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Interview with author, Madeline Hunter (conclusion)

In conclusion….

Madeline with her grand-babies.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

MH. I’m one of those people who started writing as soon as she learned to read. I wanted to make my own stories from a very young age. However, regarding writing seriously, for publication, in fiction—I was inspired by some books I read that I really liked. They recharged my imagination. A story of my own came to me, and I played with it until one day I began to write it down. About a year later I made the commitment to write seriously and to make a career as a writer a goal.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

MH. It depends. It can go either way. It has also changed over time, much like my writing schedule. Recently I would say that the characters come first, but unless I can attach a problem to them, I won’t have enough story for a novel-length book.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

MH. Yes. It is very nice, too. That is why I said “write one sentence and the rest will follow.” Writers call getting really lost “being in the zone.” That is when the story is really flowing and very compelling and hours fly by. It is a magical place.

Q. Are you working on something now? If so tell us about it.

MH. I am about the begin the last book of The Duke’s Heiress series. This is a trilogy in which a duke dies and, to his large, colorful family’s consternation, leaves a good part of his personal fortune to three women whom no one knows anything about. The first book, Heiress for Hire, is out and the second one, Heiress in Red Silk, will be published on April 28. I am now writing The Heiress Bride. The hero is the new duke, whom readers meet in the earlier books, and the heroine is a rare book dealer.

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

MH. I don’t think so, at least not in MY lifetime, but I’m older than many of you most likely. I think there will always be paper books because it is its own reading experience and some readers prefer it. There are also certain kinds of books that just work better in paper, in my opinion. Serious nonfiction, for example. Illustrated books (which I would love to see have a renaissance.) Reference books. Cookbooks—just to name a few.

Q. What makes a writer great?

MH. A talent with words, obviously. A lack of self-indulgence (lest there be too many words.) Honesty. Courage.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

MH. I start with the concept in a general way, then do all the brainstorming I described above. Once I have a synopsis I work on the all-important opening. I then plow through the rest. Once it is finished to my liking, it goes to my editor. She will usually have some revisions to suggest. Maybe only a few small ones but maybe some major ones. I fume and curse but I do the revisions (she has rarely been wrong in her suggestions, so even as I stomp around and frown I know it will not be a waste of my time.) Once those are done, the manuscript goes to a copyeditor who does her thing then sends it back to me. After I accept or decline those changes, the book is put into print (digital in reality now, but it is prepped for actual print too.) I then have to check the proofs for errors. While all of this is being done, my publisher is working on the cover, the cover copy, the marketing plan, and all of the things they are responsible for. All of this dovetails to have the book ready for publication day, which I greet with nervous excitement. I then hold my breath for a week until I start getting data on how well it has or hasn’t done. From copyedits on, I am at work on the next book.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

MH. There are very few events in my life that end up in my stories. However, the emotions I experienced during certain events are pretty critical to my stories. I draw on them to give my books heart and soul, and to have my characters come alive in ways that readers respond to.

Q. What’s your down time look like?

MH. Aside from the business of life (cooking, etc)? I read, take long walks, keep in touch with friends and family, and watch too much Netflix.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

MH. Two others hold some appeal. One is mainstream historical and the other would be mysteries.

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

MH. Quite a few related to writing but I’ll share two. First, this is a job but, second, it is not only about money.

Did you miss part 1 of this fascinating Interview?

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January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica 
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Interview with author, Ella Quinn (part 2)

TS.  Expat and author now living in Germany, Ella Quinn is one of my favorite authors. Good solid stories, with plenty of story plot twists, and wonderful protagonists.  I love escaping with a Quinn historic (Regency) romance. After reading (in our interview) she cruised the Caribbean and North America, she then completed a transatlantic crossing from St. Martin to Southern Europe (Lagos, Portugal) aboard her beloved, Silver Penny (Yikes!)..well…my admiration knows no bounds. I’m an old ex-sailor and the thought of crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat terrifies the hair right off my head!  Taking a knockdown, while under spinnaker was enough terror to last me forever.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

The cockpit of Ella’s catamaran, the Silver Penny (where she writes)

EQ. My characters discover me! It started with my first book. I’ve followed my characters ever since. They literally come up and introduce themselves to me.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

EQ. I should say that I never in my life expected to write fiction. But I was 58, tired of practicing law, and looking for something else to do. Suddenly, I had a video playing in my head about an angry Regency lady, and I had to write it down. One month later I had a finished book, The Seduction of Lady Phoebe, and had to figure out what to do with it.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

EQ. Definitely the characters.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

Ella with her hound, Lillibet

EQ. I do. There are times that I can write for hours and never get up.

Q. Are you working on something now? If so tell us about it.

EQ. I’m starting a new Trevor novella for a multi-author box-set that will release next summer. My Trevor series is about a horrible old duke who wants to control the lives of his children. This mainly consists of arranging matches that are good for the dukedom, but not for them. So, all the books are about his kids finding their love and their own spouses with help from friends and other family members.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

EQ.  When I first started to write. I’m very goal oriented. When I finished my first book, I knew I wanted to be traditionally published. I was very fortunate. Eight months after I started writing I had an excellent agent, and eight months after that I got my first contract. A friend who had been in publishing for years told me it would take 5 years to get published. I decided I didn’t have that amount of time. Fortunately, the month before my 60th birthday my first book released.

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

EQ. I don’t think so. Young people like paper books. If nothing else does, that will save the industry. On the other hand, most of my readers read in paper. It sometimes depends on the genre.

Q. What makes a writer great?

EQ. The ability to tell a compelling story that readers love.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

Ella and hubby at TransAtlantic Yachting awards

EQ. It depends on the book. I’ve had books that I can write straight through from beginning to end, and books that I’ve skipped around writing scenes. For me it depends on how cooperative my characters are being. Twice I’ve had books where I’ve had to write the end before my heroine would tell me her story. She had to know she’d get a happy ending.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

EQ. I’ve done a lot of things in my life. Most of which dealt with people. Men read my books because they say I nail male POV (point of view). That’s probably because I was the first woman assigned to an Army Special Forces battalion, and I’ve been around Alpha males all my adult life. My husband is retired SF. I practiced family law for 20 years. That gave me a lot of insight into the problems people have. I’m a mom. I don’t think anything more needs to be said about that. I’ve traveled most of my life so I easily understand different cultures, which is what the Regency is. And I’m a researcher.

Q. What’s your down time look like?

EQ. I read a lot, but I’m not a restful person. I bike and walk. I like to travel and see new things or visit places I love. During the winter I spend about 4 weeks skiing. In summer I’m on the boat when I can be. I also paddleboard.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

Winnie, helping with the writing

EQ. No. I’m happy writing Regencies. Although, at some point, I’ll have to write early Victorian.

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

EQ. Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s important to be able to take risks. 


My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    October: George Scott, November: Ella Quinn, December: Lauren Willig, January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica 
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Book Review ~~ Marry in Scandal by Anne Gracie

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing5 out of 5 quills ~~ A Review           



Delicious from the first page to the last. Anne Gracie is one of my favorite authors and it’s always a pleasure to read and review her latest offering. Marry in Scandal was no exception. It’s always a hit for me when Gracie adds old people or young kids as characters in her stories. Lord Galbraith, grandfather to the hero,  is painted with subtlety and quiet humor. Edward has dark secrets from the war, that block him from enjoying his family. Lily has secrets of her own that she must divulge if she is to find and keep love.

The writing is superb as always. The ‘Marry in...’ is an entertaining series and should not be missed. 

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To Purchase

‘Wild Violets’, a Historic Romance Set During the Roaring ’20’s

It’s the roaring twenties in San Francisco, a decade famous for hot jazz and icy gin.

Violet has left her small home town in the Pacific Northwest to pursue a basketball career in the City by the Bay.  Eventually, with her earnings, she buys a bar and grill, becoming a ‘flapper’ in every sense of the word; working all day and dancing all night. While her teenage daughter raises her seven year old son, Violet is out on the town with her latest man de’jour. Dressed in her signature red dress, she is the toast of the town, and finally, the owner of a speakeasy where she hosts the cream of San Francisco’s society, city politicians, bishops, and Hollywood celebrities.

But there is an underbelly of corruption, grifters, the mob, excess, and neglect in Violet’s life.  Her two children are an afterthought and she chooses her men over their well-being time and time again.  Their childhood needs are always trumped by her self-indulgent desires.   The two children are possessions that she can put down or pick up again on a whim, showing them off to her current beau or friends and then forgotten.  And when they get in her way, she gets rid of them.

A Review ~~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

‘Readers can expect to both love and hate as they follow Violet’s paths and choices. Violet is determined and gritty, often selfish, and is focused on appearances and achieving success even if it comes at the cost of family and friends. She purposely uses her beauty to manipulate those around her and her passions too often overrun the interests of others, be they beaus, authority figures, or her own children.

Despite this, reader can’t help but be intrigued as Violet charges through her 1920s San Francisco world with the ambitions and determination of an unstoppable Amazon. Perhaps part of the story line’s realistic feel is because it stems from the author’s own family stories. Or maybe it’s because Violet’s world evolves beyond her self-centered pursuits to embrace family and support systems that succeed alongside Violet’s efforts to realize her own dreams.

As the story evolves and Vi’s life moves full circle, readers interested in a blend of romance and historical backgrounds will appreciate her evolutionary process, and will find that the circumstances and determination of her world lend well to an absorbing read suitable for beach reading or a leisure choice.’

Available at www.amazon.com, e-books, and at all fine book stores.

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Interview with Australian author, Anne Gracie

TS: I have been reading Anne Gracie for YEARS…no, decades!!  I love her stories!  And I admit quite freely that I’m a junkie for historic romances.  Anne’s characters are rich and full and funny.  So I must tell my readers, fans, friends and tweeters that it is a thrill for me to now be able to interview her!

International best selling author, Anne Gracie

International best selling author, Anne Gracie


Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?

A. I write in different places. I often go to my local library and write by hand. I write in my office, and sometimes in my bed on my laptop. I carry a notebook with me at all times, because sometimes a phrase or snippet of dialogue will come to me at odd times, and I don’t want to lose it.  I also go away once a year with a small group of other writers (eight of us) on a writing retreat… more »

An Interview with best selling author, Elizabeth Hoyt


Another one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Hoyt writes historic romances with humor.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?

A. I have an office—it’s a sun room at the back of the house. I also do a lot of writing at coffee shops.????????????????????????????????

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

A. I like to have something to drink—both coffee and water, preferably.

Q. What is your mode of writing?

A. If I wrote in longhand I wouldn’t be able to read the result. 😉 I use Scrivener on an eleven inch MacBook Air.

Q. Do you have a set time each day to write or do you write only when you are feeling creative?

A. I write to deadlines. When I’m on deadline I write. 😉

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

A. I find that the bowel-loosening fear of defaulting on a contracted deadline and possibly messing up my entire career is a pretty good incentive to sit down at the computer. If you don’t have a contracted deadline, you need to make your own deadline or goal because the muse may never arrive if you’re waiting on her to write. more »

Review~~Loretta Chase’s Vixen in Velvet

REVIEW!  reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing(5 out of 5 quills)  Vixen in Velvet  (The Dressmakers)

One thing about Loretta Chase; she NEVER disappoints. Her historic romances are more than the words imply. She is witty and her humor is so subtle….you must pay attention or you’ll miss the nuances.

“Have you any idea what my wife and her sisters have been through these last months, while you and Swanton idled abroad?” Clevedon said.  “While your cousin was in Venice murdering the English language–“
“I shouldn’t call it murder, ” Lisburne said.  “Flesh wounds, no more.  You give him too much credit.  And it was in Florence that he composed his latest batch of verse.”

Her characters are rich and full.  And they appear in other books which makes a reader want to come back for more.  She takes you to London, in the 1800’s; the sounds, the smells, the sights.  With every book, she teaches the reader about what it was like then to be a woman, sometimes a woman without a livelihood or means to support herself.  I always learn something from her fiction…this time, dressmaking and fabrics of that time. more »