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I'm a true history nut. My passion for history has taken me to every setting of my many historicals. The four-book "Yorkist Saga" and two time travels are set in England. My urban fantasy "Fakin' It" won a Romantic Times Top Pick award. After finishing the Italian vampire romance "A Bloody Good Cruise" "Dark Brew", my time travel based on Alice Kyteler, who lived in 14th century Ireland and was accused of witchcraft, is set in Ireland and my beloved Cape Cod.
A longtime member of Romance Writers of America, I've written articles for Romantic Times and I've appeared on The Book Swap Café, shown nationwide on Comcast channels.
I belong to the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association.
What makes you proud to be a writer from New Jersey? I'm a New Jersey native, but New York history has always fascinated me. I was proud to base my heroine of my 1894 New York romance, Vita, on my great grandmother, who became a successful businesswoman, mother, and somewhat of a bootlegger during Prohibition.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? My journalism professor, Jim Conniff, who passed away recently. He told me to start writing novels when I believed writing short stories for magazines was the road to publication. He sent me a pile of how-to books and told me to get busy. He always believed in me and told me 'you're gonna make it, kid.' I never forgot that.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? When I wrote my first novel, about a woman who makes it to the top of the brokerage business. Very autobiographical, as first novels always are. Looking back--wow, am I glad that never got published!
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? We always had books in the house; I belonged to a few kids' book clubs in grammar school, always loved to read, and started writing short stories when I was about 8 years old. I had no idea about plotting, structure, POV, or anything else a writer needs to know...I sure was a pantser until I took some serious writing classes in high school and college.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? Sometimes it's during, sometimes I change it afterwards when I find a grabber title. My vampire romance was going to be Maiden Voyage, but A Bloody Good Cruise came up and hit me like lightning. Some of my titles are titles of old songs.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I started writing biographical novels with no fictional characters, sticking close to the historical record. I find that much more suited to my talents, because I'm not the greatest plotter. But I'm fascinated with the paranormal, so my future books will have either witches, ghosts or some other paranormal twist.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Learning more about the craft by making mistakes others have pointed out to me, and working as an editor has been very rewarding--not just because I'm helping others, but I've become a much better writer from editing.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? I've learned from my negative experiences, so they've actually been positive--the rejections that explained what wasn't working, and the constructive criticism I've gotten from my crit (critique) partners. It's all part of the learning process.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Getting great reviews and fan mail. Knowing readers appreciate my work is the most rewarding part of writing.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? I’d like to tell any aspiring authors who are frustrated that it’s taken them 3, 4, 5 or more years to get that first contract. I wrote for 18 years before getting ‘the call’ so never give up! Keep believing, and keep the faith! And of course, keep writing, because you’ll only get better.
Who is your favorite author? I have so many favorites, but one that stands out is Barbara Erskine. She writes paranormals set in England. If it has her name on it I'll read it.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? My 'overnight success' took 18 years. I wrote my first novel at age 23, after a dose of reality in the brokerage business.
After three more novels, which I consider practice at honing my craft, I wrote my first historical, The Jewels of Warwick, centered around Henry VIII and two fictional heroines. I have a strong spiritual connection with late medieval England, which is the basis for my enchantment with this place and time. Jewels took 2 years to research and write, with no internet. It came very close to publication with several romance houses, but missed the mark for containing too little romance. In 1999 with the Internet making my life so much easier, I queried the many E-publishers that had recently set up shop, and British publisher Domhan Books responded in March with an offer for my two historicals. I then wrote a time travel, One Too Many Times, and a family saga set in New York City. I switched gears with the urban fantasy Fakin’ It, which won a Romantic Times Top Picks award, with a 4 1/2 star review.
My favorite most zany experience was ……when I was doing research for this novel you wouldn’t believe what I did/what happened. Story: I was in England with my husband on a research trip, and I got us locked in Carisbrooke Castle after it closed. We squeezed through the locked gate to finally escape.
Please share your other fascinating jobs/careers. Do you, or will you ever, write full-time? I own an engineering business with my husband, based in Boston. I quit my full time job at a brokerage house to write my first novel, and wrote full time for 7 years. But I wouldn’t want to write all day, every day, all the time. Our work from the business comes in spurts, which gives me time to write all day when it’s slow. But spending all day every day with no one but fictional characters drove me a little nuts.
Romance writer Mona Rossi's book sales are slipping. She needs new ideas and fast! Her vampire love, Fausto Silvius is a doctor aboard the Romanza, a luxury cruise ship. Holding a "Motion on the Ocean" writer's cruise sounds like a great idea. What better way to combine a career boost with romance? But they soon discover hunters on board who give chase to Fausto and his fellow vampires. While he longs to bring Mona into his world, how can he convince her to join him with fringe lunatics on the hunt? In the prime of her life she's not sticking her neck out for a shot at eternity.
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