Writing FAQ


Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place?

Up early, check email, check news websites (favourites: The Guardian, The New York Times, Huffington Post) and favourite blogs (Andrew Sullivan, John Scalzi, Nathan Bransford) to see if the world has blown up. This is probably not a good idea because it takes me a while to get to the writing. I should do all that at the end of the day as a reward. And I imagine that if the end of the world comes, I’d hear about it anyway.

Source: In Interview with Night Owl Romance, July 2010


Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing? If so what is it and please describe it. (Pen, Coffee Cup, Pet, Blanket, Chair)

Not a favorite object but a favorite PLACE. My study, which I love. I travel a lot and simply cannot be creative on the road, or in a place other than my study. I know every aspect of it. The light at dawn (I’m an early riser), how the light changes throughout the day, how I look up over the monitor and see my bookshelves. My study also gives out onto a big terrace and around noon and around 7 pm I take a half hour break on the terrace, looking out over a valley. It refreshes me.

Source: In Interview with Night Owl Romance, July 2010


What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?

Well, I sell my books on proposal, so an outline is necessary. Furthermore, I write romantic suspense and I care a lot about the suspense subplot and its accuracy, so I outline carefully. I know exactly where I’m going. Having said that, I often find that in the writing, a sort of serendipity creeps in. Insights, events from my daily life find their way, suitably transmogrified, into the story. As I write the story, I become aware of hidden symbols and a certain degree of cohesion and circularity that wasn’t in the outline. It’s an interesting process.

Source: In Interview with Night Owl Romance, July 2010


Do you have a specific writing style?

I guess I do. I think what distinguishes me a bit is that I write completely in ‘deep third’, i.e., when I’m writing in the POV of the character, I am completely in that character’s head. And particularly when in my hero’s head, I don’t pull punches. Most of my heroes’ internal monologues are profane and funny. They’re tough, no-nonsense and unsentimental. UNTIL…they meet the woman of their heart. It takes them a long time to recognize love through the lust, though, and they are knocked for a loop. They find themselves almost frightened by the intensity of their feelings, and the words they use to themselves to describe what’s going on inside aren’t tender until the very end. The words aren’t tender but their hearts are.

Source: In Interview with Night Owl Romance, July 2010


How comfortable are you about writing steamy love scenes? Do you have to force yourself to write them or does the inspiration come naturally depending on the characters?

Sometimes it’s hard to write love scenes. You really need to be in the moment, right there with your characters and if you’re tired or depressed or not feeling well, that’s very hard. I try to keep it fresh and I try to make it real, warts and all, so to speak. Sometimes my hero is so excited he can hardly control himself. Sometimes it doesn’t really work for the heroine. But count on it, by the end of the novel, they are getting it right.

But no, I don’t force myself to write them. I love writing them. I consider myself the luckiest of women (and, contrary to the little internet meme going around, I am definitely a woman!) to be writing when erotic romance is so popular and so much stuff is allowed.

Source: In Interview with Just Erotic Romance Reviews, September 2007


You write absolutely fabulous heroes, all of them intense and all male, with all of the yumminess of an Alpha hero, without making them look like jerks, what is your inspiration for such appealing males?

My heroes cannot have even a molecule of jerk-dom or dickheadedness (can I say that?). Nothing, nada. They don’t have misconceptions about their women that are cleared up on the last page. They don’t suspect her of being a slut. They’re not mad at her. And above all, they like their women, from the first moment. My love stories happen fast, over a short period of time. My heroes fall fast. They are not going to waste time disliking the heroine. There will be time enough through the rest of their lives for them to get angry, usually when they think she’s put herself in danger. But if they get mad, it will be against a backdrop of strong, mutual love, and it will pass. How can you have the hero and heroine angry at each other while they’re supposed to be falling in love? It vitiates the whole process, in my mind, at least. My books are usually about the first couple of weeks of what will be a lifelong love affair. The men are too busy tripping over their hearts to have negative feelings about the heroine.

And—I’ve said it before. My men are men, not children. They don’t need their egos stroked. They say what they mean and mean what they say.

Source: In Interview with Just Erotic Romance Reviews, September 2007


You have one story, PORT OF PARADISE, which takes place in Italy, do you plan on writing any more stories taking place in Italy or anywhere else in Europe?

I loved writing Port of Paradise. Franco, yum. And readers might want to look up my Ellora’s Cave Twelve Quickies of Christmas, The Christmas Angel, which takes place mainly in Naples with a delicious Italian hero.

There is, indeed, something extremely sensual about Italy. It is such a beautiful country, so rich in art and architecture, with such good food and wine that you can run the risk of writing a travelogue. You know that old saying about never wearing a shirt prettier than you are? Well, the same holds true here. Never write a story where the setting risks being more interesting than the plot!

Source: In Interview with Just Erotic Romance Reviews, September 2007


What do you like best about being a writer?

NOT TRAVELING. I’ll say it again. Not traveling. I was in a profession for 30 years in which I traveled constantly, and it’s not fun, year after year, decade after decade, living in hotel rooms and spending hours in airports and train stations, nearly eaten up with stress. Now I’m just a little agoraphobic. Traveling from my study to the kitchen is a big deal. Just kidding.

And the other big thing is that I finally get to write down these stories that have been in my head forever. And they PAY me to do this. How cool is that?

Source: In Interview with Just Erotic Romance Reviews, September 2007


Have you written any other categories of fiction, or do you plan to? Have you considered writing any other category of romance i.e. paranormals, or are you perfectly happy where you are?

I love writing exactly what I’m writing right now. Umm, paranormals? Maybe not. I was a big science fiction fan as a kid, teenager and young adult. Read loads of the stuff and loved it. But somehow I’m not attracted to it now. Since I write something akin to thrillers, I really really enjoy the gritty details of the suspense subplot, and making it as real as possible. I read lots of books about soldiering, truly fascinating. Those are all intensely reality-based books and I like to have that solid base and build my wonderful fairy tales on top of that.

And I particularly like my heroes to be absolutely thoroughly grounded in this world. They know exactly how it works, how things work. They can change a tire in a snowstorm, shoot their way out of trouble, survive in the Arctic. They are a little clueless about the human heart, but luckily their women are up to the task of teaching them.

Source: In Interview with Just Erotic Romance Reviews, September 2007


What attracted you to writing erotic romantic suspense?

Well, I can’t imagine any genre more exciting than erotic romantic suspense. You’ve got true love, passionate sex, danger and adventure. As the song goes, who could ask for anything more?

Source: In Interview with Just Erotic Romance Reviews, September 2007