Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Welcome to Helen Scott Taylor's guest blog
Welcome Ms. Helen Scott Taylor to Love Romances and More, thank you for joining us.
Did you always want to become a writer?
I loved making up stories when I was a child, but because I have dyslexia, my teachers steered me toward sciences. I have always loved reading, but I didn’t rediscover my love of storytelling until I started searching for what was missing in my life when I turned forty.
What is the most, and the least interesting fact about writing?
I think the thing that surprises most people who know nothing about writing is how difficult it is to write a publishable book. Many people I’ve spoken with assume that as they can speak and write English they could write a book. As for least interesting—everything about writing interests to me!
How did you celebrate your first release? What was it like to see your book in a bookstore? Do you have a special ritual for celebrating a book release?
I celebrated my first release by going out to dinner with my family. My daughter bought me a lovely cat ornament as a memento and my husband bought me flowers. By the time I finally held one of my books, I had been staring at the cover flat pinned to the wall above my computer for so many months it felt familiar. Now I celebrate by doing lots of guest blogging and giving away lots of books.
How did your family react to fact that you write romance novels? Have your family read your book?
Most of my family have read my books. They are all proud of me and none of them has a problem with my genre choice. Some of my family now have a slightly different attitude to me, though. I think they were surprised by my weird imagination when they read my first book.
Most authors are also avid readers. Is this the case with you? If so, who are some of your favorites? Have any influenced your writing?
I love reading, although I get less time to read now. My first love is fantasy; my second love is romance. So my ideal story is a blend of the two. I read everything from science fiction to Harlequin romance. My genre of choice changes depending on my mood. But I generally love a good historical or fantasy romance. I also have a weakness for Harlequin Presents. It’s the alpha males!
Do you feel each of your characters live with you as you write? Do their lives sometimes take over a part of your life? Can you name an example? Do you have living role models for your characters?
My characters take over my mind and I spend much of the time in a fantasy world in my head. I don’t find my characters interfere in the normal part of my life, though. I never have living role models for my characters. My people come from my imagination. The only role model I’ve ever used is my cat. She was the inspiration for Tamsy, the witch’s familiar in The Phoenix Charm.
Where do you get the inspirations for your books?
The initial spark for a new idea can be from a dream, a song, a picture, an object, or purely from my imagination. I then flesh out the ideas by research of myth and legend and other things that figure in the particular fantasy world. For instance, at the moment I’m researching gems and crystal healing for a new fantasy world I’m creating for a new series.
Do you find it difficult at times to write love scenes?
The love scenes flow easily between some characters. The hero of The Phoenix Charm is a charmer so his love scenes were easy to write. Other characters are less cooperative. The hero of The Magic Knot is more of a private person and he didn’t want me intruding when he was making love. So his love scenes were a lot tougher to write.
Do you have a problem with deadlines and have you ever suffered a writers block?
Touching wood... I haven’t had a problem with a deadline so far. I am careful not to agree to deadlines that will be too tough to meet. I like deadlines that keep me focused and stretch me, but not that mean the rest of my life goes on hold. The only time I’ve had a problem with a story was the novella I’ve just finished. I didn’t exactly have writer’s block. The problem was I had too many possible ideas and I needed to focus down and concentrate on one. This is only a problem for me if I don’t have long enough to let the story fall into place in my head before I start work.
Do you prefer stand-alone books or series (As a reader or a writer) ?
As a reader, I like both stand-alone and series books. As a writer, I’ve only written a series. My favourite part of writing is creating the fantasy world. I don’t want to write too long a series set in one world, otherwise I’ll miss out on making up new worlds.
If you could change places with one character from your book, who would it be and why?
I think I’d probably change places with Cordelia—the heroine of The Phoenix Charm. She is a fairy witch and is bonded to her cat familiar, which I’d love. She also gets Michael as her hero, and I have a soft spot for him. He is a bit of a rogue, but he has a good heart.
What is your favorite book from the books that you have written so far? Who are your favorite hero and heroine, and why?
This is a difficult question. I think my favourite book is probably The Phoenix Charm and Michael and Cordelia are my favourite hero and heroine—perhaps because I’d rather be Cordelia than any of the other heroines. If I have to choose a favourite character from my series, though, I’d choose Troy.
Would you like to give another genre a try?
Absolutely. I would love to write epic fantasy, still with romance included but as a secondary part of the story.
Which book was the hardest to write and which the easiest?
The Crystal Crib—the novella I’ve just finished, has been the hardest to write. I think this is due to a combination of factors. The easiest was another novella called The Sons of Ra. (For the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2.) That just flowed so easily that I had it finished in a week.
If you could choose one of your books for a movie, which one would it be and who would you as the cast?
The Magic Knot would probably make the best movie because it sets up the fantasy world of the series and blends the contemporary world with the fantasy world. I have no idea who’d I’d cast. The hero has an identical twin brother, so I’d need one actor to play both parts.
If you could travel through time to visit a special time period or famous person, what or who would it be and why?
I’d love to visit Regency London and see what it was really like. I love Regency romances but I suspect the reality of life even for the wealthy was a lot different to that we read about and see in films.
Do you listen to music while you are writing and if so what music is it?
I don’t listen while I write, but I do find music inspires me. Evanescence really get my brain cells working. Their songs seem to resonate with me and give me all types of ideas.
Big congrats to your latest release, The Phoenix charm, can you please tell us something about the book?
The Phoenix Charm is the sequel to The Magic Knot, set in my Celtic contemporary fantasy world. (The book works as a standalone story as well.) The hero of The Phoenix Charm, Michael, is left in charge of his small nephews. Michael is a storyteller with an eye for the ladies, a taste for Irish whisky, and heaps of fairy glamour. In short, he’s a bit of a rascal. When one of his nephews is trapped in the Underworld, he has to shape up fast. With the help of the Cornish pisky wise woman, Cordelia, and Nightshade, a vampiric winged fairy, he travels to the Underworld to rescue the child.
I have a novella linked to my Magic Knot Fairy world called The Feast of Beauty in The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance just out last month. This story is about the people of Lir the Irish Sea god.
This is a short blurb for The Feast of Beauty:
Kate’s grandmother’s dying wish is that she should return her pearl pendant to the tiny fishing village in Ireland where she was born. At the village’s Midsummer Feast of Beauty, the unearthly silver hair and emerald eyes of Esras, the wealthy local landowner, mesmerize Kate. But how can she trust her heart to a man who claims to be a sea fairy king?
Are you working on anything right now, and can you tell us a teaser about these projects?
I have just finished a fantasy romance novella called The Crystal Crib, which will be in an anthology released in October with three other authors. This is linked to my Magic Knot Fairies series. A hint for anyone following the series: you get to find out a lot more about Troy!
In the frosty North, in the ice palace of Valhalla, Sonja’s life depends upon unraveling the mystery of the Crystal Crib—and upon winning the love of Odin’s son.
My next project is to polish The Ruby Kiss, Nightshade’s story. This book will be released at the end of December 2010.
CONTEST: One lucky person will receive a signed copy of THE PHOENIX CHARM, so stop by and say hello.