Christina Brooke is an award winning author of Regency Historicals whose latest release is The Greatest Lover Ever. We were able to find out some more about her and her writing in this recent interview.
Hi Christina and Welcome to Beauty and Lace, thanks for talking to us.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I loved writing stories from an early age but I thought authors of real books were god-like beings. I never dreamed I would one day have books on shelves that people actually paid money to read. The first time I knew I wanted to write with a view to publication was in my twenties. I was working as a lawyer and needed a more creative outlet than writing company prospectuses!
A friend and I were discussing our love of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer and Regency England. I decided to try my hand at writing a romance set in that period. Once I started, I became hooked, eventually resigning from my job to write full-time. The funniest thing was that when my colleagues discovered my reason for leaving, all sorts of artists came out of the closet, from film directors to playwrights and novelists. Far from scoffing at my dream, as I’d expected, they were cheering me on. Coincidentally, the film director contacted me a while ago to ask if I’d take a look at the romantic thread in a musical he’s writing. I was thrilled to say yes.
What inspired you to write Historicals?
The social mores and constraints of the Regency era are a wonderful backdrop against which to set a passionate love story. There’s so much colour and vivacity and wit in the Regency era, and exquisite style in fashion, furnishings and architecture, too. Originally, I began writing novels in the vein of one of my favourite authors, Georgette Heyer. Later, I discovered there was a huge market for Regency-set historical romance in the United States.
Can you share a little about your journey to publication?
What we writers term “the call” came after I’d had a manuscript reach the final in a number of contests run by the Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of Australia. An editor who judged one of those contests emailed me that she wanted to buy “Scandal’s Daughter”. I spent all night on the phone to the U.S. with several literary agents, letting them know about the offer and asking if they were interested in representing me. By the next day, I had an agent, who then submitted the manuscript to all of the major New York houses. The book was sold to Berkley, a division of Penguin, U.S.A. and not to the first editor who offered. It was an absolute whirlwind. I went from an aspiring writer to a contracted author with an agent in about four days.
You have done well in writing competitions over the last few years. How did it fee l to be the first Australian to win the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award?
I was thrilled and flabbergasted. The awards ceremony is staged in a similar way to the Oscars, and editors take careful note of which authors reach the final, so it’s a big deal in the industry. Simply being a finalist in an award like that is a huge honour and a great opportunity. But to win was one of the best moments of my career.
The latest release is The Greatest Lover Ever, can you tell us a little about the book?
THE GREATEST LOVER EVER is a “second chance at love” story featuring one of the most beloved characters in my Ministry of Marriage/Westruthers series, Marcus Earl of Beckenham. The eldest of the Westruther cousins who grew up under the guardianship of the Duke of Montford, Beckenham has long hidden a shattered heart beneath an iron exterior. Georgie Black jilted Beckenham six years ago, but a passionate, semi-anonymous encounter on a hot summer’s night in Brighton brings them together again. When the fiery Georgie clashes with Beckenham’s iron will, old hurts and past mistakes might well drive them apart forever.
Do you plot or allow the characters to tell their own story? Do they ever surprise you?
I have tried very hard to plot my books, but I tend to write character-driven stories so I have to trust them to a certain extent. I would much prefer to be able to plot the book–it would be a lot less scary! But it’s not the way my brain is wired.
When is your most productive time of day to write?
I have trained myself to write early in the morning. 4am to 6am is the only time I can write consistently with no interruptions. I used to be a nightowl so it was quite a big shift for me but it works. There’s nothing better than getting some new pages under my belt before the day begins.
Have you got any particular superstitions or habits that go along with your writing process?
If I’m finding it difficult to settle or shut out ambient noise, I have a playlist of songs I use to get me into the zone. I also like to buy red and black hardcover notebooks to write notes about the book I’m working on–a new one for each book. And I need coffee. Lots of coffee!
Are you working on anything new you can tell us about?
At the moment, I’m revising Xavier, Marquis of Westruther’s story, THE WICKEDEST LORD ALIVE, which is out in July. That will be the third book in the Westruthers series.
What does being a woman mean to you?
I can only speak for myself, not womankind, but I think Nora Roberts summed it up very well. When you’re a mother and a writer, it’s a constant juggle. Some things are rubber balls–you can drop them and they’ll bounce back. Some things are glass balls that must be kept in the air no matter what. You can’t lose sight of the difference.
Thanks for your time Christina and I look forward to The Wickedest Lord Alive