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Hello from New Zealand. Thanks for having me on the Minxy Blog. I’m really excited to meet you all and to tell you a little more about my debut Regency, INVITATION TO RUIN.
What is your writing process?
I always have characters and stories racing around my brain so I do need to be methodical in order to let one story develop at a time. I’m a huge believer in plotting. I usually develop a high concept 50 word pitch detailing the premise of the story and the two main characters. Then I develop a full character history so that I know everything I can about my characters. From there I develop a bullet point summary of the story and plot details which turns into a six act outline using Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Story Concept detailing all turning points and the characters’ inner and out journey.
Once that’s complete I write the synopsis – usually 1 page for each 10,000 words, so a 95k book is usually around 8-10 pages. This goes to my editor or agent so that she can sign off on the story and make any editorial changes upfront. Saves on the revisions. Once she’s signed off, I have a thorough road map to keep me on track. I actually find my creativity is greater once I’ve plotted out a book because I can concentrate on the writing, knowing I have a solid story.
Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?
I’m bad – I go shoe shopping! Just kidding. The fact that I have a plot outline and the fact I usually wake up with the next scene playing in my head, I’m not often without inspiration. But if the creative juices decide not to flow, I re-read the character arcs and I re-read the synopsis and then I go for a long walk. I find once I’m outside and walking, the story will come to me, and then I can head home and start writing.
Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
I used to play representative netball and I have back, neck and shoulder injuries, so I have to ensure I stretch every two hours when working on the computer. I also walk every second day at around 3pm in the afternoon and I have a cross trainer for those wet, cold days. I’m just starting to build a new home in a warmer area of New Zealand, so I’m putting in a swimming pool as I’ve found that swimming is the best for my back.
Do you believe in writer's block?
I’m sure it happens. As a plotter I very rarely suffer from writers block for very long. Besides, with deadlines you can’t afford to have writers block. I do think that families, other commitments etc can get in the way of writing time. That’s harder to manage but then life can’t be ignored. You can’t be writing all the time.
Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?
Not really, although I wrote a short story about a moment I had with a roommate at University who was very sick. It placed second in a short story contest. Because I write historicals, I have used modern day ideas such as endometriosis and thought about how that would have affected a woman’s life in the 1800’s.
In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
Hmmmm.... I’m not sure I really knew what to expect, it all happened so fast. I love the way readers get so engaged with my story and often email me with questions. Writing is very hard work. Finishing a book is only the beginning. You have to remember that the next book has to be just as good, and the next etc. It’s like the beginning of any career, you have to put the hard yards in. Mostly, I’m surprised at how much I love it. The reality surpasses anything I could have imagined.
Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?
I’m a marketing graduate so promotion is not new to me. It’s a necessity for selling any product. Social network marketing is very important in building your brand and for reaching readers. I use twitter, facebook, blogs, websites etc I must admit I only blog or tweet etc when I have something interesting to say. I actually think my life’s rather boring; therefore it won’t be that interesting to readers either.
What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Use loads of giveaways – get your book into as many readers’ hands as possible. Word of mouth with social networking is huge. A good book will sell itself, that’s what you should focus on – producing the best product possible.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned loads about slavery in Regency England. My hero’s father was a slave trader. Anthony had a terrible childhood and I love how he has the strength to overcome his brutal upbringing and open his heart to love. It took a very special heroine, Melissa. I found I have fabulous critique partners who went above and beyond to help me make the book better and who celebrated with me on my debut sale of INVITATION TO RUIN.
What was the most fun part of writing this book?
Finishing it! This was the first book I actually finished. I had been writing for about three – four years and never finished a book. One of my lovely critique partners told me ‘you can’t sell what you haven’t finished’. She was absolutely right. What changed with this book? I’d plotted the whole story so I knew exactly how the character’s journey would unfold. I haven’t looked back I have completed two further books – Invitation to Scandal due out in 2012 and Invitation to Love (working title).
And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?
Anthony’s a consummate rake and he’s now madly in love and lust with his wife. He’s very possessive and protective of her, so he’d prefer his Yorkshire Manor in the middle of winter where they would be snowed in. He’d build up the bedchamber fire, have the servants ensure beautiful meals were brought to the room, and then never let his wife out of bed. He has several months of wasted opportunity to make up for – plus he wants to try out all the positions in his wife’s naughty book. Melissa used a book written by Madam du Barry, the last mistress of the King of France, to seduce Anthony. He’s going to ensure they read it thoroughly – cover to cover.
The only thing Miss Melissa Goodly has ever wanted out of a marriage is love. But any hope of that dissolves one wild night, when she loses herself in the arms of the most irresistible-and unobtainable-man in all of England. For when they are discovered in a position as compromising as it is pleasurable, she has no choice but to accept his proposal.
Avowed bachelor Anthony Craven, Earl of Wickham, never meant to seduce an innocent like Melissa. Yet now that the damage is done, it does seem like she'd make a very convenient wife. After all, she is so naive he won't have to worry about ever being tempted. Or so he thinks, until the vows are spoken and they are left alone-and his new bride reveals a streak just as brazen and unrestrained as his own... Read an excerpt
INVITATION TO RUIN is available through most book stores and online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository and Indie.
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You can catch up with Bronwen at her website, on her blog, and on Twitter.