Monday, 29 April 2013

Meat Loaf and Writing

Yes, I know, it's not the most obvious combination, but it was a recent visit to Meat Loaf's 'Last at Bat' show at Sheffield Arena which inspired my first ever writers' blog post over at the Book in a Week site.  Here's the link:

And here's me practicing my best Bonnie Tyler look in preparation for the show!  So not only did I have a great night out, I also got a new facebook profile picture and the inspiration for a fun article.  Now that's what I call multi-tasking! 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Writer Wednesday 2 for 1

Today you get two interviews for the price of one, because J M Stewart kindly invited me over to her blog, where we discovered how much we have in common.  We're both romance writers, published with Crimson Romance and The Wild Rose Press, who love the seaside and the smell of lavender.  Who'd have thought it?

You can read about Joanne's books, great titles and cool covers in the interview below:

And on her blog, you can read about some of my favourites, including my favourite scene to write, my favourite films and even my favourite cars:

I've had so much fun doing this blog swap - hopefully there will be plenty more! 

Writer Wednesday Interview: Joanne Stewart

Today I welcome J.M.Stewart to my blog.  J.M. Stewart writes sweet and heartwarming contemporary romance with a touch of passion. She’s a wife, a mother, a spiritualist, and lover of puppies, and happily addicted to coffee and chocolate. She lives in the Great Rainy Northwest with her husband of sixteen years and their two sons. She’s a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should have their happily-ever-after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her passion. 

Welcome!  I notice you describe your books as ‘sweet and spicy’, which sounds like a potent combination.  What exactly do you mean, and did it take you long to come up with that description?

--Honestly, the description just popped into my head, and it was a play on “sweet and sour”, as in sauce. Honest to goodness, I couldn’t really tell you how my mind works sometimes. lol.  My mind wanders, takes little stuff like this and just runs away with it. Somewhere out of sweet and sour sauce, my mind went, “aha! Sweet and spicy!”

What does it mean…My books tend to be sweet, but normally, a sweet book doesn’t contain love scenes. Mine do. So…sweet… but spicy, too.  

‘A Second Chance at Forever’ has a wonderfully glamorous cover and features a sexy stripper with the delicious stage name of ‘Candy Cane’.  Was it as much fun to write as it looks? 

--Thanks. It really was. It started because I was intrigued by the thought of a romance heroine who worked as a stripper. I’d never read one before, and I thought, “could I pull that off?” Then I wondered, what kind of romance novel heroine would work as a stripper? But, as it usually happens, my characters took off on me, and I met the hero, Alex. He caught me by the heart and pulled me in.

I love the title and cover of ‘Her Knight in Black Leather’ too.  Was the title difficult to come up with?

--This one was a stroke of pure luck. I don’t do titles very well, and I was stumped for this one. So I was sitting here trying to think about what the book is really about, when the phrase, “Knight in Shining Armour” popped into my head. Which is what the hero is for the heroine. Except he doesn’t wear armour…he wears a black leather jacket. And I just put the two together.

Do you do a lot of research for your stories? 

--It depends. When I need to, I do. For A Second Chance at Forever, for example, I had to do some research on Vegas and what it takes to be a stripper. For Her Knight, I had to look into small town dynamics, as I’ve never really lived in one, and I did a bit of research on how to disarm someone with a gun. 

Like me, you have books out with both ‘The Wild Rose Press’ and ‘Crimson Romance’.  Do you enjoy working with more than one publisher, and do you have any tips for writers choosing a publisher to submit to?  

--I’ve had good luck with both of them. Crimson feels like a slightly larger publisher than TWRP. They have a publicist, who set up some stuff for me. Her Knight’s release got announced on the USA Today website. In fact, I’m finding that a lot of their titles do. Plus they set up a giveaway and a couple of interviews for me. Whereas with TWRP, we do all our own promo. But I can’t say I prefer one over the other.

Tips for choosing a publisher? Personally, I’d say do your research. How long have they been in business? What are people saying about them? Do they publish what you write? Do you like what they put out? Check out their covers. Are they appealing to you? Talk to their authors and see how they like working for the company. All that stuff.

What is the working title of your next book (or books)?

--My agent and I are currently in the process of finding a home for a two book series, entitled Taking Chances. It’s set in the state of Washington (where I live) and revolves around a small family. Both books are short, around the 60k mark. Book one is Loving Ceci, and it was previously published by The Wild Rose Press under the title, Staking His Claim. It’s been completely revised and re-edited. Book two is Winning Becca. The heroine in this one is the sister of the hero from book one.

We’re also getting ready to shop out a single title I’ve called Love’s Healing Touch. A retired army vet must confront his demons as he faces the woman he left behind and the child he never knew.

Are there any other settings you’ve got in mind to use in future stories? 

--Not in particular. I kind of go where the inspiration takes me. My current WIP is set in a small town on Whidbey Island, here in the state of Washington.

What do you love most about writing romance?

--Discovering the stories. Call me strange, I don’t know if everybody works this way, but I don’t create characters. My heroes and heroines are people to me, and I’m just the secretary. I just write down their story and try to tell it in the best way possible. So for me, the act of discovering these people’s love story and watching it unfold on the page is very addicting.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?

--This is more paraphrasing, or how I remember it, but a wonderful writer told me recently, basically, “be you, be proud.” She said it far more eloquently, of course, and those are my words not hers. That’s what I took out of what she said. It was a freeing moment for me, because it was something I was struggling with at the time. Like most writers, I’m sure, I have insecurities. I kept comparing myself to other, more successful, authors and coming up short. The comparison was crippling me. What I took out of my chat with her was not to allow the doubt demons to eat me alive. To take pride in who I am. Because what a boring world it would be if we all told the same stories.

Which is your favourite social media site – facebook, twitter, or something else? 

--Facebook is my favourite. I have twitter, but it moves so quickly I can’t keep up. With Facebook, I can get more in-depth with my updates, I can more easily interact  with people, I can share pictures, etc. It feels more interactive to me.

My facebook links:

And where should we go to find out more about your books? 

Thanks for visiting!  I've enjoyed hearing about your books, and good luck with the Taking Chances series.   I hope it finds a great home!  

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Writer Wednesday Interview: Zoe Forward

Hi Zoe!  Welcome to my Wednesday interview.  Can you tell us about ‘Dawn of a Dark Knight’ and what inspired you to write it?

I grew up heavily influenced by Indiana Jones, James Bond, Star Trek, and Star Wars.  For books I started with Ann Rice and then got sucked into the paranormal romance world (and never looked back).  So, writing paranormals was a no brainer. For Dawn of a Dark Knight everything came together at the right creative moment — my love of Egyptian mythology, my long-time passion for archaeology, my ideas about a new type of paranormal hero and more. It all just gelled.
In Dawn of a Dark Knight Dr. Kira Hardy jeopardizes her brilliant medical career to save Ashor Vlahos, Scimitar Magi commander, after a brutal daemon attack. Their attraction is instant and, for Ashor, forbidden.  As an ancient nemesis resurfaces and targets Kira, they face a crucial decision—follow the gods’ rules or follow their hearts.

‘Dawn of a Dark Knight’ is a paranormal story – do you mainly write paranormals or do you like to experiment with different sub-genres?

I have dabbled in other genres, but every time the story gets going, it turns paranormal. I love the flexibility this genre allows for bending the world’s rules.

You have a sequel releasing next year – did you always know ‘Dawn of a Dark Knight’ would be part of a series? 

From the outset I envisioned each of the Scimitar magi as special characters that deserved their own stories.
The sequel to Dawn of a Dark Knight, the second in the Scimitar Magus series, is in editing with my publisher. The title of this work is under discussion. In this sequel, there is a new magus who just got released from an unjustified stint in purgatory. Long ago, a dark-magik sorcerer cursed him and the woman he loves to murder each other within days of meeting in each new lifetime. Being back means this cycle will start again.  He’s attempted countless curse-reversal rituals over the centuries, and all failed.  Now, he may have discovered a way to break their vicious cycle. But it requires he kill her before she strikes her death blow, something he’s never done in the past.

Who would play your hero and heroine in a film of the book? 

Surprisingly, this is a really tough question. I didn’t write this novel envisioning specific actors playing Ashor and Kira.  I still cannot come up with just the right actor to play the hero and heroine. Therefore, I am going to have to say that if this ever turns into a movie, we will simply have to cast newcomers. :-)

What kind of research have you done for your stories? 
I slogged through many dry books on Egyptian mythology. In that process I discovered there is a lot of controversy and not a lot of consensus in some areas of ancient history. For example, there are multiple names for each of the gods and goddesses, and some of them do not have clear roles.  From my perspective this allows for a lot of artistic freedom.

What aspect of writing do you find the hardest?

World building! The rules, the people, the gods…requires a lot of research.  For the Scimitar Magi series I created a new hero.  As a passionate reader of paranormal romance I’ve read my fair share of vampires, weres, fae, shape shifters and demons. And loved them all. But I wanted something new. In Dawn of a Dark Knight the Scimitar Magi are ten pseudo-immortals that live within our world, but struggle to remain incognito. The guys are not exactly thrilled to discover they vowed their eternal soul eons ago to serve the Egyptian gods, and now must execute daemons for the rest of their life.  With no past-life memory, they’ve got no clue how to wield the powers gifted to them by the gods.  Man to super warrior in five minutes with no instruction manual.  So it takes a long time for each Scimitar to work it out. At first losing control at random is the norm, and irritates the bejesus out of the more experienced guys. Incidents happen like blowing up a gas station, which is misinterpreted by the government as a terrorist act.  And then there are the women. The Scimitars each get matched to one woman for all-time, and she is also reincarnated.  But when, and if, this woman shows up is entirely up to the gods, who love to muck things up for their entertainment.

You’re a member of the Carolina Romance Writers and RWA.  How important do you think it is for writers to be part of a professional group?  
I love being a member of CRW. The members are supportive and diverse in their interests, experience, and writing genres.  I’ve learned a tremendous amount from the speakers we bring in each month. Overall, I’m a huge advocate for a writer’s group since this is a place where a romance writer can feel accepted and supported at any phase of her writing career.

What do you do in your spare time, and do you think your pastimes or life experiences have influenced your books?

I’d love to say I free climb or train for triathlons.  But, I must admit to not having a lot of spare time. I’m a full-time veterinarian. When I’m not at work or on my work commute, I’m a mom.  I devote my spare time to writing, which I love. When I can I’ll pick up a new book.

Where should we go to find out more about your books?  
Thank you for inviting me to visit.  I always love to hear from readers. Drop by my website to send me an email.

You can buy my books here:

Thanks Zoe.  I've enjoyed hearing about your books and look forward to more of the series. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sneak Peak Sunday: Miles and Michelle

For the last few weeks, I've been using my 'sneak peeks' to introduce you to some of my favourite characters from my first book, 'Desperate Bid'.

Today, my heroine Sarah isn't the happiest person in the world: she's just home from the pub, where she ran into her friend and colleague Michelle, which would have been lovely if it weren't for the fact that Michelle was sitting happily chatting to Sarah's arch-rival Miles. 

"On Saturday, Sarah was itching with impatience to find out whether they’d won, but she was still smarting from Michelle’s accusations. Not to mention finding her so cosy with Miles in the pub after work. She knew she shouldn’t take it personally, but she couldn’t help seeing it as a kind of defection. 

To work off her annoyance, she started cleaning and brushing and scraping at wallpaper, the first step in her lounge redecoration project. There was something very satisfying about ripping off large sheets of it by hand. Peel. Tear. Rip. Destroy. 

It felt good. She put on an old heavy metal CD she hadn’t listened to since...since when? Probably her teens. It hadn’t been designed for decorating to, but its throbbing anger suited her mood, and at least she could hear the music over the persistent scraping, ripping noises. 

She hadn’t sung in a long time, either, and her voice was hoarse and a little off key, but that suited the song. In between scrapes at the paper she howled into the scraper like a microphone and danced around the stool. It felt crazy, almost a little dangerous, and so right. Miles and the other stuffed shirts would freak if they saw her now, but she was loving it. She felt alive. She wondered if they’d ever felt that way. It was hard to imagine.

Of course, the euphoric feeling didn’t last forever. Sarah went to bed exhausted, but she couldn’t sleep. 

The smell of paint dizzied her, and an ache throbbed through her arms and shoulders, adding to the tension she’d been feeling since scrambling through the treetops on Wednesday. She wished for a moment that Neil was there to pummel out the knots. She’d always hated his roughness but had to admit that it did work, unlike her own helpless and entangling efforts to reach round and massage her own shoulders."

Will Sarah forgive Michelle for fraternising with the enemy?  You can find out in 'Desperate Bid.'  As for whether anything comes of Miles and Michelle's apparent closeness, for that you'll have to wait for the sequel, 'Desperate Measures' - still a work in progress.

While you're waiting, why not have a look at some more exciting excerpts on the Sneak Peek Sunday blog.  

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Blurbs in Bloom: 'Perfect Partners' excerpt

Today I'm back at the beautiful 'Blurbs in Bloom' blogsite with a short excerpt from 'Perfect Partners' - visit to find out what happens when Lisa wonders whether it wouldn't be easier to stop faking a relationship for the sake of the dance/romance TV show she and Redmond are taking part in.  Kind of a cringe-worthy moment, but hey, we've all had them, right? And it's nice to know you're not alone, so please stop by and show Lisa some sympathy!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Writer Wednesday Interview - Lisa Hannah Wells

Today's interview is with multi-talented author Lisa Hannah Wells.  Welcome, Lisa.  

You write in a long list of genres, including paranormal and contemporary romance.  Do you have plans to focus on one, or do you enjoy the variety?

I truly enjoy the variety. I am never certain “who” will pop up next demanding their story told. Often, the genres are so totally different from one another. Then there is the fun I have of mixing genres. I rarely do things the same.

I love the cover for ‘Be Still My Lover’s Heart.’  It reminds me of ‘Avatar’.  What books and films do you think have influenced you as a writer?

I have always loved movies that had a paranormal theme, yet romantic. I’m not a horror fan. My favorite books are the “Outlander” series, most things by Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon. I also love great YA. Harry Potter, Cassandra Clare, James Patterson.  Tolkien is another great favorite. Furthermore, if I left out Science Fiction and Fantasy I’d not be honest. 

Do you have a favourite hero and heroine from your books, and who would you like to see them played by in a film of the book? 

In ‘Be Still My Lover’s Heart’, I loved Tempest and Shea. He is such a noble character befitting a King and his love can’t be denied.  I see Ian Somerhalder as Tempest and Erin Sanders as Shea.  My all-time favorite Hero is a character you will all get to meet someday soon. He is the most wonderful guy and funny. He’s also a vampire. I could spend hours just talking about him, but that will have to wait for another day.

Is it possible to research for paranormal and sci-fi stories, or do you just have to use your imagination?

There’s actually very little research I do regarding those two categories, but should I use some sort of technology, I do have a friend, also an inventor, who helps with what’s realistic.  Most everything is imagination. It never ends.

Is there a philosophy, or message, behind your books, and if so, how would you sum it up?

Behind most of my stories there is a bit of a moral story, but with the romance in particular, it is to never give up on love no matter how long it takes to find. I also tend to believe in the soul-mate concept that runs strongly through my stories.

What is the working title of your next book (or books)?

‘His Christmas Angel’ is a contemporary romance being considered for this Holiday Season with The Wild Rose Press, & ‘Into the Heart of Paradox’ is a time travel romance involving a bounty hunting witch and a ghost whose murderer is the very person she is trying to bring down.

What aspect of writing do you find the hardest?

That would have to be the editing and revision process.  I’m not very adept at catching my own mistakes.  The second hardest would be realistic dialogue, but I am improving with that one.

What have you found most useful in learning your craft, and what would you recommend for new writers?

Reading! The more you read the better writer you become. I can’t stress how important that is.  I also, recommend an exceptional Thesaurus.  Having a wonderful network of other writers to help support you is invaluable as are having a personal relationship with a good Critique Partner or group.  Those would be the top of my toolbox.

Is there a book you’ve read that you wish you had written?

Oh, yeah. ‘Magic Kingdom For Sale—Sold!’ by Terry Brooks.  That was in 1986. That went on to become a 6 book smash series ending in 2009, a great fantasy series.

Do you read in as many genres as you write in, or do you have a favourite genre?

Actually, I do read in as many genres as I write in. I confess a love for Historical Romance, though I’ve never written it.  Maybe, one day I’ll try my hand at it.

Where should we go to find out more about you and your books? 

I don’t have a website as such, currently, but can be found at the following sites:

Thank you very much for having me as a guest, Stephanie! I have really enjoyed myself and look forward to having you visit me.

Thanks!  I've enjoyed hearing about your writing, and I'm looking forward to my visit to your blog too.   See you on Friday! 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday: Desperate Bid (Alex)

For the next couple of weeks, I've decided to use my 'sneak peeks' to introduce you to some of my favourite characters from my first book, 'Desperate Bid', and after meeting Sarah last week, it's time now to introduce you to struggling musician Alex, who's about to turn his life around by putting it up for sale on an online auction site:

        Alex had shaken his head and frowned to himself. Eyeing up random women, falling for the singer... What was happening to him? 
        It hadn’t even been that long. It must just be the pain in the singer’s voice catching at him and making him think, as he had avoided doing for the last few weeks, of Suzy. She’d have looked good in the singer’s place, smooching around in the low light with the coloured spotlights dancing across her pale skin. Not that she’d have been seen dead in a dive like that. Even when Suzy was roughing it, as she’d always been, a little, with him, she had preferred quirky bohemian cafes and bars that looked like art galleries. Campbell’s was too down to earth, too real. 
        Reluctantly Alex had acknowledged, while sipping the Guinness Suzy would have scolded him for drinking, that they hadn’t been meant for each other. It had always been going to end. The only questions were how and when. 
        Alex wished it hadn’t happened the way it did. And certainly not when his life was already falling apart around his ears. He was still angry about that. Suzy might think she was a lady, but a real lady wouldn’t kick a man when he was down. 
        He bet neither of the two sisters he’d talked with tonight would do a thing like that. In between the chatter, he saw the way they drank in the music, swaying a little as if the music itself was holding them and moving them, and he wanted to be able to make that kind of magic, to hold their attention that way. To run his fingers through Sarah’s dark, shining hair, to sink into her green eyes, and to see her face light up just for him.
        As the band had launched into their third song, a gentle ballad with the drummer and guitarist taking back seats to a haunting violin and voice combination, Alex’s fingers had begun to twitch, setting chords to the tune to create the gentle ripple of backing he felt the song should have. Was it wishful thinking, or had he just remembered what he was really meant to do?

There.  Just six paragraphs, as required in the rules of Sneak Peek Sunday.  Hop along there now if you'd like to read more tasty Sunday teasers.  
If you liked this excerpt, you can read Alex's story in 'Desperate Bid' - and you might also be interested to know that I'm currently working on a sequel!  

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Writer Wednesday Interview: Jane Lovering

Today I'm delighted to be welcoming Jane Lovering to my blog.  Jane won the Romantic Novel of the Year award for her wonderful love story, 'Please Don't Stop the Music', and after I heard her talk to the Romantic Novelists' Association about her success, I managed to persuade her to answer some follow-up questions for me. 
PDSTM_BookshotHumour in writing obviously comes naturally to you, but what advice would you give someone who’s not a naturally funny writer?

Firstly I would say, think very carefully about whether or not you want to write humour, because people expect you to live up to their expectations of being ‘a funny person’.  If your natural bent is to be slightly depressive, you may have to cultivate a new persona when appearing in public (just remember, if you are old enough, how disappointed the public used to be in comedians like Tony Hancock, a depressive man but a funny performer – all right, he didn’t write his own material, but the comparison is valid here. Because I say so, all right?)
Don’t just decide you are going to write humour ‘because it sells’, particularly not what is pejoratively called ‘chick lit’.  You must believe in what you’re writing, and if it isn’t truly what you feel and how you are, it won’t carry through in your writing.
If you are certain that you really want to write humour, then all I can suggest is that you read, read, read humorous fiction and remember that a sense of humour is subjective.  What some people find funny will leave others absolutely cold, you really cannot please all of the people all of the time.  I know, I’ve tried.
As well as being very funny, your stories are also often touching, dealing with wounded and imperfect characters finding healing through love.  How would you sum up the philosophy, or message, behind your books?

Well, firstly, thank you for finding them funny!  I’d probably say that my message would be ‘you don’t have to be perfect to find love’.  Not perfect in body or mind, actually – I get a bit annoyed that, in some books, a huge point is made of the heroine’s attractiveness (even if she can’t see it herself) and the hero’s enormous...what I am, for the sake of decency, going to call ‘manliness’. I’ve always felt that this gives the readers the message that, if one isn’t a size 10, pert-nosed-and-breasted, flicky-haired vision of leggy loveliness, one has no business falling in love, particularly with a man who isn’t a billionaire doctor with an enormous....manliness.

You mentioned ‘Man Finds Cheese’ as an example of a headline that could have been more exciting.  What headline would sum up your writing career so far?  

 ‘Chaos - far more fun than knowing what you’re doing!’
VSOM_packshot copy2Writers often advise writing about what you know, but I’m hoping you don’t know too many vampires.  What kind of research did you do for ‘Vampire State of Mind’, and did it differ much from the research you do for your more real-world stories?

I do hate to disappoint, and I’d love to have loads of ‘research’ stories..but, in fact, I do none at all.  Or, nearly none, anyway.  Nothing more difficult than reading, really.  I am so shockingly lazy.
Do you have a favourite hero and heroine from your books, and who would you like to see them played by in a film of the book? 

HUBBLE BUBBLE_packshot copyI couldn’t really say that I have ‘favourites’ any more than I have favourite children. I suppose the ones that are most recent tend to be uppermost in my mind, and therefore easier to think about...err..I’m talking about heroes and heroines there, not children, but you knew that, right?  And the most recent would be Holly and Kai from ‘Hubble Bubble’, but as to who would play them..eeek.  Holly is very practical and caring, so someone like Jenna-Louise Coleman, possibly?  And Ben Barnes, with a Welsh accent can be Kai.  If he wants, you know, I’m not going to beg or anything...

You mentioned learning to type so that you could type up your stories.  What else did you do to learn your craft, and what would you recommend for new writers (apart from cutting out every other chapter!)?
To learn to write I did what anyone must do, I read.  Everything. Every genre, even those I thought were a bit...suspect, far-future murder mystery suspense romance with a horror twist, I am looking at you. So for anyone with any ambitions to write, first you must read.  And get objective advice on your work by whatever means necessary – pay for it, join a writers’ group (but one that gives honest feedback, not one of those where everyone says everything is ‘lovely, dear’), find a buddy in the same position who will trade critique for critique. Absolutely never rely on your mother, your partner, or anyone who will die by your hand if they tell you your writing is rubbish.  Sometimes everyone needs to hear that they’ve just written a stinky pile of pooh.  Oh, but only if they have, obviously, not just because someone on Amazon has taken the hump.
Your Amazon biography mentions your fondness for words beginning with ‘b’, (including, presumably, ‘biography’).  Do you have a favourite ‘b’-word?  Or any other words you tend to overuse in your writing?
Bismuth, botulism, bombastic.... there’s something so lovely and positive about words that begin with ‘b’, isn’t there?  None of this philandering about with soft sounds, it hits you right in the ears in the way it means to go on.  You can really trust a word that begins with ‘b’, I think.  And overused words?  Oh, just.  Just cannot stop using ‘just’.  After I’ve written something, I go through and find all the occasions where I’ve used ‘just’ and take most of them out.  And, do you know, you can’t even tell they were once there, that’s how useless the word is!
It’s so easy for writers to spend more time on social media than on writing.  Which is your favourite online distraction – facebook, twitter, or something else?  And where should we go to find out more about your books? 
I’m a Facebook fan, not so much for Twitter, although I do tweet every so often, when I’ve had a really interesting quiche for lunch or something.  I don’t get out much...  Although my real, favourite, best way of wasting time...I mean, of social networking is the Fortean Times Message Board.  It Happened To Me, in particular.  I love those weird happenings, those little glitches in the matrix...  And, if you really want to find out more about me, my books and other things like that, you can try Twitter, where I am @janelovering, or my blog, where you will find out more than you could ever want to know about big knickers, chickens, trout-lips and other things like that, at  For my books, go to, where I, and my fellow Choc Liteers are to be found, loitering around running our fingers along the shelves to check for dust, that sort of thing.

You’ve said you wish the general public were aware that most writers aren’t earning megabucks like J.K.Rowling, but let’s suppose for a moment that the millions do start rolling in.  What would be your first big purchase?  (After the dog food, that is). 
My car has started to make a strange grinding sound, which I fear may well signal the beginning of the end, so my first splash of the bucks would be on a new car.  I fancy a convertible Mini, like the one I used to have in my younger days.  All right, that one wasn’t so much convertible as had a roof that was largely rusted out, but, hey, I can afford it, right?  So, yes, a new car.  Brand new, so it didn’t have a previous owner’s strange smell in, and those mysterious stains on the seats you always get with old cars. Mmmm, new car smell....
Since you write for ChocLit, I have to ask, if you were a chocolate bar, which one would you be?

I’d like to think I’d be something dark and sophisticated, a 90% cocoa-solids bar of plain chocolate, single source, from somewhere like Nicaragua.  All mysterious and complicated and multi-layered.  Whereas in fact I’d probably be a Flake. Simple, goes to pieces at nothing, and covers everyone in the fallout.  Also leaves you with mysterious stains...
And finally, what’s the most interesting question you’ve been asked in an interview, and what’s the question that you haven’t been asked but wish you had?

On the Romaniacs blog I was asked if I were a cheese, what kind of cheese would I be, which was interesting, although, given my blue veiny appearance and odd smell, fairly easy to answer.

And the question I’ve never been asked?  ‘Why do you do it?'

I'll try to remember to ask you that one day, although I suspect everyone who writes has a pretty good idea of the answer. 

Thanks, Jane.  It's been a pleasure, as always, and I hope your writing continues to go from strength to strength.  Roll on more bureaucratic vampires, say I!