Welcome 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?
I think I am inspired most by emotional experiences. Pain, embarrassment, joy, despair. Those moments that imprint themselves on your memory, those are often the things that get stories going. Of course, those moments usually involve people and are always somewhere, so I guess it’s all three!
2. How did you come up with the idea of Rules are for Breaking?
Rules are for Breaking grew out of musing on how we sometimes get in our own way without realising it. We tend to think that our decisions are logical and our actions perfectly reasonable. But often we are influenced by our past experiences in ways that we aren’t aware of until someone points it out to us. In this modern world, where we often date a lot of people before we settle down, I got to wondering how that might affect our love lives…
3. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
I’m very picky about names! I like to know the names of at least the main characters before I get too far in to the story. Generally I get them by writing a scene of dialogue and waiting until someone calls them by name. Goodness that sounds odd when I write it down, but that is often how it happens! Having said that, I am very open to changing a name if it isn’t quite right. I know when I have the right one, because I start thinking of them not as a character I’m creating so much as a person that I know. If I’m stuck, I like to watch the credits on TV shows for inspiration. One day I might make the chief grip on CSI (or something) famous! J
4. Who would you cast for a movie/TV series as your main characters if given the chance?
If David Boreanaz had blue eyes, he would be a pretty perfect match for Declan, my hero. Jo, my heroine, is interesting. I originally based her look a little bit on a woman I know, but I’ve been influenced by my gorgeous Destiny cover and now I think of her differently! She’s sort of settled in my mind now as being something like Anne Hathaway with her pixie crop.
I love AH’s pixie crop.
5. Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one?
Yes! Although I know people say you shouldn’t, I do read reviews. It’s too new and rare a sensation for me not to! J I’ve been lucky so far. I haven’t had any horrid ones. Certainly, people have found things they thought could have been better, but since they’ve expressed themselves politely and fairly, I can’t complain. I don’t want to, in fact. As a reader, I have always found intelligent and balanced reviews incredibly valuable and as writer it’s the same. I’m very grateful to anyone who takes the time to do a thoughtful review of my work and if there are things they found lacking, it just fires me up to do better next time.
6. How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
Twice. Three times if you count the time I never heard back at all. But that doesn’t count all the times that manuscripts were entered into competitions and didn’t make the cut… J
Competition feedback is helpful though.
7. What reason(s) did the publishers give for their rejection of your manuscript?
Reading both on and between the lines, my biggest problem was pacing. And that was because I didn’t have a good enough handle on the ‘spine’ of the story. I could write description and dialogue and characters and my internal conflict was good (my characters seem to step into my mind with Louis Vuitton steamer trunks of baggage already in place) but I didn’t understand external story structure well enough. I hope I’m better at it now!
8. 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’d love to meet Shakespeare. Just to see what he was really like and to find out once and for all whether he wrote those plays! (Just realised that this answer is kind of appropriate given the name of the post, but I swear it wasn’t deliberate! J)
And now you know who one of my literary heroes is since his works inspired my blog title.
9. What do you need to set the mood for you to write?
I wish the answer to this was a gorgeous setting and flowers on my desk and a clear day of nothing but writing to look forward to. But that isn’t my reality and frankly it would probably scare me a little if it were. Real answer? A deadline!
10. 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’d like to write for children. I have a brain that teems with ideas for picture books and early readers, but I’m trying to get good at one thing at a time!
11. How many blurbs did you have to write before the final one?
The blurb that’s on my book was written by my publisher (bless them) but before that, when I was editing, submitting to competitions, doing workshops and otherwise learning what I didn’t know about this business, I must have written it at least a hundred times. At least. Blurb writing is a great way to find out what your story is really about. And whether or not you know what it’s about!
12. What are you working on now?
I’m working on a prequel to Rules are for Breaking, tentatively titled Playing by the Rules, which tells the story of Kate and Josh, Jo’s best friend and brother respectively. I actually wrote that story first, but it needs re-writing (in the light of things I’ve learned since) so that’s what I’m doing now. I’m really enjoying revisiting these two now that I know more about written storytelling.
I’m also in the final stages of a quite different, longer book, not a romance (although there is a hunky cop in it, who my heroine likes a lot). I think of it as a girly thriller. It’s tense and (I hope) scary in places, but it’s also funny (again, I hope!) and all about women and how they help each other when the going gets tough.
13. Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing or a photo or music link that inspires you?
This is an excerpt from Rules are for Breaking. It’s Declan and Jo’s first kiss, after she has been resisting even being attracted to him for a long time…
This was no ordinary kiss.
She’d had kisses before. Exciting kisses, tender kisses, spine-tinglingly arousing kisses – as well as more than her fair share of inept, overbearing and sloppy kisses – but never one like this.
This was the kind of kiss that makes clouds part and rays stream down from heaven like a blessing, bathing the kissers in such brilliant light that, beside them, everything else looks flat and grey.
This was the kind of kiss that made full symphony orchestras abandon their opera singers, desert their ballet dancers, and set up in the street to provide an appropriate soundtrack. And not ordinary orchestras, either, but the kind that come complete with a bevy of backing singers, shaking their sequin-clad booties in time to the swelling strings and shoop-shooping as though their lives depended on it.
This kiss was a revelation.
That is some kiss!
14. Please share your favourite cocktail recipe or celebration photo.
Ah, now you’re talking! I love cocktails and have many favourites. The one I order most often is a Martini with a twist of lemon (instead of an olive) – partly because I like to see how the different places make it.
But if I’m making it at home, my all-time favourite is a Rusty Nail. Two parts scotch to one part Drambuie, poured over block ice in an old-fashioned glass. Bliss. Unfortunately, since my other half has taken to expensive single malts, we don’t have any mixable scotch in the house, so I haven’t had one in ages. Must get to the bottle shop!
We are definitely soul sisters in the matter of good taste! I love both, though I tend to keep them separate! LOL. Thanks for sharing, Imelda! And I look forward to Playing by the Rules.