Welcome and thanks for treading the boards with us today!
Hi Susanne and mega congrats on your January release of WHITE GINGER. Hope it sells a squillion. LOVE THE COVER!! [Thanks! Pretty hot. J]
Anyway, it’s great to be here, thanks for the invite and a big wave to all.
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
Great question. Most of the time I find it’s the places and experiences that colour my first scene. Then the people do the quirky bits :)
For me that’s why writing and travel go together so well. Always a perfect excuse for a trip, so I tell my husband, but new places really do make the ideas bubble so stories from new places are the perfect union of my two loves – writing and travel. [It really is true. Perhaps we’re more ‘awake’ to the possibilities when travelling?]
2. Please share one of your favourite moments of inspiration with us.
Not a travel story, but years ago, in the winter in front of the fire, it was four in the morning, all kids and husband asleep, and I was writing a scene where my heroine falls down a slope inside a cave after a helicopter crash. The hero had claustrophobia and had to save her. I can still remember the cold and dark of that scene and I lifted my head two hours later after such an intense experience. I remind myself of that moment when the muse is elusive.
3. How did you come up with the idea of Delivering Love. Your first book title?
Titles are funny things with Harlequin. Authors don’t always have much say in them because marketing decides what’s going to sell.
With my first book I got lucky. It was the story of a midwife and I loved the idea of the use of “Delivering” because midwives ‘catch babies’ and ‘doctors deliver’ them. So she “delivered” him love and he learnt the difference.
Funnily enough, the only other title accepted out of twenty eight books is Delivering Secrets for a romance I wrote with suspense elements, and that amused me because I offered that title tongue in cheek, thinking I’d never get another title through that my editor liked. I don’t even offer them now. [Interesting how this aspect is handled by some publishers, and it’s a deciding factor in purchasing for many readers – more of that in another blog]
4. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
Spur of the moment I’m afraid. Which is probably why I might change them a few times through writing the book. I often fall in love with a name - think that would be great for novel - and then forget it. Must learn to write them down. But when I start a book it’s sheer pot luck, though usually with Scottish elements because my mum was Scottish.
5. What is your favorite holiday?
I think I’m a cruise girl. I just love the idea of unpacking once, yet seeing a new place every day. And I like to dress up for dinner. I enjoy ‘glamping ‘ too. That’s camping with all the mod cons - so at the very least a powered site and lots of appliances. :) [‘Glamping’ I could handle. And I love dressing for dinner – one day, I’m going to take a cruise so I can!]
6. Do you read reviews of your books?
Yes, if I find them J and I listen if someone really hates something, though, if I then see a response that someone else loved it, I let it go. But I would rather a critical review than none so I can learn.
What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one? Nobody likes being told their baby is ugly :) but I will survive. It’s one person’s opinion and I usually see who else they hated. That’s enlightening.
7. How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
It took ten years for me to finish a book after lots of partials. All the partials were rejected. The first full book was accepted. So finish the book. :)
8. What reason(s) did the publishers give for their rejection of your manuscript?
Lack of emotional intensity - I don’t know my characters enough until I know where they are going - perversely I’ve learnt to LOVE the last tweaks now that make the book sing, so for me, again, finish the book.
9. Who is your literary hero?
Can I have two? Georgette Heyer and Diana Gabaldon
10. 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?
My mum. Because she was so wise and such a beautiful person. I have so much I’d like to ask her.
11. What is your favorite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?
Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon. I could read that over and over. The time travel aspects ring so true. One day I will write a Time Travel Midwife Saga. [Excellent - can’t wait for that one, Fiona!]
12. What do you need to set the mood for you to write?
A private space, if I want to get a lot done, in an uncluttered room would be nice, but I’m dreaming. Somewhere without intrusive noises, haven’t mastered the art of writing to music, though music inspires me, and I wish I could write while I drive because the best breakthroughs happen then. [Hands free voice recognition device?]
13. 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?
My Time Travel Midwife.
14. What are you working on now?
Can you believe that someone is going to have a baby on the Orient Express between Venice and London! Imagine. Heh heh. Did I mention travel inspires me? And thank goodness it’s tax deductible because when Alison Roberts and I made the trip (her bucket list) it hurt the bank balance! The exciting news is we’re both writing linked stories that will be published together. [Do you think you can get ‘Delivering’ into this title? And how cool to have linked stories – can’t wait!]
15. Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing ?
How about from my A Doctor, A Fling, And a Wedding Ring, which came out in December, and was inspired by a Mediterranean cruise. I really wanted cruise ship on the cover, but the cover girl is lovely.
Blurb - A Doctor At Sea- Escaping the African plains for a luxury cruise liner, romance couldn’t be further from Dr Tara McWilliam’s emotionally scarred mind – even if gorgeous cocktail waiter Nick Fender leaves her shaken and stirred! Nick’s the ultimate goodtime guy but he’s hiding demons – and a medical degree – of his own. Soon neither is sure how their holiday fling spun so out of control…
And here’s the link to the excerpt. Xx Fi
My next book out in March is Nick’s sister’s story, THE PRINCE WHO CHARMED HER, and they’ve even given me a cruise ship cover. Woohoo. [I hope you put that up on your study wall! – more inspiration – a cruise series, perhaps? J]
I’m on the look out for new holiday adventures so if anyone has a holiday tale they’d love to share please do. Susanne will pick a random post and if someone would like to ‘go on a cruise’ with me, I’m happy to send out those two books. [Thanks, Fiona. Get writing everyone, and share your holiday story for a chance to win two of Fiona’s gorgeous books.]
Thanks for having me, love Fi
Find me at fionamcarthurauthor.com