author of Cherry Season
Nine Naughty Questions
1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication
I think, maybe a bit of both. I came to writing like so many of my colleagues, via a totally unrelated career. I was a mild-mannered chartered accountant before the writing bug bit hard and wouldn’t let go.
However as a teen I always fancied myself a writer (until talk of the real world and needing a “proper” job intervened).
(PS: I was kind of kidding about the mild-mannered bit…)
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?
A romance writer can’t just pay lip service to the emotions – romance readers will spot insincerity at fifty paces. So if you want to connect with your readers, you have to be prepared to pour yourself onto the page. Sure, sometimes it’s hard or confronting, but then, we’re not writing autobiography, we’re writing fiction. It’s about tapping into our experiences, our heartbreaks and highs, our joys and our grief, and putting the characters in that place instead.
Ultimately it’s not about you, the writer, and you have to be able to let that go.
3. Please tell us about your latest novel…
Cherry Season is a story about what happens when polar opposites attract. Dan Faraday is a 37 year old uptight third generation cherry orchardist with both age and an overblown sense of responsibility weighing down on his shoulders.
Lucy Marino is a 24 year old California girl backpacking her way around Australia and who gets a job picking cherries on the orchard, and immediately the two are at loggerheads.
It’s a story about spark, finding home and finding love where you least expect it. And it’s a book about cherries too, of course 🙂
4. Is the life of a published Romance writer… well… Romantic?
If ugg boots, too much coffee, screaming deadlines and mad hair 99% of the time is romantic, then sure.
But there are times you have to go to Santorini and watch a sunset, or visit a winery and learn how to dosage and disgorge a bottle of sparkling wine that you can later crack open and taste, all in the name of research.
So yeah, there are moments of sheer unadulterated romance that make up for that other mental 99% of the time.
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?
This is funny. Ever heard that expression “about as romantic as a road accident”? Well, that could have been coined for my hubby. Don’t get me wrong, he’s one amazing guy, but he’s not the most romantic man on the planet (which may or may not explain why I feel the need to make stuff up 🙂 Then again, we’ve been married longer than twenty-seven years now and I’m crazier about him now than ever.
I figure if I can give my characters a taste of that kind of romance and a love that turns into a bone deep commitment, that means your characters are going to stick together whatever life hurls at them, then I’ve done my job.
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?
Sex is one part, and often a very important part, of any romantic relationship. But in romance, it’s not about the sex per se – it’s about the emotion, for without that, the sex is nothing more than a physical act that comes as no surprise to anyone.
Intimacy is a huge, risky step and takes courage and trust, because when our characters take off their clothes, they’re not only baring their bodies, they’re often baring their souls. Now they’ve got nothing to hide behind, and all sorts of secrets and fears and hang ups can be exposed, exposing the characters to all kinds of grief in the process.
I like to put my characters through the wringer in all kinds of ways. Sex is just one way.
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?
It was a box of Mills & Boons from my Granny’s nursing home that I devoured when I was fifteen that made me want to be and believe I could be a writer – I so wish I’d taken note of the author names (back then I do believe I was much more interested in some much needed sex ed:-))
When I caught the bug again, it was Emma Darcy (love love love her Holly Christmas!), Miranda Lee (fabulous sex!) and Alison Kelly’s strong sexy stories that I loved. All our fabulous Downunder Sexy authors really, because that strong, confident voice resonated with me.
And then I discovered Jennifer Crusie and her full length contemporaries, like Welcome to Temptation and that leapt out and smacked me over the head and said, it’s okay, you can do sexy *and* funny.
So here I am now, writing sexy and funny and having a ball.
8. Erotic Romance writing is ‘so hot right now’, do you have any thoughts on why?
Haha, could it be the sex, perchance? Writing has become much more graphic sexually over the last forty or fifty years, and men’s fiction has led the way. Women’s fiction is catching up. And now you can read on a Kindle or similar and nobody on the bus on the way to work knows what you’re reading – it’s liberating and discrete at the same time.
9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?
To writers in general – just write. The more you write, the better you’ll get. And don’t believe it when people tell you that you have to write a certain way. Just write the story, and sort the rest out later.
To romance writers in particular – all of the above – and join Romance Writers of Australia if you are serious about pursuing a career in romance writing.
Trish, thank you for playing!
Dan Faraday is too busy for love. With the long hours running the family orchard, he doesn’t have time to go on dates, and if he did, he would be looking for someone who fits into his ten-year plan. Someone traditional, reliable and dependable – someone just like him.
Someone the total opposite of beautiful drifter Lucy Marino. A free spirit who chases the moment, she’s in town for the fruit-picking season. The only certain thing in her life is constant change and while she’s tempted to see how cute Dan might be if only he smiled, she’s not the type of girl to wait around.
But as the cherry trees blossom, Lucy and Dan are increasingly drawn … Read more.
About the Contributor
Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the former editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.