Wow, that’s a lovely question to be hit with first up and an even lovelier to hear that you have a few of my books. So, maybe it should be me asking you that question. :-)
Seriously, I’m a big fan of the alpha male and find it fabulous to find the woman who can be his match. I think readers relate to that, because as lovely as is the fantasy of the knight in shining armour whisking the heroine away from danger, I do think the reader wants the heroine to be able to hold her own and use her magic to save the hero from the demons facing him too.
I absolutely adore the cover of your upcoming novella Second Chance Bride. Do you get a say in what goes on your covers?
With my Harlequin Presents covers, I do get input. I get to describe characters and suggest scenes and sometimes the cover gods get it right and the cover is gobsmackingly perfect and just gorgeous. Sometimes it’s not.
With “Second Chance Bride” for Montana Born Books (Tule Publishing), however, I got to choose the actual cover picture, and that was such a treat. I utterly adore this cover. It just says happy! I also utterly adore how big my name is (really big, and that’s always a treat for an author!). So good to hear the cover works for you too.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of writing?
So many things and so hard to choose! And as much as I love reading, there’s
probably travel or eating out or cooking and even just walking the spoodle or
being with family down at the beach on my favourites list too. (Please note that
housework doesn’t appear anywhere on that list - nuh-uh.)
But if I had to choose just one, at the moment I’d probably pick travel. Our four
girls have now all left high school, are all mobile and (relatively:-)) self-
sufficient and it’s easier to get away. In 2013 I was lucky enough to spend much
of Jan/Feb traveling in Turkey, Israel, Jordan and the UAE and in October spent
a few weeks in the UK and Ireland. Somehow I managed to squeeze the NZ
conference in between. Travel is such a great way to research settings and
imagine up stories first hand, (Plus you get to spend time with family and eat out
a lot and read on the plane too - bonus!)
What do you love most about the genre you write?
Happy endings, definitely. I love that a romance can take you on a roller coaster ride of emotion, passion, high stakes, drama, suspense and even more, and yet still allow the main characters to overcome every obstacle that’s been put in their way, either externally or internally. I love that we romance authors get to deal with the problems of the world (as seen by these characters) and find a resolution, rather than sit back smugly as some unhappy ending novelists do and say, hey, it’s a problem and it’s too hard, deal with it. Sure, happy endings are difficult to pull off. But I believe they’re worth it.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Positive. Chatty. Gemini.
Do you have a specific place you like to write/music you listen to, etc?
Usually my study. Much as I love the idea of writing in bed, I’ve experimented with writing there and I just can’t do it. Maybe it’s just too comfortable, but I suspect I need a firm seat beneath me and a couple of arms to constrain me. Or maybe that’s just my alpha heroes talking. :)
If it’s a coolish day, I’ll have my favourite lemongrass and ginger candle burning, and as for music, I listen to either instrumentals, or to songs/albums I know so well that the words flow over me. Lyrics that speak of poetry. Ballads that speak of love. Or Patrizio Buanne singing Un Angelo (Angels) or Vives En Mi Corazon (Always On My Mind). That does it for me too.
Are you currently working on a new project? If so can you tell us what it will be about it? (Feel free to add a short excerpt too J)
I’m currently working on a sheikh duo for Harlequin Presents - the remaining two brothers in the Desert Brothers books, and both stories are still fuzzy around the edges, so I guess you’ll just have to put up with an excerpt from Second Chance Bride. But I should warn you, this story is nothing like my Presents. It begins in a Kalgoorlie bordello for a start (Needless to say, I had a lot of fun writing this story J)
Just to set the scene, our heroine Scarlett leaves Marietta Montana for Perth and her internet boyfriend, objective - marriage. Of course it doesn’t work out and Scarlett’s mom gets sick and suddenly she find the money to get home. Signing on with Bella’s Belles in Kalgoorlie won’t be her proudest moment, but it will get her quick money. And she’s sure she can do it, all she has to do is separate mind from body and think dull, boring thoughts, like her times tables.
Enter Mitch, her first client fresh from the shower and who happens to be nothing like the middle aged man with a paunch she’d been expecting.
She was sitting on the bed, her legs crossed, trying to look casual when he emerged from the bathroom. It was his fault entirely that she wasn’t able to carry it off, emerging as he did with his hair beading moisture at the ends and with a towel slung low on his hips.
Just business, she reminded herself, when in truth it was all she could do not to drool at that glorious expanse of chest and abs, and that beguiling line of hair that separated the two sides of his abs and circled his belly button before heading south and disappearing under a knot of fluffy white towel.
She looked up and found him smiling at her, and she knew she’d been sprung. But he looked so good when he smiled that it was all but impossible to stop herself from smiling back. And somewhere in the back of her mind she knew one shouldn’t drool at a client, or smile without having to make some kind of effort. Shouldn’t actually be tingling at the thought of having sex with this man. But the way he looked at her made it so damned hard to remember this was business.
He took her hands and hauled her to her feet. “I thought we were going to bed.”
And the jolt she felt on contact, a hundred times more powerful than when their fingers had brushed, warned her that the six times tables or even the sevens weren’t going to cut it. It was time to bring out the big guns.
One times eight is eight.
Two times eight is sixteen.
“Sure,” she said, with her head back in a Marietta Elementary School classroom with a wall filled with numbers and tables and charts and old Mrs Henson with her stick pointing out the next line in the chant and she felt better already.
Three times eight is twenty-four.
“In that case,” he said, as he swiped the hat from her head and spun it away into a corner, “it appears one of us is over-dressed.”
Four time eight is...
He touched his hands to her shoulders - long-fingered hands that brought with them that jolt of electricity and the wall of charts and tables blurred and faded in the knowledge that these hands - these electric long-fingered hands - would soon be all over her, and that thought damn near sucked the air from her lungs along with her recital.
Four times eight, she persisted, finding her place. Four times eight is thirty two.
Good. She just needed to stay in control. Who was the client here after all? She made a move to twist out of his arms, to sit down on the big wide bed. “I’ll just get my boots off—“ But he stopped her descent, her shoulders held fast in his big hands, fingers squeezing into her flesh, and she knew that if her knees buckled under her right now, she would not fall.
And given the way the muscles in his arms and chest had contracted as he’d supported her, it was a wonder her knees hadn’t buckled.
Five times eight is forty.
Six times eight--
“How about we leave the boots on, cowgirl, at least for now,” and his voice was husky low and so sexy that there was only one way for her pulse to go and that was into overdrive. And that was before he dipped his mouth to her throat, drawing her closer as his lips set fire to her skin, sending her senses damn near into meltdown.
She heard a sigh, and realized it had come from her, as he collected her close against his chest, his hands molding her to him, from shoulder to waist to butt, his mouth doing wicked things to her skin, the drumbeat of her blood blocking out rational thought, so that she wondered the point of an eight times tables anyway?
How do you find balance with your writing and real life?
That’s a hard one. It’s not easy, but I think if you can work out what’s the most important thing to you, then finding that balance becomes less problematic. For me, family wins out hands down and when family needs me, I’m there. In 2013, when I wasn’t gallivanting around the world that is, we faced a tough year family wise and my writing had to take a back seat for a large part of the year. I admire people who can write through tough times, but I’m not one of them, especially not when I’m writing Presents, which is angsty and intense at the best of times. When life is sending crud, I don’t need to make angst up, so it’s nice to be able to just back off a little and give myself space.
The downside is that now, in 2014, I have some catching up to do, but now that pressure to write is a positive thing, so I’m shifting focus again. I think one needs that flexibility (or maybe that’s just me).
I think we all have to find out what works best for us ourselves.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Ann!