Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 4 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Burned, Christmas Romances, contemporary romance, Cosmo Hot Reads, English Authors, Harlequin, Miller Sister Series, O'Neil Brother series, Ripped, RITA winners, Sarah Morgan, series, SleighBells in the Snow, Suddenly Last Summer
Ooh, color me excited! In fact, color me excited and write it in fireworks and tell the UN!
A couple of years ago, thanks to my fabulous critique partner Annie West, I discovered a writer who has since become one of my all-time favorites. I’m not at all surprised that this particular writer has since won back-to-back RITA awards. Clearly everybody agrees with me that she’s an exceptional talent.
So we have a wonderful author. And we have someone making a lair debut. And we have a Christmas romance – I’m always a sucker for a Christmas romance.
You can see why I’m jumping around like a…jumping thing.
The brilliant Sarah Morgan is here all the way from the U.K. to tell us about her first full-length contemporary romance SLEIGH BELLS IN THE SNOW. Here’s the blurb:
Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green’s favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.
Jackson O’Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family’s resort—it’s in his blood, and he can’t let it fail. Now that he’s got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.
Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she’s out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it’s terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?
SLEIGH BELLS is already creating a lot of buzz. RT Book Reviews called it “a Holiday hit” in a 4.5 star review. Publishers Weekly gave this book a starred review and said, “This touching Christmas tale will draw tears of sorrow and joy, remaining a reader favorite for years to come.”
You can find out more about Sarah and her books on her website: http://sarahmorgan.com/
Sarah, welcome to the Bandita lair! I’m so excited about your full-length Christmas romance SLEIGH BELLS IN THE SNOW. Can you tell us about this book?
Thank you for inviting me to the lair, Anna! It feels like a warm, cosy place to be, especially as SLEIGH BELLS is a winter story! I’m so excited to be here. And I’m excited about my first mainstream novel. I’m driving everyone around me crazy so it’s good to inflict my excitement on someone else for a change. SLEIGH BELLS is a holiday romance. My heroine Kayla hates Christmas. Every year, she buries herself in work and just waits for it all to be over so when she is invited to Vermont by a new client (my super sexy hero, Jackson O’Neil) she thinks it will be the perfect place to escape. A secluded log cabin in a snowy forest away from civilization sounds like the perfect place to pass what is, for her, the worst time of the year. But things don’t go the way she has planned!
Sounds great! What were the inspirations behind this book?
Last Christmas my family and I broke with tradition and instead of staying at home, we rented a log cabin near a lake. It was snowy and perfect but I realised that although for us it was a wonderful place to spend the holidays, it would equally be perfect for someone who found Christmas a difficult time of year and wanted to avoid the craziness of the holiday season.
A month earlier I’d had a conversation with Dianne Moggy at Harlequin, and she’d been telling me about her miniature poodle Maple. She entertained me with stories of Maple’s antics (hilarious!) and I thought it would be perfect to make Maple part of my story, but I wanted to make sure that the dog wasn’t just window dressing but central to the story and Kayla’s development as a character.
At that point I knew I wanted to write a mainstream romance, but I hadn’t decided on the setting. It was while I was talking to Dianne that I thought – Maple – Maple syrup – Vermont (this is how a writer’s brain works as you well know!) So now I had my setting and a heroine who wanted to avoid Christmas.
Because we writers are supposed to torture our characters I then had to make her face the one thing she dreaded most – so I surrounded her with a big, noisy happy family. I confess that I love fish out of water stories and there is an element of that in this book. Kayla is a city girl and finding herself in snowy Vermont is a culture shock! And that’s before she starts trying to do business with the O’Neil family who are nothing like her usual clients. I had so much fun with this story.
And I’ve shared with you a photo of the real Maple! If you go to my website and watch the book video for SLEIGH BELLS IN THE SNOW, you can see the real Maple jumping (she does that a lot in the book! She is the most adorable dog).
Noodling around your website, I notice that we have two more books in the O’Neil Brothers series following SLEIGH BELLS IN THE SNOW. Can you give us a sneak peak of what’s to come in the series?
I wanted to write about a big, loving, interfering family so the first thing I did for my hero, Jackson, was give him two brothers. Jackson’s twin brother Sean is an orthopedic surgeon. His story, SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER, will be out July 2014. Younger brother Tyler is a gold medal winning downhill skier who retired from the circuit after a serious accident. He’s the bad boy of the three! His story will be out November 2014. The three O’Neil men share a close bond, but they’re very different and they each face different issues and challenges. I had fun finding the right heroine for each of them!
Yum! I notice you have a novella out toward the end of November to tempt us. I’d love to hear more about RIPPED.
RIPPED is part of the new Cosmo Red Hot Reads programme, which is a joint venture between Harlequin and Cosmopolitan. These novellas are fun, super sexy stories featuring strong, independent heroines (my favourite type!). The heroine of RIPPED, Hayley, is an engineer. She’s the reluctant bridesmaid at the wedding of her ex and suffers a major wardrobe malfunction. She’s rescued by the best man, sexy Italian Nico Rossi, a buttoned up lawyer who she believes has always disapproved of her. This story takes place a few days before Christmas and wrapping paper isn’t the only thing to be ripped in this book! I had so much fun writing it. I laughed the whole time. I hope it makes a few readers laugh too!
What else is coming up for Sarah Morgan?
I’m in the middle of writing the second Cosmo story, BURNED, about Hayley’s sister. Then I’m moving on to the last book in my O’Neil Brothers series, which is Tyler’s story. I’m really looking forward to writing this one. There will be a few surprises from Tyler’s past and some issues I can’t wait to explore and I love the O’Neil family (especially Grandma Alice and Grandpa Walter!), so I’m looking forward to being with them for another story. And puppy Maple of course. She will be a year older, but still jumping no doubt!
As this is your first visit to the lair, we’d love to hear about your writing journey.
I always loved writing (I wrote my first story when I was eight) but I didn’t think it was something that could be a career, so I wrote alongside other jobs for many years. I trained as a nurse so when I started writing seriously it seemed logical to me to write a Medical Romance. As well as writing the love story, I loved being able to control what happened to the patient. I wrote 35 medical romances for Harlequin and because my heroes were so often alpha they suggested I write for Presents, which I did and I loved it! I’ve wanted to write a longer length contemporary for a while so when Harlequin offered me the opportunity to do that I was thrilled. So at the moment I’m playing with different story lengths, novella, category at 50,000 and full length, mainstream (100,000 words) contemporaries. Each demands something different from the writer and I love the variety. Hopefully readers will too.
One of the things I love about your books is that you take the classic Harlequin Presents/Sexy/Modern style and give it a really contemporary twist. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what constitutes a classic Presents and also on how you give your own particular spin to the stories.
Presents is known for its international settings, the glamour, the sophistication and, of course, the alpha hero. For me, it’s important to match just the right heroine with the hero for the story to work. The alpha hero is strong (although not a bully. The hero’s actions should always be well motivated, even when he appears ‘hard’ to the reader). He is the leader of the pack (by virtue of his skills and attributes, not his ability to lose his temper) and winning his heart won’t be easy. I love finding the woman who can do that. I always write strong heroines, but my heroine may not be strong in the same areas as the hero, in fact she probably isn’t but her strengths will compliment his and in the end they will be perfect for each other.
Sarah, huge congratulations on your latest releases. I love that I’ve got so many new books from you to look forward to. Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita Buddies to get the conversation going?
What is the one gift you’d like to find under the Christmas tree this year? (I want your golden rooster – would he like to come and live with me for a while?)
Take him! He’s yours!
OK, people, get commenting! Sarah has very generously offered an international prize of a copy of SLEIGH BELLS IN THE SNOW! Now, that’s going to brighten up any Christmas season!
Posted by Kate Carlisle Apr 30 2013, 9:00 pm in Excerpt, Exclusive excerpt, Harlequin, harlequin desire, Kate Carlisle
A sneak peek at She’s Having the Boss’s Baby by Kate Carlisle
All systems are go!
Ovulation cycle? Check. Estrogen level? Check. Nothing can stop Ellie Sterling’s baby-making attempt at the fertility clinic. Nothing but her CEO boss—and good friend—who offers her an alternative to leaving their island headquarters: let’s make a baby the old-fashioned way. It isn’t that Aidan Sutherland wants to be a baby daddy; he just doesn’t want to lose his senior VP. But Aidan’s plans for romance and candlelight quickly turn business into pleasure. After one night with his pal Ellie, the bikini-chasing billionaire is dazed, confused and—could it be—in love?
The scene was set for romantic sex.
Aidan glanced around the living room of his penthouse suite and approved of what he saw. He had always been a romantic guy and enjoyed the trappings that went along with it. So he felt confident as he instructed his catering guy where to place the ice bucket and the dessert he’d selected for tonight.
If there was one thing Aidan Sutherland knew how to do, it was set the scene for sex. But this time, he had to admit, he was really enjoying himself, picturing Ellie walking in and seeing all this. Candlelight, champagne on ice, chocolate mousse with whipped cream for dessert, soft, sultry jazz playing low in the background, dozens of roses and star lilies arranged in different vases around the suite.
The doorbell rang and he strolled over to open the door. And couldn’t help but smile. Her hair was lifted up off her neck with a few wavy tendrils curling down. He’d never seen her wear her hair like that, but it suited her and made him glad he’d decided to dwell on romance tonight. She wore sexy, strappy sandals and was dressed in a short, colorful sarong-style skirt that wrapped around her waist and a thin turquoise top that accentuated her breasts.
That’s how Aidan saw it anyhow. Now that he’d seen her in that bikini, he was pretty sure everything she wore from now on would accentuate her breasts.
“You made it,” he said, swinging the door wide to let her in.
She smiled. “Did you think I wouldn’t?”
He closed the door behind her. “You looked a little preoccupied in the office today. I wondered if you might be having second thoughts.”
No,” she said with a firm nod. “This is the plan we agreed on and I’m ready to go through with it.”
He pursed his lips in a twisted grin. “There’s no firing squad in here, Ellie. You can relax. In fact, I’ve got just the thing to help us both unwind.” He led her over to the dining area where he popped open the bottle of champagne and poured them both a glass.
“To…success,” he said, raising his glass to her.
She laughed and clicked her glass against his. “To success.” She took a sip of the bubbly liquid and said, “It’s wonderful.”
He took a sip and observed her over the rim of his glass. “You look beautiful.”
She smiled with pleasure. “Thank you. So do you.”
“Thank you,” he said with a grin. She was normally so competent and sure of herself, but now her gaze flitted around, clearly indicating she was nervous. She finished the champagne quickly and he filled her glass again.
“Well,” she said, after another sip. “Better.” As she continued to glance here and there, it seemed to dawn on her that things were a little different. “Oh, you did something.”
“Yes.” He stood by the table and enjoyed watching her make her discoveries.
“Everything looks so nice. You have candles. Oh, and flowers. So many.” She wandered over to the fireplace mantle where the largest vase of roses had been placed. “They’re so pretty. Did you do all this for me?”
“You seemed to like the idea of a little romance.”
“I do.” Her eyes were shining and her mouth was curved in a smile he wanted to taste. “I really do.”
“We aim to please,” he said easily. “Let’s start over here.” He crossed the room to meet her halfway. Taking hold of her arm, he led her back to the table.
“Here, try some of this.” He took the cover off a silver bowl filled with chocolate mousse and dipped the spoon in. He added a small dollop of whipped cream and raised it to her lips. “Tell me what you think.”
“Oh. Oh.” Her eyes closed as she savored the taste. Her tongue lapped at a bit of chocolate on her lip. Aidan’s stomach muscles twisted in a dark coil of desire and he grew rock hard as he watched her expression turn to one of rapture. “It’s heaven.”
When she opened her eyes, he put the spoon down. “I’m sorry, Ellie, but there’s something we need to take care of right now.”
“Oh,” she said, blinking as if she were coming awake after a long nap. “About what? Our custody agreement? Aidan, you don’t have to worry. I already took care of that. It’s been signed and sent back to the lawyers.”
“Good, but this has nothing to do with that. This is about…this.” He took one more step closer and covered her lips with his in a kiss so tender, so sensual, so much sweeter than any chocolate, he found himself in danger of losing it right there. He clamped on tight to his control because there was no way he was stopping now.
“Just had to get that out of the way,” he muttered, running his fingers along the side of her face, his desire to touch her more urgent than the need to breathe.
“Okay,” she whispered and swayed a little unsteadily. “Okay. Good. Practice. Like you said. Probably a good idea, really. Makes perfect sense.” She licked her lips and stared up at him.
That was enough to push Aidan into going for more. The taste of her lingered on his mouth, like a fine wine that made you thirsty for more.
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 18 2012, 10:47 pm in Bandita Booty, Calling all the Shots, Harlequin, Katherine Garbera, Nancy Robards Thompson, Texas Christmas
Thanks to Katherine Garbera and Nancy Robards Thompson for visiting the lair last Friday. And thanks to everyone who contributed such fascinating stories. It’s now my great pleasure to announce the winners:
FEDORA: TEXAS CHRISTMAS by Nancy Robards Thompson
MAY: CALLING ALL THE SHOTS by Katherine Garbera
Congratulations, girls! Fedora, can you please email Nancy on nrobardsthomspon @ yahoo.com (no spaces) with your snail mail info? May, can you please email Kathy on kathy @ katherinegarbera.com (no spaces) with your snail mail info? And happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 16 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Calling all the Shots, Category Romance, Desire, Harlequin, Katherine Garbera, Mickey Mouse Club, Nancy Robards Thompson, reality TV, series, Special Edition, Texas Christmas
I’ve got a real treat for you all today! Good friends Katherine Garbera and Nancy Robards Thompson are going to interview one another and give away their great new releases TEXAS CHRISTMAS (Nancy) and CALLING ALL THE SHOTS (Katherine).
TEXAS CHRISTMAS (Harlequin Special Edition) sounds like the perfect read for this time of year. Debbie Haupt at RT Book Reviews said, “Featuring both new and familiar characters from past tales, Thompson’s holiday romance will stay with readers long after the end. Her protagonists are clearly meant for each other from page one, and you’ll love how she brings them together.” Here’s the blurb:
Busted! When Pepper Merriweather’s superwealthy daddy is arrested for fraud—and the family fortune is kaput—just before the holidays, Pepper suddenly finds herself in need of a job. Despite her high-society connections, no one wants to give her a chance—no one except gorgeous billionaire recluse Robert Macintyre.
When he proposes a position that comes with more strings attached than a symphony orchestra, Pepper knows it’s an offer she should refuse. But beggars can’t be choosers. Besides, Pepper knows she has what it takes to rise to the challenge—but does she have what it takes to keep her hands off her irresistible new boss?
CALLING ALL THE SHOTS (Harlequin Desire) sounds like great fun too. Harlequin Junkie said, “The more that you get to know these amazing characters the more you fall in love with CALLING ALL THE SHOTS. If you are looking for a fun, sweet, romantic read then this is the book for you.” Here’s the blurb:
The irony of working on a matchmaking reality TV show hosted by the guy who broke her heart in high school has producer Willow Stead tied in knots. Not only that, but Jack Crown even has the nerve to ask her out. Should she risk taking him up on his offer?
Jack sees Willow Stead all grown up and has to have her. Soon passions erupt that rival the drama on the show. But does Willow have a trick up her sleeve that will throw the celebrity pitchman a major curveball?
You can find out more about Nancy and her books at her website: http://www.nancyrobardsthompson.com/my_weblog/
You can find out more about Katherine and her books at her website: http://www.katherinegarbera.com/k/Home.html
Kathy: The two of us have known each other for more than fifteen years. So it was a nice surprise when we discovered we both had third books in a series out this month. Not only that, but both of our stories are set in the world of reality TV.
We got the ideas for our books because we’ve both worked behind the scenes of a television show. That leads to another happy coincidence of our friendship: we both realized that we worked on the same show, THE NEW MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, but at different times.
Nancy: Gosh, that seems like another lifetime ago, but it was definitely one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. It was fun and always changing. Still, I wouldn’t trade my writing career to work in TV and movies, but I’m glad I had the opportunity. How did you get the job on the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, Kathy?
Kathy: I was part of the opening crew for the Disney-MGM Studios and we were hired about three months before the park opened so we recruited audience members at the Magic Kingdom each day and then took them to the Studios for the tapings. Everyone was new to the show including the cast so we all sort of hung out together. Since I was 18 I wasn’t that much older than most of them. But Nanc, the Mouse Club wasn’t your only job in that industry was it?
Nancy: No, my time on THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB was bookended by two movies. I helped with extras casting on the movie D.A.R.Y.L. and then I was on set when Michael Damian (The Young and the Restless) and James Best (Dukes of Hazzard) filmed the short HOUSE OF FOREVER. I wasn’t employed by HOUSE OF FOREVER‘s production company. I was in public relations for the non-profit organization that owned the set where the film was made. I was the nonprofit’s contact person. So, I was on set every day. Even though each TV/film project I worked on was distinctly different, the action going on behind the scenes had a bit of the same feel. You know what I mean? Not to be cliché, but the lights, camera, action bit gave each project the same feel.
Kathy: I know exactly what you mean, Nanc. I also worked on the set of SUPERBOY which was filming at the Disney-MGM Studios before it moved to Universal (bit of rivalry back then). My fav memory is when my pal Judy and I were sent to pick up a prop on the production golf cart. We were goofing around on it and got it stuck in a ditch. Boy was that fun to explain! But you are right in that behind-the-scenes feels very similar the only thing that was different was when I worked on WWF’s MONDAY NIGHT SMACK DOWN and the game show TEEN WIN, LOSE OR DRAW! Because the action wasn’t scripted necessarily. On the game show I was stationed in the audience to remind people not to call out the answers while we were taping. If they did, we had to start that part of the show all over again.
Nancy: Working in TV and movies is definitely a hurry-up and wait game. Depending on your job, there can be a lot of standing around and waiting… and the days are usually long and demanding of your time. One of the biggest challenges I faced was when I handled the extras for D.A.R.Y.L. I actually had to book people to be extras in the movie. At first people were excited because they were going to be in a movie AND they were going to get paid for it! Woot! Woot! After the first few days of shooting reality set in that they were getting a flat fee for a very long, boring day. I think they got something like $50 or $75 for each day that they worked. Call time was early and the same for everyone, but I couldn’t tell them if they would be there one hour (if their scene was in was shot first thing) or if it would be a twelve or fifteen hour day (if their scene was toward the end). A lot of people would get upset because they had to sit around and wait for hours on end. The director wouldn’t let me release them and they couldn’t leave even for a few minutes. If they were there during a meal time craft services (the catering truck) provided their meals. So, really their compensation was a flat fee and sometimes up to three meals. On long days, I had a lot of cranky extras on my hands. Sometimes, I had to do a lot of tap dancing and sweet talking to appease them. If I remember right – that was a long time ago – my portion of the project lasted about a month. Toward the end, it got very hard to get people to agree to be in the movie.
Kathy: Haha! That’s something I never thought I’d hear anyone say that they had to beg people to be in a movie. We had to beg people to be in the audience for the NEW MICKEY MOUSE CLUB at first because it was a new show. We didn’t pay them but gave them complimentary tickets to come back to the Disney parks. One of my favorite memories was of when I got to sit in on the table readings for the show. It was so interesting to the kids take direction prior to shooting and then really show their skills when taping started. What was your most memorable experience on the set, Nanc?
Nancy: In D.A.R.Y.L., there was a car chase scene. When they were filming they closed down a portion of the highway between 2am and 4am. We needed A LOT of extras with cars who were willing to come out in the wee hours of the morning and drive. This is really a two-part memory – first, because I was so intrigued by the way they shot the scene. They had the extras drive 10mph so that when the “fast cars” drove by at 35mph, they looked like they were driving at breakneck speeds.
Kathy: What was the other memory? You said this was a two-parter.
Nancy: Oh, yes! The other fond memory is of the woman who started complaining about having to go to the bathroom the minute we got on the highway. Once we were there the director wouldn’t let anyone leave because we only had a very short period of time to shoot the scene (before they reopened the highway to regular traffic). There were no bathrooms and the exit ramps were blocked off by the police to keep cars not involved with the movie off the road. If she’d walked away to take care of business, her car would’ve been in the way of the shot.
Kathy: Oh, no! If only I’d been there since I was a Production Page I would have asked her before we left! Seriously, Poor woman! What did she do?
Nancy: Umm…I found a cup for her. I’ll let you figure out the rest.
Kathy: Oh. Sorry I asked. To change the subject… that’s a picture of me in my official MICKEY MOUSE CLUB jacket and Nanc is somewhere in that group shot.
Nancy: It’s sort of like “Where’s Waldo,” right? Actually, I’m standing just to the right of center (in the very center of the picture). I’m wearing a yellow blouse near that person in green and sandwiched by the people in pink. Haha! We were a colorful bunch, weren’t we? Look at some of those hairdos! We won’t talk about how long ago that was…
Kathy: Reliving all these memories has been fun! We’d like to ask Romance Bandit readers to share a memory of their favorite job or something unusual they’ve done. Nancy and I will select one lucky winner to receive signed copies of our books.
Ooh, great prizes, girls! Thanks for the great interview! Get commenting, people!
Posted by Anna Campbell Feb 2 2009, 5:02 am in A Trip with the Tycoon, Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Harlequin, Nicola Marsh, The Billionaire's Baby, The Boss's Bedroom Agenda, Two Weeks in the Magnate's Bed
by Anna Campbell
It is with great pleasure that I introduce one of the nicest people in Romancelandia, fellow Aussie Nicola Marsh. Award-winning Nicola writes for Harlequin and has sold more than a million copies of her books! Very impressive in anyone’s language. You can find out more about Nicola and her books at her website.
Nicola, a very warm welcome to the Romance Bandits. Your latest release in America is a Harlequin Presents called THE BOSS’S BEDROOM AGENDA. Can you tell us a little bit about this story and the inspiration behind it?
Firstly, it’s fabulous to be a Bandita for a day! Thanks for having me. I’m really excited about my current release because it’s my first Harlequin Presents and a favorite book of mine. The story, set in my fabulous home city Melbourne, features a bubbly metal sculptor and a sexy archaeologist, two opposites who are thrown together for a few months. The story was inspired by a trip to Melbourne Museum with my kids, who love the place. While walking down those quiet, pristine corridors, I wondered what it would be like for a naturally exuberant person to work there…and shoe-a-holic Beth Walker was born! She struts into Melbourne Museum like she owns the place and stand-in CEO Aidan Voss soon realises he has his hands full with his latest employee.
You’re a writer who always leaves me breathless with admiration. I don’t know how you do everything you do. You write a handful of books a year (so far you have four scheduled for 2009) and you have a young family. Can you give us some insight into your working day? Have you got any hints on time management you’d like to share with us?
Blushing furiously here! My working day starts during toddler’s nap time, when I clear my inbox, post my blog and take care of other promotional stuff. My actual writing time starts at 8.30pm when both kiddies are in bed. I write for 2 hours solid to crank that word count up and luckily I’m quick so I write 4 books a year. With time management, don’t let the Internet distract you. While MySpace, Facebook, etc…can be fun (and addictive!) use them as a reward for after you’ve met your allocated word count/page count for the day. I use both for promotional purposes but tend to pop on once a week, for the simple reason they can be time wasters.The other hint is use any ‘spare’ time to write. If you need to pick up kids, invest in a portable word processor and use every spare second to up the word count.
Great advice! You’ve just had your 19th book scheduled. Congratulations! But let’s go back to the beginning. Here in the lair, we love call stories. Can you share yours with us?
Thanks. I can hardly believe I’ve sold 19 books, I still pinch myself occasionally! ‘The Call’ was fabulous, exhilarating and totally mind-blowing. I’d submitted a full of my ‘speed dating story’ to the Harlequin Mills and Boon UK office after they read the partial and enjoyed it. Four months later, I was home on a Saturday night, five months pregnant, after cancelling a dinner date because the hostess was ill. The phone rang and it was Kim Young, saying she loved my manuscript, a slot had opened up and if I could get a few tweaks done by the Tuesday, it had a good chance of publication. I jotted down her suggestions on a tiny piece of paper, hung up and squealed! I was working full time as a physiotherapist at the time, so I worked that Saturday night and most of Sunday, emailed the manuscript off…and waited… A week went by and I was cooking dinner on a Monday night when the phone rang around 6.30pm. Hubby answered, gave me a thumbs up so I knew it was Kim, so I took the phone with shaking hands and listened to her say they loved my book and would like to buy it! I think I repeated ‘great’ about a hundred times, to every single question she asked me! I haven’t stopped grinning since.
What a great story! You write across several different lines at Harlequin. Can you give us your take on the difference between the banners your books appear under? Are the differences drawn starkly in your mind or do you see your stories more in a continuum? What do you think makes each line distinct and appealing to readers?
I write for Harlequin Romance and Harlequin Modern Heat/Presents. The Romance series is packed with emotion, with stories that really tug on the heartstrings, whereas Modern Heat is more fun and flirty. For me, the differences aren’t too stark as I find my ‘fun, flirty’ voice (according to my lovely ed!) carries over to both series. With Modern Heat/Presents, the settings are glamorous and cosmopolitan, with strong Alpha heroes and heroines who know what they want and aren’t afraid to go out and grab it with both hands! With Romance, the heroes are alpha with a softer edge, the heroines strong and the settings global. I adore writing for both series! In Romance, I was lucky enough to be approached to write for their newly launching mini series ‘Escape Around the World’, so set my book in Melbourne and India, where my characters take a luxurious train journey through Rajasthan and visit exotic cities like Agra (home of the Taj Mahal), Jaipur and Udaipur, as well as Goa and Delhi. A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON (September 09) captures the emotional heart of Romance while giving readers an armchair ride through an exotic setting, the best of both worlds!
You have another Harlequin Presents coming out in September this year in America. Can you tell us about TWO WEEKS IN THE MAGNATE’S BED?
I’d love to, as this book is linked to my current release, THE BOSS’S BEDROOM AGENDA. In TBBA, Beth’s geeky cousin Lana features in several scenes and she absolutely had her own tale to tell! When passed over for a promotion at Sydney Museum, where she works as head curator, Lana realises she needs a new image, so takes a cruise she’s won. However, she doesn’t bank on sexy sailor Zac helping her on her mission to loosen up! Set in the South Pacific, this is a classic Cinderella tale with loads of fun.
What’s next for you?
My next release is THE BILLIONAIRE’S BABY (Romance, May 09). Set in the trendy Docklands of Melbourne, it features Camryn, a hip city girl running her own café and running from her past, a past which catches up with her when builder Blane Andrews struts back into her life with one goal: to reunite with the love of his life. I cried for the first time while writing this book and my editor cried twice, so I think it’s my most emotional? As for what I’m currently writing, I’m about to start revisions on my next Romance, ‘The Dating Dilemma’ (working title.) It’s my ‘foodie’ book, where the heroine cooks to vent frustration/relax/hide from the world. Probably not ideal to be working on this while I’m trying to wean myself off chocolate and lose some weight!
As you can see, I love setting the bulk of my books in my fabulous home city, Melbourne. From the restaurant culture to the cafés, the gardens to the beaches, Melbourne has something for everyone, a truly cosmopolitan city. What’s your favourite city? And why do you think it would qualify as the perfect setting for a book? I’m giving away a signed copy of my current release, THE BOSS’S BEDROOM AGENDA, to one lucky commenter. Happy reading!