Thanks so much for coming by Wordwranglers today!
1. For those who haven’t read it yet, what prompted the older woman/younger man storyline in Pleasure Me?
As someone who married a man five years younger than me, I’ve a fondness for the plot line. There are a lot of disconnects that can happen if the man’s not mature enough, and I enjoy delving into the mindset of an older woman. I know that with Pleasure Me, a lot of the readers who don’t enjoy the book seem to lean toward the under 35 age group. I think women 40 and up will be able to identify better with Ruth, my heroine, a lot better than a younger woman who hasn’t come up against the age factor in society. When you skin becomes less supple and wrinkles start your perspective changes. For some just a little bit, for others a great deal.
2. Garrick has a deformity that has kept him from being with a woman until Ruth…have you had any negative response to that?
The negative response has been from two sets of readers. Those two groups consist of readers who don’t have or haven’t contemplated the idea of their own aging and/or readers who don’t understand the medical or social aspects of Victorian society. The knowledge of sexual organs and sexuality in general during the late 1800s was minimal at best. Women weren’t even suppose to have orgasms! The Victorian era was one of sexual repression in so many ways, that the idea of a man with only one ball is actually a strong motivation.
Garrick’s lack of one testicle is far from common even in modern society. A distended testicle is where the sac does not fall properly and it appears the man has only one ball. This type of deformity in the late 1800s would have been considered a blow to Garrick’s potential to sire heirs. Thus, experienced women would look at him as being less than desirable, and these would be the women he’d gain experience with prior to taking a bride.
I researched the book thoroughly, and spoke with a nurse who specializes in urology. Occurrences of the deformity run around three (3) percent in the entire male population and nature generally rectifies the problem during youth. However one (1) percent of the population never have the testicle drop unless surgery is performed. That’s a procedure that would have never been considered or even dreamed of in the late 1800s.
3. Do your readers like the older woman/younger man storyline? You know how I feel
I think the reaction has been mixed. I’m not sure that it’s the older woman/younger man storyline so much as it’s a matter of whether my writing resonates with the reader. That’s very important. Readers who enjoy an author’s voice will allow the author to take them on journeys they might not tolerate with another author. It’s all in how the writing style appeals to the reader.
4. Did I read on Facebook you planned to do another ym/ow story?
I’m considering it, but it might be a while. I have a lot of irons in the fire. Inferno’s Kiss has another male virgin, but his virginity is more of a subplot and an obstruction to his actual inner conflict.
5. What are you working on now? When will it be out?
The third and final book in the Order of the Sicari series, Inferno’s Kiss, is tentatively set for release the first part of October. I’m not sure if that date if firm. This book is Cleo’s story, and the resolution of Marcus and Atia’s relationship.
6. A writer friend of mine wants to know if you’re willing to share your query letters?
My query letters are on my website under business articles. I try to share as much knowledge as I have time to put up on the website. Knowledge is power, and I believe in sharing. I have a template letter that can be downloaded and used without any attrition. They’re actually quite easy despite all the angst and mystery that surrounds them. A query letter is like a cover letter you write when you’re looking for a job. You want to put your best foot forward so you write your description of your book the same way that a book’s back cover is written. I find it easy, but then I’ve been writing cover letters for me, my family and friends for years.
7. How long did you write before you got “the call?” How many manuscripts did you write before you sold?
I contracted my first novella with New Concepts in late 2003 I think. I’d been writing full-time at that point for about a year and half. It took me another eight years to land a contract with Berkley. Total manuscripts before I contracted were a category targeted for HQ and three single titles. One of those single titles I transformed into my book Dangerous.
8. I chat with you on Facebook from time to time. How important to your career do you think these sites are?
I think it’s critical to an author’s career to develop and cultivate relationships with readers. First, I love to chat. I’m part Italian, we all talk like crazy. Second, I want readers to understand that a) I love hearing what they have to say, b) they offer up some great insights and c) they’re a word-of-mouth sales force. I try not to abuse that part of the relationship, but I do ask for their help in spreading the word when a new book comes out.
9. If you could be another romance writer, who would you be, and why?
Charlotte Bronte because I love her writing. It’s dark, passionate, dramatic and just down right wonderful.
10. If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?
I would have written more and marketed less when I first contracted. I was convinced I could leverage my ePub work into a NY contract. I eventually did, but it happened a little too late, and I wound up being in trade as opposed to mass market. Trade size publication makes it extremely difficult for a new to NY author to sell through and make any kind of a stir. If I’d written more books and marketed less, I would have had a larger readership that would hopefully have followed me into print. I have a friend whose extensive eBook readership served as a catalyst for her mass market contract. She did what exactly what I wanted to do. Only she wrote more books than I did, and she writes faster. I’m notoriously SLOW when it comes to writing, but my first draft is usually the final manscript.
Read the first three chapters