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.