This month our Spotlight shines on Harlequin Romance, and new Harlequin Presents author Ally Blake.
Where do you find new and fresh ideas?
Everywhere. They come to me in the shower, watching the news, talking with friends, listening to music, going for a walk. The first idea can be the smallest thing; an image of a beautiful indoor pool, a couple locked in a building in the dark, a restaurant that makes you hand in your mobile phone to the cloak room, these ideas all gave me stories.
My current Harlequin Romance HIRED: THE BOSS’S BRIDE came about after I went to a fine art auction with a friend who had a painting for sale. It was very elegant, very cool, and lots of fun!
Writers often use photos of celebrities as "casting". Do you do this, and who has inspired some of your characters?
Since my very first book, since before I even knew it was a thing writers did! I had Chris Noth of Mr Big fame very much in mind in writing my first hero, and funnily enough Charlotte from Sex and the City looked so much like my heroine it was uncanny. Having those pictures in mind to ground me has meant I’ve done the same thing on every book since! My most used inspiration would be Christian Bale. I’ve been a fan of his since I was 13 years old so I think I can claim him all for my very own!
What are your favourite and least favourite parts of writing a novel? Is there a particular section that you struggle with?
I love the beginning, when everything is new and fresh and exciting, when the page is blank, the possibilities are endless, and I feel blithely unaware of what my hero and heroine are going to put me through. (You’d think after 18 books I’d have leant by now!) I also love typing those two magical words “the end”. To have gone through the wringer with my characters and have all come out the other end in pretty much one piece is always a thrill. My least favourite part? Now that I have a beautiful 10 month old daughter, when deadlines are close I have to lock myself away for a couple of days and let my hubby get to do all the fun cuddly kissy stuff with her while I’m strapped to my computer ;).
When you are not writing, what do you do? How do you pamper yourself?
I follow my little girl around. I clean the spots atop the kitchen cupboards where she manages to fling food. I wash her clothes – which she has far more of than I do. And we read, and cuddle, and dance, and play with her little friends. And every now and then when I’m really lucky my other mum friends and I get to leave the kids at home and go on a shopping date for a whole afternoon!
Imagine you're stranded - where are you and who are you with?
You know what? I’ve love to be stranded right where I am. Snug in my home, with my husband and little girl, our plethora of pets, the sun shining, the sounds of the neighbourhood filtering through the open windows, and a cupboard full of chocolate! My star sign is Cancer. Obvious, huh?
September, October and November see three releases across North America in three months, which is really exciting.
In September THE MAGNATE’S INDECENT PROPOSAL was my first ever Harlequin Presents release. My latest Harlequin Romance, HIRED: THE BOSS’S BRIDE is out in October in the UK and North America. And A NIGHT WITH THE SOCIETY PLAYBOY is out now in the UK as a Modern Heat, and next month through Harlequin Presents across North America.