Creating a world as large as The Chatsfield must be very exciting – did you discuss the hotels with the other authors?
Absolutely. One of the things I loved best about writing Sheikh’s Scandal was the opportunity to collaborate creatively with the editorial team and the other authors in the continuity.
What was the most fun bit about creating this luxurious, scandalous world?
The research I did for both the hotel and Sheikh Sayed’s palace in Zeena Sahra. There are so many gorgeous places in the world to take as inspiration and I’ve definitely added to my “must travel to” list.
Did you do any extra special research for writing this book? A sneaky cocktail at an exclusive hotel perhaps?
Yes, in fact…I did. I wanted to go to London and stay at Claridges, but could not wangle the time or the travel partner. So, I took my youngest daughter for a long weekend to a very swanky hotel in San Francisco (where my heroine hales from) and did a ton of research on the city and the type of hotel that might be The Chatsfield San Francisco. We did so much walking about the city that falling into the cushy beds at the end of the day felt more like relief than research.
What did you most love about writing your story?
Besides what I’d mentioned earlier about working with some very talented creative people, I adored my characters and getting inside their heads. It’s what makes writing romance so very satisfying for me. I always want to know why people do what they do and with my own characters, I usually get the answer!
When writing your hero and heroine’s story, did they surprise you in any way?
I’ve found that if I’m really immersed in the book, my characters will always surprise me. In Sheikh’s Scandal, I wasn’t expecting Aaliyah to take to Queen Durrah like she did and vice-versa. Sayed’s honourable nature came as no surprise, but even I was a little startled when I realised he’d been celibate for three years. Talk about a to-die-for alpha hero!
To your mind, who is the most scandalous Chatsfield?
Gene. He was better at hiding it, but his penchant for chasing (and catching) chambermaids is where Sheikh’s Scandal really began.
If you could have given your hero or heroine a piece of advice before they started on their journey in your story, what would it have been?
I would have told both of them that the unpredictability of life is what makes it so wonderful and not to worry so much about following their plans but to pay more attention to following their hearts.
Name five things on your desk when you write.
A “Mom” poem plaque from my children.
A pink crystal heart paperweight from my husband.
The inspiration sheet for my current book.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Yes. My iTunes library is large and eclectic, but I tend to gravitate toward a certain set of playlists for each book I work on. I listened to a lot of Adele, Terry McDermott and the Beatles while writing this book, but the whole time I wrote about the characters’ time in Zeena Sahra, there was a Middle Eastern soundtrack playing in the back of my mind.
What is your worst habit when writing?
Forgetting to get up. When I’m really lost in the story, I can sit at my desk for eight to twelve hours and that is so not good for my back or my bladder!
Do you have a writing routine? If so, could you share a bit about it with us?
I write new pages daily. The next day, I begin by editing the pages from the day before and then move on to add more. I write when my mind is freshest. So, when my sleep schedule is normal – that’s in the morning. However there are times my slumber clock gets out of whack and I’ll write through the night instead.