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


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who's That Girl? Interview - Gracie O'Neil

Let's zip across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand today to meet one of RWNZ's Heart to Heart magazine editors, high concept pitch goddess, one half of a website design team, good friend and conference roommate...
Name? Hi, I’m Gracie O’Neil.

Where are you? I live in the central North Island of New Zealand.

How many years have you been a member of RWNZ? I joined RWNZ in 2004, so it’s a little while now. (Gracie was the first RWNZ'er I met at my first RWNZ conference! and we've been friends ever since)

What genre/s do you write? I write both paranormal romantic suspense and romantic suspense.

Who are your favourite authors? There are so many, but the ones on my bedside table at the moment are Karen Rose, J. D. Robb, Terry Pratchett, Robin Owens, and Karina Bliss.

What inspired you to write romance? I never thought of writing romance. I thought of writing a story. If it happened to contain romance—and every good story did, didn’t it?--then that was a part of the deal. It wasn’t until I had contact with RWNZ that I learned there were elements required for and nuances to a good romance, and by incorporating those things into any genre I could make every story I wrote stronger.

Who's your dream agent and/or dream publisher? I’m lucky enough to have my dream agent—Nephele Tempest at The Knight Agency. Dream publisher? That’s a hard one, but I think either Berkley or St Martin’s Press. (It was sooo exciting to phone Gracie last year to share the good news with her that I was now not only her conference roomie but an agency-buddy as well - we're both represented by TKA )

What's the best thing about going to conference? Learning something new, confirming where I’m headed, and meeting up in person with the girls I correspond with every day via our BILD (Book in 50 Days) loop. Oh, and sharing a room with you, of course, Kylie!! :-) (Not a lot of sleep happens during conference...so much talking and catching up to do!!!)

And lastly, finish these statements...
My greatest strength as a writer...
is dialogue.
A sexy hero needs...dark hair. Sorry all you blond guys. In my personal universe every sexy man has dark hair.
My latest WIP (work in progress) is about...an ex-CIA operative who is hiding her new career on the gray edge of the law, and who becomes the target of an assassin’s vendetta when her current job goes bad. Now her life--and heart--lie in the hands of a man who has already betrayed her once. Can she trust him to help her expose the past when he has more secrets to hide than she does?
When I write I like to...use a timer to keep me on track. Nose down, tail up for fifteen minutes at a time.
My best writing milestone to date is...probably...well, again, that’s difficult too. Finishing the first, second, and third books. Getting my dream agent. Finaling and winning in competitions. But there’s no point in looking back at past milestones. For me, the best writing milestone is always the next one, which in my case would be a sale. (Oh yeah. Please, let there be a sale!!)

Gracie, it's been great having you here, thanks for answering my questions. If you'd like to check out Gracie's website, feel free.

She also has a fant-abulous writing website called Romance She Wrote, with lots of helpful tips on the craft of writing.


  1. Hi Gracie, Welcome to Kylie's place on the web!

    Kylie asks some great questions and I loved reading your answers. Thanks for sharing!

    All the best with your goals!

  2. Thanks for dropping in, Nas!

    Yup, Kylie not only asks good questions but she's also full of helpful answers when you're stuck and need inspiration.

    Now, ask me if she snores...

  3. Hi Nas, don't listen to Gracie or anything she says about snoring! She's an author and we all know authors pass off their lies as stories! :-) They're experts in this subject!!! LOL

  4. Gracie, well, I'd ignore the snores if Kylie is so full of helpful answers as you say.

    But mark my words, don't knock down the snoring. Last night was the first night I slept in a very long while without my husband and his snoring(very loud, mind you!)as he's on a trip to Sydney, boy I tell you, did I miss the snoring? Yes!

  5. Another lovely interview ladies and I love your website, Gracie! You have some fabulous tips for other writers.

  6. Helene, I love Gracie's Romance She Wrote site for the "How to write a synopsis without turning homicidal" post!

  7. Thank you, Helene!

    The fun part is trying to maintain a blog, write a book, and live a (relatively) normal life. Sometimes I think writers are completely bats! And that's not a tip. That's a fact! LOL

  8. That is why it is so cool when you get together with other writers. Probably the only time when you can say whatever you are thinking about and nobody inches away or looks at you with that bewildered/tolerant/frightened expression.

    Great blog Kylie/Gracie.

  9. I agree with you totally Gracie - a hot hero HAS to have dark hair. Luckily I married a dark haired man or I'd be in trouble. All mine are dark too! : )

  10. Hi Gracie

    I second your cmments about Kylie. She is always ready to listen and offer timely advice!

    Lovely to meet someone else writing romantic suspense.

    Just curious, where are your stories set?

  11. Hi Nicki, I loved your comment about being at conference and feeling right at home - we learn to ignore "those" looks from people who don't understand, but it's nice to be considered "normal" once in a while, eh?

    Ahh, LaVerne, I have written very few lighter haired heroes (although now I think about it I have one coming up in my next book - he's not pure blond but he does break away from my usual heroes). I love TDH's (that's tall, dark & handsome). Sigh.

    Hey, Chris, thanks for the lovely words. :-)

  12. I'm with you with the dark-haired heroes, Gracie. That new(ish) James Bond is just borderline.

  13. Thanks Nicki! Nice to see you here. :-)

    Well, LaVerne, I have to admit that my own tall, dark, and handsome man has been getting progressively less "dark" over the last thirty-mumble years. But he's 6'4" and even more handsome than when I met him, so I guess it evens out in the wash! LOL

    I'm lucky too that my bosses and workmates are avidly interested in what I do, offer me interesting ways of bumping people off, direct me to excellent TV programmes, and provide me with sundry other stuff that most workplaces don't. Including recipes for me to bake for them all when the Muse is having a snit--which I do, of course! :-)

    Sometimes it's hard to remember what it was like when everyone around me didn't know what I did for fun. I'll never forget the look on the face of the man who came to clean the septic tank (we were on a farm at the time) when I asked him (as any interested writer would) how long it would take for a body to break down if it had been chopped up and stuffed down a septic tank. I really think that if my neighbor hadn't been there the guy would've high-tailed it for the hills. Even so, he wasn't particularly forthcoming. :-)

    Chris, I started by setting my stories in London and New Zealand. But my market is the US, so that wasn't very forward-thinking of me. :-) Now they're set in the States.

    Leigh, I must admit that Daniel Craig simply does not do it for me. Sigh. Pierce Brosnan, yes. But the real Maestro was--and always will be--Sean Connery. In my opinion. I think it's the accent too. If there are two men's accents that cause my heart to flutter and bounce in my chest they are Sean's, and the late Ricardo Montalban's. The villain in my latest Rom Sus has (in my imagination) Antonio Banderas' face and Ricardo's voice. And yeah, he is a real, real, REAL, baddie. No redemption there.

    Thanks for your comments and questions, ladies!