We loved your strong-minded heroine Kayla in last year’s book One Heir…or Two! Was it fun writing this book?
That particular book hit a couple of false starts. I had a different vision for the beginning of the story. My editor gently reigned me in. I’m the type of person who, when I get ‘reader-vision’, I stomp around the house for a day. I’ll read it again and see what they say makes perfect sense, it’s about shifting your mindset to something new and everything goes a lot better.
One Heir… or Two was about dealing with surrogacy and multiple birth and it just got too complicated. I can get a little over complicated. Also, you want to keep everything fresh, this was my 35th title with Mills & Boon. I do feel like I try hard to keep story-lines fresh.
So, you’ve just had a new book published and we also hear you’re having another book coming out soon. Can you tell us some more about them?
In September, Little Secrets: The Baby Merger was published, where a one night stand goes horribly wrong and yet horribly right at the same time.
In December, I have The Christmas Baby Bonus coming out. I felt so proud of it by the end of writing it. With writing, you have the books that come out easily and the books that are a struggle. One Heir… or Two was quite a struggle because there were so many issues to deal with to create sympathetic characters and at the same time keep their goals in the forefront. The Christmas Baby Bonus was much easier to write.
Out of all your books, do you have a favourite?
I’m really, really looking forward to seeing what readers think of The Christmas Baby Bonus. It’s about an abandoned baby. It’s playing on the Christmas theme, a baby is found in a refurbished stable, I just loved writing that story. I’ve always found a sense of family is a core theme in all my stories. I tend to destroy my characters’ families and then allow them to recreate families with the people they love.
My eldest daughter is 27 now, I was writing when she was still living at home, and I remember the office door burst open and she said, ‘How could you be so cruel?’ and then shut the door and walked off again. I always like to do horrible things to my characters, you have to have the dark moments to make the happy ending even happier, you’ve got to have that contrast. As a writer, it’s quite hard to be mean to your characters. In real life, I try very hard not to be mean, so maybe this is my release!
In your spare time, what books do you enjoy reading the most?
Who would be your ideal romantic hero?
In real life and in a novel, a hero has to have a strong moral compass and it has to be clear from the outset to anyone reading the story why he does the things he does. My nastiest hero, Rossellini, comes from one of my favourite books, Rossellini’s Revenge Affair, it’s been one of my biggest sellers. He is an absolute bad boy alpha hero but with very good reason.
What’s the best thing about being a Mills & Boon author?
Delivering Happy Endings. I love to tie everything up with a bow and a happy ever after.
From your experience, have you noticed any change in romance fiction?
I think there’s a lot less focus on setting now, that’s my personal observation, setting can be a character as well. With word counts changing you have to keep a sharp focus on characters.
If you could have any job but you couldn’t pick being an author, what would you do?
A reviewer, and then I could sit and read all day. That being said, I actually don’t like reviewing books because I hate saying anything negative about a book.
Explain your writing process – what inspires you?
It’s a combination of things. Sometimes I’ll see a news article and think ‘oo how can I twist that for happy ending?’, or I’ll see a house and get inspired. I used to go through real estate houses and imagine walking onto the terrace and thinking one of my heroes could own one of these.
What’s the best advice you were ever given as a writer?
The best advice I’ve been given was ‘finish the book’ tied in with entering competitions. When I started, there were lots of competitions available, I entered as many as I could. You have to be prepared to accept criticism and work with it. I used to write a spreadsheet with all the scores given to me on different aspects of my writing. If I had a specific thing as low or strong, I’d work to strengthen it. I also wrote so many books before finishing my first one. You often find if you’re editing you keep going forward and backwards.
What advice would you give to aspiring romance writers?
Read, read, read and read.
Never give up if you’re trying to fulfil a writing dream. It took me thirteen years to sell my first book. I know things have changed in the publishing world but if you want to be traditionally published keep trying.
Thank you, Yvonne, for taking the time to chat to us!
Little Secrets: The Baby Merger is out now!
The Christmas Baby Bonus coming soon…