FAQs

I’ll add to these as I get asked. You ask me a question here.

About

What’s your poison?

My caffeine delivery system of choice is Coke Zero. Terrible habit but there it is. I periodically give it up but somehow we always end up getting back together.  Sadly, even though I think coffee smells okay, drinking it makes me feel sick. I will drink tea but am not really big on hot drinks. Particularly in summer in Australia. People say a nice cup of tea cools you down but I beg to differ. In winter I do like herbal teas. And am fond of chai (though not necessarily chai latte).

What’s your favourite book and movie?

Asking me to pick a favourite book is like asking me to pick a favourite shade of blue (aka too hard). You can find a list of some of my favourite authors on my links page. A sampling of favourite books:

  • Sunshine by Robin McKinley
  • Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
  • A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
  • No Place Like Home by Barbara Samuel
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Gate To Women’s Country by Sheri S.Tepper
  • Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Feed by Mira Grant
  • Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • Play by Kylie Scott (well, all her Stage Dive series, really)

Some favourite TV shows:

  • Buffy
  • Firefly
  • Justified
  • The West Wing
  • QI
  • The Vicar of Dibley
  • Miranda
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Doctor Who/Torchwood
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Glee
  • Sherlock
  • Once Upon A Time
  • Smash
  • Elementary
  • Nashville
  • Suits
  • The Blacklist
  • Outlander

Some favourite movies:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean (all of them)
  • Sherlock Holmes (the Robert Downey Jr one)
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Notting Hill
  • Catch and Release
  • The Abyss
  • The original Star Wars films
  • Serenity
  • The Cutting Edge
  • Iron Man
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • The Lion King
  • Casino Royale
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The King’s Speech
  • Walk The Line
  • Iron Man (I can’t quite decide if I like 1 or 3 better)
  • Spy
  • Captain America – The Winter Soldier

I’m pretty much a story junkie. Give me awesome characters and dialogue and perhaps a hint of romance and you’ll have me.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Well, at this point I still have a day job, so I do that. Hobby wise, I like yarny things (knitting, spinning, crochet) and sewing. I also like to cook (particularly bake, a tendency I think I inherited from my Dad’s dad, who was a baker). If you’re interested in such things, you can keep up with my crafty adventures here. I like photography and would like to do more of that. I go to the ballet. Currently I don’t do enough exercise but when I do, I like to walk, do pilates, do Nia, swim and torture myself on the elliptical. I read a ridiculous amount (but not as much as I used to). I play cat butler to my two cats (the crazy torti and the equally crazy fluffy grey and white girl). I hang out with friends, try not to spend too much time on the internet, make bad attempts at gardening and watch a lot of TV and movies (story junkie!).

How long have you been writing?

I’ve written stories since I was quite young. The first one I remember was around age 8, something about a family of unicorns and their adventures! I first started writing seriously to try and get published around 2001. I sold in 2010. You can do the math on that one. When I first started writing seriously, I was writing contemporary romance and then my fantasy/urban fantasy love stole in and I started writing urban fantasy. My first UF finalled in the Golden Heart, won a few other competitions, and got me my agent. So I figured I was onto something. I sold my first fantasy series in 2010 and my first contemporary series in 2012.

Books

Have you thought about self-publishing?

Have I ever thought of self publishing? Yes. Have I self published? Yes. The evil twin has…read about it here. I’m sure Melanie will as well sometime in the future. Did I want to take that as my first option? No. Not when I was first trying to sell. It wasn’t such a big thing then and I really wanted to sell to a New York publisher and see my books in book stores. Should you self publish? Well, to that I say…it depends. Depends on all sorts of things. What do you want from being published? How patient are you? How prolific are you? Do you write something that the “traditional” publishers (by that I mean both print first and digital first) don’t publish? How much time/money do you have to spend on the publishing side of things if you don’t have a publisher? All sorts of things.

Personally, I had always wanted to see my books in bookstores and I wanted the help and guidance an editor and a traditional publisher can give me.So I hung in there and went for a New York traditional house. That was what was right for me. Other people want different things. I think self-publishing is a lot of work (even Amanda Hocking would tell you that) if you want to be a success.  I think it makes great sense for established authors with backlist that’s out of print. It probably makes sense for established authors who want more control or to do something different (that’s why the evil twin did it). I think it’s probably still a hard path for a debut author unless you do have a lot of time on your hands to market the book and the money up front to invest in a good editor/copy editor/art work and you can write fairly fast. But that’s just my opinion and you have to figure out what suits you.

I think the most likely result of all of this will be that most authors (me included) will wind up publishing in a variety of ways, some books with traditional publishers, some with digital presses and they’ll put out some things themselves. This is very cool for authors.  It’s very cool for readers.

Do you write anything else apart from romance?

Why yes…look over here…some dark fantasy and urban fantasy books by this chick called M.J. Scott. Go here to check her out.

How many books are there in the New York Saints series

Five. Though the first three books are a trilogy then there’s two more Saints set books. After that, I’ll hopefully get to play with some of the other contemporary ideas that have been patiently waiting their turns. But who knows!

Writing

How do you write?

I find my process changes a bit with each book but basically I write most days and try and meet a weekly page goal. I’ll write in order as long as I know what’s happening next. When I get stuck, I skip ahead to the next bit of the book I can “see” and write that then figure out how to go back and stitch things together.

I write a fairly short first draft, full of dialogue and talking heads, then have to go back and layer in more details.  It’s like the first time round, I can mostly hear the characters talking but the pictures that go with them are fuzzy. In revisions, I get a clearer picture, so can put in more details and fix what I got wrong the first time round.

As for actually doing the writing, I mostly work at home at my desk. I find it hard to concentrate in cafes etc but will do it if I have to. I do a lot of first drafting with Write or Die (basically doing writing sprints) so I can get the story down without stopping myself to much.  I use Scrivener and Word to help pull it all together after that. My home computer is a Mac. I also have a Macbook Air that I love beyond reason.

I put together a soundtrack for each book and listen to that as I write, either all of the songs or one song on repeat, depending on what I need at the time.  There are songs in my soundtracks that I get pretty tired of by the end of a book. I don’t really do a lot of pre-writing, plotting or worldbuilding before I write. I’m pretty much of the “if you build it as you go, they will come” school of writing. Which does sometimes mean having to stop and figure stuff out as I go and sometimes having to circle back to fix things because I’ve stuffed something up world wise. The only thing I really do before I write, besides choosing the soundtrack music, is a digital collage which helps me get the mood of the characters and the feel of the book.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Mostly a pantser. I generally have an idea of a few key bits of the book (and usually the ending) but apart from that I don’t really outline or plot unless I get stuck. I have written books where I’ve written the synopsis had to be written first but a) the writing of said synopsis is kind of torturous and b) the story changes anyway.

I do collage before I write a book and I use soundtracks as well.

How did you get published?

The way a lot of folks do. I wrote a lot, submitted a lot, went to workshops and conferences, entered contests, found some awesome critique partners and kept at it. Most of important of all of that is the writing a lot. It takes a while for most writers to find their niche and learn to write a novel (novels are long…and hard to write!). I met my agent, Miriam Kriss, at a Romance Writers of Australia conference. She actually requested my work through a cold read session she did there. I also submitted to other agents for both that book (and had done so earlier for my romances) but ultimately went with Miriam. She then took on the fun part of selling my books (for which I am very, very grateful).

Other

What’s with the weird spelling on the site?

I’m an Aussie, so I use Aussie english spelling and grammar on the site and the blog because that’s what my brain defaults to. I draft my books in US english and am often heard whining to my editor that I have to be tri-lingual in one language (there are many many differences between Aussie/US/UK English…it’s a confusing language!)

Why a hot pink couch?

Short answer, because I liked it! I have a very similarly coloured wall in my house and I love velvet furniture. Not that I own any due to the cats.

And I’m very fond of couches. Good for reading, writing, knitting, dreaming and um, anything else you might care to do ; ).

Comments are closed.