Not only is Romy the first Champagne Books author I have had guest with me, but also the first fellow UK author who has been here in a long time too, lol! So welcome, Romy, I am looking forward to having the chance to get to know you a better.
Such a shame we won't get to meet at the Romantic Novelists Association conference in July but I'm sure we'll meet in person one day. Let's get started!
Thanks so much for having me here on your blog, Rachel.
1) When and why did you decide you wanted to be a published author?
Like many writers, I loved English at school, wrote some romantic adolescent poetry and devoured all kinds of novels. It wasn’t until my two children were born and I was at home with them for some years that I started trying to write short stories. When I eventually moved house and discovered a local writing group, my new path in life was set! Winning a short story competition at an annual Scottish conference convinced me I should keep writing.
2) What is the best and worse thing you have learned from an editor/agent?
The best thing I learned from an editor was to cut all those unnecessary words such as just, in fact and so on, and to use the active voice whenever possible.
The worse thing I learned was that having a good piece of writing was not always guarantee of publication!
3) Favourite author/s?
I have a wide taste in reading. Many of the classics, such as Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Dickens. Older favourites like Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt. And modern authors such as PD James, Sarah Waters, Kate Mosse. But too many more to mention.
4) What is your typical day?
Not many of them are typical! However, I do try to write first thing in the morning, unless I am going out somewhere. Then I spend ages checking emails, blogs, forums, and Facebook, leaving comments where possible if I have something to say.
Spirited Lydia Hetherington is uninterested in marriage, until her brother's friend, Lord Marcus Sheldon, rides into her life to unseat her from her horse and unsettle her heart. An undercover spy for the government, Sheldon is equally unsettled by Lydia. But spies, villains and a tangled web of deception bring danger, until a traitor is unmasked.
“I believe you have lost something, Miss Hetherington.”
Lydia’s eyes widened as she watched Lord Sheldon lazily hold out his hand. He was holding a gold ribbon such as Agnes had threaded in her hair earlier that evening! She put her hand to her head and realized, belatedly, that her hair had started to come undone at the back. The ribbon must have caught on the bush where she’d hidden. She couldn’t think what to say for a moment until she saw the challenge in his stare.
“I fear you must be following me, my lord. I was unaware that the ribbon had come loose as I took a turn around the garden. I wonder that you should know to whom it belongs.” She held out her hand. “Thank you for returning it.”
She saw his shoulders stiffen and was sure he knew perfectly well that she’d seen him with the Frenchman.
Then Lydia saw the speculation in his grey eyes replaced by amusement as he walked towards her. “Allow me, Miss Hetherington.”
Before she guessed what he intended, his hands were on her upper arms and for a moment he was looking into her eyes. Then he gently turned her away from him. Next minute, he was expertly threading the ribbon through her hair.
Lydia held her breath as she felt his fingers brush against her head. It was as if something was making her skin tingle. Too soon, he had secured the ribbon. Yet still his fingers lingered for a moment against her hair and she hoped he could not hear the loud beating of her heart.
She tried to persuade herself that it was only because of her near discovery at eavesdropping. But she was far too aware of the nearness of his tall frame and the intimacy of the moment, and most especially the effect it was having on her.
Then he was turning her around once more to face him. He stepped back at once and bowed. “I trust you will be more careful where you walk in future, Miss Hetherington.”
Hoping she appeared more composed than she felt, Lydia replied as firmly as possible. “Thank you, my lord. It is my good fortune that you are so comfortable with a lady’s hair style and so solicitous of my well being.”
Lydia returned his stare, determined not to betray how bereft she’d felt as he stepped away from her. There was no doubt that he’d seen her in the garden and was warning her. But against what, she wondered.
6) Who would you cast to play your hero & heroine in a movie?
That’s a difficult one! Maybe Carey Mulligan (with dark hair) for Lydia. For Marcus Sheldon, perhaps someone like James Purefoy, or a young Jeremy Northam.
7) Did you plan this book? Or write it as it came?
I’ve found I cannot plan either a short story or novel. With Dangerous Deceit, my first novel, I decided on the year (1813) and knew my heroine and hero right away. Then I started writing and let my characters interact. I only ever had a vague idea of the kind of scenes I might put them into, but some of my characters just appeared as I was writing. I think the subconscious plays a big part in writing, as authors are probably thinking about their characters and situations all the time.
8) What surprised you the most when you became a published writer?
After being a well-published short story and article writer for many years (as Rosemary Gemmell), I’ve been astonished at the response to my first novel. I’ve always maintained all published writing is as valuable as any other, but it seems people are still far more impressed (sometimes only impressed!) when a writer has published a whole novel. I’m still lapping up the publicity and good wishes some weeks later!
9) Do you have a dedicated writing space? What does it look like?
I’m lucky enough to have a desk in our long study/extension. It is lined with bookshelves down one wall, floor to ceiling, with all the books I’ve collected over the years: fiction, reference and study books. My window overlooks our back garden and the hills beyond.
I also like to go to Costa one morning a week to write while having a coffee, and often get more written in half an hour there. Maybe it’s the buzz, or lack of distraction from domestic things, or writing with a pen and paper.
10) What’s next for you?
I’ve just had my first children’s book accepted (10-14 age group) for publication next March. Another adult novel, contemporary with alternate historical chapters, is being considered by an agent and I’m writing another Regency. Then there are the other half-finished novels (adult and children’s), short stories and articles – think I’ll be busy for many years!
You can find me at the following places:
General Blog: http://ros-readingandwriting.blogspot.com
Regency Blog: http://romygemmell.blogspot.com
Goodreads (new): http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4840178.Romy_Gemmell
Great except, Romy - looking forward to getting my copy! I have heard so many writers say how much more they write in coffee shops...I think I might be missing out on something here...
Romy would love to answer your questions and comments!