We are really fortunate to have author Abby Gaines with us today. She's an absolutely terrific author of romances that are perfect to brighten up a long winter's night.
Yes, I do. The theme that comes through in all my stories is “You can be loved just the way you are.” Which isn’t to say that love won’t change and transform us—it does. But unconditional love is a very precious thing.
When do you write/what is your writing day like?
I get up at 5am Monday to Friday, and write until 7am. I used to do email etc first thing, but then I attended a talk by creativity guru Eric Maizel, who says the very first hour or two are the most creative of the day. Since I started using that early morning for creation rather than administration, my productivity has increased a lot.
How do you approach a new book? Outlines? Just an idea?
I usually have an idea for a quirky situation, likely involving the heroine – the kind of “oh, no!” situation that makes you laugh and cringe for her at the same time. Such as, “Oh, no, she duped her boyfriend into going on a live TV wedding show, and he just jilted her in front of an audience of millions!” (Married by Mistake, available as a free download from www.tryharlequin.com). Or “Oh, no, she met the man of her dreams and he just fell in love with her best friend...and now she’s got to stop the wedding!” (Her Best Friend’s Wedding, Superromance, June 2011). And, my new book, The Earl’s Mistaken Bride: “Oh, no, she married the guy she’s loved for years, but it turns out he thought he was marrying her much prettier sister!”
Who are your favorite authors? Have any authors inspired you or influenced your work?
I read widely, but my favorite authors in the romance and women’s fiction genre are Karina Bliss, Sophie Kinsella, Kristan Higgins, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Georgette Heyer, Julia Quinn...to name a few.
What makes a great book in your opinion?
I’m not sure what makes it, but this is how I recognize it: I’m still thinking about a month after I finished reading it.
If a reader took away one thing from your book(s), what would you like that to be?
A smile! I like to say that I write “stories that leave you smiling.” Which isn’t to say you might not cry a little bit along the way, but you should definitely end up smiling at the end of my books.
Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Keep writing, keep learning (even when you think you’ve already mastered the craft), keep submitting your work to editors. As far as possible, make every piece of dialogue and every action unique to your character...work hard to make sure they react in ways that person would react, rather than how you, the author, need them to react for the sake of your story. So, for example, if your hero makes hand-crafted furniture, rather than have him think of the heroine’s skin as being as smooth as silk, have him think of it as smooth as the finest French polish. Okay, maybe that’s not very romantic...but you know what I mean.
Where do you see yourself as an author in five years?
I have no idea! The publishing industry is changing so fast, it’s impossible to say. I can pretty much guarantee that whatever the next big thing is, I’ll miss it. I don’t seem to have very good timing like that. I’m loving writing my Regency inspirationals, but have also really enjoyed working on Young Adult and women’s fiction manuscripts recently. Whatever I write, it will always have a happy ending.
Abby Gaines writes funny, tender romances for Love Inspired Historical and Harlequin Superromance -- she's currently at work on her 19th novel for Harlequin. She's also experimenting with a young adult novel and a women's fiction novel. Abby loves reading, skiing, traveling and cooking for friends, as well as spending time with her husband and children.
As soon as Marcus Brookstone lifts his bride's veil, he sees he's been tricked. He made a bargain with God—to marry a good, Christian girl if his mother recovered from illness. But Marcus intended to marry pretty Amanda, not stubborn Constance. His next plan, to ignore his new wife, fails as well when Constance makes it clear that she wants a true union.
Constance Somerton doesn't dare reveal that she's been enamored of Marcus for years. The man believes love is for weaklings. Someone needs to teach him about marriage's blessings. Someone who sees beyond his arrogance to the tender heart beneath. Someone exactly like Constance….
Visit http://www.abbygaines.com/ to read an excerpt.