Happy 3rd Birthday to us!

1st April is a special day for the Write Romantics. It’s our 3rd birthday!

When Jo Bartlett and I ‘met’ virtually through the Romantic Novelists’ Association and came up with the idea of blogging together, we were two unpublished writers who weren’t even ready to submit our manuscripts. We realised quite quickly that we were going to struggle to post regularly about our ‘not quite ready to explore being published’ status, so we invited a few more RNA members to join in. The Write Romantics grew from two to ten, dipped down to nine for a while, then went back up to ten again.

One of the fascinating aspects of this group of female writers (other than the fact that we have never all been in the same place at the same time (except virtually) and therefore haven’t all physically met yet), is that we were nearly all aspiring writers when we joined forces. Only one of the group had a publishing deal. Move forward three years and it’s a very different picture.

We thought this would be the perfect opportunity for the Write Romantics to tell you about their last three years.

Jessica xx

book14Jo Bartlett

Three years ago, I was unpublished and dreaming of one day walking into a bookshop and seeing my name on the cover of a novel on sale there. I’d just finished my debut novel and was sending it out to publishers… Fast forward three years and my novel, Among a Thousand Stars, has now been out for nine months with So Vain Books and I have my coveted paperback! I’ve also had two pocket novels published by DC Thomson, so I got to see my name on a book in WHSmiths on several occasions. Both novels were picked up by Ulverscroft, a third pocket novel has just gone in to DC Thomson and I have also had a short story published with them in The People’s Friend. In the second half of last year, I signed a women’s fiction four book deal with Accent Press, the first two books will be coming out in 2016 and the second two next year. AATS CoverIn October, I finished second in the WHSmiths/Kobo/Harlequin romance writing competition and I am currently working with an editor at the world’s most famous romance publishing house on something that will be a significant departure for me and hence is being written under another name. Most of this has happened in the past twelve months and I definitely don’t appreciate how far I’ve come in three years for the vast majority of the time. Seeing it all written down like this makes a big difference though and, for once, I feel like there’s something to celebrate. The WRs birthday is the perfect excuse!

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100% genuine *cough*

Sharon Booth

Gosh! Three years ago I wasn’t part of the Write Romantics. In fact, I hadn’t heard of them (sorry!) I started writing my first full-length novel in November of that year, for NaNoWriMo. I met Jessica and Alys in June of 2014, having connected with Alys on Romna, as we were members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. I had a half-baked, patchwork story called Angel in the Marble, and was convinced it was rubbish. Jessica and Alys persuaded me to work on it and submit it to the RNA. I did, and got very positive and encouraging feedback. That September, I was invited to join the Write Romantics This Other Eden ebook cover V4 (1)(yay!) and in November, we released a charity anthology, Winter Tales, which included my short story, The Other Side of Christmas. I got Angel in the Marble edited and proofread, changed its name to There Must Be An Angel, and it was published in March 2015. Now I’m on the brink of publishing my third full-length novel, This Other Eden, having also had a pocket novel published by DC Thomson, and another short story in print, this time for The People’s Friend. Things really started to happen for me when I met the Write Romantics, so I’m very grateful to be part of this lovely group.

Jackie Ladbury

conf 2014 12In April 2013 I was faffing around with at least three half written books on the go. I now have three fully written books and am still faffing around! Have decided to pitch three novels as airline series and am finally getting my act together with A Plan! (I think!) Was shortlisted for a Mills and Boon first chapter competition and that complete novel is now part of The Plan. Am considering self-publishing another novel, but thinking about it makes me want to have a lie down, or take to the bottle. Could do that in reverse order I suppose!

my pic for blog postDeirdre Palmer

When we began, I was in the midst of submitting my novel, Remarkable Things, which has themes of motherhood, family relationships and later-life love. More revisions and another year on, I finally secured that elusive FINAL FINAL COVER with taglinecontract, and the book was published by Crooked Cat. Meanwhile, I’d written a 1960s’ comedy drama called Dirty Weekend, which Crooked Cat also published, a few months after the first. An excellent year! Now I’ve just finished another novel and started on another, the sequel to Dirty Weekend. Looking back, I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved in the last three years 🙂

 

DSCN1701Lynne Pardoe

I had barely started my first novel three years ago when my mum became ill. Stuck for things to speak about mum and I talked about my plot, the more it took shape, the quicker I wrote it! That was eventually sold to D.C.Thompson and it came out in January 2015 as ‘Made for Each Other.’ Since then I self published ‘Please Adopt Me‘ on Amazon at first. Now I’m just waiting for my second to be edited and am well into my third! I’m loving having a cottage industry all to myself and so are my readers, judging by the quantity of good reviews I have!! 🙂

helen phiferHelen Phifer

Three years ago I’d been offered my first two book contract with Carina and I was busy working on the rewrites for my debut novel The Ghost House. Which was to be published in October. Now I’m in the middle of writing my sixth Annie Graham novel. Book five The Girls in the Woods was published in January and I have a paperback of The Ghost House on my shelf, plus I have a standalone horror story that will be published by Carina in September and Annie book six will be published around December 2016. I’m in the process of something very exciting for next year which will take me in a whole different direction as I’m working on a brand new crime series. Which I’ll share with you once it’s all finalised. All in all, I’m one very busy, extremely happy writer.

 

_MG_4982Jessica Redland

‪In April 2013, I was working on my debut novel, Searching for Steven. It had gone through the RNA’s NWS once and I was preparing to put it through the NWS for a second time later that year because I’d made significant changes to it. The idea of becoming published was a distant dream. Eighteen months later, I received two publishing deals and decided to go with a new UK-based publisher Screenshot 2015-12-16 18.08.14called So Vain Books. In June 2015, Searching for Steven was released. It’s the first book in a trilogy of romantic comedies with deeper issues set in a fictional North Yorkshire seaside town called Whitsborough Bay. The follow up, Getting Over Gary, was released last month
and the final part of the trilogy will be out in August this year. I’ve also released a novella, Raving About Rhys, which is set in the same town but with a different cast of characters. I have a deadline for submission of book 3 in about six weeks’ time then I get to write something new which is incredibly exciting. It’s been an amazing few years. Eek! Dreams really can come true 🙂

 

Author photo - Helen J RolfeHelen J Rolfe

Three years ago, I was getting ready to send my second attempt at a novel to the RNA NWS. As I was living in Australia this was always interesting at a cost of more than a hundred dollars plus an anxious wait to find out whether it had arrived in the UK safely. But it was so worth it! ‪Three years on and that novel, The Friendship Tree, was the first of three I have had published. I went on to indie publish Handle Me with Care and What Rosie Found Next  and I have another two novels already in the pipeline. ‪It’s been an interesting and busy time but a lot of fun. I’ve learnt so much about writing and the publishing industry and I’m hoping the next three years bring just as much success for all The Write Romantics!

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Handle Me with Care final front cover - for KDPWhat Rosie Found Next - bookcover - KDP version

 

 

 

 

 

photo (10)Rachael Thomas

In April 2013 I had just had my latest rejection and as usual was gutted. After the customary sulk, I began work on my next book, which I submitted to Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write competition in September 2013. That book made it to the Top 10 at the end of the year and Christmas 2013 saw me working on revisions which I submitted early in 2014 and within two weeks, I The Sheikh's Last Mistress-UK covergot ‘the call’. My debut, A Deal Before the Altar was published by Harlequin Mills and Boon in October 2014. Now three years on from the launch of The Write Romantics blog my sixth book, The Sheikh’s Last Mistress is about to be released. What is even more special, is that this book is a rewrite of the one rejected in April 2013, which just goes to show, nothing you write is ever wasted. Happy Birthday everyone!

Alys West Christmas 2015Alys West

Three years ago, I was working on the first book of an urban fantasy trilogy, Beltane. My dream was to secure an agent and I was thrilled in summer 2014 to be invited to London to meet an agent who wanted to represent me! Since then, Beltane has been published and I’ve been working on the rest of the series. I’ve also discovered a new passion for steampunk and wrote a story called The Dirigible King’s Daughter which I released on Wattpad. It’s been fascinating reading feedback from those who’ve followed the release of each chapter. The Dirigible King’s Daughter will be available on Amazon in the early summer. My novel writing is taking a bit of a back seat at the Beltane finalmoment because I’m studying towards a Masters in Creative Writing, but I’ll be back to it very soon.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up of the last three years. If you’re just starting your writing journey, or you’re submitting and dealing with rejections at the moment, please keep on believing in your work because, as you can see from our summaries, dreams really do come true xxx

 

 

 

 

 

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New York Dreams by Helen Phifer

Have you ever wanted to go somewhere so bad, but knew that you never would because you couldn’t afford it or it just wasn’t possible?

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I have since I was a child and learnt about the Statue of Liberty, I longed to go to New York. As I got older it was always in the back of my mind. Thanks to watching Ghostbusters numerous times I felt as if I knew the place pretty well already. I met Steve when I was eighteen and we did go on an amazing holiday to Hawaii, before we settled down. Then we bought a house, got married and our five children came along, so a day out in Blackpool was a luxury that we couldn’t really afford, but we would save up and take them so they never missed out. We did have one holiday abroad when the kids were very small, but it was such hard work that I swore to myself I would never go abroad again. At least not until the kids were old enough that they didn’t need nappies, buggies and more clothes than we could carry. Fast forward to nine years ago and I had five teenagers, we discovered Centreparcs which is perfect for our family, especially my son Jaimea who is severely disabled. We try and go there every year because we love it so much and now I have grandchildren to share it with. Gosh I feel old, however New York it isn’t and I still desperately wanted to go there. Jaimea needs round the clock care and we’ve never left him so before so I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t bitter about it because Jaimea is my world, but it’s hard knowing that you can’t do what everyone else is doing.

This year has been a tough one for my family, my two adorable grandsons decided that being born at 27 weeks was fine and Jaimea became seriously ill. He ended up in intensive care for longer than I care to remember. Thankfully he eventually got better and the twins were well enough after one heck of a fight to come home.

I was looking at my emails and found an invite from my publishers Harlequin to a Black & White Ball, to be held at…..you guessed it The Waldorf Astoria in New York. My heart filled with pride that I had even been sent such an invitation, but seconds later it sunk again. I knew I could never go, but being invited was almost as good I told myself. I printed the invitation out and stuck it to the front of my fridge, hoping it would give me some incentive to stick to a healthy eating plan in case I got another invite next year.

Later that day my daughter brought the twins to see me and read the invitation, she looked at me and said, ‘You have to go.’ I laughed and told her I’d very much love to go, but I didn’t even have a passport. She rang the passport office and made appointments for me and Steve to go to Liverpool the next day. We told ourselves we would get the passports then see about booking, the next day after a four hour wait we had our shiny, brand new passports in our hands. Then fellow write romantic Rachael who was also invited asked if I had my ESTA, my what? We drove home and I applied, within a minute we had our approval. I was terrified to book because as much as I wanted to go I was scared to leave Jaimea. We finally talked ourselves into it with the promise that if all was not well on the day we were supposed to travel then we wouldn’t go.

It was eight days until the ball and it was amazing how things fell into place. I even had a brand, new black dress that I’d never worn hanging in my wardrobe. It was as if it was meant to be, so we packed our bags and said our tearful goodbyes. I was only going for three nights but it seemed like forever, we needn’t have worried. Jaimea had the time of his life without us, my kids who are actually all adults now took care of him brilliantly.

When we arrived in New York I got a text telling me Jaimea was fine and to enjoy myself, which quite frankly I did. We packed everything in those three days that I’d ever dreamt about. The Statue of Liberty, The Top of the Rock, The Empire State Building, The American Natural History Museum, The One World Tower, we paid our respects at the 9/11 memorials. We saw Central Park, shopped on Fifth Avenue, visited Times Square – a lot and we would visit the summer bar outside the Rockerfeller Plaza each night and sip cocktails. We went to Grand Central Station, The New York Public Library and of course Cinderella went to the ball at the Waldorf, which was the hotel we were stopping in anyway. The ball was amazing, it was the kind of party I’ve always dreamt about since I was a teenager and as I sat there sipping my champagne I could not believe I was there, in the city that never sleeps. After dreaming about it for more than thirty five years, let me tell you something, it was even more amazing than I’d ever imagined. By the time we flew home we were exhausted, but I’ve never been so thankful or grateful that I was able to go. We arrived home to find our house was still standing, Jaimea was fabulous and I felt as if my spark for life had been reignited after all these years.

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The moral of this story is never give up on your dreams, even if you think there is no way on this earth you will achieve them because of the obstacles life puts in your way. If you want something bad enough you will find a way and when you do take the opportunity to have the time of your life.

Helen Phifer xx

Saturday Spotlight: Meet Rachel Brimble

Me & Nora 3 (1)

Today we’re delighted to welcome as our guest romantic fiction writer, Rachel Brimble (on the left in the photo, sharing a moment with her favourite author, Nora Roberts).

Rachel’s latest release, Her Hometown Redemption, the 5th book in her Templeton Cove series, was published on 1st September.  (Congratulations, Rachel!)  Find out more about Rachel’s books below.

Cover (1)Rachel lives near the city of Bath – an enviable place to live if ever there was one, although Rachel has her sights set on somewhere even more picturesque – Bourton-on-the-Water, in the Cotswolds.  Her writing career began with short stories.  Once her children were at school, she embarked on her first novel which was published in 2007. Since then, she’s had several books published with small presses as well as recently signing two book contracts with both Harlequin Superromance and Kensington. Represented by US agent, Dawn Dowdle, Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Romance Writers of America.

Wanting to know more, I asked Rachel some searching questions:

What’s your best time of the day for writing?

I am much more of a morning person for creativity, but I am lucky enough to write full time so I treat my writing as a job and work from 8.30am to 5.30pm (with an hour for lunch) five days a week.

Do you have a target number of words for the day?

My ideal target is 2,000 words but more often than not, I am writing one book, editing another and promoting another. Some days I’m lucky if I write 500 new words!

Do you need to know the end of the book you’re writing before you begin?

I have a rough idea – I tend to write a three to four page synopsis before I start writing so I have something to keep me on track. Having said that, my stories do tend to change and develop throughout the writing that means the final synopsis sometimes resembles nothing like the first.

Do you ever suffer from ‘writer’s block’ and, if so, how do you get over it?

For me, there’s only way to get over writer’s block and that is to write through it. I usually stumble and fall when I start a book and then again at the halfway point around 40,000 words. I’ve found if I just keep writing, eventually something gives and I know what I need to change or delete in the next draft for things to be stronger.

I notice that you live near the beautiful city of Bath.  Do you draw inspiration for your books from there?

All of my Victorian romances are set in and around Bath – how could I not take advantage of being so close to such a bourton-on-the-waterfascinating place? The buildings, the stories, the many famous people who’ve lived there all offer a great starting place for romance.

Your book covers are eye-catching.  How important do you think covers are, and how much input do you have with yours?

I have been very lucky with my covers so far! I have very little input and only get the opportunity to push forward a few ideas when completing the publishers’ art sheet. I often wonder where the end result came from, but generally, I’m always happy.

Writers are asked all the time where they get their ideas from.  How do you answer that question?

Anywhere and everywhere – a lot of my ideas come from news stories or a real event from history…even my own life. People tend to think writers sit around eavesdropping on their conversations, lift them and write about them. I definitely have never done that!

What’s your favourite kind of holiday?

Poolside somewhere hot where I can lay in the sun all day and read…

What’s your happiest childhood memory?

I have many but some of my best are going to work with my dad – he used to take me everywhere with him when I was young.

Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with?

Nora Roberts – my all-time favourite author.

What book do you wish you’d written?

I love ‘Gone with the Wind’ and would love to write a great, sweeping epic of a story one day. To juggle a huge timeline as well as a great cast of characters is something to be admired and I think Margaret Mitchell deserves a massive cheer from writers everywhere.

Tell us about your latest book and where we can find it.

My latest release is book 5 in my ongoing Templeton Cove series with Harlequin Superromance. All the stories can be read as stand-alone and are a mix of mainstream romance and/or romantic suspense.  Her Hometown Redemption is a reunion story between Templeton Cove residents Tanya Todd and Liam Browne – they are thrown back together as they search for the man who hurt Tanya’s sister years before…

She’s back to right her wrongs.

When Tanya Todd returns to Templeton Cove, she knows better than to expect a warm welcome. She burned a few bridges on her way out of town, and making amends won’t be easy. First on her list is the man whose heart she carelessly shattered, Liam Browne. Seeing the successful criminal lawyer after all these years, Tanya is interested in more than just Liam’s forgiveness. As they work together to bring the man who hurt her sister to justice, the attraction between them sizzles. Suddenly Tanya’s second chance could include a future with Liam…if she can prove she’s changed.

You can buy the book here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00Z71DPD6

https://amzn.com/B00SVP8AEO

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-hometown-redemption-rachel-brimble/1121122576?ean=9781460385876

And finally, what’s next for you, Rachel?

My next release will be my fourth Victorian romance with eKensington/Lyrical Press. Her One True Love is released March 2016 and is set in Bath and the nearby village of Biddestone.

Thanks Rachel, and once again, congratulations on your new book.  Best of luck for all those books to come, and I hope that one day you fulfil your Cotswold dream.

Deirdre

 

Helen Phifer and Rachael take New York

For months I’d been looking forward to going to New York for Romance Writers of America‘s 35th annual conference and even more so attending my first Harlequin party. I thought I’d be the only Write Romantic in New York, so was overjoyed when Helen announced, almost at the last minute, that she would also be in New York and at the party. Here’s our time in The Big Apple.

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For me, being in New York was all about connecting with other Harlequin authors, many of whom I’ve read for a long time. I also signed copies of my second and third books at RWA’s Literacy Signing, along with over 480 other authors and my place was next to Jodi Thomas, a RITA nominated author!

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It was a full on week, but I also managed to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing. I couldn’t possibly go all that way and not see something of such a wonderful place. Top of my list of places to go was Central Park. The book I’ve just finished writing was set in New York and a scene was written against the backdrop of Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, so I had to go there and check it out.

The highlight of the week was the Harlequin party and meeting up with Helen. Here we are all ready to dance the night away.

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Helen Phifer, Rachael Thomas, Chantelle Shaw and Bella Frances.

New York was an amazing experience and both Helen and I managed to see quite a bit of the famous city. We both made it to the 86th floor of The Empire State building and Helen went to the Top of the Rock, an observatory at the top of The Rockefeller Center. We also both saw The statue of Liberty, but Helen was lucky enough to get really close. I just saw the famous statue from a river cruise. Here’s a view shot I took from The Empire State Building.

Streets View of New York

 

There really are so many sights to see it just wouldn’t be possible to get round them all, not in one trip. Although I gave it a good shot! Which of New York’s iconic landmarks would you most like to see?

Reach for the Stars by Helen Phifer

The past few weeks I’ve been thinking, actually I’ve been thinking a lot because I haven’t had time to write with various family emergencies and long hospital visits. In fact I have very itchy fingers, for me not being able to write is the equivalent of depriving myself of chocolate, I can’t live without it and I can’t live without writing. It’s the most amazing feeling being able to lose yourself in a completely different world as any other writer will tell you, I love the excitement that writing about police officer Annie Graham brings into my everyday life. Although I’m quite relieved that I don’t have to do battle with the serial killers, ghosts and monsters that she does. My amazing readers have been telling me how much book four, The Lake House has been scaring them when Annie finds herself face to face with the creature that dwells in the cellar. In fact I’m relieved that I don’t have a cellar because it gave me nightmares writing about it, but to hear such brilliant feedback is truly amazing and I don’t think I will ever get over the excitement of hearing someone tell me how much they enjoyed a story that I wrote.

Whilst I was doing all this thinking I came up with lists, then lists about my lists. What I realised is that I want to take my writing career as far as it can go and to do this I would have to start stepping out of my comfort zone. I’m quite shy and not to keen on putting myself out there in front of crowds of people but I was offered the opportunity this year to take part in a literary festival where I was to be interviewed in front of an audience. I have to say that I was dreading it but I knew that it was something I would enjoy once I got over my initial nerves, unfortunately because of my son becoming very poorly I wasn’t able to go but I’m hoping to take part next year. I also have big plans next year to attend as many networking author events as possible, again something I’m not too keen on but it’s on one of my lists therefore I will force myself to do it.  Which brings me back to today, well last week actually I got an email from my publishers Harlequin inviting me to attend a ball they were hosting at The Waldorf Astoria in New York. I read that email and sighed, as if I could ever go to a ball especially in New York. I had a list of reasons why I couldn’t, I’m too fat, I’m too shy, I haven’t got a passport was actually the biggie, I haven’t flown for over twenty years, I can’t leave my kids (Who are all adults now as much as I hate to admit it) So I printed off the email and pinned it to my fridge hoping it would inspire me to actually stop eating chocolate and follow my Slimming World plan. Fast forward two days later and my eldest daughter came to visit, she read the invite on the fridge and said ‘You have to go.’ Just like that, I laughed and told her maybe next year. She then made me list why I couldn’t go this year so I told her and she told me they were just excuses, I could get a passport in fact she phoned up and booked appointments for both me and my husband to go to Liverpool to get one three days later. She also told me that there was no point putting it off because I might not get another chance to go. She even talked her dad into going and after a lot of debating and worrying it was finally decided we would. So I’ve started working on my list, the one that said network with other authors and I have to say that I’m thrilled to be finally fulfilling a twenty year old dream of going to New York for my first networking event this year. So reach for the stars my friends because you just might touch them and if you get the chance to do something exciting then go for it because as I’ve learnt this year more than anything life is short so live it.

Helen xx

Saturday Spotlight: Interview with Cherry Adair

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Our guest today is Cherry Adair, an award-winning and best-selling romantic fiction writer. Cherry is from South-Africa, but now lives in the Seattle where she has built her dream home and office.

I met Cherry Adair at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Sydney, 2014. She is an inspirational speaker and it is my pleasure to have her appear on the blog today to tell us more about herself and her writing.

Helen R 🙂

Welcome to our blog, Cherry. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming an author.

Long before I could read (or physically write, for that matter) I’d get pencil and paper and pretend to write a story. Then I’d ‘read’ the hieroglyphs to my mother. She was a very appreciative audience. I eventually learned how to write – although my handwriting still looks like hieroglyphics – and never looked back.

I sold my first book – The Mercenary to Harlequin Temptation in 1994.  I’d written 17 full manuscripts before I sold, all of which I shredded the day my contract from Harlequin arrived.  It was up for a RITA (It didn’t win but it was an awesome experience nevertheless) and I thought that was the start to a long and illustrious career. Instead it took me another five years to sell book two – a Single Title -Kiss and Tell. I now teach classes on how to write a Career Plan when you don’t have a Career! lol

Over the last decade-ish J I’ve carved a niche for myself with my sexy, sassy, fast-paced, action adventure novels which have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike. When people ask me- “What’s the book (any of my books. Lol) about?” My response is – “Running-chasing-attraction-shooting–wild-money-sex-running-shooting-more-wild-monkey-sex-running-chasing-shooting-happily-ever-after”.

I loathe writing first drafts. To me it’s like wading through wet cement, and it take me forever because there’s always something I’d rather be doing . Which is why I stopped writing the seat of my pants very early in my career and came up with my plotting by color method. Now the map of my story is easy to follow and relatively painless. Once that first draft is done, it’s another story. I can’t be torn away from my computer. I go back and layer and texture, polish, tweak, and fluff!

I’ve just completed book #42.

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You write Romantic Suspense…what made you choose this genre?

I think most readers – male as well as female- are the main protagonists in the books they read. We like to put ourselves into the skin of these characters so that we’re smart, sassy, and quick with the smart come-backs and one liners. We want to be the one having awesome wild monkey sex. Action-adventure romances are exciting and larger than life. I love putting my characters into situations fraught with danger, and let them wriggle out of it just in time to have awesome sex. LOL (I always know where they can take a shower beforehand – no matter where they are!) I enjoy writing exotic locales, and unusual places, so that they, too, become characters. I write what I love to read, with characters I’d enjoy knowing in real life.

I write T-FLAC, my counterterrorist organization because the safety of the world is a relevant topic in today’s climate. I’m fascinated by military personnel and what it requires for these true-life heroes to go out every day to make the world a safer place for the rest of us.

Do you have a personal favorite out of all the books / series you’ve written?

That’s like asking a mother which of her children is her favorite. Lol I don’t have a favorite book, but I do have favorite scenes from each of my books, and favorite characters. But if I had to pick my favorite book, it would be the one where I just typed The End.

Does your own life weave its way into your stories?

I have had some hair-raising experiences in my life so far, so some of them end up in my books, But I don’t like getting my hair wet, or wearing bad shoes, or not wearing make-up or hiking through a tropical rain forest. I don’t want people shooting at me (although I do have a bullet wound in my knee from a robbery gone bad. No, I wasn’t the robber!) I don’t do scaling mountains, or treasure hunting. I have traveled to many of the exotic locals in my books, but not all of them. I don’t like creepy-crawlies or not being anywhere near a shower or a flushing toilet! (And observant readers will  notice that my heroines don’t like the same things! )  But I LOVE reading and writing character who not only do all those things, they thrive doing them.

From research and first drafts, to edits and polishes, what’s your favourite part of the writing process and what’s your least favourite?

Least favorite is the first draft. I plot the book well, and I try to get that first draft written as quickly as possible. (that is to say, a little faster than a full stop! Lol)  I go at a snail’s pace, and it’s agonizing. Once the first draft is done, however, I love to layer and texture, adding all the things that make the character’s three dimensional, I love going in an refining the dialogue, adding descriptions, layering in more sexual tension, adding all the little bits of business that make my books my books.

What do you think the appeal is of books written in a series?

Readers connect with the world the author has built. Even if the same characters don’t move through all the books in a series, the reader knows that Universe.

I was lucky enough to meet you at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Sydney 2014. Do you enjoy speaking at events and motivating other writers / aspiring writers?

I LOVED that conference, and everyone I met there!! So, so much fun. I wish I could attend every year. I must start begging for an invitation again soon!

I love, love love teaching everything I’ve learned about writing over the years to other authors. It give me such a kick to see the OMG! look in someone’s eyes a second before their head goes down, and their fingers fly as they write or type at lightning speed. I know that whatever I just said resonated, and she’s no longer even in the same room, but off applying it to her own story, oblivious to everyone around her. I know what that feels like, and I want the writers/students in my classes, to have that ah-ha moment every time a teach the craft of writing.

Tell us about your online motivational group on Facebook: BICC.

I have a passion for mentoring other writers, particularly fledgling writers at every stage from rank beginners, to author’s with several books under their belts. So many people say they want to write a book, but they never sit their butts in the chair and actually write. Or they write the same three chapters over and over again, tweaking and polishing and changing a word here and there (sure, lady – that’s the EASY part! Lol) . Many of them enter every contest, get fabulous feedback on the same three chapters, year after year, after year…. but never finish the book. I gently, with great love, and very little sympathy (sure it’s hard, cupcake. But if you want it badly enough you’ll stop talking about it, and buckle down and put in the work.)  I motivate them to sit their as- butts in the chair and write, and finish the book! Lol I have an active  motivational group on Facebook called Butt In Chair Challenge   https://www.facebook.com/groups/ButtInChair/) for anyone who needs a weekly nudge.

They have to report in once a week with their anticipated word or page count, then come back the following week to let me know if they met their goal.  (threats and bribes are involved!) Sometimes all I need to do is show them a picture of a great high heel – I can motivate with graphics.)

I’ve kicked a LOT of butts over the years, and have dozens and dozens of published books filling the shelves in my office from people I’ve mentored. Proving that sitting one’s butt down and finishing the damn book pays off!

I don’t delude myself, I know I have very little, if anything, to do with their success. I think of myself as the magic feather Dumbo was given to help him to fly. J Everyone needs to be seen. We all want to be acknowledged. No one sits behind us as we type, saying “WOW! That sentence is amazing!” I don’t read my mentees (is that a word??! Lol) work. But I am always right there beside them mentally, encouraging them to keep going, urging them to finish this book, and start the next, propping them up when they get that rejection letter, encouraging them to keep submitting, keep writing, keep learning. I want to see them publish. I want their success. There’s plenty of room for all of us. I can’t wait to buy their book the second they tell me it’s available. Their success gives me enormous satisfaction and joy.

I bought your Writer’s Bible after you recommended it at the conference and I’ve found it irreplaceable when planning my next novel…what made you put the Writer’s Bible together?

I had no intention of sharing that with anyone! I have a 3-ring binder for each of my books. In them I have all my research, and my character profiles etc. It’s massive – usually a 6-10″ binder. Over the years I formed what I called my Bible for each book. In it I fill in the same questionnaire, asked the same questions, in the same order, and note details about each character with images to go along with their descriptions. This is my Master Document, and one I fill in for every single book. Sometimes it’s a pain in the butt to take the time to do this, but for me, it pays off a hundred fold. (this is another of my left brain- analytical- tools for myself, a right brain writer) My Writers’ Bible is my lifeline to everything about my characters, plus some things I keep tend to forgetting to do, or ask myself in every book! If I know something, and forget to do it, I need something to jog my memory.

Every time I do a writers workshop I would show people the Bible for  whichever book I was working on as an example of whatever the subject is for that particular class.

Everyone wanted it.

Oddly I was reluctant to share this with everyone. After all I’d taken 25 years to put this together, adding things over the years, refining it etc. For myself. Then I realized how selfish that was. If I say so myself 🙂 this is a fabulous tool, a great resource for fellow authors. I knew how well it worked for me (I can’t write a book without it) so it’s now for sale. This is not a book book. (although if someone must, it can be bought as such.) This is a template. Download it, save it as a template, then open and save into your current WIP before starting the new book.

Your books often feature a very sexy hero on the front cover…do you ever get to go on photo shoots and choose the best ‘fit’ for your book?

Occasionally I’ve attended one of the photo shoots. But more often than not the publisher and I discuss what I’d like to see on the cover, and they send me a contact sheet to choose the image I like best.

When writers start out they often have a makeshift workspace/study. I was no exception…my last writing area was in our walk-in-wardrobe! We’d love to hear about the amazing house you’ve built in Seattle and the study that you work in each day.

cherry3My office is right near the front door with a view of my front garden. I like to look at a blank wall when I write. No distractions. My walls are lined with bookshelves. I have thousands of my keepers filling the ceiling to floor, wall to wall shelves. I have a fireplace, and two comfortable easy chairs (one for each dog so they can keep watch outside in case a squirrel shows up.) My desk is L-shaped and I have my framed covers on the wall in front of me. Usually I don’t see anything around me while I write. It all disappears in a blur. lol

 

 

 

And finally, can you share anything with us about your work in progress?

cherry6I’m putting the finishing touches on PLOTTING BY COLOR (May 2015)A left brain tool for right brain writers. I’ve incorporated my love of color ( I used to be an Interior Designer) with what I’ve learned about plotting. This book will work well for plotters and those writers who like to write by the seat of their pants. It’s a map, a guide, to doing the left brain, analytical work up front so that when you’re ready to write the book you don’t have to stop to figure out your plot. It’s a way to keep each thread intact, from beginning to end, and not miss any pertinent information. It’s all there, and you can just be creative. I’m very proud of this book, and think it’ll help many, many writers to write faster, more tightly, and keep track of all the details.

My next releases will be GIDEON in March (a follow up to HUSH – See? He didn’t die! Lol) BLUSH, a Single title out in April, and PLOTTING BY COLOR in May. At the end of the year I’ll have three new Cutter Cay books out. cherry4

For more info on my books people can visit my website www.cherryadair.com. And for fun and daily shenanigans, come and play with me on https://www.facebook.com/CherryAdairAuthor and/or Twitter

https://twitter.com/CherryAdair
This was fun! Thanks for having me. 🙂

Cheers,

Cherry

 

Thank you for visiting our blog, Cherry! I hope to bump into you at another conference some day…

Entitled to Change a Title

“We were thinking about the titles of your trilogy. The second book is absolutely fine, but are you sure about the third title…?”

Eek! The email from my editor stopped me in my tracks. (Well, it would have done if I hadn’t already been sat down at my desk but you get the picture.) I knew that many writers had their titles changed by their publishers but, as there’d been no indication of changing any of mine, I thought I was “safe”. Until the email.

The Moon on a Stick‘Searching for Steven’ – the title for book 1 – materialised at the same time as the idea and I’ve lived with it for eleven years. It absolutely works and, thankfully, my publishers agree. I’d have struggled so much if somebody had asked me to change it.

‘Getting Over Gary’ – the title for book 2 – came to me a couple of years later. I knew I wanted the title to include alliteration and a man’s name so that the trilogy felt connected and this title suddenly popped into my head. The character Gary was called something different at the time but I had no qualms about changing his name and it’s clearly been the right move because I can’t remember what I called him originally! Thankfully, my publishers like that title too.

Book 3 remained nameless for a while. The story was less developed and I wasn’t as sure about the characters but, as the plot progressed, ‘Discovering David’ came to mind. It still had a man’s name in. It still had alliteration. But it was missing the middle word. I hmmm’d and haaa’d about it for ages but ‘Discovering ABOUT David’ didn’t sound right and, by then, I absolutely loved the word “discovering”. I don’t want to give any spoilers away about the book but “discovering” absolutely fits with what the book is all about.

A Cottage by the SeaThere are options. I’m not massively precious about David being called David and there are other characters who could be the focus of the title instead but I keep coming back to the “discovering” part being right. No decisions need to be made just yet so we’ll see how that one goes.

I should actually rejoice in the fact that my publishers love the first two titles and not focus on the fact they don’t (yet) love the third because title changes are so commonplace. I was the fourth Write Romantic to be offered a publishing deal and the previous three have all had their titles changed. Helen Phifer had her debut novel changed from “Deadly Obsession” to “The Ghost House” but she admits that she absolutely loves the new title (and so do I). The next published WR, Rachael Thomas, entered the “So You Think You Can Write” competition using the title, “Behind the Scandalous Façade.” She got a publishing deal with Harlequin M&B on the back of this but the title was changed to “A Deal Before the Altar”. Jay Bartlett’s debut novel “Among a Thousand Stars” (out in June 2015) had two different titles before agreeing on the final version with her publisher. So I really shouldn’t be surprised that the subject of titles has arisen. I’m delighted to say that Helen, Rachael and Jay all love their new titles but all would admit it was hard to hear initially that the title they’d been living with for so long wasn’t going to be the final one. A lot of writers refer to their novel (particularly their debut one) as their “baby” so I suppose this could be likened to naming your child then having them start primary school only to be told that their child now needs to be known as a completely different name.

The Memory GardenI’m curious as to which path book 3’s title will take. One thing that I feel very fortunate about is that I have a wonderful publisher who sees this as a shared journey and will work towards finding a title that works for both of us; not one that they impose on me. I know many writers aren’t that lucky.

Which got me onto thinking about titles for books. How important are they? I did a quick survey amongst the Write Romantics to ask them three questions:

  1. Have you ever bought a book simply because you loved the title? (If so, what was it and why did the title speak to you?)
  2. Have you ever not read a book because of the title?
  3. What’s your favourite title for a book and why?

I’ll take each in turn …

Buying a book because of the title:

P1050743The general consensus was that they were more likely to be drawn to reading the blurb on the book because of a title rather than purchasing a book because of the title. Having said that, certain words drew the WRs. Helen R loves books with the word “secret” in the title because she loves to know things and curiosity gets the better of her. Harriet is drawn to titles with the homely feel of the words “cottage”, “house”, “street” or “road” in them or any reference to Cornwall as she adores Rosamund Pilcher’s books. Lynne is drawn towards ones that feature “sun” or “old houses.”

Helen P bought Stephen King’s “It” purely on the title and it’s turned into her all-time favourite. Sharon bought Carole Matthews’s “A Cottage by the Sea” based purely on title although she had enjoyed other books by her. She wasn’t familiar with Valerie-Anne Baglietto’s books but bought both “Once Upon a Winter” and “The Moon on a Stick” on titles alone and was very pleased that she did.

I personally bought “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” because the title massively intrigued me. I knew nothing about the book or the author at the time but I just loved that title!

Avoiding a book because of the title:

P1050742Jay admits that she was once recommended a book called “The Billionaire’s Virgin” on her newsfeed which was an absolute no-no for her. Any book titles including the words “desire” or “virgin” are inclined to put her off. Helen R avoids the words “sexy” in titles. I’m with both of them on this.

Lynne was put off reading “Hideous Kinky” for years, simply because of the title although she loved it when she finally settled down to read it.

On the whole, the WRs were of the feeling that certain titles fit with certain genres and, if that’s not the genre for them, they’d probably be avoiding that book anyway.

Favourite Book Titles:

There are some crackers out there but we’ve all agreed that our memories are like sieves and we’ve struggled to come up with them all. We’re bound to think of loads after this post comes out!

Some great examples are:

  • Harriet loves “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn as it’s a short, snappy title
  • Sharon loves “Honeycote” by Veronica Henry because it sounds so lovely and “The Memory Garden” by Rachel Hore
  • Jay is drawn towards our very own Helen R’s “The Friendship Tree” (out next year) and “The Divorce Domino” by friend of the blog Kerry Fisher (out soon)
  • Helen R loves Hazel Gayor’s new title: “Memory of Violets”. She says it’s “such a gorgeous title and sounds cosy”

P1050744Browsing along my bookshelves, some of my personal favourites are:

  • “The Truth About Melody Browne” by Lisa Jewell. I love her books anyway but I found this title particularly intriguing. I think I’m very similar to Helen R in that I’m also drawn to the word “secret” in a title
  • “A Quiet Belief in Angels” by R J Ellory. I was in a writing group once and one of the members was raving about this book. It stuck in my mind because of the title … although I confess that it’s been on my TBR pile for years so title adoration doesn’t always turn into the actual art of reading!
  • “The Book of Tomorrow” by Cecelia Ahern. Also on my TBR pile although I’ve read several of hers. It’s my favourite title of hers closely followed by “A Place Called Here” which I have read

There are two other fairly recent books whose titles intrigue me. I don’t own them but I keep meaning to download them – “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver and “The Last Time We Saw Marion” by Tracey Scott-Townsend. Even though I love romantic comedies and that’s the genre I write, I do have a penchant for mystery and intrigue and the titles of both of these draw me in. We’re back to that secrets thing again.

What about you? What titles do you love? Have you ever bought a book purely on the title? I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks to The Write Romantics for their contributions to this post 🙂 x

Jessica xx