Thursday, June 26, 2014

Author Spotlight - Dani Collins

Minxes are thrilled to welcome Harlequin Presents author Dani Collins to our spotlight today :) Dani is generously giving away a copy of her latest book An Heir to Bind Them to a blog reader so don't forget to leave a comment!

Dani Collins’ first Harlequin Presents, Proof Of Their Sin, won this year’s Reviewer’s Choice by Romantic Times Book Reviews for Best First In Series. This summer she has five hot books from Harlequin, starting with An Heir To Bind Them in June. In August, watch for The Ultimate Seduction, the second book in the Harlequin Presents 21st Century Gentlemen’s Club mini-series. Also in August, she debuts with HarlequinE with The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection containing two titles: Playing The Master and Mastering Her Role. She also has an online novella with The Chatsfield series, The Secret In Room 823.

Dani is celebrating her sexy summer books by offering you a chance to express your secret desires from behind a masquerade mask. Enter Dani Collins’ Masked Desires Contest here. 

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself

I tend to feel like the most boring person in the universe. I grew up in a small town outside of Vancouver, BC, married my high school sweetheart and we moved to a different small town when we had children. I’ve travelled some, but usually packaged stuff to civilized places. We’re the equivalent of middle American except in Canada. Sometimes I blame my bland existence for the 25 years it took to sell a book. No drama to draw from.

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)

An Heir To Bind Them is my fifth published title with Harlequin. I have a romcom (Hustled To The Altar) that I indie published and a fantasy romance with a small press (The Healer.)

3. What inspired this book?

This book grew out of the story that was my First Sale, No Longer Forbidden? The hero in that book, Nic, told the heroine he had a half-sister and two brothers. I started wondering what had happened to them and wrote about their sister, Adara, in More Than A Convenient Marriage? This is Theo’s story and their youngest brother, Demitri, will have his story written later this year.

4. Who or what was the inspiration for your hero? [Pictures are welcomed!]

I don’t often use photos as inspiration. I’m personally in love with the iconic alpha male as depicted in Presents—tall, dark and handsome. Don Draper from Mad Men is a great example of my ideal. When I try to describe them, I consider their genetic background and figure out what skin tone they’re likely to have. I even had a blond hero, but even though I try to provide snapshots for the reader’s mind, I’m far more interested in my characters’ inner workings and spend a lot of time there. In terms of what inspires that side of things, it really does grow organically as I write the book.

5. Have you any burning ambitions to write a story in a different genre?

As mentioned above, I have dipped my toe into different romance genres. I have a pair of erotica romances coming out in August with HarlequinE (The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection). I’ve also written several different lengths which has kept me limber and learning new things. My journey to publication was a very long one. I took many detours along the way and have several manuscripts meant for different markets. I believe some can be rescued so I expect to appear in different genres of romance, but I am a die hard romance reader and writer. I don’t see myself making a big jump to horror or mystery or anything really different.

6. In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?

I treated writing like a job long before I published so there isn’t much that has surprised me. I’ve received more accolades than I expected (Reviewer’s Choice Award from RT Book Reviews, for instance.) That blew my mind after so many years of feeling like a failure. I expected a slow build and it’s turned into a meteoric rise. Some of that is planned. I am doing everything I can to finish books and get them published, but I really didn’t grasp how all that would feel. It’s great, but a lot more busy and demanding than I expected.

7. What was the most fun part of writing this book?

I loved pushing Theo out of his element with the babies. He comes to Jaya fed up that he can’t get a diaper on right. We’ve all been overwhelmed with childcare at some point and then cuddled a sleeping baby or been the recipient of a beaming smile and felt like a hero. I liked doing that to Theo.

8. Which of your characters would you most like to be?

That’s a really tough question because I tend to fall deepest in love with the ones who rise above the worst circumstances. Do I wish that on myself? No way! But do I want the sky-high standard of living my heroines enjoy at the hands of the hero? Um, YES.

9. Do you have a writing routine? Do you write every day, and is there a time of day that works best for you in terms of being productive?

I prefer to hit the computer first thing with coffee and still in my jammies. Lately I’ve been messing about on the internet for about an hour, which I’d like to scale back, but since quitting my ‘real’ job, I’ve been very good about getting real work done for a good six to nine hours with a walk in the middle of the day. Now, often this ‘work’ includes writing blog posts, organizing travel and planning promotions and related materials. I’d like to find a way to do less of that and more genuine writing, but this is the sort of demands I alluded to above that I didn’t realize were such a big part of being a professional author.

10. How long does it take you to complete a book?

Depends how long it is, what kind of story it is, and whether I work on it every day. I wrote the second erotic romance, around fifty-thousand words, last December. I worked full time until the middle of the month, then had twelve days off through the holidays. That was a really intense month and the manuscript needed quite a bit of revision. I wrote the Chatsfield novella basically over three long days and neither I nor my editor made any big changes. I was in the zone on that one, I guess. Contrast that to the fantasy romance which took years, but it’s an epic story with a ton of action and politics. The romcom was complex as I juggled several points of view and all the action takes place in one day, so I spent a lot of time figuring out the logistics. When I was working outside the home, I often gave myself a goal of a thousand words a day, which usually took about ninety minutes, Right now I’m planning to write over fifty thousand words by the end of June, basically my own Nano, and I don’t think that’s an unreasonable goal.

11. Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?

I often go back to the beginning and make sure I haven’t taken any wrong turns. Sometimes I find that I’ve had the character choose something that isn’t working, or I haven’t properly figured out why they chose that action. Long walks help, as does cleaning house. Sounds like punishment, but if I channel my frustration into dusting and scrubbing, at least I have a clean house when I’ve worked things out.

12. Are your family and real-life friends supportive? If so, in what ways? If not, do you have another support network for your writing?

I realized a long time ago that the writers whose husbands could afford to financially support them had a leg up. This allowed them to stay home and write and, as I observed it, they seemed to achieve publication sooner than I was able to. That wasn’t a luxury I had, but my husband has always pitched in with making supper or getting kids to practice so I can write. I dedicated my first book to a pair of friends I refer to as my kids’ Other Moms. We shared a lot of childcare over the years and it was a huge help in allowing me to make progress with my career. Among writers, one of my closest friends is Cathryn Parry. She’s incredibly positive and smart and always listens to me whine when publishing has hurt my feelings, then helps me put it in perspective and get back on the horse.

13. Where do you write?

Our house has an attic that was converted by previous owners into a playroom for their kids. It’s a perfect office so long as I don’t stand up too fast; the ceiling is slanted and I’ll hit my head. I sit at a computer desk older than my daughter (she’s leaving for second year university in the fall) and I sit on a ball.

14. Do you connect with your readers at all, and if so which is your favourite platform for reaching them?

I love hearing from readers and try to be accessible where they like to play. I’ll admit I’m fairly hopeless on Pinterest or Tumblr, but I go on Facebook and Twitter daily and glance at Goodreads fairly regularly. Here are my links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

And, please join my newsletter to be informed when a new book comes out.

An Heir to Bind Them

Off the boss's payroll…and into his bed

Jaya. Her name reverberates around Theo Makricosta's head in time to the whirring blades of his private helicopter. He must find her; only Jaya can help with the care of his infant niece and nephew…. It's not because he hasn't stopped thinking about the single night of mind-blowing passion he shared with the exotic beauty.

Jaya Powers couldn't refuse her gorgeous millionaire Greek boss when she worked for him, and she can't refuse him now! Only this time she has a secret. Their night together had consequences that will change Theo's perfectly ordered existence forever!


Cathryn Parry said...

Dani, you are awesome! Great interview. :-)

NOELLE CLARK - Author said...

Hi Dani. I met you in Sydney at the RWA conference. (Sat two up from you at the signing). Hope you are well.

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