Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Teresa Keefer’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!
This week I got to set the question:
How do you choose the location for you books? Do you pick somewhere you’ve already been, or do you research creatively, using Google and other methods to find the perfect spot?
In some of the best books I’ve read, the location is like an extra character, adding a flavour and edge to a scene that allows the reader to close their eyes and picture the scene, allowing it to play out in their mind as if it’s a movie. Without really having to think hard about it, I can remember my favorite books that do this — including Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Cornwall), Wuthering Heights (Yorkshire) by Emily Bronte, and of course, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkein (The magnificently made up Middle Earth).
When I try to imagine any of these books taking place in a different location, it’s almost impossible to do. The setting is woven through the narrative like a silken thread. To pull it out would unravel the whole tapestry.
When it came to my own books, I chose the location very carefully. At first I stuck to what I knew well. Fix You takes place (for the most part) in London and New York, two cities I had spent a lot of time in. Of course I still needed to do research, to find the best part of the city for some of the action to take place, or to find the perfect restaurant or bar for a scene to be set in. But for the most part, luckily for me, I could use my own memory.
With my Love in London series, for the majority of the stories they take part in that city. London is a big place, however, and runs the gamut from very rich locations to extremely poor ones. In this respect I tended to choose the exact location to suit the characters. It would seem very strange for a poor character to be living in Mayfair, but equally weird for a wealthy one to be living in one of the poorer parts of East London.
It’s only recently that I’ve started choosing locations that I haven’t had the chance to visit. I’m writing a new series (more information on this soon), and the first book is set in a fictional small town in West Virginia, USA. The second book is set in Italy, in a small village called Varenna on the banks of Lake Como. Researching these locations was a really enjoyable part of the whole process. In fact I loved researching about Italy so much that we’ve now booked our summer vacation there. Which means I’ll get to visit the real Varenna, and see if it matches up to the village I’ve created from my research.
We now have a joke in my family that wherever I set the next book, we will have to visit. I’m currently deciding between Mauritius and Koh Samui. Not a bad choice to make, huh?
So that’s pretty much how I choose the location. Now let’s hop over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog to find out why she chooses the locations she does. And don’t forget to check out her fabulous books, The Defiant Bride, The Dream Dancer, Captain Captive and Texas Summer.
Until next time,
Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jenna Da Sie’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!
This week the fabulous Leslie Hachtel asks us this question:
How did you pick the genre you write? Or did it pick you?
It’s no secret that I love being a romance author. I can’t think of a better way to spend my day than writing about two flawed characters who fight against the attraction, trying to resist, yet find that the draw of love is too powerful to ignore. Even better when they hit bumps and dead-ends, leading to bigger problems that they have to overcome.
I didn’t always want to be a romance author, though.
Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Back when I was younger, I pretty much wanted to be Enid Blyton, and write about boarding schools and midnight feasts, and magic far away trees. Then as I got older I wanted to be JRR Tolkein, and write about rings and hobbits and epic journeys that became fights between good and evil.
It was only when I was in my 20s that I discovered romance, and even that was in a roundabout way. Being a voracious reader, I’d pretty much grab anything in my local library, devouring the pages like a starving man would grab hold of food.
I’d read thrillers and historical fiction, contemporary fiction and horror. As I said, pretty much anything I could find. But as I read them, I found myself looking for the same thing over and over again. Some kind of romantic pull between the main characters.
That was when I started to read romance, and I’ve never really stopped. From there it was a no-brainer to start to write the kind of stories I loved, and today I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I chose romance, and romance chose me; it was pretty much a mutual attraction! And neither of us are ready to let go of each other any time soon.
So that’s why I write romance. Now let’s hop over to Xio Axelrod’s blog to find out why she writes the things she does. And while you’re there, check out her book, Falling Stars – the first in her new series!
Until next time,
Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Susan Scott Shelley’s blog, hi and thanks for clicking!
This week the talented Susan has given us this challenge: A player’s walk-up song (aka Entrance Theme), whether he’s heading to the pitcher’s mound or the batter’s box, can tell a lot about him. What song would you choose for yours?
Music has always held a special place in my life. It can trigger memories, of times gone by–happy times such as when I first fell in love (Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light anybody?), and sad times such as when my beloved Grandma died. When I’m writing a book I like to create an atmospheric playlist–the type of music that the protagonists would listen to–and this aids me in setting the scene.
So it comes as no surprise that when I read Susan Scott Shelley’s question I knew I had to answer it. So many songs sprang to mind, and the hardest thing was to narrow my choices down to one. However, that’s what I’ve managed to do!
Who doesn’t love a bit of Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes? I chose this song for a few reasons. The first is that it takes me back to my teenage years, when I first watched Dirty Dancing and fell in love with falling in love! It reminds me of the essence of a love story–that perfect moment when the boy from the wrong side of the tracks falls for the girl who is out of his reach.
But the main reason I chose this song is that I’m so grateful for the opportunity to write and share my words with others, and I really am having the time of my life doing so. It’s not every day that you get to achieve your dreams and have your stories published, and I for one am loving every minute!
But that’s enough about me. Now let’s hop over to Fiona Riplee’s blog and see what she has to say.
Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Tracy Gee’s blog at LoveExtra.com, hi and thanks for clicking!
This week the multi-talented Xio Axelrod has asked us the following question: If you weren’t a writer, what other creative career would you most want to try?
It’s funny, but I’ve never really seen myself as a creative person. From the youngest age, I always had a story in my head, one that I would escape into, day dreaming the hours away while other kids were playing in the street.
I was the child whose singing voice made everybody wince. The kid whose attempts at painting resulted in a terrifying rorschach test rather than the pretty house she’d planned. But in my mind–in my imagination–I was queen!
That’s not to say there aren’t creative endeavours I enjoy. I like sewing, though I’m not great at it, and I’ve even managed to knit a scarf or two in my time. I can whip up a meal from the scantiest of ingredients, often resulting in something my family ask me to cook again.
But all the while that I’m doing these things, I’m still thinking of characters and making up stories in my mind. I find that keeping busy with my hands allows my mind to wander in interesting directions, and I’ve often managed to solve a problem in my plot while distracting my logical mind with another task.
I realise none of this really answers the question, apart from to say I can’t imagine being anything but a writer. And if I couldn’t write, I’d tell those stories orally, and if I couldn’t speak, I’d live them in my mind!
But that’s enough about me. Now let’s hop over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog and see what she has to say.
Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from J.J. Devine’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!
This week A.S. Fenichel has asked us the following question: What person living, dead, realative or stranger had the biggest influence on your life/writing career? Tell us what he/she was like or how they shaped you.
Answering this has been tough, not because I don’t have an answer, but because I owe so much to so many people. From my beta readers and editors to my publishers and family, not to mention my hugely supportive friends. But if I had to single out somebody (and I’m cheating a bit) to thank for where I have got to today, it would have to be my amazing Agents at the Bookcase Agency.
Back in 2013, my agent, Meire Dias, contacted me to see if I’d be interested in being represented for my book, Fix You. She worked for the Bookcase Agency, which she had recently set up with Flavia Viotti, and the two of them were just starting on their journey. Having spoken with both Meire and Flavia a number of times, I knew they were going to be amazing. They had commitment, drive, and most of all a love of books, and I jumped at the chance to be represented by them.
Fast forward six months, and they sold the Portuguese rights for my book to Brazil. Sempre Foi Voce (It Was Always You) was released in October 2014, and we really haven’t looked back!
Fix You was released in the UK in December 2014, by the amazing folk at Corvus Books, and the rights have now been sold to Italy, Turkey and Germany, with publication coming soon. On top of that, they’ve recently sold the Portuguese rights for my Love in London books to Universe Dos Livros.
Without these two ladies I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. Their unstinting support, their commitment to their jobs, and their unending enthusiasm really make me want to write more stories, just so we can keep working together.
So that’s my rags to riches — or in this case online to published — story, and one I’m very grateful for.
I’m so glad I got a chance to share how much these ladies have done for me, I really do owe them a lot! Now let’s hop over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog and see what she has to say.
Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Raine Balkera’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!
This week Susan Scott Shelley has asked us the following question: You’ve been gifted with a super power. Which would you choose? Why?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the answer to this one over the past few days. Depending on the time of day–and what I’m doing at the time–the answer would vary immensely. Sometimes I’d like to be Laundry-Woman, able to clean ten loads of dirty clothes with the shake of my pretty, manicured hand. Other times I’d like to be Word-Girl, able to speed through a manuscript, putting 80,000 perfect words onto paper without batting an eyelid.
When my children are sad, I’d like to be Magnificent-Mum, able to magic away all their tears and make everything better. And when I get home from work after a long day at work, I’d love to be Chef-Tastic, able to whip up a gourmet-level meal using just two eggs and an old piece of bread.
But actually, when I stop and consider all of these, I don’t think I really need those powers. Laundry may not be fun, but with a washing machine and a tumble dryer (things my grandmother would have killed for) it isn’t exactly taxing, either. And when my kids are sad, sometimes a hug is all they need. I may not make all their problems disappear, but I make them feel better, and that’s good enough for me.
Word-Girl, that super-writer who speeds through a manuscript without breaking a sweat? Maybe she’s missing out on that wonderful feeling when you suddenly make a breakthrough with a plot point, or that simple pleasure of patting yourself on the back when you’ve managed to write 2000 words on a good day.
So rather than accept a superpower, I think I’ll just be glad I’m me. I make mistakes, things take some time, but life is pretty damn good anyway!
So those are my thoughts, I hope you enjoyed reading them and let me know what you think. Do you like your stories to have a message? Let’s hop over to J.J. Devine’s blog and see what she has to say.