Today I am sharing a cup of Peppermint Tea with Dani Collins in the Potpourri Parlor. Dani is the author of More Than A Convenient Marriage? (Harlequin Presents) with a publication date of December 1, 2013.
Dani Collins spent twenty-five years dreaming of writing full time and finally made her first sale to Harlequin Mills & Boon in May of 2012. She’s still dreaming of making Romance Author her day job, but for now she writes around work, family, and enough exercise to keep her out of traction. For more information about Dani, you can visit her website at www.danicollins.com, listen to her interview with Nice Girls Reading Naughty Books, or watch her interview on GFTV.
Thanks for joining me today, Dani. Let’s get started…
- What’s the elevator pitch for your most recent release?
The biggest selling feature is that it’s two original romances for the price of one! They also happen to be linked books.
The heroine in More Than A Convenient Marriage?, Adara, goes looking for her half-brother in Greece. He’s the hero of the other title in this book, No Longer Forbidden?, but Adara’s husband, Gideon, thinks she’s having an affair and chases her down. From there, all the secrets they’ve been hiding from each other begin to come out.
- Do you work on more than one novel at a time?
To some extent, yes. People often ask how I kept myself going as an unpublished writer and one of my tricks was to always start something new the minute I sent something off. This started my ability to switch gears fairly quickly. Nowadays that usually translates into writing a draft of one, revising something that has come back, doing line edits on a third, then jumping back to my first draft.
- What historical time period is your favorite? Why?
Mostly I write contemporary, but I do have an eBook, The Healer, written in a fantasy medieval world. (Recently names a finalist in Epic’s 2014 ebook Awards!) I think I could be drawn into setting a story in just about any time period if that’s what the characters and story demanded. There’s something deliciously taboo about passion against a backdrop of strict customs or very conservative societies. I’m always intrigued by that sort of contrast.
- Do you have a vision board or other `trick’ to help motivate you?
I don’t collage or do a lot of pre-work, although I usually have a brief synopsis and character back stories as well as a few plot points outlined. As I’m writing, I love jumping online—no, it’s not goofing off if it’s research—when I arrive at something I want to describe. For instance, in the third book in this series, An Heir To Bind Them (June 2014), my heroine is Punjabi. I wanted to describe the atmosphere of an Indian wedding in a few sentences. I googled for images and went from there. Same goes if the hero whisks her to his villa on Lake Como or she has to put on a gown for a fancy ball.
- Do you schedule time to write or is writing all-consuming to the exclusion of everything else and you schedule time to do other things? Like eat.
Well, for years I got up early to write before my day job. My children were young and my husband worked shifts so that was the only time I could really schedule. I still get up an hour early to write before work. In the last few months I’ve had some really tight deadlines so the writing has become all-consuming out of necessity. I’ve discovered that there are times I can’t be bothered to eat, or eat well. I’m a bit of a hippy so I’m shocked that I’m letting myself fall into these bad habits. Also, I recently went away for eleven days for my day job. When I called my husband, he said, “It’s like you’re upstairs writing. We don’t even notice you’re gone.” This reinforces the message for me that I have to make changes. I will. Just as soon as I get my December book submitted.
- What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Hilarious. Just kidding. I mean self-deprecating. Haha, see what I did there? I suppose I’m driven, given the pace I’ve kept to the last year. People would say I’m nice and bubbly. I tend to say yes to things and worry about the how afterward. That gets me into these over-committed situations.
- Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
I can get pretty worked up about women’s rights.
- Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.
We have a cat, Buddy, who drives me crazy. He’s nice, quite affectionate and a heck of a mouser, but talkative and very determined. Just try locking him out at night. He climbs to the deck outside our bedroom and yowls until we let him in. We’ve tried three different ways to block him and he’s managed to outsmart us and climb up anyway. If he would only learn to tell time and come in by ten, we’d all be fine, but no. He breaks curfew and I wind up in a domestic dispute with him at one in the morning when he finally gets home sticking of the neighbor’s fireplace. Such a pain.
- If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
I like to garden and travel and golf.
- Where did you find the strength to persevere until you got the “call”?
I get asked that a lot, especially because it took twenty-five years for that to happen. I always say that you don’t know going in that it’ll be that long. I always started a new year thinking it would be The Year. Eventually I developed a Scarlett O’Hara ‘tude where I was not gonna let them lick me. I had too many years invested to believe it would never happen so I just kept throwing the spaghetti at the wall. Eventually something stuck.
- Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?
That’s a great question because I was always wary of calling myself a writer, even when my family called me one. I would say ‘I write’ but I didn’t feel like a writer because I hadn’t sold. I’ve since reframed that in my own mind. If you write regularly, you are a writer. If you publish, you are an author. Having said that, when I was among other writers, I always felt like a writer. I spoke the language, I knew the pitfalls and triumphs. In my day to day life, however, it took the validation of a sale to make it easy for me to call myself a writer.
- Who are your favorite authors?
Elizabeth Lowell and Linda Howard occupy a large section on my keeper shelf. I have a ton of Harlequin Presents and really don’t want to play favorites. When it comes to reading, I’ll try any sub-genre so long as it’s romance. There are a ton of newer authors in print and digital I haven’t had time to try and it’s making me crazy. Again, it’s time to make changes.
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