Today is a big day with lots of chances to win books!

First of all a few news notes. I’ve interviewed at Cafe of Dreams and am giving away 3 books. That interview should be up soon. I’ve also got an interview up at The Season blog and will be–you’ve got it–giving away books. At this rate, no one will have to buy it. 😉 Beverley, at The Season, has also set up a nice page with a steamy excerpt of my book. Click here to read!

Now, for my guest interview. I’m so excited to have Anthea Lawson here as they’re my release day buddies. Anthea’s second book with Kensington, All He Desires, will be out tomorrow, same day as mine! Anthea writes sexy and adventurous romances that have gotten high praise and been nominated for major awards.

And before I post the interview, my book cover and Anthea’s are up for Best Covers on The Season! You can vote for them here. And yes, you can vote for both of our covers because we’re on separate pages!

Join me in welcoming Anthea to the blog!

Thanks for having us as your guests, Lori – and how great that we share a release day. We look forward to seeing WILD HEART up there on the store shelves beside ALL HE DESIRES!

You write as a husband and wife team. Tell us how this came about and how you divide up the work?

It began when Anthea decided to write a romance. Twenty-five thousand words later, she showed the manuscript to Lawson, who gently said — hm, interesting story, but I’m not really connecting with the characters. Well, she couldn’t let him get away with that! We embarked on figuring out how fiction works, and found that the act of writing a novel together is a wonderful journey. We sometimes say that, without our collaboration, Anthea would have a dozen unpublishable manuscripts by now, and Lawson one perfect chapter.

We plot everything together and figure out the characters and turning points in the story, and then Anthea gets to work on the first draft. Lawson revises, then it’s back to Anthea. With our first novel, PASSIONATE, we sometimes went back and forth seven or eight times. On All HE DESIRES we were working to a deadline and didn’t have that luxury, but we had learned a lot writing the first book, so it didn’t need as much back-and-forth.

How long did it take for you to get published once you had the first book done?

“Done” is a relative term but, one year to get an agent, then another year to sell, and yet a third until release.

Can you tell us about “the call,” when you found out you’d sold your first book? Were you shocked? Or did you see it coming?

We had gotten very close with one publisher, but ultimately didn’t sell to them. We knew the book was ready, we were just hoping it would find the right home. It wasn’t a surprise as much as a joyous relief when we got the call.

What’s your writing schedule like?

Lawson started a new job halfway as we were writing the second book. That slowed us down a bit, until we got our new process sorted out. Anthea works on pages during the day, Lawson revises at night and on weekends. We can write a book a year comfortably – more if we got a contract to do so! Amazing what a motivator deadlines are~

This year you were RITA finalists. Tell us where you were when you got that call.

Asleep! We live on the west coast, but calls start going out first thing Texas time. And, ok, we’re nightowls. Late to bed, late to rise. Anthea heard the phone ring, but let the answering machine get it. The phone rang again about didn’t 15 minutes later. This time her brain was awake enough to mumble “Maybe it’s a RITA call!” You should have seen how fast she got to the phone then. Much cheering after that!

Your books take place in a variety of locations. Were you worried about selling a book in an exotic location?

We wrote the book we wanted to read, then later found out that exotic locales are harder to sell. In retrospect, we’re lucky a publisher took a chance on a book featuring a Victorian botanical expedition to Tunisia (followed by a second book that opens on the Mediterranean island of Crete). We predict that in the publishing industry there will be more romances set in varied places and times–it’s already happening

What has surprised you most about being an author?

That the ‘sold’ call is only the beginning. There is a serious amount of hard work after it comes. Still, it’s satisfying work and there is so much to learn. Another surprise is all the great people you meet. There really is a community of wordy, witty women in this business. Getting to know them is one of the great unexpected bonuses of being a romance author.

What advice can you give aspiring writers?

Study the craft of fiction and learn everything you can. There are a lot of subtle things going on in good writing, not just in the literary genre, but in romance too. Learn what you can, and then read the writers you admire to see what they are doing. Another suggestion is to find a good RWA chapter where you can get the support and encouragement of other writers. Finally, do it. Write: sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters. Published or not, anyone who completes a full-length manuscript has achieved something special.

What are you working on now? Can you give us a favorite line or blurb from your current work in progress?

We’re working on a series set against the glittering backdrop of 19th century musical celebrity. We’ve been professional musicians for many years, and its so much fun to capture the excitement of performing and make it part of the story. Music is a language of emotion. Making it the backdrop of a romance is really working.

Where can we find you on the web?

Our home on the web is http://www.anthealawson.com/.

You can find our author blog there and keep up with all the goings-on. You can also friend AntheaLawson on Facebook and follow us on twitter.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any Hobbies?

We perform together in a Celtic band called Fiddlehead (and yes, CDs are available at CDBaby.com/fiddlehead) — Lawson plays guitar, Anthea plays fiddle and sings. We also collaborate as parents of a really great kid.

Thanks Anthea!

Anthea is giving away a copy of their debut book, the Rita nominated Passionate. Leave a comment for your chance to win! Winner will be announced tomorrow!

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