I’m so pleased to be invited to visit here on Romance Junkies.
1. What does your writing schedule look like? Do you have to plot or do you write as it comes?
My writing schedule is non-stop at the moment. I have a day job and I’ve overcommitted so I write as soon as I get home from work and write all weekend, sometimes twelve to sixteen hours at my desk. I will make changes in the New Year, but for now I’m promoting my December book (Hi!), looking at revisions on a book I turned in Nov 1st, and I have another to turn in by the end of the year. I’m sure there will be line edits in there somewhere as well.
As for plotting, that’s another thing I have on the go. I like to have a decent synopsis as part of my proposals and I’ve been putting some together. When I write, I don’t look at the synopsis much. I’m a bit of a pantser at that stage, but since I already have a pretty good idea in my head where I want to go it’s really a matter of letting it play out on the page.
2. What inspired you to be a writer? Who is your biggest support system? When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As soon as I found romance novels in high school, I knew that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up. Twenty-five years of trying later, I sold to Harlequin Mills & Boon in London – my dream publisher. I love writing Harlequin Presents. They were the books that inspired me to want to write and here I am.
As for support, obviously my family, especially my husband, have been very understanding while I kick off my writing career. In some ways the wait to publish has worked for me as my youngest is in high school and can fend for himself. (Ramin noodles are a staple in this house.) My fellow Harlequin author, Cathryn Parry, is a deeply cherished friend who has been my emotional support on the publishing front since our American Title debut.
3. Which genre is your favorite to write? Is there a genre that you would love to write but haven’t yet? Are there any that you would stay away from?
I have to write romance! I say that, but I’m all over the map within romance so I can’t say I would never leave it if the right project came along. I’m intrigued by steampunk, but I haven’t read enough of it to feel I could write it. I’m not into horror at all, but again, never say never. I’m really driven by the characters and where their story fits best.
4. Do you use a pen name? Why or why not? If you do, does the name have a special meaning to you?
I’m Dani Collins in real life too. When I first started writing, there were cautionary tales about publishers having the right to keep your pen name if you decided to write for a different publisher. There’s still a school of thought that you should write under different names so readers know they’re getting a different kind of book.
My readers are smart enough to tell by the cover and the blurb that The Healer is a Medieval Fantasy Romance and won’t contain billionaires and yachts like my Harlequin Presents. My hope is that they’ll take a chance and find that a lot of the same elements are there in terms of alpha males, deep emotion and complex problems (with occasional humor!)
But the real reason I don’t use more than one name is, I don’t have enough time to promote more than one person!
5. Have your characters ever taken a turn on you and changed personalities? What was your most challenging character to create and why?
Hmm, that’s an interesting question. I have definitely had to dig deeper into a character to find out what they weren’t telling me and therefore know better why they’re not behaving on the page the way I want them to. I have to be careful with letting my own voice creep into some of my heroine’s behaviors. I can be very flippant and back-chatty. Sometimes that takes the story in the wrong direction so I have to rein that in.
6. What kind of research do you do for your books? Where is your favorite place to find what you need to know? What is the most interesting thing you have learned?
I love having the internet at the click of a mouse. I jump there all the time. Yesterday I wanted to know if Africans go to Saudi Arabia to work as servants and if so, which countries they migrate from the most. Ethiopia was popular. Then I wondered what their accent sounds like so I lost about thirty minutes chasing YouTube videos, but it put the cadence in my head for one pivotal character’s voice.
As far as the most interesting thing I’ve learned… I’m a lifelong learner. I love learning new things so whatever I’ve learned today is the most interesting thing for me.
7. What is the last book that you read that left a big impression on you?
Probably Hunger Games and probably because my kids urged me to read the series, which was a few years ago before the first movie came out. I think it impacted me most because I wasn’t reading any YA and it blew the boundaries off what I thought was allowable in that genre—which in turn urges me to quietly blow the boundaries off whatever I write.
1. What is your favorite TV commercial? How about your least favorite?
I laughed out loud the other day at the kid giving his little brother the ‘in my day’ speech while his little brother gets a haircut. Then it swings to the big scuff that the older brother got in his hair because his dad wasn’t paying attention and the little one goes, “That’s a jacked-up haircut.” I loved it. So cute.
Least favorite? I typically HATE ads. Pick one.
2. Who was your first celebrity crush? Is he still hot?
Oooh, good question, but so hard… I had posters of Scott Baio on my wall as a teen. That dates me, doesn’t it? I have no idea what Chachi looks like today. If I had to pick a current one—you know, the one where your spouse has to give you a pass—I’d probably go with George Clooney.
3. What are your favorite TV shows? Which shows could you do without ever watching?
I don’t watch a ton of TV. No time. But I have a few that I drop everything for. Mad Men is Number One. Don Draper is such a lady killer. I should revise my answer to the above question I have such a crush on John Hamm as Don. (Not John Hamm himself, just when he wears a suit and hat and smokes and drinks.)
I’ve taken quite a shine to Downton Abbey and cannot wait until they start showing Season Four here in Canada. Then there’s Community. We went through all those on Netflix recently and now we’re panting for the next season. Finally, another crush, Don Cheadle in House Of Lies. What a crazy show!
This has been fun. Thank you so much for having me.
Blurb from More Than A Convenient Marriage?
It started with a signature…
Rich, powerful and with a beautiful wife to boot, it seems like Greek shipping magnate Gideon Vozaras has it all. But little does the world know his perfect life is all a façade…
After years of disguising her pain behind a flawless smile, untouchable heiress Adara Vozaras has reached breaking point. Her marriage, once held together by an undeniable passion, has become nothing more than a convenience.
But Gideon can’t afford the public scrutiny that a divorce would bring and if there’s one thing his harsh past has taught him, it’s how to fight dirty to keep what’s his…
Gideon Vozaras used all his discipline to keep his foot light on the accelerator as he followed the rented car, forcing himself to maintain an unhurried pace along the narrow island road while he gripped the wheel in white-knuckled fists. When the other car parked outside the palatial gate of an estate, he pulled his own rental onto the shoulder a discreet distance back then stayed in his vehicle to see if the other driver noticed. As he cut the engine, the AC stopped. Heat enveloped him.
Welcome to Hell.
He hated Greece at the best of times and today was predicted to be one of the hottest on record. The air shimmered under the relentless sun and it wasn’t even ten o’clock yet. But the weather was barely worth noticing.
The gates of the estate were open. The other car could have driven straight through and up to the house, but stayed parked outside. He watched the female driver emerge and take a moment to consider the unguarded entrance. Her shoulders gave a lift and drop as though she screwed up her courage before she took action and walked in.
As she disappeared between imposing brick posts, Gideon left his own car and followed at a measured pace, gut knotting with every step. Outraged stung his veins.
He wanted to believe that wasn’t his wife, but there was no mistaking Adara Vozaras. Not for him. Maybe her tourist clothes of flip-flops, jeans chopped above the knees, a sleeveless top, and a pair of pigtails didn’t fit her usual professional élan, but he knew that backside. The tug it caused in his blood was indisputable. No other woman made an immediate sexual fire crackle awake in him like this. His relentless hunger for Adara had always been his cross to bear and today it was particularly unwelcome.
Spending the week with her mother. This ain’t Chatham, sweetheart.
He paused as he came alongside her car, glancing inside to see a map of the island on the passenger seat. A logo in its corner matched the hotel he’d been told she was booked into. And now she was advising her lover where to meet her? Walking bold as you please up his million-dollar drive to his billion-dollar house? The only clue to the estate’s ownership, the shields welded to the gate, were turned back against the brick wall that fenced the estate from the road.
Gideon’s entire body twitched with an urge to slip his reins of control. He was not a poor man. He’d got past envying other men their wealth once he’d acquired a level of his own.
Nevertheless, a niggle of his dock-rat inferiority complex wormed to life as he took in what he could see of the shoreline property that rolled into a vineyard and orange grove. The towering stone house, three stories with turrets on each corner, belonged on an English estate, not a Greek island. It was twenty bedrooms minimum. If this was the owner’s weekend retreat, he was an obscenely rich man.
Not that Adara needed a rich man. She had grown up wanting for nothing. She had a fortune in her own right plus half of Gideon’s so what was the attraction here?
The insidious whisper formed a knot of betrayal behind his breastbone. Was this why she hadn’t shared that stacked body of hers with him for weeks? His hands curled into fists as he tried to swallow back his gall.
Dreading what he might see as he looked to the front door, he shifted for a full view. Adara had paused halfway to the house to speak with a gardener. A truck overflowing with landscaping tools was parked midway up the drive and workers were crawling like bees over the blooming gardens.
The sun seared the back of Gideon’s neck, strong enough to burn through his shirt to his shoulders, making sweat pool between his shoulder blades and tickle annoyingly down his spine.
They had arrived early this morning, Adara off the ferry, Gideon following in a power boat he was ‘test-piloting.’ She’d been driving a car she’d rented in Athens. His rental had been negotiated at the marina, but the island was small. It hadn’t surprised him when she’d driven right past the nose of his car as he had turned onto the main road.
No, the surprise had been the call thirty-six hours previously when their travel agent had dialed his mobile by mistake. Ever the survivor, Gideon had thought quickly. He’d mentioned that he’d like to surprise his wife by joining her and within seconds, Gideon had had all the details of Adara’s clandestine trip.
Well, not all. He didn’t know whom she was here to see or how she’d met her mystery man. Why was she doing this when he gave her everything she asked for?
He watched Adara’s slender neck bow in disappointment. Ha. The bastard wasn’t home. Grimly satisfied, Gideon folded his arms and waited for his wife.
Dani Collins spent twenty-five years dreaming of writing full time and finally made her first sale to Harlequin Mills & Boon in May of 2012. She’s still dreaming of making Romance Author her day job, but for now she writes around work, family, and enough exercise to keep her out of traction. For more information about Dani, you can visit her website at www.danicollins.com, listen to her interview with Nice Girls Reading Naughty Books, or watch her interview on GFTV.
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