Today we are thrilled to welcome back friend of the WRs, Siobhan Daiko, to the blog. Siobhan was born in and raised in Hong Kong. Before becoming a writer, Siobhan had a range of jobs from post office mistress to high school teacher. Siobhan now lives with her husband and two cats in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, where she spends her time writing, researching historical characters, and enjoying the dolce vita. We had loads of questions to ask Siobhan when she came back to visit us and, as always, she has a lot going on!
What’s the best bit of feedback you’ve had about any of your novels so far?
An Amazon USA review of The Orchid Tree which said my characters were now a part of their life. That absolutely made my day.
You have had considerable success as a self-published author, but would you ever consider an offer from a traditional publisher or an agent to sell other rights, for example?
I would love for an agent to sell the film rights of The Orchid Tree to a Hong Kong movie mogul. That would be awesome!
You write across a number of sub-genres of romance. Do you ever find that a challenge and do you have a favourite sub-genre?
I’m writing a contemporary erotic romance at the moment, and I do find it a challenge as I’ve been writing romantic historical fiction up until now. It’s a good challenge, though. Just hope I can pull it off!
What has surprised you most about publishing your novels and has it lived up to the dream?
I’m surprised how much I love connecting with readers. And also how much I enjoy all that’s involved with publishing – from working with my editor, John Hudspith to choosing a cover design and even promotion. I dreamt of finding readers for my work and for them to enjoy what I write so, yes, publishing has fully lived up to the dream.
Your full length novels have love stories at their heart. How would you define love?
I absolutely agree with the definition in 1 Corinthians 13.”Love never fails.” I’ve used this quote in my latest erotic novella, The Submission of Theodora, which is based on the romance between Justinian (c. 482 – 14 November 565) and Theodora (c. 500 – 28 June 548), probably one of the greatest love stories of all time.
We love the range of covers you have for your novels and novellas. Do you start with a title or decide it later on? And how much input do you have to the beautiful cover designs you use?
I’m useless at titles. I must have changed the title for The Orchid Tree about ten times before publication. And I changed In My Lady’s Shadow to Lady of Asolo after I published it. Veronica became Veronica COURTESAN at the last minute, and I’m still not 100% happy with that title. I’ve been working with a fantastic cover designer, JD Smith, who has always been happy to follow the brief I’ve given her. She used photos of oil paintings done by my father Douglas Bland Artist for The Orchid Tree and Lady of Asolo, incorporating royalty-free images. I came a cropper with Veronica, when Amazon Kindle vetoed the cover I used for the paperback, a painting of an authentic Venetian courtesan by Titian, because of her bare breasts. A banner covering them just didn’t look right, so we used royalty-free images instead. Regarding The Submission of Theodora, I must have driven my designer mad as it took umpteen proofs before I was happy.
Can you tell us a bit about the plot for The Submission of Theodora please?
Rather than do that, I’ll copy and paste a review I received on Amazon, which totally “gets” what I’m trying to convey in the story:
“Smoking hot and passionate story of a love deeper than most of us will ever experience!
By Sheila73 on October 27, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This story is about a couple who really did exist in history, but the author made up her own story of their intimate relationship. Theodora is a strong young woman, despite her past of being forced to perform demeaning tasks to survive. Many women would’ve broken under some of the abuse she endured, but instead Theodora was always finding the good in everyone and worrying about what she could do to help her people. The Christian Church had been split into two opposing factions and times were difficult between the two. When she had the opportunity to help bring unity by advising the emperor’s most likely next successor, Justinian, she was delighted to be given the chance to do something worthy of her knowledge and talents. What neither Justinian nor Theodora expected was the intense physical attraction between them, which blossomed into a deep and unconditional love. Justinian’s dark dominant needs and desires aren’t something she initially feels comfortable with. She’s experienced too much unpleasantness from so-called dominant men in her past. But Justinian gains her trust and the relationship that develops between them is beautiful and pure. They really do complete each other, as cliché as that sounds. She not only entrusts Justinian with her complete sexual submission but also stands by his side as a strong partner in his politics. Theodora goes from being among the lowest rungs of society to being an Empress, which was very rare in that time. Justinian respected her opinions and they worked together to reduce conflict between the opposing factions of the Church and also included the common people in celebrations, making everyone feel more included. This was the perfect love story, one I could read again and again.”
What’s the most romantic place you’ve ever been to or thing you’ve ever done?
A gondola ride through the Venetian canals at midnight. Venice is magical under the moon, and sitting next to my husband, to whom I’ve been married nearly 37 years, I was taken back to the early days of our relationship. A real tingle moment.
Who was your first hero and how do you think he’s influenced your writing, if at all?
Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre. I totally fell in love with him when I was in my early teens. He’s a heart-stopping, emotion-wrenching, all consuming hero, especially as he isn’t instantly lovable. I wish I could write a hero like him.
Do you think it’s true that you should ‘write what you know’ and, if so, to what extent have your experiences influenced your writing?
My first two novels were definitely influenced by my own experiences. The Orchid Tree is based on my family history in Hong Kong during and shortly after World War II. Lady of Asolo is influenced by the area where I live in Italy. I think that, now I’ve grown more confident with my writing, I’m able to write convincingly about experiences I haven’t had. At least I hope so!
What are you working on at the moment?
A contemporary erotic ménage romance, set in Rome. That’s all you’re getting for now!
Do you ever think about writing in a completely different genre, if so, what would you choose?
I would love to write a thriller one day. Mainly because I enjoy reading them. But I would be hard-pressed to come up with a good plot.
Thank you so much, Write Romantics, for interviewing me on your blog. I really enjoyed answering your questions. Here are my social media links:
Books website: http://fragrantpublishing.com/