THE LAST DI SIONE CLAIMS HIS PRIZE by Maisey Yates
- What is your favorite part about writing about a royal scandal? I think what like most about stories about the rich and powerful is how public interest shapes their behavior. And then how behind all of that, they have the same feelings and fears that we do. If a bit more lavish of an existence while having them.
- What was the first book that made you cry? Probably Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I remember staying up all night reading that book and having to go to work at 6 that morning, with no sleep and red rimmed eyes.
- How long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I tend to dive right in. Sometimes there are things I need to know before I start, but I’m big on googling as needed so the info never takes over the romance.
- How do you select the names of your characters? Sometimes I read name lists. Sometimes if I have sibling groups I look at certain types of names (Irish names for a recent group of brothers) and other times the names just appear and they’re RIGHT.
- If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? My back up plan is to win The Voice. I’m practical in all ways.
- Do you believe in writer’s block? No. I believe in days when I don’t want to work. And sometimes those days win. But sometimes I write through them even if it feels dry. What I feel isn’t necessarily the truth.
- Do you believe opposites attract? I do. I think that little bit of mystery you can’t ever quite figure out in the other person keeps things exciting. And also you can kind of bolster each other’s weaknesses.
- What is your favorite thing about Valentine’s Day? Going out to a fancy dinner! I love nice restaurants, particularly farm to table type places or restaurants with an emphasis on local foods.
HER SWEETEST FORTUNE by Stella Bagwell
- How did you come up with the friendship/relationship love triangle as a plot? Actually, the plot was suggested by the editors as a part of a special continuing series. As the author, it was my job to breathe life and personality into the characters and their story.
- What is your favorite part about writing for Her Sweetest Fortune? My favorite part of writing Her Sweetest Fortune was putting two friends together and watching their confusion and surprise as the attraction builds between them.
- Any tips for readers hoping that a special someone was more than just a friend? If that special someone goes out of his way to do something thoughtful for you, then he probably has more than friendship on his mind!
- What was the first book that made you cry? While I was still in high school my brother gave me a set of Ernest Hemingway books. When the hero of A FAREWELL TO ARMS lost the love of his life, I definitely cried. To this day I still can’t watch the movie or I’ll start sobbing.
- How long do you spend researching before beginning a book? That all depends on the setting of the book and the plot. If it’s a place or plot I’m familiar with then a week or two of research is plenty. When writing continuity the research always takes longer because you have to make sure characters, setting details and plot lines match those of the authors stories going before and after your own.
- How do you select the names of your characters? For me, choosing names for my characters is one of the most time consuming part of writing a book. I want the name to define my character’s personality and at the same time I have to be careful not to choose a name I’ve used in a prior book. If something doesn’t immediately pop into my head, I’ll reach for the telephone directory and search until I find a name that feels right.
- If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? I would probably be doing the job I held before I became a writer, which was a hairdresser. By the way, a treasure trove of stories goes through a beauty salon!
- Do you believe in writer’s block? I think a writer’s mind can go on a lazy streak or be distracted by outside influences. But I personally don’t believe in writer’s block.
- What is your favorite thing about writing contemporary romance? My favorite thing about writing contemporary romance is definitely the happy endings and the hope that the future will be filled with love.
- Are you excited for Valentine’s Day? I always look forward to Valentine’s Day. After being married for nearly forty-six years it still melts my heart to get flowers and romance from my husband!
COURTING THE COWBOY by Carolyne Aarsen
- How did you come up with the relationship between artist Ella and rancher Cord?
- The first picture that came to me was a woman with three kids standing on the deck of her house, looking at her like they are supposed to help her out and she is reluctant to. Then a truck comes on the yard and here comes the father. This was how the book starts and this was the first idea that came to me. So then I had to figure out why the woman didn’t really want to help the kids. Why the father was so upset at her reaction. And because I knew I needed them to be forced together, I had to delve into that. I knew my heroine was an artist trying to find solitude so I came up with the idea that the kids, once they found out she was an artist, finagle her into helping them with an art project. The hero is trying to protect his children and knows that she is uncomfortable around them but also that they really want this to happen
- What is your favorite part about writing Courting the Cowboy?
- The interacation with the kids and Ella. I have two precocious granddaughters and a chubby loveable grandson and they became my models for Suzie and Ollie. Paul was a composite of my other grandson and a nephew’s son. It was fun bringing them to life.
- How is it different to write about children than adults?
- Kids say what they think and aren’t scared to ask the hard questions. They aren’t scared to satisfy their curiosity so that makes for some interesting and fun conversations. Plus they don’t overthink so what you see is what you get. Adults spend more time debating and questioning and filtering what they say so it’s a different dynamic.
- How did you pick a cabin in Alberta as the backdrop for the book?
- I loved the idea of seclusion and the mountains and a ranch. It created a sense of coziness that appealed to me. I wanted my heroine to be apart from her usual support system so that she was a bit vulnerable when the kids came barging into her life.
- What was the first book that made you cry?
- The Outsiders. I remember sitting under one of those dome, homestyle hairdryers, my hair in curlers as the hot air blew over my head, reading the book and my tears drying on my hot cheeks as I read how Johnny died. Such delicious sadness.
- How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
- I often say I’m always researching stories and books. I gather information and hoard it, store it away for when I can use it. So it’s difficult to say. I love ranching life and the lifestyle and my husband has his horses and cows so, like I said, I’m always trying to find ways to write what I know into my story. As for the other stuff, like the art references in this book, I have a niece who’s an artist and I’ve listened to her talk about shows and galleries so I drew from that as well. Then, whatever I don’t know I fill in as needed either by phoning or going on Google.
- How do you select the names of your characters?
- I actually have a master list of names of hero’s and heroine’s that I’ve used in the past and for future books so I don’t make the mistake I did previously of having two hero’s named Logan. I usually pick names that sound strong, masculine for my men and a bit softer for my women. And that’s about it. For secondary characters I rely on a little tool in Scrivener that gives ideas for names. I’ve used it often.
- If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
- Take pictures and edit them. Make covers for books and learn how to properly use the gradient tool in Affinity. Sometimes I think I would like to work in a store with other real people instead of the fake people I spend so much time with. (though they become very real to me). But the truth is I really can’t imagine not being a writer. I’m always coming up with stories.
- Do you believe in writer’s block?
- Not really. I think it’s often resistance to do the hard work that keeps me from writing. For instance I’m supposed to be reworking a book right now that I’m struggling with so it’s much easier to fill this out than to work on it. But I will go back to it and keep plugging. I know, for me, when I shut the internet off, the distractions cease and I have no choice but to work. I can’t really say that I’ve had actual writer’s block. Resistance to do the hard work, yes, but not writer’s block.
- Are you excited for Valentine’s Day?
- I know I’m supposed to say yes, but Valentines Day is often just another day here. If I’m in town I’ll buy some Lindor Chocolate for my husband and I and we’ll have them with tea as we have our devotions after supper. My dear husband is not a romantic so it’s often a non-event. I don’t doubt my husband’s love for me and I’ve learned, long ago, that birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day should never be a test of that love.
Ella has lost her inspiration and decides and decides to stay in the cabin she has rented to try and get it back. She was not counting on neighbors or his kids. Cord has 3 kids and they love being in Ella’s yard. Suzy gets help on a project from Ella and gets to know Cord.
I really enjoyed this heart warming story of two people hurt by the past and trying to move on with their lives is harder than they thought. The two work on issues and each other to heal together. The kids are great and bring life into the already sweet story.
The author did an excellent job of writing to draw the reader in and keep the reader wanting to turn the pages. I will be enjoying more books by this author.