Welcome, Erin, and thanks for treading the boards with us today!
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
Quite often I find myself inspired by people. Their unique personalities spark potential characters in my mind, and they don’t always fit the current manuscript so I do a little ‘snapshot’ of them and write it down for later use.
2. Please share one of your favourite moments of inspiration with us.
Contrary to the previous question, one of my favourite ‘moments’ was via a song that came on the radio. The lyrics seemed to spell out exactly what I needed to do for a story. It was great.
3. How did you come up with the idea of Christmas Eve at Etford Park?
Quite simply, my publisher had wanted a Christmas romance so I brainstormed ideas and plots until I had a scene pop into my head where the heroine was wrestling a chicken...it’s a long story..lol.
[I love that scene—it’s so funny! If you haven’t yet read Erin’s book, you’re in for a real treat.]
4. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
Basically, the internet. I try to be faithful to names belonging to the period I’m writing in. I usually select names I haven’t used before – even for minor characters – and ones that are a bit unique. Sometimes I also get an idea in my head of how a character looks and acts, so now and then a name I had chosen may not suit and I need to pick a better one.
5. Who would you cast for a movie/TV series as your main characters if given the chance?
Hmmm...For Christmas Eve at Etford Park, definitely Richard Armitage as Gabriel and Kate Winslet as Lily. [I loved Christmas at Etford Park and can see these two—absolutely!]
6. If you could pick a soundtrack to match your main character’s life, what would it be?
“Better Man” by Robbie Williams. [Another RW fan! May I say, you have excellent taste in music!]
7. What is your favorite holiday?
I’m hoping it will be when I go to the UK this year.
8. Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one?
I do read most of them and look forward to the different responses from readers. Getting a ‘bad’ review depends on the type of review. No one likes bad news, but if the reader has a genuine reason they couldn’t connect with your work then I also like to know. Just remember, bottom line is that you can’t please everyone, so try not to take poor reviews to heart.
[Excellent advice for those of us beginning our journeys as published authors this year.]
9. How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
10. What reason(s) did the publishers give for their rejection of your manuscript?
I was fortunate as I got a ‘good rejection’. I was told I had made a lot of ‘beginner mistakes’, but they loved the story. The editor said they didn’t do the line I was aiming at, but took the time to critique a whole chapter and gave me direction. Although they didn’t take the book, I was eternally grateful for her help.
11. Who is your literary hero?
Julie Garwood. She is my favourite author.
12. Who do you most admire and why? OR If you could meet anyone and spend an hour with them alive or dead who and why?
I would have liked to meet Georgette Heyer. She sounds like an amazing lady.
[Me too—love her books. My favourite is Devil’s Cub. I love a feisty heroine like Mary Challenor. Tell us who is your favourite?]
13. What is your favorite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?
Ransom – Julie Garwood.
14. What do you need to set the mood for you to write?
The mood...lol. But, seriously there is nothing worse than trying to pry words from my fingers when I’m not in the mood to write.
15. 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?
Sci-fi/fantasy. I was once dared to write a time travel – which I did – and it’s one of my favourite books.
[Now I want to read it!]
16. How many blurbs did you have to write before the final one?
Ergh, not fond of writing blurbs. I much rather enjoy writing a synopsis. I’d usually have to draft about four attempts before settling on one blurb.
17. If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? And why?
I would bring a character called Edward to life. He’s a nasty piece from one of my current works-in-progress. He is gorgeous, conniving, cruel, witty, malicious and completely unredeemable. I’d like to buy him a drink and bring him down a peg or two.
18. What are you working on now?
In truth? Six novels. However, my priority is a rewrite of a previously published book which will be book one in a new trilogy I am releasing next year (can’t release the name yet).
19. Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing or a photo or music link that inspires you?
This is an extract from another previously published book, which will be re-released through another publisher shortly. It’s called ‘Fire of My Heart’....
Ellen placed the pot back on its shelf, only to have the fragile display give way. The precious antique crashed to the floor along with several others.
“Oh, crap!” Pieces of porcelain scattered about the room, dry soil clouded the air. She
coughed and waved the heavy dust away from her face. “Michael’s going to kill me.”
She tucked a long lock of hair behind her ear, bent down and began the task of picking up the pieces. With a heavy sigh of impending doom, she calculated the possible replacement cost of the precious heirlooms, according to the last antiques show she’d seen on television. Good grief.
Perhaps her cousin wouldn’t be too hard on her. After all, they were related.
Boy, was that pushing the whole ‘blood is thicker than water’ thing. On her knees, she gathered the last of the large fragments and was about to stand up when she noticed a pair of worn brown boots close beside her.
That was odd. She hadn’t seen them there before. They must belong to someone, maybe a gardener. She looked up, and her mouth dropped open.
Someone was standing inside them.
The pottery fragments slipped from her fingers, and the sharp crunch of porcelain on stone shattered the silence, caused her to wince.
“Shit,” escaped her lips before she could stop it. Nice one. Above the boots were two sturdy, muscular looking legs in old-fashioned suede breeches. She brushed the dirt from her hands onto her jeans and stood. The broken pot could wait. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there Mister....um…”
As she raked long curly strands of hair from her face, his linen-clad chest came into view. God, he was tall. Must be six-foot-four at least, maybe more. A tilt of her chin, and her breath caught.
Staring down at her were the most incredible emerald green eyes. Vibrant. Breathtaking. They mesmerized her, made her forget all about the trail of destruction strewn across the conservatory floor.
“You are not Kathleen.” The incredible vision spoke in a deep, masculine voice that shook her from her blissful daze.
With almost painstaking effort, she forced her attention from his eyes, and her gaze landed on his lips. They were full, determined and far too distracting.
For heaven’s sake. Don’t just stand there gawking, say something! Something clever, sophisticated… “I broke a pot.”
20. Please share your favourite cocktail recipe or celebration photo.
Homemade Irish Cream
600ml Fresh cream
250ml Irish whiskey
1 can condensed milk
1level tsp coffee powder (dissolved in a tbsp hot water first)
3-4 drops coconut essence
Place all ingredients into a jug and whisk gently until well mixed. (You can adjust each item to taste.) Strain mix into glass bottles and store in the fridge.
Thanks for taking the stage today, Erin. And your Irish Cream recipe? I made it and it’s delicious!
Leave Erin a comment. Or share your favourite Georgette Heyer novel. Or just say hi!