How long have you been writing romance?
I'd been a longtime romance reader but I started writing in 2006 after seeing an advertisement for a CAE course. The wonderful Anne Gracie was the teacher and I went on to do an 'advanced' course with her as well.
Who is your favorite author?
That's a hard one because I can't pick just one. In Single Title, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Amanda Quick, In category, Jessica Hart and Shirley Jump. I'm seeing a pattern here. I like humour and all these authors deliver witty dialogue from warm and likable characters.
When and where do you like to write?
I have to be truthful and say I don't write every day. I know having a routine like that would make it so much easier but I'm just not a routine type of gal. So I tend to go in spurts, every couple of days. And despite having a very nice study, I write on the dining table in the family room.
What writing habits do you have which help you to keep motivated?
Loving my characters is integral to keeping myself motivated. Because I'm easily distracted I really have to like them a lot to want to go through the pain of telling their story. If I didn't care enough about them, why would I bother? So I do a lot of work on their background and think about them constantly. Finding those little things that will set them apart and make them real to the reader is part of the challenge.
I think short stories are a great way to 'test the water', maybe to try a style of writing or type of story you think you might like to write without investing a lot in teasing out a great plot or in big word counts. They're tight, so you need only explore one idea. And they're great for when you are maybe a bit lost, not sure of your next project, and just want something on the go. An example is the three stories I've been lucky to have accepted in Romance Writers of Australia's Little Gems anthologies. The first was a sweet, the second a Regency time-travel and the third had a 1930's Oriental spy setting. I wasn't interested in writing any of these as books but the ideas were there and the short story format was the best way to capture them.
"Her Italian Aristocrat" is set in Italy, have you ever been there?
I've been lucky to spend a bit of time in Italy on several overseas trips and I adore it.
You lived in Sydney till age 10, when your family relocated to Melbourne. Do you think this experience informed you on some level of what Gemma's character faces?
My heroine, Gemma, is an outsider by virtue of her background, unsure of where she fits in the aristocratic setting she finds herself in. When I moved to Melbourne as a child I was an outsider as well. These days, the world is smaller and people move much more frequently but back then it was as if I'd landed on another planet. The Sydney/Melbourne rivalry was also very strong in those days so I struggled to make sense of this new place and to fit in and make new friends.
Gemma is passionate about shoes. Is that something you share with her?
I used to love gorgeous shoes but unfortunately my poor feet will no longer let me wear them. But I can still fantasise about them.
What are you currently working on?
I'm finishing a book set in the Australian outback. It's a 'coming home' book, about forgiveness, reconciliation, and the ties of family.
Louise's book 'Her Italian Aristocrat' is published by Penguin imprint, Destiny Romance, and went on sale the 15th of November.