Today, I'm interviewing debut author, Helen Lacey. Helen has a passion for horses, and her dream has come true with the recent release of her novel, Made for Marriage.
Tell us about your debut release, Made for Marriage, and why you decided to write romance?
I wanted to write romance from the time I read my first Mills & Boon novel when I was twelve years old. Made For Marriage is my debut book, published by Harlequin Special Edition. It’s the story of a former elite equestrian from California and her struggle to not fall in love with a single dad hero. Of course she fails and falls head over heels – but the journey was fun to write.
Finding a literary agent to represent us is difficult. Tell us about your experiences in finding an agent?
I had a short list of agents I felt would be a good ‘fit’ for me. And rather than submit the usual way to the agent I really wanted to represent me, I watched the Romance Writers of America chapter contest circuit and waited until he was the final judge for one – I entered that contest, won it, and a few weeks later was offered representation.
Who is your favourite author and what is it about their work you like?
Hard question – I have several. I grew up reading Danielle Steele and Barbara Taylor Bradford in mainstream romance, and too many to mention in category romance. I am currently reading a lot of Susan Wiggs and Debbie Macomber. I love their home town settings and the ensemble casts in their books.
What books did you read growing up? How have they influenced the person you are and your writing today?
Black Beauty, The Silver Brumby, The Black Stallion – see the theme? I love horses and they are a big part of the inspiration for my stories. I also read L.M Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder and discovered Jane Austen when I was about eleven. I believe the books we read as a child are some of the most important of our lives and am so pleased I had opportunity to read diversely.
You live in a beautiful part of Australia. Tell us how you came to settle in this area?
About five years ago my husband and I went to visit a friend who lived in a small town by the beach. We’d been considering a sea/tree change for a while and fell in love with this part of the world. The weather is moderate for most of the year and I have a fabulous view of the Pacific Ocean from my office window. Plus I get to have my horses in the back yard, which I just adore.
What does a typical day look like for Helen Lacey?
First I set my husband off to work and feed the dogs. If it’s a full writing day I’ll usually do emails first and check my website. Then I’ll start writing. I try to set a target of 1500 words a day, sometimes I do more, sometimes less. I keep a dairy to keep track of my word count for the week. I’m not a very organised person, so this daily tracking keeps me on target. In the afternoons I head outside to spend time with my horses – feeding, grooming or riding. Then I feed the dogs. I try to spend a couple of hours outside every day. And in between there are errands and house chores and seeing friends and family.
What advice would you give an aspiring romance author wanting to write category romance?
Just write the best book you can. And know what line you want to write for. Read everything current in that line that's available, follow the blogs of your favourite authors to see what they’re up to and what they are selling. Enter contests if you can, find a good critique partner, invest in professional assessment if you can afford it. But mostly, just write and write.
Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Helen.
You can learn more about Helen and her upcoming books by visiting her website http://helenlacey.com
Helen's books are available at
BE A WINNER!!
Leave a comment below and put yourself in the draw for a copy of Made For Marriage.
Follow Helen's blog tour at http://rbpp-hl.blogspot.com/ for more giveways and a grand prize of an Amazon $50 Gift Voucher; and for those who like a little bling, a silver Pandora bracelet!