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Archive for the ‘Author Interview’ Category

Alexandra Hawkins Interview - author photo

I’m delighted to welcome USA TODAY Bestselling Author ALEXANDRA HAWKINS to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you for inviting me!

~~~~~~~

 

R&R:
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Alexandra:
I was born at a hospital in Joliet, Illinois.  However, I spent the first four years of my life on a farm in Grandridge, Illinois.  The two-story white farm house belonged to my great-grandparents and I have fond memories of the place.  The farm had plenty of land for me to explore, there were feral cats in the barn, and sheep in the pasture.

My parents eventually divorced so my brother and I were raised by my mother in the rural outskirts of Ottawa, Illinois. To give you an idea how rural—there were sixteen students in my eighth-grade graduation class.  About a year later, we moved into town.  I had what most people would view as a typical small-town childhood.
Alexandra Hawkins Interview - me at 3
Me at the age of three

Alexandra Hawkins Interview - pic of me at 17, wearing my dance squad unifor
Me at 17, wearing my dance squad uniform.

 

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Alexandra:
I have my moods but most days I’d describe myself as easy-going.


R&R
:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Alexandra:
I favour both, though I’ll admit that I have a sweet tooth.


R&R:

What is your most treasured possession?

Alexandra:
After my grandmother died, my mother gave me an old woollen throw that belonged to my great-great grandmother.  It’s over a hundred years old and shows a little wear since it’s kept several generations warm.  My grandmother used to store it in a cedar-lined linen cupboard.  The throw still smells faintly of cedar and reminds me of her.

Alexandra Hawkins Interview - Great-Great Grandmother's throw
My great-great grandmother’s throw

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Alexandra:
I guess it doesn’t come as any surprise to those who know me that I’d choose England.  My grandmother used to tell me family stories when I was a child, so I had developed a very romantic view of the British Isles long before I wrote my first novel.


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Alexandra:
I mulled this question over for days.  Honestly, I can’t think of one defining incident.  Although, I confess, I have experienced numerous minor ones.  I suppose the worst of the lot occurred when I was in high school.  For a scene in a play, I thought I’d be daring and I walked out on to the stage wearing only a black full slip.  It sounds awful tame by today’s standards, but I was young.  I was quite proud of myself until my mother revealed that our pastor had watched my performance.  The news sort of sucked all the fun out of my brazenness.

~~~~~~~

 

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Alexandra.

I’ve had a wonderful time, Carol.  Thank you!

 

 

If you would like to find out more about Alexandra and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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Nicole Locke Interview - author photo

I’m delighted to welcome Harlequin Historical Romance Author NICOLE LOCKE to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you so much. It’s wonderful to be here today!

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Nicole:
I was born in Southern California, but raised in Oklahoma, and spent much of my childhood flying between the two states. In one, I lounged on the beach and dived through the waves. In the other, I was surrounded by wheat fields and blown away by the wind. I don’t know if any childhood is ideal, but mine came pretty close.


R&R
:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Nicole:
I am most definitely temperamental. But maybe I spent a lot of time in the waves and wind as a child because whatever emotion it is, I don’t hold on to it very long.


R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Nicole:
Savoury. I’m a salt-aholic, and in fact, I’m eating Jalapeno crisps as I’m typing this. I also like vinegar, lemon, lime, and I often drink those with hot water. I don’t know if I’ve always been this way, but my grandmother used to drink the juice out of a pickle jar, so I’d say it’s a family trait.


R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Nicole:
This is a tricky question for me because it means if I lost or broke a possession, I would be heart broken. I have nothing like this. There are items I’ve inherited and acquired along the way that I find beautiful, but with the exception of my family photos, I wouldn’t mourn them.

I think it’s my family’s quirks that I treasure the most. My husband’s absolute need to get to the airport five hours before any flight leaves. My 15-year-old son’s fiddly curiousity that compels him to fix things or make them into something else. I call him my magpie.

Then there’s my 8-year-old daughter’s sheer unmitigated ability to shrug things off. Her ‘Oh well” side to her. Lose a cardigan? Oh, well! Hit the giant red button and set off airport alarms? Oh, well!

I’d say it’s those moments…and my family, that I hold most dear.


R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Nicole:
I treasured our time in London where we lived for eleven years. When the kids have flown the coop, I would love a flat somewhere in Marylebone where my husband and I could spend months out of the year.


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Nicole:
So many! But the one that has had the most lasting effect was the time when I was on a basketball team (anyone who knows my short stature will be astounded by this).

My teammates had contests on who could dress the fastest for practice. Distracted constantly, I was almost always last. But one day, I was really going for it, and made it out (not first, but close). Yay!

Except as we all sat on the court, I realised immediately that all I had on was my top and knickers. No shorts!

I never forgot that moment and neither did anyone else. To this day, when I leave the house and especially if I’m rushing, I look down to see if I’m dressed. My mantra? “Keys, check. Clothes, check.” 

~~~~~~~

 

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Nicole.

It’s been a pleasure, Carol.

 


If you would like to find out more about Nicole and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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Elisabeth Hobbes Interview - author photo

I’m delighted to welcome Harlequin Historical Romance Author ELISABETH HOBBES to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you for inviting me onto the blog.  It’s great to be here.

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Elisabeth:
I was born and grew up in York.  It was such an interesting place to live and my love of history definitely comes from being surrounded by medieval walls, Roman remains, Viking archaeological sites, Regency crescents and ghost stories.  York is also famous for having over 360 pubs and a lively music scene so as an older teen it was a fun place to hang out with friends and see which of us looked old enough to get served (better not show this to my mum)!

As well as being close to the town we were lucky enough to be within distance of the North York Moors (which I featured in The Blacksmith’s Wife) and the coast including Whitby, famous for Dracula and the best fish and chips in the country.  My mum took my sister and I on lots of day trips to castles and stately homes, so it was inevitable I was going to end up doing something related to History.

Elisabeth Hobbes Interview - Medieval walls of York where I grew up
Medieval walls of York where I grew up


R&R
:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Elisabeth:
Definitely temperamental.  I have two children on the Autistic Spectrum and am trying to combine a writing career with 4 days a week teaching Primary Year 1 and running the house so I’m continually frazzled.  I always promise myself I’m going to spend some time each week relaxing with a face mask on and listening to something calming but I never seem to find the time.  I suffered very badly with postnatal depression after both children and one thing that is guaranteed to get me ranting is the appalling lack of funding and provision for mental health care in the UK, especially in young people.

 

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Elisabeth:
Definitely a savoury person.  I’ll always go for a starter rather than a pudding and can eat my own bodyweight in spicy chicken wings.  When I was pregnant I used to get the train into Manchester to get hot & sour soup.  I do like chocolate but I can take or leave it.  Crisps on the other hand…


R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Elisabeth:
I don’t think I can call my children possessions, though they are my most treasured thing, so I’ll say my laptop.  It’s the first thing I would rescue in a fire (after my children are safe of course) because as well as all my manuscripts, lesson plans and resources, it is where all of my photos of my children are stored and I’m aware how much I would lose if it ever dies.  I always mean to print them and put them in albums but as I said before, time gets away from me.

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Elisabeth:
I’d have a chalet in Monetier les Bains in the French Alps.  The medieval village is beautiful, the skiing is great and there are some amazing restaurants.  My husband and I have visited the same resort for years and know it really well now and have recently started to take our children with us when we go skiing (they’d stayed with grandparents up till now).   I could ski all winter and go cycling or walking in summer and look at the view when I get writer’s block.  Maybe I’d answer your earlier question differently if I lived somewhere so relaxing!
Elisabeth Hobbes Interview - Where I would love to live
Relaxing in Monetier les Bains in the French Alps.


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Elisabeth:
I have a very high embarrassment threshold (much to my daughter’s horror).  I’m always the mum who dresses up for Halloween and gets on stage to do karaoke first. I can’t think of anything major but given that I spend most of my week standing in front of thirty children putting on silly voices, arguing with hand puppets and pretending to be unable to understand why my sums are wrong, I hate speaking in front of adults and go bright red and speak too fast whenever I have to.

 

~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Elisabeth.

It’s been a pleasure.  Thank you for inviting me and asking such interesting questions.


If you would like to find out more about Elisabeth and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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Heather Snow Interview - author picture

I’m delighted to welcome Award-Winning Historical Romance Author HEATHER SNOW to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you so much for having me! I’m delighted to be here.

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Heather:
I was born in Kansas City, Missouri. For most of my childhood we lived just a few houses down from my grandparent’s house, so I could walk to Nana’s anytime I wanted, which was lovely. She made the best shortbread cookies! I was also blessed to have my great-grandparents in my life until my mid-teens.

Though I grew up in the city, my great-grandfather owned a small cabin on a lake a couple of hours out of the city. Many fall and spring weekends, and the majority of my summers, were spent there with the three generations of our family. It was, and is, a magical place with lots of woods and shoreline to traipse through, pretending you are a great explorer or a mermaid princess. To this day, the lake is one of my favourite places to be and I’m so grateful that my children get to experience it as part of their childhood, too.

Here are some pictures of me and my great-grandfather and his dog, Cleo, as well as of my own boys kayaking across the lake.

Heather Snow Interview - Heather and Bampse
Me with Bampse

Heather Snow Interview - Heather and Cleo
Me with Cleo

Heather Snow Interview - Lake boys
My Lake boys


R&R
:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Heather:
I’m quite easy-going, thank goodness, because I am the lone female in a house full of boys who are, shall we say, not. I’m practical and even-keeled, which comes in handy when trying to keep them all in line!


R&R
:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Heather:
I like sweets as much as the next girl, but if I had to choose, savoury. The problem is that the savouries I adore most are the yummy carbohydrate filled ones, which are just as bad for me as the sugary ones! Sigh.

 

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Heather:
I thought long and hard about this and I have to say I don’t have one. Certainly there are things I would regret losing in a disaster—mainly photos/paintings of loved ones past and videos of my sons when they were little—but if I came away with my family, all would be well.

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Heather:
I’ve been bitten too hard by the travel bug to choose one place. The world is so amazing and diverse, and I want to see it all! Two years ago, we bought an RV, and we’ve spent several weeks traveling around the US with the boys, visiting our national parks, seeing mountains and lakes and deserts. We even spent time in Canada this year, which was breath-taking.

Heather Snow Interview - Travel-Yosemite
Yosemite

Heather Snow Interview -Travel-Lake June
Lake June

Heather Snow Interview -Travel Canada
Canada

I’d love to have the money to rent an apartment/home in several places for a minimum of three months at a time. I’d like to experience what it would be like to live in different cities and countries—not just vacation there. That would be my dream—three to six months in London, New York, Budapest, San Francisco, Portland, Prague, and on and on and on! While I’d only really get the flavour of the area in such a short time, it would be such an interesting life!

 

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Heather:
There are many I’m afraid, but the first that comes to mind is when I was 16 or 17. I wanted to go out on a date with a boy who was a bit older than me. It was summer, and my younger cousins were visiting. My mother said I could go—if I took my little brother and two cousins with us. To his credit, my date wanted to go out with me badly enough that he said yes…and spent his evening entertaining an 11, 12 and 13-year-old, too.

A few dates later (we eventually were allowed out on our own), he brought me home and walked me to my porch, where he leaned in to give me a kiss. Little did we know my entire family was lying in wait in the living room. They proceeded to yell “Ooooooh” at us when he kissed me. Ah, family. Gotta love ‘em.

~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Heather.

It was a pleasure.

 

If you would like to find out more about Heather and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Facebook Friend Page
Twitter

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Julia Justiss Interview - author picture

I’m delighted to welcome Award-Winning Author JULIA JUSTISS to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thanks, Carol!  I enjoy your blog posts—I’ve discovered some great books—and the Featured Author interviews have been such fun!  I’m delighted to have a chance to participate.

~~~~~~~

 

R&R:
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Julia:
I was born in Severna Park, a small town between Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland.  Annapolis is one of the US’s perfect-gem colonial towns.  Originally the main port on the Chesapeake Bay as well as the state capital, its early prosperity allowed the building of beautiful homes and public buildings in the late 1700’s-early 1800’s.  After Baltimore eclipsed it as a port, there wasn’t enough money to tear down the English Georgian brick houses and rebuild in the Victorian style.  I grew up around the city, became a junior guide for Historic Annapolis as a teenager, and thus began my love for history.

Julia Justiss Interview - me Five
Me at age five with my brother, with the braids
I wore all through grade school

Julia Justiss Interview - Me HS Grd
My “glam” high school graduation picture

 

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Julia:
I think I’m easy-going!  Organized, industrious, as a writer, definitely a plotter rather than a pantser.

 

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Julia:
I’m more a fan of savory—meats and vegetables—than sweet, except for my favourite dark chocolate.  But my real addiction is salty things, like chips and crackers.



R&R:

What is your most treasured possession?

Julia:
It would be hard to pick one.  I’m not a big jewelry person, so usually wear the wedding and college rings that have the most meaning for me.  I have some lovely books and some rugs and ceramics that we picked up when we lived overseas.  I like pretty things and flowers!

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Julia:
Probably a house at a beach in a warm-weather area.  I love the sound of the waves and walking on the sand and like to do it all year long.

 

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Julia:
Gosh, hard to pick just one!   Maybe when I was teaching French and thankfully had students who liked me and were very nice, because one day I came to school wearing light tan cotton slacks.  Two of the girls pulled me aside and told me my patterned panties showed through!  Yikes!  I went to the ladies’ room and removed them—and taught the rest of the day “commando!”

~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Julia.

Thanks so much for inviting me, Carol!

 

 

If you would like to find out more about Julia and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

 

 

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Janice Preston Interview - author picture

I’m delighted to welcome Harlequin Mills & Boon Author JANICE PRESTON to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

It’s wonderful to be here, Carol. Thank you so much for inviting me.

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Janice:
I was born in North London and spent most of my childhood in Wembley. We moved there when I was 4, and it was a great place to grow up. Our house overlooked fields to the back (see photo) and a vivid memory from childhood was of dairy cows grazing those fields. Not what you might expect in a London suburb! The cows belonged to Harrow School Farm – Harrow School was nearby, on Harrow on the Hill, which you can see in the photo (taken from my bedroom window) with its church steeple. Later, the farm’s grazing agreement on our side of the main road wasn’t renewed by the council but, as is the way with councils, it took its time in developing the fields into the intended sports facilities. That left us local children with a wonderful, natural playground complete with wildlife, streams, a swamp, trees and overgrown hedgerows. I developed my love of the countryside from those hours of playing in those fields and I ended up at the age of 18 driving down to Devon to complete six months’ experience on a dairy farm before taking a place at agricultural college. But that’s another story.

Janice Preston Interview - View of back garden in Wembley
View of the back garden

Janice Preston Interview - View of Harrow on the Hill
View of Harrow on the Hill

 

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Janice:
Most of the time, I would say I’m easy-going but I do get on my high horse (as my husband likes to put it) at times. I hate injustice, so I can easily get wound up by things on the news. But in day to day life I tend to go with the flow.

 

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Janice:
I enjoy both, but I lean more towards sweet. I enjoy chocolate far more than is good for me!



R&R:

What is your most treasured possession?

Janice:
This initially seemed a tough question to answer but when I thought about what I would regret most if I lost everything in a fire, it became easy – my photo albums, from the days before digital cameras. I have photos of my parents and of me and my sister as children (see photo) plus my own children growing up. Absolutely irreplaceable, I would be heartbroken if I lost them.

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Janice:
Oh gosh, what a huge question! How on earth (pardon the pun!) can I narrow that down? I’m certain of one thing, though – it would have to be near the sea! There are so many places I would love to have a second home, including places in the UK (Cornwall, Northumberland, West Wales) which would be more practical in terms of travelling (unless I can afford a private jet, of course!)

I think though I would choose Italy. I love the history, the architecture, the weather, the food, the wine, the people and the culture and it would spur me into learning the language, which is beautifully lyrical.  Yes, an Italian villa overlooking the sea, somewhere near Sorrento or along the Amalfi coast.


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Janice:

Aargh! I don’t even want to think about it! I was about 14.

At my secondary school there was a ‘house’ system in place and every year there was great rivalry in various sports. Now, I was okay at sports. Not great, but I got by. They asked for swimmers to represent our house in the annual gala and someone asked me if I could swim. I said yes, and the next thing I knew my name was down to swim in the relay. Let me just say I didn’t realise how excruciatingly slow I was until I was swimming my length – in full view of the entire school.

In a running race, I would have dropped out. In the pool, I had no choice but to keep struggling on until I reached the side where the team mates I’d let down so badly were waiting, with a mixture of fury and disgust on their faces. I get the shivers just thinking about it! The funny thing is – I have no doubt I am the only person in the entire world who remembers that incident. Realising that helps to put any subsequent embarrassing moments into perspective!

~~~~~~~

 

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Janice.

It was my pleasure, Carol. Thank you for such thought-provoking questions.

 

If you would like to find out more about Janice and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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Lara Temple Interview - author picture

I’m delighted to welcome Harlequin Historical Romance Author LARA TEMPLE to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thanks so much for inviting me, Carol. I’m thrilled to be here!

~~~~~~~


R&R:
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Lara:
I was born in a very small town in Oxfordshire, in an old farmhouse with only a couple other families within miles. My father was a pianist and often in Oxford while my mother, brother and myself spent a great deal of time alone together, wandering around the nearby woods, picking blackberries in season, and living a very rich imaginary life because there were few children nearby, which is probably when my story-telling tendencies started. It was a great childhood but when my kids were born I was determined to have them surrounded by other children, which they are. I often take my kids to visit my old haunts, though.

Lara Temple Interview - picture 1


R&R
:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Lara:
Temperamental wrapped in a layer of easy-going. Other mothers often ask me how I can be so laid back and patient with my kids. I have no idea what to say because inside I’m on high alert and never really in rest mode. I would love to be a truly easy-going person but I’m far too afraid to try.


R&R
:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Lara:
Savoury! I am addicted to salt. My husband is definitely on the sweet side of the scale and we never poach on each other’s desserts/puddings. Like Jack Sprat and his wife.


R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Lara:
I’ve moved so often and had to travel so lightly very little has managed to stay with me through the years. But there are some things I treasure such as the book my mother prepared of my first five years. The book (in the picture) is an amazing gathering of anecdotes and photos and little titbits, including the first ever story I dictated to my mother – an adventure story about a city under the sea (with an HEA of course!).
Lara Temple Interview - picture 2

Another treasure is my first stuffed animal which used to be a blue rabbit but since I had a bad habit of disappearing into the fields and forgetting it on trees and under bushes, it had to be repaired so many times it has morphed into something quite different (as you can see in the picture – mine is the bag of pink rags on the left). The others lined up in the picture are those of my three brothers which fared a little better.
Lara Temple Interview - picture 3


R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Lara:
I know it’s a cliché but I fantasize about a house in the countryside outside a small town in Umbria. I would have my writing corner on a patio in the shade of climbing wisteria and buy fresh cheese and bread and tomatoes and sit and write with a glass of wine as I look out over fields of sunflowers and vineyards. Of course, I haven’t quite thought out what I will do with my kids and husband during this creative idyll…

 

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Lara:
I’m having a hard time narrowing them down to something repeatable in polite circles. I think some of my worst moments were when I was a teenager – everything was so intense. Once there was a boy I really liked and one day he came up to me and asked if I wanted to go to the beach with him and I was so stunned and excited I was stuttering something when I realized he hadn’t been talking to me at all but to the girl standing right next to me. My whole body go beet red with embarrassment. Today I wish I could go up and hug my young self in sympathy. But those memories are always useful for my books…

~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Lara.

Thanks so much for having me here, Carol, and for asking these off-the-beaten-track question. They brought back fun (mostly) memories.

 


If you would like to find out more about Lara and her books, here are the links:

http://amzn.to/2mWin9R
https://www.laratemple.com
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14951515.Lara_Temple
https://www.facebook.com/LaraTempleAuthor/
https://twitter.com/laratemple1

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