It had to happen one day!
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing? Faraway places, just as in that old 50’s song. I’ve been on quite a few overseas trips with my husband, and several included our children. Our style of travel is ‘independent’ so we tend to find out-of-the-way places along the road to wherever. I soak in the atmosphere and often there it is, that first meeting between h/h.
2. Please share one of your favourite moments of inspiration with us. An abandoned red brick building glimpsed from a Melbourne tram. (Well, it’s far from home in Queensland!) We were madly trying to come up with enough change to buy our tickets and, while my husband rifled through his pockets, I looked out as the tram glided past a faded red building. Merger in Melbourne was born!
3. How did you come up with the idea of White Ginger? Seriously? Hubby was off climbing in Nepal. We’d had a couple of chats on Google, very slow given the poor internet connection on the way up to the Everest region. He was talking about snow, I countered with heat and began dreaming of Hawaiian beaches. White Ginger was the result. However, I also have a half written story set in Nepal, which I visited with my husband many years ago. I’ll send him back to finish the research for me! (I hate being cold.)
4. How do you come up with your characters’ names? Arne in White Ginger is Keanu. His little sister just couldn’t say his full name when she was small; you know how kids shorten names? That’s how Arne came about? And Amelie – just felt right. She has a French grandmother and I do seem to incline towards names beginning with ‘A’.
5. Who would you cast for a movie/TV series as your main characters if given the chance? (**grins**) I had a lovely time checking out suggestions made on an early blog visit and posting them to my Pinterest board for this novel. http://pinterest.com/susannebellamy/white-ginger-a-romance/ My choice would be Keanu Reeve with Drew Barrymore as Amelie.
6. If you could pick a soundtrack to match your main character’s life, what would it be? Il Divo! I listened to “The Man You Love” umpteen times when I was writing the wedding scene. And Etta James’s “At Last”; it took Amelie and Arne a while to accept they are a couple.
7. What is your favourite holiday? It could be almost anywhere so long as I get time to read, taste local specialties, drink plenty of good wine (or Limoncello J) and…okay, you’ve got me. I want to go back to Italy, see more of the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany, and this time I want to see the real David in all his glory. Each time we’ve been to Paris there has been a general strike so we still haven’t seen the Musee d’Orsay, and the same happened in Florence! Strikes—stay away!
8. Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one? I do read them and so far, they’ve been nice and even great! However, one reviewer commented on “grammatical challenges” in my work. Given her review ‘style’, it was clear she didn’t understand rules of grammar so I just glossed over that bit. You have to remember that reviewers aren’t editors.
9. How many times were you turned down before you finally got published? Once, by HMB who took forever to get back to me.
10. Who is your literary hero? Given the title of this blog page—Shakespeare! How well have his stories stood the test of time; consider the many incarnations of plays such as Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet. He knew how to throw pebbles, rocks and boulders at his characters!
11. Who do you most admire and why? OR If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, and spend an hour with them, who and why? Aung San Suu Kyi. Her dedication to her country and her cause, like Nelson Mandela, inspires me to hope. Walking the walk you could say. If you’ve seen Cloud Atlas, the Korean clone server has many of these qualities. I’ve actually wondered if David Mitchell based this character on Aung San Suu Kyi.
12. What is your favourite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time? The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. But I also love Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern series, especially The White Dragon. I dip into them every couple of years or so, speaking of which …
13. What do you need to set the mood for you to write? A calm frame of mind which is difficult to achieve when my day job stretches into the night, and the weekend. Roll on holiday and a few precious hours of unclaimed time to write!
14. If there is one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing a book in that specific genre, what would it be? An historical set around WW2. I have an outline in my head. One day…
15. How many blurbs did you have to write before the final one? Hahahahaha… I lost count. Blurb writing is a nascent skill for me. Will I ever master it? Maybe that could be a hands-on workshop at an RWA conference.
16. If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? And why? Well, Alejandro in Her Spanish Flame is drawn from Carlos Marin of Il Divo (**sigh**). His voice does things to me, but he actually exists so that probably doesn’t count? I think I’ll animate Arne from White Ginger; he’s a natural protector, a smooth dancer, and gorgeous, standing like a young Hawaiian god on the deck of his boat—whew, why is it so hot in here?
17. What are you working on now? Merger in Melbourne is slowly coming together (only for lack of time to write) I love this story about a building, an Irishman and a history that binds two people.
18. Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing or a photo or music link that inspires you? This is from White Ginger.
Amelie’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Stay there.” Flicking over to a new page, her pencil flew across the paper. Her tongue poked out as she paused to contemplate his face anew, then she looked down at her page again. After a while she sat back, a satisfied expression on her face.
“Are you going to show me?” he inquired. She looked teasingly up at him.
“I don’t think so.”
She jumped off the couch to return her drawing materials to the cupboard. Arne was quicker. He reached one arm around her slender waist from behind and grabbed the wrist holding the sketch book with the other hand. His gaze was caught by her sketch.
She was good, really good. She had captured more than he perhaps would have liked her to have seen in his face at this point in time, especially in his eyes. How perceptive she could be.
As his attention was engaged in contemplation of her drawing, Amelie twisted neatly out of his arm. “Oh, no you don’t!” he laughed, dropping her sketch pad on the table. “You’re not getting away that easily.”
She darted as swiftly as one of the tropical fish he had shown her on the video, her long hair flicking out as she changed direction, sure-footed and laughing. As she raced around the end of the couch, he leaped over the back of it, grabbing her out flung arm and pulling her in close. Her hands flew up to balance herself against his chest. “I think you owe me a modelling fee,” he grinned down at her.
“I don’t think I can afford to pay you,” she murmured, suddenly breathless. Long dark lashes swept down to her cheeks and slowly up. Sea-blue eyes met the deep brown of his.
“Then I’ll have to take my fee in kind.”
19. Please share your favourite cocktail recipe or celebration photo.
(My book launch at the Olive Branch)