Do you like writing the love scenes for your books?
I do, actually. If done right, they're crucial in showing the development of the characters and their relationship. But sex scenes are the most difficult to write because I try not to rely on cliché, and I have to choose the words so carefully. There's actually a need for "choreography," so I know who's doing what, but at the same time I've learned that the scene is sexier when I'm less graphic in the physical descriptions.
What are you working on right now?
I'm writing Cassandra's story which will be the 6th in the Ravenels series.
Do you like writing contemporary or historical romances better?
I absolutely couldn’t choose. Each is incredibly rewarding. I think the historical romances are more fun to write, but with the contemporaries, I was able to become a little more issue-oriented which was rewarding in a multitude of ways.
What is your writing day like?
My average day starts at four in the morning. I get up early to write while it’s quiet, before my husband and daughter get up. Then at seven I make the breakfast, pack the lunches, get everyone dressed (actually, they've dressed themselves for years now!), and at nine o’clock I’m back to work until three o’clock. That’s the time when my daughter gets home, and I’m able to be with her, do school projects, help with homework, etc. I am so lucky to be able to arrange my day around them! At least two days a week, I try to exercise with a friend. Having an exercise partner is crucial for me, or I’ll fall by the wayside!
How do you get your ideas?
Ideas and inspiration come from everywhere. Sometimes it’s music I’m listening to, or sometimes ideas will be sparked when I see movies or read books (I especially love biographies) . . . I have also used my own experiences, or things I’ve seen on the news. With each book I write, I try to challenge myself with a situation I’ve never written about before, and that’s when I have to do a lot of imagining and pondering. That’s the most fun part of the job. The difficult part is having the self-discipline to get through the marathon of writing a novel.
Why did you start writing contemporary women’s fiction/romance?
After writing historicals for so many years, I felt the need to stretch a little and challenge myself, and I knew there were different kinds of characters and plots I could try in a contemporary setting. It was some of the most satisfying work I’ve ever done, as well as the most difficult. The hardest part for me was finding a true, authentic contemporary voice and learning to “strip down” my writing style. But that forced me to express emotions and thoughts in a different, more creative way. The surprise was in discovering how much that refreshed my historical writing when I went back to it!
What is the order of the Wallflower novels?
I wrote them so that any of them could be read alone. But here’s the order:
Secrets Of A Summer Night
It Happened One Autumn
Devil In Winter
Scandal In Spring
A Wallflower Christmas (novella)
Why aren’t your NAL books in print?
When I was 21, I sold to NAL, and they published my first four books. Although I had a wonderful time writing those first four titles; Where Passion Leads, Forever My Love, Love Come To Me and Give Me Tonight, they were definitely part of a learning process. I suppose I could sell the rights and have them republished. However, they are so vastly different from the books I’m writing now (more than twenty years later), that readers expecting a “Lisa Kleypas” novel would not be getting what they thought they had paid for.
Of the books you’ve written, who is your favorite hero?
I’ve given different answers to that question over the years. I love them all for varying reasons. But to me there are a few standouts . . . Derek Craven from Dreaming Of You is special because he was really my first self-made hero, and that opened up a new direction for my career. Zachary Bronson from Where Dreams Begin . . . Marcus, Lord Westcliff from It Happened One Autumn . . . Sebastian St. Vincent from Devil In Winter . . . and I’m getting rather partial to Leo, Lord Ramsay from Married By Morning.
What is the order of the Hathaway novels?
Mine Till Midnight
Seduce Me At Sunrise
Tempt Me At Twilight
Married By Morning
Love In The Afternoon
Do you choose the covers for your books? How much input do you have?
My publisher makes the ultimate decisions about the covers, and they are known for the care and thought they put into making each book stand out. They listen to any thoughts or concerns I might have, and then the art department works its magic.
I want to write a novel. How do I get started?
I wouldn’t necessarily advise you to write what you know (because who among us has been lucky enough to meet a sexy vampire or a handsome 19th century viscount?) but definitely write what you love to read. Joining writers support groups is a fantastic way to get support and the latest advice. If you interested in writing romantic fiction, definitely join the Romance Writers of America (http://rwanational.org/). And one of the most helpful books I’ve ever read about writing is “Story” by Robert McKee. Even though it focuses on screenwriting, the information about plot structure and character motivation is essential for any novelist.
Which of your books is your favorite?
Usually my favorite one is the one I happen to be working on at the time . . . but “Blue Eyed Devil” is probably my all-time favorite.