Monday, August 13, 2007

Spotlight in Six - LIZ FIELDING

Welcome to a new feature of the HRA blog - SPOTLIGHT IN SIX! Each month a different author will answer six questions in a sort of "mini-interview" - and hopefully give you a glimpse into their writing and themselves!

This month we are priveleged to have LIZ FIELDING, whose "REUNITED:MARRIAGE IN A MILLION" is out as the first of the "Secrets We Keep" trilogy.

Without further ado:

After writing fifty books, where do you find new and fresh ideas?

The ideas are easy enough. The world is full of ideas patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharp enough to notice them. Unfortunately the ideas in my head seem to get more and more complicated, not very useful when the contract you signed requires the delivery of three short romances by the next January…

The secret, I think, is to keep it simple, not to get too wound up in complex ideas. To concentrate on the interaction between the hero and heroine. – the internal conflicts.

I read magazines, newspapers, listen to the radio and people watch, filling the well. Then I have to rely on the “girls in the basement” to sift through it all and come up with the goods.

Writers often use photos of celebrities as “casting”. Do you do this, and who has inspired some of your characters?

I don’t “look” for casting pictures as a rule, but sometimes a face, or an actor I’ve seen on film or television will seem just right and then I’ll go looking for photographs to stick on the whiteboard in my office.

Christian Bale seemed an almost perfect likeness for Max Valentine in The Valentine Bride, and Heidi Klum stood in for Louise, but I found them long after I’d started writing the book. I tend to find photographs to match the image in my head, rather than the other way around.

This photograph I found of Hugh Jackman seemed to portray the spirit of Ivo Grenville, the hero of Reunited: Marriage in a Million. He’s still, totally controlled, giving nothing away, especially not his feelings. Ivo to the core. Having a picture on my website and blog does, I think, help the readers to see the kind of man he is, too. It was much more difficult to find a picture that matched my idea of Belle. She is upfront sexy but, like Ivo, she’s hiding a lot and the bombshell image is no more than a veneer. The photograph I eventually found seems just about perfect – although I have no idea of my model’s true identity. Of course, the fact that the art department muddled up my heroine with Jackie Braun’s Claire in the third book in the “Secrets We Keep” trilogy, Found: Her Long Lost Husband, will now confuse the reader totally!

I’ve recently seen Alexander Niddiq in a couple of films and he has become the face of the Sheikh in the novella I’m writing at the moment.

What are your favourite and least favourite parts of writing a novel? Is there a particular section that you struggle with?

The favourite bit is where my editor says she likes it. It’s even better if she says there are no revisions -- rare enough to be a deeply cherished moment.

The truth is, that writing is hard and, like all creative work, it gets harder as you dig deeper each time. The need to lift yourself to write something new and fresh, within the confines of the romance genre, something that isn’t like anything you’ve ever written before, is akin to reinventing the wheel. It has to the do the same job, but not in the same way.

Fortunately all characters are different. They react differently to pressure and that’s the great part -- creating characters that live and breath so they carry my story forward is the most rewarding thing about writing.

The bits I hate are those moments when the characters hit a blank wall. They want to do something and you can’t see any way to make that happen.

When you are not writing, what do you do? How do you pamper yourself?

I pamper myself with books. My idea of the perfect break is sitting in some shady spot overlooking the sea, with a good book, a glass of something interesting and a few olives within reach. No music, no television, no interruptions of any kind. One day of that is probably all I could stand, but it remains the ideal!

What I actually do is catch up on all the stuff that goes by the wayside when I’m writing. Ironing. Dusting. Getting my eyes tested. Stripping wallpaper…

Imagine you’re stranded…where are you and who are you with?

Briefly, in a lift?

With the Prime Minister so that could tell him exactly where he’s going wrong. :)

In trouble, on a mountain?

With mountaineer hunk, Chris Bonnington.

Long term, on a desert island?

Can I have my own version of “Desert Island Discs”, here? In lieu of gramophone records, the question is, which eight men would you take with you…

Just to look at, obviously, as, stripped to the waist they gather firewood, built me a hut, caught fish, shinned up palm trees to pick coconuts…

Hugh Jackman
David Tenant
Paul Bettany
Johnny Depp
Alexander Niddiq
Gerard Butler
Denzel Washington

And for fabulous conversation (and because he’s sexy, too) …

Clive James

Finally, Liz, please tell us what’s up and coming for you in the months ahead!

Coming up in September in the UK, is BRINGING UP BABY, a three-in-one By Request, with Marion Lennox and Jessica Hart.

Then January 2008 sees the publication of my fiftieth book, THE SHEIKH’S UNSUITABLE BRIDE.

It was only when I’d agreed the title with my editor and was entering it in my log (vital to keep a note of the names of heroes and heroines – it’s so easy to think you’ve found a fabulous hero name only to discover you’ve already used it) that I realized that I’d hit the big five-o. It’s not that I can’t count, it’s that not all of them are “Romance” titles, so there are two logs.

In this book, Sheikh Zahir, who made an appearance last year in THE SHEIKH’S GUARDED HEART, knows that he can’t put off marriage any longer. His father wants a grandson and, since arranged marriages are the way they do it in his part of the world, he heads off to London for the biggest business venture of his life, leaving his mother to search for a suitable “mother of his sons”. And then, on his arrival in London, he’s met not by his usual chauffeur, but by Diane Metcalfe, a woman who has opinions by the bucketful and isn’t afraid to share them. Who talks non-stop, has a smile to melt perma-frost and red-gold hair that unfurls in tiny curls against her creamy neck. His head knows that any kind of relationship between them is impossible. His heart – and several other parts of his anatomy – are not listening.
You can find REUNITED: MARRIAGE IN A MILLION on, (or and of course in bookstores this month!
Thanks, Liz, for joining us!!!!!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fabulous August Releases!

August marks some fabulous releases, including the first installment of the "Secrets We Keep" trilogy, launched by the terrific Liz Fielding! (And come back later this month for a spotlight on Liz!)

Without further ado, here's what Harlequin Romance has to offer for August...

Popular TV presenter Belle is married to gorgeous billionaire Ivo. But beneath the veneer of her perfect life is the truth of their marriage of convenience.
Belle knows that workaholic Ivo prefers their family of two, but somewhere along the way she fell deeply in love with her husband, and can't help wishing for a baby. Now they must find it within themselves to share the secrets they've never trusted each other with, and make their marriage one in a million again.

Read Excerpt

An only child, Shanni Jefferson doesn't do family. But temporarily homeless and jobless, she jumps at the offer of a live-in nannying position. How hard can it be to look after one little baby?
Pierce MacLachlan has been economical with the truth—instead of one child, there are five! He's out of his depth with the unruly yet lovable brood…
But every night, once the children are all safely tucked in bed, Shanni wonders whether family life—with gorgeous Pierce—might suit her after all.

Read Excerpt

Intelligent, sensible Della Hadley should've known better than to embark on an affair with a playboy Italian six years her junior, but vibrant and sexy Carlo Rinucci was just too hard to resist.…
Della knows that a fiery passion so quick to ignite should be fast to die out, despite Carlo's vow that their love is forever. But Carlo is Italian through and through, and determined to win his woman—and make Della his bride before the sun sets on their affair.

Read Excerpt

Carson Banick: The black sheep of the family is back—and now his family's future and fortune are in his hands. He must marry a suitable woman and provide an heir.
Beth Krayton: Carson's feisty PA is determined to succeed on her own, without a man.…
They shouldn't suit one another at all. They shouldn't even be together. But as the attraction grows between them Carson has to ask himself what's more important, saving his family or claiming Beth's heart?

Read Excerpt

For Adele and Nick Hughes this idyllic evening for two is the last place either of them wants to be. Their marriage over, they never believed they could find their way back to each other. But stranded in this picturesque cottage, Adele and Nick find they cannot resist the spark that has always fizzed between them.
As the twinkling firelight begins to work its magic, this couple discovers that the wonderful thing about breaking up is making up…

Read Excerpt

She's left to cope with twins…
Rachel Adams's independent life is turned upside down when she's named guardian to two orphaned twins! It's hard to suddenly be a mom to two demanding babies, but in no time they steal her heart!
…And their stand-in dad!
When gorgeous co-guardian Ford Sullivan turns up, he starts to take charge. Rachel realizes it's best for the babies if she and Ford work together. But being this close to Ford makes Rachel wonder whether stand-in mom and dad could become forever bride and groom….