Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be with us today, RJ.
Hi guys, thank you for having me here! Just a big thank you for all your support ever since you reviewed Oracle way back!!
Do you write full time? If not, how many hours per day do you attempt to dedicate to your writing?
I am lucky enough to say that I am now a full time author, but my web design business is still there ticking over, I just don’t have to take on any new project work which is kind of cool!
To date, how many books have you written?
Deefur Dog (18 June) and One Night (9 July) are my tenth and eleventh books respectively with Silver Publishing. Silver took my first book, Oracle, in June 2010 and I haven’t looked back since.
How long does it generally take for you to finish a manuscript?
I write about 3,000 words a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. I allow a month to write a manuscript, it is the only way that I can make sure I stay on target!
How much creative input do you have in the cover design for your books?
Jeez… I am the luckiest author ever! I remember emailing a certain Reese Dante when Silver took Oracle. I said I had looked at her art and I was so hoping she was going to be doing my cover for Oracle. Well, the cover for Oracle has gone on to win awards, and we haven’t looked back. She wont take the praise but at Silver we are very lucky. Creating the best cover for the author is her passion, and she listens to what we want, consults us on models to use etc. Want to know something though, when I fill in the cover request sheets now, where there is the section that says *do you have an idea of what cover you would like* I just write anything by Reese Dante! She knows me so well now!
Do you typically outline your plots before you begin the writing process, or do you write in a more freestyle fashion?
I would love to say that A happens, followed by B, which resolves in C, but it doesn’t happen that way. For example, The Christmas Throwaway was simply an image I had in my head of a young guy on a bench in the snow, with no home. The rest of the story just unfolded as I wrote it. This is going to sound so *authory* but it’s true when I say my characters evolve by telling me what they would do… (palm meet face!)
Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have one in particular who stands out among the others as a favorite? If so, who and why?
It has to be Alex from Oracle, my tattooed man with the mysterious history, and the sacrifices he makes. Can I choose a second one? If I can then it HAS to be Luke, also from Oracle. Strong brave studious professor Luke… love them both!
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they take away from it?
The happy ever after and the promise that barriers have been overcome. I would love for my characters to speak to the reader as much as they speak to me.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received with respect to the art of writing? How did it change the way you approach your craft?
From my good friend and fellow author Lori Toland, keep writing… ROFL… way back when I was angsting ™ over Oracle and writing Moments at the same time I would despair of how long it took to get Oracle to the stage for submission. I would keep saying to her – I can’t concentrate – her answer was to just keep writing. I did. It worked! You could be writing absolute crap but at least you are getting words out of your head and on the page – you can delete or rewrite, either way the streams of conscious thought that you have can be the basis of something else.
Will you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
Be friendly and approachable to all readers. I have so many new friends through my writing and I love interacting. They tell me where they wanted my characters to go, it’s very interesting!
Don’t respond to negative reviews (even if you get a DNF that comments about things that are *fixed* after they gave up reading!).
Editing is a good thing *gritted teeth*, thank god for Devyn at Silver!
Do you generally have the titles of you work planned before you begin writing, or does that occur later on in the writing process?
It occurs as I write. I used to have a title first, but now I realize the story tells me what the title should be.
For my upcoming book One Night, the title was originally *Seven Nights* BUT as I wrote I realized it was actually one night that was pivotal, hence the change in title.
Deefur Dog was a title first, just because I could not resist the name!
What is the question you’re most frequently asked by your fans?
When is *insert title here* coming out and the other one is *when are you writing a sequel to The Christmas Throwaway… ROFL…
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing? Do you have any hobbies?
I love films. Going to the cinema is an awesome experience, apart from the cost of it all!!!
If we were to look around the desk where you sit to write, what would we find there?
ROFL… OK on my small desk I have at the moment:
• 1 pair of sunglasses that I use to hold my hair off my face!
• My daughters *Benefit* makeup (WHY!!!!!!!!!!)
• Four pens (cos 1 is never enough)
• A Tax form for self publishing with All Romance Ebooks
• Two cheques to pay in for my web business
• Three (YES THREE!) trip letters from my son’s school
• One mat for a mug of tea which I hope hubby will be bringing in soon
• A cuddly toy (No. Really! My cuddly Basil Brush, which is nearly as old as I am!) Don’t ask!
Do you have an all time favorite fictional character?
Easy – Heathcliff.
How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?
OMG! My humor is a mix of dry british humor and with a huge level of sarcasm and self deprecation! ROFL… I am always laughing. It’s nice to be like that!
If you had the opportunity to sit down to dinner with one famous person, either past or present, who would you choose and why?
Richard III. Just to get his side of the Princes in the Tower story… and also to tell him that although History paints him as black and heartless I kind of think he is a handsome hero that was ruined by the victors writing history… (Don’t worry Chris Quinton – I would have invited you too so you could chat to him as well!)
Do you speak more than one language? If so, which one(s)?
Does the language of lurve count? ROFL…No, I am RUBBISH at languages…
Of all the modern conveniences, which one would you most likely say you couldn’t live without?
Just one? Can I have a blanket *technology* title! A computer I think… I am far too lazy to write things long hand!
If time travel were possible, what time period(s) would you most like to visit? Why?
Shakespeare’s time… simple… BUT… I wouldn’t want to *live* in that time… it smelt! ROFL… I would love to see if he did write the things that are ascribed to him!
AND… can I have two?
I would want to be in the control room for the ’69 moon flight.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When you have the chance to sit down and enjoy some quiet reading time, what sorts of books are you most likely to pick up? Who are your favorite authors?
This is a difficult one. I loved Nora Roberts, until I over read her… rofl… but I do thank her and Judith McNaught for feeding my love of romance and injecting their passion for the romantic into me…
I love Sharon Penman – she writes historical novels – something I would never do, because I would be crap at it!
In my genre… so many… you’d need to check my goodreads account for the types of things I read…
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase awareness of your work?
I have a website that I update almost daily, with my own news and reviews and also interviews with other authors. I like to reply to every single email I receive from readers. I have also run quite a few competitions, recently with Chris at Stumblingoverchaos.
What is your most memorable fan experience?
The first time someone emailed me direct and told me they enjoyed reading my writing. It was for The Christmas Throwaway and arrived just before Christmas 2010. It was awesome and I couldn’t stop crying… *is muppet*
Do you have any new projects coming up that you’d care to share with us?
The big project I am working on is with the brilliant Diane Adams. We are writing a trilogy of books. The trilogy is called In the Shadow of the Wolf and looks at shape shifters in a very different way to what you may have read to date. Think racial issues, gender issues, then think werewolves as part of the norm in society. The first book deals with Nik and Jamie. Nik is a cop on the wolf/human liaison team, and Jamie is a wolf who puts himself in danger to save lives… Very exciting stuff!
I am also writing my Christmas story, and concentrating on Eoin, the final book in my Fire trilogy.
My bodyguard book is due out in the autumn, and I am also writing Young Adult fiction so there will be plenty of that in the pipeline too…
Was there a defining point in your life when you realized that you wanted to be an author? Did you choose the profession, or did the profession choose you?
I have ALWAYS been someone who writes (or doodles!). From fairy tales about princesses at the age of five to fan fiction for the original Battlestar Galactica (written in long hand!). I have always had stories in my head. ALL contained romance. It is my genre for sure.
I had to get a proper job though after school – that is what you do I guess. Ended up in Banking (yeah that worked… not), Assurance (me and paperwork = disaster), and Local Government (I have no words of the horror of gray). Finally self employed with web design and found on line fan fiction four years ago (Supernatural).
Finally I had a way of writing and having people actually READ what I wrote. WHAT A HIGH! And then…wow… I could make a little bit of extra money doing this writing if I was lucky enough that a few people liked my stuff. A year later I have stopped web designing.
My one wish for something I could have done different in my life…become a writer as soon as I left school. Although I guess I wouldn’t have found MM romance, and maybe my writing would never have worked!
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?