AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: SABRINA JEFFRIES
Well known author Sabrina Jeffries has agreed to let this Bunny bug her with lots of questions that I (oops we) want to know….
How to Woo a Reluctant Lady—it’s Book 3 in my new Regency series, The Hellions of Halstead Hall.
Tell us a little about How to Woo a Reluctant Lady—what inspired you to write this novel?
It was a lot of things:
1) Minerva herself, who just leaped off the pages when she appeared in the first Hellion book
2) Giles, who proved to be quite the character when he first appeared in Wed Him Before You Bed Him
3) My desire to write about a writer as a character—that idea came from a newspaper article I found from the Regency period where a woman literally advertised for a husband.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
It’s a little of both these days. I usually think of the plot first, but if I have characters who are somewhat fixed when I begin (like the Hellions), then I have to make sure the plot accommodates what I know about them. I always have certain things I know I want to happen. Then I make changes in the plot as the story goes on, largely because I just can’t completely know my characters until I start writing the book. It takes me a few chapters to really feel like I know them, and those first few chapters get rewritten 10 and 11 times until I do. I do a great deal of revision.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I started writing romance because I love it. It’s the only genre where women can freely explore their fantasies, where women’s sexuality is celebrated, where personal relationships are the most important thing in the plot, and where intelligent women are shown gaining success. I started writing Regency historicals because they were always my favorites to read.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
This changes with my mood, to be honest. But my latest tends to be my favorite—I’m not sure why. I always think that the one I just finished is the best one . . . until the next comes along. So I can honestly say that Minerva is my most favorite character ever!
Do you have a character that you look back on now and don’t like?
Not really. I might have characters that I would alter a little, but none that I could say I really don’t like.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
I get my inspiration everywhere—anything I read or watch or experience can be fodder for a novel. But mostly the characters come out of my imagination. I’ve never met someone and thought, “They’d make a great character.” It just doesn’t happen for me like that.
What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?
Getting the characters right and keeping it interesting. It’s easy to get so bogged down in explaining plot that you forget that the book is about two people falling in love. I try to keep that foremost in my writing.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’m extremely ADD (that’s attention deficit disorder for those of you unfamiliar with the acronym). It makes for an interesting writing day. J
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
I swim or walk for an hour in the morning and think through any problems I’m having with the book then. And a must have is coffee!
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Music definitely works for me. Actually, all my recent books have entire playlists dedicated to them. One of these days, I hope to get them up on the website. And there’s even a theme song for the Hellion series—“Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence.
If your new book was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
I could easily see Reese Witherspoon as Minerva, and Giles would definitely be Dylan McDermott, who I had as my wallpaper the whole time I was writing the book.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at work in my job as a technical writer for the Security Department of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It was so long ago, though, that I don’t remember whom I told first. I probably called my husband. Or told one of my cubicle mates (I shared a cubicle with a crusty old marine who was just wonderful).
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
About 9 years old, believe it or not.
If you still have one of those pesky day jobs what is it?
I’ve been writing full time since 1992, except for a six-month temp job I took in 1997, when we were preparing to move to North Carolina. I wrote initially as Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas, before I changed to Sabrina Jeffries.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m currently working on Lord Gabriel’s book, the next in the series, and the book for Lady Celia, the youngest Hellion, will follow that.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following . . . “Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer,” “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”?
First, I ask them if they’ve ever read one of those books, and if they haven’t, I ask them how they can have an opinion about something they’ve never read. If they ask when I’m going to start writing real books, I borrow my friend Karen Hawkins’s brilliant answer, “When they stop paying me that fake money.”
Where can readers find you?
my free phone app (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sabrina-j/id392830624?mt=8)
and Pocket After Dark (http://pocketafterdark.com/)
And one question for the silly side: What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Dark chocolate—especially the Terry’s dark chocolate “oranges.” In fact, I like any kind of orange-flavored chocolate. And I love chocolate-covered marzipan. Oh, and chocolate truffles. And chocolatinis. Yes, I’m a serious chocoholic!