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Romaniac Questions – Sue Fortin

Good morning! I have a very special guest on my blog today. She’s an incredibly talented, kind hearted, funny woman and I am very excited to be interviewing her today.

Please welcome, Sue Fortin.sue fortin picSue, great to have you on my blog. Take a seat, make yourself comfy and please do help yourself to cake – it’s Victoria sponge! I promise to make this as least like a counselling session as possible.

If cake is involved it will be fine! Hi, Lucie, and thank you for inviting me over.

So, we have just launched our anthology, Romaniac Shorts, how are you feeling? Did you enjoy the process of it all?

Still very excited by it all. It’s been a tremendous amount of fun seeing it all come together and I’m very proud of all of us. That’s not to say it hasn’t been hard work, but that just makes it all the more rewarding.

What is it you enjoy most about being a writer?

The variety of things it lets me do. For instance, one day I could be falling in love with a hero who is heaven sent, the next I could be jumping out of a helicopter, another day, sitting on a Caribbean beach, soaking up the sun and the following day, it could be holding up a bank! There’s no end of fun things to do. On the flip side, I do get bad days where my heroine is heart-broken but the best bit about being the writer, you absolutely know, you can mend that heart-break. 

You are signed with Harper Impulse now, which is amazing! Tell us a little about the day you found out.

It was last summer and I was at home, checking my emails when one pinged in from Charlotte Ledger, she said that unfortunately her phone was broken so she couldn’t call me, so she’d get to the point and they would be delighted if I joined the HarperImpulse team.

So, I reread it several times to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood and then went and told my dog. Yes, my dog. There wasn’t anyone else at home at the time. Needless to say, my dog was suitable underwhelmed. My family and friends made up for it though when I told them.

It took a couple of days for it to sink in, together with several more reads of the email, just to make sure it was real. 

United States of Love has recently become a bestseller in the Amazon Valentine’s Day ranking. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little about the book?

Thank you! It was great to see it there with some other wonderful authors and novels.

United States of Love is really about atoning for and accepting the past so you can move on to a better, or at least, different future. It tells the story of a single mum who finds love second-time around but she has to deal with her ex-husband who appears to want reconciliation. However, all is not what it seems and there’s a fair amount of hidden agendas, blackmail and sabotage involved.  

And what are you working on at the moment?

My WIP has the working title of Where It All Began and the theme is what mothers will do for the love of their child. It looks at the extremes, both good and bad. There is, of course, a romance and a mystery involved too. 

Ok, let’s do some random ones now… because I do love a bit of randomness.

*If you could have any talent in the world, what would it be and why?

To sing in tune. Why? Because even my children can’t bear to listen to me attempting to sing. I keep telling them, it’s all the right notes, just in the wrong order – they’re not convinced.

*If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be and why?

I’d be Andy Garcia because then I could come and find me and propose. Then then the next day, when I was back to me again, I’d be married to Andy Garcia. Simples!

*White or wholemeal?

White, especially if it’s a bacon or chip butty. 

*Have you ever been hypnotised? If not, would you try it?

Never and, err, never.

I’d be too scared. What if they made me crawl around on my hands and knees pretending to be a cat or something? What if, it didn’t wear off properly and every time some mentioned milk, I started meowing?

See, very valid reasons.

*You have a whole day to yourself where you can do anything you want, what would you do?

I’d pack the day full of all those things I’ve always wanted to do. Things like, drive through the Alps in an Aston Martin DB4GT like Michael Cane at the start of the film The Italian Job, ride side car round The Isle of Man TT, go to a Kings of Leon concert and, of course, go back-stage with my VIP Access All Areas pass, and round the day off with a romantic evening meal at the top of the Burj in Dubai.

I would, of course, have to be able to time-slip to achieve this, but, hey who knows, one day …

*Red wine or White wine?

White

Ok, enough of that now. Thank you so much for coming on here today, it has been an absolute pleasure.

Thank you, Lucie. It’s been great; your questions were a lot of fun. xx

 

You can purchase United States of Love on Amazon by clicking on the image below.

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Interview with ChocLit author, Zana Bell

Today on my blog, I have the very lovely Zana Bell, author of Close to the Wind.

Zana Bell author photoZana grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe and studied English Literature at the University of Cape Town. After travelling for several years doing a wide range of jobs, she immigrated to New Zealand where she now lives with her family and cats in a small harbourside community.

She began writing, just for the fun of seeing whether she could actually complete a novel and immediately became hooked. Research is her primary love and writing gives her an excellent excuse to be obsessive or just plain nosey. She enjoys writing in a variety of genre but has a particular fondness for all things historical.

I really enjoyed Zana’s novel and found myself falling in love with the amazingly well drawn out characters. I managed to grab a little interview with Zana – here’s what she had to say…

Hello Zana, how lovely to have you here. Close to the Wind was an absolute pleasure to read, where did the initial idea for the story come from?

I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, Lucie.

The idea came out of a yen to write a NZ historical despite repeated advice from editors and agents to write either Regency or Scottish romances. But the gold rush beckoned – just as it had in 1860s. The rush was a particularly lively time down here, with thousands of people from all walks of life and from around the world flooding into the country. Small towns mushroomed everywhere; hotels, bars, theatres, gambling dens, fortunes discovered and lost. Of course these adventurers were in search of gold but many soon discovered that NZ offered them opportunities undreamed of in Victorian drawing rooms. As an immigrant myself, I wanted a book to reflect some of that huge energy and exuberance that comes from moving to a new country.

However, actually getting the characters from England to NZ turned out to take longer than expected as I became entranced with the different locations en route so it’s less NZ historical than I’d initially planned.

Georgiana is a refreshing character, a girl who knows what she wants and who isn’t afraid to go and get it. She must have been a lot of fun to write. Do you tend to start with the story and sculpt the characters around that, or were Harry and Georgiana already firmly in your mind?

The story was very much driven by Georgiana and Harry and you are right – they were both enormous fun to write. Once I got them onto the high seas, they pretty much took over. My job then became to throw obstacles at them to see how they coped.

You certainly did that! 🙂 The characters in this story do a lot of travelling so I imagine a lot of research went into writing Close to the Wind. Which part of the book was the most enjoyable to research?

The road trip round the South Island to revisit locations was a huge pleasure. Oamaru still retains a few old cobbled streets and beautiful buildings from the 1860s – which is old by NZ standards! I stayed in Christchurch just before the earthquake and had a glorious time walking around Hagley Park and visiting the wonderful museum there.

I also enjoyed reading countless diaries and travel memoirs written in the 1860s.  Most of them are lively and very humorous, the writers remaining undaunted despite considerable challenges and hardships.

It all sounds very interesting. Did you always have the ending clear in your mind, or did it change as the story progressed?

I always knew that Georgiana and Harry would want to stay in NZ but I hadn’t realised quite how much Georgiana would grow into herself over the course of the book – a process that was both a part of, and completely separate from, her relationship with Harry.

Could you ever imagine yourself as a character in the book? If so, which would you most like to have played and would you have made the same decisions as they did?

I would love to have Georgiana’s physical courage and trapeze skills but I’m not nearly as impetuous as she is – though at her age, I probably was.

Georgiana has a love for acting, is this a passion you share?

No alas, I have no acting ability but I do think actors have fascinating and varied lives, always exploring different personalities, different settings etc.  Hang on – that’s what writers also do  – plus we get to control the script.

If you could liken Harry to a celebrity, or a combination of two, who would best describe him?

Hmm. Tricky. Young Hugh Jackman (especially the humour) crossed with Euan McGregor (especially from his Long Way Round adventures) with a big splash of Chris Hemsworth.

Oooh, he sound’s gorgeous! You obviously have a love for New Zealand, this is clearly apparent by the beautiful way in which you write about it. Where would you recommend people to visit on a trip there?

The amazing thing about New Zealand is that everywhere is beautiful. Truly. Road trips are the way to go because the scenery changes radically every couple of hours. The South Island is particularly spectacular. My special favourites are Wanaka (stunning snow-capped mountains, brilliant blue lake) and the West Coast with its rugged, wild beaches. However, I’m a Northlander (the skinny bit right at the top) and think everyone should see the Bay of Islands at least once in their lives.  There’s nothing to equal being out on the water on a hot summer’s day and spying a pod of dolphin. Pure magic.

What other genres do you enjoy to write?

I love them all but anything historical has a particular attraction. The historical research is always fascinating and it provides such a good excuse to visit glorious locations.  Mind you, my contemporaries have been a lot of fun to research, too. I learned all about big wave surfing, endangered birds and motorbike stunt riding. I’m also probably one of the very few people who, on arriving in Houston, immediately begged for a tour of trailer parks. And very interesting it was too.

Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a specific space dedicated for it?

I have a little office in the back garden, overlooked by a mountain so it’s very peaceful.  However, I also like mixing things around so if I’m home alone, I’ll work in different rooms. A change of scenery is a good way to overcome writer’s block.

That’s a great tip. So what’s next in store for you –  what can we come to expect from your next novel?

Next year I have another 1860s NZ adventure coming out. Lady Guinevere Stanhope arrives alone in the South Island armed with little more than a passion for photography and her determination to save her family home. She is catapulted into adventures which include crossing paths and swords with Finn O’Donnell, an Irish doctor who has his own very clear goals – none of which include a young woman from the English aristocracy. I hope you’ll enjoy that one too, Lucie.

 I’m sure I will. I’m looking forward to it already!

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, Zana, I wish you all the very best of luck with the book.  But I am sure you don’t need luck – it’s a fantastic novel. 

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And a big thank you for interviewing me.

Close to the Wind is available now to purchase both as a paperback and on Kindle. Click the image to be taken to Amazon.

Zana is published by ChocLit Publishing.

Lucie xx