Today I’m talking to Harlequin Historical author Sophia James.
Thanks for taking time to answer a few questions, Sophia.
That’s OK, Bernadette. It was lovely to be asked and I am so thrilled you have been picked up by Destiny Romance (Penguin) for your 5DI Princess Avenger. http://www.romanceaustralia.com/5di.html
Your historical romances are much loved. What can a reader expect from a Sophia James historical?
Characters that a reader hopefully grows to feel like they know well. My stories are quite sensual and I hope, intelligent reads.
What inspires you to write historical romances?
I have always read historical romances as I really like them. I have written a contemporary and would like to try another but I guess my heart just belongs in Historicals. I like the sense of history. I like that conventions then were different than they are now.
You have a wonderful knack of selecting intriguing names for your heroes. Can you tell us the secret of this talent?
Asher, Taris and Cristo Wellingham were always characters I knew I would write about ever since I can remember. They were in my very first practice book. The name Asher came after meeting a friend of my nephews, Taris was a guy we bought a car from and Cristo was kind of snatched from the Count of…Other names I have found from a map of the South Island of New Zealand. They have cool old English names all around Christchurch. Cath Evans sent me a whole list of great names too. I love to play around with names. My latest hero is Taylen shortened to Tay.
Describe your writing journey up until ‘the call’?
I won the Clendon with my first book and did a lot of revisions on that story. I was picked up by Harlequin on the book in 2003.
I got an email while I was at work and my husband rang me. When I came home he had brought a whole bunch of flowers and printed off the email and all the family were gathered around. I guess they knew how much I had wanted this and were really supportive. I always wished I could have got a midnight phone call though.
How many books have you published and do you have a favourite?
I have had 10 books published and another is out in April 2013.
Favourites…??? I guess I just love the Wellinghams although my medieval stories hold a special place in my heart. It’s always hard to choose a favourite and in fact the more I think of this question the harder it becomes. I like them all but in different ways.
Do you have another job to supplement your writing income?
I don’t now. I gave up my teaching job a couple of years ago and have never regretted it. The full time teaching just became impossible when balanced against 4 book contracts and everything I did was falling to pieces ‘cos I was so stressed trying to do both well.
What does a typical writing day in the life of Sophia James look like?
I get up and always get dressed. I love the idea of writing in my pyjamas in bed but I can never do that…it feels like I am not working and I need to put on my good clothes and sit at my desk.
I try to write 1000 words a day but some days that is impossible. I nearly always write for four to five hours. After that I seem to barely get a word out so then it is mainly my thinking time. Because writing is so sedentary I usually go for a walk or do a gym workout
You put a lot back into the writing community, mentoring and running workshops. Why?
I love teaching. It is so much a part of who I am. I was so pleased and also a bit scared to be asked to be a mentor for 5DI in 2010 but I loved it and amazingly was asked back for 2011. This year I have done a 2DI in Blenheim with a small group and also I spoke at the RWNZ conference about layering in a book.
I think it is really important to give back to the writing community and if I can help another writer to realise their dreams of being published then that is wonderful.
Who do you rely on for support in your writing career?
My husband, really, as I doubt I could pay the bills if he wasn’t there J
My writing friends are at the end of the phone and my mum and sister always read the first draft of my stories.
You’ve just released Lady with the Devil’s Scar. What do you love about this book?
Isobel the heroine. She turned into such a gutsy in your face sort of woman, a really easy character to write as I could just see her striding across her land in boys clothes and incredibly competent in protecting herself and her people.
You’re currently in revisions for the fourth and final book in the Wellingham family series. What can we expect from this story?
Lucinda is the little sister in the series and has often kind of been in trouble with her forthright ways. In this story she is married off to the Dissolute Duke, Taylen Ellesmere, after a scandal and he causes all sorts of problems for the Wellingham family. I loved seeing the brothers reaction to a man who gave them no leeway, and an honourable hero in spite of all that had been said of him.
What technique/truth have you learned in your writing journey that you wish you had known at the start?
I’m not much of a technical writer. I never read ‘how to’ books and I seldom understand the complex methods you often hear touted at conference.
I just have always written what I would like to read. So I don’t honestly think that I write differently now than I did at the beginning.
How do you feel about the burgeoning e-book industry?
I love it. I love the fact that there are other ways to publish your book now and that it leaves such a great chance for everyone to explore differing alternatives.
Where to from here? Where would you like to be in ten years?
I got asked this question at conference and I found it hard to answer. I love my editor, Linda Fildew, and I would find it really difficult to not have her input in my book if I changed lines.
Sometimes, though, I think I would like to write a series of books based on a community in New Zealand. I have actually started that but need time to develop the concept.
Thanks Sophia, for showing us around your writing life and good luck with ‘Lady with the Devil’s Scar’.
You can find Sophia and her books at http://sophiajames.net/index.html