The first complete novel I ever wrote was a contemporary romance set in
I knew I wanted to keep the Italian setting, but everything else was up for reevaluation. I started asking myself “what if” questions about my hero and heroine. When I asked myself “What if the hero isn’t such a nice guy?” that led me to “What if my hero is in the Mafia?” and from there the characters and the plot of “Revenge” started taking shape. I ended up having so many ideas for “Revenge” that I realized I had enough stories for several books, which is how the “Blood and Honor” series was born.
You could also blame this whole thing on my love of “The Godfather” and “Romeo and Juliet.”
*Who are some of your favorite authors and books? Did they influence or inspire your writing style and give you ideas?
I’m always reading something, and I read just about everything--fiction, nonfiction, literary fiction, commercial fiction, YA, suspense, true crime, biography, memoir, and of course, romance.
I’m sure I’ve learned something from every one of them. For example, Anne Rice taught me about the importance of setting and sensory description--she can put you so firmly in a character’s shoes that you get lost to the world around you. Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter books dramatically illustrate the importance of voice--even though Dexter is the most “anti-“ of antiheroes (a serial killer of serial killers!), his clever, slyly humorous voice sucks you in and makes you empathize with him from the first sentence.
The first public review of “Revenge” was a two-star review; the reviewer hated the heroine of the book. That was hard to hear--I knew Kate wasn’t always the easiest heroine to like, but I didn’t think anyone would hate her!
So, big lesson learned about making sure both my main characters are fully developed, and I’m glad that reviewer gave me the benefit of her unvarnished reaction to the book. She also suggested working a little more levity into the proceedings, and I’ve tried to do that in book 2 as well. Praise is great for gauging your strengths (and sometimes for keeping you going!), but honest constructive criticism can be much more valuable in terms of growth.
Interestingly, that same reviewer thought the book was “extremely well written” and was curious about the rest of the series, which I took as a big compliment considering how much she disliked the heroine. I’ve been gratified to hear that most reviewers love my writing style and the pacing of the books; I always get a big smile when I hear that people couldn’t put the book down. And RT Book Reviews gave it four stars, so I must have done something right. J
Part of being a good storyteller is making sure your readers forget they’re reading; great (or at least good) editing is a necessary component of giving readers a superb entertainment experience.