What was your inspiration for your new romance duet, Cinderella Seductions?
The original Cinderella story! As a child I longed to go to a ball and be swept off my feet by a handsome stranger. It’s something I’ve wanted to write in a contemporary setting since I started writing for Mills & Boon and I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to do it.
A Cinderella to Secure His Heir is part of the first book in The Cinderella Seductions. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Both books in the duet begin in a palace-hotel in Vienna where a Viennese ball is about to take place. In A Cinderella to Secure His Heir, the ball has been organised by an event manager called Beth Hardingstone, a woman who has guardianship of her deceased best friend’s baby. Beth is completely unaware that the man she’s been liaising with for the ball is in fact the baby’s uncle, Alessio Palvetti, and that Alessio will stop at nothing to take custody of his nephew for himself…
How would you best describe The Mills & Boon Modern series?
I always think of the Modern books as a glamorous emotional rollercoaster. The settings are pure luxury escapism while the heart of the stories are always intensely sensuous and emotional.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?
I love to read – which author doesn’t? – and I love to cook. I obsessively plan the meals I’m going to make each week and can spend hours poring through my dozens of cookbooks searching for the next ‘winner’ amongst the family. Luckily my children are used to having food from all over the world placed in front of them and aren’t in the slightest bit fussy about what they eat. Middle-Eastern recipes are currently the Smart household favourites.
What advice would you give to aspiring romance authors?
Read, read, read, read, read. And then read some more. For those who want to write category romance like Mills & Boon Modern, read everything you can get your hands on from the line so you can soak in its particular flavour. Also, be aware that you’ll need perseverance and a thick skin. It’s a rare author who sells on their first attempt – an author’s unique voice takes time to develop, and I say that from experience. I eventually sold to Mills & Boon on my fifth attempt but I would never consider those first four rejected books a waste of time as it was through writing them that I learnt the craft.
What 3 things do you keep on your writing desk/area and why?
I’m lucky enough to have my own office to write in now (I spent the first four years as a Mills & Boon author writing on my sofa with a laptop) and, while my desk is an utter mess, the three things I would always have close to hand are the same three things I always had when writing on that sofa – a mug of coffee (self-explanatory), a large A4 notebook and a pen. If an idea pings into my head while I’m writing, I just grab my pen and jot it down.
What are you currently reading?
Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches. I must admit, I spent the first half of the book debating whether or not to bother finishing it and I’m really glad I stuck with it as the second half ramped-up the pace and before I knew it, I was suckered in. I’ve only a couple of chapters left to read and I’ve now ordered the rest of the trilogy!
Pre-order A Cinderella To Secure His Heir here!