I've had a slew of emails recently, asking me about this or that, but since I'm on deadline and have not a lot of time to write detailed emails, I'm recycling a quick interview I did for a magazine. It covers some of the basics.
Originally I thought it would be a way to fund my literary ambitions, but the more I learned and the more widely I read, the more I grew to love the genre. It’s character driven storytelling with a feel-good ending – what’s not to love? And there’s such variety within the genre -- unlike the urban myths about romance, I have complete freedom to write the stories I want. Plus there’s a vast international market for it — I have translations in 16 languages so far, including Japanese print and manga editions.
There are hundreds of romance novels on the market at the moment. How do you come up with an original story?
It’s easy. Original characters make for an original story, and there is an endless variety of settings and situations and problems to overcome. It’s like music – there might be only eight notes, but the combinations are endless.
What was your big break into publishing?
When my first novel was shortlisted for a RITA in the USA – that’s the romance equivalent of an Oscar nomination. My books got a lot of buzz as a result and were published in the USA.
Tell us something we don’t know about being published.
I’ll tell you three things:
1) that romance writers are the best, most supportive mates you will find anywhere in the writing world.
2) that when you get published, it’s just the beginning of a whole new learning curve.
And 3) that writing doesn’t get easier; each book is a fresh new challenge. In fact sometimes it’s harder because you’re more aware of the market.
What are three reasons why romance manuscripts get rejected by publishers?
1) The writer has assumed romance novels don’t have the same features as all good fiction.
2) Clichéd, unbelievable or unsympathetic characters
3) Lack of emotional punch – people often confuse emotion with sex.
How has having deadlines from publishers changed the way you write and the way you think about writing? Does it ever get to be a drag?
It used to be something I did for fun, and now it’s my job, so that changes things. It can be difficult sometimes, usually when the book isn’t working, but then you’ll come at the story from a different angle and suddenly it’s all flowing again and it’s the best job in the world.
Other people dream of being a full-time writer. What does a full-time writer dream of being?
In a clean, tidy, well-run house. ;)