When I was eighteen I went to
I went back to college in 2004 to study for a Masters Degree in Public History. When I’m not writing I work for the National Trust as a guide at the fabulous seventeenth century Ashdown House. I live in the country with my husband, two cats and two dogs.
Spotlight on Nicola:
Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?houses that I’ve visited. Even though I write historical romance a lot of my books are inspired by contemporary ideas. My next book for HQN, Lord of Scandal, has as its theme the idea of celebrity, which is a very contemporary concept but was also something that was understood in the nineteenth century. Lord Nelson, for example, was a true regency celebrity! I find it fascinating that there are so many modern and historical parallels.
What makes you mad?
Violence, cruelty in any form, bad punctuation.
When I was 21 a guy working a crane saw me in the street and climbed all the way down from his cab to tell me I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and to ask me for a date. Not a bad line! I thought it was a wind up, actually, but he swore he meant it. Mind you, that was a long time ago!
What in a hero makes you drool?
Well, I do go weak at the knees for the tall, dark and handsome type – Hugh Jackman or Matthew Rhys. I’m also a bit of a fan of red hair as long as it belongs to someone like Damian Lewis! But once I’ve stopped being superficial about it, I’d say that character is more important. My dh has integrity, compassion, a good sense of humour and intelligence and I value those qualities very highly.
I think I’d probably work in some kind of job where I could use my interest in history, maybe as property manager at a stately home, or something like that. I worked in an office for 15 years before I became a writer but I always wanted to be an air traffic controller. That wasn’t going to happen because I failed my geography O-level!
How do you get out of a writing rut?
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I’d love a house by the sea on the west coast of
Mary Stewart, for her wonderful romantic suspense novels. I’d like to have had the chance to hug Daphne du Maurier for Frenchman’s Creek but she doesn’t strike me as the sort of person you could have hugged – a bit too scary! Stephanie Laurens – I love her writing and all her early Mills and Boon regencies are on my keeper shelf. There are quite a few other authors as well – I seem to be quite free with my hugging!
What music do you listen to when writing?
I have a theme song for each book that I write that is connected in some way to the characters or the plot. For The Earl’s Prize it was “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead because the book had a gambling theme. For my current wip it’s “Feel” by Robbie Williams. I listen to these to get into the heads of the characters. When I’m doing the actual writing, though, I tend to work in silence. If I get blocked I’ll listen to Beethoven or Tchaikovsky, stirring stuff to get me moving again.
Tell us a secret nobody knows about you?
What was your most embarrassing moment?
When I was in my teens I bumped into Robin Ellis, who played Ross Poldark in the TV series, at the theatre. Literally bumped into him, I mean. He grabbed hold of me and apologised and I was so overwhelmed, because he was totally gorgeous, that I just stood there with my mouth open. Very embarrassing.
It’s been a good year! I’m celebrating18 years of marriage, a new niece, my Masters degree and our first litter of guide dog puppies!
What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?
A cup of tea – usually too close to the keyboard! My cat.
Mmn, as I’m writing a pirate story at the moment I think it would have to be Johnny Depp – purely for research purposes, of course.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on two books at the moment, which is pretty unusual for me as usually I can only concentrate on one book at a time. I’m writing another single title Regency historical for HQN about a girl who was a Russian serf brought back to
I’m also revising a pirate story that’s a sequel to a trilogy I wrote a few years ago. I had so many emails from readers asking for my pirate, Daniel de Lancey, to have his own story, that in the end I had to agree! The lure of the pirate hero is a pretty compelling one. Daniel’s a maverick, dangerous, outside the law, but he has his own sense of honour. Even so, no sensible woman would think of getting entangled with him, least of all the woman he jilted years before who is now a most respectable governess… The Pirate’s Kiss is out next year!
Nicola's most recent release,The Season For Suitors is published in the UK in October 2006 in the Regency Lords and Ladies Christmas anthology.Visit her website for more!