Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Spotlight Author with Nicola Cornick

I have the pleasure of sharing my blog with the delightful, Nicola Cornick. Welcome Nicola, tell us a little bit about you and your latest release.

Thank you so much for the warm welcome and for inviting me to the blog today!

A little bit about me… Well, I’m British and I live in the English countryside with my husband and my pets. I write Regency historicals for HQN Books and I also work as a historian in a historic house, which is very inspirational.

My latest release is NOTORIOUS, book 4 in my Scandalous Women of the Ton series. Each of the books in the series is about a strong woman doing something that Regency society considers outrageous, whether that is traveling, taking a job or, in the case of Susanna, the heroine of NOTORIOUS, breaking hearts for a living! The hero is James Devlin, who featured in the very first book in the series and is a rake and a real bad-boy. In Susanna, though, he definitely meets his match. They have a “can’t live with each other, can’t live without each other” type of relationship, very hot and fiery with lots of verbal sparring and sparks flying!

What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing the final book in the Scandalous Women series and loving it. It’s a rags to riches story of a servant girl who finds herself the heiress to a grand estate. It’s called FORBIDDEN and it’s out next year. I’m also working on a short story for a Christmas anthology, which is quite a challenge to the imagination during a hot summer!

What is the hardest part about your job?

For me the hardest part of being a writer is working primarily on my own. Before I became a full time author I worked in an office with lots of people and I really miss that social contact. Fortunately I have lots of very good friends online and lots of contact with readers and this motivates me and keeps me going.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

There are so many things I enjoy about being an author. I’m very lucky that I am able to do a job I love. That’s very special. Plus I love writing happy endings!

What is your secret to success?

I’m not sure I have a secret, but I do work very hard. This seems to be mainly to the surprise of some family and friends, who, if they happen to be around during the day can be heard to say: “You really do work very hard!” in tones of amazement, as though they secretly suspected me of sitting around watching daytime TV! I also believe that if you want to be successful you have to keep reading, learning and polishing your craft and that you need to write the very best book you can.

How long was your road to publication?

It was a long one! I started to write in my teens and began my first Regency romance when I was eighteen and at college. I submitted it to a publisher when I was about twenty- three and didn’t hear anything for over a year. Eventually it was rejected for having too much adventure and too little romance in the plot. I re-wrote it and sent it in again. This time I got a straight rejection. So I tried again… I was in my thirties by the time my first book was accepted for publication. Hence my advice to aspiring authors never to give up!

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from all sorts of places, from snippets I read in historical research books to historic houses I visit. Sometimes I might see a gown in a costume collection and that can inspire a story idea when I start wondering who might have worn it, or I could overhear a couple of lines of conversation and start speculating on the relationship of the couple talking. Although I write historical romance I get quite a few of my story ideas from modern newspapers and magazines. For example, celebrity has been a theme in a number of my books. I find that there are so many parallels between the past and the present.

What is the most important advice you can give to aspiring authors?

I would tell any aspiring author to believe in yourself. Believe you can be successful. Sometimes it’s hard to keep going if your writing is rejected and if you have so many other demands on your time. Keep polishing your writing, keep reading, keep learning and above all keep trying.

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

I find integrity, resourcefulness, humor and intelligence essential in any hero. They have to be strong and brave in their own way and have a code of honor no matter how deeply it might be buried. I particularly like heroes who are protectors. And although in real life I am definitely not attracted to bad boys, in fiction I do like seeing a bad boy reform!

If you had to pick a favorite character that you have created or one that you wish you had created who would it be and why?

Good question! I love the character of Patrick Jane in The Mentalist. He fascinates me. He’s a tortured soul and he is so clever – arrogant at times – and yet he’s compellingly attractive.

I have to agree Nicola. I just love him and the show. ;-)

Thank you Nicola, for taking time to spend with all of us here. Where can we find out more about you and your books?

Thank you so much for inviting me! It’s been a lot of fun.

As I mentioned, I love chatting to readers, writers and history buffs and you can find me on my blog at

I’m also a member of the Word Wenches blog:

I love chatting on Facebook and Twitter too:

Thank you readers. See you next week.



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Spotlight Author with Nina Wright

I am so happy to share my guest Nina Wright with all of you today. To be honest, I happened upon Nina’s work because of Facebook and am pleased that I found her. She has some great insight on the writing world and wonderful advice.

What has been your biggest fear that you have had to overcome as a writer?

That’s an excellent question, Micole. I think the biggest fear I ever had occurred after reading the first draft of my first novel: I realized that the book I thought I was writing was not in fact the book that I was now rereading. To put it bluntly, my first draft was awful! So I had to figure out how to close the gap between the quality of what I wanted to produce and the quality of what I had produced. That involved not only writing many revisions but also overcoming much self-doubt.

What makes your writing unique?

I’d like to think that a writer’s well-honed voice is what makes her unique. Mine is infused with breezy humor as well as snappy dialogue and plots that keep the reader in her seat until the end.

Tell us a little bit about your books.

I currently have five books in the humorous Whiskey Mattimoe mystery series that begins with Whiskey on the Rocks. This is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys Evanovich or dog mysteries. My amateur sleuth is a recently widowed 30-something Realtor who inherits her late husband’s diva-dog, an Afghan hound inclined to steal shiny things.

I also have two paranormal novels, Homefree and Sensitive. And I’m a playwright with about 20 produced plays to my credit. I’m thrilled that Ampichellis Ebooks has just made all five Whiskey Mattimoe books available on Kindle. The paranormal novels are coming soon. . . .

What are you working on now?

I’ve got two freestanding paranormal novels under way, one with a humorous and sexy slant, the other much darker. And I’m thinking about writing a sixth Whiskey Mattimoe title.

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panster?

Every book is a different journey for me as a writer. Generally, I begin writing as soon as I know who the key characters are and what the central problem is. I may or may not know how the book ends, but I usually know at least a couple major plot points or complications. Then I start writing. I keep track of possibilities and questions as I draft, pausing periodically to “micro-plot” to the next crisis.

How long does it take you to write a manuscript?

When I could write full-time, which unfortunately I can’t do at present, I completed two books a year. Now, juggling a demanding day job (as most working writers do) and other major responsibilities, I strive to set aside whatever writing time I can grab. Last year I managed to complete a full-length play and see it on its feet in Chicagoland. This year my goal is to complete the rough draft of one novel. If I can accomplish more than that, I’ll be thrilled.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

When I was in my 20s, I worked in the theatre and thought that being a professional actor was the best job in the world. Now I know that being a full-time author is the best job. Yes, it’s hard, lonely work, but if you’re a born storyteller, there’s nothing you’d rather do. Writing a novel is more about magic than logic: once you start building the world of your story, your unconscious joins the process and you become a medium, channeling sources you can’t explain, as well as a craftsman. I honestly enjoy all the tasks and skills that a writer is called on to use at some point in a book’s creation.

How long was your road to publication?

The third novel I wrote, revised and shopped around was the first novel I succeeded in finding a publisher for. I think I spent about five years directly working on becoming an author, but I had already been a professional playwright and business writer for more than a decade.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

If you know you are a writer, then you must write. If you can walk away from it, you’re not really a writer. Keep writing, keep believing and keep sharing your work!

Thank you Nina, for stopping in and spending time with us here on my blog. Where can we find out more information about you and your books?

This was fun, Micole. Thanks for the chance to talk about what I most love doing. My website is Readers can also find me on facebook and Twitter. I teach writing workshops and coach individual writers, too.

Thank you friends for coming. I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did. See you next week with Nicole Cornick’s interview.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spotlight Author with Leanne Banks

Good morning friends. Today is my birthday and I am celebrating it with author Leanne Banks. Here she is to tell us a little bit about her latest release.

Tell us a little bit about your latest release THE DOCTOR TAKES A PRINCESS.

This book features an underestimated princess. Bridget is often thought of as the lighthearted charming sister, perhaps even a bit self-centered. In the story, she has one last assignment before she gets to take a long overdue break. Her assignment is to work with a doctor at a medical center to bring new doctors to her island country of Chantaine.

Dr. Ryder McCall has no intention of letting his prize doctors take off for some island country. It would be bad for their careers. Plus, he has his hands full since he has taken over the care of his twin six-month old nephews.

What I love about this book is the way that both characters grow and change. Princess Bridget isn’t really a baby person. She’s more of a call-the-nanny person, which she does. But the nanny isn’t always available, so Bridget has to deal with the twins on her own.

Dr. Ryder McCall’s career has always been first with him. Taking care of his nephews and meeting Bridget turns his world upside down. He’s forced to take a different point of view and along the way, he learns what is truly important to him.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing a follow-up to THE DOCTOR TAKES A PRINCESS. This book features Bridget’s sister Phillipa, aka Pippa, and hey, I named this character LONG before we had Kate and Pippa!:)

Every author that I have spoken to has their own writing process. Some spend weeks working on character building charts. Some use post it notes to plot their entire book. Other’s pull pictures from magazines and make a story board of sorts. What is your writing process and how long would you say it takes you when a new idea is sparked from sketching out the details to getting to THE END?

I’ll try anything!lol I’ve used post it notes. I’ve tried creating a collage. I enjoy character building. I hate plotting. I almost feel that a root canal would be easier than plotting. It’s mostly my fault, though, because I believe the plot needs to come as a result of the character’s growth. I think writing an autobiography from the main characters’ pov helps. I find the critical questions are: What does my hero/heroine most fear? What is my hero/heroine’s secret wish? My writing process involves a lot of brooding, cursing at the cursor, and making lists. Lists of ways to express conflict. Ways to get the hero and heroine together. I especially love using the brainstorming technique of the list of 20. What you do is list (WITHOUT EDITING) 20 ideas to solve your problem, or 20 scenes, whatever assignment you’ve given yourself. How long does it take me? Too long. I don’t schedule myself to write more than 3 books per year because I have found, unfortunately, that I’m not writing faster with each book.

Where does your inspiration come from?
My curiosity about a character and a story. Where will it go? I get to know the characters and I want to see how they evolve. I’m not a complete pantser or plotter. I often get to the end of book and say, “Oh, so that’s what it was all about.” That means I spend a lot of time driving in the dark!

If you had to pick a favorite character that you have created or one that you wish you had created who would it be and why?

I loved the characters from EXPECTANT FATHER. The hero is a genius with anger management issues. He was so tortured because he was a research scientist trying to cure Alzheimers.

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

I prefer a man with intelligence and a sense of humor. I have no use for a man or hero, who doesn’t have those qualities.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?
The growth, the struggle and the happily-ever-after. I like it that our heroes and heroines must earn their happiness.

Tell us about the classes that you offer.
I’ve given several presentations, but the one I enjoy most is on Brainstorming. I present 17 brainstorming techniques, then the class divides into small groups to solve problems. Everyone leaves that class feeling empowered.

Where can we find out more about you Leanne? You’ll get my most current updates on facebook.

Thank you for sharing your time with us here at Micole Writes Romance.

Hope to see you all next week.