Bron, lovely to have you here. First of all, can we go back to basics? Can you please tell us something about your journey as a writer?
Thanks for inviting me, Anna. It's a pleasure and a privilege. How did I get here? Courtesy of a mid-life crisis of sorts. I was approaching a landmark birthday, and the "I'm going to write a book someday" started to niggle away at me. I thought if I didn't start soon, I might never finish that one book. As with most things I do, I procrastinated for months. I read how-tos, joined Romance Writers of Australia, read and read and read. Luckily I didn't have internet to glom or I might never have started. But I did and I fell in love from day one. Writing romance, where had you been all my life? Five years later I received the call from Leslie Wainger at Silhouette books. I'd never actually submitted anything to Silhouette Desire but fell into the right place courtesy of a contest final.
Your new book VOWS & A VENGEFUL GROOM sounds great, really passionate and dramatic. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
This is the part where I whimper because I'm so BAD at blurbing my own book. You’d best cut me off if I can’t condense it into “a little bit”. VOWS -- my working title was "Perrini's Boardroom Bride" -- is a reunion romance about workplace colleagues, and secret lovers, who married too quickly and for the wrong reasons. Ten years later Ric Perrini and Kimberley Blackstone are reunited after a tragic plane crash sends shock waves through the diamond company where they met. Kim had sworn never to return while her father was alive. Now he's dead and Perrini wants her back, at Blackstone's and in his bed. But can she trust his motives? Does he want her, the woman, or does he want the power she wields as the Blackstone heiress? So, there's passion, drama, intense emotion, a struggle for power in the boardroom, a family feud, and rumours of a scandalous affair that's about to rip this family even further apart.
You've worked on a couple of continuity series for Harlequin where a number of authors come together to write linked books. Can you tell us some of the rewards and challenges of working this way? Can you give us some insight into how you go about creating a continuity series?
This is the fourth continuity series I've worked on and the most challenging by far. The first three were editor-led -- the editors came up with the series concepts and storylines and invited the authors to participate. The editors wrote the series bible.
This series, DIAMONDS DOWN UNDER, is author-led. We came up with the concept, the characters, the storylines, and put together a proposal which Melissa Jeglinski, the Desire senior editor, loved. We wrote the (lengthy) bible, which is the source document to ensure we get all the details right from book to book. It contains character sketches, family tree, backstory, settings, locations, company structure, contents of a will, plane crash logistics, timelines, and detailed synopses of the six stories. In other words, this was a lot of work which makes the reward of finishing a series we’re proud of all the more sweet.
The series sounds fantastic! Can you give us some insight into how you put a book together? Are you a pantser or a plotter? How does your working day pan out?
I am most definitely a plotter. Before I start writing, I've already written a detailed synopsis which I expand into an outline. I spend A LOT of time pre-writing and jotting down scene ideas and snippets of dialogue. When I write it's pretty much a final draft. I'm not saying I write one-time perfect; I edit as I go. I guess my outline with all those snippets and scene ideas incorporated is something of a first draft.
As for my working day: I'm a slow starter. I do email and home stuff first thing while I'm still waking up. I try to start writing mid-morning but often it's more like midday. I work through to dinner. If I have to, I'll do some more at night but usually 6-8 hours is enough to finish my brain off for the day. A glass of wine at dinner completes the job.
You write the most marvelous sensual tension. Honestly, it's edge of the seat (and steaming up windows) stuff. A lot of people who visit the Banditas are writers. Can you give us any hints as to how you build the heat between your couple?
Gosh, thank you. That's just the loveliest compliment coming from you! So, this is the part I don't plan, but I guess it’s a direct result of my own love of the intense, delicious, seething underbelly of sex ten. My best tutors, I think, were historical romance authors who aren't afraid of lush, evocative, sensual language.
It has to be there from first meeting, in the eye contact, the impact of first touch, the snap of dialogue, but in a covert and intriguing way. It's not all T&A. From there it needs to build scene by scene, a function of the pull of primal attraction versus the push of whatever conflict prevents them acting on it. I think the secret is in the build. If you go all-out from the start, where is there to go? Something you do so well, Ms. Campbell.
Why, thank you, Ms. Jameson! Something that's struck me is that Australians seem to do really well internationally in the romance industry. Why do you think this is?
Interesting question. Hmm. think many of us start out independently (not as part of a chapter or critique group) and so we develop a strong voice -- or don't lose our strong voice -- by being told "you can't do this" or "you can't write like that". We're probably a bit fearless in the storylines we tackle, for the same reason. Also, I'm told we do the alpha male particularly well; I'm not sure why that is, but I do know that it stands us in good stead with editors everywhere.
What are you working on now?
A new series for 2009 which starts with an unintentional sister swap, a case of mistaken identity with two brothers, and miscellaneous twists involving identity, which (needless to say) is the overall theme. A large part is set in England and so I get to include a society wedding, a country house party, polo, Bond Street shopping, a weekend in Paris, and all manner of things that I find quintessentially British. Including a titled hero with a delicious James-Bond voice. It's definitely not as intense as my last two books. I'm able to have some fun with these characters and situations. I'm having a ball.
Bron, sounds like the usual delicious romance you dish up to your ever-hungry readers! Particularly love the idea of the James Bond voice. Sort of you had me at hello!
Bron has really reached into her treasure chest and put together a fabulous Aussie prize pack. One lucky commenter will win not only VOWS & A VENGEFUL GROOM, but also THE PRINCE'S OUTBACK BRIDE by Marion Lennox, CONTRACTED: WIFE FOR HIS BED by Carol Marinelli and PINK TIM TAMS!!! Seriously, this is booty worth celebrating. Get commenting, people! Good luck!