Questions for ‘Scandal at the Midsummer Ball’ – Part One
Share five things we’d probably never guess about you. Fun, interesting or even embarrassing!
- In my teens, I was the only punk rocker in my small town. Without access to ‘big city’ fashion products I had to be creative. I remember using pink food colouring to dye my Mohican hairstyle.
- I am the eldest of seven children, with identical twin sisters and identical twin brothers, so family dynamics, especially the complex relationships that exist between siblings, fascinate me and are a regular feature of my writing.
- When I was younger, my burning ambition was to be a ballet dancer or a gymnast. Sadly the only classes available in rural Argyll were in Highland dancing, which I’m allergic to and have a doctor’s note to prove it.
- Later in life I did eventually learn to dance properly, both Latin American and ballroom. So if Strictly Come Dancing ever want to feature a Historical Romance author I’m only a phone call away.
- I have a terrible memory for faces. I once asked (rather brusquely I might add) Demi Moore and Bruce Willis to get out of the photo I was taking of Central Park since they were spoiling my shot.
- I was a Fulbright-Hayes travel scholar (interesting?)
- I was in the centre ring of the Moscow state circus with a sexy aerial gymnast (fun, definitely)
- I am a college professor, and once I went to the wrong classroom the first day of a new quarter and starting teaching Greek rhetoric to a beginning Spanish class who didn’t know the difference. (Embarrassing!)
- I am a swim official (I referee swim meets for my very competitive swimmer son) at the weekends even though I can’t swim. (That’s just weird, but I can tell you what you’re doing illegally on your breast stroke and that you had non-simultaneous arms on the butterfly).
- I ran 5k on Castaway Cay on Christmas Day and made my whole family do it with me.
What’s the best thing about collaborating on a project?
Writing is by its very nature a solitary occupation so working with Bronwyn was great fun. We have very similar ideas, but neither of us is too precious, so though our writing styles are very different, I think we really complement each other. The other thing I really enjoyed was the chance to properly interweave the stories, to share the world and the characters, to interlock the narrative structure, while at the same time giving each of us the space to write our own romance.
Having someone to brainstorm with! Any time we’d get stuck or had a question about a scene we’d just send over the day’s work and say, ‘have a look at this and tell me what you think’. Or if I wasn’t sure which way to go with a scene, I’d say, ‘hey, what about this?’
These stories are so closely linked: did you have any clashes about how this world should look?
None! We divided up the duties and gave each other complete autonomy. One of the first things we did was plan the agenda of activities for the house party. We both had certain events we wanted to see so we split up the days and this helped us to plan where our characters would be when.
Then it was time to populate the house party. Each of us took ten characters, two of which were our hero and heroine, so we came up with eight secondary guests a piece. At the end, one of my secondaries marries one of Marguerite’s secondaries, and so on. The house party was famous for its matches, so we had to make sure there were engagements!
None, once we’d sorted out the logistics of my living on the west coast of Scotland and Bronwyn (near) the North West coast of the US. Doing the groundwork, sorting out the world in detail between us and splitting up the days worked brilliantly.
We had a shared drive for documents, and our Pinterest board really helped. We pinned images of our characters and the house, including the maze. That way, key rooms and the grounds were consistently described.
Look out for Part 2 of our Q&A tomorrow! Scandal at the Midsummer Ball is available now!