Welcome and thanks for treading the boards with us today, Erin!
Thank you, Sue. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
It’s a combination of all three. Quite often I will be somewhere or witness something and a plot or scene will pop into my head. It can even be a song.
Please share one of your favourite moments of inspiration with us.
A couple of years ago my mother had a stroke and while I was visiting her in the hospital, I was suddenly hit with the compulsion to write my parents’ love story. My siblings and I know it off by heart but while I was sitting there, I asked both my parents to tell me the story again. I ended up scribbling about five thousand words that afternoon and went home and wrote the whole story over the weekend.
How did you come up with the idea of The Knight of Castle Kildare?
As a teenager I loved a TV series called, The Ghost and Mrs Muir. I’d been thinking about something similar for a while, although I wanted to write about a young couple and the hero couldn’t be a ghost, he had to be real or I had to find a way to make him real. It also had to have a real romance and happy ending.
(I love that show, and the old Rex Harrison movie is also delightful)
How do you come up with your characters’ names?
Most of the time my hero and heroine’s names leap into my head. My characters just suit a particular name. Although I have been in the situation where I’ve written three or four chapters and had to stop, as the name is not right. I can’t go on until I have the right name. I trawl baby name sites or Google a particular country for its unique names. Caleb and Miles came straight to me. Kate had three name changes before I was happy with her. Recently I went on Facebook and asked for help for a character in my suspense series. I still haven’t found it. He’s a tough guy with a secret past. He is also an Inspector with the Australian Federal Police. I love Gibbs as a surname, but can I find his first name. Not yet.
(Any suggestions gratefully received in comments! Kevin—as in Spacey?)
Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one?
Yes, I do read reviews and so far I’m very happy with what is being said about The Knight of Castle Kildare. However, recently I received a review on Good Reads for An Irish Rose, which is the story based on my parents’ romance and set in 1959. I might add here my Irish mother was very naïve and sheltered when she came to Australia as a chaperone to her younger cousin. Also mum used to come out with some very funny things. Hilarious in fact.
I can accept a reader might not like my writing and that’s fine, but to say the story didn’t ring true for that era got to me. I had to reply, nicely of course.
How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
Actually, I sent The Knight of Castle Kildare to Destiny Romance and a week later the Commissioning Editor rang to say she wanted to publish it. Before that I’d sent The Italian Connection to maybe ten publishers without success.
What reason(s) did the publishers give for their rejection of your manuscript? Most said it had potential but wasn’t what they were looking for at that time. One publisher did offer me a contract but then I did some research and they didn’t have a good name, so I knocked them back.
What is your favourite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?
That’s making me think. Probably Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens. I read it every year. It is a regency romance and has everything I love in a book.
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?
I would love to write a Regency Romance with a touch of suspense and humour. I absolutely love reading them but as yet haven’t attempted one.
If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? And why?
I love all my heroes. If I had to choose, it’s a toss up between three of my heroes in my suspense series.
(I reckon Talos would get my vote ;) )
What are you working on now?
At the moment I’m working on the sequel to The Kalista Diamond, which is a romantic suspense series set around six ex-SAS soldiers.
Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing or a photo or music link that inspires you?
Sure. I’ll give you an excerpt from The Knight of Castle Kildare.
Sir Caleb Sinclair, Knight of Castle Kildare stood frozen as the fine boned female with her sinfully glorious body and startling blue eyes prowled about his bedchamber, calling softly for a non-existent cat. Caleb watched her drop to all fours and look under the bed, her shapely backside clearly defined in the tight breeches she favoured. Sneezing, she sat back on her heels, flicked hair the colour of spun gold out of her eyes and frowned.
“Where are you, puss?”
Caleb narrowed his eyes. Mistress Katrina may have succeeded where all others failed, but only because I wish it. I can end that at any time.
He observed as the stunning woman stood, placed her small hands on shapely hips and slowly turned in a circle, surveying his bedchamber. Her gaze came back to him.
“Just so you know, I intend to get rid of this shabby carpet, then I’ll have the window panes replaced and the walls repaired.” She strolled toward him and reached up, her hand coming to rest on his chest. “I’ll keep the bed, and you my handsome knight. I’ll keep you.”
The familiar prickling at the touch of her hand reminded Caleb it was the only reason he tolerated the numerous tradesmen tramping throughout his castle as she’d directed them to rebuild and repair anything and everything. That and my growing fascination with you, little nymph.
Her other hand came to rest on his chest. “Oh, and in case you’re wondering why I’m doing this”--she smiled sweetly--“I’ve decided to make this suite mine.”
WHAT! –– Over my dead body. The absurdity of his thoughts wasn’t lost on him, but he’d be damned if he’d let her get away with this. I should scare the living daylights out of her and reclaim my castle.
“I’ll do up the bathroom, get new carpet and…” She stretched another inch and closing her eyes, touched her lips to his. As she drew back she blinked several times then smiled and danced across to the bed, scrambled up and bounced several times. “I’ll turn the old dressing room into a walk-in-robe and the outer room can be a sitting area. We don’t require separate boudoirs, do we, Caleb?” She winked at him. “You’re my dream lover anyway, so what do you say. Want to come out and play with me?”
Still reeling from the feather soft tingling touch of her lips, Caleb stepped out of the portrait, contemplating exactly what he’d like to do with her. He was half way across the chamber when he realised she was backing away, her eyes wide, her mouth open, her face draining of colour.
“What’s wrong, little one? I thought you said you weren’t scared of me?”
Her hand came up as if to ward him off. But that’s impossible. She can’t see me.
Her ear-piercing scream nearly deafened him. Or can she?
The wench screamed again, leapt sideways and fell awkwardly, a dull clunk sounding as her head connected with the bedside table.
Without thought, Caleb lunged for her, momentarily forgetting he didn’t have the ability to break her fall. Below stairs a door slammed. Caleb fell to his knees and gazed upon his beautiful nemesis as she lay staring at him. Anguish he’d not known in five centuries consumed him.
“Are you hurt?”
Her lips parted but no sound came. Caleb brushed her cheek with his fingers, finding her skin as soft as a newborn lamb. Her breath caught. He ran his hands over her silken head until she flinched.
“I’m not surprised it hurts. You have a large bump on the back of your head.” Picking up a long golden lock, he drew his fingers through it, revelling in its rich silkiness. His gaze fell on her soft pink lips then rose to her startling blue eyes. “I’ve never beheld such beauty.”
She drew in a breath, her chest rising. “I’ve knocked myself out, haven’t I? You’re an hallucination?”
(I love their first ‘real’ meeting! Such a gorgeous twist on the Sleeping Beauty!)
Please share your favourite cocktail recipe.
I love Brandy Alexanders, so I’ll give you that recipe.
30ml of Crème de cacao
30ml of Brandy
60ml of lite cream
1 cup of crushed ice
Shake in cocktail mixer then garnish with nutmeg or grated chocolate. Delicious.
Note: My two sisters like it a little less potent. They prefer 15ml of brandy and 15ml of Crème de cacao. It’s a personal choice.