Thanks very much for your interest in my books–and you’re appreciation for the first two. I can understand your confusion and I do apologize for it. Lord Valentine warned me this would happen, but even his charm isn’t sufficient to overcome the entire weight of the publishing house’s schedule. I’ll answer your questions in order herein, mostly because my old clunker can’t open docx files, and doing the conversion on line would take longer than just replying.
The explanation for why Val came out after Sophie has to do with my inexperience as an author. Valentine was already part of the Fall 2011 line up when I was given the opportunity to write a Christmas book for 2011 as well. Yay, yippee, lucky me! Except it never occurred to me a “fall” book might come out as late as November or December, and a “Christmas” book might hit the shelves as early as September (and in fact, Bookscan did pick up several hundred sales of “Lady Sophie” in September). So I merrily scribbled off Sophie’s tale, without realizing it might come out before Valentine’s.
My mistake, for which I do apologize, but I think I’m safe in saying there are no revelations in Sophie’s book that would spoil “The Virtuoso.” Valentine IS married in Sophie’s book, but honestly, is that a plot spoiler? His lady wife certainly hopes not!
My writing day usually starts very early. I come downstairs, brew the tea (I like to start with one cup of jasmine green tea), sort out the companion animals, and get to work. If it’s a go-to-the-office day, I write for a few hours, then suit up, and head to town. If it’s my best, most favorite kind of day, I write until my imagination’s buffers are cleared, then work on the “other stuff,” associated with publishing books. That includes blogging, facebooking, tweeting, reading and researching, occasionally meeting writer buddies for lunch, getting material ready for my website, and generally frolicking around on the internet. In the evening, I always try to save reading the day’s words for the last thing before I turn in. I want those words composting in my subconscious so I’ll wake up with another scene or two ready to go.
I generally do not write from an outline, I do not have word counts or written goals, and I do not meet with critique partners–for now. I’m sure there’s book lurking out there which I will not be able to write without a detailed outline, and so forth. They mess with us, the books do.
This is how I structure my stories: I realize I’m getting to the end of a manuscript and I panic about what book will come next. When I have been in a royal, incoherent tumult over this for far too long, a Meet will pop into my head, or a single line. The single line I’m working on now has to do with a man who has been dead to passion for several years noticing the nape of Genevieve Windham’s neck. I have not the clue where this will go, but I figure I can get a few hundred words out of such a scene at least–that only leaves 100,000 to go, more or less. If ALL else fails (and it usually does) then I jump in the truck and drive from DC to San Diego and back to pop in on the folks. Halfway across Kansas, by God, your mind wanders into some interesting corners. North Dakota has a lot of potential in this regard too. And I got a whole trilogy out of Texas, though one of my heroes ended up wearing a cowboy hat.
Some of my hobbies…. I hope reading still counts as a hobby, even if I’m reading with a writer’s eye. There are so many talented people writing romance! Jennifer Ashley is my new keeper, Carolyn Jewel is a genius, Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, Julie Ann Long, Meredith Duran, Sophia Nash, JR Ward, Joanna Bourne… I owe these women my sanity, because when the day job is taking too big a toll, their books will always restore me.
When I can afford it, I travel to the UK, and every time I go, the list of places I MUST visit gets longer, not shorter. Fortunately, this all qualifies as research, right?
I also love animals, and have found a great deal of peace and joy on the back of a horse.
Hope that suffices. Cut or edit at will. If you need some covers, or you’d like to do a giveaway with the blog, let me know. I have plenty of copies of “Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish,” but won’t have any “Virtuoso”‘s until after November 1.