Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meet Elle Amberley / Giveaway (North America residents only)


Although she is a British author, Elle Amberley likes to dabble in French too and hopes to resume work on her French novel when time allows.

She’s a bohemian at heart, the result of having lived in several countries as a child.

She also enjoys writing articles on women’s issues and whatever she feels passionate about, as well as poetry and short stories.

Lost in your time is scheduled for publication in February 2012.

Elle’s books are available on paperback and kindle.

Book Description:

Nowhere Left to Hide by Elle Amberley

“A heartfelt tale, told with a deft touch” novelist Rowan Coleman.

Natasha has fled her home many times. Tired of running scared, she doesn’t hesitate when she’s offered the chance to study in California. Thousands of miles to free herself from her past. In Santa Barbara she finds love and friendship away from the ghosts of her childhood. But what will she do when her visa expires and her boyfriend asks her to marry him?

‘Lyrical from start to finish, Elle Amberley embraces the essence of women and friendship in Nowhere Left to Hide. ' Ana Lewis, Founder, WomenontheVerge.net

Q: What can you tell readers about Elle : the lady, the wife, the mother, and the author?

I have lived all over the place which makes it difficult for the bohemian side of me to settle. The wife is very much in love and the mother is uber proud of her little ones. She coos all the time. My children rock my world. If it wasn’t for them I would have turned my back on life a few years ago when tragedy struck.

Q: There is a lot more to your career than just your upcoming title, Nowhere Left to Hide due on bookstores in November . What can you tell us about your writing? How long have you been writing?

I love writing, I can’t stop myself. I also find it a great healer, it has helped me come to terms with little and not so little dramas. It helps clear my head and put things into perspective.

Q: What is a day like in your life? Do you have a strict writing schedule?

No, far from it. I homeschool my children so time is precious, we also travel a lot. Still quite a bohemian at heart. It can vary dramatically. When I write my first drafts though I will literally write all day and all night, sometimes.

Q: What do you find the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?

The easiest part is the first draft, my fingers can’t keep up with my brain and my characters rule my life.

The hardest is either the final edits when I just want it out of the way because I want to concentrate on another story, but worst is the marketing. I’m not good at that, but I love hearing from and meeting readers

Q: Where do you get your ideas, inspirations from?

Life...The smallest detail or observation can take on monumental proportions. Sometimes it can be a knee-jerk reaction to some news I’ve heard on the radio, TV...That was the motivation for “Occupy Me, A French Affair”.

Q: Do you usually outline your stories before you write them, or do you "go with the flow"?

I’d say I go with the flow but I guess the story is already etched in a corner of my brain. It’s all there, more or less, before I start writing. That said, the story does evolve as I write.

Q: Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, have you found your own ‘cure’ for it?

I recently wrote a post about this. No, honestly I’ve never suffered from that. I’ve dreaded happening to me but I have the opposite problem, too many stories, ideas. It never stops flowing.

I guess my secret is I work on different projects all the time so it’s always kind of fresh to me. As an idea pops up, I’ll make a few notes, file them so I’ve always something on the go. It works for me.

Q: What is your biggest passion in life?

My children. All my Dear Ones, music and words, be it reading or writing.

Q: What are you reading now? Do you have any favorite authors?

No, my tastes change all the time and are quite eclectic. I couldn’t just read the same author.

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up? If you weren't an author, what would you want to be?

I wanted to write in some form or another. I wanted to be a journalist at some point. I suppose I did do that for a while but I much prefer writing fiction.

Q: Do you need any props to write? Do you listen to mood music or light scented candles?

Not really, no fetishes. I do like listening to music though, it makes my husband laugh. I probably look completely mad as I lose myself int the music but I’m still tapping away.

I often write in the middle of complete chaos, surrounded by my lovely, noisy and very demanding children. I’m good at adapting.

Q: What makes a hero attractive to you? What hero is your favorite that you have written to date?

Ah, that would be Matthieu. He’s the French rock star in Lost in your time, to be published in February next year. He’s very French, need I say more...

Seriously he’s been modelled on somebody very close to me. He’s thoughtful, very sexy and he has the knack into forcing my main character to see things for what they are. Leading her gently but with a firm hand. Ooh, that could lead to some other interpretation.

Q: What do you hope readers to take with them after reading one of your books?

I hope they will be transported, forget their problems for a moment. Some people call my novels inspirational, that’s a great compliment.

Q: Do you think there is anything about you that readers would be shocked to discover?

I don’t know about shocked, but perhaps surprised. As my publisher says, ‘the lady is full of surprises’

More fun to discover them one at a time.

Q: Are there any goals that you set for yourself when you began writing that you still have yet to obtain?

Not really, I just get on with it. Only goals are deadlines with both my publishers.

Q: What are some of your hopes/dreams for the future, with respect to your writing?

Carry on writing. I have a French novel, yes, I also write in French. I’m eager to finish that, it occupies too much of my mind, I need to get it out.

Q: Will you have more stories released in 2011?

More short stories yes. One is to be released this week.

Where can readers find you?


Elle on Facebook:

Elle on Twitter:

Elle's Blog:


Elle , thanks so much for stopping by Romance Author Buzz.


Follow Elle on Facebook, comment on this interview.  Come back and post your comments here and leave your email address.  Contest ends Dec 31st.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meet Author Stephanie Draven - International Giveaway


Stephanie Draven is currently a citizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.

Stephanie has always been a storyteller. In elementary school, she channeled Scheherazade, weaving a series of stories to charm children into sitting with her each day at the lunch table. When she was a little older, Stephanie scared all the girls at her sleepovers with ghost stories.

She should have known she was born to hold an audience in her thrall, but Stephanie resisted her writerly urges and graduated from college with a B.A. in Government. Then she went to Law School, where she learned how to convincingly tell the tallest tales of all!

A longtime lover of ancient lore, Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn’t believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work tends to explore the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice. She counts it amongst her greatest pleasures when, from her books, her readers learn something new about the world or about themselves.

Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.

Book Description:

Escaping a hellish Syrian prison, U.S. serviceman Ray Stavrakis emerged with uncanny mind-control powers and an eerie ability to morph into a mythical Minotaur. As a half man, half bull, Ray had legendary power, but only one woman could prove his innocence. The woman who'd driven him to the brink of insanity with her cool-eyed interrogation and her hot-blooded sensuality.

But Vegas psychologist Layla Bahset had no memory of Ray or her past. Only a feeling of being stalked by a nonhuman predator. Was it Ray…whose eyes condemned her soul even as his hands ignited her body? Or was another evil force at work? But nothing could stop Layla from remembering what she was…and what her evil creator had planned for her and her soldier lover….

Excerpt here:

Welcome Stephanie to Romance Author Buzz. Is there a back story to Dark Sins and Desert Sands?

What if the monsters of ancient mythology still walked the earth...and what if you found out that you were still one of them? That’s the premise that really grabbed me when I started writing the Mythica series and it’s certainly at work in Dark Sins & Desert Sands.

Do you plot your stories or lead your characters lead you?

I’m really a plotter. I like the intricacy involved in a tightly plotted story and leaving me to my own devices, I’m likely to go off in all kinds of directions!

How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but my big call story can be found here. The quick summary: I had the stomach flu and when my agent told me that I’d just sold my first book, I said something like, “I think I need to throw up.”

What are you currently working on?

Right now I’m obsessed with the 1920s. I may write a ghost story for fun. But for money, I’m working on my third and final novel in a historical fiction series about Cleopatra’s daughter. I write that under the pen name Stephanie Dray.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?

Oh, gosh. That’s a hard question. I think of the HQN Nocturne characters I’ve written, I identify most closely with Kyra the nymph of the underworld. But in this story, I came to love Layla, who is a modern day sphinx. She is a riddle, even to herself. And I tell you, there are days I just can’t even believe what I am saying or doing. More importantly, though, she suffered some very serious heartache. And I related to that.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

The best thing about my job as an author is that something I write can really touch someone. I love fan mail. I love reading reviews! But the hardest thing is how much of the job has nothing to do with writing. The social networking, the promotion, all of it gets to be a bit much.

What kind of daily schedule do you have? What types of things interrupt your writing? Describe a day in the life of.

I get up and answer my email first, which is probably a huge mistake because depending on what’s in there, it can derail my whole day. Somewhere after noon, when I’ve dealt with all the emergencies of my inbox, I start working on my writing. I rotate those two chores over and over until bedtime. I tell you, it’s not very glamorous.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?

Angelina Jolie. Hey, wouldn’t everyone? I’d settle for Liz Taylor, but it’s too late now :P

What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?

That I love hearing from them! If you liked my book, tell me! If you want to tell me something that didn’t work for you, I like to hear about that too.

When the time comes for you to retire from writing, what would you like your readers to remember the most about you and your writing?

That I was provocative. That I challenged them to think about uncomfortable things. That I wrote very smart books for very bad girls.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading Lisa Hendrix’s Immortal Outlaw. And loving it!

Favorite song?

Color My World, by Chicago.

Favorite color?


Before I let you go though, is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

I want them to know that this book has a fantastic sex scene in it--that takes place on a subway, and should make your toes curl.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me!

Stephanie's Website:

Stephanie at Facebook:

Romance Author Buzz is offering an International contest.  Comment on this inteview, follow this blog and leave your email address to win a $10 card.  Contest ends December 31st.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Moment - Douglas Kennedy Q&A and US Giveaway (3 chances to win)

Douglas Kennedy Bio:

His upcoming novel, THE MOMENT, publishes with Atria on November 15th and is already a #1 Bestseller in France: an enchanting love story that brings us across the world to Berlin during the Cold War, and offers richly drawn, complex characters, with a surprise twist that thematically recalls Sophie’s Choice and stylistically recalls John Irving. A review of THE MOMENT in hardcover by The Pittsburgh Gazette states: “Kennedy’s narrative virtuosity drives a story that blends romance and thrills in the right proportion [with a] sense of place that is palpable.” Entertainment Weekly calls him a male Jodi Picolt.

Kennedy is the author of ten novels, including international bestsellers Leaving the World and The Woman in the Fifth. The latter is scheduled for theatrical release this November, starring Ethan Hawke and Kristen Scott Thomas. Mr. Mr. Kennedy’s work has been translated into 22 languages, and in 2007 he was awarded the French decoration of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Book Description:

Berlin, during the period of perestroika in the 1980s. The male protagonist is a travel writer who falls desperately in love with a beautiful East Berlin woman, Petra. Their passionate relationship is destroyed when he finds out that Petra is a Stasi agent and, worse, that she has been using their relationship to gain information from him. He is devastated at such betrayal, believing that every element of their relationship had been false.

It is only years later, once Petra is dead, that the narrator discovers the truth. Petra was being forced to give information to the Stasi, who were holding her son captive under threats of death. Too late he learns that the relationship was a sincere one -- the feelings were real -- and it was only Petra's fear for her son's life that led to her betrayal of her lover. But the crucial moment, when he had the choice to commit fully to her and find the truth or to walk away, has gone for ever.

Like Kennedy's previous highly acclaimed novels, The Moment brilliantly illustrates the irrationality of love and the crucial moments which define whole lives.

Douglas, welcome!  Are there any topics of current news interest that your international profile would position you as best to speak to?

I could certainly speak authoritatively on British and French politics, as I continue to live in both countries. But I also could be useful talking about how the US is perceived abroad. I have commentated for the BBC and French radio, and in British and French newspapers, on all things American. And having lived thirty years away - and now having come home - I have a unique perspective on being an American abroad. I’m a living example of the American artist a l’etrangère, a contemporary example of an American novelist finding acclaim in France, and observing how the French continue to bolster the careers of so many American writers (Paul Auster and Philip Roth sell three times as many books in France as they do back home). As I told a French journalist recently: "Though I lived elsewhere for three decades I never stopped being an American, and I returned home because I wanted to be part of the argument again.”

In THE MOMENT, the protagonist Thomas Nesbitt is an author, who is divorced, and spends his time between Berlin, Maine, and New York. Since you share these distinctive qualities, how much of the book would you say is autobiographical?

Like Thomas, I am a middle-aged American writer who lives half the time in Maine – and always seems to be on the proverbial move. And yes the childhood he describes – two parents in continual war with each other, and constantly dissatisfied with the cards that life has dealt them (or that they have, in fact, dealt themselves) – is a reflection of my own, right down to the cramped apartment on 19th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan where I was initially raised with my two younger brothers. And yes, like the adolescent Thomas, I found escape in the cinemas, theatres, concert halls and bookshops of New York – just as, like him, I began to travel relentlessly once that became financially feasible. I remain a culture vulture – I am always heading out to a movie or the theatre or a classical music concert – just as I always remain on the move. In fact I’m writing this on a flight from Paris to Boston.

The cruelties many East Germans endured before the Fall of the Wall in 1989 is a horror not far removed from those who lived through it, despite the auspices of our “modern and democratic first world.” Is there any current event that can be considered a parallel modern evil in your opinion?

Clearly there are far too many countries today – North Korea, China, Cuba, Syria, Burma come quickly to mind – where speaking out against the regime will land you in profound peril. And the fact is that, for all the talk about the stability of mature democracies, the lure of demagoguery and a Manichean world-view (best defined as: ‘we’re right, they’re wrong’) always lurks everywhere. And though I am profoundly centrist in my politics, my travels in Eastern Europe during the final decade of The Cold War instilled a horror in me of Communism, because it was so totalitarian, so against the need for individualism, so ruthlessly doctrinaire and inflexible, and so profoundly bleak. As detailed in THE MOMENT the visual palette of a Communist city like East Berlin was grainy black-and-white, with no aesthetic relief whatsoever. It was, verily, the emergency edition of life.

How do you see the setting of Berlin before the fall of the Wall and the subsequent disintegration of the socialist East from the capitalist West as relevant to our time?

Berlin back then was the ultimate schizophrenic metropolis. West Berlin was this little capitalist island floating amidst the Warsaw Pact states. As such it was also a haven for people who liked the extremity of its situation. West Germans flocked to Berlin at the time because, if you lived there, you could avoid military service – and because the atmosphere in West Berlin was uber sex and drugs and rock-and-roll. But Berlin was also one of the most culturally charged cities as well – from the extraordinary Berlin Philharmonic during the von Karajan era to the amazingly cutting-edge work of theatres like the Schaubuhne. And then there was the menacing presence of The Wall – and the fact that, to live there, was to exist in an ongoing Cold War novel of your own making. In terms of the relevance of the fall of Communism and its relevance to life as it is now lived twenty-two years later… I remember sitting at a very elegant table in a very elegant dining room in London in early 1989. It was a dinner party largely peopled by what the British press liked to call ‘the chattering classes’ (i.e., media and arty types – of which I was a fully paid-up member). And I remember pronouncing at the time: “Whatever about the collapse of all the other Warsaw Pact states we will never see a united Germany in our lifetime – because the two superpowers and Western Europe will never allow it”. How wrong I was – and perhaps that’s the great lesson to take from the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the reintegration of the two Europes: if history teaches us anything it’s that there is no such thing as a rigidly established orthodoxy. Like the thousand year Reich which Hitler once wildly proclaimed, the most tyrannical of systems eventually come asunder… only, alas, to be subsequently replaced by some other monstrous enterprise. Have you ever considered the fact that – whether it be Stalinism or Nazism or Maoism or the horrors of the Khymer Rouge or Serbian barbarism less than two decades ago – all nightmare regimes all proclaim to have the answers to life’s larger dilemmas…. and usually advocated genocide as a means of progressing their vile agendas.

You often speak of “chaos theory,” defining moments in our lives that cannot be anticipated. Can you elaborate? Is this what THE MOMENT principally refers to?

When I first stumbled upon Heisenberg’s chaos theory – the idea that a particle dispatched into the universe will have no idea where it will end up (I cite this theory in my novel, ‘Leaving the World’) - I immediately felt as if I had stumbled upon a kindred spirit. The idea of chance – ‘la musique du hazard’ – permeates all my novels, because it so permeates life. You can attempt to construct a destiny, brick-by-brick – but then some ill-wind will inevitably blow in and upend all that you have so carefully wrought. There’s a wonderful American depression-era expression which my maternal grandfather (a jeweler in the diamond district of Manhattan) was fond of quoting: “Life changes on a dime.” It’s a truth worth remembering: all that we hold dear can be taken from us in an instant. It’s what I’ve often said about success: it’s a fragile veneer. And like life itself it must never be taken for granted.

It’s a truism one hears that life until death has no ending, only beginnings. But in THE MOMENT, we have a clear sense of Endlich or “the end of things.” Is your personal perspective or grasp of the world typically glass half-full or half-empty? Do you believe more in the reality of the finite, or in infinite possibilities? What does Thomas believe?

I think, until somewhat recently, I was very much a ‘glass half empty person’ – and very suspicious of happiness. Part of this was to do with my childhood, part to do with a marriage that was largely unhappy (though it had its good intervals) and which (I only realize now that it’s behind me) was the emotional equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome – unable to flee the situation that holds you captive. As such, finally getting out of that self-entrapped sadness was a huge liberation – and a friend in Paris recently remarked that, since my divorce, my face had lost five years… to which I could only reply: ‘Merci’. Nowadays I find myself far more positive, far more hopeful – and far more open to the idea of true love. And even though ‘THE MOMENT’ is, at heart, a tragic love story –and one that truly makes most people cry – there is hope at the heart of its narrative. After all, if we stop hoping we stop believing in life’s possibilities. And – this is the new-found optimist in me talking – life is about possibilities.

THE MOMENT’s final sections close with the greatest sense of sorrow imaginable; worse because the sorrow doubles over when we are taken by surprise with an even crueler second blow. Have you felt anything comparable to this kind of sorrow in your own life or that of someone you know?

When my son, Max, was diagnosed as autistic, that was the metaphysical equivalent of a kick to the stomach – and very difficult to fathom. He was five years old at the time – and though we already knew he had profound developmental problem, an epileptic seizure rendered him virtually catatonic for over three months and there was extreme doubt about what his future would hold. Fourteen years on Max is on the verge of going to college – and is currently in the equivalent of a junior college in England, doing Media Studies. Yes his amazing progression and achievement has been the result of a fantastic amount of hard work. But more than anything his autism taught me not just that the unexpected is always there, lurking behind all human endeavors, but also how you interpret (and react to) a crisis determines so much. In life everything truly is interpretation.

THE MOMENT is equally about “moments” of possibility, the good kind of accountability one chooses, specifically in terms of having children. Both Thomas and Petra make this commitment as young lovers; and the older Thomas makes the commitment to his second wife Jan later on. As a father, what have been some of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of parenthood?

I think I’ve just answered half of that question above! Fatherhood was something I came to relatively late in life: I was thirty-seven when Max was born and forty-one when Amelia arrived. My children are, quite simply, the best thing that ever happened to me – and I still think that as they are both now grappling with the complexities of adolescence. I truly believe that a life without responsibilities to other is a half-life. The other side of that equation, however, is a life where you sidestep the biggest responsibility of them all – which is to yourself. If you live a life that denies your own hopes and ambitions then you are also living a terrible half-life. People always talk about selflessness as a great virtue. Frequently selflessness is redolent of sanctimony. You need to find equilibrium between your own aspirations and the accountability you have to others.

The author and publisher are offering US residents (3) chances to win copies of The Moment.  The publisher will mail out the books to the winners, so please make sure you provide your email.  Only open to US residents. 

Questions to comment on: 

What is the best forbidden love story of all time?

Your favorite historical novel?

The moment that changed everything for you?

Comment here, and leave your email for a chance to win.  Contest will end December 15th.  For extra chances to win,  follow Douglas on Facebook and please follow this blog.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meet Harlequin Presents Author Natasha Tate

AN INCONVENIENT OBSESSION (from the back blurb):

He loved her, lost her – and now he’ll have her once more…

The Carrington family’s island is up for auction, and it’s an opportunity Ethan Hardesty just can’t refuse. This groundskeeper’s son turned global entrepreneur has it all. All, that is, except a piece of the Carrington estate—the island that holds all his most pleasurable and painful memories.

Ethan doesn’t count on the beautiful Cate Carrington handling the transaction—and providing him with the perfect opportunity to take her into the bargain. But toying with the woman who was once the girl he loved and lost soon turns from a game into an all-out obsession…

Romantic Times' reviewers  have nominated An Inconvenient Obsession for The Best 2011 First Series.  Congratulations Natasha, I loved this book as well..

ONCE TOUCHED, NEVER FORGOTTEN (from the back blurb):

Too good to forget …

Super-exec Stephen Whitfield and high-flying colleague Colette Huntington both understand the rules of their attraction. One: it will never be anything more than a fling. Two: either can walk away at any time they wish…

Only, Colette hasn’t counted on walking away pregnant. And, to Stephen’s frustration, after Colette other women don’t seem to provide quite the same satisfaction.

Now Stephen’s going to lay down some new rules—rules that will most definitely give him the opportunity to indulge his craving for Colette once more….

Natasha's Bio:

Natasha stumbled upon the Harlequin® Presents series at the ripe old age of eleven, when the local library’s bookmobile made its first neighborhood stop for the summer. As an Army brat with wanderlust in her genes, the exotic settings and jet set lifestyle of the Harelquin® characters made for love at first page. An unapologetic romantic with a weakness for fairy tale endings, she returned time and time again to the stories of strong alpha heroes tamed by the fiercely independent women who loved them. Now, as a mother whose testosterone laden home leaves little time for idyllic getaways, Natasha finds her escape not only by reading, but by writing her own happily ever afters.

Welcome Natasha Tate to Romance Author Buzz.

Thanks, Marilyn! It’s such a treat to be featured by one of my favorite people!

What makes An Inconvenient Obsession special to you?

An Inconvenient Obsession combines many of my favorite themes. We as writers are often told to write the book of our hearts, and Ethan and Cate’s story is definitely one that resonates with my own beliefs regarding love, forgiveness, and redemption. I adore reunion romances, revenge motives, sexy rags-to-riches alpha heroes, strong heroines with wounded hearts, family conflicts, and glamorous settings. An Inconvenient Obsession integrates all of these, along with some steamy love scenes and a happily ever after ending that will hopefully tug on readers’ emotional heartstrings.

What makes Once Touched, Never Forgotten special to you?

Once Touched, Never Forgotten is a secret baby story that takes place nearly five years after the baby’s birth. Colette is very protective of her little girl, and her top priority is to keep her daughter safe from harm. Because of this, she opts to leave Stephen, believing that he does not want children and is incapable of giving their daughter the love she deserves. She’s wrong, of course, and the book explores how both Colette and Stephen must overcome the scars of their past to embrace a future filled with love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Just like An Inconvenient Obsession, Colette is a strong heroine with wounded heart and Stephen comes from a past rifled with pain and rejection. Add in a few steamy love scenes and a happily ever after ending, and it’s a story that hopefully will have readers coming back for more!

How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

I have been writing for 15 years and didn’t sell until last October. It took me a long time to figure out how to craft a story. With countless false starts, seven manuscripts, and a teetering pile of rejections under my belt, I finally wrote a book that was more than a tome of meandering, go-nowhere prose last year. I pitched it during the 2010 Romance Writers of America ® conference, and received a request for the full manuscript. After emailing it off, I settled in for the interminable wait that tends to accompany any new submission. So you can imagine my shock when a reply arrived a mere fifteen minutes later! My soon-to-be agent read the manuscript that night and offered representation the next morning! I can’t remember the details of what happened following that call, but I’m pretty sure it involved some screeching and a clumsy pirouette or two. My husband reports that I talked nothing but nonsensical, delirious jibberish for hours.

 As I’m sure is the case for many writers, I also worked at a day job while awaiting that elusive offer of publication. I told myself it was a good distraction; I wasn’t hovering by the phone every day, biting my nails and waiting. In hindsight, I probably should have checked my messages more frequently because I was over four hours late returning my agent’s call. I was on my way from work to have lunch when I noticed I’d missed her.

After listening to her message, it felt like one of those out-of-body experiences that normal people aren’t supposed to have. The thoughts that ricocheted through my brain ran the gamut of “We’ve made a mistake and nobody wants your horrible story” to “We have ten publishers all wanting to go to auction on your brilliant masterpiece!” I know. There’s optimism, there’s pessimism, and then there’s the craziness that plagues us writers.

By the time I met up with my writer friend for lunch, I was jittery, excited, and shaking from the news that the editors at Presents had made an offer. We writers are used to making dreams come true on paper, not in real life! We ordered celebratory margaritas and then I texted my critique partner, Jennie Lucas, with the amazing news. She was in London at the time, at the AMBA Conference with Lynn Raye Harris. Sharing the squeals of three favorite writing friends as we celebrated my sale was the highlight of my year. Can you imagine anything better?

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Have you had other jobs along the way?

I have always enjoyed writing, even as a child, but I never thought about pursuing it as a career until after my third child was born and I was home with three preschoolers all day long. I’ve had A LOT of jobs along the way, sometimes as many as three at a time. Other than that year home with the boys, I don’t think I’ve worked less than full-time since I was 17. I’m happiest when I have lots of things to juggle; I guess I’m a stress junkie!

Do you plot your stories or let your characters lead you?

Every book is a little different, and I’m still figuring out my process. Sometimes, the story comes to me fully formed and I just have to take the time to write it down. Others are much more challenging to write, and I don’t discover the story I’m trying to tell until I’m 50K words into the book. But generally, I’d say I’m led more by my characters than by my plots.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?

I just wrote my fourth book, which features a set of identical twins. Though I’m not a twin, I really identify with my heroine, Laura. She has a hard time going after what she wants and she spends her time serving others and trying to make others happy. I think this happens a lot with women in our roles of nurturer and mother, so writing a heroine who had to learn to demand happiness for herself was very cathartic.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just started my fifth book and it’s still pretty amorphous right now. So far, I’ve got a Brazilian hero (I love those dark, wounded alphas!) and an American heroine who is struggling to keep the family business afloat while taking care of her flighty, irresponsible little sister. We’ll see how it goes from here.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

The best thing is the actual writing and the contact with readers who’ve enjoyed my books. There’s nothing I love more than losing myself in a story that I’ve created, or finding out that my characters have in some way impacted a reader’s life. There’s nothing quite like the high of creating a really good, emotional scene that resonates with readers.

The hardest thing, by far, is balancing all the demands on my time. Writing, because it’s something I do just for me, often takes a back seat to the demands of children, husband, house, and the day job, so finding time to really dig into my stories is always a bit of a trick.

If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

The theme would be that everyone deserves love, no matter their past or the mistakes they’ve made.

Describe a day in the life of Natasha Tate.

If it’s a weekday, I get up at 4:30, head to the gym to work out, go to the day job for eight hours, then do Mom duty until about 8 or 9 PM. If I’ve got ANY creative energy left after that, I go to my computer and write for about an hour before crashing into bed. Weekends are a little better. I get up early before the teenagers are sleeping and get a few hours of uninterrupted writing time before they start clamoring for food. I typically generate most my pages on the weekend, when I’ve got time to focus. I do most my revisions on the weekends as well, and a lot of the time, I’ll do it all while on my treadmill.

What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?

That I love writing about love, and that bringing stories of redemption and happiness to the world is one of the best things I do.

When the time comes for you to retire from writing, what would you like your readers to remember the most about you and your writing?

Oddly enough, I don’t ever see myself retiring from writing. I’d retire from the day job in a heartbeat. But writing? Never. Writing has become part of who I am. I can’t imagine ever not writing, so as long as I can find a market for my books, I’ll still be putting them out there.

After I’m gone, though, and if any of my books survive me, I’d like for readers to remember how my stories made them feel. I would hope they would leave with a feeling of hope and a confirmed belief that love can heal any wound.

Who is your favorite author?

There are WAY too many to list and I’d worry that I’d leave someone out were I to start. But the one who probably influenced me most as an adolescent and the one who made me want to become a writer was LaVyrle Spencer. Her books are amazing.

What are you currently reading?

It kills me that I don’t have time to read more, as I’m constantly searching for time to write instead! But when I do have time to read, I find that I reach for historical novels. I’m also in a book club where we read a lot of essays and fiction by male authors. What I read now is different enough from what I write that I don’t analyze the structure and the writing as much. I’m able to lose myself in the story.

Before I let you go is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

I want them to know that I appreciate every one of them who’s willing to spend their hard-earned money on a book I’ve written. I feel so fortunate to be a part of the Presents family and I’m thrilled with the support fellow authors and the editorial team offer.

Natasha, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me!  Where can readers find you?

Natasha onTwitter:

Natasha's Blog:


Facebook Page

Romance Author Buzz would like to offer a $10.00 gift card to one lucky International winner.  All you have to do to win is to follow Natasha on Facebook.  Please tell her how much you enjoyed her interview.  Come back and post your comments here as well.  Don't forget to leave your email address so that  you can be contacted.  Contest will end December 15th.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Kristan Higgins / Giveaway (US residents only)

Author Bio:

I started writing romance novels when my kids were little. I’d always been a writer of some type—public relations, advertising, research—but wanted to stay home with the bunnies. I’d been reading romance novels ever since I swiped Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss from my grandmother’s night table. “Higgins,” I said to myself, “I bet you could write one of these.” And so I sat down every afternoon when the kids were napping, took my lifelong love of romance novels and tried to make a career out of it. We’ve been living happily ever after since.

I live in my hometown, a small, pretty place in Connecticut where there’s a beautiful library and a wicked good ice cream stand. I’m the mom of two lovely children, the wife of a very brave firefighter (who is also a fantastic cook), and the willing slave of a naughty mutt.

I love to write books about relationships, since the search for love and security is one of the driving forces of life. My characters are regular people, folks like us, and I hope to give them a big, memorable love story rich with family, pets, food and laughter. When I’m not writing, I like to be with my kids, goof around with my husband, read, watch baseball, ride my bike and bake. I suffer from chronic bedhead and an unhealthy (and completely understandable) obsession with Derek Jeter, shortstop for the New York Yankees. We spend as much time as possible at our family home on Cape Cod, swimming in the Atlantic, shivering on the beach, swatting horseflies and watching fish evade my lure at Higgins Pond. It’s as close to heaven as it gets.

Book Description

Posey Osterhagen can't complain. She owns a successful architectural salvaging company, she's surrounded by her loveable, if off-center, family and she has a boyfriend—sort of. Still, something's missing. Something tall, brooding and criminally good-looking...something like Liam Murphy.

When Posey was sixteen, the bad boy of Bellsford, New Hampshire, broke her heart. But now he's back, sending Posey's traitorous schoolgirl heart into overdrive once again. She should be giving him a wide berth, but it seems fate has other ideas...

Kristin, welcome to Romance Author Buzz.  Who is Kristan Higgins ? What should we know about the Mom, the wife, the friend and the author?

I’m a very happy person. I met my husband while standing in line; we were engaged 6 weeks later, so I definitely believe in love at first sight! My kids are smart, funny and are gifted at making strange noises, usually when I’m working. I put a lot of value on friendship and am still close with my best friends from kindergarten, high school and college. As for the author…I work harder at writing books than I’ve worked outside of labor and delivery, and I absolutely love my job.

What inspired you to be an author, ? Is it something you always wanted to do?

I think part of me always wanted to be a writer (though I also wanted to be a pediatrician and a horse trainer). There was never a time that I wasn’t imagining a story in my head. But I didn’t start writing fiction until I was 36 years old.

Was it difficult to get published?

It wasn’t terribly difficult for me, but I had a huge advantage over most fiction writers—I’d been a professional writer for years. Advertising, PR, research…that meant I already knew what it was like to write every day, meet deadlines, all that good stuff.

What was the inspiration for UNTIL THERE WAS YOU ?

Well, I love the idea of a bad boy (don’t we all?), but I also felt that in a lot of books and movies, the bad boy doesn’t really have to face up to his past. He’s just magically tamed by the mystical appeal of the heroine. I wanted Liam, my personal bad boy, to have to deal with the way he acted as a youth, to return to the scene of the crime, as it were. And I was really interested in the idea of belonging. Posey, the heroine is something of a misfit, but she’s also very happy with herself, very confident and successful. But back in the day, Liam did some real damage in regard to Posey, and it was really fun to have them face off once again.

Describe a day in the life of Kristan Higgins.

I wake up at an ungodly hour and slave over a hot stove to make my kids breakfast and see them off to school. My doggy and I get into my office as early as possible; I work, she sleeps and chews on things. I have lunch with my sainted husband if he’s not at the firehouse, work some more, then get the kids and turn into a chauffeur, like just about every mom I know.

Which story to date has been the biggest challenge?

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE was the hardest book yet. For whatever reason, I struggled mightily with it and viewed it as my career-ending book. Ironically, it got incredible reviews, was my first bestseller and also won the 2010 RITA Award for Best Single Title Romance from Romance Writers of America. Go figure.

Do you ever have any moments of insecurity when writing? If so, how do you overcome those moments?

Oh, my gosh, yes! Every day! I don’t try to overcome those moments, though…they tell me where my story needs work and keep me honest. Insecurity isn’t necessarily a flaw if it makes me try to write a better book. Or so I tell myself.

What have you found to be the best thing about writing? The worst thing?

The best thing is hearing from readers, by far. It’s indescribable to hear that you’ve made someone laugh or given them a character they can’t stop thinking about. Recently, I got a letter from reconstructive plastic surgeon who works for Doctors Without Borders, and she told me my books helped her get through some tough cases. I should probably retire after getting that one. It doesn’t get better than that.

The worst thing?

Honestly, I couldn’t say. I love what I do. Even on the days when I’m wrestling with a plot or feel under the gun on a deadline, I can’t complain.

What are you reading now?  Do you have any favorite authors?

Right now, I’m reading Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean, and I love it. Such a warm and lovely voice! I have many favorite authors—Eloisa James, Robyn Carr, Susan Andersen, the great Jill Shalvis, Susan Mallery, Sherry Thomas, Stephen King, Jonathan Tropper…the list goes on!

Do you find it difficult to balance home/family with your writing?

Sometimes! I travel more these days, but my family comes first. If you asked my kids, I think they’d say I’m in their business all the time. McIrish and I still have date night a few times a month, and I think we’re an extraordinarily close family.

If you were to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?

Happy, funny, hungry. I am almost always hungry.

What are you presently working on?

I just finished the first draft of a manuscript and am starting to outline my very first attempt at a series.

Is there anything else you would like to add Kristan, which we haven’t discussed?

(Nah. You asked great questions!)

Thanks so much for stopping by Romance Author Buzz.

Where can readers contact you?

Kristan's Website
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KristanHigginsBooks

Kristan's Blog

Kristan is offering one lucky US Resident a signed copy of UNTIL THERE WAS YOU. Follow Kristan on Facebook, tell her here and on Facebook what you thought of her interview and please leave your email address. Winner will be announced November 15th.


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