The writing process blog chain

My good friend Rachael Johns has tagged me in the writing process blog chain. The idea is that writers answer four questions about their process (something I *always* find interesting) and then each writers tag another three writers. Rachael is fully aware of how useless I am at blog chains, and so I have permission to do the: If you haven’t already been tagged, consider yourself tagged! thing. Done :)

But anyway! Thank you Rach for tagging me! You can read Rachael’s writing process blog hereRachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner by day, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer by night. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Carina Press and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website at www.rachaeljohns.com or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RachaelJohnsRomance.

Now here are my answers:

What am I working on?

After a year’s maternity leave, I’m excited to finally be writing again! I’m working on my fifth book for Harlequin, and it has a typically creative working title “Ivy and Angus”. This book features a billionaire heroine, an injured SAS soldier and a very unexpected pregnancy. This will be my first “sexy” book for Harlequin, as the KISS guidelines have changed and the sweeter authors have been asked to heat things up a bit. So this will be a big change for me, as up to now my books have always faded to black. I suspect red wine may be involved (on my part!).

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I could say that my books offer a fresh twist on the typical Harlequin category romance – and it would be true – but I’m certainly not alone in doing that. The Harlequin KISS line has brought together a group of authors that *all* do that – and in fact I think even in the most traditional Harlequin lines there are authors doing amazing, interesting things. So yes, I do make an effort to do the unexpected – a depressed hero, an infertile heroine (with no miracle baby), a failed Olympic swimmer… but I think what really makes my books different is my voice. I feel my voice is fun and modern, but also real, and that is very important to me. Equally important is to always write heroines that do not need their heroes, financially or otherwise. I like my heroines to have strong goals and dreams, and to never, ever need to be saved.

Why do I write what I do?

Because I LOVE romance novels. I read romance almost exclusively – it is my escape, my treat to myself and it is FABULOUS. There was never anything else I would want to write. I write category romance as many years ago I thought writing category would be “easier”. Hahahahaha! But I love the format and the exclusive focus on the hero and heroine. Having said that, 2014 is my “year of the single title” as I really want to have a go at writing a longer story. Although I have no intention to stop writing category any time soon, it is my first love.

How does my writing process work?

I used to start with a “meet cute” and go from there, but I’ve now learnt that that approach is a total disaster for me. So now I start with a technique shared with me by Rachel Bailey. I suspect I’ve bastardized her wonderful process beyond recognition, but basically I start with my two characters, and then a dot point list of conflicts. They can be really simple conflicts (that start the book, eg an external conflict like a disagreement), through to the really serious internal conflicts that drive the story. I make sure I have lots of dot points, as you need a lot of conflict to make a story. I now also determine the black moment prior to starting to write, as I need something to write towards.

And that’s it! Here are some other authors who’ve also been part of the chain, enjoy! Alissa Callen, Jennie Jones and Cathryn Hein.

Come see me at the Library Lovers Day!

On Valentine’s Day I’ll be at the Fremantle City Libary’s Library Lovers Day, appearing on a panel with my friends Michelle Diener and Jennie Jones. Michelle writes historical fiction and fantasy, while Jennie’s debut contemporary romance, The House on Burra Burra Lane is on the shelves now! We’ll be talking about our paths to publication…

All the books I was going to write on maternity leave

Today my little girl is eleven months old, and I have been on maternity leave for a whole year. A whole year! And I don’t go back to work until January. Woohoo! I can still remember how I felt before I went on leave: I mean, all that time! How amazing! What an incredible opportunity…

I’m back!

I know, it’s been a (long…) while! But lots has been happening. Most significantly, I had a gorgeous baby girl just before the New Year. Little Baby Ashton is now ten weeks old and doing brilliantly (and seems huge compared to her little 6 pound 4 ounce self when she arrived). It’s been a crazy,…

The Next Big Thing

I was invited to take part in The Next Big Thing by the very talented Michelle Diener. This meme (am I the only person who reads this as “me me”?) has been around for a few months now, but the idea is it’s a great way to find out more about author’s upcoming books. I…

Excerpt now available for Why Resist a Rebel?

Hooray – my fourth book is now with my editor I do expect this one to need revision (as all my books have) and I’m looking forward to my editor’s insights on how to make the book stronger. I’m also now on maternity leave – I had all these plans of things I want to…

Oooh, my own Youtube video! Plus other bits and pieces…

If you’ve liked my Facebook page (hint, hint ), you may have already seen THIS – a Riva “love bite” all about A Girl Less Ordinary, from lovely Mills & Boon editor, Anna. Somehow, I forgot to also put it on my own site, but that has now been rectified: In other news, I’ve finally…

Release week! Hooray! And SYTYCW. And Nappies.

My second book, A Girl Less Ordinary, is out this week in the US, and has hit the shops in the UK (exclusively at WH Smith’s) after a month for sale on the Mills & Boon UK web site. It’s also now available in eBook format (including Kindle) in the UK or US – so…

RWA Conference 2013 – plus my movie star moment!

Last month was one of the highlights of my year – the Romance Writers of Australia conference! This year it was held at the Gold Coast, at the extremely funky QT Hotel. My roomie was the fab Nikki Logan, and I also got to catch up with many of my amazing writer friends – who…

An update on all things Leah Ashton :)

Obviously I have failed at the blogging thing yet again! However, I have been very busy: I’ve had my third book accepted, hooray! I don’t have final confirmation on a title, but it should be out early/mid 2013. It will be published as a Riva in the UK and a Kiss in the US. Very…

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