Nine Naughty Questions with… Molly McAdams

Booktopia’s Romance Specialist asks

Molly McAdams

author of Forgiving Lies

Nine Naughty Questions

———————————-

1. I wonder, is a romance writer born or made? Please tell us a little about your life before publication.

Haha, uh, great question! I definitely never thought I would be a writer. I failed out of Creative Writing in college. But I’ve always been a flirt and storyteller, and dated A LOT … and I write a lot of my real life in my books. So I guess born?

2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why romance readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

I do think so! They get a real-life feel along with the fantasy. And I probably should feel exposed, but I don’t. I know if something has happened to me, then its most likely happened to someone else—and maybe by sharing my story, I can help that person.

3. Please tell us about your latest novel…
Forgiving Lies has a little bit of everything: comedy, romance, suspense, thrill factor. I’m so excited for my readers to get this one in their hands, it’s different from anything I’ve written so far.

You can pick up a copy of Forgiving Lies by Molly McAdams here

4. Is the life of a published romance writer… well… romantic?

Read Forgiving Lies and From Ashes. Gage (From Ashes) and Kash (Forgiving Lies) are both made after my hubby. You tell me. ;)

5. Of all of the romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?

There is, and I so wish I could tell you … but, unfortunately, I can’t. I plan on writing it into one of my stories … don’t want to spoil it now.

6. Sex in romance writing today ranges from ‘I can’t believe they’re allowed to publish this stuff’ explicit to ‘turn the light back on I can see something’ mild. How important do you think sex is in a romance novel?

Romance doesn’t equal sex. Romance is the love and the passion. Passion and love can both be displayed without sex. But I think its secretly something the readers crave, and for most of our story lines, it’s what would happen in that time, so we’re going to write it.

7. Romance writers are often romance readers – please tell us your five favourite (read and re-read) romance novels or five novels that influenced your work most?

I can’t do five books so I’ll do five authors, okay? Haha. (#cheater)

1. Nicholas Sparks
2. A L Jackson
3. Stephenie Meyer
4. Madeline Sheehan
5. Tara Sivec

8. Romance writing is ‘so hot right now’, do you have any thoughts on why?

I think it will always be hot. Women want an escape, and they want a romantic escape. Who doesn’t? It started for us with the Disney fairytale princesses! Haha

9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

Never give up, and always write for yourself!

Thanks for joining us Molly!


Molly McAdams grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband and furry four-legged daughters. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, she can be found hiding out in her bedroom surrounded by her laptop and cell, and fighting over the TV remote. Molly has published four New Adult novels and is a New York Times bestselling author.

Romance at Booktopia’s Nine Naughty Questions: Travel Edition with… Zoe Archer

While gallivanting around the American countryside, Booktopia’s Romance Specialist Haylee Nash is taking the chance to catch up with some of the USA’s great romance writing talent, the first of which is Zoe Archer, author of paranormal, historical and adventure romance.

On my first less-than-scorching day in Los Angeles, I got the opportunity to meet with the lovely Zoe Archer. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of hailing a cab (which, I have since learnt, you DO NOT DO) and, after spending my shopping, eating and boozing allowance on the fare, turned up to Zoe’s apartment over an hour late.

Thankfully, Zoe was forgiving and after having some cuddles with her super friendly, and fluffy, cat Whiskey (which were much-needed as I was, and am still having, serious pet withdrawals), we got down to business.

Many thanks to Zoe Archer and her equally lovely husband (and fellow romance author) Nico Rosso, for inviting me into their apartment, for the interview, and for the ride home!


When not working on increasing her waistline through sampling gratuitous amounts of America’s fine food and liquor, Haylee Nash is an unabashed romance fan and all things fluffy.  Haylee is also the Romance Specialist at Booktopia.

Fiona Palmer, author of The Sunburnt Country, answers Nine Naughty Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Fiona Palmer

author of The Sunburnt Country, The Road Home, Heart of Gold and The Family Farm

Nine Naughty Questions

———————–

1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.

Hmm, you know I’m not sure. Maybe it’s both? I think it was reading romance books at a young age that gave me the bug, but then again maybe it was just me, I could have been predestined to love romance.

My life before publication, well it was a simple country one, where my kids and work took up most of my time. Now the computer and my characters are my best friends. (I do have real ones, it’s just hard to see them as much with the distances out here.) I grew up and now live in my tiny five house town, and because it’s so small you find yourself on every volunteer list. Not that I mind but out here you don’t just get to do a secretary job for a few years. Oh no! The last lady I took over from had done it for 17 years, so I expect I’m in for the long haul. And that’s just one position I have. But in such a small community it’s needed and just what you have to do. Being an author doesn’t change that at all either.

2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of Romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why Romance Readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

Yes, I think so. It’s a real emotional journey, you try to connect with your readers, and that takes a lot of personal stuff. I do get embarrassed when people I know read my work, well I used to. I think now that I’m published and the books are selling well I don’t cringe as much. But I do get emotional. On the outside, I think I come across as strong and impenetrable but on the inside, it’s a whole different story. (I’m rather a softy and can tear up at the simplest things.) Now, I’ve never been good with the spoken word, can’t seem to express how I feel, yet when I write it’s a whole different experience. I can pour my heart out to my computer, or in a letter, yet when it comes to my mouth…nothing comes out. So I wonder if this is why I can fill my books with so much passion and heart as it’s a form of release?

3. Please tell us about your latest novel…

My latest novel is about Jonelle Baxter, a 26-year-old mechanic from the small rural town of Bundara. Her town is struggling through a drought, which affects not only her business but her friends and family around her. And things go from bad to worse when a new city bank manager comes to town. Daniel Tyler has his hands full as he tries to rein in the spiraling debts of Bundara.

Click here to buy The Sunburnt Country from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Jonelle Baxter is a young woman in a man’s world – a tough, hardworking motor mechanic from an idyllic country family. But lately things in her perfect life have been changing, and her workshop isn’t the only local business that’s struggling.

Daniel Tyler is new in town, posted from the city to manage the community bank. As he tries to rein in the spiralling debts of Bundara, he uncovers all sorts of personal dramas and challenges.

The last thing Jonny and Dan need is an unwanted attraction to each other. She has enough problems just keeping her livelihood going and he’s fighting pressures that stretch all the way to Perth. It’s going to take more than a good drop of rain to break the drought and bring change in love and in life.

A moving and heartwarming story about the beauty that’s found in the bush, especially in the most trying of times.

4. Is the life of a published Romance writer… well… Romantic?

Ha ha, no. Didn’t you know that’s why we write romance? So we can get some in our lives! No actually, I can’t complain. I’ve just come back from a romantic weekend with the hubby. We are coming up to our 12th anniversary and it’s certainly getting better with age. But when you have kids, the romance is hard to find sometimes. That’s why taking time out together or even just for yourself is so important.

5. Of all of the Romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the Romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?

Well, when my husband proposed, I got the red roses, the cooked meal, nice set table and a gorgeous ring and that was very special and hard to go past. But I think in my writing I use more of the first sparks of lust/love. Nothing is more electric than that first meeting of eyes or that first kiss you’ve been hanging out to plant on someone. For me, the tension and lead up is just as important and sometimes much more exciting. I can still remember the moment when I went to work and saw my hubby across the road. I still remember what he was wearing, what he looked like. It’s those moments that tend to stay.

6. Sex in Romance writing today ranges from ‘I can’t believe they’re allowed to publish this stuff’ explicit to ‘turn the light back on I can’t see a thing’ mild. How important do you think sex is in a Romance novel?

I think it depends on the author and what they feel comfortable doing. I enjoy reading it because you are with the characters for the whole lead up and then its like, wham, they shut the door on you and you’re missing the bit they have been building up to. It’s like someone steeling your cappuccino you’ve just watched being made to frothy perfection and hiding around the corner and drinking it. You’ve got to at least be able to enjoy it with them. I don’t like to go overboard, and I have my parents who read my work and they soon tell me if I have. They are like my censors. “Darling that part was far too vulgar.”

7. Romance writers are often Romance readers – please tell us your five favourite (read and re-read) Romance Novels or five novels that influenced your work most?

Oh gosh. I guess I would have to start with the first romance book I read, Summer’s End by Danielle Steele when I was in primary school. Julie Garwood’s Ransom was another that I picked up early and every few years I re-read. And Rachael Treasure’s Jillaroo was the first rural book I had read. I had just written my first draft so her book gave me the confidence to get mine out there also. I also love YA, I think it’s young love and that first attraction that hooks me in (also I still think I’m 17 – in my mind at least.) I just finished Storm by Brigid Kemmerer and loved it. And my publisher put me onto Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver, brilliant book on writing (and the only one I have).

8. Paranormal Romance writing is ‘so hot right now’, do you have any thoughts on why?

Oh I am a big fan of this genre. Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy is one of my favourites. One, because her lead character is a strong, determined, gutsy girl. My kind of reading, and so much like my own characters; and because they are so fast-paced. In addition, there is that magic component, or super powers side of it. They are all beautiful and love fiercely.

9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write what you love, what you know and just keep writing. I get Dory’s line from Nemo stuck in my head all the time, but change it to ‘just keep writing, just keep writing…’

Fiona, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy The Sunburnt Country from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Cathryn Hein, author of Heart of the Valley and Promises, answers Nine Naughty Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Cathryn Hein

author of Heart of the Valley and Promises

Nine Naughty Questions

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1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.

I was brought up in Mt Gambier, in South Australia’s rural south east and had an idyllic childhood dominated by beach holidays and horse mania. After studying agriculture at Roseworthy College I worked for a couple of pasture seed companies before a doing a complete about-face and becoming an investment advisor. I’ve always written – short stories and bad angst teenage poetry at school, followed by umpteen attempts at full length fiction that never made it past the 10,000 word mark. Only when my partner and I moved overseas did I realise it was now or never. Once I’d experienced that first ‘I’ve just written a 100,000 word book’ high there I was no stopping me!

2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of Romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why Romance Readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

I sometimes think reading romance is like a benign drug addiction. There’s such a rush of feeling and absolute satisfaction when you reach the end of a brilliant love story that all you want to do is experience it again. I call it the Happily Ever After High.

Feeling exposed comes with the territory. Despite writing characters that can be nothing like yourself, there’s always some piece of you on the page. There has to be to make it real. Many quotes about writing, like Hemingway’s ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed’, exist because they’re true. You do bleed. In my case, it’s often from banging my head over and over against the desk in acute frustration.

3. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Heart of the Valley is my tribute to the magnificent NSW Hunter Valley, a place I fell in love with during my pasture seed days.

It tells the story of Brooke Kingston, a talented equestrienne whose world is turned upside-down after a terrible accident. When her well-meaning family, desperate to get her to Sydney so they can take care of her, hire a farm manager to take over her beloved property she digs in her spurs and refuses to leave. But Lachie Cambridge proves more than a match for Brooke…

Due to his job, my partner and I move around quite a bit, and this lifestyle has had a great affect on my concept of home. For me it’s wherever Jim is. For others home will always be a place. Heart of the Valley explores this theme. Is home a place or is it where your heart lies?

Click here to buy Heart of the Valley from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

4. Is the life of a published Romance writer… well… Romantic?

Ha ha. It has its moments!

But there’s a great joy to the lifestyle. It’s incredibly satisfying to be able to live your dream, and that flows over into your relationships and overall life.

5. Of all the Romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the Romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?

I have a couple of special moments that I use for comparison. Adolescence is a great mine of emotion. Everything feels so intense when you’re young, over-hormonal, and enchanted by the endless possibilities and adventure of love. If I can recapture that on the page then I’m a very happy camper. As for revealing those special moments? Now, that would be telling…

6. Sex in Romance writing today ranges from ‘I can’t believe they’re allowed to publish this stuff’ explicit to ‘turn the light back on I can’t see a thing’ mild. How important do you think sex is in a Romance novel?

 I think it depends on the novel and the characters. Some of the most intensely satisfying romances have no sex at all. Others simply wouldn’t work without sex because it would be impossible to think of the characters not getting it on. Sex in some instances can really raise the dramatic stakes for the hero and heroine, while in others the same scene could be pointless. Each book dictates what works.

7. Romance writers are often Romance readers – please tell us your five favourite (read and re-read) Romance Novels or five novels that influenced your work most?

Number one would have to be Jilly Cooper’s Riders. My copy has been read so many times that it’s in tatters. Polo would follow very closely, along with Rivals and The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous. These books are an absolute hoot to read and completely over the top, but I simply adore them. Rupert Campbell-Black is one of my all time favourite heroes – he’s just so naughty! I also love the way she makes the animals characters in their own right. I think that’s definitely rubbed off in my own work.

Paullina SimonsTully. It’s not a romance but the complexity of the characters amazes me. I’ve read this book many times and it never fails to keep me entranced. The book polarises people because the main character, Tully, is so difficult, yet at the same time she’s utterly compelling. You may not like her but you can’t stop reading her story.

Michelle Paver’s A Place in the Hills. I wish I’d written that book.

Andrew Nicoll’s The Good Mayor. I adore the way Nicoll captures the absurdity of being in love. The Mayor does so many undignified things, which he knows are silly and only add to his hopeless state, but he can’t help himself. He’s so in love it hurts!

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. One of the sweetest romances I’ve ever read. I sighed so hard at the end of that book. Absolutely gorgeous.

8. Paranormal Romance writing is ‘so hot right now’, do you have any thoughts on why?

It’s the complete fantasy of it. If the world-building is done well, a good paranormal can take you to a land of pure magic; another realm where anything is possible. Sometimes we don’t want the real world, not even a tiny fictional scrap of it. We want to kick back and bury our nose in pure escapism. Paranormal romance caters for this need plus, being a romance, readers are guaranteed of a good dose of that addictive happily ever after high!

9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write. Don’t fiddle and faff. Write. Because the more you write the better you get. Then, when you’ve finished that first manuscript, put it away and write another. You’ll be stunned at how much better the second book will be.

Take the time to learn your craft. Writing isn’t easy – it’s very hard work and like any profession you need to hone your skills.

Always remember that everyone has a different process. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Some people are intricate plotters, nailing every tiny aspect of the book before they write a single word. Others are more organic and follow wherever their characters lead them. Some people write extremely rough first drafts then polish like crazy. Others – me included – can’t write another word until a chapter or scene is absolutely perfect. Whichever way you work, make sure you understand it. Once you’re published you’ll have deadlines, so knowing your process – how long it takes to write and edit your work – is vital.

Find good critique partners. They are treasures you can’t do without. Not only for their feedback on your work, but for their understanding and support during the dark times. And believe me, there will be dark times.

Join the Romance Writers of Australia. This is an extraordinary organisation. With them you’ll find information, education and amazing support. And friendship!

Cathryn, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy Heart of the Valley from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

Rachel Vincent, author of the Unbound Trilogy and the Soul Screamers series, answers Nine Naughty Questions

Kate Cuthbert: Readers, I have raved and raved and raved and raved about Rachel Vincent for years, so if you haven’t yet taken my (highly valuable and always correct) advice, perhaps a little Q&A with the lady herself will sway you?

Kate Cuthbert,
editor of the Booktopia Romance Buzz,

and the Booktopia Book Guru ask

Rachel Vincent,

author of the Unbound Trilogy, The Shifters Series, the Soul Screamers series and more

Nine Naughty Questions

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1. I wonder, is a romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. Literally. I wrote my first short story when I was five, and except for a hiatus after college, when I was told I’d need a “real job,” I haven’t stopped since. I didn’t start out in romance, though. I was a big horror/fantasy fan growing up, and I think Continue reading

Victoria Dahl, author of Good Girls Don’t, It’s Always Been You and more, answers Nine Naughty Questions

Kate Cuthbert, Editor, Booktopia Romance Buzz:

Victoria Dahl is an author to watch, and one of the most exciting new voices in romance. (Also, I think she’s groovy because she helps feed my insatiable appetite for hot, fun contemporary romance). What’s even better is that she writes both historical and contemporary romances, so it’s really reader’s choice for how you’d like your Dahl fix. She’s got two novels out this August, and she stopped by to answer our Nine Naughty Questions


Kate Cuthbert
and the Booktopia Book Guru ask

Victoria Dahl

author of Good Girls Don’t, It’s Always Been You and more…

Nine Naughty Questions

—————————

1. I wonder, is a romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.

I can’t speak for others, but I was definitely made. I’m shamefully unromantic for a romance writer. I don’t like mushiness and I’ve forgotten my anniversary for several years in a row now. But I started reading my mom’s romance novels when I was twelve, and I was hooked! The drama and torture and sex! I loved it all.

As further evidence, I always knew I wanted to be a romance writer, but I didn’t have any romantic notions about my chances. So I majored in business in college and worked in finance and banking until I started writing full time. Continue reading

Lori Foster, author of Savor the Danger, answers Nine Naughty Questions

It’s hard to think Romantic Suspense without thinking Lori Foster – in fact, it’s hard to think Romance without thinking Lori Foster . She’s sold tens of thousands of copies, hit any number of best-seller lists, and is beloved by long-time and new readers alike. So imagine my delight when she agreed to come and answer our Nine Naughty Questions and talk about her latest novel, Savor the Danger, the third (hopefully not last!) in her Edge of Honour Series. Kate Cuthbert, Editor, Booktopia Romance BUZZ (click here to read the June Romance BUZZ)

The Booktopia Book Guru
and Kate Cuthbert ask

Lori Foster

author of Savor the DangerTrace of Fever,  When You Dare, and many more…

Nine Naughty Questions

———————

1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.

I’ve always been a homebody, a mom first and foremost (or at least, always a mom after I had kids. LOL) and a big family person. That hasn’t changed and I doubt it ever will. I was always a daydreamer, an optimist, a “take charge and let me fix it” type person. But I also used to be kind of shy. Now… hardly a shy bone in my body. LOL

2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why romance readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

Romance readers are the very best people in the whole world! They’re so genuine and caring and generous. And yes, I’m sure it has to do with the inherent optimism of romance novels. We are the people who demand a happy ending, and one way or another, we will get it. ;-)

I do feel exposed on occasion, but that’s just part and parcel with the job. You put yourself out there with your work. Many authors consider their books “their babies.” Not me. It’s just my work, and I love it, but not like I love my babies. (My 3 sons are all now big grown hulks – but still my babies, you know?) So I have a slightly different perspective with it. Readers can pretty much say whatever they want about my Continue reading

Julia Quinn, author of Just Like Heaven, answers Nine Naughty Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru and
Kate Cuthbert, Editor of the
Booktopia Romance Buzz ask

Julia Quinn

author of Just Like Heaven, Ten Things I Love About You, What Happens in London  and many more…

Nine Naughty Questions

————————————–

1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.

I was actually planning to go to medical school and become a paediatrician. In fact, I wrote my first novel while I was completing my pre-med requirements and applying to med school. I got my first book deal the very same month I was accepted to Yale School of Medicine. I ended up deferring for a couple of years while I wrote, and then I had what I call my “mid-20s crisis.” All of my friends were heading off to graduate school, and I thought I should do the same. So I went to med school, but after two months I realized it wasn’t the right thing for me and withdrew. I’m very glad I gave it a try, though. I think we regret the things we don’t do, not the things we do.

 2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of Romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why Romance Readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?

I think our fans are devoted simply because our books leave them feeling good. And happy. And hopeful. Those are feelings we all want to feel again and again. There is something incredibly comforting about picking up a book and knowing that even if you don’t know precisely what is going to happen, you are guaranteed a happy ending.

 3. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Just Like Heaven is the first book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet. Most of my readers are familiar with the Smythe-Smith girls, who have made appearances in several of my books. But we don’t really know much about them other than that they are quite possibly the worst musicians in the history of man. I’ve had so many characters attend the annual Smythe-Smith Musicale and moan about the experience—I just had to start writing books about the Smythe-Smiths. I mean, what kind of woman plays music that badly and doesn’t realize it? (Or maybe she does…) Order your copy here from Booktopia

 4. Is the life of a published Romance writer… well… Romantic?

I’ve been married to the same guy for fifteen years… the guy I met on the second day of freshman week at university. That’s romantic to me!

 5. Of all of the Romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the Romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?

Oh, gosh, I can’t think of one. To me, true romance is a lifelong commitment, not a single moment.

 6. Sex in Romance writing today ranges from ‘I can’t believe they’re allowed to publish this stuff’ explicit to ‘turn the light back on I can’t see a thing’ mild. How important do you think sex is in a Romance novel?

I think it depends entirely on the story. I have novels that are “hotter” than others, and this has always happened because the stories and the characters called for it. It was never a conscious decision on my part to sex it up.

My attitude is generally that if the scene doesn’t do something to further the plot or develop the characters, it probably doesn’t belong in the book. I never want sex scenes in my books to feel “pasted in,” as if you could skip them and the book would read pretty much the same.

 7. Romance writers are often Romance readers – please tell us your five favourite (read and re-read) Romance Novels or five novels that influenced your work most?

This is a hard one, but I’ll go with Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas; Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught; Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips; As You Desire by Connie Brockway; and When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James.

I realize that most of these are older books, and I certainly don’t want to give the impression that there aren’t amazing books being published today—but these are the ones that have had the most influence on me.

 8. Paranormal Romance writing is ‘so hot right now’, do you have any thoughts on why?

It’s an escape from reality. There’s something fun about entering a whole new world. That said, I’ll be sticking with my historical romances. I always joke that readers will know that I’ve been pressured to enter the paranormal market if they see all of my characters at a ball, and then one of them says, “Look! There goes the werewolf!”

 9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?

Join Romance Writers of America! Even if you live in Australia, it’s a wonderful, wonderful organization. I’ve heard wonderful things about Romance Writers of Australia, too. In fact, most of the Aussie writers I know are members of both groups. Writing organizations like these are just amazing. The level of support they provide to aspiring writers is truly phenomenal.

Julia, thank you for playing.

_____

Have you lead a life of romance? What was the most romantic moment you’ve ever experienced?

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