Joining me today is author, Amy Rose Bennett
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WINNER: Joanna Lloyd
Amy Rose Bennett has always
wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a
particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories
in her favourite genre. She has a
passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in
the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and
rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.
Amy is happily married
to her own Alpha male hero, has two beautiful daughters, a rather loopy
Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Devonshire Rex cat with attitude. She is a Speech
Pathologist, but is currently devoting her time to her one other true
Q: Can you tell our readers a little about your
writing? What genres do you enjoy writing?
As it says in my bio, I absolutely love
writing Georgian and Regency set historical romance stories. I also love
Scotland so my first two full length manuscripts—‘Capturing the Master of
Strathburn’ and ‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’ (still waiting to be published!)
are set there. I’m not sure why, but the country and its history fascinates me.
But I also suspect it has something to do with being partial to brawny Highland
men in kilts…
I’m still exploring different styles of
writing—I’ve written some darker-themed tales as well as lighter, happier
stories. All have ‘open-door’ love scenes at the hotter end of the spectrum. As
a reader I want to read the ‘good bits’ so that’s how I write as well.
One thing I’ve noticed about my writing though,
is that I tend to write a little ‘out-of-the-box’ in terms of plotting. I think
I’m a bit of a rule-breaker at heart as an author. For instance my heroes are
alpha-beta, rather than just straight alphas, and they aren’t afraid to fall in
love with their heroines (even if they don’t admit it for a little while).
‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’ also features a married heroine who falls in love
with another man—she has good reason to leave her dissolute husband, mind you!
It’s risky because some publishing houses won’t even look at a story with
adultery themes. But I also think it makes for a dark, gothic-like tale with a
strong love story at it’s core. I’m hoping an editor will think so too one day!
In my debut release ‘An Improper
Proposition’—an erotic Regency novella—my heroine, a widowed countess, indulges
in a rather ‘improper’ dalliance with her younger, very hot footman. So I guess
it’s another instance of writing about something that’s not the usual…and a
little bit naughty ;)
I should probably also mention that I’ve
recently dabbled with writing a novella sent in the recent-past—the 1950’s—as I
wanted to see if I could write something a little more ‘modern’ that was also
lighter in tone. I had such fun writing it. It meant I could use 20th
century words and phrases like ‘thunked’, ‘get a grip’ and
‘Miss-Goody-two-shoes’. It’s set on the Jersey Shore in 1953 and focuses on a
second chance romance between a returned army nurse and a US air force fighter
Q: Do you write on a schedule or when the Muse
Since deciding to knuckle down and get
serious about writing nearly two years ago (because I dithered about for years
before that, telling myself I’d write that novel one day), I’ve completed two full
length (100,000+ word) novels, two novellas (one published) and I’m currently
into my third work-in-progress (another Regency). So I feel like I’ve been
quite productive after being a long-term procrastinator. I write every day now and
I’m lucky that I can write almost anywhere! At the moment I’m also fortunate to
be in the position to have a year off from working as a Speech Pathologist so
I’m definitely writing as much as I can!
Can you tell us about your writing process, for example, do you write an
I always write an outline of the overall
plot—I have to know where my story is going before I sit down to write even the
very first chapter. But I don’t plot meticulously. I like to work out the finer
details along the way, so I guess I’m a 2/3 plotter -1/3 pantser hybrid. And
there’s nothing better than the buzz you get when your characters seem to come
alive and tell you what to write. I so love those moments!
Q: What qualities do you instil in your heroes?
All of my heroes (so far) have had
military backgrounds. So courage, duty, loyalty and honour are central
characteristics. As I mentioned before, they also aren’t afraid to fall in love.
I’m not overly keen on creating arrogant alphas who won’t overtly show their
feelings through their actions, or admit they are in love with the heroine
until just about the last page (like in bodice rippers of old). My heroes also
have a sense of humour and like to tease their heroines at times—I love writing
Two of my heroes (in my larger stories)
are also a little damaged emotionally—and of course their heroines help them
with the healing process. Aside from being intelligent and caring, my heroes are
all tall, dark and handsome with athletic, muscular physiques—basically drop-dead
gorgeous…And it should go without saying that they are all awesome in (or out)
of bed ;)
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Beach or countryside? Both!
Do you write about the places you know or prefer to take your readers to exotic
I don’t know if the UK or the Jersey
Shore are considered exotic, but I do like to write about different places—and
Where do you get your inspiration?
History itself, songs—I often conjure
scenes in my head based on the mood or imagery created by the lyrics of a song.
Sometimes pictures inspire ideas—for example the wonderful Dunnottar Castle in
Aberdeenshire, Scotland gave me an enormous amount of visual inspiration to
help create the gothic mood in ‘Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal’. It’s hard to pin
down what fires my imagination exactly though!
We have all suffered submission rejections. How do you cope? Do you have any
advice to other writers on coping with rejection?
I’ve entered a fair few contests for
unpublished authors (Romance Writers Australia and Romance Writers America
contests) in the last year or so, so I’ve learned to deal with the not so glowing
contest feedback I’ve received at times. So that has certainly helped me cope
with the feelings you get when rejected by a publisher. Contest feedback will
also give you an idea of whether your story is close to/at a publishable
standard as many contest judges are published authors, editors or contest
finalists themselves. You’ll be more likely to get the magic ‘yes’ or at the
very least a revise and resubmit on a submission rather than a whole bunch of
‘no’s’ if you are aware of your readiness for publication.
I’ve also had a few ‘kind’ rejections
from some publishing houses and a couple of agents too who took the time to
evaluate my writing and offer helpful suggestions. Those types of rejections I
really appreciate as they’ve made me take a long hard look at my writing then
consider ways to improve it. I try to look for the positives—even though I
didn’t quite make it, the editor or agent obviously saw potential in my
writing. So I always try to learn something from these types of rejections.
In the end though, all you can really do
is keep on submitting your best polished effort with the belief that one day
you’ll get ‘the call’. So don’t give up!!!
What do you like to read and who are your favourite authors?
Whilst I’m a devotee of historical
romance, I also read across a range of genres. My favourite historical romance
authors are Anna Campbell, Sylvia Day and Julia Quinn (too name but a few).
I’ve just started to read Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby mysteries and am really
enjoying those. I also love crime-thriller novels (favourite authors are Nicci
French, Minette Walters and Elizabeth George), historical novels (like those written
by Phillipa Gregory) and paranormal YA series (such as the City of Bones and
Clockwork series by Cassandra Clare). Janet Evanovich is one of my go-to
authors when I need a good laugh. I absolutely love her Stephanie Plum series!
Do you write one novel at a time or do you move between works in progress?
So far I’ve been focusing on writing one
story at a time. But if the muse strikes for another story, I make sure I note
down my ideas before they’re gone! I don’t let the lure of something new and
shiny distract me from my current WIP. My new characters have to wait for their
Do you have times when the Muse is away on holiday?
Not yet! But if I occasionally get a
little stuck between scenes or chapters, I just make myself write through it. I
can always fix it later. I also find that fleshing out the scene with pen and
paper also seems to help my muse get going again.
What motivates you to write?
You know, I’m really not sure. I’ve
always been a day-dreamer since childhood and have always loved making up
stories. I guess it’s just part of who I am. Plus I love doing it—writing never
seems like work, even when I’m editing.
What advice would you give to unpublished authors approaching an e publisher?
You need to target the right publisher
for your book. So do your research! Check out websites like ‘Predators and
Editors’ to see who to avoid. If you are actively involved in associations like
Romance Writers Australia you’ll quickly establish a network of writer
friends—you can then (discreetly) ask for advice from already published authors
about who’d they recommend you target or their experiences with certain
publishing houses. Visit e-publishers websites and check out their submission
guidelines carefully and follow them to the letter. Become educated about what
is fair and reasonable in terms of publishing contracts and look for
information about the particular terms of contracts on the e-publishers
website. Also look at the titles offered—read samples or download a few and look
at the quality of the writing and editing, the cover art and the types of
stories published. Also hone your query letter, synopsis and manuscript until
they are the best you can possibly make them before submitting!
you tell us a little about your current novel? What inspired you to write this
I’ve recently had my debut release with the
Australian e-publisher Steam eReads! ‘An Improper Proposition’ is an erotic
Regency romance novella…a cougar/upstairs-downstairs mash-up!
with one’s footman—no matter how young and handsome he is—is not the done thing. But Lady Bianca
Wells is going to do it anyway…
Widowed countess Lady Bianca
Wells secretly lusts after her much younger, rakishly handsome footman Harry
Blake. Even though he has been in her employ for six months, she has not
succumbed to her indecorous urges to take him as a lover… until one wicked
night at an isolated country inn when she throws caution to the wind and offers
Blake a wholly improper proposition.
Harry Blake, the bastard son
of a duke and governess, is the epitome of the perfect footman, except for one
thing—he fantasizes about seducing his beautiful mistress. When Lady Wells
proposes that they become lovers for one night only, he is torn. Even though he
wants her with every fibre of his being, he suspects that forbidden fruit once
tasted, can be awfully addictive. He wonders if one night of passion will be
enough, for either of them—especially now that he realizes he might very well
be falling in love with his bella Bianca.
But when all is said and
done, Blake can hardly refuse such a tempting proposition, no matter how unwise
or improper. He just prays that he can put a smile on his mistress’s beautiful
Set-up: Lady Bianca is feeling shaken
after a drunken patron propositions her for a kiss at the inn she is staying
at. Her footman, Blake comes to her aid, then escorts her to her room…
The sooner she dismissed Blake
for the evening, the better. For a servant who’d only been in her employ for
six months, he read her too well. And she had come to rely on him far too much.
This growing familiarity between them was a problem, but one she wasn’t fit to
deal with right now.
She turned back to address him
and her breath hitched. He really was too handsome to be her footman. Even with
his black hair hidden beneath his periwig again, his chiselled jaw, wide mouth
and sparkling emerald green eyes set him apart from most other men of his
station. Indeed he was as handsome as any young buck of the ton. Or so her close friends repeatedly
told her. Those same friends—including Lady Jameson—who also whispered to her
that she was mad not to have a fuck or two with him.
gawping at him like a foolish adolescent girl, Bianca. Dismiss him, before you
do something you regret.
With a trembling hand, she
pushed a strand of her blonde hair away from her mouth and found her voice. “Well,
thank you again for your timely intervention, Blake. That will be—”
“Do you have any brandy, my
She arched an eyebrow. “Why?”
Blake held her gaze. It was
one of the things she liked about him so much. He was respectful yet not easily
intimidated by her when she played the haughty dowager countess.
“Please forgive my impertinence,” he at last
responded, his forehead dipping into a frown, “but you’ve had a shock and it
might help. Would you like me to fetch you some from the taproom?”
“No, that won’t be necessary,
but thank you.” Now was the time to bid him good night but for some reason, she
couldn’t do it. She supposed it was because she found his strong male presence
reassuring after what had happened only minutes before. She stepped back from
the door, opening it wider to admit him. “But perhaps you could re-stoke the
fire for me…Tilly has retired early with a headache.”
“Of course, my lady.”
Bianca shut the door after him
and leant against the smooth wood panels, watching him as he removed his white
gloves before he bent low to toss several logs into the grate. His wide
shoulders strained against the navy blue superfine of his liveried jacket as he
moved. Such power and grace for such a tall man. She suspected he’d developed
his athletic physique when he’d served as a corporal in Wellington’s army. Not
for the first time, she wondered how he would look without his livery. She bit
behaving like a vixen on heat, Bianca. Tell him to go. Now.
WINNER: Joanna Lloyd