an author website is critical for promotion and that it must be updated regularly and contain buy links. I also focus on encouraging readers to sign up for my newsletter that goes out three or four times a year, where, in addition to providing information of my latest releases, I provide a free serialized story.
I do like to interact with readers on Facebook and Goodreads and anywhere else they can find me, and I also write a blog about my travels in England searching for clues to Regency England that helps me keep track of my research.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Finish the first book, polish it as best you can, move on to the next and rinse and repeat. Learn your craft by attending workshops, on line or in person and talk to other writers. Only they will understand your madness. Do not let negativity influence your work or goals. Persist.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Ultimately it is your book, you get to decide what advice you take about your story.
What are you reading now?
Hah! I binge read (sometimes more than one book at a time). I love series and have recently been rereading all my Brian Sanderson’s on my iPad. I found him when he finished the Wheel of Time series. I read one of the earlier books because someone left it behind on a seat in a restaurant. My dad loved sci-fi as well as Georgette Heyer, so we used to fight over who would get to read which book first when he brought them home from the library. I tend to reread a book I love over and over, and I am always adding to the pile. I get through about six books a week. Next up I am going to dive back into Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling world.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I plan to do a little more self publishing, having got back the rights to three of my earlier novels from other publishers and of course I have a contract to fulfill. But really what is next is writing, writing and writing. I love it.
What is your favorite book of all time?
No fair! Probably the one I am reading right now, whatever it happens to be. I love books that touch my emotions, make me happy or sad or something else. But if I really have to choose I would likely pick Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer the heroine is just so much fun and he is a real bad boy type.