Saturday, April 26, 2014

In The Hot Seat With H.C. Brown: Amy Rose Bennett- Comment for chance to win Amazon gift voucher

Joining me today is author, Amy Rose Bennett.

Amy has a contest running today, so don't forget to leave your email address for the chance to win an Amazon gift voucher...Yay!!!!!!!

WINNER:Euphrasia Holmes -

Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favourite genre.  She has a passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.
Amy is happily married to her own Alpha male hero, has two beautiful daughters, a rather loopy Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Devonshire Rex cat with attitude. She is a Speech Pathologist, but is currently devoting her time to her one other true calling—writing romance.

Q:  Can you tell our readers a little about your writing? What genres do you enjoy writing?
As it says in my bio, I absolutely love writing Georgian and Regency set historical romance stories. I also love Scotland so my first two full length manuscripts—‘Capturing the Master of Strathburn’ and ‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’ (still waiting to be published!) are set there. I’m not sure why, but the country and its history fascinates me. But I also suspect it has something to do with being partial to brawny Highland men in kilts…
I’m still exploring different styles of writing—I’ve written some darker-themed tales as well as lighter, happier stories. All have ‘open-door’ love scenes at the hotter end of the spectrum. As a reader I want to read the ‘good bits’ so that’s how I write as well.
One thing I’ve noticed about my writing though, is that I tend to write a little ‘out-of-the-box’ in terms of plotting. I think I’m a bit of a rule-breaker at heart as an author. For instance my heroes are alpha-beta, rather than just straight alphas, and they aren’t afraid to fall in love with their heroines (even if they don’t admit it for a little while). ‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’ also features a married heroine who falls in love with another man—she has good reason to leave her dissolute husband, mind you! It’s risky because some publishing houses won’t even look at a story with adultery themes. But I also think it makes for a dark, gothic-like tale with a strong love story at it’s core. I’m hoping an editor will think so too one day!
In my debut release ‘An Improper Proposition’—an erotic Regency novella—my heroine, a widowed countess, indulges in a rather ‘improper’ dalliance with her younger, very hot footman. So I guess it’s another instance of writing about something that’s not the usual…and a little bit naughty ;)
I should probably also mention that I’ve recently dabbled with writing a novella sent in the recent-past—the 1950’s—as I wanted to see if I could write something a little more ‘modern’ that was also lighter in tone. I had such fun writing it. It meant I could use 20th century words and phrases like ‘thunked’, ‘get a grip’ and ‘Miss-Goody-two-shoes’. It’s set on the Jersey Shore in 1953 and focuses on a second chance romance between a returned army nurse and a US air force fighter pilot.
Q:  Do you write on a schedule or when the Muse decides?
Since deciding to knuckle down and get serious about writing nearly two years ago (because I dithered about for years before that, telling myself I’d write that novel one day), I’ve completed two full length (100,000+ word) novels, two novellas (one published) and I’m currently into my third work-in-progress (another Regency). So I feel like I’ve been quite productive after being a long-term procrastinator. I write every day now and I’m lucky that I can write almost anywhere! At the moment I’m also fortunate to be in the position to have a year off from working as a Speech Pathologist so I’m definitely writing as much as I can!
Q: Can you tell us about your writing process, for example, do you write an outline first?
I always write an outline of the overall plot—I have to know where my story is going before I sit down to write even the very first chapter. But I don’t plot meticulously. I like to work out the finer details along the way, so I guess I’m a 2/3 plotter -1/3 pantser hybrid. And there’s nothing better than the buzz you get when your characters seem to come alive and tell you what to write. I so love those moments!
Q:  What qualities do you instil in your heroes?
All of my heroes (so far) have had military backgrounds. So courage, duty, loyalty and honour are central characteristics. As I mentioned before, they also aren’t afraid to fall in love. I’m not overly keen on creating arrogant alphas who won’t overtly show their feelings through their actions, or admit they are in love with the heroine until just about the last page (like in bodice rippers of old). My heroes also have a sense of humour and like to tease their heroines at times—I love writing banter!
Two of my heroes (in my larger stories) are also a little damaged emotionally—and of course their heroines help them with the healing process. Aside from being intelligent and caring, my heroes are all tall, dark and handsome with athletic, muscular physiques—basically drop-dead gorgeous…And it should go without saying that they are all awesome in (or out) of bed ;)
Q. Coffee or tea? Coffee
Q. Beach or countryside? Both!
Q. Do you write about the places you know or prefer to take your readers to exotic places?
I don’t know if the UK or the Jersey Shore are considered exotic, but I do like to write about different places—and different times.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
History itself, songs—I often conjure scenes in my head based on the mood or imagery created by the lyrics of a song. Sometimes pictures inspire ideas—for example the wonderful Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland gave me an enormous amount of visual inspiration to help create the gothic mood in ‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’. It’s hard to pin down what fires my imagination exactly though!
Q: We have all suffered submission rejections. How do you cope? Do you have any advice to other writers on coping with rejection?
I’ve entered a fair few contests for unpublished authors (Romance Writers Australia and Romance Writers America contests) in the last year or so, so I’ve learned to deal with the not so glowing contest feedback I’ve received at times. So that has certainly helped me cope with the feelings you get when rejected by a publisher. Contest feedback will also give you an idea of whether your story is close to/at a publishable standard as many contest judges are published authors, editors or contest finalists themselves. You’ll be more likely to get the magic ‘yes’ or at the very least a revise and resubmit on a submission rather than a whole bunch of ‘no’s’ if you are aware of your readiness for publication.
I’ve also had a few ‘kind’ rejections from some publishing houses and a couple of agents too who took the time to evaluate my writing and offer helpful suggestions. Those types of rejections I really appreciate as they’ve made me take a long hard look at my writing then consider ways to improve it. I try to look for the positives—even though I didn’t quite make it, the editor or agent obviously saw potential in my writing. So I always try to learn something from these types of rejections.
In the end though, all you can really do is keep on submitting your best polished effort with the belief that one day you’ll get ‘the call’. So don’t give up!!!

Q: What do you like to read and who are your favourite authors?
Whilst I’m a devotee of historical romance, I also read across a range of genres. My favourite historical romance authors are Anna Campbell, Sylvia Day and Julia Quinn (too name but a few). I’ve just started to read Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby mysteries and am really enjoying those. I also love crime-thriller novels (favourite authors are Nicci French, Minette Walters and Elizabeth George), historical novels (like those written by Phillipa Gregory) and paranormal YA series (such as the City of Bones and Clockwork series by Cassandra Clare). Janet Evanovich is one of my go-to authors when I need a good laugh. I absolutely love her Stephanie Plum series!
Q: Do you write one novel at a time or do you move between works in progress?
So far I’ve been focusing on writing one story at a time. But if the muse strikes for another story, I make sure I note down my ideas before they’re gone! I don’t let the lure of something new and shiny distract me from my current WIP. My new characters have to wait for their turn.
Q: Do you have times when the Muse is away on holiday?
Not yet! But if I occasionally get a little stuck between scenes or chapters, I just make myself write through it. I can always fix it later. I also find that fleshing out the scene with pen and paper also seems to help my muse get going again.
Q. What motivates you to write?
You know, I’m really not sure. I’ve always been a day-dreamer since childhood and have always loved making up stories. I guess it’s just part of who I am. Plus I love doing it—writing never seems like work, even when I’m editing.
Q. What advice would you give to unpublished authors approaching an e publisher?
You need to target the right publisher for your book. So do your research! Check out websites like ‘Predators and Editors’ to see who to avoid. If you are actively involved in associations like Romance Writers Australia you’ll quickly establish a network of writer friends—you can then (discreetly) ask for advice from already published authors about who’d they recommend you target or their experiences with certain publishing houses. Visit e-publishers websites and check out their submission guidelines carefully and follow them to the letter. Become educated about what is fair and reasonable in terms of publishing contracts and look for information about the particular terms of contracts on the e-publishers website. Also look at the titles offered—read samples or download a few and look at the quality of the writing and editing, the cover art and the types of stories published. Also hone your query letter, synopsis and manuscript until they are the best you can possibly make them before submitting!

Q: Can you tell us a little about your current novel? What inspired you to write this story?
I’ve recently had my debut release with the Australian e-publisher Steam eReads! ‘An Improper Proposition’ is an erotic Regency romance novella…a cougar/upstairs-downstairs mash-up!
Fraternizing with one’s footman—no matter how young and handsome he is—is not the done thing. But Lady Bianca Wells is going to do it anyway…
Widowed countess Lady Bianca Wells secretly lusts after her much younger, rakishly handsome footman Harry Blake. Even though he has been in her employ for six months, she has not succumbed to her indecorous urges to take him as a lover… until one wicked night at an isolated country inn when she throws caution to the wind and offers Blake a wholly improper proposition.
Harry Blake, the bastard son of a duke and governess, is the epitome of the perfect footman, except for one thing—he fantasizes about seducing his beautiful mistress. When Lady Wells proposes that they become lovers for one night only, he is torn. Even though he wants her with every fibre of his being, he suspects that forbidden fruit once tasted, can be awfully addictive. He wonders if one night of passion will be enough, for either of them—especially now that he realizes he might very well be falling in love with his bella Bianca.
But when all is said and done, Blake can hardly refuse such a tempting proposition, no matter how unwise or improper. He just prays that he can put a smile on his mistress’s beautiful face…
Set-up: Lady Bianca is feeling shaken after a drunken patron propositions her for a kiss at the inn she is staying at. Her footman, Blake comes to her aid, then escorts her to her room…
The sooner she dismissed Blake for the evening, the better. For a servant who’d only been in her employ for six months, he read her too well. And she had come to rely on him far too much. This growing familiarity between them was a problem, but one she wasn’t fit to deal with right now.
She turned back to address him and her breath hitched. He really was too handsome to be her footman. Even with his black hair hidden beneath his periwig again, his chiselled jaw, wide mouth and sparkling emerald green eyes set him apart from most other men of his station. Indeed he was as handsome as any young buck of the ton. Or so her close friends repeatedly told her. Those same friends—including Lady Jameson—who also whispered to her that she was mad not to have a fuck or two with him.
Stop gawping at him like a foolish adolescent girl, Bianca. Dismiss him, before you do something you regret.
With a trembling hand, she pushed a strand of her blonde hair away from her mouth and found her voice. “Well, thank you again for your timely intervention, Blake. That will be—”
“Do you have any brandy, my lady?”
She arched an eyebrow. “Why?”
Blake held her gaze. It was one of the things she liked about him so much. He was respectful yet not easily intimidated by her when she played the haughty dowager countess.
 “Please forgive my impertinence,” he at last responded, his forehead dipping into a frown, “but you’ve had a shock and it might help. Would you like me to fetch you some from the taproom?”
“No, that won’t be necessary, but thank you.” Now was the time to bid him good night but for some reason, she couldn’t do it. She supposed it was because she found his strong male presence reassuring after what had happened only minutes before. She stepped back from the door, opening it wider to admit him. “But perhaps you could re-stoke the fire for me…Tilly has retired early with a headache.”
“Of course, my lady.”
Bianca shut the door after him and leant against the smooth wood panels, watching him as he removed his white gloves before he bent low to toss several logs into the grate. His wide shoulders strained against the navy blue superfine of his liveried jacket as he moved. Such power and grace for such a tall man. She suspected he’d developed his athletic physique when he’d served as a corporal in Wellington’s army. Not for the first time, she wondered how he would look without his livery. She bit her lip.
Stop behaving like a vixen on heat, Bianca. Tell him to go. Now.

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  1. Hi H.C.! Thanks so much for having me over on your blog today to chat about my writing :D As you mentioned, I have an Amazon gift voucher for my erotic Regency novella 'An Improper Proposition' for one random commentator. And if anyone would like to stop by my website and have a look around, here's the link:

  2. You have a very nice web site :-)

  3. Thanks so much, Elizabeth. I love the artwork by EK Duncan. Very Regency.

  4. What a great interview, Amy and Elizabeth. Amy, your novella sounds very naughty and entirely improper - I love it! Thanks also for sharing so much of how you write and what inspires you. I know reading this interview has inspired me! All the very best!

  5. Hi Euphrasia. Thanks so much for dropping in and saying hi :) It was definitely fun to write a story that was a little bit 'improper' ;) . Very happy to share with others about my writing. Good luck with your writing too!