Get To Know My Favorite Authors – Adrienne Giordano & Giveaway!

Adrienne Giordano is an author who is unbeatable with the stories that she writes. Romantic suspense with at times laugh-out-loud humor and a ton of emotion with “real” characters, she is an author who I would continue to read because I just love what she does with her characters, the plots and of course the romance.

I first discovered or rather stumbled across Adrienne Giordano’s work on Netgalley when her debut and the 1st book in Private Protector’s series Man Law became available from Carina Press. Since I fell head over heels in love with the book’s glossy cover and then  Vic Andrews, his Man Laws and Adrienne’s way with the words I haven’t looked back.

For those who may not know her, Adrienne lives in the Midwest, is married and has a son. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction. She is a co-founder of Romance University blog, is a member of Romance Writers of America, Windy City RWA, Kiss of Death, and RWA’s Women’s Fiction chapter.Adrienne can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads as well!

So the wonderful Adrienne and I had a chat about her life as a writer, her favorite authors and books and of course I wouldn’t finish off an interview with Adrienne without talking about Vic now would I?

So without further ado, please give a warm welcome to Adrienne and make her feel at home at MBR’s Realm of Romance.

MBR: Welcome Adrienne to my little corner of romance on the World Wide Web. And thank you so much for taking the time to do this. So onto my first question, did you always know that you wanted to be a romance writer?

AG: I knew from the time I was in high school that I enjoyed writing. In college, I wrote a story for a creative writing class and I was hooked.  After that, I always fiddled with writing, but it wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I started to think seriously about writing a novel.  I’ve always been an avid reader and enjoy the romance genre (of course!) as well as the mystery/suspense genre, so I thought it would be fun to tackle a romantic suspense.

My first book, which I lovingly call my practice book, will never see the light of day. You can beg, but I will never (ever!) let anyone read it. Writing a novel is like anything else. The more you practice, the better you get. Let’s just say I learned a lot of hard lessons about plot structure and characterization with my practice book. It’s 135,000 words of chaos! That’s a lot of chaos. 🙂

MBR: So why romantic suspense? I see most authors try their hand at either historical romances or contemporary romances before moving onto write romance with elements of suspense.

AG: As I said above, I’m a big fan of romance, mystery and suspense so I gravitated to romantic suspense. The challenge of romanticmanlaw.JPG suspense is weaving the relationship in with the suspense angle. I always strive to have the challenges the couple faces on an emotional level slam up against the challenges in the suspense angle. In Man Law, Vic Andrews is a security contractor for the government. When the government wants to neutralize a terrorist, they call Vic to do the job. Vic is a loner with a dangerous job and, for this reason, has chosen not to marry and have a family. The heroine in the book, Gina, is a young widow whose firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty. She has no interest in being with a man in a dangerous profession. But she and Vic have been friends for a long time and they are drawn to each other. When one of Vic’s assignments goes wrong, the target selects Gina and her kids for revenge.

With this book, I had a man who thrived on no-strings relationships fall in love with a woman with three young children. For her part in this, Gina broke her own rules by falling for a man in a dangerous profession and then that profession put her children in danger.

I also love romantic suspense because I get to chase bad guys and blow things up. 🙂

MBR: So what made you come up with the Private Protector’s series? Did you have a sort of epiphany one fine day and decided to write the series or was it just good old fashioned planning, plotting and some more plotting that lead you to this day?

AG: None of the above. LOL. The series actually started with Roxann Thorgesson, the heroine in Risking Trust. I have a newspaper background and thought it would be fun to write a story about a woman who is forced to assume control of her family’s large newspaper after the sudden death of her publisher father. To add to Roxann’s conflict, I threw her ex-boyfriend (and love of her life) Michael Taylor at her. Michael walked out on Roxann twelve years earlier and now finds himself a suspect in his estranged wife’s  murder. He goes to Roxann and offers her an exclusive on the story in exchange for helping him clear his name.

While writing Michael and Roxann’s book, Vic Andrews started yapping at me. If you haven’t read Man Law, he’s one of those characters who likes to make himself heard. I had such fun with him in Risking Trust, I decided to give him his own book.

Then, when writing Man Law, I began wondering why Monk (a secondary character in Man Law) always wore a do-rag. To satisfy my curiosity, I gave Monk his own book (A Just Deception). It’s a long-running joke around my house that Monk’s book was inspired by a do-rag.

ajustdeception.JPGAfter finishing A Just Deception, although all the books are stand alone novels, I realized I had a series going.

MBR: Every writer has a story to tell about how they reached the publication of their 1st book. What would yours be?

AG: My story is about my need to recognize when a change had to happen.  For five years, my books had been making the final rounds in contests and editors and agents were giving me great feedback, but I wasn’t getting any offers. I kept coming close, but never quite got there.

At that point, one of my trusted writer friends received an offer from Carina Press, the digital arm of Harlequin. I had never submitted to an e-publisher before, but loved the idea of being under the Harlequin umbrella. I was conflicted over submitting to Carina because I’d been hanging on to the dream of holding my printed book in my hand. Finally, my husband, in all his grand logic said, “Is it about getting published or holding a book in your hand?”

That question was the “aha” moment I needed and the next day I sent Carina my book. Eight weeks later, I had an offer. Soon after, they bought the rest of the series.

So, for me, getting published came from me re-evaluating my approach. It’s been an amazing ride!

MBR: The 3rd published book in the series, Risking Trust actually serves to be the 1st book in the series. If given a second chance, would you change the publication timing such that Risking Trust be published first?

AG: Oooh, this is such a good question! I love it. I’m going to say no, I wouldn’t change the timing. When I originally submitted to Carina, I submitted Man Law first. I knew Risking Trust had some characterization issues, so feeling that Man Law, the second book in the series, was the stronger book, I submitted that one.

When the offer was made for Man Law, I told my editor I had two other books in the series and she asked to see them. Carina made an offer on A Just Deception (book three), but wanted to see revisions on Risking Trust before they made an offer.

My wonderful editor gave me a detailed revision letter and I immediately went to work on a rewrite. Michael and Roxann have a special place in my heart, and I was excited to update the book with the writing skills I’d acquired since first drafting it. I had a ball rewriting Michael and Roxann’s story, and I’m thrilled that readers are enjoying the little time warp we put them through.

MBR: So let’s talk about your heroes. Vic Andrews, Peter Jessup and Michael Taylor, all serve to be equally enticing in their own way. The one reason I love your books is the fact that you let men be men in your stories, not just how the fairer sex views them to be. Who would you say serves as your inspiration when you create your male characters?

AG: First, let me say, I’m an Italian girl from Jersey. Need I say more? LOL. I grew up surrounded by alpha males. Many of my friends are married to alpha males. I’m married to an alpha. Alphas sort of come naturally to me. 🙂

Men overall are really fascinating creatures. They communicate differently than women do and I’m always entertained by it. One of my favorite lines from Man Law is when Vic is admitting his worry over his cover being blown and Michael says “Are we having a moment here or what?” These two are the closest of friends, but they don’t go for any big, emotional chats. They have their own ways of telling each other they care.

Overall, I try to make my male characters strong, but not obnoxious. They all tend to get chest-bumpy now and again, but they’re also reasonable when they need to be and quite loyal.

MBR: Vic Andrews and his man laws cracks me up every time. And his character is one that is certainly an unforgettable one. How did the Man Laws come about in the first place?

AG: I always tell people I want to be Vic when I grow up. He has irreverence about him that I had fun with. There are not a lot of gray areas with him. If someone asks for his opinions, they should be prepared for the realities of those opinions. LOL.

The man law concept came about at a friend’s birthday party where a guest stood to offer a toast. In the toast he declared a man law that his wife would no longer be allowed to go shopping with the birthday girl. I had already started thinking about Vic’s book and decided he would be ruled by his own set of (sometimes) whacky man laws.

MBR: And this question is just about VIC ANDREWS. Who would you choose to play Vic’s character if you ever have the chance? (Already dreaming here)


AG
: Okay, girls, brace yourselves. Physically, Vic is a cross between McSteamy on Gray’s Anatomy and Sawyer on Lost. If I could put Sawyer’s hair on McSteamy, you’d have Vic. He is smoking hot!

MBR: OH MY GOD!! (breathes deeply) That brings me to your heroines, Gina Delgado, Isabelle DeRosa and last but not the least Roxann Thorgesson who in their each individual stories face huge obstacles, stumble upon the way to their HEA but still make it in one piece. And I loved every one of them. Who would you say serves as your inspiration to write characters who are strong, a bit sassy and loyal to a fault?

AG: When it comes to heroines, it takes a strong woman to deal with the men in my books. When these guys are on a mission, they want nothing more than to take control and fix whatever situation they face. They’re also protective and will deal accordingly with anyone aiming to do harm to the people they care about.

I think because the men are bossy, they need women who aren’t afraid to tell them if they’re acting like idiots. For Roxann, she lovesriskingtrust.jpg verbal swordplay, so she is not opposed to debating issues with Michael. For Gina, well, she’s raising three kids on her own. She’s pretty much seen it all and when Vic is acting up, she has no problem urging him to rethink his approach. In A Just Decpetion, Monk is dealing with PTSD and, in Isabelle, he finds someone who has her own catastrophic emotional issues. Together, they learn to help each other.

MBR: Have you get any plans to write just a plain old contemporary romance for your fans? Or would you continue to stick with Romantic Suspense where you certainly seem to have found great success in?

AG: I don’t know that I’d ever write a straight contemporary. I honestly think contemporaries are some of the hardest books to write.  With a romantic suspense, there’s a crime or some situation that needs to be resolved. If there’s a bad guy, the writer’s job is to bring the bad guy to justice in whatever form it takes. Every scene in the book should be a stepping stone to making that justice happen. The plotter in me loves that.

I do have a women’s fiction book that I’m fiddling with. It also has a mystery element to it though, so I think I’m naturally drawn to the mystery/suspense genre.

MBR: So what’s one genre of romance that you would never ever write?

AG: I freak out every time I have to write a sex scene, so I don’t see myself writing an erotic. Usually, when it’s time for the sex scene, I write ADD SEX SCENE here and then I go back to it at a later date. I like the sexual tension aspects, but when it comes down to actually writing the sex, I avoid it as long as possible!  LOL.

MBR: Any romance writer has read tons of romances before proceeding to write the genre. So may I ask, who is your favorite romance author or who are your favorite authors in general? And what type of books do you prefer to read to unwind? And is there any author whose work inspires you?

AG: Suzanne Brockmann is my favorite romance author. I love her voice. Outside of the romance genre, Harlan Coben is my other favorite author. He writes amazing thrillers. When I want a book I know is a good read, I look for one of my keeper books from either Suzanne or Harlan.

MBR: So what’s your favorite way to spend your “me-time”?

AG: I love to grab a book and hit the beach. I grew up on the Jersey shore and spent my summers on the beach. For me, there is nothing more relaxing than salty-air and warm sand.

MBR: What’s the one thing that you can’t picture your life without?

AG: My family.

MBR: I see that Billy’s story is up next in Private Protectors. When can we expect to get our hands on his story? And what’s to come after Billy’s story?

AG: The tentative release date for Billy’s book is September 2012. Like Vic Andrews, Billy is quite the handful and I’m hoping readers who enjoy Vic’s personality will like Billy. He has to learn to filter in his book, which is something he’s not very good at. I’m also working on a novella that features Janet, the tech geek from the Private Protectors series. I’m having fun with her.

After that, I’d like to write a book that features Lynx, who is Vic’s friend at the State Department. Lynx always seems to pop up in my books, so he may need a story of his own. I’m still noodling that one.

MBR: So that brings me to my last and final question. What would your advice be to those who are aspiring to become writers?

AG: Keep writing, stay focused and find ways to keep your spirits up during the tough times. There is nothing easy about getting a book published, but when it happens, it’s an amazing sense of accomplishment.

MBR: Thank you so much Adrienne. It has certainly been a fun experience.

AG: Thank you for having me here! And thank you for all of your support of this series. It’s such a special feeling to have readers and reviewers praise my work.

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

  • There will be two giveaways happening. Both open internationally.
  • You can enter for both giveaways. If you are entering for one of them or both please state so in your comment.
  • Adrienne herself will be giving away an e-copy of Risking Trust her latest novel. She would also be giving away a pair of bullet earrings and a bullet key chain together with character trading cards.
  • The other giveaway happens to be a 20 $ gift certificate from either Amazon, Barnes&Noble or Samhain. The winner gets to choose from which online store he/she wants the gift card.
  • To enter the giveaway all you have to do is tell us what was the very first romance that you remember reading that had such a profound effect on you and made you turn into a romance reader for life!
  • And as always, if you help spread the word you get 5 extra entries for each whether it be Twitter or Facebook. Just state in the comment if/whether you have done so.
  • Giveaway will be open from 00:00 hours December 13, 2011 till 00:00 hours December 15, 2011 Maldivian time.
  • Winners will be contacted and announced on the blog soon after. Please leave a valid e-mail address behind as a way to contact you.
  • And if inquiring minds want to know, you can find reviews for all 3 books by Adrienne from here.

Get to Know My Favorite Authors – Sarah Mayberry

sarahmayberry.jpgAs most of the visitors to my blog would be well aware of, I am a HUGE fan of Harlequin romance author Sarah Mayberry. Ever since I discovered and read her Blaze title Anything For You which is of the friends-to-lovers trope which happens to be one of my favorite themes of romance, I have never looked back. Apart from 2 or 3 titles, I have read everything I can get my hands on by Ms. Mayberry and I don’t foresee that changing anytime in the future.

Since I read and reviewed an ARC of her last title One Good Reason which is to come out on the 26th of this month, and because I have been toying with the idea of doing author profiles/interviews on my blog for quite sometime now, I decided to cross into unchartered waters by requesting Ms. Mayberry to delight us all with her presence and kick-start my “Get to Know My Favorite Authors” series.

For those who may not know her Sarah Mayberry hails from Melbourne, Australia which serves as the setting for most of her romances. Recently married to her partner of 18 years, Sarah Mayberry worked as a storyliner on Australia’s longest running soap Neighbours which she credits as giving her insight into writing romances that tugs at your heartstrings. Her recent titles all belong to the Harlequin Super Romance line which delivers a lot more on the character development and indepth story telling though I do miss her super HOT Blaze titles now and then.

So without further ado, please give a warm welcome to the very talented Sarah Mayberry.

shesgotitbad.JPGMBR: Thank you so much for agreeing to do this Ms. Mayberry. Please make yourself at home right here at my little corner of the world wide web. And since you are the first author to do so, I am so excited I think I can barely control myself. LOL! So onto my first question. Did you always know that you wanted to be a romance writer?

SM: I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. I used to make books out of folded and stapled paper when I was in primary (elementary) school, and when I left high school I did a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing. I was reprimanded by my fiction teacher for writing what he called “women’s fiction.” He didn’t consider this a good thing, but I did. Eventually I worked out that I wanted to write books like the one’s I enjoyed reading, and they were romances, every one of them.

MBR: Ah! I bet every one of your readers is thankful that you didn’t listen to your fiction teacher in this instance. The next question relates to family life. Similar to you, I am also the middle of three children. What was your childhood like as the middle child? Any funny childhood stories to share with your readers?

SM: My husband is also a middle child and we make lots of jokes about the over achieving middle child/overlooked middle child syndrome. To be honest, it’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like being first or last in the line up – I definitely don’t think I handle responsibility as well as my older sister, but I’m also more independent than my younger brother. I think every “role” has its up and down sides. The best story for illustrating our family dynamic is one that has been documented on one of our old home movies (this is on real film, not video, because I am THAT old!) My family are playing around on a large strip of grass in front of the local shops near our holiday house on the bay near Melbourne. My brother is a toddler, and my sister is about 5 or 6 and completely obsessed with him – she loved changing his nappies and playing mum to him. So, mum and my sister are doting on my younger brother, my father is behind the camera. I am in the background doing somersaults and handstands on the grass. At one point, my brother makes a break for it, running on his little bandy legs toward the busy road on the other side of the grassy reserve. Everyone goes after him, including my father (the camera jerks in panic but chills out a bit when my mum and sister catch my brother). I am completely oblivious in the background, still rolling around on the grass in my own little world. My brother in law has called me “monkey girl” ever since he saw this piece of film, but I think it illustrates the fact that I was often off imagining in my head while the world went on around me.

thebestlaidplans.JPGMBR: (chuckles) Your imagination has definitely paid off in the long run as each of your books just get better and better. You have gone through a lot before settling down to write romances. What would you do differently if given the chance to do it all over again the second time round?

SM: It’s always tempting to think “I wish I’d submitted that story earlier or been more consistent in my attempts to be published”, since I worked at it off and on for about 10 years before I finally made it. But I honestly really value the experiences I had in other industries prior to becoming a full time writer. Not only did they teach me to value the freedom of what I do now, they also gave me lots and lots of fodder for my stories and an appreciation for how the “real” world works. Imagination is great, but there’s no substitute for having experienced something first hand.

MBR: Your stories are certainly “real” enough and I bet many readers would agree with me on this fact. I have mentioned at the beginning just how much I love your Blaze titles. You seem to have settled well into writing for the Harlequin Super Romance line. Does this mean that fans of your super hot Blaze titles like myself would never get to read one of them ever again?

thelastgoodbye.jpg

SM: At the moment my story brain seems to be producing Super Romance stories. If a super hot story pops into my brain, I will definitely consider writing it as a Blaze, if the senior editor would be happy to hear from me again. Or perhaps I might consider publishing it myself – it’s a whole new world at the moment with digital media, so there possibilities are out there.

MBR: Oh yes, a lot of authors seem to be venturing into self publishing. And whichever way you choose  to publish, I am sure your fans would be onboard. All your published novels to-date are contemporary romances. Most authors tend to branch out into other genres over time. Have you ever considered doing that yourself?

SM: I read romance, fantasy and a smattering of crime fiction. For many years I have had two rather epic fantasy ideas rattling around in my head. I would love to find the time to write them, but I also worry that they are so different from what I do now that there would be a huge learning curve to overcome. One day I might get around to it… I love reading historical romance, and there’s a part of me that would love to try to write one, but I don’t know that my “voice” would be suited to historicals. My next writing goal is to write a single title length book that will hopefully find a home with a mainstream publisher. Fingers crossed…

MBR: I for one am a huge fan of contemporary romances and wouldn’t be disappointed even if you continued writing just that. And the single title length novel sounds like a wonderful idea. Crossing fingers myself! So, what’s the one genre of romance you would never write?

SM: Hmmm. This is tough. Never say never, but I suspect I am not the kind of writer who excels at suspense/crime plots. My stories tend to be very character and emotion driven, and I have always found what I call “what happens next?” plotting a little bewildering. I hugely admire writers who do it well (Tess Gerritsen is a favourite – although she’s not strictly writing romantic thrillers, she used to be a Harlequin writer).

hersecretfling.JPGMBR: Have never read any books by Tess Gerritisen. I need to check out her books then. That brings me to the  next question. What’s your next title going to be about? Would you mind sharing a bit on your next release?

SM: My November release is called All They Need. This was a hard book for me in many ways – I started it four different times before settling on what story I wanted to tell. In hindsight, this was because I came up with a situation rather than two people with a story between them when I wrote my proposal. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and sometimes you only realise as you start writing the actual book that the situation you created requires your characters contorting themselves into weird and unnatural behaviors to service the story. Since I’m the kind of writer who prefers for the story to service the characters and not vice versa, I got myself into a real state. However, there was a deadline to be met and with the patience and generosity of my man and my editor, I finally found the story hidden inside all that gumph I’d spun originally. The resulting book is the story of Mel and Flynn.

Mel’s recovering from an ugly marriage to a controlling, disapproving husband. She took a lot of crap from this guy before she hit bottom and realised she needed to get out, and she’s questioning herself in the aftermath, wondering why she let herself be treated so badly. She’s lost her trust – both in other people and in her own judgement. Flynn comes from the same monied set as Mel’s ex and has always found her attractive, even though they were never very close during her marriage. He was aware of her, though, and when circumstances bring them into contact again he once again finds her very appealing. But Flynn is dealing with the sad and stressful decline of his father thanks to early onset Alzheimer’s Disease and he doesn’t think he has the space in his life to do a relationship with Mel justice. Especially since he very quickly understands that she has been wounded by her marriage. But, as we all know, love doesn’t work to schedule, and these two find themselves drawn to one another despite all the sensible voices in their heads telling them to back off. Still, Mel isn’t even close to being ready for another relationship, and she’s convinced that she never wants to marry or even live with another man again. Which leaves Flynn with nowhere to go, really. Obviously, they resolve their differences, but I don’t want to ruin things for readers!

MBR: Wow! Sounds like its going to be an emotional read. Can’t wait for November to get here. Or maybe I could read it much earlier if Harlequin were to offer an ARC on Netgalley. Fingers crossed… Next question is about the drool-worthy heroes that you write. Every single one of your heroes are so yummy! Where do you find your inspiration to create heroes that tug right at the reader’s heartstrings?

onegoodreason.jpgSM: Honestly? My husband! He is The Best. Handsome, sexy, smart, funny, capable, kind. I am always channeling him in some shape or form when writing one of my heroes. I sometimes feel as though I have a little cartoon him sitting on my shoulder saying “a real man wouldn’t do that!” and encouraging me to let my heroes make mistakes. Men are so wonderfully different from women, and I love the way they think and the way they behave with each other. I think that all women want to be noticed by the man they love – not just sexually, but in all ways. We want him to notice our new hair cut, or new perfume, or new bra. We want him to realise when we’re flat or sad. I try to show that my heroes are into my heroines in every way – they desire them (of course!) but they also like and admire them and want to be with them. Friendship is at the core of any great relationship, and it’s what remains when the fiery excitement of the first few months of a relationship begins to settle down, so I always try to show that my heroes and heroines are friends, too. And I like to try to access the private world of doubts and fears that men hide so well from the world. I think a lot of the time we think they are cool and collected and strong, but underneath that they are just as wracked by doubts as women are. I think seeing someone’s vulnerability is very endearing, especially when you know that they’re doing their damnedest to hide that vulnerability.

MBR: Now that right there is why I love your books. The heroes do not behave like a bunch of ninnies but rather they stay true to who they are in your stories. Thumbs up to your husband and the little cartoon of him that you carry around. Based on your profile on Goodreads, you seem to read a lot of romances yourself. Who is your favorite author? And is there any author that inspires you?

SM: I have a handful of favourite authors. I love Susan Elizabeth Philips, Ain’t She Sweet being my favourite book by her. I love Rachel Gibson, too,See Jane Score being right up the top of her hit list for me. Kirstin Higgins’ Just One of The Guys is one of the books I can re-read and re-read and never gets sick of it. And I ADORE Lisa Kleypas’s books, both historicals and contemporaries, but I have to give special mention to Blue Eyed Devil and Smooth Talking Stranger. I think those last two books epitomise the sort of of single title contemporary romance I’d like to write myself – they made my chest ache when I was reading them, my benchmark for a great romance, and they were sexy and funny and smart. If I could come even close to doing that in a longer length work I would be one happy writer! I also have a big writer crush on Victoria Dahl after reading Lead Me On, and I also love Mary Balogh, Loretta Chase, Laura Kinsale and Anna Campbell.

MBR: All of the authors you have mentioned are some of my favorites as well. Love Susan Elizabeth Phillips! Goodreads and your website seems to be your only online presence at the moment. There are a lot of authors who maintain contact with their fan base through social networking mediums such as Twitter and Facebook. Is there any hope of us ever being able to find your presence there in the foreseeable future?homefortheholidays.JPG

SM: I am avoiding Facebook at the moment, but I joined Twitter last week and am enjoying it so far – it’s fun, and I love the way people can jump into the conversation. My Twitter name is MayberrySarah, and I can’t promise the most scintillating of posts, but I am trying to stay in touch with the world a little more via this medium. My website is being updated as we speak – this will be my third revamp, and hopefully a good solid one. I made the mistake of having an amateur design my first site, and when she disappeared, she took a bunch of the images from my site with her and the whole thing kind of fell apart. My sister in law designed my current site, and it’s gorgeous, but we’ve been relying on a friend to do the technical side of things since Annie is a graphic artist and not a web designer. My new neighbour, however, IS a web designer, and he does great stuff. We started working on a new site a couple of weeks ago, and he’s due back from holidays this week so I am hoping to have something up by the end of the month. Incorporated in that will be a new blog which hopefully will be hack-proof – I have been hacked 4 times by people selling illegal prescription drugs and have tried lots of things and spent lots of money trying to secure my site only to have it happen again. This it what motivated me to revamp the site again, so I am hoping to resolve a number of issues at the same time with this new take on my site. I do blog regularly over at www.superauthors.com, and I always give away books.

In general, I have to admit that I find the internet very distracting – I go to check my email and wind up spending hours looking at completely unrelated things. It’s really played havoc with my focus in the last year or so. So I try to be really disciplined about how much time I spend on the net. I even have a program which bars me from accessing the internet for a set number of hours. I find when I know I can’t get online, I really concentrate for fixed periods and am very productive. But I also love interacting with readers and other writers, so at present I am trying to find a balance that allows me to keep writing 3 – 4 books a year as well as my other work while staying in contact with the world.

MBR: Aha! Finally, I would be able to ‘stalk’ you to my heart’s content. And I mean it in the best possible way. (laughs). And am really sorry to hear about the issues you have faced with your website and blog. Darn spammers! So, what is your favorite way to spend your ‘me-time’?

SM: Sleeping. Reading. Shopping. Hanging out with my man, my family or my friends. I’m trying to like gardening more, since ours is HUGE.

MBR: Sleeping and reading I can definitely get on board with. For me, I am someone who craves the Internet and I don’t think it would be a pretty sight if someone were to deprive me of my daily fix of the World Wide Web. For you, what is the one thing you absolutely cannot do without?

SM: I have to agree with you that the internet is very damned addictive. But the one daily fix I couldn’t do without is some form of contact with friends or family. We don’t have children, and my husband works full time outside of the home, so I spend A LOT of time on my own! Things can definitely get a little cabin-feverish if I don’t make the effort to talk to people. We’re hoping to get a dog in the near future that will be great company, but definitely people are my can’t-do-without fix!

MBR: I guess I get my people-fix when I go to work 5 days a week. But I can totally relate to what you mean about things getting a bit cabin-feverish. And that brings me to the last and final question. For those who are aspiring to become writers, what would your one valuable piece of advice be?hotislandnights.JPG

SM: Keep writing and reading. When you find a book and a writer you love, read them over and over. Find a page or scene you really admire and put your writer hat on and analyse how the author put the scene together and think about how you feel as you read it and try to understand how the author has conveyed/created that emotion in you. I have had some of my most valuable writing breakthroughs doing this. Also, I learn something new from every book I write, so never expect to be able to whip a story out with the greatest of ease – writing is hard, and for me it’s very emotional and sometimes very draining. Don’t be afraid to put yourself on the page, though – if you’re not feeling something when you write big emotional scenes, then it’s hard for readers to feel it, too, I think. The bottom line is that there is both craft and talent required to make it as a writer. Learning the tools of the trade – the craft – gets you one step closer to being able to harness your creativity.

MBR: Once again, thank you so much for taking some time out of your busy schedule to spend some quality time with us. And I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. Hopefully your dream of writing a single title length novel would be realized in the near future.

SM: Thanks for the support for all of us writers in general. We would be nothing and nowhere without readers.

And now for the fun part.

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Two giveaways will be happening here, so read carefully to know what you have to do to participate in either or both of them.

First of all, I will be giving away an e-copy of Sarah Mayberry’s newest release One Good Reason to one lucky commenter on this post. All you have to do to win a copy is to tell me why you want a copy of One Good Reason. If you want to find out what the book entails, you can always read my review of the book from right here.

Secondly, Sarah has very generously agreed to give away 3 books, aBest of Sarah Mayberry bundlechosen and handpicked for you by myself. The books include The Last Goodbye, She’s Got It Bad and Home for the Holidays. This giveaway is for those who have never read Sarah Mayberry before. All you have to do is tell me your most favorite contemporary romance that you have read to-date for a chance to win the Best of Sarah Mayberry bundle.

Post will be open for comments till 26th July 2011. The winner of One Good Reason will receive the e-copy of the book on the 26th itself if you respond to my “winner e-mail” on time. For the winner of the “Best of Sarah Mayberry bundle”, Sarah would be mailing the books to your address.

Please help spread the word and don’t forget to leave a comment behind. And don’t forget to leave your e-mail address as a way to contact you in case you are the lucky winner!

Good luck to all of you!

I hope that you all enjoyed reading our conversation as much as me and Sarah had fun doing the interview.