Spring has well and truly sprung …

Tulips

And now we come to the part of the year when everything suddenly seems more hopeful. The sun’s shining  (at the moment)  and there are signs of buds and green stuff and blossomy bits and bobs. The birds are tweeting very loudly. The butterflies are doing whatever butterflies do – flitting and fluttering and suchlike. The windows look grubby. Oh – scratch the last one – it sneaked into the good list by mistake.

When the New Year happened I didn’t get round to any proper resolutions due to being full of cake and wine and so on,  but I’m taking the unusual step of making one now. It’s about my blog. Not the Romaniac blog – this one is fine because it’s got eight people paying attention to it. No, the blog I’m referring to is the dusty, cobwebby one with just my own name on it. It needs TLC. So my spring resolution is to post on it three times a week. Only short snippets, with maybe a picture, but enough to stop it crying and complaining about being neglected. If you get the urge to check up on this promise, it can be found on http://celiajanderson.co.uk

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I hope the photos get you in the mood for the season of birds’ nests, daffodils and hot cross buns. Over to you now.  Is the sunshine making you all motivated and bouncy? Have you got any resolutions that slipped through the net in January?

The Romaniacs would love to know …

Stones

Best Bits

Ring

 

The Romaniacs are brushing off the mince pie crumbs and thinking of a group hike today – it’s been an interesting week on the whole. The blocked sink is unbunged, thanks to the very nice man from AA home insurance (what a big pipe he’d got, but that’s another story) and the dishwasher man came today as promised. He wasn’t quite so nice, to be perfectly honest but he removed some cat fur and bits of broken wine glasses and now the washing up situation can go back to normal. Thank goodness – the others were about to go on strike and my Marigolds are in ribbons. Anyway, here are my best bits from Christmas 2013 - what were yours?

  • Surprise hit game of Christmas – an ancient Bagatelle that used to belong to Grandpa. The competitive spirit has surfaced big time. And some other games have gone up the charts here too:

BagatelleGames

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These special straws make drinking even more fun and give you that instant suave moustached look: sorry this one’s on its side but drinking has that effect on me …

Straws

And also a picture of the Silvertown Express and a collection of USA photos from the offspring were a lovely reminder of the great rail journey of the summer.

 

SilverUSA snaps

 

 

 

 

 

 

So those are my highlights, along with a lot of lovely mess, a great box set to look forward to in 2014 and some Christmas music to remind me of my dad.  The Romaniacs would love to hear about your Christmas  moments if you still have the strength to tap out a few words. Happy New Year!

Celia xxx

EpisodesMessiah

Mess

On your marks … get set … Ofsted we go!

Sparkle

Right, I think I’m ready. Oh, wait – we forgot those last presents on top of the wardrobe. So, who wants to go out and get some  more wrapping paper? And could you just go and queue up at the butcher’s for the turkey while you’re in town? And we need some of that gunky stuff in a bottle – the sink’s blocked again. I think it was the practice run bread sauce that did it. Is there enough gin, do you think? At least the decorations are up. Hang on, nobody got any holly. Are you going to find the string and get a few cards up? No? Why not? Anyone would think you’d been busy. Why are you waving that meat cleaver at me?

P1040819

So, it’s nearly here, and soon it’ll be that blissful moment when you realise that if you haven’t bought it now, it really doesn’t matter. Preparing for the festive frolics is usually fun with children around but the last weeks at work have been a tad stressful – we’re a Catholic school so we do a lot of lovely advent things, but we also have the huge black cloud of Ofsted hanging over us (long overdue and dreaded) so my writing has had to go firmly on the back burner and I’ve been making nice tidy folders at the same time as all the sticking and glueing. The Christmas cake didn’t happen  – which is a minor disaster (we’re having an emergency quick-fire boiled fruit cake recipe that can be made today) - but the mince pies are done, even if most of them have already mysteriously disappeared.

Anyway, here’s my ode to inspectors everywhere; I hope you like it, whether you’ve experienced the joys of audits, whether you perform them yourself or whether they’re just an ugly rumour to you. I’m off to read a book. Happy Christmas from me and from all the other Romaniacs too!

Celia xx

P1010933

Twas the week before Christmas

When all through the place

Rang a howling and keening

And fear touched each face.

They’re coming! They’re coming!

Came the cry from each side.

They’ll find us, they’ll catch us –

There’s nowhere to hide.

They’ll peer into corners

And look in each box

We’re not going to like it,

We’re in for some shocks.

But the boss was quite calming

She smiled at us all

Decided to give us

A rip-rousing call.

Come teachers, brave teachers -

Did you hear what I said?

Because we’re not afraid

Of the wrath of Ofsted.

And even if some staff

are trotting away,

We don’t need to worry –

We’ll just have to pray!

We’ll shine up the classrooms

And make them all neat.

In the staffroom we’ll tidy

Each biscuit and sweet.

We’ll train all our pupils

To talk till they drop

Enthuse about targets

Till they beg them to stop.

The kitchen is gleaming

The governors are ready …

Just excuse me while I go

And cuddle my teddy.

But soon we all rallied

And scuttled about.

‘Let’s not be downhearted’

I heard them all shout.

So we’ll get ourselves poised

And break out the sherry,

Forget work for now

And let Christmas be merry!

Maid of Oaklands Manor – Terri Nixon

Today the Romaniacs are featuring debut novelist Terri Nixon who was one of the winners of the Piatkus Entice competition at last November’s Festival of Romance. Her ebook will be launched on July 4th and is definitely going to be worth downloading – here’s an idea of what’s in store. Congratulations, Terri!

Maid of Oaklands Manor 2

1912: A chance meeting between scullery maid Lizzy Parker and heiress Evie Creswell leads to more than an enduring friendship, and a new job for Lizzy; it draws her into a world of privilege and intrigue, and delivers her into the loving arms of a killer.

When Lizzy meets Jack Carlisle, a charismatic friend of the Creswell family, she finds herself drawn to him despite the rumour that he had been involved in the death of Evie’s father. She senses her feelings are reciprocated, but as she finds herself pulled deeper into the dangerous life Jack leads she must decide if he can be trusted with the life of a friend and, ultimately, if he is worth the risk to her own.”

Terri was born in the ancient naval city of Plymouth, England in 1965. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to Cornwall, to a small village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one’s ever offered to pay her for doing those.

Since publishing in paperback for the first time in 2002, Terri has appeared in both print and online fiction collections, and is proud to have contributed to the Shirley Jackson award-nominated hardback collection: Bound for Evil, by Dead Letter Press. She now lives in Plymouth with her youngest son, and works in the Faculty of Arts at Plymouth University where she is constantly amazed by the number of students who don’t possess pens.

You can follow Terri on Facebook here.

Maid of Oaklands Manor is available at Amazon here.

Henriette Gyland – reviewing her new novel; The Elephant Girl

Henriette Gyland and other authors - Festival of Romance (1)

I loved Henriette Gyland’s latest book – it kept me hooked right until the end and the characters were real and vibrant. The interaction between Jason, Fay, Helen and the rest of the main players was sympathetically drawn, and Helen’s lack of confidence and history of anxiety and loss were dealt with sensitively. Tackling a subject like epilepsy can’t be easy, but this author did it with supreme confidence. I felt I understood the problem much better by the end of the book.

Jason and Helen’s romance was scorching in its intensity and the friendships/conflicts between the main characters were fascinating. I have a terrible habit of losing the plot through reading too quickly but I didn’t skip a single word of this, and would have liked it to go on much longer.

Jason’s point of view was well explored and explained all through the book – he is an absolutely drop dead gorgeous hero with a touching vulnerability too.
The family problems were also developed in depth, and I even loved Aggie in the end.

Thanks, Henri, for a fabulous read – I thought Up Close would be a hard act to follow but you’ve done it!

(This review can also be seen on http://celiajanderson.co.uk)

9781781890202 (4)

Phillipa Ashley’s here, telling us about what it was that happened one night…

It Happened One Night 3 (1)

Today we introduce Phillipa Ashley’s brand new book, and the Romaniacs are already itching to read more. It’s funny, it’s feisty, and of course it’s naughty in the nicest possible way…

 

IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

Phillipa Ashley

Published as an e book by Piatkus Entice on June 6th 2013

 

Blurb:

Sophie McBride has been in love with Adam Templar for as long as she can remember. Talented, brilliant and sexy, he shines like the sun over the tiny Lakeland village where she’s grown up. Now, at eighteen, she has her own big ideas and what’s more, Adam is home from university and has finally noticed her . . . really noticed her. When he asks her to a party, she dares to hope that all her dreams can come true, but what happens that night sets off a chain of events that bring heartbreak for Sophie – and lead to Adam leaving Langmere under the darkest of clouds.

Ten years later, no one is more shocked than Sophie to find him back in the village. Now an up-and-coming film director, he’s returned to make a drama about a notorious local poet and brought his glamorous cast, crew – and girlfriend – with him. As the on-screen drama plays out, can Sophie and Adam lay the past to rest or will history repeat itself?

 

EXTRACT

21 year old Adam Templar has finally made 18 year old Sophie McBride’s young life complete and asked her to spend the night with him at his younger sister’s birthday party – where he’s supposed to be in charge…

Adam emerged from the en suite, hurriedly buttoning up his Levis, “I have to go downstairs and make sure no one’s been killed in the past half-hour,” he said, shrugging on his T-shirt. “You stay here.”

“What, in bed?” asked Sophie, knowing exactly what he meant but wanting to hear him say it because it turned her on.

 “Yes, in bed. Where else? You don’t think I’m wasting the fruits of the Bell’s condom machine, do you?” He sat down on the bed next to her, tilting her chin up in the cradle of his fingers. “This is going to sound crazy but I want you to know something. I didn’t just get you up here for a shag. I mean, of course I got you up here for a shag but I also want you know that this has meant more to me than a one-night stand.” He smiled and she held her breath. “Or even a two-shag stand. The truth is I’d like to see you again over what’s left of the summer.”

And then what? She wanted him to carry on. What would happen after the summer? She wanted so much more than a one-night stand too, no matter how much she’d convinced herself that having sex with him would be enough. Over the past few hours, hopes and expectations had somehow stolen into the room, no matter how hard she’d tried to keep them out.

“I’d like to see you too,” she said, marveling at how calm she sounded, while wanting to explode with happiness.

“Good. That’s great but . . . the thing is that, in a few months, we’ll both have to go away and it’s going to be bloody miserable and I don’t know how to fix that.”

She waited for him to carry on, hoping that he’d suddenly come up with some way to “fix it” and say they could carry on seeing each other once they were at university. She hoped he would say that he would drive up to her uni from Oxford every Friday or that she could come down on the train to his college. That he’d like her to meet his friends and wander the ivy-clad quads with his arm around her and that afterwards they could make love in his rooms all night, but he stayed silent and pushed back her wayward hair from her face in a way that Sophie should have found tender but instead found disappointing. She realised that he probably wasn’t going to offer to do any of those things – not tonight anyway but maybe, she thought, he might at the end of summer when they knew each other better.

“Then don’t worry. Let’s empty the machine at the pub and have a good time,” Sophie said brightly, hoping it was what he wanted to hear.

As if to remind them both, there were loud shrieks from outside in the garden.

 “You’re right of course. We should just enjoy now, but we both know it’s not going to be that simple.”

He smiled. She wasn’t sure if he was relieved or not, but he seemed happier.

The music ramped up a notch and the floor of the room felt as if it was throbbing. The shrieks and screeches grew in volume. It sounded as if the whole of Langmere was out in the garden, which was probably almost true.

“Adam!” A girl’s voice screamed through the door.

‘For God’s sake. What now?’

There was hammering on the door. “Adam! Open the door!”

“Wait a minute!”

The door flew open and Tarnyah dashed into the room. Sophie dived under the sheets as Adam swore loudly. “Get out!”

Before Sophie had time to expect the girl to giggle or point or shriek in embarrassment at finding her and Adam half naked, Tarnyah started shouting. “They’re in the lake. They’re in the lake. Come quick.”

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/It-Happened-One-Night-ebook/dp/B009M1QR64/ref=la_B0034P9MC0_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1368446387&sr=1-10

Amazon US:

http://www.amazon.com/It-Happened-One-Night-ebook/dp/B009M1QR64/ref=la_B0034P9MC0_1_9_title_0_main?ie=UTF8&qid=1368446686&sr=1-9

Website

www.phillipa-ashley.com

Twitter

@PhillipaAshley

Facebook

Good luck, Phillipa! :)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Phillipa-Ashley/133611746664705?fref=ts

Butterfly Moments

Leaf B

BF3Butterfly photographs courtesy of Deb Anderson – with thanks.

So, what’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done?

We’ve probably all got a cupboard full of skeletons that we only let out at 3am when sleep won’t come, but I’m not even going to think about those deeply embarrassing bits today. The theme of this blog is the other times – the ones when we got it absolutely right; the Butterfly Moments, if you like. You know the ones I mean. When you were trying to be really romantic and it worked? When you wanted to make someone very happy and it happened without any banana skins, unexpected gurgles in the stomach region (or worse) or red faces?
Cast your minds back to a time when the world suddenly became a simpler place and you gave yourself – if only briefly – full marks for an impulsive romantic gesture, a perfectly organised outing, a significant and suitable present well received or a cunning plan that came off.
These moments are precious if only to remind us that life can, sometimes, be a bowl of cherries. I know we use our depressing and cringe-worthy experiences to bring our writing to life but just for a few minutes, let yourself wallow in smug self-satisfaction as you remember something that deserves its own Westlife (subsitute own cheesy music choice here) soundtrack and fuzzy lighting. Go on, tell all…

BF2

Celia: Mine was when my newly discovered and already much-loved bloke announced that he was going away shortly for nearly two weeks on a railway journey that was going to touch on a whole bunch of major European cities. After I had finished hitting him with a stick and the bitter jealousy had subsided, I realised I was going to miss him. A lot. Unfortunately, this man was a texting novice at the time and thought that the mobile telephone was a scheme of the devil to waste our valuable reading time. I wanted to make sure he didn’t forget about me, but constantly ringing him to mutter sweet nothings was only going to make him remember how annoying I could be (which, incidentally, is pretty annoying).
For this man, who I was beginning to suspect had a secret romantic streak, the only way forwards was on paper. I shopped furiously for small and quirky cards and dug out my dusty collection of poetry books. Then I got a copy of his holiday itinerary and wrote a letter, complete with a poetic quote, for every day, labelled neatly with the place and date. I can sense your incredulity here – was this woman totally off her rocker? Surely this must have taken hours – time that could have been better spent eating cake, drinking copious amounts of wine and watching back to back episodes of Friends? The answer is, yes it bloody did. But it was worth it because he loved them and still has them stashed away where he thinks I can’t see them. Ha!

Mo and me

Catherine: I’m not sure I can be classed as romantic, but I do my best to be thoughtful when I can and not just for the man in my life. Later this year it’s my Mum’s 60th Birthday. Old Ma Mo (I never came up with that nickname) has stated she doesn’t want a fuss, and no parties. Well, I’m very good at ignoring my Mum and at knowing when she means what she says… hence, I have plans. Secret plans which I cannot reveal even among friends. I will tell you about her 50th though. Since she was at school, my Mum has had a pen pal over in Texas. Twice her pen pal had been over here, but Mum couldn’t afford to go on the return journey. So I got in contact with her pen pal and started making secret plans with her and my grandparents. Sue (Mum’s pen pal) was able to be very generous and paid for Mum to go over with air miles and the savings went towards me going with Mum as she didn’t want to travel alone. We didn’t keep it a secret until she was going, we told her about a month beforehand. Here we are in a rather fuzzy photo in San Antonio. Now to live up to it for her 60th! And Mum, if you are reading this, as we’ll have 3 month old twins, they’ll be no flights involved this time!

Jan: This Butterfly Moment couldn’t strictly be labelled ‘romantic’, but Mr B was certainly happy. He’s a keen golfer and his trusty ‘old’ golf bag had long been the butt of much banter on the fairways. It was so ancient that, during a round one weekend, his clubs were dragging along the grass where the masking tape holding the bottom of said bag together (I kid you not!) had worked loose. A-ha! I thought at the time… I know what to get him for his next birthday. Trouble was, that birthday was six months away and, in the meantime, he was invited to attend a golf day at this really posh club with about twenty other guys. Now, Mr B hasn’t a snobby bone in his body, but I suspected that, deep down, he must be a tiny bit concerned about how dinosaur bag would be received come tee-off time, not to mention its survival chances over 18 holes. So, I went out and bought him a shiny, new one which I presented to him the day before the big event. A pre-birthday gift for one pleased-as-punch golfer!

Golfer 2

“FORE!!!!”

So, what we really want to know is what was your perfect, romantic moment? Or maybe, you’re planning one right now…You can tell us.

Celia x

***** Five Star People

Lovely cousins and Dad

Lovely cousins and Dad

I’m experimenting with a new-style, shorter length post today as we Romaniacs think we’ve been getting a touch verbose lately. (‘No, no!’ I hear you cry, ‘How can that be? How can there be too much Romaniac burbling? It’s almost like saying cake is bad for you.’ But, dear reader, stick with it, and feel free to comment at the end, which I promise you is not nearly as far away as usual.)

So, on the theme of less is more, I want to talk about Five Star People – the ones who become involved in your life for a very good reason, affecting the way you write and also the way that you see the world. Sometimes they pop in and go again quite quickly, more often they hang around for some time and occasionally they are with you for the duration. Whichever ones you’re thinking of right now, they all have something in common – they make your life better. They are life enhancers extrordinaire. And what’s more, they help you to develop as a writer.

Hoping you like the small selection from my personal gallery of five star award winners, naturally including the Romaniac gang. We have experienced some tough times between us since we met and have had to accept that we can’t always write or even be in touch as much or as often as we’d like to, but the support is always there and without them, my life would be much less sparkly. It would be great to hear about some of your own stars now, and also to have your views on the merits of short/longer posts. I’m off to make a cake now with all that waffling time I’ve saved.

So much missed.

So much missed.

Five star buddies Kay and Mum-in-Law

Five star buddies Kay and Mum-in-Law

Cherished offspring

Cherished offspring

Romaniacs on parade

Romaniacs on parade

Tracy Bloom – Sex on a Tuesday? No way…

tracybloom

A massive Romaniac welcome to today’s featured author Tracy Bloom, who started writing when her cruel, heartless husband ripped her away from her dream job shopping for rollercoasters for the UK’s leading theme parks, to live in America with a brand new baby and no mates. In a cunning plan to avoid domestic duties and people who didn’t understand her Derbyshire accent, she wrote NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY. She soon found however that her new American friends took a shine to her British sense of humour and encouraged her to share her words with a wider audience. NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY went on to be successfully published internationally providing Tracy with a new dream job, making people laugh and sometimes cry through her writing.
Back in good old England now (desperately missing drive-through Starbucks, 30- Rock, NPR and people who talk to you in the street without thinking you’re a weido) and cracking on with writing about other people who screw up their lives in a hilarious fashion including a sequel, NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX AFTER A BABY.
And now, here’s Tracy to take us through her path to publication:

nooneeverhassexonatuesday

AROUND THE WORLD WITH NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY – TRACY BLOOM
Picture the scene – my first taste of success as a writer. I’m sitting in a fancy restaurant – by which I mean there isn’t a chicken nugget in sight. My publisher sits at the head of the table. A grand dame of the industry weighed down by precious metals and with hair that has definitely not been blow dried by herself. I glow with pride as I sign a copy of my book despite the fact I can’t read a word of it. Here I am celebrating seeing my novel in print for the very first time in … Milan, Italy. I’ve spent all day trailing bookshops, taking pictures of my book, trying to convince shop owners that I am the author and not some eccentric English lady who can’t speak Italian yet convinced she’s written an entire book in their language. This is not how I expected things to be.
I guess it’s fitting that I didn’t begin writing in my native England. Marriage, a baby and a husband sent to work in the USA for three years slung me out of my previous career developing theme park rides and attractions, and potentially into desperate housewife territory. As I gazed around the leafy suburbs of Connecticut I remembered I’d once had a dream to write a book. And so I did. Armed with ideas and a very British sense of humour I joined a creative writing class and NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY began to take shape. The tale of childhood sweethearts having a one-night stand when they meet years later at a school reunion seemed to strike a chord. When two classmates had a row about whether my lead character should stick with her younger boyfriend or rekindle her teenage romance having discovered that either men could be the father of her baby, I knew I had something.
Eventually it was finished and I skipped class to sweat over letters to potential agents in London. Not that I thought I’d get one, I just fancied getting some transatlantic mail. As it turned out one wanted me and my book. Champagne corks popped. It was a dream come true. I didn’t realise that dreams rarely materialise in the way you imagine them.
My agent (I will never get used to saying that) took my book to Frankfurt Book Fair and I waited impatiently to hear when I would be able to buy it in Waterstones. Then the news came that it had sold to the highest bidder in a German auction and a pre-empted bid had secured it a home in Italy. Not long afterwards Brazil grabbed hold of it followed by Poland. Initially I was crushed that I wouldn’t be seeing my book on home territory until the reality of being published abroad sank in. Someone in Brazil, a country I had never even visited, thought I was funny, thought I could write and wanted other Brazilians to read my story. That, I decided, was pretty cool.
One edition after another, my book appeared in print in languages I couldn’t read with covers so diverse it was hard to reconcile it as the same book. It was as though I had given my book up for adoption and it was having this whole fantastic life without me that I was unable to participate in.
Until this year. The massive changes driving uncertainty in the publishing industry had been blamed for my book not finding a home in the UK. However as a new era in publishing emerges, those changes have provided the opportunity for me to finally get published here. With the support of my agent who also represents Sophie Kinsella and has helped Kate Harrison achieve massive self- publishing success with her 5:2 Diet Book, my novel is now available in English on Amazon. Finally I can tell people to go and read my tale of a one-night stand that leads to utter chaos. Best of all I can understand the reviews and comments for NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY without having to resort to Google Translate!

Book Description
Never has a one-night stand led to such chaos!
Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union.
So all is forgotten… until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy’s baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthew’s highly-strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy’s much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously.
Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot. How will they navigate their way through this almighty cock-up?
Available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tracy-Bloom/e/B00BSRA0TA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1367435905&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Tracy-Bloom/e/B00BSRA0TA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1367435161&sr=8-1

NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY has been published in Germany, Italy, Poland, Serbia, and will be released in Brazil this Summer.

Contact Details:
Website: http://www.tracybloom.com
Twitter: @TracyBBloom
Email: tracybloom@hotmail.co.uk
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tracybloomwrites

Tuesday Chit Chat – Katherine Garbera

Katherine_Garbera                               One More Kiss UK cvr

So, Katherine, we find you here in the Romaniac lair at last, and looking terribly glamorous as usual. Welcome! Did you by any chance bring cake? Only I’ve been a bit busy and the cake tin seems to be empty…you’re shaking your head sadly, guess that one’s  a no then.  Never mind, settle yourself down and relax. The garden’s looking lovely, we might even be able to open a window today and enjoy the sunshine. The girls have asked me to give you a gentle grilling – here are our questions:

What was the first complete book that you wrote, and at what point in your life did this happen?

Hi, Romaniacs – I wrote my first manuscript after the birth of my daughter when I was 24. I loved the experience of it so much that I couldn’t wait to write another one. I’m afraid I didn’t know much about plotting so it was mainly a story that contained the things I liked to read—a strong alpha hero, a heroine with a fabulous sense of fashion, lots of steamy sex and a bad guy who was always menacing them.

Was the road to publishing difficult for you?
I don’t think so. I just always knew I’d be published some day and when I got a rejection letter I’d l think well they just don’t get me.  My second manuscript almost got purchased so I knew I was on the right track. Then when I started writing my third manuscript I decided that if I was going to be any good at writing I needed to master romance or suspense before I tried to merge the two. I made the third manuscript a straight romance. It featured a single mom, a sexy construction worker who moved in next door and her adorable son. I still love that story! It won the Georgia Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence and became my first sale. I was aged 26. 

Do you have an agent?
Yes. And I like her a lot. I’ve had three agents over the course of my career.

Where were you born and brought up?
I was born in Haileah, Florida (that’s in the South just north of Miami) but was raised in Central Florida a little bit west of Disney world. My parents are very down-to-earth people who liked living life their own way so we always lived in the country. I grew up with the Green Swamp in my backyard and orange groves all around me.

We didn’t have any neighbors so my sisters and I were each others companions and my mom used to lock us outside in the summer and make us play.

I think those days really fired up my imagination and probably laid the groundwork for me to become a writer.

Does the place that you live influence your plots and characters?
Sort of. I think the places I’ve lived (Florida, Chicago, IL; Dallas, Tx, and Southern California) have all influenced me but really it’s the people I’ve met that have the most impact on me.

Where is your ideal writing spot?
Ideally at my desk, but when I find that distractions like the internet get too much, I move to a recliner I have in the corner of my office or the coffee shop. I don’t play games or waste time if I perceive someone else can see me.

What home comforts do you need to help you to write?
I need something to drink either hot tea (I’m American so usually drink Raspberry Zinger) or coffee and lots of it.

What inspired you to start writing?
My daughter inspired me to start writing. I’d always dabbled in it but when she was born I was working as a secretary and not really loving it. And I wanted her to see me doing something I loved instead of hating going to work every day. So I started writing with the intent to publish.

How do you begin to create your characters?
Usually I have an idea of a character in my head that’s pretty strong so I know where they are coming from. Then I just answer a few basic questions that lay the groundwork for my story. They are What does he/she want? (This is the Goal) Why do they want it? (Motivation) Why can’t they have it? (Conflict) Once I have these three things for the heroine then I do the same thing for the hero and I make sure that they want opposing things because people who are at odds on the page make it more exciting. And it become natural conflict instead of forced.

Who is your favourite literary hero?
I’m not sure if you mean author or fictional character so I’ll give you both. My author heroes are Margaret Atwood, Jayne Ann Krentz and Baroness Orczy. My favorite fictional characters are Claudia Kincaid from E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat Pray Love which is her memoir.

Do your family read your books?
Yes they do. My mom skips “those” parts, my grandmother before she passed away used to tell me to write more sex, and my daughter says she just doesn’t think of me writing them. 

Which celebrity would you like to send one of your books to, and which book would you choose?
I think I’d send it Sandra Bullock because she takes on projects and is passionate about them. I’d send her Bare Facts which is the first in a series I wrote that was a sort of homage to Charlie’s Angels.

How many works do you have in progress at once?
I only work on one book at a time but I am contracted for more than one book that I’ve written proposals for. So right now I’ve got five books in the hopper but am only working on one of them.

If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what sort of book would you write?
I’m writing books I love right now. So more of the same. 

Do you have writing buddies?
Yes, I do and I miss them terribly because we live so far apart now. I’m a member of a very cool group called the Evelettes (Eve Gaddy, Lenora Worth, Julia Justiss and Denise Daniels) and then I have my Puffs—self-named after the PowerPuff Girls Bubbles aka Nancy Robards Thompson, Blossom aka Mimi Wells and me Buttercup!

Do you have any say in the cover designs for your books?
I fill in a very lengthy art fact sheet but usually that’s it. For my single title books I had more input and often got pictures from the photo shoots.

Now for some quick fire questions:

Sunbathing or swimming?
Swimming, I was a competitive swimmer for a long time.

Hugs or kisses?
Both but kisses win out.

Roaring log fire or funky high tech gas version?
Roaring fire.
Chocolate cake or crisps?
Cake I suppose but I can’t resist a bag of Ruffles.

Veggie burger or steak?
Steak

Spring, summer, autumn or winter?
Summer and the beach, baby!

Films or TV serials?
Films

Holiday venues – chill-out or active?
I like both.

Best ever holiday?
Venice with my husband and kids last summer.

Favourite ever dress?
Red cocktail dress that dipped to a low V in the back. I think it was a Laura Ashley dress I bought it on sale in New Orleans and wore the heck out of it. 

Thanks for giving us an insight into your life, Katherine– come back soon. I’ll make sure there’s cake next time…

Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog.