Hi Julia! Thanks so much for having me on your blog today.
1 - If the Twilight series could be described as The Notebook meets Dracula, how would you describe Sweetest Little Sin?
I'd describe it as James meets Jane (James Bond and Jane Austen, that is!)
2 - Christine - that is brilliant.
We first meet Jardine and Louisa as secondary characters in The Dangerous Duke. Were you expecting the reader reaction to this couple?
I expected a few people to complain that Jardine and Louisa's romance wasn't resolved in The Dangerous Duke and I was prepared to do a novella or a free short story to give Louisa and Jardine their happily ever after.
Funnily enough, I didn't get complaints at all, but I did receive an amazing number of requests for their story. I was thrilled when my editor agreed to let me do a novel-length sequel.
I specifically singled them out in my review of The Dangerous Duke!
3 - Louisa is self-described as being not much of a beauty. But of course to Jardine she is one - and more. Is it difficult to write a non-glamorous heroine in the romance genre?
Louisa finds it rather bemusing that despite her ordinary looks, Jardine still thinks she's stunning and he's convinced that every man who looks at her twice wants her.
I loved writing Louisa because she was such a strong character. Her lack of glamour in the looks department didn't bother me at all.
4 - Jardine verges on being cruel at times. How did you manage to bring out the hero lurking inside him?
Well, he's never cruel to Louisa, except when he's trying to save her by pushing her away. I think that's the key, that he puts her interests first, no matter what.
He's ruthless, but I love it when men are ruthless in pursuit of a worthy goal. I always think that is the kind of man it takes to fight true evil.
5 - Is there a fictional character you've written who carries a lot of Christine Wells inside?
Short answer - No! I find writing characters is a bit like acting. You don the skin of whoever you're playing - writing - at that particular time.
Of course, some of my values and opinions must creep through but I don't think any of my characters are like me. How boring for the reader that would be!
6 - Which character was the hardest for you to get a solid handle upon?
The villain in Sweetest Little Sin, Radleigh, wasn't easy. It's difficult to make secondary characters three-dimensional as you have less air-time to give them. Plus, he was one sick puppy, so he wasn't easy for me to write.
7 - Which has been your most challenging book to write, so far?
They are all challenging! I think the only one I can say really flew along was Wicked Little Game. But each story presents its own challenges.
I don't think you ever stop learning and feeling like you're reinventing the wheel. It's what makes writing novels so interesting... and painful!
8 - Do you have a critique partner? If so, do you meet face to face? Or do you work online with one another?
I used to critique a lot but my critique partners and I got published at around the same time and it became difficult to co-ordinate around deadlines.
Denise Rossetti, who writes wonderful fantasy romance for Berkley and erotica for Ellora's Cave, is a CP who mainly helps me with plotting these days. We get together every now and then, face to face, as she lives in my town and she grills me about my characters and story. I'm an auditory learner so I find it helps to talk out problems with Denise.
Then Anna Campbell, who writes utterly compelling dark and sexy historicals for Avon, usually does a complete read-through critique of the full manuscript before I send it to my editor and vice versa. This seems to work well.
9 - How would you say juggling writing and motherhood differs from juggling another sort of career with parenthood?
I'm lucky that writing is more flexible than many other kinds of job. You do have to be more disciplined, though, because it's so easy to let all the domestic responsibilities eat into your writing time.
Those who have jobs outside the home at least get to leave their children in someone else's care while they do their work. If you write and stay at home, you don't have that luxury. You have to do double time and it can be very hard to focus, especially with babies and small children who don't understand the blood or fire rule!
This year is the first time I've had my younger child at kindergarten two days a week, so I now have some uninterrupted writing time. Yippee!
10 - Do you have any tips on keeping social life temptations from wreaking havoc with your contract deadlines?
Become a hermit. It works for me!
Seriously, I have the 'no vacancy' sign up when it comes to friends. I say no to anything that doesn't involve close, dear friends.
Unfortunately, that means I don't hang with the school mothers for coffee after school drop-off or go to my husband's work functions unless he really wants me to be there. A lot of acquaintances have fallen by the wayside but that's the price you pay. When my boys are both in school, I'll have more time for a social life.
11 - Do you have any other creative outlets besides writing fiction?
I love cooking, especially baking. I'm not sure if that's terribly creative as I do tend to follow recipes, but it's the closest I get.
I'd love to take painting lessons one day. I have very little natural aptitude but I'd like to learn.
12 - If you could have a fantasy dinner with any three writers, living or dead, and ask them about their creative processes, who would they be?
I think somehow these ladies would disdain to discuss their processes, but it's my fantasy, isn't it?
13 - When did you realize that it was not only possible to be a published author, but that it was in your grasp?
That's a good question and I'm not sure I know the answer. I think perhaps it was when I had a request for the full of the first manuscript I wrote (which is now under the bed). Until then, I wasn't sure if what I was writing was like a 'real book'.
LOL! That's great to hear for those of us still polishing things off to send away.
Joining the Romance Writers of Australia was a huge boost. Reading about everyone's 'call stories' there was tremendously inspiring. I thought if they could do it, so could I!
I'm a member of Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, and the support there is indescribable.
Julia, there's one more special treat - I've got a signed copy of Sweetest Little Sin to give away to someone who answers the question:
What is your creative talent or hobby? If you don't have one, what creative talent would you like to have?
Can't wait to read everyone's answers. Thank you so much for stopping by, Christine!
Cheers - thanks for having me!
Remember to join me next week when I review Sweetest Little Sin and announce the winner of the giveaway.
Denise Rosetti says As for creative hobbies - apart from driving a certain critique partner insane by being difficult about her plots - I'm a first class knitter.
Bev Petterson says Enjoyed the interview, Christine and congratulations on Sweetest Little Sin!
Julianne MacLean says The book looks wonderful! Today - drum roll please - I am going outside to plant some shrubs. I see Julia falling out of her chair, cuz she knows how much I hate gardening.)