So what do you do if you are brought up as a Lady, and don’t have any skills other than keeping house? Or maybe, being a Governess.
The perennial problem facing young women back in the – well most centuries before women went out to anything other menial work.
And when you lose what little income you have, you fall back on your family – if you have one.
And this is the story that we follow here, but we have a dashing pirate – well smuggler, as so many were along the British southern coast (as my husband’s family can testify!) and a villainy lord of the manor – all good gothic elements for a romance story.
Nicely told with some good historical facts and descriptions of the poverty that so many villagers lived in where huts were basically mud floors and mostly mud walls and roofs.. with rents and work under the control of the local lord – even in the 19th century.
Gentle and cosy by the fire reading because it all works out in the end – as it must.
- Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
I love action/adventure movies and I love romance novels, but as a reader, it was difficult to find books that blended the two. Everything I’ve ever written has had elements of both adventure and romance. Before I was published, I used to write Historical Romance with elements of adventure. When I went to grad school, I decided to challenge myself to write something contemporary, and I’ve always wanted to write a book inspired by one of my favorite movies “Romancing the Stone.” That’s how The Key West Escape Series came about.
Passion Punch, and The Key West Escape Series, is considered to be Romantic Adventure, which falls under the umbrella of Romantic Suspense. It’s a little different though because Romantic Adventure is lighter and funnier than traditional romantic suspense, but it’s still filled with lots of action and suspenseful elements. I’d like to think of my books as action/adventure movies in book form written for women.
- Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?
I have never self-published. I was lucky enough to be signed for a three-book contract when my publisher accepted my first book. Books 2 and 3 weren’t written yet, so I felt a little pressure to deliver something as good as the first book, but I’m really happy with the way the series turned out, and I love my publisher Firefly Hill Press.
- What is your favourite genre?
I enjoy reading romantic suspense, paranormal, and historical romance.
- If you could recommend a living author – who would it be?
I would recommend Diana Gabaldon. I adore her and the Outlander series.
- Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?
JR Ward has had the most influence on my writing style. After a contest judge told me early on in my career that my writing style was ordinary and boring, I realized that maybe she was right. I decided to study some of the authors I admired, and I was draw to Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I loved the rawness of Ward’s style. While I didn’t want to copy her, I realized I could punch up my own voice in similar ways, and that’s how I approached Rum Runner, my first published novel, and the first book in The Key West Escape Series.
- In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?
My books are quite funny. I hope you’ll check them out. 🙂
- Do you have any pets? Yes.
- If so, what are they? I have a two-year-old tabby cat. I rescued him from an animal shelter a few months ago.
- And what are they called? Finnegan
- Do they help you write? Finnegan like to walk across my keyboard and add extra letters to my words, so I guess he’s trying to help.
- What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? He rolled off his cat tower. I was sitting on the couch writing when I caught this out of the corner of my eye. I reached my hand out with ninja-quick reflexes I didn’t know I possessed and caught him just in time to break his fall. He was fine. He’s just really clumsy.
- Do you want to add a photo of them to this Q&A? [please add a separate file, not embedded into document] I don’t have a good photo of Finnegan yet, because he always looks p*ssed off. I think he hates having his picture taken.
- If you could be any fictional character, which would you be? And why?
Claire Fraser. Why? Two words: Jamie Fraser. 😉
- If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?
I’m in love with Scotland. I’ve been there five times, and I would love to move to Glasgow, in particular. The vibrant city has the perfect blend of old and new. Great people. Great pubs and restaurants. Art and culture. And I love the Glaswegian accent.
- What would you take on a desert island to read if you could only take 3 books?
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Lover Awakened by JR Ward
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I hope you enjoy Passion Punch, (Book 3 of The Key West Escape Series.)
~ Tricia Leedom
TRICIA LEEDOM enjoys traveling to exotic destinations and having torrid love affairs with hot, dangerous men… even if it’s only in her own mind. When she’s not writing romantic adventure novels, she reads voraciously, tweets compulsively, and fangirls over a TV show based on her favorite book series. Tricia earned her BA in Creative Writing from The University of Tampa and her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her favorite authors include Diana Gabaldon, J.R. Ward, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Karen Robards, and Johanna Lindsey. She lives in Southwest Florida with two very spoiled dogs. Follow Tricia on Twitter and Instagram @tricialeedom
Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
I work at a university so I see a lot of college students through my days, weeks, months, and years. I get to know some of them and what they’re struggling with. The 21st Century Austen series are modernizations of Jane Austen books and she wrote about people in this same age group. Modernizing it means considering college students and how different they are from other adults and people the same age who don’t go to college.
Emma, the book that inspired Woodhouse Hall, is about a woman of immense privilege. She has the life she wants without having had to compromise like others around her. She sees herself as skilled at something she has merely been lucky to get right. It’s something common for all of us to understand and happens often in our early twenties. I want readers to see that mistakes and failures aren’t the end of the world but lessons that can help us make better decisions.
How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
Woodhouse Hall happened very quickly. I write my first draft during National Novel Writing Month events. There are three a year: the big one in November and then two smaller ones in April and July. I was going to write a different project in July 2018 but this idea suddenly came to me and I was able to write the whole thing in a few months. I did the research as I wrote and edited, talking to college students around me. From start to release day it took less than a year and a half to work on this book.
I do have a lot of journals and notebooks where I collect my notes, outlines, research, and character details. Each book will take at least one notebook.
How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
Research is my bread and butter. I’m a research librarian so I can get lost in the research process because I enjoy it so much. How much time depends on the topic. If I know a lot about it, I don’t spend too much time. The research for Woodhouse Hall required a little research about how buildings are added to the national register of historical buildings and talking to college students about life in dorms. It didn’t take long at all. Another book is going to take place in a candy shop, which I know nothing about. It’s going to take extensive research that will involve eating candy!
What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote
The resources depend on each book. For Woodhouse Hall I was easily able to find a lot of resources online. The government puts up a ton of information about getting a building listed on the historical register. I also looked up blueprints of dorms and costs so I made sure plot points happened accurately. I like going to places and talking to people as part of the research process. It helps me understand context of things that happen and I get great stories to include. I can also see how people interact with each other in a setting.
Do you have any pets? Do they help you write?
I have a cat and a dog. Neither are helpful when writing. Sabine, the cat, wants to be left alone. Cedric, the dog, wants to be the center of my attention. He likes to sit in my lap, making it difficult to work. I have to leave the house everyday if I want to get anything done. It’s probably why I can write and publish books the way I do. When I go out to write, I can focus and just check items off my to-do list.
Do you have an unusual hobby?
It’s not unusual but I’m also a knitter. Before I decided to start self-publishing, I was doing so much knitting that I was creating my own patterns and still sell them online. I still knit, especially when I’m not writing. I try to make sure I knit at least one item for every story I write. I have so much yarn I just shop in my own house when I’m ready to knit something else.
If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?
I love Paris and my plan is to retire there in thirty years. My plan is to continue writing full time while I’m there. I love Paris and have since before my first visit ten years ago. I love the food and history. Anytime I can manage a way to insert Paris into what I’m writing, I do. Phi Alpha Pi has a major scene happen there but not Woodhouse Hall.
Do you people watch to find characters for your books? How do you do this? What is the funniest thing you have seen that you have incorporated into a book? Or do you add some traits from your family and friends into your characters?
I do and it often shocks my friends how much I’m paying attention to everything. I was in Boston with some friends, walking to a chocolate shop for a tour. Behind us was a couple who had clearly been on a few dates but not that comfortable with each other. I walked between our two groups, listening to both my friends and the couple. Later, over lunch, we were talking about the couple and they were shocked at how much I had over heard.
Sometimes these things make it into books but usually I watch to see how people talk and what these things show me about them, even if its assumptions people will make. I often think about what people think about me when they see me in cafe’s working. These things work their way in to everything I write.
The funniest thing that ended up in Latkes of Love, specifically, was when a friend and I had lunch in Salem, MA during the Women’s Soccer championships this past summer. There was a guy at the bar there and he was far more enthusiastic than anyone else in the bar. I wrote the entire thing into a disastrous date for a character. I don’t want to spoil it but it was magnificent.
About the Author
Sara Marks is a librarian with two masters degrees and plans to never stop getting over educated. She likes the idea of having all the academic regalia she can ever possess. She cries at nearly every movie she sees (ask her about when she cried at a horror movie), but it’s full-on weeping for Disney animated movies. She loves reading nearly every genre but likes to write women’s fiction, romance, and even horror. You have to balance out the reality of the world if you’re going to be a hopeless romantic! Her heroines are women who don’t want the expected life, rarely worrying about their age, weight, marriageability, or fertility.
Family sagas and then second chance love collide in this feel good novel that sorts out a tangled set of relationships.
I liked that the parents were a same sex couple and that not only had they had a very long life together, but that they had weathered some tricky issues with both women wanting babies at the same time, and subsequent, and later, affairs.
The book showed the difficulties that children of same sex couples can have at school, but that they can also grow up to be ‘normal’ and well balanced adults. Demonstrating that the lack of a male figure in their family was no deterrent to a happy childhood and future careers etc.
The novel was well rounded and the style was coherent and well written. The storyline took us to pubs and Switzerland and singing and included a lively dog for those readers who need a family pet to be included. There was enough drama and misunderstandings to allow for the norm of this type of genre with a happy ending