Interview with Romance Novelist, Rachel Brimble

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Hi Rachel, welcome to my blog. I remember meeting you years ago at the ‘Write From the Heart’ workshop at Cirencester in 2005. Back then, you were just beginning your journey as a romance author. What have you achieved publishing-wise since then?

Wow, 17 years ago?! Where does the time go? My eldest has just turned 18 and I can remember that workshop was one of the first days I left her all day with my husband, lol! Well, my first full-length novel was published by The Wild Rose Press in 2007 and since then I have had 17 novels and 2 novellas published. As well as that, I have book 18 coming out in August, book 19 in November as well as two others contracted. I’m constantly busy!

When did you first realise that you wanted to write romantic fiction?

At first, I had no idea what I wanted to write but once I started looking at my chosen reading and how these stories interested me, romantic suspense became the first genre I set out to write. I still regularly write romantic suspense, but also write mainstream romance and historical romance.

Where’s your favourite writing spot?

For the last two years, I’ve had my own home office which I adore – before that I wrote wherever I could. The kitchen table being the usual place to find me! Those days in the summer when I can take my laptop outside are my absolute favorite, though. Bliss!

Tell me a little about a typical writing day for you…

I am lucky enough to be able to write full-time so, as much as possible, I treat my writing as I would a job outside of the house. Four days a week, I work from 8.30am to 5.30pm (with a couple of dog walks in between) and the fifth day I spend visiting my parents. I try hard not to work at the weekends but, more often than not, I manage a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Who inspires you?

So many people! For my writing, it’s Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis and Jodi Picoult. Personally, my mum, Maya Angelou and my friends.

Could you tell people a little about your latest release, please?

Cover (best).jpgMy latest release is the sixth instalment of my Harlequin Superromance series, the Templeton Cove Stories. SAVED BY THE FIREFIGHTER is a second-chance story where the hero and heroine have to come to terms with loss in order to move on. This book was inspired by the devastation I felt when I lost my beloved black Lab, Max. I just couldn’t seem to move on and poured everything I was feeling into my writing.

The readers and reviewers have loved this book which is fantastic! All these books can be read stand-alone, by the way J

Does your book have a particular theme?

See above – bereavement, strength and overcoming pain

Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

Trent, the hero. He’s strong, capable, loving and, of course, darn nice to look at! He makes this book for me with how he is determined to help Izzy (the heroine) through her trauma, despite struggling with his own losses. A real man!

Is there a villain/antagonist in your book?

No – this one is mainstream.

How long did it take to write and how did you research for it?

My books usually take me around 5-6 months from idea to final draft. As this is book 6 and I know Templeton so well, there wasn’t a lot of research involved. All the emotions I wanted to convey were already inside me.

Do you outline your books before you begin writing or do you write very much by the seat-of-your-pants?

I have found a process that works for me every time nowadays. I start with a premise and then complete character sketches for my hero, heroine and villain (if I have one). Doing the sketches usually brings out their goals, motivations and conflicts. I then compile a full chapter plan of around a paragraph for each chapter which then makes the synopsis writing easier.

After that, I write the first draft from start to finish without looking back. The hard part comes in the following drafts!

Do you have any plans for any future novels?

Always! I have four pages of ideas on a file on my computer as well as a bulging notebook in my handbag. Right now, I am finishing book 8 in the Templeton Cove series as well as working on a new series proposal for Harlequin and an outline for a new Edwardian romance. Busy, busy!

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

I am definitely working my dream job, but if I had to choose something else, I would love to work with dogs in some way.

What’s the best thing about being an author for you?

All of it! I love the writing, editing, promotion. You name it, I enjoy it. I feel incredibly blessed to be doing what I love every day.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?

I am a Twitter nut so that’s probably the best way to keep up with my personal and professional antics, but I love to hear from readers any which way. Here are my links:

Website: http://rachelbrimble.com/

Blog: http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: @rachelbrimble or @templetoncove

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelbrimbleauthor/?fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806411.Rachel_Brimble

And finally, where can readers buy a copy of your latest book?

Amazon US: http://a.co/2QInDDv

Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/5vk04Sh

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saved-by-the-firefighter-rachel-brimble/1123750035?ean=9781488006906

Many thanks for an interesting interview, Rachel!

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Interview with Romance Novelist: Clare Connelly

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Hi Clare, welcome to my blog. I first became aware of you as an author just over a year ago and was blown away by how many books you’ve published and how popular they are. How old were you when you first started writing and what sort of things did you write about?

Hi Lynette, Thanks for having me! I have always, always written but I began to write actual books when I was thirteen and submitted my first novel to Harlequin at fifteen. It was wisely rejected, as it was pretty terrible (it’s almost like they know a thing or two about romance writing!). I continued to write though, working on cooking blogs, research pieces and always books in the background. I have been told ‘write what you love to read’ so for me that is overwhelmingly recipes and romance.

You write contemporary romances, why did you choose that particular genre?

I don’t think I chose it… it chose me. I met my first Harlequin hero when I was around eleven. My mum is an antique dealer and she used to drag my sisters and me into these dusty old shops. We would beeline for the books –there are always books in these places— and stock up on whatever took our fancy.

I just gravitate towards writing romance. Even when I start writing something else, it turns into romance. I see the shape of the story in my head. 50,000 words is challenging, because there’s a lot to convey in a relatively small book – characters need to have depth and heart, and the reader has to be pulling for them from the first page.

How many books to date have you published?

I’ve self-published over forty-three unique titles (circa 50,000 words) and more than six anthologies. My first, THE ITALIAN BILLIONAIRE’S BETRAYAL, continues to sell well.

Which book is your best seller?

I would find it hard to say, but a consistent top seller is Seducing the Spaniard. It’s also one of my favourites, because the heroine is a little bit messed up but oh, so likeable and the hero adores her but tries to make her see sense in all the wrong ways! I have a great following for my Sheikh books, and I always love to write them. My first best seller was At the Sheikh’s Command.

Who do you think is your core reader?

I would say overwhelmingly women. I don’t think age is an issue to enjoying romance – I know I have some readers who are late teens and I think good love stories appeal to all generations. My biggest markets globally are America, India and the United Kingdom, in that order, followed closely by Australia and Canada.

Could you tell us a little about your typical writing day?

I work full-time as a writer, but I do juggle this with being at home with two children – a six year old son and a four year old daughter. I published my first book mid-2014, and at that point was up to my arms in toddler business. I had to be very disciplined to get my words down, but I knew I had limited time in which to make this dream come true – I was coming to the point where I was itching to be working again. I was blessed with children who napped well and I ran our schedule with military precision, ensuring they were worn out in the mornings so that they would nap at precisely noon, allowing me to sit and tap out words. There were days when they wouldn’t oblige with sleep, of course, and that could be frustrating. But as soon as my husband would arrive home, I scurried into our room with my laptop and picked up the slack.

Things are easier now. I have the confidence that I can write and the assuredness that this is my career, so I don’t feel guilty about making proper dedicated time to write. My husband is very supportive. I wake early and immediately set to work. Most days I get out two thousand words before I have to start processing the kids for school or the day ahead.

But I’m a compulsive writer and I tend to do between 8,000 and 10,000 words per day when I’m in a book – I wrote 14,000 words the other day because I really could not step away from the story. It comes to me fully formed and I just want to get the words out while they’re flowing. I know not all authors write like this but for me, it works.

Where’s your favourite place to write?

I’m a coffee shop writer – by necessity. We have a fabulous nanny who helps with the kids and on the days she’s with them, I leave the house. I just need my computer and headphones… and a seat with wifi!

Who are your favourite authors?

I’m a Harlequin Presents girl through and through. I love Penny Jordan, Emma Darcy, Sharon Kendrick, Helen Bianchin, Maisey Yates, Amy Andrews and from the general romance writing shelves Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell… And from the non-romance stable, Kate Morton of course, Roald Dahl, Stephen King (the master of narrative!), JK Rowling, of course, Dr Seuss.

Who inspires you?

John Lasseter, who was the creative genius behind Pixar. He had been fired from Disney for trying to revolutionise animation and encourage it towards computer animating and he went on to found Pixar. I watch ‘The Pixar Story’, a documentary on his journey, at least once a year. His determination and vision literally turned the industry on its head. Interestingly, Steve Jobs, another visionary I revere, was a vital part of Pixar, bank rolling it from his own pocket because he believed so greatly in the work they were doing.  Speaking of which, Meredith Wild is my book idol. Not just because she writes fantastic stories, but because she’s parlayed her talent into a scorching self-published career, a seven figure book deal, and has now started her own publishing house, Waterhouse Press, which represents standout bestsellers like Audrey Carlan. I think she’s an incredible writer and business woman.

It was lovely to hear your fantastic news that you’ve had a manuscript accepted for publication by Harlequin Books. Where were you when you got ‘The Call’ and how did you react?

It was utterly surreal! I was sitting at my tiny, paint-stained kitchen table with my husband getting the kids to bed in the background (and all the noise that brings). I thought Megan (Haslam, my delightful editor) was calling to chat about the plot I’d put forward. The offer of a two book deal knocked me sideways! It was less than two months after I’d met with Joanne Grant of Harlequin UK at a romance conference, where I pitched myself to her, so it happened really quickly, exceeding all my expectations! I remember putting the phone down and just staring out of the window, unable to process the fact that my longest-held dream was actually happening.

I was just about to speak to my husband about it (he’d already popped the bubbly, having gathered the gist) when my phone buzzed with a twitter notification and the lovely team at Harlequin were announcing that I was on-board. Their enthusiasm and support is something I will never forget.

Can you tell readers a little about that particular book?

Happily! Nikos and Marnie were teen sweethearts but he was never deemed good enough for her aristocratic family. He’s paid off by Marnie’s father to leave her alone and, having just lost her sister, Marnie doesn’t want to upset her parents further by fighting for Nikos and their relationship. Fast forward six years and her rejection has spurred Nikos on to become the kind of man he thinks she wants. He’s a self-made tycoon, and he wants her back… He propositions Marnie, using her family’s dire financial standing to give her the right incentive. Love for her family sees her agree to marry him … but their past is a big black hole that neither can forget.

I’m really intrigued by the notion of good people, who are deeply in love, being driven to do the wrong thing. Love is a complex business and when hurt feelings, betrayal and our duty to others come into play, it can be very hard to simply grab what you want with both hands.

It was a labour of love to write this; as with all my books, it’s full of passion, glamour, angst and heart.

Have you got any new works in progress?

I’m always writing! I was commissioned to write an episode in an upcoming Harlequin serial – a fascinating project which sees twelve authors from various Harlequin lines come together to write a racy, exciting twelve episode novel. I’m also working on my second Harlequin Presents novel and I have the second two books in a trilogy due out over the next four months. I also have a really great agent who’s shopping a book I wrote which doesn’t fit squarely into category or romance. It’s a romantic thriller with a really likeable, sassy heroine and a hero who is closed off and enigmatic… but exactly what our lady needs. I’m excited to see what, if anything, happens with this book.

If there was one country in the world you could visit, where would that be?

I’ve been really lucky to have travelled quite a bit but I’ve only ever flown in and out of America. Until the political climate there shifted, I would have said that I’m desperate to spend six months in New York, visiting a different state each month for a long weekend, but really immersing myself in American life. Now, I’m not so sure I could plan for that.

Australia is a beautiful country, and I’ve seen an embarrassingly small amount of it, unlike my husband. As  a child, his parents drove everywhere. He’s swum with fresh water crocs in the northern territory, eaten pearl shell meat from Paspaley pearls, flown in a helicopter over the Bungle Bungles, climbed Uluru (Ayers Rock)  back when you still could. I’d really like to tick some of those boxes.

What are your goals for 2017?

Good question! I have type one diabetes and I’ve found juggling the demands of small-children and establishing my writing career have made it difficult to give my health the attention it deserves. It’s a bit of a cliché but I’d like to really focus on being more active this year. Walks are a great way to get the creative juices flowing, and I generally love healthy food. But wine, oh, wine! My weakness. Writing at night with a bucket of shiraz is my guilty pleasure… I’m going to have to try to swap in herbal tea, though!

How will you spend Valentine’s day?

I am going to thwart my New Year’s Resolution and cook creamy, yummy French food that is most definitely not good for me – and wash it down with delicious champagne! We celebrate as a family, generally. The kids make decorations and help me bake love-heart themed food (loaves of bread, biscuits).

And finally, where can readers find you on social media and where can they purchase your books?

My website has links to my books www.clareconnelly.com and I am on facebook, twitter, Instagram, and pinterest. I’m turning into a bit of a pinterest addict, actually – it’s too much fun!

Interview with bestselling novelist, Mary Wood [writing as Molly Kent]

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Hi, Mary and welcome to my blog!

Thank you, it is my pleasure to be here.

You normally write fiction under the name of ‘Mary Wood’ but have just published a gangland thriller under the name of ‘Molly Kent’, what made you take this change of direction?

The idea came from a poolside party on holiday in Spain. My husband and I, and a nephew and his family, were with my son at his villa, when talk turned to my writing career. The opinion was that I should and could, write a crime novel. They all thought I showed the right traits with how gritty my sagas are. I warmed to the idea. Not a new one, as I had thought of this before and have a wealth of information about procedures, and knowledge of how criminals think and work, from my ten years working with The Probation Service as a Probation Service Officer. And so, when I next found myself with the time to devote to writing this book, I took the opportunity. I’ve loved writing The Sweet Taste of Revenge.

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Is the ‘The Sweet Taste of Revenge’ a standalone novel or will it form part of a future series of books?

That is something I haven’t made my mind up about yet. There are possibilities for more books with the same characters, but it is a wait and see situation at the moment. If this book does well and the readers of this genre accept me as a creditable writer in this field, then there will be more books of this nature. Like any new venture, you have to read the vibes coming back to you and take it from there.

If it’s part of a series, can you tell readers a little about any future plans you may have for further books in the series?

If it did work out that way, then certain characters who Layla, the main character, has her revenge on, would later try to bring her down and take all she has built up. We would see a power struggle between rival gangs.

What’s the basic premise of ‘The Sweet Taste of Revenge’?

I always champion women, whether women of a bygone age or as in this book, modern women. I set out to prove Layla to be strong enough, clever enough and ruthless enough to be able to take the revenge she seeks against all the odds.

Layla is a woman wronged. And not just in the sense of her man betraying her with other women, but him disappearing, building a new life for himself and putting in place plans to ruin her life. What her husband plans could see Layla behind bars for years. She has a fight on her hands. She doesn’t give up. She surrounds herself with other strong women, disposing of any who don’t come up to scratch. The Sweet Taste of Revenge is not for the feint-hearted.

Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

In the sense of a favourite, because I like one in particular better than the others, there isn’t one. There are very few ‘likeable’ people in the underworld. But, I do have two I rooted for. I wanted Layla to win. I wanted Gina, a woman of weak character, who is pulled into more than she can cope with and succumbs to drugs and prostitution, to have a better life, and to fight more for that. She is the one I felt sorry for and who had the most effect on me.

When researching, do you like to visit the area you are setting the story in?

Yes. To me visiting the place of the setting really grounds the novel. I am writing from experience then, not just what I can find out from a book or online. I can feel my characters in the setting, and imagine them going into real places. Even to the climate they would experience.

When I went to Poland for instance, for my novel, In Their Mother’s Footsteps, a wartime saga, out in December, I was shocked to find they had really hot summers. I thought it was cold there all year around! I had only taken warm clothing and was sweltering!

In The Somme for, All I Have to Give, a World War One novel, I found the atmosphere of the graveyards seeped into me. I could almost see the young soldiers, and hear the wails of their family. I found my place for my field hospital and was able to see what the nearby villages looked like, and what they had by way of entertainment when troops had rest days. And as I say, it isn’t just seeing, it is getting the atmosphere deep into my bones.  For this novel too, I needed to know what it was like in and around the munition factories of Low moor and Bradford. There I found memorials to the men and women, the unsung heroes who worked under extremely dangerous conditions and who lost their lives in the terrible explosion that ripped the heart out of Low Moor.

Dunkirk featured in, Proud of You, and visiting there gave me the reality of what it was like to be trapped on the beach with the German’s closing in on you, and the raging sea in front of you.

And, Normandy, for both Proud of You and Time Passes Time, gave depths to these stories I don’t think I would have achieved without visiting there.

Bletchley Park was an amazing experience, and filled in so many gaps for me for a future novel to be published next year ‘Reach Out to me.’ A novel where the main characters are heavily involved in code-breaking and Bletchley.

I have travelled to many other places in Britain too, in search of realism for my Northern sagas. I descended a historic mine in Leeds. Experiencing the rickety cage that took me down into the terrifying bowels of the earth. And to feel just what it felt like to be down there. How unforgivingly dark it was when the single candle issued each day came to the end of its life.

Mining features in my Breckton Trilogy, and I knew very little about it until that visit.

London has featured in many of my books. What a big place, and how do you begin to get to know its people, the gritty East Enders? I had some experience of the characters there when I visited Brixton.

I love to travel, so have enjoyed all of these trips and many more, too many to mention.

How did you become a writer in the first place?

I was born to write. From an early age I loved books. Not just reading them but the feel of them in my hands. I showed a flare for it in my school days as teachers used to complain that my compositions were more like novels and far too long, though very good!

From this beginning I harboured a desire to write, but didn’t actually do so till 1989 when I looked after my mother in her last months. During the afternoon when she would nap, I took to writing a novel I had in my head.

Years in the wilderness followed with many rejections. They were difficult years for someone to break into the publishing industry. My manuscripts never made it out of the slush pile – I could tell that by how unread they were when they plopped back on my doormat.

Then along came kindle, and I never looked back. Persuaded to upload my work by two lovely authors I had befriended online, success followed success – proving all those agents wrong! My most rejected novel, An Unbreakable Bond, has sold thousands and thousands as an ebook, staying in the top twenty of genre for fifteen months! And in paperback made the Sunday Times top twenty bestseller list!

In the end, my publisher, Pan Macmillan, sought me out. One of their editors had downloaded my book, curious after seeing me in the top ten all the time and not knowing who I was. She loved it, and contacted me. From there I was offered a seven book deal!  

Where do you write?

I have a little-bedroom office. I love it, as up till moving into it nine months ago, I lay on my bed with a laptop, or sat outside. But writing can be done anywhere and for me it certainly is. In the back of the car on a journey, on the beach on holiday, on trains, in hotel rooms, and even in the loo…haha…it has been done!

Could you tell us a little about your writing day?

Most days begin at five am. The first couple of hours are spent on my work-in-progress, or on an edit if I have one to work through – and no edit I ever experienced can match those of traditional publishers!! They make we weep sometimes, but I always love the outcome. I also find that I write with abandon, knowing they will put right the wrongs, and this gives me a freedom that helps with creativity, so is a good thing in the end.

Roy, my husband looks after me and has taken over the chores of the house (I have to give a good ‘do’ now and then, mind)

At around seven to eight, he will bring me breakfast. I work through while eating it. Social media, or emails, sometimes both. Then back to my book or edit. I always break for lunch to give my eyes and brain a rest. But will then work through any projects that need my attention in the afternoon. Often going back to writing until six pm, then it’s bath and change for dinner. Oh, that sounds grand. Changing often means, putting on jim-jams, or a house dress, unless we are going out.

That is the pattern of my writing day that I plan and love, but of course, many things interfere with it, and a life has to be led, so on a whim, I can pack a picnic, drag Roy off to the Lake District, about an hour from us, or to any other beauty spot, and forget writing for the day.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of writing a novel?

Learn your trade. Most people can write a story. A lot can write one long enough to produce a novel. But don’t think for one moment that is all you have to do, or that it is money for old rope.

There is a craft to writing. To be able to create believable characters, to have the story live on the page, not just to be told as if the reader was sitting at your knee listening to you rambling on. In order to do this, you need tools. Just as if you were going to become a plumber. You wouldn’t go to a person’s house and say you could fit a new tap for them unless you had gone through your training.

Writing is no different. Take a creative writing course, or learn from ‘how to’ books, and then, when you have the knowledge yourself, you can begin your novel.

Writing is hard work. Long lonely hours at a computer. Sometimes you will feel drained with the bleeding of all your creative juice, so tackle it in the way you would any job. Give it time, don’t skip the processes of getting to know your characters, researching your material, and allowing a professional person to edit your work. Writing is one discipline, Editing is another. The two need each other.

But above all of this, believe in yourself and in your story. If you do, others will.

Who’s your favourite author and why?

I really have a list of them, as I love reading, though have very little time to do so now. But for the sake of naming one, I would have to say, Catherine Cookson. She it was who first influenced me to put pen to paper.

I had read many – hundreds even, of authors prior to being loaned a Catherine book, but once I read hers, I experienced something very different to anything I had known before. I became the main character, her pain was mine, her joy was mine. I cried with her, for her, and for myself. This is what I wanted to achieve. To make readers experience those feelings when they read my book. I set out to do just that. I set out to learn my craft. The result was: An Unbreakable Bond. The greatest compliment I ever had for this book was that it reminded the reader of Catherine.

Can you tell readers a little about your saga series of books?

In the Breckton Trilogy I explore the way women lived in the days when they had no voice, and men ruled the roost. A time when it was said that there was no such thing as rape, and domestic violence was a man’s right to keep his missus in check.

This wasn’t just the poor women, either, many upper-class women had no choice in who they married and were often ‘sold’ to prop up the family fortunes. To this end some found themselves married to wealthy, but old and often, repulsive men. Women of this class and the aristocracy, really did have to lie back and think of England. They too were often victims of domestic violence.

I’m also fascinated by the class divide and how the actions of the rich impact on the poor.

And yet, to go against the grain, I have created powerful women too.

However, a trilogy covers a long period of time, and allows the author to bring the generations through the struggles as they fight to make changes in their lives.

And so this is the background my story is set against. Through it we follow the lives of the Fellam’s and the Armitage families, the working class – and the Harvey’s and Crompton’s, the rich. Their lives are entwined in love and in tragedy. Decisions are taken that cause extreme hardship, and violence, and even, murder. But always there is a good outcome. From the poor reaching new heights, to heroes in wartime.

The books are both heart-warming and very gritty as I believe in taking my reader to the depth of any experience my characters go through.

Although, The Sweet Taste Revenge, is so different in genre to these books, and to my wartime novels, I strove to inject this same depth into its characters.

Good luck with your new book, ‘The Sweet Taste of Revenge’, Mary. I’m looking forward to reading it. Where can people purchase the book?

Thank you so much, and thank you for having me. I’ve enjoyed the interview. Here’s the link for the book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweet-Taste-Revenge-Took-Back-ebook/dp/B01LT8HNCY

My books can be found, and first chapters read, as well as purchase them through links to Amazon, on my official web page: www.authormarywood.com Where I hold a monthly draw for new subscribers to win a signed paperback of their choice.

Also, my books are available on kindle, and most can be brought in paperback from W.H. Smiths. When newly released, they are in all major supermarkets, too. Much love to all, Mary x

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** Mary is running a competition on the 10th September, 10am to 4am on Facebook only, to launch The Sweet Taste of Revenge, and one of the competitions run will be linked to this blog!!** 

See here: https://www.facebook.com/events/969457776496341/

Author Lynette Rees Gets Interviewed by Sallyann Cole of ‘Sally’s Sneaky Peeks!’

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Author Lynette Rees

Q, What made you start writing and when?

A,  I’ve always written as far back as I remember, I just think it comes naturally to me—

as natural as taking a breath in and out.

Q, How long have you been writing?

A, I remember writing short stories and making little books when I was in primary school. I always had a lot of imagination even back then.

Q, What genre of books do you write?

A, Romance in the following sub genres: contemporary, suspense, comedy and historical. I also write crime fiction under the name, ‘Lyn Harman’.

Q, Where does your inspiration come from?

A, I get ideas from everywhere and anywhere! I got the idea for The Honey Trap from a newspaper article about honey trappers who set up cheating partners for their wives and girlfriends. I suddenly thought: What if one of those honey trappers accidentally set up the wrong guy?

I sometimes get ideas for historical stories from actual events, for example, I’d read about the 1865 Gethin Pit explosion in the village of Abercanaid where I live [which happened just before Christmas that year] killing 34 men and boys and thought, “What would life be like for the villagers at that time? And so, ‘Black Diamonds’ was born, which was the first of the ‘Seasons of Change’ series of books.

Studying photographs are a good source of inspiration for stories and also listening to music as I let my imagination run riot!

Q, How do you plan your story line?

A, I don’t. I rarely plan. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of writer. What I do though is think of a beginning, which often comes from a question I’ve asked myself about a situation. I also usually have an ending in mind and work from A to B. I find working that way I often surprise myself. For example, in my most recently published novel, ‘Red Poppies’, something happened which shocked me. It was a discovery about one of the characters that suddenly popped into my mind. I had to run with it. When I write I see events unfolding before my eyes like watching a movie on a big screen. I like to surprise myself as I tend to think, no surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.

Q, Do you write full time?

A, I try to work full time most days, though part of that time might be spent on promotion or editing and revision too.

Q, When do you do most of your writing?

A, I write best early morning or very late at night.

Q, What would you say to novice writers?

A, Don’t just talk about writing, do it! You can’t fix a blank page. Write and give yourself permission to write rubbish to begin with. You can always go back and amend it. Set your subconscious mind free and don’t edit and revise as you go along as it will kill the story stone dead. It’s a good idea to take the Nanowrimo Challenge. This is a writing challenge that takes place throughout November every year. The idea being to write at least 50,000 words in one calendar month. You can sign up for it online. In fact I know of someone who completed it in the early days and she eventually became a New York Times Best Selling Novelist! Her name is Lani Diane Rich. That Nanowrimo inspired novel became her first best seller called, Time Off For Good Behavior. I was fortunate to interview her for an article for, Writers’ Forum magazine a few years ago.

Q, Do you just write ebooks?

A, No, I’ve also written articles for magazines and websites. I also have several blogs. Two are to promote my books and there I write about all sorts of things. The other, is a Jack the Ripper blog. I used to run a ‘Catfished’ blog based on the well-known MTV show, ‘Catfish’. It was very popular and received lots of comments from the ‘Catfish’ themselves. I ended up closing it down though as several TV companies kept badgering me to provide them with people for the UK version of the show. The trouble was they needed the people who’d been catfished [i.e the victims] but only the catfish were contacting my blog and then for obvious reasons, they were anonymous! So, I wouldn’t have been able to contact them personally if I wanted to!

Q, Would you like to go into print?

A, I’ve been fortunate to see my work in print since around 2001 one way or another, whether it’s been printed in a magazine in Australia, Canada, America or over here in the United Kingdom or in book format. Seeing my work in print was the icing on the cake for me!

Q, Do you have any other hobbies?

A, Yes, I love tracing my family tree [which was the inspiration for one of my books], local history and history in general. I also love music, all sorts, my tastes are very varied. I love anything from The Beatles to Beethoven!

Q, What do you do for relaxation?

A, I like walking or listening to relaxing music.

Q, Have you got any other information about yourself or to help other authors?

A, Yes, never give up. Be persistent as persistence wins the day. I didn’t get published immediately. In the early days when I just wrote articles and short stories, I had to keep sending them out, but found after several rejections, I eventually found some editor somewhere liked what I’d written. If I’d have given up at the first hurdle I’d never have seen my work in print. The same with my books…in the beginning I tried several publishers until I found a fit. Nowadays, I have two publishers, one in the US and the other in the UK, and I’m also an Indie self-published author too. I find it gives me more freedom to do what I want with my work. I don’t have to restrict myself. Of course, self-publishing is a lot of work but it can be very rewarding. These days you don’t have to keep trying to get published as you can do it all yourself by using publishing platforms such as Amazon Kindle [to publish your ebook] and Create Space [to go into print]. Some self-published authors like, Rachel Abbot, have even made the best seller lists. So publishing isn’t as limiting as it was for me in the early days when I started out trying to get published. I say, if you’ve got the talent, go for it. Join some sort of creative writing group, whether it’s at your local library or online. It will keep you motivated and you’ll learn from other writers. Better to learn the truth about your work from strangers rather than to have friends and relatives tell you how great it is because they don’t want to upset you. If you feel inspired by reading this, then do something about it as soon as possible. I joined a creative writing group run by my local library back in 1999 and I literally haven’t stopped writing since, even though that same group no longer exists!

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Sallyann Cole of ‘Sally’s Sneaky Peeks’

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Interview with Romance Novelist: Lynette Rees

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t think there was any definitive moment.  I’ve just always written as far back as I remember.  I used to write stories and make my own books and magazines when I was a child.  I wanted to entertain people I suppose.

Who inspired you?

As well as being a writer, I was an avid reader too, devouring Enid Blyton books by the score as a child.  I think reading her stories inspired me to write my own.  There were lots of her books in the school library and I took out around three per week with titles like, ‘The Mystery of the Missing Necklace’, as well as lots of the Secret Seven and Famous Five Series of books.  Enid Blyton inspired me to compose my own stories, but the person I knew in everyday life who inspired me with my writing, was an English teacher called, Mrs Robinson.  She was a young, trendy sort of teacher.  She seemed to like my stories and often read them out to the class.  I think that was the first time I believed I could tell a good tale.  I was around fourteen years old by then.

What was the first novel you had published?

The first novel that got published was, ‘It Happened One Summer’, which is a contemporary romance with a thread of suspense running through it.  That was in 2006.  I donated the royalties from that book and its follow up, ‘Return to Winter’, to a local cancer charity I worked for at the time as they needed to raise funds for a new building.  Coincidentally, the book launch was held at a local castle which had previously been my school.  The launch was held just yards away from the room where my teacher read my stories out to the class!

Tell me a little about your most recent novel, ‘The Sicilian’s Proposition’.

Well as the title suggests the book is set in Sicily.  It’s a contemporary romance with some steamy scenes!  The reader is transported from a grey London autumn to the warmth of Sicily and all it has to offer with its culture, food and values.   It’s the story of a former playboy who is a self-made millionaire called, Dante Alphonso and a British journalist, Joanne Smith.  Dante has trust issues with the media as he has been badly burned by bloodhound journalists in the past.  Joanne intends writing a great feature article about the man she admires as he works tirelessly for a children’s charity he founded called, ‘The Children’s Hope and Dream Foundation’.   He needs to get past his trust issues and she needs to not betray the fragile trust built up, but she has a secret she been keeping for years which threatens to get in the way of their relationship.

Some of the scenes are set in the family vineyard and on board Dante’s luxury yacht, as well as in the hotel he owns in London.

I have a Sicilian friend who was very helpful with any questions I had about the food, culture and lifestyle.  I wanted the story to be as authentic as possible.  I think it’s just as important to research for a contemporary story as it is for an historical one.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Almost anywhere and everywhere.  Some have come from newspaper and magazine articles, others from snippets of conversations or ideas that just pop into my head, etc.  A lot of my ideas come from asking myself the question, “What if?”

Which comes first the characters or the plot?

Usually I’ll get the seed of an idea for a plot and allow it to germinate for a couple of weeks.  The characters, who feel real to me, follow not long afterwards.   I get to see their faces in my mind and practically hear their voices talking to me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m not a plotter as such, I’m more of a character driven author who allows the characters to tell their own story.  I tend to have an idea how the book should begin and end and then work from A to B allowing the characters to take over!

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Yes, don’t just talk about it.  Do it.  Join a good supportive writing group in the community or online.  Don’t be afraid to take criticism either, that’s how you develop as a writer.  On the other hand, if you receive critiques of your work, take what you want from them.  If you feel the person has a point and their comments ring true then take note maybe something needs amending,  if you feel otherwise then don’t pay too much heed.  That’s what I do and it’s always worked for me.

Author Bio:

Lynette Rees is the author of several romance novels and one crime fiction novel [writing as Lyn Harman]. She’s had numerous articles published online and in national and international magazines. Some of her publishing credits include: Writers’ Forum magazine, Carillon [UK], Living Now [Australia], Ocean Magazine, Vibrant Life, Obadiah [US], Horizon Magazine, Suite 101 [Canada]. Her most recent published novel is, ‘Blue Skies’, an historical romance, set in 1890s Merthyr Tydfil. Currently, she’s working on a follow-up book called, ‘Red Poppies’, which as the name suggests is set around the First World War.

Lynette’s Purchase and Contact Links

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00WCZVJ3S

https://www.facebook.com/authorlynetterees/

http://nettiesramblings.blogspot.co.uk/

http://craftyscribe.wix.com/lynetterees

http://www.lynetterees.com/

https://twitter.com/LynEvans8

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/448615.Lynette_Rees

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/lynette-rees/36/937/549