The Chatsfield Uncovered! Read on for an exclusive interview with Trish Morey

tycoonCreating a world as large as The Chatsfield must be very exciting – did you discuss the hotels with the other authors?
One of the best things about writing a book in a continuity is that you get to work closely with, and bounce ideas off, a bunch of authors you like and admire. Given these are people you usually only meet up with at conferences, it’s very very cool. And while we’re working together, sorting out the details of what a particular hotel looks or feels like, we’re also having a lot of fun.

What was the most fun bit about creating this luxurious, scandalous world?
Being handed an outline of a story of one of the characters in a scandal ridden family, all set in the most sumptuous of settings and being able to flesh it out in all its glorious detail! And even though Franco’s story is set largely in a vineyard in rural South Australia, I was able to take my characters to Sydney’s gorgeous Chatsfield Hotel and give my characters a taste of five star luxury.

Did you do any extra special research for writing this book? A sneaky cocktail at an exclusive hotel perhaps?
No sneaky cocktails for me – but a certain amount of very good sparkling wine may have been consumed – all in the name of research, of course!

Seriously, researching for this story was a very good excuse for a weekend away with my hubby, as we headed down to the Coonawarra area to find out about this beautiful fertile region first hand. We spent the weekend visiting wineries and talking to local vignerons and cellar door sales persons, getting all kinds of hints and insights into this fabulous region and the people that make it so special. It really helped me get to grips with my heroine, Holly, and her place in the world.

What did you most love about writing your story?
Apart from the research, you mean? I think it was taking two characters who were so unimpressed with each other and so full of resentment for each other in the beginning, and slowly chipping away that resentment until there could be no denying the pesky attraction that simmered away beneath. And as respect between the two grew, that attraction meant Franco and Holly wanted to spend more and more time together. That attraction and respect soon developed into something much more powerful.

When writing your hero and heroine’s story, did they surprise you in any way?
Holly sure did! She was such a homebody, and so comfortable in her Purman Wines polo tops, I had no idea when I started writing her story that she had a wicked secret going on underneath.

I have to say, that wasn’t the only surprise she had for Franco either!

To your mind, who is the most scandalous Chatsfield?
Definitely not Franco, though he’s got his fair share of secrets. He left the scandal to his siblings when he moved away when he was sixteen – but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! Learning he’d fathered a child before he’d left was a bit of a wake-up call, though he’s managed to curb his ways in recent years.

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?
If I could have had a quiet word to Franco before he embarked on his long trip to Australia to get Holly’s signature on that contract, I would have warned him to maybe not take too much for granted – that some people might not be as impressed with doing business with the Chatsfield empire as he might like!

Name five things on your desk when you write.
My computer, of course.

One of either a big cup of coffee, an earl grey tea or a glass of water, depending on what time of the day it is.

A print out of my pages to date, so I can check anything I need to quickly, but most of all to reassure me that the manuscript is actually growing.

A collection of pens in different shades so I can mark up those pages.

A beautiful ruby red crystal heart I bought from Tiffany’s in New York at my first ever Romance Writers of America conference in 2003, a month after selling my first book. It reminds me of those first heady days and how lucky I am and how fantastic this job is.

Do you listen to music when you write?
I do. I don’t put a specific sound track together for a book, because the tracks I like to listen to while writing my Presents books give me the right tone for Presents. I know the words by heart so absorb them rather than have to listen to them, but I will find some tracks work more for particular scenes. These I might play over and over while writing a love scene, for example.

What is your worst habit when writing?
Eating far too much! I try to counter that by taking the dog for a walk every chance I get, which also helps with thinking through plot problems, but some days, the eating wins. J

Do you have a writing routine? If so, could you share a bit about it with us?
When my girls were all in school, I did. I had between 9 and 3 to work in relative peace at home. These days, however, the girls are all either in their final year of high school or at uni, so their contact hours are all over the place, and there’s people coming and going all hours of the day. I think my routine has become more a case of “write-when-you-can”, and I look back at those lovely blocks of time and wonder why I didn’t do more.
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Excerpt: Zarif’s Convenient Queen by Lynne Graham

Three years after rejecting him, Ella Gilchrist is reunited with prince Zarif al Rastani, and needs his help. Read on to find out what the prince will want in return…

About Zarif’s Convenient Queen:

zarifFor one year only  

Once, Ella Gilchrist had the gall to turn down playboy prince Zarif al Rastani’s proposal. To ensure peace and stability to his country Zarif must now marry, so when Ella returns begging for his help, he’ll give it…on one condition.

Three years ago, Zarif needed only moments to ignite a passion in her that left her breathless, until his adamant declaration that he could never love her broke her heart. But if she is to rescue her family from imminent and permanent ruin, Ella must agree to a year of marriage, on his arm and in his bed!

***

Zarif was bored. The opulent attractions of his creamy-skinned and highly sophisticated mistress had palled. Right at that minute she was posed on the bed, entranced by her reflection in the mirror as she adjusted the glowing ruby pendant now encircling her throat. ‘It’s so beautiful,’ she told him, wide-eyed with avid admiration. ‘Thank you. You’ve been very generous.’

Lena was shrewd. She knew the pendant was a goodbye gift and that she would vacate his lavish Dubai apartment without argument and cruise off in search of another rich man. Sex, Zarif had discovered, was no big deal. He preferred amateurs to professionals in the bedroom but had few illusions about the morals of the women he took as lovers. He gave them the means to enjoy the good things in life while they gave him a necessary outlet for his highly charged sex drive. Such women understood the need for discretion and appreciated that approaching the media would be a seriously unwise career move.

And Zarif had more need than most men to conserve his public image. At the age of twelve he had become the King of Vashir with his uncle acting as Regent until Zarif attained his majority. He was the latest in a long line of feudal rulers to occupy the Emerald throne in the old palace. Vashir was oil-rich, but very conservative, and whenever Zarif tried to drag the country into the twenty-first century the old guard on his advisory council—composed of twelve tribal sheiks all over the age of sixty—panicked and pleaded with him to reconsider.
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The Argentinian’s Demand by Cathy Williams

There’s nothing like an office romance, is there? The heroine of Cathy Williams’ latest Presents wants nothing more to do with her soon to be ex-boss, but he has plans of his own. Read on to find out more about The Argentinian’s Demand.

demandWhat the bad boy of the business world wants…

When billionaire Leandro Perez’s indispensable and alluring assistant Emily Edison resigns and lets him know what she really thinks of him, he’s furious. He won’t let her off easily. If she wants to go, she’ll pay the price—two weeks in paradise at his beck and call!

…he gets!

Trapped by Leandro, Emily’s fragile plan to marry a suitable man to bring security to her family is threatened. And as their attraction gives way to a craving that’s impossible to deny Emily will have to make the ultimate choice—duty…or desire?

***

Emily Edison stared resolutely ahead of her as the elevator purred upwards to the twentieth floor, disgorging employees along the way. It was the morning rush at Piccadilly Circus, in the towering glass building where she worked in the heart of London. She rarely experienced this because she rarely came to work later than eight in the morning, but today…

Slim fingers tightened on the neat leather satchel at her side. Inside the bag her letter of resignation felt like an incendiary device, waiting to explode the minute it was released from its fragile containment. When she tried to imagine how her boss would take this she felt slightly sick.
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Poll: How should the hero win the heroine’s heart?

There are a lot of ways a guy can win over the girl of his dreams, but which one do you prefer? Let us know in our poll, and if your favorite isn’t here, head over to the comments and let us know what we’ve missed!


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The UK Editors take a leaf from the Presents Heroine’s Playbook!

by Associate Editor Pippa Roscoe

One thing that we especially love about Presents is the amazing locations that the heroines find themselves in. And with summer holidays just around the corner, I’ve been looking into where our very own editorial heroines have been jetting off to. We might not have heroes with private jets, but we won’t let that stop us from leading a glamorous and global lifestyle!

Laura in Mexico for Holiday Blog

Last month you heard about Laurie Johnson’s fabulous honeymoon in Hawaii. Safe to say we were all a little green-eyed over that one! Presents’ very own Laura McCallen has been doing her best to out-glob-trot us all with trips to Mexico and Budapest. Not content with just the one trip, Charlotte Mursell has been to France THREE TIMES (and provided us with a beautiful photo as proof!)

Charlotte's France Picture

While Linda Fildew stuck closer to home, heading to the heady heights of Scotland’s Edinburgh, Sheila Hodgson has visited the delights of Egypt and Sardinia (but not to be outdone, specifically reminded me of her trip to Malaysia last year).  Bryony Green made us all jealous when she set off for Cape Town and kept us updated on the wonders of South Africa via twitter.

Julia Williams is looking forward to a gorgeous holiday in Crete and Barcelona has proved to be a very popular destination for the editors in the UK with both Clio Cornish and Kathryn Cheshire enjoying lots of tapas and even more sangria!

AnneMarie Ryan will be visiting family in America, which does count because it’s a very glamorous setting to us Brits! Nic, also spending time with family, is heading to the sunny climes of Italy.

As for me, some of you may have seen my tweets from Toronto – from the amazing food in Montreal, to the fabulous shopping at Young and Bloor and the giddy excitement of meeting the Canadian editors. (Ladies, I did try to keep my eye out for an alpha hero, but sadly I was too busy having fun!)

Pippa in Canada For Holiday Blog

And whilst we’re warmed by the happy memories of holidays past, we’re heated by the anticipation of holidays to come!

Australia and New Zealand – keep an eye out for our very own Flo Nicoll who’s packing the sun screen and can’t wait to see you all!

And batten down the hatches Texas, because the UK editors are on their way for the RWA!

But in the meantime, ladies, if you could be whisked away to an exotic location, where would it be and why?!
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