How did you feel about being nominated for the Rita award?
Absolutely ecstatic, it’s a huge honour. I’ve finalled once before, but that was for my second book, and I really had no clue how much it meant then. This time I do and am suitably humbled and over the moon… It also gave me an excellent excuse to buy a new posh frock and go to the RWA conference in NYC in July, which is never a bad thing IMHO. I’m also super proud of my Cosmo novellas so it’s nice to get a nod for one of them.
What’s your favourite part about writing romances?
Those rare moments when the words are flowing and my characters are talking to me and not being deliberately obtuse and annoying. Which isn’t all that often TBH. Writing that final line on my first draft is also nice. Even if I do have loads of editing and revising in my future. By the time I finish the story proper I’m so sick of it, it’s more a feeling of relief than achievement.
What’s your least favourite part?
When my characters aren’t talking to me or are being deliberately obtuse and annoying (which is often, I seem to create really bloody arsey characters for some unknown reason!)
I believe you are widening your horizons to writing longer books – can you tell us if you found it easier or harder than your Mills and Boon books?
My first women’s fiction book is out next Feb – it is being published by M&B actually – but was it harder to write than my series books? YES!!! That’s for a number of reasons though. Without the strictures of series guidelines I was able to broadened my horizons in terms of story structure, cast of characters, etc. And of course like a glutton let lose at an all-you-can-eat buffet I totally stuffed myself and ended up with a bloated, exceptionally complex story with way too many conflicts and characters to handle and sort out. Refining that back down to a manageable amount and turning it into a compelling story with believable characters before I puked was where the difficulty came in. I also had to resist the temptation to give the heroine an accidentally pregnancy in the epilogue for no good reason – the fact that my hero had had a vasectomy in his twenties helped!
Do you ever worry about writing those ‘sexed up’ scenes and do you ever think you will run out of ideas?
Worry? No, I love writing sex scenes, but I view them as mostly action scenes – if I am finding one boring to write it’s usually a sign that something is wrong (and I’m not talking erectile dysfunction here!). The important thing to remember is that a sex scene like any scene should be changing the dynamic between your characters in some appreciable way, or it’s not going to be engaging for the reader or engaging to write. Once you have that conflict going on, then you just go with the flow – what ever your characters want really. And, um, do I ever run out of ideas for the sex scenes??? *blushes* um no, not if the conflict is there, my characters are usually pretty good at coming up with ideas as they’re usually extremely into each other.
How many books do you write a year?
I was aiming for 3 series books a year. With ST books I hope to do at least one of those a year, plus another shorter book. Which is why I took time out to do a series-length book for Tule publishing this year, before launching into my second ST book.
Do you always write for the same HMB line?
I’ve written for several (even if they are all variations on a theme): Modern Heat, Modern Extra and then RIVA, then Modern Tempted!! Now Modern Tempted (aka Harlequin KISS) is no more I am no longer under contract to write series books. I do hope to do more of them as I love writing them, but I haven’t come up with a viable idea for Modern yet. Which is probably what I’d target if I did. That said, I have been busy with other stuff… So watch this space.
Do you stick to the romance tropes in your plotting (hope I’ve spelt that right) and do you have a favourite of her own?
I’ve done tons of accidental pregnancies, because I just love the instant, insanely intense conflict that comes with it. But I don’t think in tropes. My ideas usually start with either an opening scene or hook which I then have to figure out a character and plot for. Or one or other of the main characters, which I then have to figure out a plot and a hero/heroine for… The tropes tend to come naturally when you ask the question: Now what’s the worse possible thing that could happen to these two to bring them together? Or completely screw them up?
Do you ever want to write something other than romance or will your longer length books always have romance in them?
No! I love romance, and my longer books will always essentially be romances. The one that’s out next Feb is basically about a London celebrity chef (think Nigella Lawson meets Jack Monroe) with an 18 year old daughter who is forced to go on an extreme ‘couples retreat’ in Tennessee with the father of her daughter (an award winning journalist) who she has refused to speak to ever since he walked out on her 16 years ago…. It’s actually a two-tiered story with the main romance being a reunion one between those two – as they work through a cargo-hold full of baggage while in Tennessee – and then a subtler, sweeter story of the teenage daughter and the gorgeous au pair who has been hired to look after her little brother while mum’s away. So basically – it’s two romances for the price of one! [Here endeth the completely shameless plug!!]
Heidi has a book coming out at the end of June with Tule Publishing as part of a quartet called Fairy Tales of New York – with Kelly Hunter, Lucy King and Amy Andrews. It’s about a runaway supermodel, a hard-working legal aid attorney and the very hot Labor Day Weekend they spend together on a house-barge in Brooklyn.
You can check it out on Pinterest here: https://www.pinterest.com/hlric/fairytale-of-ny-tempting-the-knight/
Thanks for that Heidi- really interesting and good luck with the Rita awards.