Best-selling author, Liz Fielding, has more than 15 million books in print. Nominated seven times for RWA’s prestigious RITA award, she won with The Best Man & The Bridesmaid in 2001 and The Marriage Miracle in 2006. A Family of His Own won the RNA’s Romance Prize, and was named Reviewers’ Choice Best Harlequin Romance by Romantic Times BOOK reviews in 2005. She has also been given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Romantic Times. Visit her here.
NAW- Tell us about your book, For his Eyes Only. How did you get the idea for it? What is it about?
For His Eyes Only is Natasha Gordon’s story. She’s proved herself in the hard world of London real estate sales only to have the promotion she’s earned snatched from her when an expensive advertisement for a country estate is sabotaged, making the property impossible to sell. The owner, Darius Hadley is furious but there is an instant attraction between them.
Natasha, without a job, her reputation in shreds, braves Hadley in his studio and offers to sell his estate at her own expense. He agrees, but in return asks her to sit for him. Naked.
The idea came from one of my daughter’s friends who works in the business in London. Her boss once gave her a list of the bonuses she’d get against the value of property she sold that month. At the top was a huge (he thought impossibly huge) sum of money against his new BMW series 7 car. She got the car! I used that in the book. And her as a template for my heroine. Then I layered on a heavyweight back story to heighten the emotion and tension.
NAW- How long did you take to finish a book? How do you decide the titles for your books?
It varies. This took a little longer than usual because it was switched from “sweet” to “sexy” half way through which meant some rethinking of the plot, a shift in the tone and some rewriting. I think it took about six months altogether.
Titles… I don’t very often get to keep my own titles. Occasionally I get it right – usually the straightforward ones that do what it says on the tin. The Best Man & the Bridesmaid. The Bachelor’s Baby, for example. My title for this book was Total Exposure but my editor came back with For His Eyes Only and I was happy with that.
NAW- Do you carry out extensive research before you write? Take us through your writing process.
Lots of research. J I have worked in real estate so that helped. I needed a country estate and looking for something to inspire me was fun. I read a lot about sculpture and casting in bronze, too. And then there was the cake…
My writing process is very simple. I’m a seat of pants writer and start at the beginning and work in a straightforward progression until I reach the end. You have to know what’s happening if you want to write out of sequence and I don’t until I’ve written it. I do edit as I go – it helps me build up the closeness to my characters, to get to know them. The first three chapters have to be perfect before I can go any further and if something happens later on that requires a tweak to an earlier chapter, I have to go back and tweak it.
NAW- Tell us about your publishing journey. How did you become a writer?
I won my first writing competition when I was at school and I always wanted to write, but life, work, travelling — I lived in Zambia, Botswana, Kenya and the all over the Middle East before I settled down — got in the way. I began writing picture stories for children’s picture papers when my children were small, and had some read on the BBC’s Listen With Mother. Then I read about Anne Hampson and Charlotte Lamb and, inspired, I turned to romance. My first book, An Image of You, was published in 1992.
NAW- Tell us about your other works.
There are more than sixty of my romances in print. Seven have been nominated for RWA’s Rita® Two of them — The Best Man & the Bridesmaid and The Marriage Miracle — have won for Best Traditional and Best Contemporary Romance in their year. In addition, five of my books have been nominated for the British RoNA Award, most recently, Tempted By Trouble this year. A Family of His Own won in 2005.
I’ve also been awarded a Lifetime Achievement for Love and Laughter by RTBOOKclub Magazine.
My non-fiction Little Book of Writing Romance – the book I wish I’d had at my side when I was struggling to reach publication – was published an ebook a couple of years ago. It’s being released as a paperback this month.
I have also reissued some books for which I’ve reclaimed the rights. A newly edited version of an out of print book, The Bride, the Baby & the Best Man is available now to pre-order as an ebook.
NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing I tend to be thinking about writing. Or reading. Or gardening. Or playing with my grandchildren. Or having fun with the man I married 42 years ago.
NAW- Please name your favourite writers. Are there any who you’d like to name as an inspiration?
If you want to follow the journey of one author from a category romance to best-selling women’s fiction single title author I would seriously recommend Julie Cohen. Her journey is inspirational – her writing amazing.
I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgins, Barbara O’Neal, Shirley Jump, Sarah Morgan if I’m reading romance. I also love to read crime novels.
NAW-What are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished reading The Outcast Dead by UK author Elly Griffiths, The Most of Nora Ephron, The House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward.
NAW- What will you be working on next?
I’m writing the third book in my “ice cream” trilogy (Tempted by Trouble, Anything But Vanilla) at the moment, which should keep me busy for another couple of months.
I also have a lovely box full of inspirational photographs and articles for a series I’m going to set by the sea in the UK. Plenty to keep me busy.