Tell us about your new release The Irredeemable Prince. How did it come into being? What was your Eureka! Moment?
Kate Cuthbert, Managing Editor at Escape Publishing, spoke to me last August about building on the success of The Defiant Princess and writing a royalty series. The Irredeemable Prince is book 2 in the Royal Affairs series, The Formidable King will be book 3 and I’m currently working on the fourth book.
The story actually grew from the idea I had from the heroine’s job. The reviewers on NetGalley and Goodreads have nearly all commented on the twists and turns in the plot and how events “blindsided” them “in a good way”. I’ve really tried to keep the plot fresh and unpredictable. It was interesting for me to write the story as I actually had some “AH! Really? Is that what happened?” moments myself as the plot suddenly took a turn that I hadn’t even seen coming until I was there writing it!
Can you give us a little tease of the relationships we should expect Prince Devereaux to have? Devereaux really isn’t in a position where he’s able to have a serious relationship, yet he’s drawn to the heroine anyway. Not only does he find her very physically attractive, but he also admires her spunk and professionalism. He’s used to women falling at his feet, and finds the heroine’s unwillingness to do so a definite challenge. Sorry to be cagey, but I really don’t want to say too much more!
What draws you to Prince Devereaux’s qualities as a hero?
He has a strong sense of family loyalty and a commitment to justice. He wants to protect those around him. He’s confident and doesn’t need to broadcast his achievements to the world. But, he’s also in a rut—focussing too hard on one goal and in danger of damaging his relationship with his brother in the pursuit of that goal and that’s where the heroine steps in and makes him re-evaluate his priorities.
What kind of heroine/s can we expect within the pages of The Irredeemable Prince?
She’s smart, determined, very capable professionally, very intuitive and more than capable of giving back everything she gets in a battle of wills. On a personal level, however, she’s been very disillusioned and that has shaken her confidence, especially her ability to trust her own judgement in a personal relationship arena.
What came first, the plot or the characters?
What began your romance writing career?
One of my sisters and I started writing a romance together when I was home from university on summer break. We didn’t finish it, but she always encouraged me to write. It was when I had my first children (twins) that I started back into writing in earnest while I was on maternity leave from my speech pathology practice.
What draws you to the glamorous world of billionaires and royalty we see in your other books?
It is the glamour. Who wouldn’t want to have all the luxuries at their fingertips? However, it’s delving into the psyche of these characters and understanding that they’re “real” people with flaws and fears and insecurities that all their royal titles and billions of dollars can’t address. I’m drawn to “understanding” them and “helping” them to find love so they can work through their fears/insecurities or any baggage they have. Yes, I talk as though they are real people, and whilst I know they’re not, they do become very real in my mind.
What are your favourite books/authors to read? What draws you to those books?
My all time favourite author is Tom Clancy, but unfortunately his works are all so huge that I’ve only read one of his stories since I had my first children, as I’m a dreadfully undisciplined “have to finish the book” reader. I stayed up until 4.30am with the last Tom Clancy I bought, then had to function with twin babies the next day! Now, I favour quicker end-of-the-day reads. I love the humour in Julia Quinn’s regency books (also try Cassandra Samuels for regency humour!); and Harlequin author Julia James. Romance is a great genre where I’m guaranteed a HEA ending, and an escape from the manic pace of my day…and also from the heaviness of the day sometimes, as I work with some children in my private speech pathology practice who have very significant communication needs and that can be heavy going and sometimes heart-wrenching.
Where do you like to write? What is your process like?
I mainly write in my dedicated writing room. I snatch time whenever I can—sometimes it’s until the early hours of the morning. I don’t tend to sleep for long, so if I go to bed by 10.30pm, I’m usually awake by 3am and might start at the computer then. Process? That would be good! I’m all over the place. Sometimes I start with a clear character in mind, other times it’s a scene or it might be a trope I set out to write. Sometimes I plot, other times I sit down and just write and write…then I go back and look hard at the plot and do an analysis of each chapter…I wish I had a set routine, but I don’t.
Tigger, under my writing desk
Can you give any advice to aspiring authors out there?
Know your characters well. Keep writing. Enter contests and read through the feedback (some will resonate with you and some won’t, but if you keep getting the same comments from judges/readers, then you need to strengthen those areas). Join RWA and a local group or the distance mentoring program, and go to as many workshops/conferences as you can. Look at your writing as a craft. I hope that each book I write, I improve. Be objective—your writing doesn’t define who you are, it’s just one small part of you, so don’t take critical comments to heart…learn from them, grasp them thankfully.
What is some of the best writing advice you have received?
From Melanie Milburne: The “Delete” key can be your friend!
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I still have three children (well two are now 18 and in their HSC year…so technically adults!) at home. I wanted most in life to find my soul mate and be a mum and I have been fortunate enough to be living the dream. Both my husband and I are very involved with our kids and all they do. Just this week, I’ve been up at a state cross-country carnival, will be at two netball carnivals, two netball training sessions and one club netball game, an athletics carnival and ferrying the youngest to swimming squad (thankfully the older two have their licences now and drive themselves!).
I’m a speech pathologist in private practice and I’ve attended a national conference in the last week in Sydney.
We live on five acres and there’s always gardening to do, animals that require attention twice a day, and I enjoy meeting with girlfriends for lunch at least once a term, and having friends over for dinner as often as possible.
Any quirky hobbies?
Nothing quirky. I enjoy tennis, gardening, snow-skiing, sailing and horse-riding. I’ve done quite a bit of international travelling with my family over the last ten years and I love experiencing different countries and cultures.
I hear you have quite a menagerie of animals at home? Do they help or hinder the writing process?
We have two horses and a Shetland pony, almost 50 hens/roosters (although the population is decreasing thanks to a local fox as our poultry is free range during the day and they wander all over our 5 acres and up the road and into the neighbour’s paddocks, only returning to their houses at night to be locked up safely), four goats (we had to give a couple away as they were the ring leaders in getting the mob out and into the garden!), and our beloved dog Tigger, who will often keep me company in my writing room and puts up with my ecstatic happy hugs when I finish a story or have an idea that makes me really ecstatic!
We were horse-riding at a local beach recently and an off-leash dog attacked one of our horses and locked on to his chest. That was a horribly fraught and frightening episode and our poor horse required a lot of medical attention and daily injections for over a week afterwards, so things like that happen with animals and definitely hinder the writing process as I have to find more time in the day to deal with animal needs.
The ultimate royal bad boy is about to meet his match…
If one ever needs to find Prince Devereaux of Santaliana, one needs only look for the nearest newspaper: His Royal Highness is sure to be splashed across the scandal pages…
But enough is enough, and Prince Devereaux’s formidable brother King Gabriel is stepping in. No more night clubs, no more drinking, absolutely no more one-night-stands with up-and-coming models. Devereaux will step into his responsibilities, or he will be cut off.
For his own reasons, Devereaux submits to the stipulations that his brother sets out, even as he chafes at the restrictions. But the recalcitrant prince is about to find out that self-improvement can be surprisingly seductive..