Welcome to my site, I have been looking forward to this interview because I don't think we've 'met' before, have we? I love meeting new authors from a reader's point of view as well as a fellow writer. Can't wait to learn more about you!
1) When and why did you decide you wanted to be a published author?
I've always written. I wrote my first story when I was about eight. Coming around to the idea that I could make a living as a writer took a lot longer than I imagine it takes most writers. The moment when I realized this was a possibility was during an on-line creative writing course. The feedback I received from my submissions from the other participants and the instructor was so positive and encouraging, I realized that maybe I might have the chops to make it.
2) What is the best and worse thing you have learned from an editor/agent?
I have learned so many things both bad and good during my experience with editors and agents it's hard to single out just one example of each. I could probably write a book on what I've learned the hard way in my quest to become published. If I had to offer up a nugget or two of wisdom based on my experience in dealing with editors/agents, I would have to say the following: Buyer beware. Do not hitch your wagon to a person or organization that you wouldn't want to go on vacation with. There's a symbiotic relationship between the writer and the editor.
When I first made contact with my wonderful editor Lori LeBonde at The Wild Rose Press I knew I wanted to work with her. My upcoming first release Bare in Bermuda was initially sent back from her with a rejection letter attached to it. But... that rejection letter contained about five pages of suggestions on how I could make the story better and annotations on the manuscript where improvements could be make. I couldn't believe that someone who had rejected my manuscript felt it had so much potential to succeed that she'd make that much effort to help me improve it. I took her suggestions to heart, rewrote, fiddled and fussed then finally resubmitted. When it was accepted for publication, I knew I'd finally found the person I'd been looking for.
3) Favourite author/s?
At the top of the list I have to put two novels. Anna Karenina and Gone With the Wind are my all time favorites. There are a few authors I keep going back to, I've just discovered Gaelen Foley. I love her Knight Miscellany series. Devil Takes a Bride is tremendous fun. Jo Goodman is another favorite. Jude Deveraux of course is my goddess. She inspired me to write romance when I was a teenage girl learning about love.
4) What is your typical day?
I'm a bit of an early bird so I'm usually up at 6:00am. I'm addicted to my iPhone, so I always check my mail and Facebook before I'm out of bed. After I'm up, showered and have my coffee in my hand I get to work. Because I'm in Europe, I try to respond to emails as quickly as possible so I can catch my respondents before they go to bed. From about 7:00am to eleven I write and edit. Depending on what I have to do and what needs to be accomplished, I either take a short break or I'm done for the day. I try not to write in the evening. I like to keep my evenings free for reading, knitting and socializing.
5) Share your blurb or short excerpt from your latest release with us
Here's a small excerpt. This is the moment my two main characters meet for the first time:
As she looked up into the tall man's dark brown eyes she gave him a sassy look of naughtiness. It wasn't her normal practice to pick up men in airport bars, or bars period, but Henna couldn't help herself. “So,” she said. “Have you ever fantasized about picking up a total stranger in an airport and having your way with them?” Henna wasn't sure how far she was willing to go at that moment, but there was no harm in flirting with a stranger she'd never see again.
“What makes you think I haven't?” The look in his eyes and the tilt of his mouth told her what she needed to know. The who of her fantasy had been sorted out. The how and the where could be problematic, but nothing was impossible when one had credit cards and determination. If nothing else, the encounter would make for a funny tale to tell Simon when she returned home.
“Have you?” She returned his look.
“No,” he said. “But there is a first for everything. You are very beautiful and my flight is delayed.” His knuckles reached up and ran a line down her jaw. “Perhaps we can have a drink or two and discuss the nature of this fantasy of yours.”
“Eduardo!” An older man with graying black hair and the smell of money about him inserted himself into the cocoon Henna was starting to build. “Commo estas?” As she spoke about three words of Spanish, Henna rolled her eyes and turned away from the man and back to her drink. The older man that had interrupted her plans walked off leaving them alone.
Henna turned to her fantasy man. “Friend of yours?”
“Yes,” Eduardo nodded. “You'll have to excuse me. I am afraid I will be disappointing you. Perhaps destiny will bring us together again.” He then did the impossible and lifted her hand to kiss her knuckles. “You are very beautiful and it is not with a little bit of regret that I am going to say goodbye. I have not seen my very old friend in many years and will perhaps not see him again in many more.” He put a large bill on the bar then gathered his things. With a smile and a nod he was gone.
6) Who would you cast to play your hero & heroine in a movie?
Benjamin Bratt, without a doubt, is Eduardo incarnate. He has that sexy Latin man thing going on to his bones. Rachel Weisz has that combination of beauty and intelligence that is core to who Henna is. She also has the look of a woman that could be both passionate and cool.
7) Did you plan this book? Or write it as it came?
For me, a story idea is generally fleshed out in my head before I sit down and start to type. Bare in Bermuda was no different. I wrote through the first draft start to finish. Then I let it sit for a month, did a rewrite and sent it off as a submission.
8) What surprised you the most when you became a published?
That I'd finally done it, and that it had taken so long!
9) Do you have a dedicated writing space? What does it look like?
I don't. I like to float around depending on my mood. Silence when I write drives me up the wall. I need some noise. Either the radio or the TV.
What’s next for you?
I'm working on Passion in Portugal which is a follow up to Bare in Bermuda. I'm also working on my first m/m which is about a foxy Swill mountaineer and a gorgeous yet nerdy hot mess that find love in Tibet. Per normal for me, I always have more than one iron in the writing fire. I don't know how other writers work, but I always like to have more than one manuscript to go to depending on my mood.
I'm on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Livia-Ellis/100001776117067.
We seem to be very similar people, Livia! From Gone With The Wind being one of your favourite books, to living in Europe (i'm in the UK), to Facebook before you get out of bed, to not writing but reading, knitting or socialising in the evening. Amazing!
Great interview - comments??