Saturday, May 2, 2015

Welcome to an Interview with Veteran Romance Author Liz Fielding…..

Welcome all to an Interview with Romance Author Liz Fielding…..

      Hello one and all! How are you today? I'm back and hope everyone is doing well and happy! Welcome back to my writing blog page where I try to share whatever I think may interest you. Today I interview another fellow author. I love meeting other authors and promoting them. It's so much fun. Why talk about myself  when there are so many wonderful authors out there and everywhere waiting to share with us. With me this time is Romance Author Liz Fielding where she discusses writing and her latest release, Vettori's Damsel in Distress, which is set to be released on July 1, 2015 from Harlequin in the US, UK and Australia.  Liz writes romance with sizzle, wit and charm....

      Reading is, and always has been, the first love of Liz Fielding's life. Except writing. Success came early for her: When Liz was twelve when she won an Easter egg in a hymn writing competition at school, but life intervened with her plans to become a hotshot author—she got a day job. Not that this was dull. Liz travelled to Zambia at the age of twenty where she worked as a secretary, before following her personal hero to the Middle East, Kenya and Botswana, and ambition became buried in the business of raising a family.
     However Liz never forgot that she was a writer. She wrote magazine articles, ghost stories and children's stories for BBC Radio. She was at a point where she wanted to move onto something bigger when she read a magazine piece about Charlotte Lamb and Anne Hampson and discovered, rather late in life, romantic fiction. She then read everything she could lay her hands on, and feeling certain she had a grasp of the genre, began writing. Liz had three rejections—she still has those letters!—but her fourth submission became An Image of You and was published in 1992.
     Liz has now written forty-five Harlequin Romance books. Seven of them have been nominated for RWA's RITA award; The Best Man & The Bridesmaid took the prize in 2001. A Family of His Own won the RNA's Romance Prize, and was also named Reviewers' Choice Best Harlequin Romance by Romantic Times BOOK reviews in 2005. A Marriage Miracle took the Short Contemporary RITA in 2006. These days, Liz, an empty-nester, lives in a small village in Wales, in Great Britain. "Pick up a book and come with me…"


SJ: If it’s all right with you, Liz, I’d like to begin with your long career in writing romance. You began writing before the “internet craze”. I’m sure you’ve seen many changes in publishing during this time. What advantages or disadvantages do you think the internet has added to the world of writing for authors and readers?
Liz: I get together with other writers in my area two or three times a year and when we met last week this question came up. There was no internet as we know it now and research involved trips to the library and coming home with piles of books. Lots of reading to get a flavor of "place". You couldn't look up Google images for photographs of the places you were writing about, there was no Google Earth to swoop down and actually "wander" along the streets.
The biggest change though, is that back then you worked alone except for input from an editor. My first break in the isolation was when I was invited to join a newsletter group with some authors based in Australia, the US and the UK. That involved sending letters with our news and thoughts to the coordinator in Australia. She then compiled a newsletter and sent it to one contact on each continent who in turn photocopied it and sent it out locally. It eventually morphed into an email loop and now we all have several groups where we exchange publishing news or - in the case of some small loops - have made real friends.
The contact with readers was also minimal. Back in the day they had to write to the publisher. Websites and blogs have brought them so much closer and now it's all social media - talking straight to readers, sharing your life with them. It's wonderful, slightly scary and, if you are not terribly careful, it can take over your life. These connections are wonderful, but the writing always has to come first.

SJ: If you don’t mind traveling down memory lane, once more, we’d love to hear about your very first book, An Image of You, HR #141 set in Kenya. Can you tell us a little bit of how the idea came about? What was your inspiration?
Liz: Well... I lived in Kenya for about eighteen months. My husband is a civil engineer and was constructing a series of bridges across six rivers deep in the bush. Occasionally we'd have a long weekend and go "on safari" and our favorite place was a small tented camp in Tsavo West away from the usual tourist beat. You had to leave your car on the far bank of the Tsavo River and cross by boat.  We slept in tents (with plumbing!) and spent the evenings in a conversation pit sitting around a fire. Magic. That was my setting. Then I saw a documentary on the television where Patrick Lichfield (famous photographer related to the Queen) was on a major glamour calendar shoot for a motor parts company. Into that mix I pitched a passionate young feminist as a stand in assistant photographer, stood back and watched the fireworks. The editor who plucked the book off the slush pile bought it because it made her laugh - which was unusual in romance fiction back then.

Cover of Liz's first book, HR #141.Image copyright (c) Mills and Boon 
SJ: You have written many books, over 60 to date. How do you keep getting your ideas?
Liz: Ideas are sitting there patiently waiting for your wits to grow sharp enough to spot them. An article in a newspaper about the difference in inheritance is you were married to your partner or chose to live together - no matter how long. About 40% of the estate led to A Wife On Paper, for instance - it's so much harder to come up with a reason for a marriage of convenience these days!
A radio program about surrogacy set me on the way to Secret Baby, Surprise Parents. The film It Happened One Night gave me the idea for Eloping With Emmy. The sight of an old manor house high on a wooded hill - spotted from the car on a motorway - set me thinking about who would be standing on the step, ringing the doorbell and a couple of years later I wrote The Bride, the Baby and the Best Man (ideas sometimes take a while to percolate down to the muse).
Finally, my very good writing friend put a picture on her blog of a mug shaped like an ice cream van. I knew instantly that I wanted to write one into a story but that took a while, but was worth the wait. It produced Tempted By Trouble, Anything But Vanilla and now Vettori's Damsel in Distress, the third of my "ice cream" books, which is out in July.

 SJ: What do you love most about being a writer? Least?
Liz:  I love the fact that I can fall out of bed, grab a cup of tea and be at my desk writing in my jammies while the birds are still thinking about that first worm. I love the moment when a courier brings a box of my latest release to the door. I love the wonderful friends I've made - writers, readers; getting together at conferences, chatting on email or twitter.
I hate that sometimes it is soooo hard. I want the words to fly, to write 5000 of them in a day like some of my colleagues. But I'm a slow writer. It's my process and I have to live with that.

SJ: What writer inspired you most and how?
Liz: There are the giants, of course. Jane Austen, the Brontes, Georgette Heyer, Monica Dickens (and her ancestor Charles!). Catherine George - a Mills and Boon giant - was an inspiration early in my career. Charlotte Lamb, Penny Jordan were early reads and it still amazes me that all three became friends.

SJ: If you could give just one piece of important writing advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Liz: Read widely.  You need to discover what you love in a book because writing is Very Hard Work and if you don't love what you're writing it is not just going to be hard work, it's going to make you miserable.
Pay special attention to first chapters. Analyse what your favorite author does in those first pages. What she doesn't do. They are your calling card and if you don't grab the reader by the end of chapter one she'll put the book down and might never pick it up again.
You have to be focused, be ready to write in any scrap of time available to you. Make a habit of getting up an hour earlier to get the words down. I often find that people with the most pressing lives, the smallest amount of time available, write fastest. They don't have time to sit and stare at the screen. Or to fritter it away on social media.

SJ: In closing, what is a favorite book you enjoyed reading and would recommend without hesitation? Why?
Liz: Very difficult. I read so much. I've watch Julie Cohen's career - knew her before she was published - and would unhesitantly recommend her single title Dear Thing. I would equally recommend her Little Black Dress chicklit, Girl From Mars. She does humor and emotion brilliantly. Anything by Sarah Morgan. Barbara O'Neal is an auto buy for me.  

Thank you, Liz for your time and allowing us to take some time out of your busy schedule and interview you about your love of writing. Readers, take note that Liz’s latest release, Vettori's Damsel in Distress is set to be released on July 1, 2015 from Harlequin in the US, UK and Australia. Watch for it at online retailers and bookstores everywhere.

     And while you’re waiting to get your hands on this book, here is a blurb for you to enjoy:

Vettori's Damsel in Distress is the third in books about the Amery sisters (Elle - Tempted By Trouble; Sorrel - Anything But Vanilla) whose lives were changed forever by the arrival of an ice cream van called Rosie (and the man driving her!)

Geli - who collects stray animals and went to art college - has turned down a full time job in the family business and travelled to Milan to indulge her love of fashion and art and to remind herself that life isn't all about ice cream.

Things do not start well. It's snowing - who knew? There's a stray kitten - nothing changes. And this is Italy, where the love affair with ice cream began. As for her lovely apartment...

Here's the moment when Geli first sees Dante Vettori -

 Anxious for More? Here's an excerpt provided straight from Liz. Enjoy!

Geli was immediately swathed in warmth, the rich scent of luscious food and cool music from a combo on a tiny stage in the corner mingling with bursts of steam from the Gaggia. Tables of all shapes and sizes were filled with people eating, drinking, gossiping and a tall, dark-haired man was leaning against the counter talking to the barista.

If the scene had been posed by the Italian Tourist Board it couldn’t have been more perfect and despite the cold she felt a happy little rush of anticipation.

A few people had turned when the door opened and the chatter died away until the only sound was the low thrum of a double bass.

The man standing at the bar, curious about what had caught everyone’s attention, half turned and anticipation whooshed off the scale in an atavistic charge of raw desire; instant, bone deep need for a man before you heard his voice, felt his touch, knew his name.

For a moment, while she remembered how to breathe, it felt as if someone had pressed the pause button on the scene, freezing the moment in soft focus. Muted colours reflected in polished steel, lights shimmering off the bottles and glasses behind the bar, her face reflected, ghost-like behind the advertisement on a mirror. And Mr Italy with his kiss-me mouth and come-to-bed eyes.

Forget the thick, dark hair and cheekbones sharp enough to write their own modelling contract, it was those chocolate dark eyes that held her transfixed. If they had been looking out of a tourist poster there would be a stampede to book holidays in Italy.

He straightened, drawing attention to the way his hair curled onto his neck, a pair of scandalously broad shoulders, strong wrists emerging from folded back cuffs.

Signora…’ he murmured, as he moved back a little to make room for her at the counter and oh, joy, his voice matched the face, the body.

She might have passed out for lack of oxygen at that moment but a tall, athletic-looking blonde placed a tiny cup of espresso in front of him before — apparently unaware that she was serving a god — turning to her.

Sta nevidanco? É brutto tempo.’  



Flustered at being confronted with phrases that hadn’t featured so far on the Italian course she’d downloaded onto her iPod, she took the safe option and, having sucked in a snowflake that was clinging to her lip, she lowered her hood. The chatter gradually resumed and, finally getting a “move it” message through to her legs, she parked her suitcase and crossed to the bar.

‘Cosa prendi, signora?

Oh, whew, something she understood. ‘Um, vorrai un espresso s’il vous plait…’ Her answer emerged in a mangled mixture of English, Italian and French. ‘No… I mean…’ Oh, heck.

The blonde grinned. ‘Don’t worry. I got the gist,’ she replied, her English spiced with an Australian accent.

‘Oh, thank goodness you’re English. No! Sorry, Australian—’ Achingly conscious of the man leaning against the counter, an impressive thigh stretching the cloth of his jeans just inches from her hip, she attempted to recover the cool, sophisticated woman of the world image with which she’d intended to storm Milan. ‘Shall I go out, walk around the block and try that again?’

The woman grinned. ‘Stay right where you are. I’ll get that espresso. You’ve just arrived in Isola?’ she asked, as she measured the coffee.

‘In Isola, in Milan, in Italy. I’ve been working on my Italian — I picked some up when I spent a month in Tuscany as a student — but I learned French at school and it seems to be my brain’s foreign language default setting when I panic.’

Her brain was too busy drooling over by Mr Italy to give a toot.

‘Give it a week,’ the woman said. ‘Can I get you anything else?’

‘A side order of directions?’ she asked, hopefully, doing her best to ignore the fact that it wasn’t just her brain; her entire body was responding on a visceral level to the overdose of pheromones wafting in her direction. It was like being bombarded by butterflies. Naked…

She was doing her level best not to stare at him.

Was he was looking at her?

‘You are lost, signora?’ he asked.

In Italian, his voice was just about the sexiest thing she’d ever heard, but his perfect, lusciously accented English sent a shiver rippling down her spine that had nothing to do with the snow dripping from her hair. That was trickling between her breasts and turning to steam.

She took a breath and doing her best to remember why she was there, said, ‘Not lost exactly…’ Retrieving the apartment details from her tote she placed it, map side up on the counter and turned to him, intending to explain what had happened. He was definitely looking and confronted with those eyes, the questioning kink of his brow, language of any description deserted her.

‘No?’ he prompted.

Clearly he was used to women losing the power of speech in his presence. From the relaxed way he was leaning against the bar, to eyes that, with one look made her feel as if he owned her, everything about him screamed danger.

First day in Isola and she could imagine having a lot of fun with Mr Italy and from the way he was looking at her, he was thinking much the same thing about her.
This is a photo that reminds Liz of this book.
Anxious to read the book,  here are the purchase links to obtain a copy of this book:

Amazon (will direct to local Amazon) 





    Readers, to learn more about Liz, her writing and books, check out her website:


     You can also find her around the internet:    

     Thank you for visiting with us. Until next month...every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey.  One person, one voice can make a difference.
    S. J. Francis
    Advocate for the underdog, and cat, et al.

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And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2015 by S.J. Francis.  Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.