Behind the Story: Bree Verity

bree.jpgToday I’m delighted to have the gorgeous Bree Verity on my blog. Bree grew up on a diet of love, romance, old movies and musicals and it’s no wonder she writes love stories – contemporary or historical, she doesn’t mind. Love and romance are timeless.

She lives in Perth Western Australia with her teenage son, her long-suffering partner, and her two attentive rescue dogs, Millie and Boofhead. She keeps it very quiet that she is equally a cat person.

She dreams of travelling the world, going off-grid and building a tiny house, although she realises she would very quickly go crazy in a confined space.

Thanks so much for being here today, Bree. Please tell us your story behind the story!

Quite a while ago now I attended my first writer’s group meeting, at a quaint white house alongside a lake, around which a university had grown.

I was struggling to complete what I thought at the time was my Magnum Opus, a novel of epic proportions, set in France during the revolution, that would bring me much fame and fortune on its release.

However, I had stumbled. It was incomplete. I was concerned that I didn’t know enough about the times, the customs, the laws. I had researched extensively, read many books, studied many articles. But I still felt dissatisfied.

Then, somewhere during the discussion at that first writer’s group, someone said, “Write what you know.”

It seemed a revelation. Of course! How on earth could I write about the French Revolution when I know nothing about it?

I set about creating a series of contemporary romance novels, set in Perth, Western Australia. I know Perth. I also know what it’s like to be single and in Perth. I figured I would write the contemporary series, find my writing feet, and then, when the time was right, go back and finish my historical.

I wrote the first contemporary novel quite quickly, using a Camp Nanowrimo month to get it done. It felt awesome, writing those words – you know the ones – The End. I think writing The End validates you somehow as an author. That you have the chops to craft something all the way to The End is a highly satisfying and smug-worthy feeling.

lydia-cover-smallThe book was published with little fanfare and, as expected, was downloaded by some of my friends and very few others. I wasn’t concerned by this. I knew it wasn’t a great book – it was a nice, fluffy, sunny day read. I continued on, writing the prequel story, and then started work on the second novel.

Writing these was my apprenticeship. Learning the craft, building characters, understanding plot, and then delving into the wild world of self-publishing; all my skills were honed writing the contemporary books.

I finished writing the second book and, while the satisfaction of writing The End was the same, I had a feeling in my gut that I simply couldn’t ignore. It gnawed at me, trying to tell me something. And it was only very recently that I realised what it was.

In writing that which I knew, I had stopped writing that which I love.

If you go for a browse on my Kindle, you’ll find hundreds of books, and at least half of them are historicals. I love the feel of stepping out of my time and into someone else’s. I love the pageantry and the manners and the romance. And I realised THAT was what I wanted to write.

So, I went back to my Magnum Opus (which over the years had shrivelled a little to become an historical romance, perhaps a little short at 75,000 words) and I finished it.

Writing The End on that book was a revelation. I understood for the first time that I didn’t need to know all the details, so long as my readers are transported by the story. It’s amazing the detail imagination will fill in.

amanda-cover-smlThe novel has been trimmed, changed and reshaped now, into something unrecognisable from the first drafts, but a novel that I am so proud of, mainly because it is a book that I would like to read. It’s currently with a couple of publishers. Hopefully it’s a novel they, too, would like to read.

I still plan to complete my contemporary novel series. They hold a place in my heart as the books where I learned to write people instead of situations. Where I took heed of a piece of writing advice to “Write what you know” and completed three stories all the way through to The End.

But I will be amending “Write what you know” to “Write what you love” in my author’s vocabulary. Being in the game for the long haul, writing what you love is a much better game plan.

Visit her website and blog at www.breeverity.com, ‘VeryBreeVerity’ on Facebook, or @VeryBreeVerity on Twitter.

 

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Just a tad busy …

It’s been a busy year, for which I am very thankful and I’ll be doing a year in review later this month, but in the meantime I’ve been doing some guest blogging to celebrate the release of Under the Spanish Stars in the USA, UK, Canada and beyond. If you’d like to find out a little more about me, my writing process and the inspiration behind this award-winning book, you might like to pop onto the blogs below:

ELLE FIELD – Writer Wednesday

I reveal the book I wish I had written and why, as well as what readers can expect from me next year.

HAZARDOUS HIPPO

This blog post uncovers some of the super interesting information I learnt about Spain and flamenco when researching Under the Spanish Stars.

SHELLEY WILSON – Tuesday Book Blog

Here I reveal which super power I wish I had. Can you guess it?

LINDA’S BOOK BAG

Where I chat about why I chose Spain and flamenco as a destination for this book.

GET LOST IN A STORY

Where I reveal my reading habits and a little about my next book. 

BROOK’S COTTAGE BOOKS

Here I offer advice to writers just starting out or in the midst of self-doubt.

And last, but by no means least, I had a lovely feature in Readers Entertainment magazine where you can read the first chapter of Under the Spanish Stars. CLICK HERE to read more.

Stay tuned as I have a few more lined up over the next little while. Thank you so much to all the bloggers and readers who have supported me not only for the release of Under the Spanish Stars, but in every way since I first started this amazing journey in publishing. 

Release day: Under the Spanish Stars

UTSS KensingtonHooray! Today is the official release day for Under the Spanish Stars for readers living in the USA, Canada, UK and beyond (for readers in Australia and NZ, Under the Spanish Stars was released in February, 2016 – click HERE for details).

So, what’s the story about? Here’s the rundown:

Amid the vivid beauty of Granada, a woman entrusted with unraveling a family secret will discover the truth about her heritage–and the alluring promise of love…

When her beloved grandmother falls ill, Charlotte Kavanagh will do whatever she asks of her–even if it means traveling to a country that broke her abuela’s heart. Can an unsigned painting of a flamenco dancer unlock the secrets of her grandmother’s youth in Spain? To find the answers she needs, Charlotte must convince the charismatic and gifted musician, Mateo Vives to introduce her to a secluded gypsy clan.  

The enigmatic Mateo speaks the true language of flamenco, a culture Charlotte must learn to appreciate if she wants to understand her grandmother’s past–and the flamenco legend that has moved souls to beauty, and bodies to the heights of passion. As Mateo leads her into the captivating world of the music and the dance, Charlotte embraces her own long-denied creative gift and the possibility of a future rich with joy…

And if you’d like to purchase a copy, you can get it through most e-tailers and if you prefer print, you can order it online and it will arrive on your doorstep in no time! 

KENSINGTON BOOKS

AMAZON USA

AMAZON UK

iBOOKS

GOOGLE PLAY

KOBO

BARNES & NOBLE

BOOK DEPOSITORY

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me on this writing journey and for sharing posts, telling people about my book and the lovely readers who take time out of their precious days to immerse themselves in the worlds I create. You are all wonderful!

Stay tuned – there’s some more exciting news about to let out of the bag!

Behind the Story: Angela Bissell

NZ PhotographerToday I’m excited to welcome the delightful Angela Bissell on the Story Behind  the Story. Angela is addicted to daydreaming and romance from a young age, Angela suspects she was always destined to become a writer although she did travel a convoluted career path on her way to authordom. Like many an intrepid Kiwi she also travelled the world, backpacking through Europe, Egypt, Israel, Turkey and the Greek Islands, before settling down to live and work for a few years in London. Now she lives back home in the vibrant harbourside city of Wellington, New Zealand, never taking a day in her beautiful country for granted and loving the challenge of pursuing her writerly dreams. Over the years her list of incurable addictions has expanded to include coffee, chocolate, Pinterest, her iPad, and her husband, though not necessarily in that order!

Alli, thanks so much for inviting me to share my “story behind the story” today. It’s great to be here!

 What inspired you to write Surrendering to the Vengeful Italian?

Many years ago I lived in London and worked at The Dorchester, a beautiful hotel on Park Lane that was owned back then by the Sultan of Brunei and was, as you can imagine, a world quite different from the one us ordinary folk inhabit. Although I worked “back of house” in personnel and recruitment, one of my duties was to lead visiting groups of students from Europe’s top hospitality management schools on tours of the hotel. It meant I was able to escape my little cubicle in the basement now and again and get a wee glimpse of how the rich and famous live! I loved those little excursions above ground, not only for the chance to revel in luxurious surroundings but for the tantalising prospect of spotting a Hollywood starlet or famous celebrity or two on my jaunts around the hotel.

It was, of course, terribly glamorous and my writer’s imagination often ran riot thinking about the types of people who stayed in those beautiful suites and rooms. I’ve always loved a good rags-to-riches character, a hero or heroine who, against the odds, has clawed their way out of poverty and attained a level of success no one had believed they were capable of achieving. But I was also fascinated by the idea of the reverse scenario—a character born into wealth and privilege who then chooses to walk away from that life. What would motivate someone to make that decision? What sacrifices would they have to make and why? And would they grieve for their old lifestyle, or would they enthusiastically embrace the challenges of their new life?

So, I guess Helena and Leo in Surrendering to the Vengeful Italian were ultimately born out of those early musings. Seven years before the story starts, they were lovers irresistibly drawn to each other from different worlds, Leo from humble beginnings in Rome, Helena from a background of money and privilege. When they’re thrown together in the present day of the story, their positions are dramatically reversed. Leo has enjoyed a meteoric rise to success during the intervening years and now enjoys the power and privilege that comes with being a wealthy man, while Helena has turned her back on that world and chosen instead a modest life far removed from her family’s wealth and connections. It makes for an interesting dynamic in this story about second chances, and just to make sure Helena and Leo’s path to Happily Ever After wouldn’t be too easy, I threw another of my favourite romance tropes into the mix—revenge!

Oh, and did I mention the opening scene is set in a glamorous London hotel? Of course. I couldn’t resist!

Why did you choose to write category romance? 

I discovered Mills and Boon romances at the tender age of thirteen when I found a box of them in the bottom of my mother’s wardrobe. I can’t remember what I was doing when I stumbled upon them (quite possibly snooping for Christmas presents!) but the minute I started to read, I was hooked! Fans of category romance will know that these stories are shorter than single title books, and that was one of the things about them that immediately appealed to me—that I could effortlessly devour one in a single sitting. Also, the smaller word count makes for a fast-paced story that focuses very intently on the hero and heroine’s relationship, without any secondary plot lines, and I love the powerful emotional intensity of these stories. Of course, I don’t only read category romance. I read many kinds of commercial and romantic fiction of varying lengths and enjoy all sorts of genres and subgenres. But traditional category romance was my first love and what I always dreamed of writing—and now do!

coverBlurb for Surrendering to the Vengeful Italian

 One step from surrender…

 For seven years, formidable Leo Vincenti has planned his vengeance on Douglas Shaw and nothing will stop him. Not even Shaw’s stunning but treacherous daughter, Helena, who—right now—is pleading for leniency. Grim satisfaction spreads through him as he knows she would willingly never take up his challenge to return to his side.

 But he has greatly underestimated Helena. Secrets drive her as if the very devil were on her heels. And suddenly the passion that left them undone years before is forcing them both to the brink of surrender…

 Buy Links

 AMAZON US

AMAZON AU

AMAZON UK

MILLS & BOON (AU)

HARLEQUIN

iBOOKS

NOOK

BAM!

GOOGLE PLAY

 Connect with Angela

 WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER

 

 

AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards 2016

One of the best parts about being a writer is the chance to meet – either online or in person –  some really amazing and wonderful readers from all over the world. Recently, the fabulous AusRom Today held their annual Reader’s Choice Awards and I was very lucky to be nominated in four categories. People had a chance to cast votes for their favourite author or book, and I am very happy to say that I was awarded Best Established Author of the Year and the cover for UNDER THE SPANISH STARS won Cover of the Year!

A million thank you’s and eternal gratitude to all my lovely readers and friends who voted and have supported me on this amazing publishing journey. I wouldn’t be here without your wonderful encouragement and support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

2017 is shaping up to be quite the year already and I will have lots of news very soon. If you’d like to be the first to know, please sign up for my VIP Club!

Please also go and check out AusRom Today and see who the other nominees are as well as the winners of other categories. There are some amazing Australian authors on those lists. And while you’re there, check out the book reviews and interviews – it’s such a great website if you love Aussie fiction.

Once again, thank you so much to everyone who has ever read my books, nominated or voted for me, shared my posts or told people about my books – you truly are stars!

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