Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

Enter a world of luxury, rumors, envy and splendor with author Anna Godbersen and her best-selling series “The Luxe”. Anna talks about gossip, writing and tells us more about her upcoming books…

Hi Anna, welcome to the new & improved “Veronika Asks”! Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello! I am the author of THE LUXE, a series about young people living in gilded age Manhattan.

Then, how would you describe your books with three words?
Arch, ardent, absurd.

You’re Aries, aren’t you? They (usually) are famous for being adventurous and quick-witted but also impulsive and impatient. Do you consider yourself a typical Ram or isn’t this about you?
I don’t know if I am typical—I am happiest at home—but I certainly am a red-blooded, passionate and curious person, and I think in some ways I do fit the Aries profile.

Can you tell us more about “The Luxe” series?
It follows five teens embroiled in a very complicated love triangle (or whatever shape applies when there are more than three players involved), all of whom meanwhile have to present a very virtuous, well-behaved face to the world.
Some words about “The Luxe”…
In which we discover that the good girl is not who she seems at all, the bad girl is capable of true evil, and that little sisters have the most fun.
Then comes “Rumors”…
Of cross-country train travel, sugar daddies, rushed weddings and the selling of secrets.
The third novel is called “Envy”…
… so naturally everyone wants what someone else has. Because this is 1900, that includes bejeweled gowns, caddish boys, exquisite Palm Beach hotel rooms, and big fat inheritances.

“Splendor” was out in October ’09. Can you share a few secrets about the final installment of the Luxe series?
All the characters have to reckon with the various lies and betrayals they’ve committed, and most importantly, with their true selves. In the end, I believe every one of these characters gets both what they deserve and what they need.

Why set your story in Manhattan’s Upper-Class society in 1899?
Because I was fascinated by this glittering, ostentatious display of wealth that defined that era, and also because the very strict rules of behavior mean that these young people really have to struggle against something mighty to find out who they are.

Did “Gossip Girl” influence you in writing “The Luxe”? Some readers compare your series to the smash hit and state that “The Luxe” is the 19th century “Gossip Girl”…
I have read a few of the books, and I really enjoyed them—I think it’s a fair way to describe THE LUXE, though I wouldn’t say that GOSSIP GIRL influenced my writing.

Would you like to see “The Luxe” being turned into a TV show? Who would you cast as Elizabeth, Diana, Penelope, Henry, Will, Lina, Claire?
I would love to see my stories acted out by flesh and blood people! But I can’t picture anyone famous playing these characters I’ve pictured in my head so long. For me, they would have to be played by beautiful unknowns.

Are you a Diana or an Elizabeth? A Penelope, maybe? 🙂 If you had a magic wand, would you trade your life for this of the Holland sisters?
There are parts of me in all my characters, though I would say I am most like Diana. I would never want to live in their world, though. For one thing, it was a period when women’s roles were tragically narrow, and then of course there are all the discomforts of the pre-twentieth century world.

How do you work? What about the most-feared “writer’s block”? Do you have an advice for young authors?
I have really intense deadlines, so I can’t lose days to writer’s block. I just sit down with a good outline and stick to it till I get some sentences. As for young writers—life is long, take your time, and try to be an ambitious reader first.

What about the researches (for the series to be as accurate as possible)?
I do a lot of research—many history books on this era have been published, and those are really fun to read, and I also read old Vogue magazines and etiquette books and newspapers to get a feel for the language and concerns of the time.

How did you get published? Tell us more about your “getting published” quest…
I was a ghostwriter before I began writing my own series, so when I had an idea I already knew the people who ended up being my publishers. Sometimes life works that way.

Imagine you wake up tomorrow not an author anymore. Which job would you pick?
I would like to be a scholar specializing in Henry James. Then I could spend all my days reading Henry James and talking about it with young people.

Is there a book you wish you’d written?
Something with vampires! Just kidding. I have years and years to write the books I wish I’d written, so yes, but I think it will be a long process of figuring out what they are about.

What about the after-Luxe? Can you tell us more about your projects?
Yes, I am writing a new series called BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS. It is set in Gatsby era New York, and it is going to be full of a slightly darker glamour (than the LUXE books).

Finally, the infamous “Nothing-to-do-with-books-question”: you’ve just found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
I would go to the Russian and Turkish Baths on East 10th Street in Manhattan, take a long sauna and relax, and then I would walk down the street to my favorite sushi restaurant, and have a decadent meal.

Would you like to add something, Anna?
Thanks so much for having me!

“Favorite…”

Author & Book: Evelyn Waugh, VILE BODIES
Movie & TV show: Annie Hall, Deadwood
Food: Fried pork dumplings
City: Los Angeles
Music: Etta James
Hobby: Reading
Place to write in: My bed
Quote or Motto: No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky. –E.B. White

“Tea or Coffee?”

Tea or Coffee? Coffee
Saturday night. Disco & Restaurant or Home, Books & DVDs? Home with a book.
Going on holidays. Beach or Mountains? Beach!
Sleepy Little Town or Crazy Megapolis? Can’t I have a little of both?
Pick a DVD: Comedy or Weepy Drama? Comedy
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Travel
Sport Lover or Couch Potato? I’m more of a yoga girl
Leader or Follower? I spend most of my days alone, so I can’t really say I’m either.
Shy or Easy-going? I am both. In a man, I prefer the latter.
Serious or Funny? Again, I am both, intensely and equally. Also applies to what I enjoy in others.

Thank you, Anna!
You can learn more about Anna Godbersen and her books at http://www.harperteen-theluxe.com

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Bertrice SmallBestselling and award-winning romance author Bertrice Small answers my questions about the romance genre and market and tells me more about her novels & favorites…

Hello Bertrice, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! At first, a little bit of Astrology: you’re Sagittarius, aren’t you? The stars say they are usually intellectual and honest, but also careless and restless. Do you think you’re a typical Archer?

Yes, I am a Sagittarius.  We are outspoken creatures and say exactly what we think.  We are said to be intellectual, and we don’t tolerate fools easily. However we are loyal to those who are loyal to us. We like to travel, but we travel as much in our heads as we do in the world around us.  Careless is not a word I’ve ever heard used in relation to a Sagittarius.  Some of my best friends share this sign with me, notably Kathryn Falk, the founder and CEO of RT Book Reviews, Morgan Llywelyn, the best-selling author who is my anam cara, and author Virginia Henley.

Your latest book, “The Border Lord and the Lady”, will be published in October 2009. What is it about? Can you share a few secrets? Will there be another book in the “Border Chronicles” series?

The series known as “The Border Chronicles” has been distinguished not by a single family, but rather by 2 things. The Border country of Scotland, and the families who lived in it.  Book 4, THE BORDER LORD AND THE LADY is set in the early years of James I of Scotland, 15th century, and the book opens in 1424. I have a lovely video trailer on my website at www.BertriceSmall.com right now that gives you just a hint of the story.  Enough, I hope, to encourage people to purchase the book.  James I returned to Scotland after being held captive in England since his boyhood.  He returns with an English wife, Lady Joan Beaufort, and the young queen brings with her Lady Cicely Bowen, a girl with whom she has been raised.  Cicely is our heroine.  Desired by 2 men, a powerful Gordon laird, and a rough Border laird, she is kidnapped by the latter when the Gordons block his every attempt to court Cicely.  But of course with a Bertrice Small novel you can’t expect the usual storyline.  I love to twist and turn my plot before getting to that happy ending.  And yes, there will be 2 more books in “The Border Chronicles.”

How and when did you start writing? What sparked the idea for “The Kadin”, your first novel? Finally, why the romance genre?
I wrote my first novel in rhyme when I was 13.  It was about an Inca princess who threw herself from the heights of Macchu Picchu rather than succumb to the advances of an evil Spanish conquistador.  LOL!  High drama for a little girl in convent school.  But I had been writing poetry since I was 7.  When I was in college I became friends with a girl from Turkey whose grandmother had  been in the harem of the last Ottoman sultan.  She had grown up with the tales her grandmother told, and since I had had a very close relationship with my own Irish grandmother, we shared the tales of our different ethnic heritages. That sparked my interest in Ottoman Turkey, and when I learned that the mother of Suleiman the Magnificent (also known as the Lawgiver) was a Western European by birth, and in her old age had been called Hafise, the wise one, I knew I had to write her story.  Since nothing else was known about her I did my research, and then let my imagination run wild.  However back when I wrote THE KADIN, the Romance genre as we know it today didn’t exist.  I wrote a Historical novel in the mold of Anya Seton, Taylor Caldwell, Jan Westcott, Frank Yerby.  I spent at least 2 years writing the novel, and another year re-writing it.

You said “The Kadin” sold very quickly. How many publishers did you send it to before hitting the right one? Is there a secret? Would you have carried on with your writing if it hadn’t sold that easily (let’s say, if it was unsold after two or three years)?
THE KADIN was sold to the first publisher it was given to, and that was G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a hardcover house.  It was February 1973.  However 6 months later the editor on the book, and the publisher got into a quarrel.  Long story short, he fired her, and cancelled the contracts on the three books on which she working.  My then agent loved the book, and believed it was a hardcover.  The original paperback novel was just coming into prominence then.  He insisted on taking THE KADIN to every hardcover house in the U.S. of A. at the time, and there were a lot of them.  They all said the same thing.  Unknown author. Too risky.  Finally 2 years later he did what I had been advising ever since we had lost the Putnam’s deal.  He took it to Nancy Coffey at Avon Books, and she bought it immediately.  And while he hauled the manuscript about, yes, I continued to write.  I finished LOVE WILD AND FAIR which was published the same year as THE KADIN.  If you’re a writer, you write.

What do you think makes a good romance novel? Could you share a piece of advice with aspiring (romance and non romance) authors?
The Romance genre is so varied today.  I think what makes a good novel in any genre is good writing, a story that keeps you turning the pages, and sympathetic characters that you can root for, or hate.  My only advice to aspiring writers is to believe in your work, but be willing to accept criticism, and act on it if the criticism is valid.  If it isn’t just keep going straight ahead.  There is no magic formula I regret to say.

A very strange thing happens to the romance genre: it’s always criticised for being samey and boring (not literature, some people say) and some romance author say they nearly have to “apologize” for writing it when asked about their job. But, at the same time, millions of copies are sold every year. What can you say about it? Would you try a different genre or will you stick with romance forever?
I write Romance in 3 sub-genres.  Historical, where I made my reputation. Fantasy which I very much enjoy because I can do as I please without the restraints of Planet Earth’s history; and I write Erotic Contemporary, my least favorite because I am not really a 20th or 21st century person.  I am proud to be considered one of the Romance genres “pioneers”.  I’ve never denied my genre. Those who bleat about real literature don’t get it.  These days literature is  divided into 2 catagories.  Fiction and non-fiction.  And fiction is divided into 2 sections.  Literary fiction which deals with serious or scholarly subject matter, and popular commercial fiction such as mystery, romance, thrillers, etc.  I find it interesting that romance, written predominently by the female of the species get criticized but the other fiction genres which are either all or half written by the male of the species is not. Hmmmm.  Can you spell jealousy?  After all we authors in the romance genre sell more books than all the other popular commercial fiction genres combined.  And yes, I will always write in the romance genre as long as my publishers want Bertrice Small novels.

Some authors like to write in Starbucks, others only handwrite. How do you work? Do you have some rituals or habits? What is a typical working day for Bertrice Small? What about the writer’s block?
I began writing with a clipboard, a yellow-lined legal pad and a BicClic ballpoint pen.  I switched to a typewriter half-way through UNCONQUERED when I realized my flow would go even faster.  I switched to a computer about 10 years ago  when I could no longer get ribbons for my IBM Quietwriter 7.  The PC I work on isn’t connected to the internet.  Too many hackers for my taste.  I work 6 days a week from about 9:30 a.m. in the morning until about 7 p.m. in the evening with a break for dinner about 2 p.m.  I work about 50 weeks out of a year.  I’ve been fortunate in that I write steadily with some days slower than others, and other days so fast I can barely keep up.  3 pages a day, 50 weeks a year, will give you 936 written pages, enough for 2 or 3 novels.

Your books frequently appear on the New York Best-Seller list, you won countless awards and have millions of fans from all around the globe. Does being a famous novelist make it easier to work with publishers & editors? Or are you still constantly challenged?
I regret to disappoint.  Despite my many accomplishments I am not a celebrity or anywhere near famous.  I’m just a successful working author of popular commercial fiction, genre: romance.  The only real perk I get is the courtesy of having a minor bit of input on my cover which are very important to me.  I let my agent, Ethan Ellenberg, handle the publishers and any problems that may arise. I’ve always had a good working relationship with my editors over the years.

What do you like most in writing a romance novel?
What I like most about writing – and it could be any genre – is the ability to earn my living doing what I love best.

Would you like to see your books on screen? Or maybe a TV series (Bertrice Small’s Romances, for instance)? Why do you think there are so few movie adaptations of romance novels?
I would love to see my work on film, but only if it was done right.  A big “if” in Hollywood.  “The O’Malley Saga” and “Skye’s Legacy” series along with “The World of Hetar would make great television series.  But few movies or television series are made specifically for women.  And with historicals and fantasy there is the problem of transposing the fiction into a screenplay, and the expense of mounting such a production which is why I don’t think I’ll ever see one of my books done in that media format.

You’ve been writing romance novels since 1978. Do you think the readership evolved in any way since (were there more romance lovers before or did their number increase over the last years)?
I think the evolving of the romance genre into so many and varied sub-genres has brought more readers into our sphere.  Readers who had never before read a historical but who have read my fantasies or erotic contemporaries are then curious, and will check out my historicals.   But readers have their specific likes and dislikes.  The bigger the genre has become the more readers we have garnered, and we have kept our readers which is why the genre thrives.

Which other romance author would you recommend? Is there a book you wish you’d written?
I love the authors I grew up with in the 1950s and 1960s.  Anya Seton. Jan Westcott. Sergeanne Golon (the French husband/wife team who write the Angelique series). Taylor Caldwell.  Among today’s authors in this genre I am fond of Shirlee Busbee, Jennifer Blake, Roberta Gellis, Thea Divine and Barbara Bretton.  I’m also a huge Harry Potter fan.  Is there a book published that I wish I had written?  No.

If you weren’t a writer, who would you be?
Someone high up in a creative position in the television industry.

If you had a faerie in a bottle granting you three wishes, what would you ask for?
More time. Good health. And success for my son, Thomas.

And here is the famous “Nothing-to-do-with-books-question”: you’ve found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
Put it in the church poor box.

What are you working on right now? What’s next on your “to do” list?
I’ve just begun the next book in “The Border Chronicles”, THE BORDER VIXEN. The manuscript is due in spring of 2010 for publication in October 2010.


“Favorite…”

Author & Book: One of my favorite books is “Katherine” by Anya Seton, but I also adore the first 5 books in the “Angelique” series by Sergeanne Golon.
Movies & TV shows: “Casablanca” with Humphrey Bogart, “A Lion In Winter” with Katherine Hepburn, “Cleopatra” with Vivian Leigh and Claude Rains. “Stargate”
Food: Rare beef, good cheese, and chocolate
City: New York and Venice
Music: Mozart, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Broadway Show Tunes.
Place to write: My office
Hobby: My garden
Quote or Motto: I don’t really have one


“Tea or Coffee?”

Tea or Coffee? Tea with cream and sugar
Saturday night. Disco & Restaurant or Home, Books & DVDs? Home
Going on holidays. Beach or Mountains? I live on the Eastern End of Long Island which is surrounded by the sea on 3 sides, but I also like the Adirondacks and Catskill mountains.
Sleepy Little Town or Crazy Megalopolis? Moved out of New York City almost 34 years ago.  Would never go back. Love my small town America.
Pick a DVD: Comedy or Weepy Drama? Like old historicals like “Robin Hood” with Errol Flynn, or comedies like “Tootsie” or a weepy drama like “The Best of Everything” or “Marjorie Morningstar”.  I’ve got eclectic tastes.
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Used to love traveling.  Now content to stay put.
Sport Lover or Couch Potato? Couch potato without a doubt.
Leader or Follower? Leader
Shy or Easy-going? Easy-going
Serious or Funny? Both serious and funny, but maybe a bit more serious.

Thank you, Bertrice!
You can learn more about Bertrice Small and her books at www.BertriceSmall.com

Carly PhilipsBest-selling romance author Carly Phillips talks about her witty series, projects, writer habits and more!

Hi Carly, and welcome on the new and improved Veronika Asks! Please introduce yourself to our readers…
Hi, Veronika … I’m Carly Phillips … a bestselling author of romance novels or romantic fiction, take your pick in description. I write what I love which is romance – a happy ending.
I’ve been published for almost ten years … and love every minute of what I do.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Sensitive, loyal, nonconfrontational.

You’re Cancer, aren’t you? They are said to be imaginative, empathetic but also easily hurt. Would you define yourself as a typical Crab?
Oh yes, I am a typical Crab. I value my close friendships and I am very loyal but I am easily hurt and can withdraw for that reason. I can be moody depending on things going on in my life and even my writing / career can affect my moods. I am definitely a Moon Child.

Cross my Heart is available in paperback today. Tell us more about this novel.
CROSS MY HEART is the story of Ty and Lacey, childhood sweethearts who are separated by circumstances – they fake her death to save her from going back to an abusive uncle – and they reunite years later so she can reclaim her inheritance before he does – or before someone prevents her from doing so. It’s a love story and it also introduces Hunter and Molly who have their own story in SEALED WITH A KISS due out September 25th.

You’re working on several series, including the Simply Series, Costas Sisters Series, Hot Zone Series, Chandler Brothers Series… would you like to quickly sum up those series and tell us which one you ‘d advise to a reader who wants to start reading your books?
SIMPLY SERIES – republished stories that were written for the Harlequin Temptation series of books – very hot and sensual stories that begin with Kayla and Catherine Luck, sisters who are very different – and these are some of my favorite heroes. Deeply sexy stories! In order: SIMPLY SINFUL, SIMPLY SCANDALOUS, SIMPLY SENSUAL, SIMPLY SEXY

COSTAS SISTERS – UNDER THE BOARDWALK and SUMMER LOVIN’ – each the story of twin sisters – Arianna and Zoe Costas – these are my wacky Greek family stories. Lots of fun and of course yummy heroes – coincidentally in August on my website I am giving away UNDER THE BOARDWALK and MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, DVD.

THE HOT ZONE – HOT STUFF, HOT NUMBER, HOT ITEM, and in July 2008, HOT PROPERTY – my athlete stories – I adore these – wacky, fun, family oriented, hot and sexy – The stories aren’t typical athlete stories – the first three are my Jordan sisters – who come to live with their sports agent eccentric uncle as children and become public relations experts in the sports business. Of course they end up with jock heroes!

THE CHANDLER BROTHERS – THE BACHELOR, THE PLAYBOY, THE HEARTBREAKER – these books put me on the map – Kelly Ripa picked THE BACHELOR as the first romance on a nationally televised bookclub. Family oriented stories about a mother who fakes illness to get her bachelor sons to settle down and give her grandchildren!

How do you write (where, when, how)? How do you react to the writer’s block?
Wherever, whenever I can. I wake up around six AM for the kids, check email, and then I try to do 5 pages or more each day so that I write two books a year. It’s been crazier lately as the kids get older. Funny but I thought teenagers would give me MORE time to write, not less, LOL! For the last two years, I’m an Apple/Mac girl. I write on a laptop … or if I’m in the car, an Alphasmart when I’m in places with the kids.

Who were you before starting to write? How did you start writing?
There was a “me” before I started to write? I can’t remember NOT writing. I always told stories in my head. Who knew that not everyone did? I was a lawyer (hated it) but didn’t mind the student part that came first – which is maybe why writing isn’t a chore but a love? Who knows! I was home with a colicky baby, reading romance when I decided to try and write one. Bought a “how to” book, outlined it (see a pattern here?) and just began!

Do you consider yourself a Chick Lit writer? What do you think about all those attacks against Chick Lit (such as “Chick Lit is dull and samey”)?
I don’t consider myself a Chick Lit writer because I consider myself a Romance Writer. For me, the distinction is that Chick Lit doesn’t guarantee a “happy ending” between hero and heroine; and Chick Lit also doesn’t (in my mind and I could be wrong) guarantee monogamy between hero and heroine once they meet. So this is MY distinction and why I don’t consider myself a Chick Lit writer. That said, it’s unfair to call it dull and samey because romance also has it’s similarities … it’s why I come back as a reader over and over again. Just my two cents. Every genre has its own distinctions. I respect them all.

Do you have any advice for young writers?
I get asked this a lot and for this reason, I have a website section:
http://www.carlyphillips.com/about_nook.php
But it always comes back to PERSISTENCE and not giving up, developing a thick skin, and if you want to write romance and learn, join RWA and your local chapter (www.rwanational.org)
Details are in this section though. 🙂

What do you think about eBooks?
No thoughts one way or the other. I don’t specifically write for e-format at the moment

So, TV addict, you said it gives you many ideas… explain yourself 🙂
It takes just one little spark. For example – I’m planning a new series after the Hot Zone and the idea of someone who cons people because it’s all she knows came from a TV character … and yet everything else is my own. I take a mini concept and tweak it. I just need the spark to speak to me. It can be character, it can be plot. But in the end, it is my story, my characters, etc. Also Tom Cruise having Dyslexia – I read it in People Mag. years ago – years later, Brandon Vaughn in Hot Stuff came from that spark.

And now the famous Nothing-To-Do-With-Books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Split it between my girls.

Which books would you advise for a perfect beach read? Have any favorite authors?
All my fellow Plotmonkeys (I have a blog with other bestselling authors)
http://www.plotmonkeys.com/ (visit us! We blog fun, give away prizes etc.) – Janelle Denison, Julie Leto, Leslie Kelly … I love Rachel Gibson, Susan Donovan, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, more recently I read Michelle Bardsley’s light vampire books …

Would you like to add something, Carly?
Just an apology that it took me so long to do this interview … I had a deadline …
I’d love to list where to find me on the Internet:
www.carlyphillips.com
www.myspace.com/carlyphillips
www.plotmonkeys.com (blog)
Facebook – still need help on this one, LOL
And if you find me from this interview, be sure to let me know, OK?
Thanks!


“Tea of Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? Go out early for dinner; come home to read for the night
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? BEACH
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ? ROMANTIC COMEDY (what else?)
Traveler or not ? NOT
Sporty or not ? NOT


“Favorite…”

TV show: still miss ALIAS – Love HOUSE and GREY’s ANATOMY
Movie: Music and Lyrics (Today. Ask me tomorrow and it might change)
Book: romance – almost anything light
Food: milk chocolate, icecream
Music: mellow – old – Elton John, Neil Diamond
Favourite place to write in: on vacation, at the beach
Quote or motto : IT IS WHAT IT IS

Thank you, Carly!
You can visit Carly on her website
http://www.carlyphillips.com

Lauren Baratz LogstedLauren Baratz-Logsted (author of “Vertigo” and contributor-editor of “This Is Chick-Lit” ) shares some writer’s life stories. Makes you want to grab a pen and write!

Howdy Lauren! Glad to welcome you on “Veronika asks”! Could you tell us a few words about yourself?
Hello, Veronika – I’m happy to be here! To answer your question, I’m a writer. It took nearly eight years to get a book published, but now that I’m in, things are crackling. In the past three years I’ve had three books published, but this year will see four more and next will see at least three. I’m also a wife and mother. Any minutes that are not occupied by family or writing are filled with reading.

Well, a bit of Astrology now: you’re Cancer, aren’t you? They are known to be intuitive, shrewd, but overemotional. Are you a typical Crab?
I was always told Crabs were romantic and moody. I’m both of those plus the adjectives you mentioned.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Resilient, resilient, resilent.

Could you tell us more about the anthology “This is Chick-Lit” (you are the editor and the contributor of)…
The idea for the anthology came when I heard last year of a forthcoming anthology called “This is NOT Chick Lit.” Like many other authors, I felt offended by the idea of a collection defining itself by what it’s not: Can you imagine calling a collection “This is Not Sci-Fi”? So I found 17 other writers who were willing to contribute stories to “This IS Chick-Lit.” Our goal is to showcase the broad spectrum of what Chick-Lit can be; rather than the stereotype of shopping and designer cocktails, all the stories focus on problems facing the modern women. They say important things about life, but they do so in a mostly humorous way.

Why do you think Chick Lit is so popular? What do you like in writing Chick Lit?
I think it’s popular because it does make people laugh – and in a tragedy-stricken world, laughter is healing – but also because the very best of Chick-Lit does speak to women’s experiences. I like writing Chick-Lit because it gives me the opportunity to express themes that are important to me within a comic framework. For example, on the surface, my debut, THE THIN PINK LINE, is about a crazy woman who fakes an entire pregnancy. But, scratch the surface, and you realize it’s an indictment on how all too often in life we pursue important things – marriage, children – more because everyone else is doing it than because we’ve given the matter sufficient thought.

I understood you write in several genres, not only Chick Lit. What do you wanna “say” when you write a story? Why do you feel the need to tell a story?
I’ve always loved storytelling and now that I get to do this for a living, it’s tough to imagine doing anything else, unless it was some other job having to do with the creation of books. Just as I read in many genres, I write in many genres. The story I want to tell dictates the genre rather than the other way around. A couple of examples: my forthcoming VERTIGO is classified by its publisher as literary and is set in the Victorian era with erotic and suspense undertones; the story I wanted to tell – that of a good wife who falls drastically when she reaches for something outside of her comfortable social box – would never have worked so well if I’d set it in contemporary times; and my fortcoming ANGEL’S CHOICE, about a Yale-bound college senior who finds herself pregnant, works best as a serious Young Adult novel.

Before being a writer, you’ve been an independent bookseller, a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly, a freelance editor and a librarian… always surrounded by books! How did you start writing? How did you get your first book published?
I left the bookselling job in 1994 because I realized I’d never fulfill my own dream to write a novel if I stayed there. It took, as I said above, nearly eight years to get a book published. During that time, I did those other jobs you mentioned plus washing windows. My first book to be published, THE THIN PINK LINE, was in fact the sixth I wrote and I sold it on my own as part of a two-book deal to Red Dress Ink.

You said you also had an essay in the Jane Austen anthology “Flirting with Pride & Prejudice”… could you tell us how an anthology “works”? Why do you like writing short stories and essays for anthologies?
In Flirting with Pride & Prejudice, I was a contributor; in that instance, the publisher got in touch with me and basically said, “We’re doing an anthology on P&P and wondered if you’d contribute.” For THIS IS CHICK-LIT, I’m both editor and contributor. I conceived the anthology, pitched and sold it to BenBella Books, hand-picked the other 17 contributors, wrote my own story, pre-edited the whole thing before turning it in. I like writing stories and essays, in addition to novels, because they stretch different writing muscles. By varying what I do in terms of genre and length, it keeps me fresh.

How do you write ? Do you have some tips for aspiring authors?
I write every day when I’m working on a novel. I get up before the rest of the world and start writing before doubt has the chance to creep in. I set quotas for the day. In terms of tips for young writers: Stay alive! I’m only half joking. One of the biggest cautionary stories in publishing is that of The Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. He wrote the book in the ’60s, submitted it to every publisher in the U.S., was rejected by every publisher, and killed himself at age 27. His mother took up the cause, got Grove to buy it, it won the Pulitzer posthumously in 1980 and still sells like crazy today. But the author doesn’t get to enjoy any of his success because he’s dead. So stay alive! And remember, your work isn’t over when you have a first draft; it’s only beginning.

How long does it take you to write a book? Authors often complain about the fact they don’t have enough time to complete their novels and that the deadlines are stressful. Your opinion?
I’m lucky in that I’m able to produce a first draft quickly. When I first started writing, it would typically take three months. Now it goes quicker and if it’s a project I’m hot to write, it goes really quick. That’s not to say my first drafts are publishable as is – revise, revise, revise! – but I don’t have any problems thus far keeping to publishers’ schedules.

What are you working on now?
I just finished revisions for my fifth book for Red Dress Ink, BABY NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF JIMMY CHOOS, which deals with the perils of obsessive-compulsive behavior, and I’m about to start revisions for my next book for Random House after VERTIGO. This book is called THE SISTERS CLUB and is a contemporary novel about four very different women who come together to perform the sister function for one another.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money? Without thinking too much 🙂
I’m sure I should say give it to charity, but no doubt I’d spend it on my gorgeous six-year-old daughter.


“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? Both. Why can’t I put a book in my fancy purse?
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? Both.
Country or City ? Both.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ? Both.
Shy or Easy-going ? Both.
Serious or Funny ? Both.
Like to Travel? I used to be before I had my daughter and suspect I will be again one day.
Sporty or Couch Potato? In between.
Leader or Follower? Leader. I’m a control freak.


“Favorite…”


TV show: Entourage.
Movie: The Piano.
Book: Love in the Time of Cholera.
Music: Warren Zevon.
City: New York.
Favourite place to write: My basement office, cave that it is.
Motto: “The only person who can ever take you out of the game is you.”

Thank you, Lauren!
You can visit Lauren’s website http://www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com/
Official website of This Is Chick-Lit http://www.thisischicklit.com/

Barbara Taylor BradfordBest-selling author Barbara Taylor Bradford answers my questions about her life, her work, her projects… Love, success, family secrets…

Hello Barbara! Thanks for answering my questions and welcome on “Veronika asks”! Could you please say a few words about yourself to our readers?

I am a bestselling author of 22 novels, including: A woman of substance, Remember, Emma’s secret and the Ravenscar Dynasty. My books have sold more than 80 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 90 languages. Ten of my books have been produced as TV movies, or miniseries. I was inducted into the writers Hall of Fame of America in 2003.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Love to Write.

You’re Taurus, aren’t you? They are thought to be patient and determined but quite jealous. Do you match this description?
Determined, yes. But not the jealous type. I own a good deal of patience most of the time.

You started working as a journalist when you were sixteen years old. How did it start?
I began working as a typist in the typing pool for the Yorkshire Evening Post. My parents wanted me to go to Leeds University, but I wanted to break into the newspaper business. I wasn’t a great typist, though I did get treated surprisingly well as the only woman in a male dominated newsroom. My first several articles were actually published under other peoples names. eventually it was discovered that I had some writing talent and the news editor hired me as a reporter.

You started a brand-new family trilogy, the Ravenscar Dynasty. Tell us more about it!
The Ravenscar Dynasty is a modern novel, told in the modern vernacular, and set in the early part of the 20th Century. However, I have, to a certain extent, based my protagonist Edward Deravenel on the English medieval king, Edward IV. Born Edward Plantagenet, the Earl of March, he was the eldest son of the mighty Duke of York and his Duchess. Edward’s father was a prince of the blood and a royal duke, head of the royal house of York, rightful heir to the throne of England.
When Edward’s father was killed in the Battle of Sandal Castle in Yorkshire in 1640, during the Wars of the Roses, Edward assumed his father’s heredity title and became Duke of York. He continued his father’s heredity title and became Duke of York. He continued his father’s fight to win back the throne from his cousin, Henry VI, Duke of Lancaster, the Earl of Warwick, later known as the Kingmaker.The throne of England has been usurped by the House of Lancaster from the House of York some sixty years earl9ier, and it was in 1461 that Edward Plantagenet took that throne back when he defeated Henry VI and became king that same year.Aside from “borrowing” the exceptional good looks of Edward Plantagenet, and his height of six feet four, unusual for those times, I have used some aspects of his character and personality in the depiction of Edward Deravenel. Significant events in the life of the medieval king are used in a modern form as the basis, in part, of Edward Deravenel’s story.

Your first novel is “A Woman of Substance”. How did this idea come to you and why did you “decide” to write a novel?
I attempted to write four different novels prior to « A woman of substance » to no avail. This was in the mid 1970s. Although I was a good writer at the time, my approach was all wrong and I never could complete any of those stories. It was around that time that I read an interview with the writer, Graham Green, who told Time Magazine that “character is plot.” Till then, I was trying to write stories first and fill in the characters. Suddenly, I had this idea for Emma Harte: a strong woman who endures a difficult upbringing to become a woman of substance. The character was my story. everything fell into place after that.

Could you say you’re like Emma Harte?
I’ve always been determined to success, not unlike Emma. and I did emerge from a modest upbringing to become a successful author. So from that standpoint I would say I am like Emma. My hardships were much different than Emma’s.

Which one of your books would you advise for a first read? Which one is your favorite?
« A woman of substance » is my most popular book. I’m told that it is one of the ten bestselling novels of all time. It is also the begining of the Harte family saga, which are now a series of six books. My personal favorite book (of those I’ve written) is called “The women in his life.” This is based loosely on my husband’s escape from the nazi’s as a child.

There are so many realistic characters in your novels! How do you describe so well every character’s personnality?
As a newspaper woman, details were crucial. We worked on a tight deadline and there was little margin for error. This proved a strong foundation for my career as a novelist. Only now, instead of taking detailed notes about a living subject for an article, I write up detailed sketches of all of my characters before writing a book. To me they are living, breathing beings in my imagination

Did you write novels in a genre other than romance? If you didn’t, would you like to try?
Although my books have strong elements of romance, I do not classify myself as a romance writer. I really write popular women’s fiction. Many of my novels also contain mystery, suspense, current events and a great deal of History.

You have 22 books published, all bestsellers! Is there a secret? 🙂
If I had one, I wouldn’t tell you! But seriously, I don’t have a recipe for success other than hard work, diligent research and some good luck.

What every aspiring writer would like to know: how do you usually work (when, where…)?
I set a strict writing schedule when I am on deadline. I usually start in my home office at 6am. I work straight through until lunchtime. Around 1pm, I usually proofread my morning’s work before going on to the next chapter. I never work much past 6pm. I am at my best during the morning/afternoon. I type my novels on an IBM Lexmark typewriter, not a computer. The computer is only for research. I am a strong creature of habit.
 
Do you have some advice for aspiring writers?
First and foremost, you need to be serious about your desire to become a published author. It takes an extraordinary amount of time, effort and dedication to hone your skills and produce a work worthy of publication. But like anything else, if you possess the talent and the determination, you will likely succeed.There are two excellent monthly publications geared toward helping aspiring writers. One is called The Writer; the other is called Writers Digest. Both magazines contain a wide array of articles for writers of all levels. You wrote a book called “Living Romantically Every Day”.
 
Is it so important for you to bring Romance in today’s life?
That book, « Living Romantically » is a lovely coffee table book that I did a few years ago for a holiday item between novels. It’s a sweet little book about finding ways to keep a relationship successful. So many people had been asking me about the secret to my 35+ year marriage to my husband, Bob. I finally decided to write a book that described many of the ‘secrets’ to our success. And yes, it’s the little romantic gestures that are needed in any relationship to keep things exciting.
 
What would you do if you had to start over and choose a new job?
I’d probably be a decorator. Before my novels I wrote a few small books about interior decorating.
 
What do you think about eBooks?
I’m really not much of a technology person. I’ve never read a book on a computer screen, or printed out a book from a website. I’m old fashioned and prefer to read my books bound and in one piece. I do like the concept of audio books. And I have listened to the reading of some books on occasion.
 
You were born in England, but you now live in New York. What do you love most about New York?
New York City has been my home for forty years. I love the excitement, the dining, the entertainment, the pace, and the opportunity to help others. My husband and I helped found the New York Pops Orchestra. We’ve made so many friends here in New York. It’s also the center of the publishing world.
 
You’ve found $100 in your pocket, how will you use that money?
I’d probably go to a bookstore and pick up some books. I love to read in my spare time. History and biographies are two of my favorite subjects.
 
What about your projects?
The « Ravenscar Dynasty » is the first in a trilogy. The second book in the series will be called « The Ravenscar Heir ». I am writing it now and it should be out before the end of this year (November).
 

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? Flip a coin here. I love to go out, though a good book can take you anywhere.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?
I’m not much of a hiker so I’ll go with beach.
Country or City ? City. I like the excitement of a big city. It energizes me.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else)? My favorite movies are biopics like « Capote », « Ray » or the Johnny Cash film from last year.
Shy or Easy-going ?
Certainly not shy!
Serious or Funny ? A little of both. I have a good sense of humor.
Traveler or not ? Travel is a must. I take a holiday every Summer for a month or so.
Sporty or Couch Potato? I once played tennis, does that count?
Leader or Follower? I try to be the one to make most of the plans amongst my circle of friends. I like to take charge.


“Favorite…”

TV show: 20/20
Movie: Capote
Book: Anything by Patricia Cornwell
City: New York (also West Palm Beach, Florida)
Music: Tony Bennett
Place to write: My home office
Motto: “Character is plot.”

Thank you, Barbara!
Visit Barbara’s website http://www.barbarataylorbradford.com/

Diane ChamberlainAward-winning author Diane Chamberlain pays me a visit to answer my questions and talks about her latest novel, “The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes”.

Hi Diane! For those who don’t know you yet, please introduce yourself…
I’m Diane Chamberlain and I’ve written sixteen novels. I like writing about relationships of all sorts, but I also like having an intriguing plot with surprises for my readers. My background is as a social worker and psychotherapist.

Astrology question: what’s your sign? Do you match your sign’s description? I’m a typical Pisces–introspective, creative, sensitive. Many of my writer friends are also Pisces.

Can you tell us more about your latest book, “The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes” ?
When CeeCee is a teenager, she’s seduced by an attractive older man and gets drawn into a plan to kidnap the governor of North Carolina’s pregnant wife. While CeeCee is guarding her, the wife delivers a baby and dies during the delivery. Panicking, CeeCee takes the baby and goes on the run, changing her name and starting her secret life. She eventually becomes a happy and productive wife, mother and student counselor. But her new life is threatened when her past comes back to haunt her, forcing her to make a difficult moral choice that will hurt not only herself, but her precious family as well.

What do you want to “say” when you write a book ?
Although I don’t set out to “say” anything in particular, I find that my books often have the themes of forgiveness and embracing life in the present. They are full of hope.

How (and when) did you start writing ?
I started writing more than twenty years ago when I was kept waiting for a doctor’s appointment. I thought of my writing then as a hobby. I never dreamed I’d go on to be a published author.

You say you loved reading when you were a child, do you remember which book gave you that love ?
My favorite childhood novel was CHARLOTTE’S WEB. I still have it on my bookshelf. The theme in it, sacrificing oneself for the good of another, is reflected often in my stories.

Could you describe your writing process ?
I try to write ten pages each day, no matter what draft of the book I’m on. That includes weekends and so-called vacations. I write both by hand and at the computer, depending on which seems to be working for me at the time. I often listen to movie soundtracks while I write because the highs and lows of the music inspire me.

You mainly write Romance. Did you ever want to write in another genre ?
Actually, I don’t consider my books romance, except for the first two. They are more Contemporary Women’s Fiction. Often a romance is part of the story, but not always. THE SECRET LIFE OF CEECEE WILKES is not a romantic story at all.

Why do you love writing in Starbucks ?
Because I’m away from the phone, the dogs, the laundry, and email, so I get a lot done. Besides, I’m hooked on their coffee! I think they put some kind of highly addictive substance in the interior of their cups that gets activated when it comes in contact with the coffee. 🙂

Can you tell us more about your next book?
You’ll have to follow my blog for information on the next book, because I am not certain yet what it will be!

Do you already have other projects?
Yes, I’m working on a memoir, as well as a lighter novel that is not yet under contract, and a photographic essay book entitled GENERATIONS with my boyfriend. I also have a contract to write two novels this next year. I just don’t know what they will be yet.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : you’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Get a massage 🙂


“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday night. Going out or reading a book ?Actually, watch a movie in my living room on the big screen TV.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Beach, though I’d be happy with either.
Country or City ?Suburbs.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Drama, unless I need to be emotionally lifted up. Then comedy.
Shy or Easy-going ?I used to be VERY shy, now I’m VERY easy-going.
Serious or Funny ?Mostly serious, although I can be funny spontaneously. Not if I try to plan it, though.
Traveler or not ?I love to travel, but it’s gotten more difficult with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I still manage, but can’t go places where I have to do a lot of walking.
Sporty or not ?Is typing a sport?
The leader in the group or not ?Writing group–definitely the leader. Other groups, it depends on how active I want to be. I tend to be a leader, but often choose to be more laid back because I don’t want to be over committed.

“Favorite…”

TV show: The Sopranos, Deadwood, Project Runway
Movie : A Beautiful Mind
Book : a recent favorite: THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE
Music : Springsteen, Clapton, gospel, classical, blues, rock –almost anything other than jazz or rap.
City : my new hometown, Raleigh NC
Favorite place to write: Starbucks
Quote or motto : Pain is a given, Suffering is optional

Thank you, Diane!
You can visit Diane’s site http://www.dianechamberlain.com/

Stacy DawnAuthor Stacy Dawn talks about her short eStories and her upcoming full-lenght novel. Romance and sport can’t live together, you said? Read that!

Hi Stacy! How are you doing? Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Thanks, I’m doing great! Well, I’m a romance author, which is good considering I’m a hopeless romantic. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada in a small house out in the country with my husband and two young sons.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Compassionate, honest, goofy

You’re Libra, aren’t you? I heard they’re diplomatic, romantic but quite indecisive. Are you a typical Libra?
Oh yes, very typical. I’m always trying to keep the peace when I can’t even make up my own mind LOL.

Your short stories are published as eBooks, could you please talk about them, for those who don’t exactly know how it works…
Basically, it’s like going to a bookstore on your computer. For instance, you could go to The Wild Rose Press website at www.thewildrosepress.com and click on their bookstore then pick out a book to buy (try Stacy Dawn’s books…I hear she’s got some fun stories) When ordered, you download the book onto your computer, open up the file and start reading. They have covers, dedications, and everything like a normal book but your bookshelves don’t get overloaded.

How did you get published? Did you want to be ePublished at first?
I’ve always wanted to write and be published. I sold a few stories to various magazines and was working on longer pieces when I heard of The Wild Rose Press. I submitted and thankfully, they liked what they read. No actually, ePublishing is new to me too but in all honesty, I love it. The Wild Rose Press also do print books as well which are now available through Amazon.com so it’s like having the best of both the eBook and print world

Tell us a bit more about your latest story, “Sold!”…
Sold! is a funny story about the indecision of making that first move…does he like me or is it all a fantasy in my head?

What do you like in writing romance? What would you say to those who say “romance isn’t a serious genre”?
First, I’d say they were nuts. Romance is a HUGE percentage of book sales and publishing. I like writing it because of what’s called the HEA—happily ever after endings. No matter what problems your characters face, in the end they will find a way to make it together. Like in life, it’s never easy but it is possible.

Your upcoming eBook is called “A Matching Fancy”… can you tell us more?
This is another short story. It involves a woman who, while watching her niece at a wedding thinks love is only for the young…until an outspoken guest shows her differently. Watch out for the little twist in the tale!

And I also heard that there will be a full-length novel coming out in print, soon…
Oh yes! This will be my first full-length novel published and I am so excited. Wanna Make a Bet?–When aspiring artist and purposefully single Sophie Montgomery mutters those four fateful words, her sexy neighbor, Jay Coltrane, pounces on the opportunity to prove she’s not as immune to him as she thinks. Before she knows it, Sophie finds herself not only betting against a seduction, she’s betting against her own ability to keep her dreams intact and a certain luscious landscaper out of them. It will be coming out in mid 2007.

I heard that eBooks publishing will grow faster and faster… What do you think about it?
I’d have to agree. There are many products like ebook readers on the market now that make it so easy to download your books onto it and take them with you on trips, commuting, the bus, whatever. And with today’s technology, most can hold over two hundred books—can’t stuff that many into your knapsack and haul them around very easily LOL.

Do you think eBooks will take the paperback books’ place soon?
As much as I like eBooks, I still enjoy curling up on the couch with a paperbound book in hand so in all honesty, I would hope for a happy medium and not one taking over the other.

What’s the greatest thing about being ePublished? Any bad sides?
One of the first things learned when starting to submit your work is patience and the ability to wait and wait and wait and wait. Because everything is done electronically, the process for ePublishing is a lot faster than print publishing. There is still a lot of waiting time but it’s probably cut in half. The bad side is that there are still a great number of people who don’t know about ePublishing, others who refuse to give it a try because of their loyalty to print books, or simply those who don’t have access to a computer. So promoting your stories can be hard and sometimes limited.

Isn’t it sometimes, let’s say, sad, not to be able to “hold” your work in your hands? (that’s a thought I always had about ePublishing).
That is a consideration and I’m thankfully with a publisher that does do print books as well but yes, most of my stories being eBooks shorts will never be crushed against my chest in ecstatic excitement. But, then I get an email from a reader saying they loved it and you know, that’s my real dream come true.

How do you work (where, when, how…)?
My desk is shoved up against a little wall in the sportsroom. Yes, I said ‘sportsroom’. My husband is a sports-aholic and the room is filled with all sorts of memorabilia, posters etc. Luckily, I face a big window so I get to see the luscious countryside instead. I write mostly during the day, an hour or so at a time in between feeding, playing with, and refereeing the kids. I’m not much of a night owl because they like to get up very early in the morning so I usually only write at night if I’m on a deadline. I find if I balance my time then we’re all happy. I’m half punster/half plotter, which means some stories I just sit down and start typing where other stories I like to lay out a solid outline before I start.

Would you like to add something, Stacy?
I would urge everyone to give eBooks a try. I’m not saying everyone is going to like them but I think they will surprise a lot of people too. I also love to hear from readers and writers. I can be contacted through my website at http://www.stacydawn.com. And most important, I want to say a big thank you to you, Veronika! I’ve had fun.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
I’d take twenty of it to splurge in a stationary store (I LOVE pens, papers, and nik-naks) then, sad to say, the rest would probably go to regular things like groceries, bills, or new clothes for the boys who grow like weeds.

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?Read a book.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Beach
Country or City ?Country
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Romantic Comedy.
Shy or Easy-going ?Half and half
Serious or Funny ?I like to think I’m seriously funny LOL but of course I’m also delusional.
Traveler or not ?Not. I admit I’m a homebody.
Sporty or not ?I don’t have a choice in this house. I’m not very sporty but am learning quickly
The leader in the group or not ?Leader, usually by default

“Favorite…”

TV show: Survivor
Movie : While You Were Sleeping
Book : I Will Survive by Samantha Connolly
Music : Country
Food : Chocolate
City : New York at Christmas
Favorite place to write: Living room
Quote or motto : For safety sake. “Better pack an extra snack for the boys for safety sake.” “Better take another once over the manuscript for safety sake.” “For safety sake, you better not tell anyone you have character voices talking to you in your head” Things like that LOL.

Thank you, Stacy!
Stacy’s website http://stacydawn.com

Gemma HallidayGemma Halliday is back with a new High Heels Mystery and a story in an anthology, “Dreams and Desires”… Take a trip to Vegas and support a good cause!

Hi Gemma and welcome back on Veronika asks!
Thanks, Veronika! I love your site, I’m always happy to visit.

Let’s talk about Killer in High Heels, your second novel in the High Heels series! So, how have you been since our last talking on July 2006? Lots of work?
I’ve been hard at work on my third High Heels book, as well as putting the finishing touches on number two, which will be out later thismonth. In addition to that, I was fortunately enough to have a shortstory published in the DREAMS AND DESIRES charity anthology earlierthis month. So, life has been a whirlwind lately, but I’m enjoying every minute of it.

“Killer in High Heels” will be out on February 27th, 2007! Can you tell us a bit more about what will happen to Maddie?
In KILLER IN HIGH HEELS, Maddie gets a mysterious phone call from herlong-lost father, which leads her to fabulous Las Vegas. While thereshe gets tangled up with a group of shoe trafficking mobsters, aover-zealous tabloid reporter, a handful of ageing drag queens, andone ruthless killer. Oh yes, and, of course, the uber-sexy Detective Ramirez. This one was a blast to write, I just loved the wacky, decadent setting and got a kick out creating some of the interesting new characters.

And then comes “Undercover in High Heels”…
UNDERCOVER IN HIGH HEELS finds Maddie working as a wardrobe assistant on the set of a hit TV show. Which is a dream job until a pretty young actress turns up dead in the star’s trailer. Along with herusual cast of oddball friends and family, Maddie is soon on the trail of Hollywood’s hottest killer. I used to work in television, so thiswas really fun for me to write, drawing on a lot of personal experience. Though, no, I never stumbled over dead bodies on the set!UNDERCOVER should be hitting stores later this summer.

You also have a story published in “Dreams and Desires”, a fabulous anthology. Tell us more about it.
The anthology is put out by Freya’s Bower and is actually going tobecome an annual event. All the proceed from the sale of the booksare going directly to help victims of domestic violence and Marci Baun, the editor in chief of Freya’s Bower, has just done an amazing job pulling it all together, putting out a fantastic book for a wonderful cause. My contribution is a short story called, “Confessions of a Bombshell Bandit”. It’s about a woman who is fired, evicted, and robbed all in the same day and decides to take her life into her own hands with avery no-more-miss-nice-chick attitude.

You can view a trailer for thestory on my website and also on my MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/highheelsmysteries & http://www.gemmahalliday.com

I heard there will be a fourth one.
Yes, there will! It is yet untitled, in fact I’m running a contest on my website right now to name that book [It will be Alibi in High Heels]. In this one, Maddie will bejetsetting around Europe, hot on the trail of a Cary Grant-esque cat bugler turned murder suspect. I’m really excited to explore a European setting and am hoping to incorporate a lot of Parisian fashion into the story.

Do you plan another one?
The series is very open-ended, but at the moment I’m only contract for the four books. We’ll see how demanding Maddie gets for more pagetime, though.

We talked about it at the Virtual Book Launch Party on February 1st, if you’d turn High Heels into a movie, do you have an idea about the cast?
I love this question! Yes, my first book, SPYING IN HIGH HEELS, has recently been optioned for a television series. No word on production yet, but it’s an exciting possibility. Personally, I always saw Maddie as the Reece Witherspoon’s character in Legally Blonde. Cute, perky, and totally smart under that pink and blonde exterior. As for Ramirez, any one of those hunky Spanish soap stars would work for me 😉

Would you like to add something?
Thanks so much for having me, Veronika! It’s always fun to come chat with you.

Thanks, Gemma!
Gemma’s website http://www.gemmahalliday.com

Gemma HallidayToday I welcome Gemma Halliday, who talks about her first mystery novel “Spying in High Heels”, which takes you to L.A’s mysterious fashion world!

Hi Gemma, would you like to introduce yourself to your readers?
Thanks for having me Veronika! Hi everyone, I’m a new author with my first book, Spying In High Heels, coming out in August. It’s the first in the High Heels Mysteries series, featuring shoe designer turned amateur sleuth, Maddie Springer. And while Maddie and I are both short, blonde, slightly neurotic yet highly fashionable California girls, I will staunchly deny any rumors that it’s autobiographical. 🙂

I always have my Astrology question: what is your sign? Do you match your sign’s description?
Oh, I love astrology! I actually once worked as a 900 number psychic astrologer. I’m a Sagittarius. And, yes, I’m a typical archer girl in a big way. I love to meet new people, travel, and am brutally honest enough to find myself sticking my foot firmly in my mouth on many an occasion.

If you could describe yourself with three words, it would be…
Fun, friendly, workaholic.

Now, please, tell us more about “Spying in High Heels”, which will be released in August 2006…
In Spying In High Heels Maddie’s boyfriend, a prominent L.A. attorney, goes missing, and, due to a very late monthly visitor, Maddie is desperate to track him down. What she runs into instead is a twenty-million dollar embezzlement scheme, a sexy cop, a porn star, a pair of Russian contortionists, and a dead body that make her missed period seem like the least of her problems. And all of this while helping her mother plan a kitchy second wedding and post-menopausal bachelorette party. It’s a fun, fast paced story with lots of action – a great summer beach read!

Do you plan a sequel?
Yes! I have three more High Heels books in the works. The next installment, Killer In High Heels, takes Maddie to fabulous Las Vegas and is due to hit bookstores in March 2007.

Maddie is a shoe designer and she loves shopping. Do you share her love for shoes and clothes in general?
Hi, I’m Gemma and I’m a shoe-aholic. 🙂 Yes, I love the clothes. I can’t claim my closet is filled with quite the array of designer labels that Maddie’s is, but I’m a sucker for a half-priced pair of heels.

Did you work in the fashion world before?
No, I actually worked in film and television. Which was really fun because I got to play dress-up every day. I think my favorite was working on the set of the movie “Buddy”, where I got all dolled up in vintage 1920’s clothes. Two hours in hair and make-up, but it was so worth it.

There is a “cop” in your story, did you meet some of them, took notes…?
Actually, most of my police jargon has come from the wives of officers. I met a few of them locally and they were fantastic about disclosing the day-to-day of living with a police officer. They were great women and, let me tell you, those ladies are tough cookies.

The usual “writing question”, how do you work? How do you react to the writer’s block?
I generally write about 4 hours a day, depending on deadlines. I’m a big plotter. I like to know exactly what’s happening before I sit down to write a scene, so I usually do a detailed outline of my books first. Things tend to change as I go, but at least I have a general roadmap of the story.Writer’s block. Blech, hate it. Yes, I’ve had my share of that pesky demon. I generally do something totally non-writing related to get my mind off my characters for a while. Go for a walk, read a book, try on some shoes.

Do you have an advice for young writers?
Just keep writing! The more you write, the better you get at it. Some days I’m sure I’m writing pure dredged, but if I just keep writing, generally something semi-brilliant will eventually come out of it.

I looove your website and bookcover. Did you choose them yourself? Is it important to work with an illustrator/designer?
Thank you! The website I designed myself, with the help of my amazing computer guru brother. I love the old Hollywood feel, so I tried to do a kind of modern take on that. The book cover was all the art department at Dorchester. They do a fabulous job with all their covers, and this one is no exception. Wow, was I overjoyed when I saw it. Wait until you see the cover for Killer In High Heels. It’s going to be fabulous!

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, your plans?
New shoes, of course!

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?Go out.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Oh, tough one. I grew up in the mountains, so love that. But I have to say, I’m a beach bunny at heart.
Country or City ?Oh a little of both. Which is what I love about where I live. It’s got a small town feel, with tons of wooded areas and hiking trails, yet I’m just minutes from San Francisco and all the benefits of a big city.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Comedy all the way.
Shy or Easy-going ?Easy-going.
Serious or Funny ?Funny. (I hope!)
Traveler or not ?Traveler.
Sporty or not ?Hmmm… does shopping count as a sport?
The Leader in the group or not ?Hmm… depends on where the group’s going. I sometimes like to meander in the back and take the scenic route.

“Favorite…”

TV show: Seinfeld
Movie : White Christmas
Book (and by the way, what are you reading during your free time ?) ? : I have to pick just one?! Hmmm… I’ll go with a classic then. Gone With the Wind.
Music : 1950’s bebop & crooners
City : Los Angeles
Favorite place to write : My bedroom, Starbucks, the park… just about anywhere.
Quote or motto : Never give up, never surrender. Okay, I stole that from “Galaxy Quest”, but it’s such a great line.

Thank you, Gemma!
Gemma’s website http://www.gemmahalliday.com

Kat MartinAn interview with best-selling historical romance and contemporary novel author Kat Martin. Today, she talks about her new novel, Scent of Roses, a ghost story.

Hi Kat! Would you like to introduce yourself to your readers and tell us more about Scent of Roses?
Hi, everyone. My name is Kat Martin and I write Historical Romance and Romantic Suspense. I’ve been writing since 1985 and have written more than 36 novels. SCENT OF ROSES is my latest book. It’s a ghost story based on an incident that actually happened in the San Joaquin Valley in the summer of 1995. Of course, I added the sexy bad-boy hero, Zachary Harcourt, who is one of my personal favorites.

Astrology now: what’s your sign? Do you match the sign description?
I’m a Gemini, born June 14, Flag Day, and I match Gemini very, very closely.

Why a ghost story? Did something like that happen to you?
I have always been interested in the paranormal. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a parapsychologist. There were so few schools, it was impossible to make that happen. I have had several interesting experiences, one was the basis for my first ghost story, THE SILENT ROSE.

For a first read, which one of your books would you recommend? Which one is your favorite?
I really think SCENT OF ROSES may be the best book I’ve ever written. It is so interesting and different, and I loved the hero, who was such a sexual kind of guy. My personal favorite is THE SECRET, maybe because it’s a contemporary romantic suspense set on a ranch in Montana.

How do you write (how, when, where)?
I usually get on the computer by 10:30 in the mornings and first do whatever PR work I need to do (like this interview). That gives me a little time to wake up and get ready to write. I try to be writing no later than noon and go till maybe six, then it’s time for a glass of wine and a little relaxation with my husband. Amazing how tired you are after six hours of concentrated writing.

Some authors really like to write in Starbucks… do you?
I love Starbucks! But I go there to drink coffee not to work. I have a gorgeous view from my office in Montana and also from my work space at our house at the beach, where we live in the winter.

Have your books been turned into movies (or maybe will be)?
I had a lot of interest from HBO TV for THE SILENT ROSE. Currently have a bit of interest in SCENT OF ROSES. I think both would make great movies. THE SECRET might make a good movie, as well. Love to have it happen.

I’ve seen on your website that you travel a lot. Do you have a treasured souvenir?
I have a wonderful piece-of-eight–a silver doubloon–pirate treasure off the sunken ship, Atochia, bought in Key West Florida, a souvenir of my book, DEEP BLUE. I have a great gold nugget I wear on a chain. It came from Dawson City, Yukon, a souvenir of MIDNIGHT SUN.

Do you base your books on real events?
I use real events whenever possible. I mention things that have happened in the news to valid the story I am trying to tell. In SCENT OF ROSES, the ghost was a real murder victim and according to extremely credible reports actually appeared as I tell the story in the book.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: you’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Probably put it in the bank. Wait a minute–that’s no fun. If I was staying at the beach instead of being in Montana where it’s hard to find places to spend money, I would probably go out to dinner somewhere over-looking the water.

 

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday night. Book or Disco? Going out.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains? Either mountains or beach.
Country or City? Both, at one time or another.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?)? Big flick, entertaining and fun.
Shy or Easy-going? Neither. Driven and fairly serious.
Serious or Funny? Pretty serious, with moments of humor.
Traveler or not? Yes.
Spory girl or Couch potato? Sporty? What is “sporty?”
Leader or Follower? Probably not a leader.


“Favorite…”


TV show: Currently, Medium.
Movie: Quigley Down Under
Book: Eagle in the Sky
Music: Country Western
City: Paris
Favorite place to write: Mountains or beach
Quote or Motto: My favorite word would be censored in this article.

Thank you, Kat!
You can visit Kat’s site here: http://www.katbooks.com