Deborah, congratulations on the release of book one in your new GENTLEMEN OF FORTUNE series. Can you tell us a little about this story? What inspired it?
My latest release, Married: The Virgin Widow is a “man from the past” story. When Ford Barrett and Laura Penrose’s romance fell apart seven years ago, each felt betrayed by the other, especially Ford when Laura married his cousin and threatened his expectations to inherit the family title and estate. Now that Ford has made his fortune in the Far East, he returns to inherit the estate and take care of unfinished business with the fair widow. The inspiration for the story was a rejection I received on a previous proposal because it didn’t have enough conflict and emotional intensity. I wanted this one to have both in spades!
Most of my reading is historical – romance, fiction, non-fiction, fantasy and historical mysteries. I sometimes read contemporary romance if I know the author. Least favorite would be horror or anything with violence against children. I read for escape from the worries and stress of modern life. Nothing quite does that for me like reading about a somewhat idealized past.
Who is the most inspirational figure in your life?
My youngest sons are my personal heroes. They are twins who have high functioning autism. They’ve overcome so much, come so far and have such a unique perspective on life.
When the writing is done, how do you kick back to relax?
I practice Taoist tai-chi which I find both relaxing and energizing. I also sing with a Celtic choir which performs sacred and secular Celtic music. I enjoy scrapbooking but don’t often have time for that.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
I see bits of myself in all many of my characters – even the villains! I love writing the occasional witty/b*tchy other woman who gets to say all the nasty things I never would. J I find it easiest to relate to heroines who have a strong nurturing instinct and heroes who are loners. I find it harder to relate to very feisty heroines and heroes who are charmers – but I’ve written both and really enjoyed getting into their heads!
How long have you been writing and what prompted you to begin?
I’ve been writing pretty much since I could hold a pencil but didn’t complete my first novel until I was in my early thirties with two young children. I had a story idea that I didn’t want to die of “garbage can syndrome” like so many of my past ones, so I made a pact with a supportive friend to send her chapters as I finished them. That kept me motivated to finish my first book.
How do you manage your ideas for new stories before you’re able to really sit down and work on them?
I jot down as much as I can quickly on cards or paper and pop them in an idea file. If a story really gets under my skin, like the one I’m currently writing for LIH, I’ll even jot scene ideas or bits of dialogue. That’s usually enough to relieve the “new idea itch” until I have time to write the story. Sometimes enough time goes by that I’ve almost forgotten, so when I open my idea file, it’s like a trunk full of new toys to take out and play with!
How has your process changed through your career?
I wrote my first book by the seat of my pants because I didn’t know there was any other way. After I was contracted by HH and writing two or more book a year, I found I needed to do more pre-writing. These days, I find it very hard to write my first draft on my word processor. So I go out each morning to a café and write a thousand or so words longhand then type them in later in the day. I find it easier to write a scene if I outline it first, but I don’t stick slavishly to the outline. It just lets me know where I’m going, otherwise my scenes can wander.
What’s the best piece of advice you have to offer to an aspiring author?
I have different ones for authors at different stages, but for someone just starting out, I’d say, “Don’t be afraid to make a mess.” Jump in and get the story written however you can. Don’t expect it to be perfect or even good. You’ll learn so much from completing a manuscript and other advice will make sense once you’ve gone through the process. Your next story will be better or maybe you’ll be able to rewrite the first one and improve it.
How would you describe what writing is to you? (Habit, hobby, outlet, obsession, sanity saver…?)
Probably all of the above at various stages. J When my four children were little, a friend of mine used to say writing was my “sanity-retention mechanism.” Since then, there have been times when it’s felt like just the opposite. But when the words flow, a new idea beckons or I hear a reader has been touched or entertained by one of my stories, it’s the greatest feeling in the world!
Deborah, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing a little about yourself and your writing!
One lucky commenter will be chosen at random to win MARRIED: THE VIRGIN WIDOW and BOUGHT: THE PENNILESS LADY!Deborah is very excited to have six books out in the first six months of 2011. To find out more, visit her website www.deborahhale.com or join her Facebook page "Regency Author Deborah Hale."
MARRIED: THE VIRGIN WIDOW (First in THE GENTLEMEN OF FORTUNE series)
Her hands bound by blackmail and duty, Laura Penrose was forced to marry her sweetheart's ruthless cousin. Now a widow, her sweetheart has returned.
Ford Barrett, Lord Kingsfold, believes Laura betrayed him and has a debt to pay—she owes him a wedding… and a wedding night!
Laura sacrificed herself once out of duty—she won't be taken again for revenge. But this new, dark, dangerous Ford discards her pleas…. Can she tell him she never wronged him, before he discovers her more innocent secret?