hot seat. She's discussing the release of her new novella, Dear Julia, so pull up a chair and get cozy.
Q: Congratulations on the release of Dear Julia. Can you tell us a bit about it?
While renovating her father's new home, Rosalie Stanton discovers an undelivered letter and goes on a quest to find the sender and return the letter.
Since his return from the Great War, William Cavendish has lived as a recluse. His peaceful existence is shattered by the return of the letter that once held all his hopes — and by its bearer, the irrepressible Rosalie, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Rosalie sets out to lure William back into society - and in the process they both get more than they bargained for.
Q: What was your inspiration behind Dear Julia?
The Wild Rose Press put out a call last year for novellas on the theme of Love Letters. The moment I read the call, I knew exactly what I wanted to write. A good friend of mine had written a short story about a lost love letter that was found during the renovation of a fireplace, and she kindly let me use the idea. After months of thinking about it, I wrote the story in a mad hurry at the last minute and submitted mere hours before the deadline. Deadlines can be very inspiring!
Q: You write both contemporary romances and historicals. How do you balance this?
I'm a Gemini, so I don't know how to do balance! I tend to throw myself into projects, lose interest, start the next, go back to the first ...
Writing contemporaries for the big, traditional publishers is still my dream and my main focus. The historical novellas are a fun side line. But the fact that my fun sideline got me published first has been a great ego boost!
Q: Dear Julia is set in the 1920s. How did you familiarize yourself with this time period?
I sort of stumbled into the 1920s when I wrote my first novella. It wasn't planned, and I'm still learning as I go along. And the more I learn, the more I love the period. It was a decade of extravagance, decadence and pure fun, sandwiched between two very grim wars (but then, aren't all wars grim?)
The great thing about the 20s is that it's so well documented compared to earlier periods, and so accessible to modern readers. I read books written during the 20s, biographies and non-fiction books about the period, and of course, the internet is a treasure trove of information. Music, films and photographs from the 20s are not too hard to come by, and who can resist watching the sumptuous movies set in that period, like 'Brideshead Revisited' and 'Coco Avant Chanel'? I can't wait to add the new 'Great Gatsby' to my collection!
Q: The path toward publication is different for everyone. What has your experience been like?
I wrote my first 1920s novella when Harlequin announced its new Historical Undone line. Back then I was still rather new at this, my writing wasn't particularly polished, and the only game plan I had was "get published." Unsurprisingly, Harlequin rejected that first story, but an editor at The Wild Rose Press took the time to work with me on it to make it better, and I learned so much from her during that process. I am incredibly grateful to her.
Selling that first novel was an amazing kick start. After that, I put more effort into learning the craft and making time to write. The second and third sales were much easier, almost ridiculously so in that my editor offered to buy them before she'd even read to the end. I wish all editors were so easy!
Q: Can you describe your writing process for us?
I don't really have a process - I have stolen moments between children and the day job! I write in fits and starts, and it's not a very productive way of working. Last year, before my kids started at a new school which involves a lengthy commute, I was may more disciplined and I got a lot more done. The fact that I've sold two books this year is entirely due to that productivity!
Q: Do you have any habits for jump starting your creativity?
Jump starting my creativity is never a problem. There are ideas everywhere - too many to write them all! My biggest issue is how to get disciplined and finish the stories I start! And if anyone has any tips on how to get into that habit, I'm listening...
Q: What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a writer? The most rewarding?
The most challenging thing is not getting enough sleep. I'm slowly learning to get by on fewer hours than I used to, but I do get very grumpy when I'm sleep deprived (just ask my kids!).
The most rewarding aspects? There are so many I don't know where to start! The fun of crafting stories, of living inside your own head, and that awesome feeling you sometimes get when you think just maybe you've written something good. The even more awesome feeling when someone else likes something you've written enough to buy it or to write a flattering review. And all the amazing friends I've made along the way - online, in real life, and the friends I've made in my head.
Q: Can you tell us about your current works in progress or what to expect from you next?
I have a third Rae Summers novella coming out soon through The Wild Rose Press titled An Innocent Abroad, which is set in Italy in the early 20s, and I have two more in progress. But right at the moment, I'm focusing on revisions on my 2011 New Voices entry, Once Upon a Time, for Harlequin Mills & Boon.
Thanks so much for chatting with us, Romy! To purchase your very own copy of Dear Julia, click here to find it on Amazon. Happy Reading!