Thank you Nina for taking time out of your writing cave to answer a few minxy questions.
Where were you in your writing career five years ago?
Five years ago I had just given up a high profile business job in the pharmaceutical industry to write full time. My day job was demanding both physically and mentally, and I knew that if I wanted to achieve my goal of being a published writer, then I was going to have to devote the same amount of time and energy and commitment to learning about craft and business of being a writer as I had in my other career.
It was a challenging, scary and totally exciting part of my life.
Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?
Tipping the Waitress with Diamonds is set in an Italian bistro in London, and the theme is very much about second chances. The idea for this particular book started from the characters – and in particular Brett Cameron, a ‘Chef in a Kilt’ as his PR agent likes to call him – and the struggles he has come through to be a celebrity chef. Dyslexia, being written off at school, a hard family upbringing and the passion Brett brings to his work are only some of the facets that makes Brett so special.
I do hope readers love Brett as much as I do!
Where do you hope to be in five years time?
1. Still writing Contemporary Romance books for Mills & Boon, and
2. Published as a mass market Romantic Suspense writer. I love character based crime stories and have so many ideas that I would love to find a home. Some are cosy mysteries, some more serious thrillers, or even young adult science fiction, but all will have the Nina Harrington touch of wit and humour. These are single title books and I have already kicked off a series with a very different amateur detective heroine. Watch this space!
What was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?
Oh that is such a great question! And so hard to answer. I would have to say Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. A keeper.
Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?
Can I have two? The Science Fiction books of Anne McCaffrey and also the Miles Vorkosigan books of Lois McMaster Bujold. Absolute classics which I still read today.
Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy - or neither?
I just go with the characters. Readers of Mills & Boon Romances do not expect explicit sex scenes so the challenge is to increase the spark through sexual tension and sensuality - which is seriously hard to do without being a cliché.
What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?
The day my husband agreed that I should stop earning a good salary in my day job and become a hard working but unpaid writer - because it would make me happy.
It does not get better than that.
What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were published?
- That publishing is a business and you musty be totally professional to earn your place within that business.
- That you have to aks yourself some tough questions, such as 'Why should a reader buy my book in preference to the 1000s of other fiction books published that month?'
- That your book has to be so excellent within its own niche and hence target group of readers, that it will attract the attention of a literary agent and then an editor at a publishing house who will be prepared to make the investment in time and money and YOU as a writer in the long term.
- That you have to work, then work harder, then work even harder to make the book the very best that it can be before it leaves your desk if you want to earn the right to be published.
- That Branding is everything. Whether it is the brand associated with the Publisher on the spine of your book, or the name of the author. As a fanatical reader, I buy loads of books every month and I need to know where to find the books I want. Mills & Boon and Harlequin are powerful brands readers trust and recognize. But so many womens' fiction titles get lost on the shelves of bookstores so that readers will never find them unless they know what they are looking for. Writers like James Patterson use their names to brand the books he writes and co-writes to sell to readers who look out for his name.
- That it is a tough business to be in, and you have to be smart and savvy to make the grade. And it is never about the money. Sorry if that seems hard, but I don't think I truly understood how tough it was until I was published and more aware of the commercial side of creativity.
That the first draft is always pants, and writing is re-writing.
Tell us about your latest release.
Tipping the Waitress with Diamonds is part of the 'Fun Factor' mini series of the Mills & Boon Romance Line with a definite sparky tone to balance the poignant and more intensely emotional aspects of the book.
And of course, there are delicious meals being served in the traditional Italian Bistro setting and I could not resist focusing on the more sensual aspects of such wonderful food and drink.
Check out these reviews:
Romantic Times Magazine Review (4.5)
This is what the back cover of the book says:
Take one hot chef...
The world’s finest chef, Brett Cameron, has a tough choice to make. Carry on with his new restaurant or answer a plea for help and return to where it all began...
Add a sweet, stressed waitress...
Sienna Rossi is out of her depth trying to rescue her aunt’s bistro. The dishwasher’s leaking, there’s sauce in her hair and the frying pan’s just caught fire! Through the smoky haze she sees a vision in shimmering chef’s whites: Brett, her teenage crush.
Did the temperature just rise a few degrees?
The Fun Factor
Warm and witty stories of falling in love...
What's next for you?
My fourth book for the Romance Line will be published early 2011 and I have three more books to write this year, so look out for a lot more Nina Harrington titles to come. I do hope that you enjoy them.
You can find out more about Nina at www.NinaHarrington.com or on her blog http://ninaharrington.wordpress.com/