Kathryn Freeman: An Arresting Post.

We love having guests at Romaniac HQ, so we’re thrilled that, with the release of her debut novel, Choc Lit author, Kathryn Freeman, has joined us for a cake or two.

Kate Freeman

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your site to talk about, well, me. It feels very odd. Writing about imaginary characters is a lot less daunting, but here it goes.

I’m Kathryn Freeman and I write modern romance. There, that didn’t sound too ridiculous. In fact I’m now reading the words back with a wide grin on my face. Up until a few years ago, writing was something I did at work, and there was definitely nothing romantic about it. Trained as a pharmacist, I worked for the pharmaceutical industry and for over twenty years I wrote about medicines. However every time I settled down to read a book (I’m a voracious reader. If I don’t have a book on the go, I feel lost) I always peeked at the author’s picture, read their background and wondered. Could I do that, too?

So I enrolled on a writing course and started to write.

I found it relatively easy. The idea for my first book had been germinating for a while and the words flowed from brain to keyboard without much conscious effort. Many months later, pleased with the final product, I proudly parceled up the first three chapters and sent them off to agent, after agent. After agent.

The rejections flooded in. A harsh but necessary reminder that writing isn’t easy. Putting words on paper might be, but actually crafting a story? Developing characters who come alive, who fire the imagination, who make you carry on reading even though there are a thousand other things you should be doing? That’s the really difficult part.

I shelved the book (I wonder if it will ever come out again?) and started another. A different plot, new characters. On the basis that the more I wrote, the better I would get, I then wrote another. And another. Several manuscripts later, I had a book that I felt comfortable enough to send off to the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. The feedback, whilst tactfully delivered, seemed brutal (cut it down by how much?!). Dispirited I shoved it away in a drawer and began to write yet another book.

A few months later I dared to re-read the feedback from the NWS. Then I re-read the book. Finally, I took out my mental scissors and began to cut chunks out. After a lot of painful editing I did as the reviewer had suggested and sent the manuscript off to Choc Lit. They are unusual in that they don’t just read the first three chapters of a new manuscript.  They have a Tasting Panel who actually read the whole book. I will be forever grateful that they liked my story enough to take a chance on an unknown author. Do Opposites Attract, featuring Mitch, a gorgeous but rather gruff hero, will be out in paperback next July.

I wanted my hero in my next book to be very different. Smooth, charming, a bit of a ladies man. That’s how the idea for Too Charming was conceived. Once I had his characteristics, I had to create hers. A woman who would stand up to him and look beyond his shallow exterior to the real man he was beneath.

Too Charming Cover

Enter dashing defence lawyer Scott Armstrong, and no nonsense police detective Megan Taylor. I loved the contrast between the two, not only in their characters but their jobs. Megan’s wary of Scott because she’s been hurt before by a man who was too handsome and too charming. She might find him sexy, but she’s not about to fall for smooth lines again. The fact that he spends his days defending the very people that she works so hard to imprison adds to the tension between them.

Scott isn’t too daunted by the fact that Megan snubs him. He’s a patient and determined man. When he wants something he goes for it, and to his surprise he wants the prickly, feisty, deliciously attractive detective. He reasons that if he keeps chasing her, eventually she’ll start to see him not as a lawyer, but as a man.

Of course life isn’t that simple, as Scott finds out when he’s suddenly caught up in the middle of a case that’s far too close to home. A case that soon has Megan re-evaluating everything she thought she knew about him.

I really enjoyed writing their story and I have to confess that I fell in love with Scott, just as I fell in love with Mitch from Do Opposites Attract. In my head I’m having passionate love affairs with many men at the moment.

In real life, one man is more than enough!

Thank you again for the opportunity to talk about something I love – writing romance.

Too Charming available from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00F2UKUTE

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk/

Follow me on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kathrynfreeman

Follow me on Twitter:  @kathrynfreeman1

Truth or Dare? Cover Reveal

It’s here! My first-ever novel cover. And it is gorgeous.

Truth or Dare? is due for an October release, under the Choc Lit Lite imprint.

Choc Lit have an excellent reputation, not only for quality reads, but for their incredible covers.

The very talented Berni Stevens has done it again, capturing the essence of Truth or Dare?.

So, without further ado, I give you Truth or Dare? – the cover.

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It is beautiful.

Thank you so much, Berni, and Choc Lit.

Laura x

Meet Toni Sands and Jill Barry.

We are delighted to welcome not one, but two guest authors to Romaniac HQ, today. Meet Toni Sands and Jill Barry.

SandraMay12 006

Thank you, Laura, for inviting me to hang out with the Romaniacs though I’m afraid it does mean having two of me to demolish your cakes! I’m looking forward to explaining why my work is published under more than one pseudonym, especially as someone warned me to be careful I didn’t end up with a split personality!

But isn’t that all part of being a writer? There are plenty of authors writing both erotic romance and mainstream, whether it’s historical or contemporary. I like to think of Toni Sands as the side of me that slinks around in a black satin negligee while sipping a cocktail. Jill Barry’s the one snuggling up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate. I don’t intend to make Jill sound less interesting. It’s just that a Jill Barry book doesn’t require you to keep a fire extinguisher handy while you read it.

So how did Toni arrive? My real surname is fairly uncommon and at the time, Fifty Shades hadn’t hit the headlines and there was still a ‘nudge, nudge wink, wink’ element involved in admitting to writing erotica. It didn’t matter that I wrote erotic romance, involving happy endings, because many people believed and still believe anything ‘hot’ is of the same ilk. Oh and, erm, I have a son in his thirties …

I’m here to say that erotic romance is often not that dissimilar to the romance being written by authors whose books aren’t designated erotic. Such books often contain explicit sex scenes and are definitely HOT. Nothing wrong with that: I’m referring to the crossover that exists. Most Toni Sands’ stories contain explicit scenes but there’s also much sexual tension. Anticipation plays a great part in my work and it’s great to write. We all expect the two main characters of a romantic story to drift into the sunset together. It’s what happens along the way that keeps us turning the pages.

Has Jill Barry kicked Toni Sands into touch? Not at all! I’m proud of my publication record with Xcite Books and have two more novellas currently awaiting approval.

Jill Barry arrived after I completed Sally Quilford’s brilliant online pocket novel writing course. I found creating ‘sweet romance’ equally as rewarding as writing ‘hot romance’ but had concerns about possible publication under Toni’s name. I took advice from a few friends who know about these things and all agreed I needed another name and preferably one with a surname not too far down the alphabet. So I stole my elder niece’s forename and used my hometown to complete the pseudonym.

D C Thomson accepted my WW2 pocket novel and there’s another one, set in the 1960s and which I’ve recently revised and am crossing fingers for. Endeavour Press accepted my contemporary romance, with the theme of finding love second time around plus coping with the changing needs of a young child and elderly mother. I’m thrilled with the progress of A Life Less Lonely and as I write, investigating the possibly of launching it as Print on Demand.

Whichever name I use, I love writing and striving to create both an interesting story and a set of characters to remember.

Book Link

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Life-Less-Lonely-ebook/dp/B00EUF3XCS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1380204168&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Life+Less+Lonely

Jill Barry author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jill-Barry/e/B00FE0GQJ0/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

You can follow Jill on Twitter @barry_jill and follow Sandra/Toni @tonisands