Monday, 26 October 2009

Eleni-fest: chatting with Trish Morey

Today we have fellow SARA member, the ever delightfully wickedly witty Trish Morey as my special guest on Eleni-fest. Trish writes Presents (Sexy) romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her book The Italian Boss’s Mistress of Revenge won the 2009 R*BY for short sexy category, and Trish was the well deserved recipient of Honorary Life Membership.

Welcome Trish to Eleni’s Taverna and Eleni-fest!

Thank you for hosting me, Eleni, it’s a pleasure to be here at Eleni-fest, a Greek twist on the usual Oktoberfest! I love it. Someone pass the dolmades...

Congratulations on your second R*BY win (having won in 2006 for 'The Italian Boss’s Secret Child' There seems to be something about Italian Bosses *g*). How did it feel to win for a second time?
Out of this world, Eleni! It was such an honour to be nominated a second time, I certainly didn’t expect to win, especially given the competition. I used to devour Miranda Lee’s books (almost as quickly as this dolmade is disappearing) when I was trying to get published, she’s just such a star of the line. Carol Marinelli is a fabulous friend and I adore her books and her sexy heroes and there was good mate Paula Roe too, with her debut book no less! Awesome writers all.
(And yes, I’ve asked my editor for more Italian Boss titles J)

Love the photo of you, Marion Lennox, and Anne Gracie at the awards night – you all look like you are a happy bunch of friends sharing a very special moment together.
That was one amazing night! It was so great to see Marion take out the Sweet RuBY,  so very well deserved  and again, in such a strong field! Then to have Anne win in the long category as well – well, like I said, it was amazing to share such a moment with such special friends. Mind you, so many of the finalists are good friends, it was bound to be a happy night. That’s the nature of the Australian romance community.  I’ve never had a job where so many of my colleagues have become such good mates.
(EK: So true)

Another Congratulations on being the recipient of Honorary Membership! How exciting. How does it make you feel being recognised for all you have done for RWA?
It’s very humbling, that’s for sure. RWAustralia is such a fabulous organisation. It’s been an honour to have been able to give something back to an organisation that has given me so much, including some of the best friends I think I’ll ever have. The Honorary Membership was definitely the cherry on top!

What attracted you to the Presents (Sexy) line?
I always loved the sexy stories. I practically inhaled the Emma Darcy, Miranda Lee, Helen Bianchin, Robyn Donald etc books when I was trying to get published and I knew that those were the books I wanted to write -meaty stories with strong heroes and feisty heroines and lashings of passion. Then a cousin of a good friend of mine was published, first by Dolly Fiction and then by HM&B,– that author was Alison Kelly and I just adored her books, still have them all on my keeper shelf. Her success really inspired me because I knew it really could happen to real people.

Your stories often feature Mediterranean heroes, Greeks, Spaniards and those award winning Italian Bosses. What’s the appeal of the Mediterranean hero?
Ooh, how long have we got?

Mind you, Eleni, I’m surprised you have to ask J.  It’s the passion of the Mediterranean hero, the short fuse on one hand, the strong sense of family on the other. It’s the accent that makes the sound of your own name curl into your senses, and it’s the dark eyes and dark hair and olive skinned perfection that makes even a winter body look buff. Along with the fact all our fantasy heroes are tall, dark and dangerously built. You might not necessarily meet them in the local Yiros takeaway in Chania or outdoor trattoria in Rome, or maybe you just can’t afford to get there, but you will meet them between the pages of a Presents/Sexy novel. Guaranteed.

But Presents isn’t just about Mediterranean males – I do so love a hot desert sheikh to warm my toes on a cold night.  J
(EK: J )

What are you working on now? And what’s in the near future for Trish Morey?
I’m currently zooming (hahaha – I wish!) towards the finish of my nineteenth title for Presents/Sexy.  It’s set on a gorgeous tropical island north of Cairns with a yummy hero (inspired by the ultra delish Andrea Zanchini) and a wedding planner who’s going to get more than she bargained for and it’s due in, oh, a little over a week. Wish me luck!

Meanwhile already in the works is His Mistress for a Million, a book that takes you from rain-soaked London to the cerulean perfection of Santorini. That’s due out next February /March.  Followed by Forbidden: The Sheikh’s Virgin, book 3 in the Dark Hearted Desert Men miniseries, following on from the Karedes continuity.  That will be on the shelves next June/July. Ooh, perfect timing Downunder for a bit of toe warming reading...

Do you have any say in the titles of your books?
I’ve always had fun with titles. I actually use them as a touchstone, to keep the sense of what the book is about as I’m writing it (a mini-synopsis, or tag line if you like) and love trying to outguess marketing.

I kept The Boss’s Christmas Baby”,  “Back in the Spaniard’s BedandThe Sheikh’s Convenient Virgin with small changes to others, but I admit I will never, never understand the marketing decision that turned my Broome book, The Pearl Master’s Mistress, into A Virgin for the Taking.  I much preferred the Spanish version, Amor y Perlas – Love and Pearls. At least that title managed to capture the magic and the romance.

You constantly hit the Borders/Waldenbooks bestseller’s list. How does that feel?
Blessed.  It’s a fact that when you sell to Presents or Desire, you are almost guaranteed a slot in the top ten, their sales are so strong.  That’s part of the beauty of category – you have this huge Harlequin machine and high sales already behind you. It’s not like trying to find your way as an unknown in single title.

That said, given the huge names in Presents, it’s mind blowing when you secure a top number. I’ve been lucky enough to win the #1 slot four times now and I think that’s pretty cool.  Much more satisfying than the releases that disappear without trace.

But there are no guarantees. I think name has a little to do with it, and building up a following, but there’s also the cover art, the title, the back cover blurb that also comes into it.  You never know how one particular book will fare so it’s always lovely when they’re well received.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Too much of a pantser I’m afraid. I start with a premise, gather bits of flotsam and jetsam that float through my brain or my vision, a snatch of dialogue here, a photo or article snipped from a magazine there, and then, when I’m antsy enough, I launch the story off into the wild blue yonder, because I know that by writing it is the only way I’m going to work out how it finishes. I mean, I know there’s going to be a happy ending, but how?
Daft process really. Don’t try it at home...

You’re a wife, a mother of 4 teenaged daughters, and are a writer.  How do you fit it all in? Do you have a set routine?
**insert maniacal laughter here** Seriously, I do try to get as much done as I can during the school day. Unfortunately the muse can be a bit recalcitrant and like to kick in at oh, ten minutes to 4, when I’m due at the bus stop at 4. It’s a juggle, like any working mum finds, trying to work, stock the pantry, do the washing, fix meals, though lucky for me the girls are learning that mum will happily pay them to do the cleaning and vacuuming. It’s definitely easier, now they’re growing up. There’s something very liberating about a child that can go to the toilet and make their own toast. Even more useful when they can knock up a decent bruschetta and wield a dustpan and  brush. Come to think of it, I may never let them leave home...
(EK: ah, you sound like a Greek mama about never letting them leave home J)

You live in the Adelaide Hills and even had it featured in your 2009 R*BY winning book. What do you love about the hills?
It’s a really special part of Adelaide, close to the city but a world apart. Our home is set amidst cherry and apple orchards, bushland and vineyards with a view between the hills to the sea. The changing seasons mean the scenery is never the same from one day to the next, whether it’s cherry blossom time or when the hills are shrouded in thick fog.

It’s a great place to walk the dog and think and I never tire of spotting koalas. You can’t help but smile when you see their cute little furry faces. I love it here. It’s a place that feeds my soul.

You have foreign editions of your books – the latest being Mangas. Very impressive. What was your reaction in seeing these? Having a quick look through myself, what does your family have to say about them?
I love all my translations – it’s always exciting when those little envelopes turn up in the post – and getting the first from somewhere new is always exciting. My first Arabic translation turned up recently and made my day. And I’ve had translations from such far flung places as Korea, Israel, Russia, Norway, South Africa – so far I’ve been published in more than twenty languages in around 40 countries world wide.

But my favourites have to be my Mangas! One very sweet, a doe eyed heroine and dashing Spaniard, and a cute floppy eared puppy, I adore it. The other rather more explicit! Miss 19yo was shocked, to put it mildly. I love it. It’s always rewarding to be able to shock your teenagers. J

    I lived vicariously through your blog posts when you travelled OS last year. You were working on a book? Did you manage to soak up the atmosphere and use it on your writing? I mean Santorini, blue skies and seas, white buildings, laptop outside...sounds magical.

    Gosh, it’s a year ago already. I’m so glad you enjoyed my (less than frequent) posts, Eleni! We did have the best time, visiting London, Rome, Athens, Crete, Doha and somewhere I’ve always longed to go, that gorgeous island of Santorini. And it was everything I’d hoped it would be – romantic, atmospheric, rugged and dangerous and stunningly beautiful. The only fly in the ointment was having to revise a manuscript while we travelled. It wasn’t easy, but the surroundings must have helped because The Ruthless Greek’s Virgin Princess was accepted shortly after we arrived home and my Santorini book, His Mistress for a Million, will be out next February/March, so look out for that one!

    Thanks Trish for joining us at the fest! Trish has kindly offered a copy of ‘The Best Love Stories of 2009’ as a give away, that contains six fabulous R*BY shortlisted books!

    For your  chance to  win, let us know what you love about the place you live. One comment will be drawn at random to win!

    Comments will be open until October 31st!

    Comments for prize now closed. Congratulations to Becca J Heath!

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