This week we have the lovely Heidi Rice answering our questions and telling us all about her latest release,'Unfinished Business with the Duke'. It's her seventh Mills and Boon Modern Heat no less! Leave a comment and you're in with the chance to win a copy. If you're not lucky enough to win then you can get your copy from Amazon or as an ebook from the Mills and Boon website.
Heidi's picture is © Anne Mortensen.
1. Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?
Five years ago I was unpubbed and had yet to finish a manuscript… I’d written lots of great scenes for the one I finally completed and submitted to Silhouette, but hadn’t actually got round to stringing them into a coherent book. I did finally do that, but I still had a fair bit of faffing to do before that happened.
2. Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?
Unfinished Business with the Duke came together from two initial ideas. I wanted to do an architect hero – because I think there’s something really attractive about men who are passionate about what they do (and in my experience architects usually are). Also about two years ago I went to a romance writers do at a gentlemen’s club in Mayfair. One of the members gave us a little tour and I had this spark of inspiration… Wouldn’t it be fun to stick a half-naked woman into this all-male, very posh and proper environment? Then I had to figure out how to do that without her being a prostitute!
3. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
Still writing and still getting published… Fingers crossed.
4. Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?
Just about every book I read I wish I could have written. But most recently I’ve had severe writer’s envy of Susan Wiggs’s Fireside (and all her Lakeshore Chronicles actually), Nora Roberts’s Savour the Moment (read that in one sitting as a reward for getting my last book accepted) and Audrey Niffenegger’s Time-Traveler’s Wife (even though the ending left me emotionally drained!)
5. Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?
Queen Nora, obviously, Linda Howard, Jennie Cruisie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, all the greats really.
6. Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy?
Neither. I adore writing love scenes. Which probably has something to do with the fact that I believe in living vicariously through my heroines – who are of course me (but with better hair and trimmer thighs).
7. What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?
Gosh, I’ve had quite a few… And I have to admit not all of them with my husband. But the best was going to New York for the World Cup finals in 1994. We’re both big football fans and it was Ireland vs Italy. My dad was Irish and my husband’s from Italian American stock, but he took it with remarkably good grace when Ireland won, to the extent that he suggested we go down to Manhattan City Hall the next day and get hitched! We bought a couple of rings on Eighth Avenue, had a two-minute ceremony, I got my picture taken with some plastic flowers on the steps outside, we went to the Rockefeller Centre for brunch and then rang our mums and our one-year-old son to let them know. No drama, no fuss, just romance and football, two flabbergasted grannies and one very confused toddler! The perfect wedding.
8. What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?
How to read royalty statements… Actually I still wish I knew how to do that.
9. What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?
Well, I’ve always liked Nora Roberts’s ‘you can’t edit a blank page’, which comes in mighty handy when I’m staring at a page full of crap. But the other one is ‘don’t give up’. In the end it’s only the people who can keep going through all the rejections and set-backs that get published and once published can make a career out of it. I sincerely believe that being a successful writer is 10% talent, 10% luck and 80% perseverance.
10. Tell us about your latest release.
Unfinished Business with the Duke is about a feisty pub-theatre manager called Isadora Helligan who has been reduced to doing singing
telegrams to save her ailing theatre in Islington. Unfortunately for her, she has to be rescued from a group of plastered Hooray Henries in a
Mayfair Gentlemen’s Club who mistake her singing telegram for a striptease. And even more unfortunately, her knight in shining armour
happens to be the man who took her virginity at 17 and who she has vowed to hate for the rest of her natural life after he promptly broke her
heart. Issy’s nemesis is a drop-dead gorgeous Florentine architect called Giovanni Hamilton - the son of a British duke and an Italian socialite.
And after Gio rescues Issy, it’s obvious that even after ten years apart, the sexual chemistry between them is easily as incendiary as their past.
11. What's next for you?
My next book after Unfinished Business is Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger which is due out in December in the UK – about an ex-surfer and a
female lifeguard (cue a great opening scene where the heroine pulls the injured hero out of the surf) and some very hot nights in a Cornish
cottage on a cliff path. And I’m currently working on my ninth book for Modern Heat, which at the moment is about a voluptuous, free-spirited
and somewhat reckless cupcake entrepeneur who loves to flirt and meets her match when she has a fender bender in a Hampstead street one
sunny August afternoon with a devastatingly handsome barrister who always plays to win.
Many thanks to Heidi for answering our questions. Don't forget to leave a comment if you want a chance to win your copy of 'Unfinished Business with the Duke'