Who are your favourite authors?
Well, since I’ve been instructed to leave you out of it – sigh – I love Kresley Cole, Nalini Singh, Susan Johnson, Lora Leigh, Lori Foster, Francis Ray, Charlaine Harris; Walter Mosley. There are so many wonderful writers it’s hard to name just a few, and I find new ones to stalk (at the library, don’t panic) all the time.
What is your favourite novel cover?
Here again, tough question. Cover art is so important as a first lure for the reader, but I think what’s inside the pages can add to that initial impression. With that in mind, I have to pick Wicked by Susan Johnson. That singular image of Beau St. Jules a lip licker; my copy of the book is literally in pieces – held together by a thick rubber band and a prayer – it’s so beloved. The story of how Beau and Serena get together is classic, yet so well done you can almost feel the emotion, you know? I love stories like that.
What’s the best Hero Moment you’ve ever seen in film?
I go for the unconventional. I’d have to say the scene at the end of Breakfast at Tiffany’s when George Peppard (Fred) tells Audrey Hepburn (Holly) that she belongs to him and that she’s got no guts, after she shuns his love. He’s got the courage to tell her how he really feels, and the sack to know that if she can’t come to him on the right terms, their love won’t work. He gives her enough hook to catch, and then throws the line back in the water – or the rain, since it’s pouring in this scene – and then lets her make her own way to shore. That’s classic romance right there, and it’s both pivotal to the story and satisfying.
What’s the best Hero Moment you’ve ever read in a book?
OMG, there are way too many to count. But I’m a sucker for a big, old scary defensive sacrifice. The scene where Lachlain cuts off his own leg to escape a torture he’s endured for hundreds of years in order to get to Emmaline in Kresley Cole’s A Hunger Like No Other is serious business. One whiff of her scent on a breeze and he’s willing to endure unreasonable suffering to join with her. Modern man? Sadly, probably not gonna happen. LOL
What reading device do you use for reading ebooks on?
iPad2 and before that, good old fashioned PDFs and my trusty, old school laptop which is big enough to eat three iPads for breakfast.
What is your take on the indie author phenomenon? What do you think the book industry will look like in five years time?
I think it’s wonderful because it means there are fewer restrictions on authors. It’s now possible for someone who has been rejected a lot to have their work read. It means talent doesn’t need to go unacknowledged. And, importantly, it means the chances of a fiction writer making a living doing what they love without being overly controlled are greater. However, I do worry about the glut of material in the marketplace and the lack of quality I see. But it’s like YouTube. It’s up to the reader/viewer to select what they like. And it puts the onus on the writer to produce quality goods and ensure that packaging, SEO, promotion and all those other goodies are on point. I sometimes think the best thing in the world would be for me to get fired; I wouldn’t look for another job. I’d make me a full-time gig and do this damn thing 9 to 5. In five years? There will be more digital advancements for sure. eBooks should be well entrenched. Beyond that, no clue. I just know I want to be an extremely active part of it.
Do you ever skip the “I love you!” scene in your novels? Do you feel you’ve been cheated if they’re missing in other authors’ books?
Sometimes I do skip it. I’m as cheesy as the next romance lover, but sometimes it just feels contrived, you know? And that’s saying something because I will defend a well turned cliché to the death! I don’t usually skip it all together though. I just shake it up a bit or give the hero and heroine another way to express the same sentiment. Like, it won’t be some big emotional to-do; it might be humorous and take place in a department store like in Fiona Love.
I also like to have the man say it first. Usually after he’s been aggravated beyond anything reasonable and can no longer hold it in. He literally cannot help himself; he has to profess his love to the heroine or like, bust. And even if she can’t bring herself to say it back, he knows. She finds other ways to make it clear…(insert mental image of sexy male grin and long male digit twirling imaginary mustache here).
What’s your take on eBook piracy? What would you do about it if you were given carte blanche?
It’s a lot like identity theft. It’s way too serious for people not to take it seriously, yet the author has so little protection or recourse, and that shit’s annoying! If it was up to me, for every dollar the thieves tried to bilk a poor hardworking storyteller out of they’d put $100 back in her – or his – pocket. And when they got done coughing up the money and readers they stole, they’d get punched in the face until the writer got tired. I wouldn’t get tired. I might have to take a break to eat or visit the loo or something, but I wouldn’t get tired.
You are a magazine editor who turned to indie publishing to release your fiction. Did you always want to write fiction, and was editing a sideline, or did you evolve into the fiction genre? How did you get to self-publishing your first novel?
I majored in journalism in college, and have always worked in my field. Editing is my career and my livelihood right now. But I have ALWAYS wanted to be a New York bestselling romance novelist. I literally have clips from my high school newspaper, which I worked on, where I’m being interviewed about the future and that’s what I say. It’s crazy. I just wish I hadn’t waited so long to pursue my passion. I’ve been reading romance since I was 12 – yes, I was slightly precocious, but only in my head! Not in real life, thank you very much.
There are many moves I could have made to bring my passion and career into even closer proximity. But my editing skill comes in handy for this romance thing, and “they” say everything happens when it’s supposed to. It could be this indie publishing explosion is just what a slightly outside the box romance novelist like me needs to get her love stories read.
I finally self-published because I don’t fit neatly into most traditional romance genres, and I got tired of being rejected. I know I can tell an engaging story. I believe the love matches I create are compelling, but it’s not super duper scorcher erotica, it’s not the fabulous formula of Harlequin, and it’s not straight historical, suspense or paranormal, at least, not all the time. My romantic fiction is erotic, urban, interracial; there are many adjectives I could attach. Self-publishing gives me freedom to stretch the established genre boundaries and just focus on the story.
If someone offered you immortality, but you could never write again…would you take the offer?
Absolutely not. I might as well be dead if I can’t write, and that would be a silly bet to take anyway since a great writer can achieve immortality through her work.
What do you want your epitaph to read, at the end of your life?
Here lies – insert real name, not pen name – she wrote a helluva good story, lived an interesting life and was beloved by family, friends and fans. Her work will live on, forever.
What are you currently reading? How’s that going for you?
I’m reading Merciless by old school romance great Diana Palmer right now. I’m enjoying it. It’s got all the classic elements of romance, humor, the heroine facing tough odds outside her control, some sacrifice, the element of danger soon to be revealed and the fast paced dialogue driven storytelling that I like plus a non-traditional hero – he’s part Native American and wears his hair like a hippie even though he works for the FBI.
What will you be reading next?
Who knows? I read whatever catches my eye or comes highly recommended. But I’m looking forward to Kresley Cole’s Lothaire, which comes out in January.
The Desiree Staccato
In honour of Desiree Holt who started this Saturday Night Live style tradition:
- Favourite colour? Kelly Green
- Favourite drink? That’s a tossup between tea and sangria. Depends on what’s happened during the day. LOL
- Favourite writing outfit? Loose, comfortable shirt and nothing else. I like my butt to touch the chair or the bed and clothes that are too tight drive me nuts when I work
- Favourite food(s)? baked pink lady apples, frozen pizza
- Favourite music? Hip Hop, R&B and soul – Badu, Adele, Usher
- Favourite sport? Reading
- Favourite body part? Hmmm. My eyes. I like to see what’s going on, and they’re hardwired to everything else.
- Favourite spot in the world? I don’t know yet. I haven’t traveled to half the places on my list, but the most beautiful spot I’ve seen to date was the hills of Asturias in northern Spain. It’s ridiculous. Misty, greener than fresh money and so quiet all you can hear are cow bells in the distance.
- Favourite movie? Auntie Mame
- Favourite TV show? Right now, Justified. Timothy Olyphant is hot, and I love his shoot first and ask questions later style.
- Favourite flower? Bluebells
- Favourite thing to do at knock-off time? Read. I’m so boring! I don’t mind a glass of vino and a good movie either.
Tell us about your book.
Fiona Love is about a successful singer at a crossroads. She’s won the Grammy’s, topped the charts and made the crossover to hit movie star, so career-wise she’s set. But she’s got some issues. She’s got a tiny problem saying no to things that are bad for her, and she’s had a baby recently. No one knows who the father is. And though she’s known for sexy lyrics, steamy videos and being an all around bombshell, she’s conservative; the fact that her baby’s minus a daddy bugs her.
She meets the hero, Daney, at a popular Chicago eatery and quietly enjoys a one night stand – everybody knows that’s ok ‘cause models don’t count – but Daney doesn’t scoot after their night is over. He sticks around, they fall in love, and she has to make some tough choices: give in to this dominant creature whose captured her heart and put his personal stamp on her body, or give in to the media that want to turn her romance into the biggest thing since President Obama got Bin Laden. Of course, then a misunderstanding separates the lovers, and a new man enters the scene. Natty is an old friend and musical collaborator. He’s handsome, talented and he too loves Fiona. There’s a tragedy/twist, and you have to read the book to see how it ends!
And an excerpt – (If you’re going to put in a really spicy excerpt, please provide a warning!)
This is a scene early in the book after Daney and Fiona manage to tear themselves apart to work. It’s short ‘cause I figure anyone still reading is getting tired by now! And no warning needed, unless you warn people about the word fuck? …
It started as soon as he walked in the door.
“Daney’s dating a little pop tart.”
“Buck,” Dane warned. “Fuck off.”
Buck laughed as he followed his stripping brother into his bedroom. “Sensitive? From the man who buried us alive in this town so he could stay close to his new chippy? You gonna date out of your race you better be prepared for a little teasing, kid.”
Dane looked up surprised. “You didn’t mention race. I was responding to the little pop tart remark. She’s not little; she’s 5’9,” and she’s perfect. And she’s not a pop singer. I looked it up. She’s considered soul and R&B with a little bit of rock and roll,” he laughed. “And you call her a chippy again, I’ma crack open your head. We’re goin’ back to New York tomorrow.”
“What’s your problem?” he asked his manager who had come in from New York, ostensibly to monitor the appointment Dane was currently rushing to get to.
“D, Fiona’s a Grammy-winning recording artist and a fairly accomplished actress,” Paul began.
“Could you stop co-signing his shit for like five minutes?” Buck asked Dane’s manager of nine years.
“Hey, I’m on your side,” Paul said. “We just don’t want you to get distracted, D.”
“Bull shit,” Dane laughed. “When has a woman ever kept me from making money? You’re just starting your perennial campaign to keep me single early because I spent the weekend out.”
Buck snorted, but Dane noticed his little brother didn’t deny it.
“Don’t fuck this up, Buck,” he warned, having laid out fresh clothes and shoes in preparation for his meeting in minutes thanks to years of quick changing. “I’m not kidding.”
Someone from the Chicago branch of his NY agency wanted to meet with him to say hello while he was in town. Apparently the New York people read the Chicago Tribune. Now that he’d paired up with Fiona Love they thought he was perfect for this, and might be a shoe-in for that. Why argue? He’d need some cash to squire his new lady around.
He lasered his brother with a green-eyed glare. “I like her.”
Buck had run off more than one woman Dane had liked in the past few years. Run off wasn’t the right word. More like he orchestrated things so Daney saw them in a fucked up light and got turned off. He didn’t want Buck anywhere near Fiona.
She was the most beautiful, sexually exciting woman he’d met in years. He’d spent the weekend making love to her every which way he could think of, had only been apart from her for a little over an hour, and was already suffering withdrawal. His dick refused to get all the way soft because she refused to get out of his head. Yet he was beyond sated. The phrase ‘well fucked’ came to mind. If he hadn’t had to work, he’d have been snoring in her arms right now.
“Did you find me a gym to go to here?”
Buck nodded, pouting the way he had since he was a toddler not getting enough of his older brother’s attention.
Dane eyed his brother dispassionately. “You’ll meet her when I introduce you, and not before,” he told them both, and went to shower.
You can pick up Fiona Love at Amazon.
Thanks, Sherrod for your contribution today!