I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rotorua, NZ

These are some of the photographs I took while in Rotorua, New Zealand - geothermal hot spot of the North Island. It's my second visit here in three years - Mother Nature is amazing.
I also visited Te Puia, one of the Maori cultural arts & craft institutes in the city.

Pohutu Geyser
Ngamokaiakoko Mud Pool

Waiparu & Te Werenga Hotpools
Te Wananga Whakairo Carving
Te Aronui a Rua Meeting House
Traditional Maori warrior welcoming visitors to the Rotowhio Marae at Te Puia
Inviting visitors to join the villagers in the meeting house

Traditional Maori woman singing

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Guest Author: Christina Phillips

Christina Phillips has always loved writing, and while her efforts in eighth grade usually involved space ships, time travel and unfortunate endings, as soon as she discovered romance novels a whole new world opened up. She now writes ancient historical romances about strong heroines and gorgeous warrior heroes who, no matter how torturous the journey, are guaranteed a happy-ever-after.

Christina was born in the United Kingdom, but now lives in sunny Western Australia with her real-life hero and their three children. She is represented by Emmanuelle Alspaugh of JELM.

Today, Christina shares her thoughts with us on her writing process (among other interesting facts), and FORDBIDDEN, her exciting debut release with Berkley Heat. Without further ado, let's find out more about her! 

Author name: Christina Phillips

Published genre/s: In September last year my agent sold my Roman/Druid romance to Berkley Heat in a two book deal. So I'm now published in Ancient Historical Romance although I have two erotic romance novelettes with The Wild Rose Press that fall in the paranormal and fantasy genres.

Favourite childhood toy: It was a huge soft bodied, plastic faced clown that I called Arthur. Thinking back, it was a scary-ass thing to buy a small child but I loved it and dragged it everywhere. I was also obsessed by the name Arthur and called the cat by that too. Despite the fact she was a girl.

Shudder...I remember a clown in one of Stephen King's tele-movies that gave me the willies - loved the movie, but now I hate any doll that looks like a clown, even to this day!

Greatest Vice: Procrastination. I've turned it into an art form and it's a real monster!

Hmm, I wonder if anyone has invented a spray or herbal remedy that banishes this bane of all writers? Wouldn't they make a fortune if they ever did? *lol*

Book you’re reading now: Michelle Hauf's Kiss Me Deadly, Erin Grace's Secrets, J.R. Ward's Dark Lover.

Most intriguing place you’ve visited: Growing up in the UK I visited all the Norman ruins as a child, Hever Castle, Stonehenge (back in the days before it was fenced off), Hastings and Wales... and never appreciated any of it. Sigh. I'd love to have those opportunities again to soak up all that marvellous history.
Oh, you lucky duck! Imagine having those places as your childhood playground. And being able to visit them as a child ... wow, talk about stimulating your imagination and grooming your creativity for your adult years! Double sigh.

A place you've yet to visit & want to: I really want to visit Rome. I've loved all the photos you've been sharing on your blog (although they've made me very jealous!!!) To be honest, I want to travel around Europe and ideally write the trip off as a tax deduction! (Yes, I do like living in my own little fantasy world!)

One day, Christina, one day we'll be able to travel and claim it all on tax (heh, heh). Keep those receipts!

Author/s in your genre who you enjoy reading: I love reading so many different authors across genres I can't answer this question! However, I've recently finished Michelle Styles The Viking's Captive Princess, and have Juliet Marillier's Heir to Sevenwaters next on my tbr pile.

LOL - I know how you feel, Christina. I can't define a small list of favourite authors either.

Who or what influenced you to write in the genre/s you’re now published in? I've always loved history, and have always loved reading historical romances since I was a child. I devoured Victoria Holt's novels when I was eleven and Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor left quite an impression on my pre-teen imagination!
Strangely, the thought of actually writing a historical romance never crossed my mind until quite recently. I think it was the research that put me off!!! Not because I don't like or enjoy researching but because I love it too much and became far too distracted by all the tiny details. But, since I always end up doing whatever I tell my CPs I will never do, it shouldn't come as any surprise that eventually I not only decided to try writing my first historical but also wrote it as an erotic romance.

When developing a story who tends to appear first in your mind, the hero or heroine, and why? In FORBIDDEN, both Maximus and Carys appeared to me at the same time. Although that first vision of them never made it into the book, the essence of their forbidden love, their warring cultures and the impossibility of how they could ever be together, did. With Captive, however, I knew that was Carys's best friend Morwyn's story. But her hero soon made himself known to me, gripped hold of my heart and still hasn't let go...

Only other writers will understand this feeling, and don't you love how characters can do that to you!

Writing Milestone/s:
  • Finalling in the RWNZ Meet the Editor Contest 2008
  • Selling my very first erotic romance to The Wild Rose Press
  • Signing with my agent
  • Selling to Berkley Heat in a two book deal
Latest release/project:

Between a warrior and a princess comes an erotic passion as all-consuming as the hatred between their warring worlds…

Carys knew from the moment she first spied on Maximus in his naked barbarian glory that he was a dangerous Roman centurion—his taut, battle-scarred flesh marking him as a fearless warrior. But her desire for him was as undeniable as it was illicit.

Charged by his emperor to eliminate a clan of powerful Druids in Britain, Maximus never expects his mission to be thwarted by the clan’s ethereal princess, Carys, his daring voyeur. Falling under her spell, he doesn’t realize her true heritage--until he captures her heart as well as her body.

As Carys’s loyalties are twisted, and freedom is no longer her single-minded obsession, an avenging former lover threatens to crush Maximus’ people into oblivion. Now Carys and Maximus must overcome the devastation of war and face the ultimate sacrifice if their forbidden love is to survive.

Christina, the cover of FORBIDDEN is gorgeous - I love the detail in it!
(And good news for readers is that the second in this series, CAPTIVE, is due for release from Berkley Heat in Sept.2011!)

In FORBIDDEN, what about your hero or heroine inspired you? In FORBIDDEN, once Carys decides she wants Maximus nothing is going to stand in her way. She is a druid and devoted to her goddess, Cerridwen, but occasionally is not above interpreting the signs from her goddess in ways that best suit herself. I'm not sure if that stubborn aspect of her personality inspires me but it does make me giggle!

Thanks for dropping in and sharing! :-) It's always fun finding out things about other authors, especially how their books and characters originate. To find out more about Christina or her series, visit her website.

Thanks for having me, Kylie! 

Now for the really exciting part - Christina has an autographed copy of FORBIDDEN to give away. To be the proud owner her new release, just answer this question... 

What ancient time period would you enjoy exploring? 

Leave your answer in the comments section by Friday midnight, 3rd September 2010 (Aussie time) and the winner will be announced September 5th here on this blog.

Here's the blurb to Christina's new book, CAPTIVE. (Yet another brilliant cover!)

She is a prisoner of her sworn enemy - and her own desire...

Having lost faith when Roman invaders destroyed life as she knew it, Morwyn took a cow of elibacy to spite her goddess. But before she can join up with the rebels, she;s captured by a Gaul mercenary whose animal charms and chiseled body will test her conviction...and make it harder to kill him.

Bren, pledged to the true Briton king, has spent three years undercover in the Roman Legion. So when his own unit attacks and brutilized a fiery Celtic beauty, he saves her the only way he can - by claiming her as his prisoner. But unlike his men, Bren would never take the woman by force, no matter how obviously she burns for his touch.

As they near Roman headquarters, Morwyn resolves to honor her vow of celibacy - but if the Gaul were to ravage her, could she be blamed for enjoying his body? With just a hint of seduction, sooner or later the Gaul will succumb to his exquisite captive...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

FORBIDDEN Blog Party!!!

Come join Christina Phillips's Blog Party to celebrate the release of her erotic ancient historical romance FORBIDDEN. She's holding a launch party with lots of amazing authors and fabulous giveaways! The party starts 1st September 2010 at http://christinaphillips.blogspot.com

Check out her promotional trailer to see which authors are participating in the party.

Travelling New Zealand

There's nothing better than this time of year for me - rejuvenating the creative batteries with immersion at various writing conferences, meeting other authors (pubbed and unpubbed), soaking in knowledge and applying it.

Waihi Beach
It's a bit of a double-whammy because the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference is usually the final one on my itinerary and this then leaves me free to do some travelling. And New Zealand is my annual destination of choice.

Year after year I've thrown my suitcase in a hire car after conference, picked a direction and headed out. I've never been disappointed by what I've found and this year is no exception.

Beach inlet
I've revisited familiar territory this time around in the first week of my holiday - Karangahake Gorge, Waihi, Matamata, Rotorua.

Unfortunately, I can't show you any of the Hobbiton movie set in Matamata (confidentiality clause says so on my ticket), so you only get the middle of town. I'll post more on my travels later.
Matamata - Home of Hobbiton

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Promo: Christina Phillips

August 28th.

Mark this date in your diary everyone. Why?

Well, take a read of this ... Carys knew from the moment she first spied on Maximus in his naked barbarian glory that he was a dangerous Roman centurion—his taut, battle-scarred flesh marking him as a fearless warrior. But her desire for him was as undeniable as it was illicit.

Charged by his emperor to eliminate a clan of powerful Druids in Britain, Maximus never expects his mission to be thwarted by the clan’s ethereal princess, Carys, his daring voyeur. Falling under her spell, he doesn’t realize her true heritage--until he captures her heart as well as her body.

This is part of the blurb from a book called FORBIDDEN, from Berkley's newest historical author, Christina Phillips. She's going to be my latest vict-- umm, I mean, guest author visiting my blog. :-)

Remember, August 28th!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Interview with ... Anna Jacobs

This is an interview I conducted with Anna Jacobs for a feature article in the Romance Writers of New Zealand's Heart to Heart magazine (May 2010 issue). I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it!

Anna Jacobs

R*BY finalist and multiple Golden Web Award winner, Anna Jacobs writes historical romances and sagas and modern family relationship novels, science fiction/fantasy as Shannah Jay and the occasional book under her own name Sherry-Anne Jacobs.

Born in Lancashire, UK, Sherry-Anne Jacobs emigrated to Western Australia in 1973 where she now lives, south of Perth, with her husband of 30 years, a computer and a library of several thousand books. Kept busy with her writing schedule, Anna also enjoys holding workshops to help fellow writers.
Working with Hodder & Stoughton, UK and Severn House for nearly 20 years, and with almost 50 books to her credit, Anna takes time out from her busy schedule to share her thoughts with us.

Thanks for agreeing to be one of our feature author, Anna!

What inspires you to write?
I don’t think ‘inspire’ is the right word. It’s rather that there’s something inside me welling up and I have to let it out ie the stories. And of course, by now I’m addicted to story-telling, which is how I think of what I do mainly. Has anyone warned you that writing is addictive?  Very. 

You write Lancashire sagas, modern novels and futuristic. Do you have trouble skipping from one genre to another? Do you have a favourite genre you like writing the most?
I love writing all of them, though I’m not at the moment writing futuristic. I had 5 futuristic novels published as Shannah Jay and would love to write more, but just don’t have the time. I alternate between modern novels and sagas. The sagas are not just set in Lancashire now. Quite a few of them are set in Western Australia. Actually, I love writing both sorts of story and I NEED the variety of writing both sorts, too, to keep my mind stimulated and active. It’d be boring to do the same sort of thing all the time. I’ve seen authors grow stale and write same old, same old, and I’m terrified of doing that, which is why I have two ‘wise readers’ who read my stories before I ever send them to my agent or publisher. My wise readers are sworn not to mince words!

What does your writing day consist of?
I get up about 5.20 am, not because I’m being virtuous, but because I wake naturally at that time. When I wake, I’m fully alert, so it’s a waste of time lying in bed. I answer emails, which is part pleasure, part business and part networking. Then I get breakfast and shower, after which I play cards on the computer. For some weird reason, this settles my brain into writing mode. (It’s something to do with left and right sides of the brain. One needs a very relaxing activity to foster the creativity.) I then dive into writing by re-reading and polishing what I wrote yesterday. I love doing that. Polishing is my favourite writing task of all. Afterwards I carry on telling the story and add about 2,000 words in a typical day.

I break at regular intervals to do odd household chores eg the washing but I don’t have a housework gene, so I don’t take it to excess. I do not iron or dust. One has to have standards!  I’d move anyway because it’s very bad for the human body to sit in the same position for hours on end. I never stay still for more than an hour and so far (touch wood) in spite of doing writing and writing-related ‘stuff’ for about 10 hours a day, I’ve not got any repetitive damage to my body.

I also, if I’m lucky, wake regularly in the night and ‘see’ scenes, which is very helpful. It’s as near as I come to plotting.

I don’t think there is any time when I don’t have a story simmering in my mind. My husband is a musician and it’s the same with him about music. It’s always there.

My agent and three publishers (I just added a new one) are in England so they are 7 or 8 hours behind in time difference. Business emails come in overnight or after teatime. So I don’t switch off the computer until 7 or 8, well after teatime. I never know when I’ll get something that’s urgent to reply to, you see.

And then there’s research. That too is always with me, whether it’s for historical or modern stories. And reader emails - I get more than two a day.

You mentioned on your website that you read at least 3 novels a week. Do you have an author you like to read? What are you reading right now? How does this help you as a writer?
I have a lot of authors I like to read. I enjoy a variety but not gruesome or nasty stuff. And it has to have a happy ending. Quirky is nice, too. Georgette Heyer is my favourite and I re-read her books every now and then. From today’s authors, I like Nora Roberts (but not her gruesome ones, nor JD Robb), Sherryl Woods, C J Cherryh, Barbara Delinsky, Robyn Carr, and the new Aussie author Bronwyn Parry. Her two books are fabulous. I hope she writes a lot more. At the moment I’m reading a research book about Fremantle and Jill Mansell’s ‘Thinking About You’, but am waiting for ‘Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand’ a quirky English book that my husband got hold of when it arrived and as he’s a slow reader ie.takes a week or so to read a book, I’m waiting impatiently for him to finish it.

As well as entertaining me, reading a lot of books helps feed my imagination, which is essential. It also shows me what’s been done to death as a plot and what sorts of plots are popular now. This is market research. 

You have a number of sagas among your booklist. What methods do you use to research your novels (eg. online, travel, personal experience etc.)?
I did a university unit covering my period in history before I started - there was a particularly good history lecturer here at the time. I buy and read a lot of research books. I have notebooks full of notes eg a file for each century and a page for each year on which I write notes about ‘titbits’ of history that I can follow up if I write a book set then.

Nowadays I research on line a lot, but you have to be careful whose web site it is ie. credibility. I sometimes write to website owners asking for further help. In the book that’s coming out in July in the UK (Beyond the Sunset) I had a cart crash and I did that via the Novelists Inc website. (This is an international organization for multi-published authors.) Someone on Ninc always knows the answer or where to find the answer. My ideas of a cart crash were not at all correct, but with the help of some great people in the US, whom someone on Ninc sent me to, I redid the cart crash. It’s correct now. Took me three days to crash that cart.

I start collecting research material well before I write a book. With modern novels, it’s often pieces from newspapers or articles I’ve found on line. There is always something to check out. I try very hard not to make mistakes. I often get story ideas from my non-focused research. For example, many years ago, I read about a shipload of Lancashire cotton workers being brought out to Western Australia as maids, because the American Civil War had stopped supplies of cotton and therefore there was no work in Lancashire. I filed that away mentally for future reference. Some time later I found a book of memoirs, written in the 1870s by a lady who came to Western Australia on the same ship, so it seemed meant to be that I told the story that begins in FAREWELL TO LANCASHIRE and is continued in BEYOND THE SUNSET.

What themes do you like exploring in your books?
I don’t think about them as ‘themes’ but stories. I write about relationships and families mostly, whether it’s historical or modern or futuristic, and always with a romance included, or even two or three romances, because I don’t like to leave my minor characters lonely. I don’t write ‘pure’ romances, where the romance itself is the plot, but rather ‘romantic’ books where a romance is integral but something else is the plot. They’re complex tales with several sub-plots usually.

And another on the same topic - what influences how many books make up a saga – your fans, your editor, you, a combination of all three?
The editor always has the final word about what will be published. But . . . the story itself is the main decider as to whether I suggest a series or not. I start some stories with the intention of having 2 or 3 books, because there’s a lot of material around. Other stories suddenly seem to beg continuation, so I carry on writing when I hadn’t intended to. I try not to go beyond 3 in a series, but with my first series my agent said I could get two more books out of it, making 5, and I did. Phew! Talk about baptism of fire as a writer!

Nowadays the editor and publisher’s marketing teams combine and have a big influence on what I write. I tend to submit a story idea and discuss it a little - I can’t do outlines because I don’t know what happens after the setup. The book I’m currently writing features a secondary character from DESTINY'S PATH (book 3 and final of my current series).  Bram was so vivid I just had to write his story afterwards.

I don’t tend to do series of books for my modern stories, though I’m thinking about it for a current idea. 

From your experience, what conventions have the most potential career impact for writers – conferences, workshops, writing groups, critique partners etc.? Have any of these affected/helped you?
For me, it’s my inner self that has the most impact. I can’t not write. But it’s the readers who make the most difference to a career, and I never forget that. If they don’t like you and your stories, you can go to every conference on earth and it’ll make no difference.

That said I do go to conferences and greatly enjoy networking. I meet some wonderful people - I still remember the conference I went to in NZ with great fondness.

Workshops - well, most conferences don’t have workshops suitable for authors of nearly 50 novels. Novelists Inc does, but they’re in the US and sadly it’s just too far a trip with my bad back. The Romantic Novelists Association of the UK does, as it’s primarily an organization for published authors. I can go to their conferences now, since we’ve just started living part of the year in the UK.

My critique group is very important indeed to me. They’re a wonderful, perceptive bunch of women and I was very lucky that they turned up out of the blue when I was starting up a new group in my home town. We’ve been together for a while now and I value their opinions greatly. The online email lists are very helpful too.

People working towards publication should be aware that it’s quality of writing that counts most of all and focus on that, and what will improve their work. Only they can tell, because everyone has different needs as a writer.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Um . . . I can’t think of one. Every interview has its own flavour and I enjoy that. Really, it’s best to let the interviewer ask, as she/he knows what she’s looking for and knows her audience.

What new books are due for release this year?
I have four books coming out in July in the UK, a little later elsewhere unless you buy them (post free) from www.bookdepository.co.uk . Two of them are paperbacks whose hardbacks have been out for a while, the other two are brand new stories, hardbacks:

1. BEYOND THE SUNSET - hardback, new story, historical set in 1860s, second in the Cotton Lasses series, following on 'Farewell to Lancashire'. It’s in NZ shops now in a trade paperback.
2. FAREWELL TO LANCASHIRE – is now a mass-market paperback, book one in the Cotton Lasses series.
3. LICENSE TO DREAM – available in hardback, and is a modern novel, new story, set mainly in Western Australia. Meriel has wanted to become an artist, but her mother forced her to become an accountant. When she wins Lotto she can realise her dream. Ben wants to landscape a big country block next to his - only Meriel owns it now.

4. IN FOCUS – is a trade paperback, modern story, set in the UK. Beth sees a TV show where a computer program regresses people to what they were like as a child. She's shocked to realise the host is her baby brother, who vanished without a trace 38 years ago.

Keeps me out of mischief!

Lastly, what’s next for Anna Jacobs?
Who knows? Hard work, certainly. I’ve got a new publisher, so now have three publishers in the UK. I’m certainly writing faster. Much faster. By the end of April I’ll have written two books since 18 December, long books, though the second one will be only in ‘dirty draft’ and will still need polishing. Maybe I’ll need a new writing name if I continue to speed up?

This will be our third year of living 5 months in the UK, 7 months in Australia, so my UK life/PR/etc is changing. I’m doing more PR over there, making more contacts, am able to do more research and am able to interact personally with my agent and editors. It’s all very exciting.

And of course, we’re all going to be affected by the rapidly expanding sales of ebooks, aren’t we? Life never stands still. Thank goodness or it’d be boring. 

Thanks for this interview, Anna, it’s been a pleasure having you here! 

If you'd like to learn more about Anna you can visit her website. 

Anna’s latest book, BEYOND THE SUNSET, available in hardback, is her new historical set in the 1860’s, the second in the Cotton Lasses series, and follows FAREWELL TO LANCASHIRE.

BEYOND THE SUNSET is also a milestone in Anna's career - it's her 50th published novel! Congratulations!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

RWOz® Conference

What a conference - my hat goes off to everyone who had anything to do with the organisation and preparation for that wonderful weekend. Every year it seems RWOz keeps getting better and better.

Here's a few snapshots from the weekend.

Putting names to faces was a huge part of the weekend - L to R: Bec Skrabl, Michelle de Rooy, Nicky Strickland, Erin Kuhne, Kylie Griffin.

Bec placed 2nd in the STALI & highly commended in the VPA.

Michelle placed 2nd in the Emerald:ST and highly commended in the VPA.

Alli Withers took out the Emerald:ST and the Anna Campbell prize for Best Historical entry in the Emmy.

Sharon Archer won a R*BY in the Short Book category.

Tracey O'Hara won a R*BY in the Romantic Elements category.

On a more personal note, I made a couple of pitches - one to editor, Dianne Moggy from Harlequin M&B and agent, Jennifer Schober from Spencerhill Associates over the weekend and had a request for a partial and full respectively. So, fingers crossed that something pans out from this.

I headed home truly exhausted - don't think I've ever been so dog-tired (a throat-lurgy stowed away and I suspect it has a lot to do with how flat I felt). But, as always, I love conference time and look forward to planning to go next year.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

RWA® Conference - Part 3

Check out the Walt Disney® World Swan & Dolphin Resort - phew-ee, what huge place it was! 17 restaurants, eateries & bars, a boat to take you to the theme parks, front door bus service to do the same, a spa, health club and pools galore...

The WDW Dolphin half of the resort. HUGE!!!

One of two wings of the Dolphin Resort.

The place had its own lake and boat and fake beach.

Fake beach complete with sand and palm trees and banana chairs - everything you needed to relax in the sun.

The lobby of the Dolphin, with fountain and lounge chairs for relaxing in.

A baby grand piano - cabaret singer and accompanying piano player complimentary entertainment each evening.

The Northern Ballroom - it was the size of a football stadium!

Lunch and dinner were held here in the ballroom and always packed to capacity!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Interview with ... Keri Arthur

This is an interview I conducted with Keri Arthur for a feature article in the Romance Writers of New Zealand's Heart to Heart magazine (Feb.2010 issue). I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it!
Keri Arthur

Melbourne born and bred author, Keri Arthur grew up sharing her life with dragons, elves, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters and talking horses. That fertile imagination set the scene for a career as an urban fantasy/paranormal author.
First published by ImaJinn in 2001, this DownUnder author now writes for Bantam Books. She’s received a "Perfect 10" from Romance Reviews Today and was nominated for Best Shapeshifter in PNR's PEARL Awards and was voted best Contemporary Paranormal category of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards for her books.
Her highly successful Riley Jenson Guardian series has hit the NYTimes best-seller list numerous times and her new Mercy Burns series will appear on the shelves in January 2011.

Hi, Keri, thanks for joining us here at Heart to Heart!
Thanks for inviting me. :-)

Your books delved into vampires and werewolves seemingly well before they became “popular”. Thinking back over your journey as an author, did that make it harder or easier to get where you are today?
It was harder. At the time I started writing paranormal romance and urban fantasy, the Buffy movie had just failed, Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde series and Tanya Huff’s Blood series had only just been released,  and Laurell K Hamilton had yet to unleash Anita Blake onto the world. All of which meant that publishers had absolutely no idea just how popular the genre would become, and therefore weren’t really interested in books of that type. Especially from an unknown author from Australia!
MOON SWORN, book #9 in the Riley Jenson Guardian series, will be on the bookshelves in mid-2010.

Is this where you wanted to finish the series? Was it time to move on to something new?
It was definitely where I wanted the series to end--the publisher actually wanted more books. But I figure Riley as a character has been through more than enough, and she deserved an ending. And to be honest, I wanted to write something new (and torture new characters. *lol*)

As a full time author how do you break up your day?
I’m actually a horrible planner, and I have a brain like a sieve, so I tend to forget things or do them at the last moment. I usually answer emails over breakfast and tend to do my blog/website either then or at the end of the day. I write every afternoon (I go to the gym in the mornings) and I aim for a minimum of 5 pages. I don’t actually have much in the way of meetings with my editor or agent--if my editor wants some information, she’ll email me and I do it straight away. I tend not to do much in the way of workshops and I only guest blog occasionally. I do Twitter and I am on Facebook, but I actually think some authors spend too much time concentrating on publicity, and not enough time on the actual writing.

Is changing publishing companies and finding an agent something you’ve dealt with in your career? What has been the most challenging for you in making this transition (between publishing companies)? What factors or sorts of issues should one consider if faced with this decision?
I haven’t actually changed publishing companies. ImaJinn still publish 13 of my books (they sold the English rights to Piatkus, which is why the books are now available here). But if you are considering changing publishing companies, read your contracts carefully--understand what rights you’ve given away, and realize there may be clauses and contractual obligations that could make the switch difficult. Especially if you didn’t have an agent when you signed the contract--agents may not always get better money for authors, but they sure as heck get better terms and conditions.

Which is why I always recommend writers get agents. Agents are worth every single penny you pay them - trust me! And yeah, it can be as difficult to get an agent as it is to get editor interest, but it’s worth persevering--especially if mainstream publishing is where you want to be. Although with the rights grab e-publishers are now attempting in their contracts, it still might be worth getting an agent--or at least a contracts lawyer--to look them over. You may be giving away more than you think.

Do you have any particular regrets or positive memories that have helped shape you as an author? Are there things you’d do differently given the chance to go back and do it again?
I think the many rejections I got during the long years it took me to get published taught me that perseverance pays off and that, in the end, you can get there, no matter what else happens. And you need perseverance to get through the sometimes demanding schedule publishers can hit you with. Are there things I’d change? Well, I sure as heck wish it hadn’t taken so long, but maybe if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I can remember at an Author Chat at an RWAustralia conference you commenting on series, in particular the world building that goes with it. What processes do you go through when developing your series and characters? How do you keep track of arcing plots and details?
My process of developing series and characters begins by writing the book--I don’t pre-plot or plan, I just sit down and write. But once the world starts developing and I know it’s going to be a series, I starting keeping track of the world building and characters by creating files (on my computer and in a notebook) about each. Over a series, these notes become very important.

Do you think an author’s style changes over time? Has yours? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Well, I don’t think authors ever stop learning their craft, so yeah, I think it’s logical that an author’s style keeps growing and changing. Mine certainly has--if you read DANCING WITH THE DEVIL (my very first book) and BOUND TO SHADOWS (the latest Riley), you’ll find two very different books. As for what challenges me as a writer--I still think sex scenes are the hardest thing to write (especially if you write a lot of them). I mean, there’s just so many ways to describe the basic act. *lol*

If you had to choose, which author would you consider a mentor?
I’ve never really had a mentor as such, but I would consider the crits groups I’ve belonged to over the years my mentors. They’ve helped guide me and advise me, and they’ve shown me what works and what doesn’t. I certainly don’t think I’d be where I am today without the help of my current group (The Lulus). They’re a fab (and talented) bunch of ladies.

Now, if I had to actually choose a mentor, I’d love either Dick Francis or James Herbert. DF because he writes fabulous characters and stories that drag you in from the very first line, and JH because he not only writes fab characters, but because he writes truly scary books.

You have a new book coming out in 2011. Can you tell us a little about Mercy Burns and what readers can expect from this series?
Mercy Burns is actually the long awaited sequel to DESTINY KILLS. It deals with Trae’s sister, and tells what she was actually getting up to when Trae was looking for her in the first book.
I was intending my dragon series to be much longer, but Mercy Burns will now be the last book. I think Bantam would prefer it if I concentrated on werewolves and vampires. *lol*

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I’ve been asked some pretty weird questions over the years, so I don’t really think there’s anything I haven’t been asked!

Keri, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to answer our questions.
Thanks for having me! :-)

To find out more about Keri and her books you can visit her website .

Thursday, August 12, 2010

RWA® Conference - Part 2

There were so many highlights to this conference it was hard to pin it to just a few. I made some new friends, met some of my favourite authors, connected faces with names from the 2010 Golden Heart loop and Science Fiction Romance Brigade and attended some fantastic workshops.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort was amazing and my hat goes off to the RWA® organisers, volunteers and the resort staff for making it so hugely successful.

Nora Roberts gave a very forthright, entertaining luncheon speech.

Donald Maass slipped quietly into the spare seat at our luncheon table.

I met Joss Ware aka Colleen Gleeson at the Literacy Signing. It was great to meet her after the pleasure of interviewing her for my blog.

Vanessa Barnevald (GH nominee in the YA romance section for her manuscript Ghost-Ridden) & Aussie Regency historical author, Anna Campbell at the RITA/Golden Heart Awards dinner.

Aussie author, Elizabeth Rolls was nominated for a RITA in the Historical Regency section for her book Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride.

Rachelle Chase, Leigh Michaels & I at the Chase the Dream breakfast on Saturday morning.