Today I’m hosting multi-published romance author, Rosanna Leo. Winner of the Reader’s Choice 2015 in Paranormal Romance at The Romance Reviews, Rosanna draws on her love of mythology for her books on Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters. A library employee by day, she is honored to be a member of the league of naughty librarians who also happen to write romance. Star-crossed loves are her specialty.
Rosanna, what do you think people would be the most surprised to learn about you?
I’ve been watching the British soap opera Coronation Street for over 20 twenty years now. It’s a lot different from American soaps, less flashy with regular people, and over-the-top in the drama department. Sometimes I cringe when I watch but it’s become like a sickness, an addiction. If I don’t watch, I wonder. However, it’s the sort of show where you can miss a week and easily return to it. Much of the time, it serves as background noise while I fold my laundry.
Although I’ve never heard of this one, I love the kind of show you can have on while you run around the house and get stuff done. It feels less like work that way.
What do you enjoy most in your free time?
Reading is a big thing for me, as I suspect it is for so many writers. I never grow tired of finding new authors. However, I also love hiking and being in nature. I’m a gardener at heart, although I’m sad to report my thumb isn’t very green and I don’t often have success. Traveling is another biggie. My husband and I both love discovering new places to visit. Our favorite places are England and Mexico but we hope to roam elsewhere as well.
These are photos from Rosanna’s London trip!
Other than a computer, what modern convenience could you never live without?
I probably wouldn’t do too well in this life without a microwave. Unfortunately, I’m not the best of cooks so I often have to resort to nuking food. It’s not unusual for me to BBQ something, turn off the BBQ, and realize the meat is under cooked. Hello, microwave.
Every author has a process—what works for them when they write. What does your writing process look like from first scribbles to finished manuscript?
The first thing I do is tackle character sketches for the main characters. What are their wounds, their goals? What do they look like and what are their histories? Then I set to work on an outline, but I leave it somewhat fluid so I can make changes. At that point, I really need to start writing. I don’t like to spend days outlining because I tend to make alterations as I go.
What is your all time favorite book and why?
I think it will always be the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis. Those books were my childhood favorites and I still love the sense of magic and mystery and even the underlying faith. Plus Aslan struck me as hot. I think he might be behind my decision to write about shape shifter heroes.
Project research, love it or hate it?
Love it! I studied history and literature at university, as well as classical singing, so research was always a big part of my education. I can sit in a library for hours and never get bored. I do believe a writer can possibly reach a moment when it’s time to “let go” of the research and start writing, however. Make sure you know what you’re talking about and then write what you need to write.
Is there a specific author who inspires you?
Boy, anyone who sticks around in this business inspires me. It isn’t always easy. I really look up to authors like Meg Cabot and Susan Mallery. They’ve endured and always manage to write something new.
How long did it take you to write your first book? Your latest book?
The first book I ever wrote was the one that eventually became Night Lover, one of my paranormal romances. That one originated years ago but the story was very different back then. It went through many changes and it took me years (on and off) to complete. My latest book, a currently unpublished contemporary romance called A Good Man, took a few months from start to finish. I know what I want to convey now so I don’t allow myself to agonize for years. At some point, you have to write “The End.”
Is there a genre you haven’t written but are thinking about trying?
To be honest, romance floats my boat. It’s what I’ve always loved and I can’t imagine writing a story that doesn’t have romance at its heart. I may write in various subgenres of romance, but I don’t think you’ll ever see me writing sci-fi or biographies or mysteries. I need that chemistry, that sizzle.
You write romance in various sub-genres, which is your favorite to write?
I write in both contemporary and paranormal romance and enjoy them both. As I go forward, I will likely continue writing in each of these sub-genres. I love the humanity inherent in contemporary romance. As for PNR, well, I love the fact that characters and conflicts are something other than human.
Which is your favorite to read?
I love most types of romance. For the most part, I gravitate to contemporary or paranormal, but I enjoy a bit of historical and fantasy romance as well. As long as the characters are compelling and sympathetic, I will stick around.
As a multi-published author, do you have any words of advice for aspiring writers?
Work toward your dreams but make sure you do your homework first. A lot of people out there have the perception that they can crack off a book whenever they like and get it published. The reality is different. There is a lot of rejection and a lot of self-doubt to be overcome. If you want to write in a genre, make sure you love it. If it’s not your passion, it’ll show. If you decide writing really is for you, learn the craft and be ready to make it your business as well as your hobby.
What other projects are you working on?
I just finished a contemporary romance, A Good Man, and it’ll be the start of a whole new series featuring a sexy trio of contractor brothers. Set in Toronto, my home town, it is fun and flirty but will also touch on some deep issues like PTSD. I’m also hard at work on book 3 of my Orkney Selkies and am about to embark on the final book of my Gemini Island Shifters series.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
My last book was Predator’s Rescue, Gemini Island Shifters 7. It wasn’t hard to come up with the title because all the books in this shape shifter romance series begin with “Predator’s” and end with a term that reflects the characters or conflicts. In Predator’s Rescue, both my hero, my heroine, and to some extent a couple of secondary characters needed rescuing. In fact, the actual setting needed a bit of TLC, but I won’t give away too much.
Tell us a little about Predator’s Rescue.
Predator’s Rescue is the seventh book in my shape shifter series. It’s an important addition to the series because some big conflicts get resolved. The series began as rather light and fun but took a darker turn around book 5. New villains were introduced and a plotline in which many characters were threatened, both physically and emotionally. In this book, our hero Jani is one of the good guys from the Ursa Resort, my shape shifter sanctuary. The heroine, Fleur, is a reformed bad girl. She used to be part of the vicious cult of shape shifters who attacked the Ursa Resort, the Alpha Brethren. However, Jani always knew there was something good in Fleur. In this book, we see her transformation and redemption.
The official blurb:
Tiger shifter Jani Fodor should have washed his hands of Fleur Bissette long ago. However, when she disappears from the shape shifter sanctuary on Gemini Island, he can’t forget her, and launches a fraught two-week search to find her. He thinks she’ll be grateful but the petulant she-wolf resents his intrusion in her life.
Jani recently liberated Fleur from a vicious cult of shape shifters, where she was brainwashed by the sadistic August Crane. The wolf shifter terrorized their friends at the Ursa Fishing Lodge and Resort on Gemini Island. Labeled a “bad girl” all her life, Fleur knows she’ll never fit in with the good guys at the Ursa, no matter how much Jani tries to convince her of their regard. Besides, she can’t stay with Jani. Although he’s the closest thing she’s ever had to a friend, their chemistry is explosive in the worst way.
When a new menace arises, in the form of a vicious drug dealer with a grudge, Jani is adamant Fleur accept his help to rehabilitate her addict mother and remove her from the influence of her dealer. Fleur accepts Jani’s assistance but as they work together, friendship erupts into passion. Neither can deny their lust-struck spirit animals and before long, they realize their connection runs deeper than they ever expected.
Despite the threats posed by the drug dealer, the worst danger of all dwells inside Fleur. Haunted by the spirit of August Crane, Fleur is inundated by visions that torment her. She is consumed by guilt and plagued by old hostilities. Can this bad girl make good? And is Jani’s love enough to save her from her demons?
Want more? Click here to read an excerpt: Predator’s Rescue
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