|RWNZ Clendon Readers' Choice|
Where are you? South-east Queensland. The cold part! :)
How many years have you been a member of our organisation? I have been a member of RWA(Oz) for four years now; RWNZ for two; and RWA for two.
What genre/s do you write? Mainly Fantasy and/or Sci-Fi romance. Have written contemporary, and Romantic Suspense also. I like all the genres, but I keep coming back to spec-fic. Although I must say I loved the adrenaline rush of writing an assassin.
Who are your favourite authors? Okay, hard question! There are so many that I have to give the die-hard faves and the most recent faves.
These are in no particular order: Anne McCaffrey; Julian May; Andre Norton; Raymond Feist; George RR Martin; Robin Hobb; Tolkein; JR Ward; Christine Feehan; Susan Mallery; Anne Stuart (LOVE her Ice series); Terry Brooks; Isaac Asimov... The list never ends!
What inspired you to write romance? I can't say anyone in particular inspired me to write romance; it was just that I had these stories in my head.
I would read, then re-read my fave spec-fic stories and re-imagine them in my head for weeks (sometimes months) at a time with the original and different cast of characters (I'd casually delete the ones I didn't care for too much and reinsert ones I made up!).
I had no idea what fan fiction was - this began when I was 12 years old. Waaay before the Internet, LOL. I loved my fantasy books with my whole being, but I thought something was lacking. I couldn't put my finger on just what it was, though.
It dawned on me in my senior year of high school that it was the lack of a romantic relationship. Oh, there were some that had the required, "Will die/fight/insert whatever battle you like here for a princess," etc, but there was never any emphasis put on the developing relationship. It was just...there. And you never really SAW the girl.
So I started to write my books in my head. The one that is doing okay in contests at present has been in my head since I was 17; that's a long time for a story to percolate! The poor heroine underwent a few major changes in that time, too. Personality, race, name, which planet she came from, LOL - but her hair was always blindingly red.
If I am to credit anyone with the actual romance side, I would have to say there are two novels I read in high school that really affected me.
One was a Desire - about a Venetian(?) palazzo owner and a foreign girl. I remember the gondolas. I re-read that book a dozen times or more. I can't remember the name of it, and I was gutted when my mum took it to a recycle book shop without me knowing. It was published in the mid to late eighties... I must try and find it.
The other is one called JENNY'S CASTLE. I don't know who wrote it (Kylie says: I do believe that was Elizabeth Sinclair), but I cried and cried. No matter how many times I read it, I still cried. I kept it for YEARS, and it got lost in one of my many moves after Uni. Had a yellow cover. Was an early to mid nineties Harlequin book.
Who's your dream agent and/or dream publisher? Ahh, that's a loaded question!
I have a list, one agent on the top (Shhh! It's a secret!), but any agent who loves my book as much as I do is going to be hard to beat. I want the relationship a boutique agency offers. The in-for-the-long-haul attitude. I want someone who will guide me to make great business decisions, will teach me what I need to know about the industry, and isn't afraid to kick me up the rear if I need it. I don't need hand-holding as such, just guidance.
Publishers - the same. Someone who believes in my book; my voice. Someone who is prepared to say, "This one is IT. This one has loads of potential."
What's the best thing about going to conference? I LOVE CONFERENCE!!! The first one I went to in Sydney, I felt like I'd come home. There were people there who GOT me. Who understood. Who didn't want to lock me up because I had all these wonderful characters in my head saying, "Hey! Write ME!!!"
The amazing exposure to craft help (and believe me, I needed it! Still do...); the published authors who came up and introduced themselves to a wide-eyed and terrified newbie and made her feel like one of them; the meeting of friends I'd made over the loops.
These are only the tip of the iceberg. I have made some very close and lifelong friends through Romance Writers of Australia and this is a fact I'll never forget. The networking with amazing agents and editors that I never though it get the opportunity to meet. This is what I love.
And lastly, finish these statements...
My greatest strength as a writer is...strong characters, and dialogue. Sometimes my settings can be a little light on the fizz, something which my wonderful CP's pull me up over VERY quickly, with an, um, excuse me???
|The eyes have it...|
My latest WIP (work in progress) is about...an awesome space-fighter pilot who finds himself in a rather unique situation, he's in love with the woman who was to be his adopted sister; and a heroine who has loved him for many years, who goes missing...
When I write I like to... play new-agey type music, no lyrics or I'll sing along and write the lyrics instead of my ms! Also, the LOTR soundtracks get played a lot.
My best writing milestone to date is...I'm going to be greedy here and take four: Actually FINISHING a ms; winning the RWNZ's Clendon Award Reader's Choice Trophy; finaling in the RWAustralia Emerald Award top 3 two years running; and finaling in my first US comp - the RWA Emily - coming fifth.
Michelle, thank you for taking the hot-seat this week!
Good luck in all those finals and see you in Melbourne (and Auckland!) in August!