We are delighted to have Madeline Ash here on the minxes today, telling us all about her debut novel, which was a finalist in the 2013 RUBY awards. Congratulations, Madeline! Now...the questions!
Tell us all about yourself.
I write contemporary romance and am published with Destiny Romance (a new imprint of Penguin Australia). I’ve always lived in Melbourne, and have so far set my stories within a stone’s throw of home.
My romances tend to be emotionally tender, although I don’t close the bedroom door. Strange fact: there are two sex scenes in my debut novel, yet it was a finalist in the 2013 Romantic Book of the Year (RUBY) ‘Sweet’ category. I’m still not sure how that happened.
What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th? (Nora only!)I won’t take Nora’s number, I promise!
It’s debut, for me. I’ve been writing romance for almost nine years and so was ecstatic when ‘Uncovered by Love’ was accepted for publication last October and released mid-December.
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?Actually, I find it more difficult to do other things (like shoe shopping!) instead of write. I feel compelled almost constantly, to the point where I won’t read for weeks on end, because whenever I’d normally read, I pull out my notebook and plan for the next time I’m going to write. It’s destructive. I think I need help.
That’s not to say I haven’t escaped the dreaded YouTube curse. When it strikes, may my muse have mercy on my soul.
What is your top promo tip for other authors?As a new author, I’m afraid I haven’t nailed promo yet. But I’m following the advice to write my next book. I can promote the pants of my debut, but I’ll still only have one book for readers to buy. Books sell books – so I’m dedicating all my efforts to finishing book two and getting it in front of readers.
How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?I’m lucky in that I only work part-time. So I have two full days to write romance (as well as weekends, if I’m feeling anti-social). I ensure that I write 9-5pm, but it usually ends up running much closer to bedtime than that! I don’t write in terms of word count anymore – I used to, and became addicted to watching the word count grow, sacrificing the quality of the words. So now, it’s just about reaching a point where I feel satisfied. Sometimes, that means no new words, but a stronger reworked scene.
Any craft books you recommend?
Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon. This was the game changer for me. I read it and the next book I wrote got published. Couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
I get sooo restless sitting at a desk all day (my day job is also writing, so more sitting), so I walk at least half an hour daily to haul in some fresh air and move those legs. I also have a collection of exercise DVDs, which are brilliant for rainy days or extra-jittery muscles. Cardio, weights, gym ball…yoga is my favourite. Nothing beats a good stretch!
In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
I still doubt my writing. I’d imagined that I’d be confident, reassured that I could write publishable romance. But unfortunately, the ego-boost of selling one book doesn’t transfer to the writing of the next! Just because my editor liked my first book, doesn’t mean she’ll like the second. Just because a reviewer liked my first book, doesn’t mean she won’t use a gif of a woman shaking her head in disappointment to sum up her thoughts on the second. And just because – well, you get the point.
I also thought that as a published author, I’d write at an antique wooden desk, looking out over a quaint garden that flowered all year-round (without my assistance), while eating delicious little cakes and drinking tea that could make itself. This hasn’t seemed to have happened either.
Could you be friends with any of your heroines?
Interesting question. I could definitely be friends with Vera, the heroine in Uncovered by Love. They say writers put parts of themselves into their characters, and she scored aspects of myself that I actually like. I know we could chat over tea all day. But Frankie, one of my more kick-arse heroines – we wouldn’t get along. While I think she’s awesome, she wouldn’t give me the time of day.
Have you ever written a hero you'd be happy to run off with?
My immediate response to that question was ‘Hoh-boy, yes, all of them!’
But actually, I don’t think so. I love my heroes and yet they’re not made for me. I can’t really imagine them without my heroines – they’d be incomplete. I spend so much time match-making, it would be sabotaging my own work! But I’m sure that’s just a shortcoming in my imagination – I’d certainly be happy to run off with Roarke, without a thought to Eve (I know, I know, I’ll join the queue).
Uncovered by Love:
Vera Cole is a passionate sculptor whose dream is to study art in Spain. But when wealthy investor Leeson Stone offers her work at his gallery, her dwindling bank balance forces her to agree.
Leeson is a man who measures himself by financial success, while Vera couldn't be less interested in material things. And both have secrets they are desperate to hide. Yet the more time they spend together, the more they struggle to resist the powerful attraction between them.
Knowing the truth would ruin him, Leeson avoids commitment. But when Vera works up the courage to reveal her past, Leeson falls hard for the bravest woman he has ever met. Can two people from very different worlds overcome their fears and learn to trust in love and one another?
A moving, contemporary romance novel about love against all the odds.
Uncovered by Love is available from Amazon Aus, Amazon UK, Amazon US and also from Destiny Romance. If you’re in Australia, you can also find it on iTunes, Google Play and Kobo.
Connect with Madeline on her website or Facebook.