I’ve begun a Wednesday weekly post to present interviews with authors across all romance genres. Although I’m primarily an historical romance writer, I do read outside my genre and suspect a lot of you do as well. And what’s more fascinating than finding out more about either your favorite authors or new ones? I plan to change up my questions (most of them at least) every three months or so, just to keep the interviews lively.
So now gather round the tea table, grab a scone or cookies, and a cup of tea or coffee and discover a new friend in the writing world.
This week on Be My Guest, as promised, I am interviewing historical author Marie Higgins! We are currently sharing an historical romance boxed set, Her Perfect Gentleman, along with last week’s guest, Elf Ahearn and five other lovely ladies, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce you to Marie, who I’ve known for years, and let her tell you about herself and her historical novella, The Sweetest Challenge.
Marie Higgins is a multi-published author of romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who makes your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. Visit her website / blog to discover more about her – http://mariehiggins.com
And now let’s meet Marie Higgins!
Who was the first romance author and book you read?
Kathleen E Woodiwiss / A Rose in Winter was my first romance novel. I was completely glued to the story, and I read all hours of the night. I couldn’t get enough of historical romance novels after that. Judith McNaught, LaVryle Spencer, and Jude Deveraux were also some of my favorite authors.
Are you a pantser or plotter? What is your process?
I’m totally a panster! I tried a few times to plot out my stories, but because I knew what was going to happen and how the stories would end, it took me forever to finish them. From that point on, I decided panster was the life for me. I enjoy feeling the rush of excitement when there’s a new twist in the story, and I definitely cherish the heart-melting moment when my characters realize they are in love.
Which of your own books is your favorite and why?
This is such a hard question, only because I have written / published 43 books. I love each story for different reasons. If I had to choose, however, I think I’d pick “Take My Heart”, my historical romance. I worked on that story for so many years and tried to make it my best work. The twists and turns in that plot surprised even me, and of course, the love story is to DIE for.
If you could have one wish granted just for you (not world peace, LOL), what would you wish for?
Darn! I was going to say World Peace. lol So I’ll go with my second favorite wish. Although I’ve been writing for about 20 years, I’ve never been with a big publisher. So my wish would be to not only find a big publisher, but that my stories get me to New York Times Bestselling Author! I’m not asking for much, am I?
What is the first thing you do when you get a story idea?
When I get a story idea, I make sure both my hero and heroine have goals, motivation, and conflict (along with my villain). Once I’ve figured that out, I find names and identities for them. Then I’ll figure out what era will be best for the plot. Once all of that is done…I start my first chapter. I usually don’t know my twists until the characters give me an idea of what they want…then I make sure they can’t get it for a while.
Now, tell us a little bit about one of your books.
What was your inspiration for this story?
The inspiration for “The Sweetest Challenge” actually came from a contemporary story I had started to write many years ago, but had never finished. I have a Regency Romance series that needed another story added to the line-up, and so I went back through my unfinished stories to get some ideas. When I ran across a woman who worked in a car shop, immediately, I thought of a woman trying to work as a blacksmith in the Regency era. DING! Then the rest of the story flew from my fingers. I love when that happens.
I am a fanatic about my character names. Are the character names special in any way?
I have to find the right names for my characters as well. For some reason, I’m in love with the man’s name, Nick/Nicholas. Don’t know why. But I just can’t name all of her heroes that. As for the heroine…I don’t have a favorite. I have a spreadsheet with a list of historical names, and I read through them until one stands out. That’s how I pick my heroine’s name.
How long did it take you to write this book?
As I’d mentioned previously, the idea had been created several years ago. Who knew it was supposed to be a historical and not a contemporary? lol Usually, it only takes about six weeks to write a novel.
Now, the Infamous Lightning Round:
Tea or coffee and how do you take it?
None. I like water or lemonade. Crazy, I know…
Hot dogs or Hamburgers?
Favorite all time movie?
I have too many favorites, but maybe Princess Bride.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate – with nuts!
Cat person or dog person?
Melinda Stewart was far from being a debutante, but she must disguise what she really did during the day to keep food on the table. When a wealthy businessman enters her life and wants to buy her land, she’s torn between giving up her deceased father’s dream—and wanting to give her heart to this stranger.
Morgan Drake doesn’t take no for an answer, but ever since meeting the very lovely Miss Stewart, all of his business ethics have been pushed aside. Now, the lonely man who never had time for a wife, wants to change, and he wants Miss Stewart to be the woman beside him. If only he can convince her that he’s not the terrible person she believes him to be.
The Sweetest Challenge is on Amazon and other etailers!
The man jumped and spun around toward Morgan, still holding onto the hammer. The man straightened, and Morgan was surprised to see how small Mr. Stewart really was. The man’s head touched the top of Morgan’s shoulders. Then again, it didn’t matter his height, as long as he was strong and could handle the tasks given to him in order to keep his blacksmith’s shop in business.
There was a clear object hanging from the man’s helmet, shielding his face, but Morgan could still see the man’s expression. Mr. Stewart’s mouth hung open and his eyes widened. He could also tell that the man was younger than Morgan had first assumed.
Had they met before? By Mr. Stewart’s surprised expression, it certainly seemed like the man knew him.
“Pardon me for interrupting,” Morgan began. “My name is Mr. Drake, and I’m with Drake Land Developers. If you don’t mind, I would like to discuss the offer my company made you a few months ago.”
Suddenly, the surprised expression on the other man changed, and his gaze narrowed on Morgan. The man threw down the hammer and stomped past him.
Morgan held in his frustration the best he could. “Mr. Stewart, I thought we could discuss this matter like two reasonable men.”
“Then you thought wrong.” The man’s voice croaked in a lower tone.
Morgan held back the angry words he really wanted to say. “Mr. Stewart, I’ve come to offer you a better deal.”
Once again, Mr. Stewart spun around and faced him. Through the clear shield over his face, Morgan noticed how red the man’s cheeks were.
He waited for the man to say something, but so far not a word came from him. The sun shone through the window, gleaming on Mr. Stewart’s face…his very young face. Perhaps he wasn’t the owner after all. Morgan should ask to see if the elder Mr. Stewart was around.
“Are you Mr. Mel Stewart, the owner?”
Mr. Stewart yanked off his gloves and threw them on the counter. Surprisingly, the man’s hands were small. And then he flipped up the clear shield from his face. In one swipe, the man had removed the helmet looking covering. But then something else caught his eyes. The man’s wavy, blond hair floated from the helmet to cascade down the man’s neck to his shoulders, and partly over his face. And yet…now it didn’t look like the face of a man, but a woman, instead.
With petite fingers, she swept her hair away from her eyes. Something familiar tugged at Morgan’s memory. The shape of her face was delicate, as well as her chin, and especially her mouth. Last night’s images of dancing with Melinda rushed to his mind, and he couldn’t shake the feeling that he had found the woman who had intrigued him, and then disappeared abruptly.
Yet, this couldn’t be her. Where was the lovely, very desirable woman he’d danced with and held so intimately? And why was she wearing men’s clothes?
She lifted her chin and straightened her shoulders. “I’m Miss Melinda Stewart, not Mister.”
Next Wednesday my special guest will be contemporary romance novelist, Charmaine Gordon. Hope you return to you favorite Wednesday spot to meet her!