Category Archives: Conversation

3 QQ for Jill Shalvis and Sarah Morgan

Since we’re all busy this holiday season, I’m going to pair up the 3QQs with the six authors who are signing at Saturday’s Turn the Page Bookstore event from noon – 2 pm.

First up?  Jill Shalvis and Sarah Morgan.  TTP customers have been saying for years that they would love to meet  Jill at a signing and we were finally able to find a place in her busy schedule to fly east to sign the latest addition to her Animal Magnetism series.  Sarah’s flying west from London for the big event where she’s signing copies of her first single title book.

IMG_3231-700x685As luck would have it, Jill was one of the earliest readers of Sarah’s “big” book and she provided the cover blurb.  But these two talented writers only met in person at Nora’s RWA party this past summer (where they hit it off quite nicely) .   Let’s meet them and see what they have to say in 3QQ.  Actually, it’s going to be more than three.

 

Jill Shalvis’ official bio describes a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of nearly 50 contemporary romances.    But the bio doesn’t capture the warmth and fun of Jill’s daily blog which gives readers a glimpse of a life full of kids, dogs, and even bears.  Jill easily admits she’s a misplaced city girl living in the Lake Tahoe area, but somehow you know it’s grown on her.  Nor does that bio say that she’s found some interesting photos of inspiringly gorgeous men – which has gotten her into some trouble with Facebook at times, yet manages to delight her readers everywhere.   I pried her loose from her current obsession, Sleepy Hollow, to ask her 3QQ.

JS_RUMOR-1501. Rumor Has It is the newest Animal Magnetism.  It’s the story of Griffin Reid, who’s back stateside after being injured in a blast, and second grade teacher Katie Evans, who takes care of everyone but spouts scientific facts when she’s nervous.  I’m not sure what to ask:  A) What is it about a wounded hero that’s so appealing?  or B) How do you find out those facts for Katie?

I find a guy in uniform (or out of it, as the case may be) appealing.  It implies he’s strong of heart and spirit, able-bodied, and … well, tough.  Now you take a guy like that and injure him?  Well, that’s just yum on yum. (in my humble opinion).

As for Katie’s facts, I just loved making her so smart, and yet so utterly socially inept that she spouted science tidbits whenever she got nervous, which was just about in every scene she had with Griffin.  Thank you, Google.

sj_always-1502. Always on My Mind is your latest Lucky Harbor book.  This is the story of firefighter Jack Harper and pastry chef Leah Sullivan. Which is more appealing: a fireman or a pal who gives you pastries? 

A firefighter is always appealing.  Hello, the uniform itself guarantees it.  Again, you have a hero who is, by the very nature of his job, willing to put life and limb on the line for perfect strangers.  That’s the definition of appeal, if you ask me.  Now that said, a friend who will bring you pastries?  Well, that might be the one thing that is hotter than being a firefighter…  just sayin’.

3. What’s your favorite part of Christmas?

Cookies, snow, twinkling lights, cookies, Mistletoe (!), COOKIES, presents…!

Nora and Sarah Morgan pose with their RITAs at RWA 2012.
Nora and Sarah Morgan pose with their RITAs at RWA 2012.

Sarah Morgan is an equally accomplished author, but again her official bio about 11 mNora and Sarah Morgan pose with their RITAs at RWA 2012.illion books sold and winning back to back RITA’s ( she’s first Harlequin Presents author to receive a RITA) doesn’t give us a full picture of the effervescent woman who lives near London, England and vacations in fabulous places like Corfu.  This fall, after years of writing extremely popular Harlequin Medical Romances and Harlequin Presents, she took the leap into single title release with the first book in her trilogy about the O’Neil brothers of Vermont.

1. Sleigh Bells in the Snow is set in a fictional Vermont ski resort.  Where’s the best place you’ve ever skied?  And were there any O’Neil brothers lurking about?ms_christmas-150

The best place was Zermatt, high in the Swiss Alps at the foot of the Matterhorn, probably one of the most famous mountains in the world. The old part of the village has cobbled streets and a mixture of artisan shops and high end boutiques. There are horse drawn sleighs, an ice rink, and some of the best skiing in Europe. You can ski high up on the glacier with views of the Matterhorn or weave your way down through pine-scented mountain forests. There is nothing better than a perfect blue-sky day in the mountains after a fresh fall of snow. Sometimes I’d take my skis off and sit and look at the view, or if I wanted extra comfort I’d find a mountain restaurant. Hot mulled wine flavoured with cinnamon and spice tastes extra delicious when you’re outdoors with the cold stinging your cheeks and mountains stretching in front of you.

There were no O’Neil Brothers, but I was there with my husband who is an expert skier and did his best to teach me. I spent a lot of time flat on my face in the snow but I was very happy!

2. What has been the best part about writing about three brothers and their loving, nosy family?  What’s been the hardest part?

We have two sons and the interaction between boys fascinates me. The three O’Neil brothers are all very different and I enjoyed exploring their relationship with each other and with other family members, as well as with the women in their lives. There is plenty of brotherly banter which was so much fun to write.

The hardest part will be ending this series because I’ve enjoyed writing it so much. The place feels real, the characters feel real and moving on to something else will be a real wrench.

3. What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?

I love Christmas and we have lots of family traditions but my favourite is choosing the tree. We wrap up in lots of layers and go to the forest. It’s usually freezing cold and occasionally snowy, but the foresters always have a fire blazing in a clearing and they roast chestnuts and sell creamy hot chocolate so the whole event becomes a seasonal party. When it comes to choosing the tree itself, our family tradition is that the boys and I pick an enormous one, and then my husband points out we’ll have to move house to accommodate the tree so we choose a slightly smaller one.  But only slightly smaller.

Bonus Q — You’ve been to NY, Anaheim, Atlanta, but not Maryland?  What do you expect to find in Boonsboro?

I can’t wait to visit Turn The Page Bookstore! Like most writers, I love all bookstores and I can’t imagine anything better than a store crammed with Nora’s books. I’m also looking forward to seeing the Inn BoonsBoro,, complete with Christmas decorations. Maryland is a new place for me and visiting new places is always an adventure. Like most writers I’m endlessly curious. If I have time I’d love to put the toe of my boot on the Appalachian trail and then bring my family back to explore it properly at some point in the future.

Since Jill and Sarah were asking me so many questions about what to expect at TTP, I shot out a speed round of questions.  First up, Sarah:

1. What three words come to mind when you think of Jill Shalvis?

Warm, funny and super-talented (that’s four words but never mind. I always talk more than I’m supposed to).

2. What is your definition of hot (as in “is he hot?” – one of Sarah’s favorite questions)?

Mm, the body, the smile, the look in the eyes………

3. How often do you see the Queen ?

I see the Queen as often as the two of us can make time in our schedules (HAHA only kidding).

Now Jill:

1. What three words come to mind when you think of Sarah Morgan?

Sweet, fun, special, fellow cookie lover (yes that’s more than three words, I don’t tend to follow directions very well)

2. What is your definition of hot? (See above and add a British accent).

Hot is a wicked and naughty sense of humor, a twinkle in the eyes that says he can back up said sense of humor, and … don’t judge me for being shallow … a sexy bod.

3. How often do you see a bear? (Which are probably more scary than the Queen).

ALL THE TIME. There is one in my yard right this very minute, sitting there with my trash like he’s Winnie-the-Pooh with his pot of honey.

Even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can take advantage of Turn the Page’s Virtual Signing feature by ordering a book and having your favorite author personalize it for you before the event is finished.

And where else can you find Jill and Sarah besides the signing? Check out Jill’s Facebook page as well as Sarah’s.  And you can follow them on Twitter: @SarahMorgan_ and @JillShalvis. Enjoy!

 

A note from Nora on reprints

A reader posted a comment on Facebook that started out:
Why is it that you not writing very many new books but publishing older books under a different title.  This should be called fraud.  When your fans think they are buying a new book and start to read it and find they just bought a book they had already read…
Nora saw the comment and took the time to answer a little more fully:
Though I’ve addressed this issue before, it’s been  some time. I realize there are many, many readers who don’t know how copyrights  work, and when there are so many reprints, repackaged, with title changes, the  confusion and annoyance leads those who don’t know to assume I’m doing  it.
 
I get that, but . . .
 
As long as a publisher keeps a book in  print–somewhere–they retain the rights. A book must be out of print for a  certain number of years, contractually, before the writer can ask for the rights  back. I don’t have the rights to the books Silhouette repackages, reprints,  re-titles. I have no control, at all, over the reprints. Changes in copyright  laws mean that–I think it’s 33 years after initial publication, whether or not  the book is in print– the author can request, during a certain window and in  writing, for the rights back.
 
At this point, I’m simply not in control of the rights  or the publication of the Silhouette titles. We do everything we can to let the  readers know what’s new. The new titles are listed on my website. The new titles  have the NR logo in the corner of every book. I also encourage readers to check  the copyright page, see when the book was published.
 
I understand, absolutely, the upset of thinking you’re  buying a brand new story, then realizing you brought a reprint, repackaged with  a new umbrella title. I hope you’ll understand I can’t do anything about  it.
 
It’s great for a brand new reader to discover an  author through a reprint. Not so great to feel you got stung, as a long-time  reader, because the cover and title changed on you. Please, look for the NR  logo, check noraroberts.com for the list and schedule of new releases, and flip  to the copyright page if you’re just not sure.
 
Believe me, I value readers, and don’t want any to  feel I’m taking advantage of them.
 
Nora

Quick note from Nora

Hi to all!
 
I wanted to address the wantings and wishings that the trilogy  books come out all at once, or one right after the next. I’ve twice done  trilogies that came out in sequential months. It was fun, and a challenge.  However, in general, my trilogies span six month per book. The first reason for  this is — pretty simply — I have to write the books. I’m a fairly speedy  writer in the big scheme, but not so speedy I can write as fast as you guys can  read. There’s the research, the head-scratching, the blank-staring, the  what-comes-nexting and everything else that goes into getting a story down. And  even after all that, the book must be edited, put in production, a cover must be  created and so on. This all takes considerable time.
 
Add in, I don’t just write the trilogies, but two-full length In  Death books and a stand-alone Roberts hardcover every year–with a novella  tossed in now and again. They all take time, for me to write, for the publisher  to produce and schedule.
 
Even if I rushed it all, or was somehow able to write 24/7,  ignoring actual life, I just couldn’t write as fast as you can  read!
 
It’s incredibly flattering, exceptionally satisfying for me, as a  writer, to know readers are eager and anxious for my next book. It’s such a  tremendous compliment. I wish I could give you more, but I can only thank you  for the compliment, and continue to write the best books I can write, at the  pace I can write them.
 
When the wait’s over, I hope you’ll enjoy Shadow Spell as much as  you have Dark Witch. And when THAT wait’s over, I hope you’ll enjoy Blood  Magick–which I’m working on right now. In fact, I’d better get back to  it.
Nora

3 QQ for Ellen Dugan

3 QQ is an ongoing blog feature in which we ask authors joining Nora for an upcoming Turn the Page Bookstore signing some questions about their current release, upcoming books and anything else that strikes our fancy

The next Turn the Page signing will be magical indeed!  Nora is signing Dark Witch, the first book in her brand new Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy And she’ll be surrounded by magickal authors, including — for the third time — Ellen Dugan, the Garden Witch. Ellen is a woman of many dimensions: she’s a Master Gardener, a psychic-clairvoyant and a practicing Witch for over three decades.  It’s always fun when she visits TTP! 

de_witchery150Q: You updated one of your best loved books, Garden Witchery, for it’s 10th anniversary publication.  What was the most striking thing that’s changed since it was released in 2003 (for you or for the gardening world)?

Gardening and green living is so popular and trendy these days. Also folks are so much more open to the idea of a little witchery, and the folklore and the mystery of herbs and flowers. What has changed for me is that when I wrote Garden Witchery my kids were all in middle school and high school. Now they are grown and out of the nest! I realized last year that Garden Witchery was coming up on it’s 10th anniversary and I thought about how my gardens and life had changed over the past ten years. Honestly, that sparked the idea to pitch a 10th anniversary edition to Llewellyn with a brand new chapter and a “In the Garden a Decade Later” epilogue. It was a way to honor where I began as an author.

Q: This is your third signing at Turn the Page.  What’s the most fun about visiting western Maryland?

Well the first time I was here I carpooled with a couple of other authors and we got seriously lost after leaving the event.  As in at one point I made the driver pull over and called the hotel to talk us in. What should have been a hour trip ended up being almost three. The second time I came to Maryland my driver knew exactly where he was going and I got to sit back and enjoy the scenery, which was spectacular. That time I only asked them to pull over so I could get out and take photos of the trees, mountains and a few historic houses. LOL!  I am really looking forward to seeing Maryland with it’s autumn colors in full swing.

Q:What are your essential tools for celebrating Samhain?  

For me Samhain, pronounced (Sow-wen), is celebrated late in the evening of the 31of October. This is the Witches’ New Year and I always perform a quiet and solitary ritual to honor my ancestors. Typically I gather photos of my ancestors, (my grandparents and great grandparents) who have all passed over. I set up an altar and decorate it with supplies from my magickal gardens.

I use chrysanthemums for protection and to ward off the wandering ghosts that Samhain is famous for, fresh rosemary for remembrance, roses for love, and sprigs of oak leaves and acorns for wisdom and knowledge. I light white and black votive candles and of course a jack o’lantern. Then I sit and take time to acknowledge the people who I am descended from, and to remember sweet memories of my grandparents. I offer my thanks for another magickal year and get ready to start a new year when the sun rises the next morning. Sometimes the most profound rituals are quiet and simple. The best “tools” are actually your own magickal intention.

Bonus Q: what’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate. (Dark Chocolate anything honestly)

Even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can take advantage of Turn the Page’s Virtual Signing feature by ordering a book and having your favorite author personalize it for you before the event is finished.

And where else can you find Ellen besides the signing? Well she’s on Facebook and Pinterest (it’s a gorgeous page). Enjoy!

 

 

 

3 QQ for Carolyn Turgeon

3 QQ is an ongoing blog feature in which we ask authors joining Nora for an upcoming Turn the Page Bookstore signing some questions about their current release, upcoming books and anything else that strikes our fancy

The next Turn the Page signing will be magical indeed!  Nora is signing Dark Witch, the first book in her brand new Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy.  And she’ll be surrounded by magickal authors, including Carolyn Turgeon, carolyn turgeona writer who takes a modern twist on classic fairy tales including Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story, Mermaid (a retelling of the Little Mermaid) and her middle-grade novel The Next Full Moon (her version of the Swan Maiden).

tc-god-sm tc-mermaid-sm

 

 

 

 

1.  The loose theme for this signing is magick and romance.  How do you fit those two elements into your writing?

My books are mostly retellings of fairy tales, so there’s always some magick in them. Even my first novel, Rain Village, which is not a fairy tale, is about the real-world magic of the circus and of stories and of meeting the person who sees something beautiful in you that you can’t see yourself.  There’s a scene in that book where our protagonist hears “The Lady of Shalott” for the first time and is so overwhelmed and transported that the woman speaking has to stop and comfort her, remind her that it isn’t real. I love those earthbound moments of magic as much as the fantasy ones—the mermaids drinking magic potions, the swan removing their feathered robes and becoming maidens, the witches turning men into stags. As for romance, there’s always a prince, though in my books he might not always be as perfect (or faithful) as the prince most girls long for. Most princes aren’t, after all. At least in my latest book, The Fairest of Them All, there’s a hot brooding falconer around to pick up the slack.

So this witchy, autumnal signing is right up my alley, and I hope to come away with some new tricks and spells, not to mention a signed copy of Dark Witch!

2. Your latest book, Fairest of Them All, pulls from two seemingly disparate fairy tales.  What’s the allure in retelling fairy tales for you?

tc_fairest150

Well, I love fairy tales, first of all, I love that mix of glitter and beauty with darkness and horror that seems to be at the heart of most of them. And I also love the idea that there are stories we’ve told and retold for centuries, that live in our blood and bones, and that as a writer you can go in and remake them, illuminating their hidden parts. In my case, I’ve focused on minor female characters and on imagining what it would be like to be them. What would it be like to be the godmother sending Cinderella to the ball (would you be jealous? would you consider going in her place, the way my character does?) or the stepmother of Snow White or the human princess competing with the little mermaid for the prince? I like to focus on the complicated relationships between the women in these tales and to find some way to bring them together.  The Fairest of Them All is my first mash-up, though; in it, Rapunzel grows up to be Snow White’s stepmother. When you start looking at these female characters and what limited options they have, their stories really start to blur together. How else is a Rapunzel or a Cinderella going to end up, after a decade or two have gone by? In the traditional fairy tale, I don’t think that any of these women end up well.

3. Do you do anything special for Halloween?

I more do special things to celebrate autumn than to celebrate Halloween. I actually spent the last few Halloweens in places like Iceland and Nicaragua. This year, though, I’ll be home in Pennsylvania where I can do (and have been doing) all the beautiful autumn-y things I love, like going to fall festivals and driving by spooky cornfields and walking through corn mazes and bobbing for apples and going on hayrides. Okay, I might not really bob for apples, except in my heart.  I also like going to stores and buying all the spice candles and glittery pumpkins and spiders and ravens.

Bonus Q: What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

This question made my heart flutter.  Probably candy corn, since I only associate it with Halloween (and awesomeness).

And when I was a kid in Illinois, I loved the crazy sticky popcorn balls the neighbor lady made.

Even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can take advantage of Turn the Page’s Virtual Signing feature by ordering a book and having your favorite author personalize it for you before the event is finished.

And where else can you find Carolyn besides the signing? Well she’s on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

 

3 QQ for Tess Whitehurst

3 QQ is an ongoing blog feature in which we ask authors who are joining Nora for an upcoming Turn the Page Bookstore signing some questions about their current release, upcoming books and anything else that strikes our fancy.

This Saturday, October 26, from noon – 2 pm, Turn the Page will be lit up with love and magic.  Nora is signing Dark Witch, the first book in her brand new Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy. And she’ll be surrounded by magickal writers, including Tess Whitehurst, a feng shui expert and writer whose message is we are completely empowered to heal ourselves and others, to live bravely, and to experience the life of our dreams.

1. What was the evolution of your latest book, Magical Fashionista?

I had been practicing feng shui professionally for years, and writing books about it. And I see feng shui as interacting with your environment consciously in order to create positive change in every area of your life – as seeing even the most mundane housekeeping act as a way to experience joy and present moment awareness.wt_magical150 But then one day it came to my attention that when it came to my wardrobe and self care practices, I wasn’t exactly interacting with them consciously in order to create positive change in my life. In fact, I was sort of dismissing them as unimportant – as simply one more thing on the to-do list. I had been working with the idea of healing my relationship to my body and sexuality, and when I read about the way that many survivors of childhood sexual abuse (of which I am one) disconnect with their bodies and feel uncomfortable simply being in their own skin, I realized that’s how I had been feeling, so I decided to change that.  What I realized was that something as simple as washing oneself with love, or dressing oneself in fabrics and colors that feel good against the skin, can have a profound impact on everything we experience and an how we process the world around us. When we take the time to recognize ourselves as beautiful and treat ourselves like gold, magic happens. This is where the idea for the book originated, and as I wrote it, I had a great time interweaving the ideas of conscious fashion and self care with the principles of feng shui, astrology, psychology, and more.

2. You have two blogs — Magical Housekeeping and Magical Fashionista —  which at first may seem to like two different streams of energy, but  they aren’t.  How are they similar and how are they different?

Magical Housekeeping focuses a bit more on the home environment, while Magical Fashionista focuses more on the hygiene and personal style side of things. And, there’s a lot of crossover in the concepts, because, as Kahil Gibran wrote in The Prophet, “Your house is your larger body.” My favorite thing to write and teach about is the point of power between the seen and unseen worlds – in other words, the way that we can lovingly interact with the everyday things in our physical world (like nature, our home, or our wardrobe) in order to create positive change in our spiritual and emotional world. Which, of course, in turn affects the physical world again – because everything is connected. And that’s what I call working magic.

3. Your other 2013 release is The Magic of Flowers. After the bounty of spring and summer, what are your favorite fall blooms?

wt_flowers150

Ahh, chrysanthemums and marigolds! I love fall blooms because they are all about bolstering our energy, shining light into the darkness, and illuminating our hearts even as the days get shorter and colder. Sort of like the holidays. Plus, I just love fall – it’s the best

Bonus Q — What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Mmm, Allison’s Gourmet Artisan Vegan Caramels.

Even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can take advantage of Turn the Page’s Virtual Signing feature by ordering a book and having your favorite author personalize it for you before the event is finished.

And where else can you find Tess besides the blogs?  Well she’s on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

3 QQ for Victoria Dahl

3QQ is an ongoing blog feature in which we ask authors joining Nora for an upcoming Turn the Page Bookstore signing some questions about their current release, upcoming books and anything else that strikes our fancy

This Saturday, October 26, from noon – 2 pm Turn the Page will be lit up with love and magic.  Nora is signing Dark Witch, the first book in her brand new Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy.  And she’ll be surrounded by magickal writers, including Victoria Dahl who brings her own brand of small town magic and love to contemporary romance.

VictoriaDahl15percentVictoria will be flying in for the signing from her home in Utah to sign copies of her books, including So Tough to Tame the third book in her Jackson Hole, Wyoming trilogy.  In So Tough to Tame, Charlie Allington is supposed to be on the fast track to the top—a small-town girl who was making it big in her career. Instead, she’s reeling from a scandal that’s pretty much burned all her bridges. Now, out of options, she needs a place to lick her wounds and figure out her future. True, working at a ski resort in rugged Jackson Hole, Wyoming, isn’t her dream job. But if there’s one perk to coming back, it’s a certain sexy hometown boy who knows how to make a girl feel welcome. 

Walker Pearce never expected a grown-up Charlie to be temptation in tight jeans. She’s smart and successful—way out of league for a man like him. But he’s not about to let that, or his secrets, get in the way of their blazing-hot attraction. Yet when passion turns to something more, will the truth—about both of them—send her out of his life for good…or into his arms forever?

Victoria was willing to answer the 3 QQ’s plus a bonus!

1. Like a certain other author who’ll be at this signing, you write trilogies — most recently the third book in The Jackson Trilogy — So Tough to Tame.  What appeals to you about telling individual stories linked by an overall arc?

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Trilogy writing feels very natural to me, but I’m not sure why. I really enjoy writing secondary characters, and connected books are a great way to flesh out characters that even I don’t know much about when I first start writing. It’s also fun to get a perspective on a new couple from someone you already know from a previous book. But my short attention span and terrible memory mean I could never pull off one of those epic fifteen-book series that some authors write. I would forget SO many things! 🙂 

 2. You capture small towns so well — do you live in a place where everyone knows everyone else or do you just like to imagine them?

I was actually raised in cities. Minneapolis, Dallas, Tulsa, Denver. But my family is from a very small town in Minnesota. There are about 2000 people total, and I lived there during the summers with my grandparents. My experience with that, and the perspective I think I bring to it, is that there are good and bad people in any community, whether you live in a small town or a city. And even though you might think you know everyone else when you live in a small town, people still have secrets. Big secrets.  

Small towns can be charming and sweet and cozy, but they can also be claustrophobic and unforgiving. I like to be fairly realistic about that. 

All that said, I live in a fairly small town right now. It’s hard to run to the grocery store with unwashed hair. You’re guaranteed to run in to someone you know. 

 

3.  What’s your favorite part about meeting up with readers?

It’s like a party! I’m very much an introvert, with all the awkwardness that entails, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve kind of given up on that. Instead of worrying that I’ll say the wrong thing, I just treat everyone like I already know them. After all, at a book signing, we’re almost all introverts, but we all have something great to talk about. Books!

 
Bonus Q — What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
 
Almond Joy! And my kids HATE them! Yaaaaay!

Even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can take advantage of Turn the Page’s Virtual Signing feature by ordering a book and having your favorite author personalize it for you before the event is finished.

Where else can you find Victoria?  Word is that she posts on her Facebook page when she can but Victoria rolls right along on her Twitter feed and her Tumblr.

 

 

3QQ for Kate Quinn

3QQ is an ongoing blog feature in which we ask authors who are joining Nora for an upcoming Turn the Page Bookstore signing some questions about their current release, upcoming books and anything else that strikes our fancy.

kate quinn-210TTP’s next event is this Saturday, September 14 from noon-2 pm.  Joining Nora is historical romance author Kate Quinn, a lifelong history buff who has written three novels set in ancient Rome: “Mistress of Rome,” “Daughters of Rome,” and “Empress of the Seven Hills.” She recently made the jump from ancient Roqk_mistress-150me to Renaissance Italy for her fourth and fifth novels, “The Serpent and the Pearl” and “The Lion and the Rose,” detailing the early years of
the Borgia clan.
Let’s learn a little bit more about Kate:

1. You’ve set books in the Roman Empire and Renaissance Italy.  Have you been to Italy?  If yes, what were your favorite places and food?

Yes, I love Italy.  I did a few of those whirlwind high-school trips that whip you through the whole country in three-to-five days, and then later my husband-to-be and I took our very first trip together, and spent a week in Venice.  That might very well have been the trip that sealed the deal for us: wandering hand in hand over the canals, feasting on risotto and bellinis at a little trattoria around the corner from our hotel.  We were so broke we had to stuff our pockets with rolls from the breakfast bread basket because we couldn’t afford lunch, but we were incredibly happy – Italy is magical that way!

2. The Serpent and the Pearl is your current release and first one set in  Renaissance Italy.  Challenge question: what’s your four sentence  synopsis?

qk_serpent-150

Take one Renaissance beauty with floor-length hair and the undying love of a Borgia pope.  Add a cynical dwarf on the hunt for a serial killer, and a fiery cook with a secret past and a mummified hand in her pocket.  Throw in one papal election, three Borgia weddings, a French army, and enough delicious food to throw anybody off their diet.  Light on fire and serve for a fun, fast-paced Renaissance romp!

3.  What’s your favorite part about meeting readers at events?

It brings the other half of the writing experience so suddenly and wonderfully to life!  Typically I see only my half:  curled up for hours in my yoga pants with a lap-top balanced in my lap, working on a book which I hope readers will enjoy.  But for the most part I don’t meet those readers; the book goes into their hands completely independent of me.  Getting to meet readers face to face, hearing them talk about what they liked best from my book or what part made them cry – suddenly I get the chance to see my book from the readers’ side of things, and it’s wonderful!

For more information about Kate check out her websiteFacebook page or Twitter feed.

And even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can order books now and the marvelous Turn the Page staff will have the authors sign the books before the event is over.

3QQ for Elaine Fox

3QQ is an ongoing blog feature in which we ask authors who are joining Nora for an upcoming Turn the Page Bookstore signing some questions about their current release, upcoming books and anything else that strikes our fancy.

TTP’s next event is this Saturday, September 14 from noon-2 pm.  Joining Nora are the other authors who contributed to the Mirror, Mirror anthology — all of whom are good pals.

elaineToday’s conversation is with Elaine Fox, a newcomer to the JD Robb anthologies, but an author with an impressive list of books that cross romance subgenres from historicals to romantic comedies.  A creative soul, Elaine’s varied interests include needlework, jewelry making, wine, and yoga.  And writing.

1. All the stories in Mirror, Mirror are loosely linked by an overarching fairy tale theme.  You chose a classic in your novella “Beauty, Sleeping.”  Were you a fan of fairy tales growing up?

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Of course I loved all the Disney versions, and had a book of Grimms’ with some wonderfully gruesome and detailed pictures, but I chose this one in kind of a backwards way. In trying to choose my fairy tale, I joked about how hard it would be to use Sleeping Beauty because one of the main characters is unconscious throughout the nearly whole story. (“Darling, at last I’ve found you!” cried the prince. “    ,” said Beauty.) Talk about a challenge!

But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became, and once I decided that the ‘sleep’ could be metaphorical, I hit on the idea of a ghost – ghost stories being right up there with fairy tales in my pantheon of childhood muses.

2. Could you tell us a little about “Beauty, Sleeping?”

Sure. So, the ghost idea. Instead of sleeping, my character would be a ghost – but not a dead-person ghost. No, in keeping with the original fairy tale, my character was cursed by an evil fairy because his parents didn’t invite her to his christening. (Really. Evidently fairies hate not being invited to parties.) But instead of being sentenced to sleep for a number of years he was turned into a ghost.

In a further twist on the tale I made my sleeper the hero, and it isn’t until the heroine buys the house he’s caught in that he has a chance to be made ‘real’ again.

More subtly, I wanted to play with the idea of other beautiful things sleeping too, such as the house – which stood empty for decades – and my heroine, who had never found love before, etc., so the story is about a kind of beauty in general, sleeping.

3. You’ve written romances with a fair amount of history, romantic comedies and romances with dogs as important secondary characters.  What compelled you to try different types of stories?  And what are you reading now?

I started out writing time travel romances, which can have the benefit of being both contemporary and historical. So for somebody who’s indecisive like me they’re perfect! Which makes the short answer: I just change my mind a lot. But mostly I like variety because it keeps my writing fresh. Time travels offer a writer the challenge of creating a story the reader has to recognize as ‘real’ (because they’re living a contemporary life too), and turning it into the fantasy world of the historical. After that, writing a straight historical – which requires a different kind of voice – was another challenge. Writing a completely contemporary story was for me the final frontier.

The dog books were a way to indulge my love of dogs, and to appeal to people who, like me, love their pets. Using dogs as devices to either get the hero and heroine together or keep them apart also made for great comic opportunities, which I am always looking for (and not just in writing!)

Right now I’m reading Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter, who is so creatively uninhibited it’s inspiring. I also just finished reading Secret Sister, by Emelle Gamble, a book that makes you believe in the magic of love even in the complicated, confusing and messy world of modern life.

For more information about Elaine check out her website and  Facebook page.

And even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can order books now and the marvelous Turn the Page staff will have the authors sign the books before the event is over.

 

 

3QQ for Mary Kay McComas

3QQ is an ongoing blog feature in which we ask authors who are joining Nora for an upcoming Turn the Page Bookstore signing some questions about their current release, upcoming books and anything else that strikes our fancy.

TTP’s next event is this Saturday, September 14 from noon-2 pm.  Joining Nora are the other authors who contrimary_kay_mccomas3_smbuted to the Mirror, Mirror anthology — all of whom are good pals.

Today we’re chatting with Mary Kay McComas, a long time Nora pal.  Mary Kay spent the first part of her career writing Loveswepts for Bantam.  She’s been a frequent contributor to the JD Robb anthologies with novellas that take the overall theme and tweak it to Mary Kay’s point of view.  Her first two books from William Morrow/Harper Collins Pub

have garnered positive reviews and she’s hard at work on her next book.

Oh, and her math skills go in some interesting directions.  Read on!

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1. The stories in Mirror, Mirror are loosely connected by a fairy tale theme.  You chose to retell The Little Match Girl — what drew you to that story?

Actually, I’ve always thought that particular Hans Christian Andersen tale was pretty grim –hardly the sort of story I’d tell my children before bed. I’ve never liked it. So when I saw it on a list of potential fairy tales I curled my lip at it and moved on. Until I remembered that the Brothers Grimm also wrote a story about a little orphaned girl, poor and homeless, who kind-heartedly gives away what little she has to those even less fortunate and ends up naked, starving and freezing in the woods. Then, as she clings desperately to her last ray of hope, a bright star passes overhead and rains down a great fortune to repay her selflessness. Yes, okay, another dark story but it has a more upbeat ending … and a moral!

Also, as it happened, I had just read about the Once in a Civilization comet ISON that is due to appear around Christmas time of 2013. It’s predicted to be 15 times brighter than a full moon and in some places visible to the naked eye in daylight — it seemed like a sure fit for the magic in my story.

And there you have my 6 – 4 + 7 – 2 + 4 = 10 process for storytelling. My tale is a mix of The Little Matchstick Girl and The Star Money and my fascination with ISON, The Christmas Comet.

2. Could you share a little of the story of “The Christmas Comet?”

Sure. Natalie was a child of the streets until she was adopted by a family who gave her love and taught her that any kindness given to others would be returned to her 10 fold. She’s caught in the giving phase of this theory, and while there is peace in her soul and joy in her heart, her tangible returns are exactly nil and she’s dug herself into a financial and legal pit that’s about to cave in on her. There’s an adorable policeman who watches over her while she tends to the indigent and a happy ending that’s more Grimm than Andersen, so to speak.

3. What are you writing now?

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Presently, I’m working on a third novel set in the same town as my last two stories — What Happened to Hannah and Something About Sophie. So far I have a title, Don’t Ask Alice, and that’s about it. All I have to do now is figure out what not to ask her. So here I am again 3 + 5 – 4 ….

For more of about Mary Kay, though I can’t promise more math, check out her website and  Facebook page.

And even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can order books now and the marvelous Turn the Page staff will have the authors sign the books before the event is over.