Q. If you could work with any author who would it be?
I’m already working with my most favourite author and bestie – Zee Monodee. :).
Q. Who is your favourite author and is you writing style similar to theirs?
My co-writer, Zee, ranks up there, of course. Our styles are quite different. Zee loves to write light, small town contemporary romance with lots of family dynamics and multicultural elements, while I love Gothic romances and that hint of darkness and suspense in my stories.
Other than that, there are many authors I love. My favourite erotica author is Robin Schone. I also love Lisa Gardner, Amanda Quick, Lisa Kleypas and J.R. Ward. I love the classics and the timeless book of my heart is Jane Eyre. Lately, I’ve been reading more chick lit/funny stuff as well, and I’m enjoying it very much. I’m getting inspired :).
Others on my list: Dale Amidei, Gregory Carrico, CC Mackenzie, Shelley Adina, Stephen King, Elizabeth Kostova, Anne Rice, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lisa Kleypas, Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Marie Moning, Jon Trace, Lauren K. Hamilton, Stacey Joy Netzel.
As far as my writing style...perhaps my narrative would be more similar to the classics and a hint of literary fiction style, but of course watered down and with a modern, commercial flair. Over time I’ve learned to write faster, grittier, but my voice remains.
Q. What's your favorite part of a book?
The happy ending! And of course – the characters. It’s all about the characters.
Q. When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
Not always – sometimes it’s just a name I feel is “right” and fits the character. Yet, sometimes I do look for the origin of the names. For instance, when naming Seraphine and Adrasteia in the Eternelles series, we paid a lot of attention to the mythology and meaning behind these names.
Q. Who are your target readers?
Readers who love a mix of romance, heat, gothic suspense, history, travel, strong women, lyrical prose (half way between gritty and poetic, I’ve been told, lol) and sexy, brooding heroes. I am a sucker for tortured heroes, lol. And I want my heroines to hold their own, even if they don’t start out that way. It’s all about growth, even in real life.
Q. What are the major themes of your work?
The recurring theme is that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I put my characters through the wringer, but ultimately, they find their happiness. But it’s not only about the odds. My characters also want to have fun along the way (*wink) :).
Q. Any recent works that you admire?
So many that it’s tough to list. I’m currently reading two books that I’m loving: The Anvil of the Craftsman by Dale Amidei and Children of the Plague by Gregory Carrico. I’m a pretty eclectic reader and read in several genres.
Q. What do you think people search for in a book?
I think it’s mostly entertainment. People want to lose themselves in a book and forget their daily troubles and routine. However, sometimes it’s more than that. Recently I’ve gotten an email from someone who read one of my books. She told me that books help her cope with depression, and she always looks for a happy ending, especially when she’s feeling fragile. She told me my story had dark moments but she loved how the characters overcame it all and ultimately, love won over evil. Basically, my story helped her go through some tough moments so I’ve learned to never underestimate the power of a book to heal a broken soul. That’s exactly what I’d love to do. If I help just one person get over a hump, find a slice of happiness and put a big smile on her/his face, I’m a happy author!
Q. How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
In many ways. When I was in my teens, writing helped me overcome times of depression and feelings of inadequacy. It’s no secret – I’m always saying that many times, writing saved my life and my sanity. I am a happy person now, well-adjusted, and living a life I love, but it wasn’t always this way. That’s why darkness and light are recurring themes in my writing – light at the end of the tunnel. The HEA is mandatory, of course, and romance is very important. I just love writing romance! :).
Q. What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself?
No, as I mentioned above, I’m an eclectic reader. However, my favourite books are romance, mystery and suspense, thrillers, a bit of chick lit, and yes, cookbooks :). Yum, lol.
Q. Were you always good at writing?
I can say I always LOVED to write, since my early years. In my teens I also won some writing contests so I suppose several people thought I was good :).
Q. How do you get started with writing a story (as in, how do you start developing the story, how do you get inspired for it)
I’m now a heavy plotter (didn’t use to be – but I paid the price when it took so long to finish writing and rewriting a book). I first look at the overall theme/myth/story arc (especially if it’s fantasy), then profile the characters, and after that, outline the book – chapter by chapter.
Q. What advice would you give to people who "run out of creativity" when writing?
Take a step back and do something else. Sometimes it’s a matter of feeling so stressed or tired, your mind is in overload. You probably need to stop writing for a while and take a break. When you least expect it, ideas will come. Another option is to go somewhere, observe people, and write something about what you see, even if you think it’s drivel. Ideas may start flowing then.
Q. If you had to compare yourself to a Character in any of your books, who would it be?
I’m not sure I have any one character that is entirely like me. There are bits of me in all of them: Emma’s persistence and loyalty in An Eternity of Roses, Melita’s inner strength despite her disability in Something to Live for, Sera’s bohemian and artistic nature in Inescapable. I’m writing a sexy romantic suspense novel now with a character who overcame all sorts of odds – her name is Carmen, and I do identify with some of her traits, especially her will to succeed in a hostile world. As I said, I do love strong women – or women who claim their strength and reach their full potential by the end of the book. I want us to understand we are all winners, and we all deserve the best in life.
Thank you Natalie for this fab Interview.
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