Romancing The Romance Authors with… Emma Bennet

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Today, in the latest in my series grilling romance authors on all things love and writing, I am chatting to author… Emma Bennet.

Welcome to the blog, Emma. Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

I write sweet contemporary romances and have four full length novels and two novellas currently published. My next book is due to be released at the beginning of June 2021 by Spellbound books.

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Why romance?

I guess I just love following the twists and turns of a relationship coming together culminating in a satisfying Happy Ever After! It makes my heart happy.

What inspires your stories?

Things I hear, things I see, things I read… One of my books is based on the story a friend told me of how she and her husband got together. Sometimes I’ll be doing something as mundane as washing up the dishes after supper, and I’ll think ‘what if such and such happened…?’ and that will end up becoming a story.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

I love some comedy in my reads so Sophie Kinsella is definitely one of my favourites. I also really enjoy Jenny Colgan and Paige Toon’s novels. Kiley Dunbar and Sharon Booth are very good, their books are made to be devoured!

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

I’d definitely want it to be one of mine, and I have a soft spot for Her Perfect Hero, mainly because it contains an evil cat called Mr Darcy, so I think I’d recommend that. 

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Romance writer Bronte Huntington is sure she’ll find her perfect hero someday… he’s just been held up for a while.

When she’s rescued by the debonair Sebastian Fairfax, heir to the Fenworth Estate, she thinks her dream has finally come true. Sebastian’s dashing, handsome and… well… a tiny bit boring and self-absorbed if Bronte were completely honest with herself.

Can’t she see there’s a much better prospect closer to home – her new neighbour, the rather ordinary, down-to-earth Ryan? He’s kind, funny and sweet, and they’ve plenty in common. But she’s adamant she’ll only settle for a fairytale romance.

Will Bronte open her eyes and heart to what’s staring her in the face? Her perfect hero.

Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

I’d be a bit concerned about what had happened to my husband, but imagining he’s busy himself… I’d have to choose Joseph Wild, the rock star hero of my novel Starstruck. He’d take me on tour to somewhere terribly glamorous, possibly Milan, and I’d be backstage at his concert before we disappeared from all the paparazzi to a beautiful hotel.

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

The support from fellow authors is absolutely invaluable. If I ever have a writing query or concern, there’s always someone who’s happy to help!

The conferences are so helpful and a lot of fun. I was very nervous before attending, but everyone was lovely ad I came away with lots of new friends and my head full of writing plans and advice.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

Join the RNA’s New Writer’s Scheme if you are able to. You’ll make so many friends in the industry and get some honest feedback on your work. I didn’t know about the scheme when I was starting out, but I wish I had.

Tell us about your most recent novel.

Starstruck is the story of newly divorced Kate who finds school friend, now super famous rock star Joseph Wild, on her doorstep. 
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was such fun to write, especially any scene containing the awful Genevieve! It is available in ebook and paperback here.

(You can read my recent review of Starstruck here.)

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When newly divorced Kate finds school friend, now super famous rock star Joseph Wild, on her doorstep, her whole quiet, ordinary life is thrown into disarray.

Joseph has broken up with glamorous actress Genevieve Moore, and needs somewhere to retreat to until the paparazzi interest in his marriage calms down. Kate agrees to help him out and drawn to his simple, self-effacing charm, soon finds herself falling in love.

But can she cope with the problems a relationship with such a high profile celebrity brings? What happens when he jets back to his regular life of stardom in L.A.?

And how will Genevieve react when she finds out Joseph has moved on? She can’t possibly allow anything to sully her ever-so carefully crafted public image.

Falling in love with a rock star is tougher than you’d think…

About the Author

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Emma grew up and lived in London, before falling in love and moving to Wales to marry her own hero. Emma now lives with her husband, for children, and many animals a few miles outside of a small Welsh market town. She can often be found in rivers attempting to control two overexcited chocolate labradors.

Six charming romances are currently available from the Amazon bestselling authoress:

Number 1 Australian kindle bestseller, ‘His Secret Daughter’, is the heart-rending story of Iris, a woman falling in love with the father of her child. The only problem is she never told him they had a daughter.

The beautiful landscape around her home gave Emma the inspiration for ‘The Green Hills of Home’, a tale of love and duty in which country girl Gwen struggles to save her family home and avoid her feelings for her handsome, suave new boss. Is he quite all he seems?

‘Snowed in for her Wedding Day’ is a novella picking up Gwen’s story as her wedding day approaches, but with terrible weather, and an absent groom, will she have the happy ending she so deserves?

‘Just Desserts’ is a novella about confused chef Leah, who’s falling for her handsome French co-worker Jean-Claude, but meant to be marrying to Dan in just a few weeks! Who will she choose?

‘Her Perfect Hero’ was released in July 2015 as ‘I Need a Hero’, it’s a lovely comic romantic read for anyone who’s ever searched for Mr Right (and failed to find him!). Despair of Bronte, a romance writer, incapable of spotting when the perfect man is right next door! Full of horses, country houses and dentists, just beware of the foul-tempered cat Mr Darcy!

New release, ‘Starstruck’, proves that falling in love with a rock star is harder than you’d think! When newly divorced Kate finds school friend, now super famous rock star Joseph Wild, on her doorstep, her whole quiet, ordinary life is thrown into disarray. Is the attraction between them enough to make up for all the hurdles they have to cross if they want to be together?

Emma likes (in no particular order): cake, books, Cary Grant films, prosecco, chocolate, guinea pigs, knitting, quilting and happily ever afters!

Connect with Emma:

Website: https://www.emma-bennet.co.uk/

Facebook: Emma Bennet

Twitter: @romanceemma

Instagram: @romanceemma

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Mary B. Moore

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Today I have another edition of Romancing The Romance Authors, where I chat all things romance and romance writing with an author in the genre and this week I am grilling Mary B. Moore.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

I mainly write romantic suspense and romantic comedy books, but there have been some exceptions to the rule. April 5 will be my fifth anniversary since I published my first books, and I’m trying to remember how many books I’ve published?! I think it’s 27 or 28 now. There are so many more planned, too.

Why romance?

I grew up with romance books around me, whether it was the Sweet Valley Twins/High series’ or Mum’s Harlequin novels. There’s something soothing about reading them, even when the drama and tensions are high in them, and closing it after the last page and the characters having a happily ever after together. Being able to create my own characters, giving them their own books and worlds, is the most amazing feeling for me.

What inspires your stories?

A variety of things. I’m the daughter of retired diplomats, but I grew up in places like Damascus, Angola (during the civil war), Indonesia, Jamaica and Panama, so a lot of that does come into it. My family and friends also tend to inspire my characters (I swear I have zero sanity around me). Sometimes it can even be a news story that I’ve read. I come from an “eclectic” family who tends to have more laughter than tears, so I decided to approach serious subjects in my plots by adding humour to them. Life’s serious as it is, sometimes having something that makes you laugh or smile makes it a bit easier.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

Oh, there are a lot of them. Sylvia Day is a big one. I still haven’t read book 5 in the Crossfire Series because I don’t want to accept it’s over. Kristen Ashley is another one. I have friends who are romance authors and their books are my go to books for when I need to unwind: CP Smith, Elena M. Reyes and C.M. Steele. I’m familiar with their styles and their plots are always what I need. Aurora Rose Reynolds, Kristen Ashley, K. Bromberg, Terri Anne Browning, Melody Anne… there’s so many.

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

Definitely the first book in Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Series, Bared To You. It’s impossible to put down and you’ll jump straight into the next book. It’s just so perfectly done. I swear no man will ever be able to live up to the awesomeness of Gideon Cross.

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Our journey began in fire . . .

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness – beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily . . .

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds . . . and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart . . .

Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

I’m sure it’ll be no surprise when I say Gideon Cross from the Crossfire Series. I’d probably take him to a beach in Indonesia and just enjoy being back there with him and showing him around. Maybe we could go to Port Royal in Jamaica? Either or, I’m not fussy. If I got to spend a weekend with Gideon, I’d let him choose where and just enjoy the heck out of it.

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

I love being a member. I love the diversity that I’ve come across in the organisation, including the DISCO chapter for disabled authors. With a huge percentage of authors and the market being in the USA, it’s been great to meet other British authors and have the support, advice and information from the organisation that we get.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

Do it. It’s easy to get disheartened or to be scared, but your words are just as good as someone with fifty books under their name. Just do it! Obviously do it properly, but don’t be put off from letting your words out into the world.

Tell us about your most recent novel.

My most recent novel is called Eat Crow, and it’s Book 6 in my Cheap Thrills series. I’ve got three series that are based in Texas (I come from a large American family even though we’re Brits) and I have a huge amount of love for the state. Granted my family are from New Jersey, but I have fond memories of Texas and places like Gonzales County.

Anyway, the Cheap Thrills Series is predominantly about the police department that I started outlining in 2016, and the latest book is about a deputy called Logan and his childhood best friend called Bexley (Bexley Heath—it has a nice London link in it). He said something when they were younger that split the friendship up, but when she comes back for her grandad’s funeral, he’s the one who helps her through the loss.

I love second chance, small town romances, and the connection the two characters have has been fabulous to write.

Eat Crow will be released on Kindle on 26 February and you can pre-order it here.

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Logan

I made a mistake seven years ago and opened my mouth, letting words fly out of it that I didn’t mean. I said something about the one person I never wanted to hurt and lost my best friend. Now she’s back and needs help her with her loss, and I’m going to be the best rock in the history of rocks and make it right between us again.

I’d do anything to get Bexley Heath back in my life, even if it means helping out with her dog, who hates me and loves to destroy everything around him.

Time doesn’t kill love. Neither does a giant Irish Wolfhound eating my favorite chair.

Bexley

I’d successfully avoided Logan Richards for seven years, but somehow losing my grandpa brought him back into my life. Perhaps Papa was right when he said in his last letter that it was time to get over it and just let it go. Life’s too short, and forgiveness is divine, right?

He’s my anchor when I need it and my tissues when I cry. But that doesn’t mean I can’t reward my dog for causing him grief and destroying some of his furniture, though, does it? To heck with it, good Doyle.

About the Author

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I’m a British author who grew up all over the world. My parents were diplomats, so we were posted to all of the corners of the earth and it was a blast. Some wouldn’t seem so awesome if you heard about them, but my parents always made it a fun experience and it moulded my brother and I into who we are today.

I live in Wiltshire in the west country of the UK. At random times of the day, I’ll hear a moo from the fields around me, or get a whiff of that…uhhh…’country air’, and I love it! I might not have grown up in the UK, but I’m a British girl to the bone (regardless of the suspicious whiffs coming in from the fields).

I’m a single mother with a son who is nearing his teenage phase. Maybe he’s reached it early? Who knows. But he’s awesome and has a personality and sense of humour that I can only attribute to my family. We’re slightly bonkers, we have a wicked sense of humour and we find the positives in every situation. I’m so proud to be his mum and to watch him grow and mature.

Writing was something that I’d always done. I had a teacher in the third grade who always set us the task of writing a story and making it into a book every weekend. After I left school, I kept this up and wrote as often as I could or just plotted out books. This evolved into me taking the plunge and publishing my first book in 2016 and I’ve been typing ever since.

I’m proud to be an Indie Author, and I absolutely love writing out my crazy Providence characters and the more complex ones in my other series’. It doesn’t matter if it’s romantic comedy or something with more suspense – so long as it has a HEA I’ll do it!

Connect with Mary:

Website: https://www.marybmoorebooks.com/

Facebook: Mary B Moore

Twitter: @mary_bmoore

Instagram: @mooremaryb

Facebook Readers’ Group: 50 Shades of Neigh

Newsletter: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/5f76283ae3a4a1ac190b037f

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Penny Hampson

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Today I am delighted to welcome to the blog, author Penny Hampson, to share her thoughts on writing romance with us.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

Hi Julie, thank you so much for inviting me here.

I came to writing quite late in life, so I feel like I am just catching up. As a historian, I’m an avid reader of stories set in the past, so when it came to writing my own, they too had to have a historical setting. Because I’m a lover of all things Georgian and Regency, my historical stories are set in the early 1800s.

At the very beginning of my writing journey I joined the New Writers’s Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and this meant that I received invaluable feedback and advice on my work.

My three historical books are all self-published and they form my Gentlemen Series. A Gentleman’s Promise, my debut novel, is currently being re-edited and it will be re-released early in 2021. An Officer’s Vow and A Bachelor’s Pledge are the next books in the series, though each can be read as a standalone. There are also at least a couple more stories to come.

My first contemporary novel, The Unquiet Spirit, was published by Darkstroke earlier this year. Writing this was a bit of a departure for me, with it’s present-day setting and supernatural elements, but there is also a good helping of romance and a strong historical thread running through it. As you might guess, I’m rather obsessed with history!

Why romance?

I’ve always enjoyed reading romance novels, especially when life has been a bit stressful. I think they offer much needed escapism and comfort when times are tough. I’ve always been fascinated by what makes people tick and creating two characters who develop a relationship is an opportunity for me to explore and create believable characters.

What inspires your stories?

Lots of different things inspire my stories. For instance, The Unquiet Spirit was inspired by a house I saw for sale on the internet – I wondered what it would be like to live in a house like that. It became The Beeches in my story, a house that had some interesting and spooky secrets.

Another story that I’m currently working on was inspired by a British newspaper report of 1812 about a young French emigré who came to a bit of a sticky end. My young lady however, will have a much better outcome!

Locations also inspire me. I love Falmouth, Cornwall, in the South West of England, having spent several holidays there. It has a long and interesting history and I utilised some of that history in my  historical novel, A Bachelor’s Pledge. Falmouth also plays a large part in my contemporary romance story, The Unquiet Spirit.

Another favourite place of mine is Bath, which will be familiar to any lovers of Jane Austen. Bath too, has appeared in both my historical and contemporary stories. With its fabulous architecture and stunning setting it is truly an inspirational place.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

Gosh, I’ve got lots of favourite authors. However, for stories set in the Regency period, my go-to author is Georgette Heyer. I’d also hesitate to call her a romance author, because her stories are much more than that. Having re-read many of them recently, I was surprised to discover that several that I’d thought of as romances are anything but. I’m thinking of titles such as A Civil Contract which is in fact a realistic portrayal of a marriage rather than a fairytale romance, or The Foundling, which is more like a coming-of-age story.

For present day romance authors, I enjoy reading Mary-Jo Putney, Mary Balogh, and the late Jo Beverley.

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

This is a very difficult question to answer! But given no choice, I’d recommend Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer, which tells the tale of the tempestuous Deborah Grantham and the man who is out to ruin her plans, Max Ravenscar. If you enjoy sparkling, witty dialogue, you will enjoy this book, the verbal sparring between this pair is some of Heyer’s best work. Packed with rich comedy, Heyer’s plot weaves its magic, and it is delightful to see how she brings two such unlikely personalities together. And of course she sets it in a world that is recognisably Regency, real facts about places, people, and events are inserted in an unobtrusive and natural way.

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Renowned gamester and the first to admit that he is entirely void of a romantic disposition, Max Ravenscar regards all eligible females with indifference and unconcern.

But when he meets the woman his young cousin Adrian is bent on marrying – the beautiful Deborah Grantham, mistress of her aunt’s gaming house – he finds that none of his experience in risk and gambling has prepared him for such a worthy opponent.

Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

There are so many wonderful romantic heroes to choose from, it is difficult to make a choice. I think I’d prefer to spend the weekend with a group of my favourite heroes and heroines from the Regency period. It would be a weekend party at a rural stately home, with lots of walks in the countryside, sumptuous rooms, delicious food, and no washing-up! I might even persuade one of the gentlemen to teach me to ride a horse – something I’ve only ever done once. How nice it would be to go for a gallop and then come back to a blazing log fire. And a weekend like this would involve so many changes of clothes: morning dresses, walking dresses, riding habits, pelisses, spencers, and bonnets. For someone like me who lives in jeans, it would be quite a novelty, but I’d really enjoy putting on a fabulous evening dress for dinner.

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

Where do I start? It’s great feeling a part of the community of romance authors and sharing ideas and information. Before Covid, my local chapter met up for lunch once a month and I rarely left one without having learned something new or receiving encouragement – a real boost when you feel you’re getting nowhere with your writing. You can guarantee one thing, romance authors are a very supportive group.

The best thing about the RNA is the New Writers’ Scheme. This set me on my journey to becoming a published author. I’d recommend it to anyone thinking of becoming an author.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

I’d advise them to join the RNA New Writers’ Scheme! It’s the best place to go to get honest feedback on your work from professionals who thoroughly understand the romance genre.

Tell us about your most recent novel.

My latest book, A Bachelor’s Pledge, is an action-filled adventure set in England during the Napoleonic Wars. At its core is the growing romance between secret agent Phil Cullen and lady’s companion Sophia Turner. Both have their reasons for not wishing to see each other again, but circumstances and a ruthless French spy set their lives on a collision course.

A Bachelor’s Pledge is available as an ebook (free on Kindle Unlimited) and a paperback from Amazon here.

A Bachelor's Pledge

The woman who haunts his dreams

Secret agent Phil Cullen is upset when he discovers that the young woman he rescued from Mrs Newbodys establishment has absconded from his housekeepers care without a word. Thinking he has been deceived, he resolves to forget about her… something easier said than done.

The man she wants to forget

Sophia Turner is horrified when she is duped into entering a notorious house of ill-repute. Then a handsome stranger comes to her aid. Desperate that no one learns of this scandalous episode, Sophia flees to the one friend she knows she can trust. With luck, she will never see her mysterious rescuer again.

But fate has other plans…

Months later, Phil is on the trail of an elusive French agent and Sophia is a respectable lady’s companion when fate again intervenes, taking their lives on a collision course.

Traitors, spies, and shameful family secrets – will these bring Sophia and Phil together… or drive them apart?

About the Author

Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the RNA and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a traditional Regency romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

Connect with Penny:

Website: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/

Blog: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/blog/

Facebook: Penny Hampson Author

Twitter: @penny_hampson

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Melissa Oliver

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Today I am very excited to be discussing writing romance with the winner of the 2020 RNA Joan Hessayon Award… Melissa Oliver.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

Hi Julie, thank you for having me on your blog.

I write historical romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon, with the first series; the Notorious Knights set in early 13th century England.

So far, I have written three of the books, with my debut published last summer, the second out at the end of this month and the third coming in the summer of 2021. I was ecstatic that my debut- The Rebel Heiress and the Knight won the prestigious RNA Joan Hessayon Award for 2020. Honestly, getting that first publishing deal as a new writer was an incredible feat in itself but to win the award was really the cherry on top and something I will always treasure.

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Why romance?

Romance is a glorious genre that celebrates love in all its various forms, examining the connection between two people through the prism of time, or a contemporary back-drop. Whether it’s with comedy or tragedy, mystery & adventure- there’s always a great pay-off at the end in the happy ever after or happy for now- which can only be a balm in these troubled times.   

What inspires your stories?

Anything and everything! I’m attracted to the medieval era at the moment, as there’s a certain immediacy about real-life events from that time giving my books a sense of heightened intensity (I hope) blending romance, emotion, conflict, intrigue even a little humour and at times, mystery & adventure.

I really enjoy incorporating real historical events and people through the narrative at key moments. So, reading a lot and I mean a lot of factual books is key to getting a sense of the period in an attempt to capture the essence of the time. Having said that, my characters are the real driving force of my books. I need to know everything about them- who they are, what they are doing and where they want to go before I even start a book.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

Ooh, that is such a difficult question and really does depend on my mood. My favourites’ include; Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Milly Johnson, Jilly Cooper, Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, Mary Balogh, Meredith Duran, Mimi Matthews & Lisa Kleypas. I know I’ve probably missed out a few but this list can be quite flexible and ultimately changeable.

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

Katherine by Anya Seton. A vividly compelling historical romance. One of my absolute favourites.

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Katherine comes to the court of Edward III at the age of fifteen. The naïve convent-educated orphan of a penniless knight is dazzled by the jousts and the entertainments of court.

Nevertheless, Katherine is beautiful, and she turns the head of the King’s favourite son, John of Gaunt. But he is married, and she is soon to be betrothed.

A few years later their paths cross again and this time their passion for each other cannot be denied or suppressed. Katherine becomes the prince’s mistress, and discovers an extraordinary world of power, pleasure and passion.

Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

We recently got a lovely cocker spaniel puppy named Mr. Darcy, so I am going to go with Lizzy’s other half. Mr. D would escort me on a whistle-stop tour through Regency London. From Gunter’s tea shop for an ice, to a horse ride down Rotten Row, then a hop and a skip to Almack for a dance and finally to Vauxhall Gardens which was pretty magical, by all accounts.

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

A sense of community as well as the amazing support and friendships built over the last few years of being a member. Added to this are the fantastic events such as the Winter Party and the Summer Conference, where I met my lovely editor from Harlequin Mills and Boon at the industry one-to-one meetings in 2019. There’s still so much to learn for me, so it’s quite reassuring being a member of the RNA, knowing there’s a wealth of knowledge out there.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

I would say not to give up, if you’re serious about becoming a writer. It can be tough and sometimes quite lonely dealing with rejection and keeping that self-doubt at bay. So, do your research, hone your craft, enjoy what you’re doing but above all, write the book you have always wanted to write.

Tell us about your most recent novel.

Her Banished Knight’s Redemption is the second book of the Notorious Knights series and is set in 1218. It features Sir William (Will) Geraint – the gorgeous best friend of Hugh de Villiers (the hero from The Rebel Heiress and the Knight– book 1 of the series.)

Will is quite embittered and different from the affable, easy going knight we first meet in the previous book and is now living in exile in France as a sword-for-hire. He goes on quite a journey in this book as he escorts the lost heiress, Isabel de Clancey back to England where they’re forced to work together to uncover the secrets of their past. There’s even a medieval treasure hunt to discover.

There was quite a bit of research to do on this book. From the history of the Knights Templar, to the Tour de la Lanterne in La Rochelle- the only tower that would have been erected at that time and not the one that stands there today, to the herbs and plants used to treat various maladies. I loved writing this book and wanted to give Will and the lovely Lady Isabel an exciting story filled with romance, passion mystery, and adventure.

Mills&Boon cover for Her Banished Knight's Redemption

A lady’s need for protection
A knight’s chance for redemption

Exiled Knight William Geraint answers only to himself. Yet, a mission to reunite lost heiress Lady Isabel de Clancey with her family is Will’s chance to finally atone for the torment of his past.  With every rushed mile, their intense attraction becomes dangerously thrilling.  He swore to protect Isabel not seduce her, but their desire for each other could threaten the redemption he’s worked so hard to achieve…

Her Banished Knight’s Redemption is out 21 January 2021 in UK & Australia and 26 Jan in US and you can pre-order your copy here.

About the Author

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Melissa Oliver is from south-west London where she writes historical romance novels. She lives with her lovely husband and daughters, who share her passion for decrepit, old castles, palaces and all things historical.

Melissa is the WINNER of The Romantic Novelist Association’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2020 for her debut, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight.

When she’s not writing she loves to travel for inspiration, paint, and visit museums & art galleries.

Connect with Melissa:

Facebook: Melissa Oliver Author

Twitter: @melissaoauthor

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Mick Arnold

Romancing The Romance Authors

Happy New Year and welcome back to the blog all my lovely readers for what I am hoping will be another wonderful year for books.

I’m kicking off the year with a new episode of my feature on writing romance, and I’m delighted to welcome back to the blog, romance author, Mick Arnold, to tell us what he writes and why he writes it.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

I started off writing pure romance or, to be more precise, women’s fiction as my very first novel to be published was, The Season for Love. This was set on the run up to Christmas and thought with a small American publishing house, it did provide me with that important first on the publishing ladder. I’ve since moved sideways into writing WW2 historical sagas, though the romance element in them is very important and central to the stories.

Why romance?

Don’t let it slip, but I’m a very romantic husband however, I only began reading romance when my wife passed me a book and said, ‘read that’! I did then the next morning, I found myself at my ancient laptop tapping away without knowing what was coming out. That’s how my very first and unpublished book came about. I then heard about the Romantic Novelist’s Association and was lucky enough to join. Being around these wonderful people inspired me to carry on and it seemed natural, at the time, to write romance.

What inspires your stories?

It can be anything. I’ve lots of ideas for stories inspired by songs I’ve heard on the radio, which I haven’t written yet, but also by things that I read and watch on the television. It’s always handy therefore to have a notepad by my side, as I’ve absolutely no memory.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

OMG, are you trying to get me into trouble? I know an awful lot of great authors now, the majority of whom are romance authors. However, if I’m going to be pushed, I particularly adore the novels of Sue Moorcroft and Bella Osborne. Sue makes me laugh, cry and question life in general, often at the same time as she’s not afraid to use sensitive subject matter. Bella is quite a new, yet established author whose style is more traditional romance. She has a beautiful way of brightening up my days when I read her books. Jill Mansell has great twisty, turvy plots that I always wonder how she comes up with! I’ll finish with TA Williams. He always takes me on a wonderful journey around the world!

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

Though I can keep coming back to read Sue’s books at any time, I would have to say it’s Jill Mansell’s utterly brilliant, moving novel, Three Amazing Things About You. It’s a tale of a girl who has Cystic Fibrosis and though sad, in all the right places, is also so funny and so moving! I’ve said many a time that this book needs to be made into a movie.

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Hallie has a secret. She’s in love. He’s perfect for her in every way, but he’s seriously out of bounds. And her friends aren’t going to help her because what they do know is that Hallie doesn’t have long to live. Time is running out…

Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won’t be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends – let alone anything more.

Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she’s afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.

THREE AMAZING THINGS ABOUT YOU begins as Hallie goes on a journey. A donor has been found and she’s about to be given new lungs. But whose?

Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

Tricky. Should I say that I’ve never read Jane Austen? I’m not certain I won’t be drummed out of the RNA if this gets out, but it’s true. I don’t suppose I can get away with saying, my Lady Wife? If I can, it would have to be having Walt Disney World to ourselves for the weekend. Crowds are such a bind and neither of us are much for beaches. There’s nothing like riding Space Mountain!

I would never have had you down as a fellow Disney World devotee! The things you learn in this game. What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

Oh, the friendship and support! Without a doubt, I don’t believe I would have got published so soon if I hadn’t become a member of this wonderful organisation. I had a bad time health wise over the last couple of years and was taken care of so well at the 2019 convention because people were so worried about me. You cannot buy friendship and support like that.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

I don’t think it matters what genre you want to write in, it would be the same. Read in the genre you want to write and keep writing. Persistence is the name of the game where writing is concerned. Not many people manage to get a deal with the first thing you write. Also, make sure that you are prepared for rejection; you need a backbone to write. I know that’s not one piece, but my editor tells me off for long sentences, and it’s now a habit.

Tell us about your most recent novel.

This, my second published novel is called, A Wing and a Prayer and is the first in a series called, ‘Broken Wings’. These are set in World War 2 United Kingdom and is actually an historical saga, though with a strong thread of romance running through it for my lead characters. However, it is also a mystery and has the billing on the cover of – The Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club! I stumbled into this genre as whilst recovering from my illness, I’d tried to pick up my writing, but couldn’t get going, then an author friend advised me to try something different and I happened to be watching a documentary called, The Spitfire Girls. I then did some research and before I really knew what was happening, I’d the general gist of a story fleshed out. Book 2 is with my editor and I’m nearly halfway through the third, my first Christmas book!

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When Betty Palmer’s sister dies under suspicious circumstances whilst landing her Tiger Moth, Betty and three other women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary in WWII England unite to discover who killed her and why.

Estranged from her family, Penny Blake wants simply to belong. American Doris Winter, running from a personal tragedy, yearns for a new start. Naturally shy Mary Whitworth-Baines struggles to fit in. Together though, they are a force to be reckoned with as they face the mystery that confronts them.

Against the backdrop of war, when ties of friendship are exceptionally strong, they strive to unravel the puzzle’s complex threads, risking their lives as they seek justice for Betty’s sister.

You can buy a copy of A Wing and a Prayer here.

About the Author

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Mick is a hopeless romantic who was born in England and spent fifteen years roaming around the world in the pay of HM Queen Elisabeth II in the Royal Air Force before putting down roots and realizing how much he missed the travel. This he’s replaced somewhat with his writing, including reviewing books and supporting fellow saga and romance authors in promoting their novels. 

He’s the proud keeper of two Romanian Were-Cats, is mad on the music of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, and enjoys the theatre and loving his Manchester-United-supporting wife. 

Finally, Mick is a full member of the Romantic Novelists Association. A Wing and a Prayer will be his second published novel, and he is very proud to be welcomed into The Rose Garden.

Connect with Mick:

Facebook: M W Arnold Author

Twitter: @mick859

Instagram: @mick859

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Hywela Lyn

Romancing The Romance Authors

I am delighted to welcome Hywela Lyn to the blog today to chat about all things romance.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

Thank you so much for having me here, Julie. I write Science Fiction and Fantasy Romance – the Science Fiction has a strong fantasy element – and I also write straight Fantasy. If you wonder how Science Fiction can be ‘romance’, well my characters, whether they come from Earth or a distant planet, are still very human and fall in love, just like you or me. I also I find space itself intensely romantic, who could not look up at all those stars in the night sky and not be enthralled by their beauty? I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of space and space exploration, although I started out writing romantic historical Westerns, but there was no market in the UK for them at the time, so I turned to Science Fiction/Fantasy. After all the two genres have several similarities – brave men and women, exploring unknown territory and facing many dangers while they work together and fall in love, with starships instead of horses, and sometimes-hostile aliens instead of native American Indians.

I have three ‘standalone’ novels published as a trilogy with the American publishing house, the Wild Rose Press. I also have a fantasy novella, merging elements Welsh and Greek and Arthurian  legends, which was originally published by The Wild Rose Press as an anthology with other authors, but when I got my rights back I made a few changes and self-published it. The last few years, especially 2020, have been difficult and I’ve had to put my writing on hold for a time, but I do have a partly finished fantasy romance set in Wales, which I’m hoping to submit to TWRP next year.

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Why romance?

I’ve always been a ‘romantic’. I soon realised nearly everything I wrote turned into a love story. Romance novels have to have a happy ending, so the reader can breathe a happy sigh of contentment as they read the last page. Romance makes one feel good, loving someone who loves you back is the best feeling in the world. As the saying goes ‘what’s not to love’ (about romance)?

What inspires your stories?

My inspiration usually starts with a character, who gradually tells me their story. Sometimes it’s something I see, like a beautiful view, or unusual weather, and sometimes a piece of music will wake up my muse and start giving me ideas.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

Too many to list really, but one I really enjoy, although her books aren’t my own genre, is Rosemary Gemmell, whose books are usually historical, and set in her native Scotland. Her characters are very easy to relate to, and her settings vividly drawn. I also enjoy books by an American romance author, Pamela Thibodeaux, who writes contemporary  inspirational stories ‘with an edge’, as she puts it herself. Although her stories all have a subtle Christian message, they are not at all ‘preachy’.

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

Oh that’s a bit difficult, but I think I’d go back to Rosemary Gemmell and her book Highcrag.

The heroine’s task is to catalogue the books in an old house for the owner, and a strong attraction develops between them. There are strong hints of the supernatural, and for me the book had the same sort of atmosphere as Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’.

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When Cate Stewart’s life falls apart, a job cataloguing the vast library at Highcrag on the Scottish east coast sounds perfect. Especially since she has a personal interest in researching the notorious Scottish witch hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth century.

But the house has a dark past that seems to affect the present. And an owner, Lyall Kinnaird, who unexpectedly stirs Cate’s damaged heart.

As the Celtic festival of Samhain approaches, when the veil between the living and dead is thinnest, who can Cate trust?

Which romantic hero would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

I shouldn’t confess this really, but I totally fell in love with the hero of my first and third book, Kerry Marchant. A romantic weekend on a paradise planet would be lovely, but I think I’d better get nearer home and say John Thornton from Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘North and South’. We could spend time having picnics by the river, with long, meaningful chats, or riding our horses by said river, holding hands, of course.

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

The feeling of belonging to a community of fellow writers, and the support and help one gets from being a member. I’ve made many friends and learnt a lot from them, and even though I haven’t been able to attend as many conferences and events as I would have liked, it’s so easy to keep in touch with other members on-line and through the magazine ‘Romance Matters.’ Everyone is so friendly and helpful, it’s an amazing organisation and I’m so proud to belong.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

A piece of advice I was given by the late Anne McCaffrey and always followed, was ‘write what you would like to read. After all if you don’t like what you write, why would anyone else? Also I would add, read, not only your own genre or genres, but ones that are slightly out of your comfort zone. It’s surprising what you can learn from other writers’ works. (Sorry, I know that was two.)

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book, Beloved Enemy is Book Three of the Destiny Trilogy. (RoNA Finalist 2017)

My first book Starquest was originally a short story and I never realized how difficult it would be to say goodbye to the characters, and so it became a trilogy. Beloved Enemy tells Kerry Marchant’s story. He appears in the first book but things did not turn out well for him. I hope I’ve made amends in this book, in which he meets his match, in more ways than one, with the feisty Cat Kincaid. You can buy a copy of the book here.

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Cat Kincaid is obsessed with killing the man she believes is responsible for the torture and death of her sister, but when she eventually catches up with him, survival becomes a greater priority than revenge.

Kerry Marchant, haunted by memories, regret, and self-blame, shields himself from the pain of the past by committing himself totally to the starship, Destiny, of which he is part owner. However, the beautiful, red-haired woman who reminds him of his lost love, and who he suspects is working for a corrupt regime, represents a possible threat not only to the ship, but to his heart.

Marooned on an inhospitable planet, they need to work together to stay alive, fighting not only unknown assailants, but their growing attraction. But how can they learn to trust each other when he has vowed never to get close to a woman again, and she made a solemn pledge to destroy him?

About the Author

Me

Hywela Lyn lives in a small village in England, although her heart remains in her native rural Wales, which inspired so much of her writing.

Although most her writing tends to be futuristic, the worlds she creates are usually untainted by crowded cities and technology, embracing the beauty and wildness of nature.  Her characters often have to fight the elements and the terrain itself.  Her heroes are strong and courageous, but chivalrous and honourable – and of course, handsome and hunky. Her heroines are also strong and courageous, but retain their femininity and charm.  However difficult the journey, love will always win in the end.

She is a member of The Romantic Novelists’ Association (UK)  and Chiltern Writers, her local writing group.

A keen animal lover, she is  pet parent to a rescued terrier, Choccy, who manages to twist her round his little paw.  When she is not writing, she can usually be found enjoying the outdoors with her dog – or just  eating chocolate!

Connect with Hywela:

Website: https://hywelalyn.co.uk/

Blog: https://hywelalyn.blogspot.com/

Facebook Page: Hywela Lyn Author

Twitter: @Hywela_Lyn

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Gilli Allan

Romancing The Romance Authors

The next fabulous author appearing on the blog to talk about writing romance is Gilli Allan.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey. Why romance?

Thank you for having me.

I am answering the first two questions together as they are linked.

Publishing journey sounds like a defined route from ‘Go’ to the winning tape. Mine has been more like a maze, which I am still blundering about in. I sometimes feel as much of a newbie now as I did when I started many decades ago when, on my first attempt, I amazingly found a publisher within a few months of writing ‘the end’!  But it was a false dawn.  I have been main-stream published, Indie, main-stream and then Indie again.  After many decades ‘in the business’ I am still waiting for my breakthrough.

As for the type of book I write….

My ambition as far back as infant school was to be a commercial artist like my dad. So, although I wrote continuously as a teenager, I regarded my outpourings as an expression of my own unsatisfied romantic (and romanticised) yearnings, not an early flowering of literary talent. And the stories, although full of love and longing, were quite dark. Even in my early thirties, the lightbulb moment was not in response to an urgent need to tell stories, but to find a possible alternative to going back out to work after I’d had my son.

It was only once I’d begun, with the serious intention of writing something publishable, that the obsession kicked in.

I initially chose romance because I thought, wrongly, that it would be easier to write than another genre and I did not believe myself capable of writing anything more mould-breaking.  But even in that first book I could not keep within the accepted ‘romance’ parameters of the time. The darkness I was attracted to as a teenager was still there. I wrote then and still write about contemporary women in challenging even heartbreaking situations. They deal with the slings and arrows of life in whatever way they can. They, and those around them, have back-stories that make them the people they are. They are not necessarily noble or perfect, rich or drop-dead gorgeous. They don’t always make good decisions. They trip and they fall.  But there will always be a developing love theme within the story.

What inspires your stories?

Real life is the inspiration behind my stories, but this doesn’t mean I always use my own experience or that I have a worked-out synopsis before I start. I begin with a sketchy idea about the main characters and their back stories, and the scenario in which they first meet. I then wind them up, set them going and see what happens. Often, I put them in a world I already have some experience of – as with Buried Treasure.  I have been involved with conference planning in an ancient university, so that was my set. I also have an interest in and a family connection to archaeology, so my research was not exactly easy, but it was accessible.

It is only when I am in the process of writing that real inspiration comes, but unpredictably in fits and starts. This technique is slow as I only gradually get to know my characters, which then involves a huge amount of backtracking and editing when, at a late date in writing the story, I realise something important that I need to explain, foreshadow or drop hints to.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

This is a bit difficult as I admit I don’t read a lot of romance.  There are the good old standbys – Austen, Heyer and the Brontés  – and I admit a youthful attachment to Ethel M Dell who was an extraordinary author for her time. Writing in the very early decades of the twentieth century – her books, full of turbulent but chaste emotions – were very appealing to naïve and innocent girls. But read with my cynic’s hat on, they are wonderfully funny.

But these days….?  Jo Jo Moyes, Lisa Jewell, Marian Keyes.

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

I’m sorry, I can’t pick one.

Which romantic hero would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

Freddie from Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer. It took me a while in life, but I discovered it is far better to make friends with someone and only then fall for him, than to lust after the rake.  He is always handsome, always arrogant, always unreliable and always a narcissist – in love with himself more than he is ever in love with you.  Freddie and I would just hang out, and perhaps go for a trot along rotten row in a cotillion of course.

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What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

I joined after I’d been published so never benefited from the NWS, but have always been glad of the friendship, the support and the terrific resource of information and help – from emotional difficulties right through the gamut to technical problems.  There is always someone who will offer a shoulder to cry on, give you a name of someone who is likely to know that pesky piece of info you can’t find, or a route to solve some horrid computer-based glitch.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

I have one piece of advice – not particularly related to romance as such – but to writing in general. Don’t wait until after you’ve been to all the work-shops, lectures and read all the ‘how-to’ books.  Begin writing NOW.

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is Buried Treasure and you can buy a copy here.

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In the early stages of carving out a career as an Events Organizer, Jane Smith arrives at Lancaster College (part of an ancient university) to scope it out as a possible venue for a conference she is organizing.But damaged by a disastrous first love affair and hyper-sensitive about her lack of education, Jane is constantly driven to shore up her fragile self-esteem and to prove herself.

Theo Tyler is a ‘desk’ archaeologist working as a part-time teacher at Lancaster College. His background makes him a curiosity to some – had his mother not been a rebel his own passage through life would have been gilded. The reality was chaotic and, in his young adulthood, further disrupted by a violent relationship.He hates people’s fascination in his ancestry and his unorthodox past, rather than in his present achievements.

There is no necessity for Jane and Theo ever to meet. He is part of the faculty, but she is there to meet and be shown around by the hospitality manager, so their first encounter is unplanned and unpromising. But Jane has a family connection to a significant historic archaeological discovery and Theo wants to organize a conference. Even with these possible points of contact, the gulf between them is far too wide ever to be bridged. Or is it?

Can a mystery, a possible conspiracy, and the missing evidence that could solve a puzzle, draw the threads of their lives together? After all, treasure is not always what it seems. 

About the Author

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Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction.

After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as an illustrator in advertising, and only began writing again when she became a mother. 

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.

She was published by Accent Press, now Accent Headline, and each of her books, TORN, LIFE CLASS, FLY or FALL as well as the independently published BURIED TREASURE, have won a Chill with a Book Award.

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian and medievalist Thomas Williams, is also a writer. He is published by William Collins.

Connect with Gilli:

Website: http://gilliallan.blogspot.com/

Facebook: Gilli Allan

Twitter: @gilliallan

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Emma Jackson

Romancing The Romance Authors

Today, I am delighted to welcome to the blog to discuss all things romance writing, one of my very good friends and fabulous author, Emma Jackson.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

I write romantic comedies with (I hope) a touch of honesty and the bittersweet mixed in along the way to my characters’ happy-ever-after. My fourth book, One Kiss Before Christmas, has just released and I’m coming up to the one year anniversary of my debut novel, A Mistletoe Miracle, being published with Orion Dash! I’m not quite sure what the future holds at the moment, as I’m out of contract now – and it’s been one hell of a year! – but I do know I have many more romances to write and stories I want to share with readers.

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Why romance?

I became an official romance fan when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I was tired and I didn’t want anything that might unexpectedly upset me after having a bad experience with a Karin Slaughter book I’d been recommended. Great book but it gave me nightmares! So, I sought out stories with lots of emotion and guaranteed happy endings; where I could enjoy the thrill of falling in love again and again. All the different sub-genres of romance from historical to fantasy to contemporary, also mean there’s always something to suit my mood. I’ve always written stories, so it made sense for me to write what I enjoyed reading.

What inspires your stories?

It’s usually from one little ‘what if’ thought that comes to me. It could be from a place I’ve been or listening to a song or visiting a shop or reading a newspaper story. It then grows as more ideas come to me or characters become a little more solid. I’ve just started planning out and tentatively drafting another Christmas story, which weirdly came to me because of a comment another author (Isabella May) made about my debut in a review.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

I love Tessa Dare and Mhairi McFarlane. They are auto-buys for me. They both write laugh out loud books but also cover some heavy themes with such skill.

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

This is so hard, but I think one of my favourite reads this year, Beach Read by Emily Henry, was fantastic. The hero and heroine are both writers of very different genres who challenge each other to try and write the other’s way. It’s very funny – extremely meta for romance readers and writers – but even if you aren’t a fan of romance already, I think it would do an amazing job of helping you understand why people love romance so much, and why it isn’t something fluffy or frivolous to try to have a bit of hope. It’s also very sexy and heartfelt. It works on so many levels!

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He doesn’t believe in happy endings.
She’s lost her faith that they exist.
But could they find one together?

January is a hopeless romantic who narrates her life like she’s the lead in a blockbuster movie.
Gus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.

But January and Gus have more in common than you’d think:

They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
And they need to write bestsellers before summer ends.

The result? A bet to swap genres see who gets published first.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely…

Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

Is it really terrible if I say one of my own heroes? I think I’d love to spend a weekend with Olivier from One Kiss Before Christmas because he’s so easy-going and fun, and also because he could take me to Paris to give me a tour around the museums and galleries, cook gorgeous food for me, and then we could snuggle up and watch old movies. Bliss.

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

The sense of community. I have found so many amazing friends since I joined and been given so much support. It’s transformed my knowledge of the industry because there is always someone willing to offer advice and it’s turned what can be a very lonely profession into one where I feel genuinely connected.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

Keep going. Perseverance is as much one of the tools you need to keep in your arsenal as an ability to think up great hooks. From getting from ‘chapter one’ to ‘the end’, to sending out queries, it’s so important to find a way to keep yourself going that works for you.

Tell us about your latest book.

One Kiss Before Christmas is a gorgeously romantic festive read guaranteed to warm your heart this Christmas and you can buy it here! (I reviewed One Kiss Before Christmas on the blog a few weeks ago, and you can read my review here.)

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Could it be the start of her happy ever after?

Ashleigh could use a little Christmas magic. She’s still living in Brighton with her Nan – who could give the Grinch lessons in how to be miserable – her acting career has been reduced to playing one of Santa’s elves, and not even the prospect of a friend’s winter wedding can cheer her up…

That is until Olivier, the gorgeous French chef, reappears in her life. Or more accurately, next door.

When they were teenagers, Olivier would spend every Christmas with his mother, who just happens to be Ash’s neighbour and owner of the best chocolate shop in England.

If anyone can bring a little sparkle back to Ash’s life, it’s Olivier. All she needs is one kiss before Christmas…

About Emma Jackson

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Author of the Best Selling A MISTLETOE MIRACLE and contender for the Joan Hessayon Award 2020, Emma has been a devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. SUMMER IN THE CITY, was released in June, and her latest festive romance, ONE KISS BEFORE CHRISTMAS is now available.

Emma also writes historical and fantasy fiction as Emma S Jackson. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE was published by DarkStroke in February 2020.

Connect with Emma:

Website: https://esjackson.co.uk

Facebook: Emma Jackson Author

Twitter: @ESJackson1

Instagram: @emma_s_jackson

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Kendra Smith

Romancing The Romance Authors

Today I am delighted to be quizzing author Kendra Smith on what being a romance author means for her.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

I write commercial women’s fiction. I try to write the kind of books that I like to read. A bit funny, a bit sad, books with a dollop of hope and ones that I’d like to think reflect life – and always with one or two characters looking for love – maybe that’s to love themselves, or someone else, or exploring the love in and of their family. That’s an important theme for me. I’m published by Aria Fiction, and I have written four books (fourth due out next year, just gone to editor, so fingers crossed!)

Why romance?

I think some of the best stories are romantic. It doesn’t always have to be happy ever after, but aren’t we all looking for a bit of romance? It’s the glue that binds us all together as humans; who’s not looking for love in their life?

What inspires your stories?

Real life! And also there may be snippets I overhear, a soundbite from the radio, or something that piques my interest from a feature I’ve read in the Sunday papers (that’s when I get the chance to read them…) and I think, ‘I wonder,’ or ‘what if..?’ and then I start toying with ideas, car journeys or walks become thinking time, figuring out what my characters would do in various situations. And, of course, when I read other writers, that inspires me too.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

I used to read Jilly Cooper’s novels as a girl, ones like Imogen or Harriet at home, then while at school it was Jane Austen’s Emma and Pride and Prejudice. On the other side of the spectrum, along came Helen Fielding who made 20-somethings laugh out loud as she charted Bridget Jones’s romantic escapades… and of course I love Marian Keyes who writes about life and love; and Jojo Moyes and Jill Mansell, Sarah Morgan, Sue Moorcroft, Lucy Diamond and I loved Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare, oh and so many more!

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

One romance novel: That’s too hard, sorry! (see above!)

Which romantic hero would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

Now, the problem is that I have created romantic heroes in my books that I’d like to spend time with – and I feel I know them so well! Daniel, in A Year of Second Chances would be someone I’d like to get to know. He’s the Indiana Jones who comes home… I’d go white water rafting with him!

COVER; A YEAR OF SECOND CHANCES:KENDRA

Three Women. Three very different lives. One life-changing adventure.

Charlie is a single mum unlucky in life. Her multiple jobs make barely enough to feed the family cat, never mind being able to give her son the life he deserves. So when an opportunity to make a lot of cash comes along, she simply has to take it.

Suzie has always wanted to be a mother. But fate has been cruel and now time is running out. Soon her final frozen egg will be destroyed and her last chance of having a baby will go with it. With her husband resolved to their childless life Suzie takes matters into her own hands.

Dawn is about to turn fifty and seems to have misplaced her mojo along with the car keys. But with an interfering mother-in-law and a gaggle of judgemental mums at her children’s school, it’s proving harder to find than a decent fitting bra. Especially after a series of highly embarrassing incidents…

Over the course of a year three lives are about to collide and as they do be prepared to laugh, cry and fall in love with these women as they discover how life can give you a second chance.

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

I love being part of the community there – whether it’s the New Writers’ Scheme I was part of for a time, the parties , the Conferences, and of course the online support. It’s like a big, extended family! I have met lots of friends through the RNA, and received so much support from the whole organisation and of course it has led to useful talks and meetings with industry professionals to help my career. They also provide that boost when you least expect it. This year I was shortlisted for the Elizabeth Goudge Award for my fourth book. That was a real treat.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

One piece of advice? Enjoy your writing!

Tell us about your latest book.

Take A Look At Me Now is an uplifting, romantic adventure and you can buy a copy here.

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Out with the old…

Maddie Brown has spent most of her life putting everyone else’s needs above her own. But with her marriage crumbling and her nest scarily empty, she realises it may be time to spread her own wings and fly.

In with the… ex?

At a university reunion, Maddie meets Greg. He was the love of her life – and the one that got away. Some things never change, and neither of them can deny the feelings that linger between them. But there are so many reasons they can’t be together… not least the massive secret she has been keeping from him all these years. 

Maddie is SO ready for a brand new start. But what do you do when the past just won’t stay in the past?

About the Author

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When she is not writing, Kendra spends her time looking for odd socks and other random duties associated with being the mother of three boys. She has lived and worked in Sydney and London and has been a writer and journalist for over 20 years. She currently lives in Surrey and moves from keyboard to cooker with ease. She can rustle up a 90,000 word novel, but finds it hard not to burn boiled eggs. 

Connect with Kendra:

Facebook: Kendra Smith Author

Twitter: @KendraAuthor

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Alan Williams

Romancing The Romance Authors

Today is a very exciting day on Romancing The Romance Authors because I have a MAN, yes, an actual male author talking about writing romance. There are too few of these rare, unicorn-esque beings around, and they tend to bit a little shy, so I am delighted that I have managed to lure one out and on to the blog. Please welcome, Alan Williams to tell us all about why he writes romance novels.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

Firstly, Julie, many thanks for this opportunity. As for me, I write adventure/mystery/drama/romance/thrillers usually all rolled into one neat package, always for My Weekly Pocket Novels. I’ve had ten accepted and or published in three years and am very proud of that. I have been a successful short story writer for womags since 2012, mainly in Australia but, with the diminishing markets, I chose to try novels Virtually and every one I’ve written has been sold. I’ve been lucky.

Why romance?

Pourqoui pas or why not. I’m a romantic at heart, always wanting the good guy or girl to win. I wanted to write and be read by a wide audience. That’s Life in Australia was a starting point. This year I’ve had 4 published out of the 11 fiction stories in That’s Life Mega Monthly. It has an average readership of 415,000. That’s a lot of people reading my ideas.

What inspires your stories?

My life, my family my imagination and strong female characters. My latest one Moonlight Rising is based on my wife’s experiences as a croupier in Manchester in the sixties. She’s the heroine and the locations are real but I’m a fantasist so reality blurs into other possibilities, seamlessly, I hope.

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

I was afraid you’d ask that. I don’t read ‘romance’ per se (saying that I do read other My Weekly novelists like Jill Barry, Dawn Knox, Susan Jones and Niddy Reece among others.) I did read Jane Austen at school back in the days when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. I write what is my style and it’s not conventional. That’s why I feel guilty to be part of RNA.

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

I’ll have to give that a miss unless I was very cheeky and said one of mine Christmas Down Under as it’s about how I met and fell in love with my wife (roughly).

Which romantic hero/heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with?

Where would you go and what would you do? You do ask hard questions, don’t you? It would need to be a platonic rather than romantic weekend. I’m tempted to choose a character from comics with their ‘will they-won’t they’ relationship with their boyfriends, my initial introduction to romance. My story writing began with comics and I learnt so many skills there. I still do. Wonder Woman. Not to go anywhere or do anything in particular but sit down with a couple of milkshakes and discuss how her character has developed so much in the eighty years of publication, television and movies. I write my female characters as having those same inner strengths and ideals.

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

Being a part of a group with so many talented, accomplished writers. I was hoping to attend conference and network this year. Hopefully in the future.

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

Be yourself in your voice and style. If a male Australian (the most unromantic creature in the world) can find a niche market and be successful there, then there is a place for you. I write in the first person as a female and whilst there are those who might say that’s disingenuous as well as unusual, it works for me. Don’t do what everyone else does and don’t be afraid to step outside of the conventional boundaries.

Tell us about your latest book.

It is an Australian-set romance called Firestorm. You can find it here.

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1973: Debra Winters has started a new life for herself as a teacher in a small Australian outback town. Given the responsibility of updating the school’s fire protocol, she is thrown together with volunteer firefighter Robbie Sanderson, and there’s a spark of attraction between them.

Meanwhile, things are heating up: it’s bushfire season, and there’s an arsonist on the loose. Debra and Robbie find themselves in danger. Will their relationship flicker out – or will they set each other’s worlds alight? 

About the Author

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Alan is a widely published Australian author, concentrating mainly on women’s magazines where he pushes the boundaries way past ‘boy meets girl’ love stories. He has had over fifty short stories published in Australia’s That’s Life. Since 2012, he’s sold stories published in Ireland, Canada and Britain where he is also a regular contributor to Take a Break magazine.

His tales cover crime, fantasy, science fiction, romance and thrillers, usually set in the here and now.

In the past three years, Alan has chosen to include novels in his writing repertoire, selling, at time of this publication, ten novels set in England, America and Australia. They have been distributed and sold country-wide as paperbacks throughout Britain and Australasia. To date, eight of these are available in libraries worldwide in large print published by Linford Romance.

2020 might have been a difficult year for us all in many ways but Alan has had the following published; a short story collection ‘The Rain, The Park and Other Things’ by Ginninderra Press in Australia.  

Additionally, four My Weekly Novels and four Linford Romance books.

He had vowed never to write a western but recently ‘accidentally’ wrote Love in the Golden Sun– a bushranger story set in the Australian colonies. It will be published in Jan 2021.

Despite being both male and Australian, he is a member of the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) and the RWA (Romance Novelists of Australia). It seems that, like many of his stories, the impossible is possible after all.

Alan is a retired Science teacher and Financial Services Manager, currently exiled and living in France, residing in a 17th century stone farmhouse with his long-suffering wife, Anne, and maniacal cat, Zorro.

Connect with Alan:

Website: https://alancwilliams.wordpress.com/home/

Facebook: Alan C. Williams

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