What inspired you to create your exciting new Wedding Belles series?
I actually had a couple sources of inspiration on this series. The first came from the fact that I’d just come off the heels of writing two ‘hero-focused’ series (New York’s Finest and Oxford), and was really wanting to get back into the world of female friendships the way I did with my Stiletto series. When I started thinking about what the connection among these heroines might be, the idea of wedding planners came almost immediately to mind, because it used to be my dream career! When I was a child, I always figured that I either wanted to be a writer or a wedding planner. I guess in a small way, this series has allowed me to do both!
Many of your books are set in New York – what do you love about writing about this city?
Oh gosh, EVERYTHING. The first thing I love is more of a logistical benefit; it’s much easier to write about a city that you’re familiar with! I can always tell when I read a book set in NYC that’s written by someone who’s lived here or is very familiar—there’s a certain intimacy about the way a ‘local’ describes the city. The other reason I love setting by books in New York is that it’s got this really compelling combination of glamour and grit. There’s the Park Avenue penthouses, and then just a couple Avenues away there’s the Yorkville walk-ups. Because Manhattan in particular is so tiny and dense, it allows you to realistically put people whose paths wouldn’t normally cross in the same ‘orbit’.
We can’t wait for From This Day Forward! Can you give us a hint of what’s to come for the first of the Wedding Belles?
I’m excited too! So, From This Day Forward is sort of a prequel novella, featuring two rival wedding photographers with a bit of an antagonistic past. It was a fun way to sort of ease into the wedding planning world, and introduce readers to this new ‘universe’. To Have And To Hold (July) is the first full-length novel, and it features a California-girl heroine who finds herself trying to adjust to life as a wedding planner in NYC, only to fall for the brother of her first celebrity client.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? What do you love most about your job?
I was one of those precocious children who informed anyone who’d asked that I was going to be an author when I grew up. Somewhere along the way I put the dream aside in favour of a ‘real job,’ but writing called me home in my mid-20s, and I knew that writing was the only way I’d be truly soul-happy!
Do you have the most fun creating your heroes or your heroines?
Well, one isn’t much fun without the other, as romance for me is all about the banter, but I’d probably say the heroes are a bit more fun. The more books I write, the more I realize there are so many facets to sexy, so many little ways to turn a character into someone’s next ‘book boyfriend’.
Do you have a favourite hero or heroine from your books or by any other author?
My favourite hero of mine is probably Mitchell Forbes from After the Kiss; something about that quiet, controlling, but still kind hero really gets me! From other authors, I was blown away by Kate Meader’s hero in Flirting With Fire. One of the best heroes I’ve ever read!
Who are the authors you read for pleasure?
Truth be told, I don’t read as much these days as ‘the experts’ say that I should. I tend to gravitate towards non-fiction mostly, when I do get free time to read. However, I can never resist a Sarah Maclean, Christina Lauren or Julie James book!
If you could take only three essentials with you to a desert island what would they be?
My laptop, if there was a way to charge it, and a whole lot of notebooks/pens if not! Oh, and wine. Definitely wine. And can I bring my dog?!
What are your guilty pleasures?
My pleasures are definitely a nice cocktail after a great writing day, a glass of rosé on a summer day, or a big bowl of very buttery popcorn, but I most definitely do not feel guilty about any of them!
Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?
I always love the idea of book boyfriends, because it sort of allows me to indulge in the fantasy of a guy I probably wouldn’t go for in real life, but who TOTALLY does it for me in the book world. In real life, I like the nice guys. The ones who hold doors, make me laugh, and are charming at a cocktail party. When it comes to my reading life though, I sort of love the ‘jerks’. Nothing makes me swoon more than a gruff, alpha hero with little-to-no social graces that reluctantly falls hard for the heroine. In real life I wouldn’t know what to do with him, but on my Kindle? *fans self.* Specifically, I’ve been loving historical “jerks” hard lately. Ashe from Falling Into Bed With A Duke (Lorraine Heath) comes to mind!
There’s so much interest and excitement around romance fiction right now. What do you think that romance readers are looking for in the romances they read today?
My favorite thing about the romance world right now is that there’s truly something for everyone. When I first started reading romance years ago, you could choose among the standard sub-genres (contemporary, historical, suspense, etc.), and that’s still the case, but there are more nuances now. Within the sub-genres there are people going super gritty, there’s light and fluffy, there’s uber-sexy. Sometimes we authors are told that we ‘have to’ write a certain way in order to sell; more sexy, less sexy, longer, shorter, more angsty, more alpha, etc. And I think we’re increasingly realizing that may not be true. There are readers out there looking for every type of story, it’s just a matter of matching the right authors with the right readers!