Disclaimer: this is an old(ish) Q&A, although the answers are all true. If you have any questions you'd love for me to answer, please send me an email!
Q. Why do you write romance?
A. I adore romance novels; they’ve offered me delightful escapes from reality since the tender age of twelve. However, I didn’t fall into it because I thought it was easy — coming up with an idea and sustaining it for four hundred pages while crafting characters who are believable and entertaining isn’t trivial, whether you’re writing romance or the most pretentious literary fiction. But I’m a firm believer in the power of happy endings, and so I write what I want to see in the market.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
A. I can’t really say. That’s not to say that it’s a secret; if I could actually get the ideas mailed to me, I would share the order form with you. But I’m inspired by the strangest things, whether it’s a trailer for a movie, a fancy dress in a shop window, or something as simple as the way a stranger brushes the hair out of her face as she waits for the bus. I often brainstorm in the car; when I’m not dreaming of zombies eating my fellow road warriors, I sometimes manage to come up with great scenes for my characters.
Q. Who are your favorite heroines?
A. This one is tough – I think I’ve been collecting favorite heroines since second grade:
– Laura Ingalls Wilder. I grew up in Iowa, so it was easy to dress up in a sunbonnet and long dress and pretend to be living on the prairie. I think I read “The Long Winter” at least thirty times.
-Nancy Drew. I’m still envious of her Titian hair and her blue convertible.
-Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden). My family spent a year in Ukraine when I was twelve, and since this was one of the few books I had, I read it at least once a week. Also, fyi, I started reading romances that year because I read anything English I could get my hands on regardless of content.
-Anne of Green Gables/Rilla of Ingleside. I adored Anne (although I could never get into Anne of Windy Poplars)…and yet I find myself wishing that Rilla could have gotten a few more books, since her book was one of the most inspiring/heartbreaking/romantic things I’ve ever read.
-Aerin (The Hero and the Crown) and Harimad (The Blue Sword). Robin McKinley is one of my all-time favorite authors, since she typically features strong heroines and produces some of the finest writing I’ve ever read. Aerin and Harimad (and, to a lesser extent, Mary from The Secret Garden) may be one of the big reasons I spent a few months in India, since their Kingdom of Damar is a close fictional cousin to the subcontinent.
-Sophy Stanton-Lacy (The Grand Sophy). I think Sophy may be one of Georgette Heyer’s finest heroines, although there are at least five more whom I wish I could befriend.
I’m sure I’m missing dozens, but this is a representative sample.
Q. Who are your favorite heroes?
A. The heroes in my mind aren’t as clearly defined as the heroines, but here’s a start:
–Jason Bourne. This may be cheating, since I’ve watched the movies and haven’t read the books, but Bourne is so bad-ass that I can’t leave him off the list.
-James Bond (Daniel Craig version). Again, cheating. However, similar to liking my heroes intelligent and inventive, I also like them to be ruthlessly efficient and utterly alpha when necessary. Actually *dating* James Bond would likely be scary (and would precipitously shorten my life expectancy) — but he’s quite attractive on the silver screen.
-Gilbert Blythe. The arc between Anne of Green Gables and Anne’s House of Dreams as they grow up together and fall in love is one of my favorite stories in all of literature. Regardless of how many other books I’ve read, that has never changed — and the scene in Anne’s House of Dreams where he delivers their baby and they lose it has, for some unknown reason, crystallized in my mind as a clear sign of how hard but ultimately fulfilling love is.
-Hugo Darracott (The Unknown Ajax). Another Georgette Heyer character; and again, it’s so hard to choose between her heroes. Hugo won out because I love his mischevious-yet-cool-headed demeanor. He essentially pulls one over on his entire family by playing along with their belief that he’s dim-witted, and yet at the end he spectacularly saves the day in one of the best plot climaxes I’ve ever seen in a romantic farce.