How did you get into writing?
It started with Barbies…moved on to a grade 5 epic and evolved into a series of dramatic tales with rather too much death and description. I took Creative Writing in university which morphed into a newspaper job. After a few years as reporter/photographer, I switched into teaching, choosing to pursue my writing as a hobby.
Publication took a long time but I now have two Harlequin Historicals, No Conventional Miss and Married for His Convenience. I also have two children’s books under a different name.
What do you love most about writing Historical Romance?
I have always loved history. I spent much of my childhood imaging myself in gorgeous gowns while stomping around in the clothes my mother made me wear. I know real life wasn’t very glamorous – but in my imagination… The Regency Period has always been of particular interest, likely due to a youthful over-indulgence in Georgette Heyer. It is also a society in the throes of change. The inventions of the Industrial Revolution are emerging, bringing with them the anticipation of societal transformation. As well the French Revolution introduces both ideals, chaos and violence.
Which character did you most enjoy writing in Married for His Convenience, and why?
One of my favourite characters is Sebastian’s great aunt, Lady Harrington. She wears fashion from two decades previous. I picture her in a stiff corseted dress and powered wig. She is imperious, autocratic but with a kind heart under the corsets. She pays a very small role but has my favourite line in the book:
“I am as right as rain and do not let that quack of a doctor tell you otherwise,” she said, leaning heavily on Sebastian’s arm. “Besides we haven’t introduced your wife to the prince yet.”
“Apparently he is not coming tonight and Sarah prefers the companionship of rabbits,” Sebastian said, moving forward towards the exit.
“They do cause considerably less trouble,” Lady Harrington agreed.
How much of yourself is reflected in the book, and how?
I think there is a little more of me in Sarah than Rilla, the protagonist in my first Harlequin, No Conventional Miss. Sarah, the heroine in Married for His Convenience, writes, loves animals and has a quirky side hidden under a very conventional exterior.
I also work as a school psychologist and used my knowledge in this area when depicting Sebastian’s daughter, Elizabeth. I see her as someone with high-functioning autism, although this is not explicit, of course. She is also traumatized from a violent event and the protagonist, Sarah, connects with her. I think my training from my day job helped me to make this character authentic.
What do you tell yourself when you don’t feel like writing?
I give myself a “doable” goal – either a time limit or a number of pages or words. I remind myself that it doesn’t matter whether the content is prize-worthy or destined for the trash icon. I can always polish it later. For that first draft, I visualize that inner editor away – usually on a beach. She’ll be needed later but not during that crucial initial phase.
What is your advice for other writers?
Just do it and don’t give up. Ever.