|Image Credit: Florin Gorgan|
ETA: Sarah is giving away a copy of the book, more info here.
Sarah Morgan is here! I've been a fan for a long time, so today is a special day. Let’s give her a warm welcome, and once you’re done reading the interview, go read her books.
Hello, Sarah! Welcome to Romance Around the Corner.
SM: Hello and thank you for having me!
Q. First things first: tell us a bit about yourself and your books.
SM: I trained as a nurse and worked in the ER for a while, but always wanted to write. I suppose I like fixing people, but it’s much easier to fix them on paper! When I was at home with children I started writing Medical Romances for Harlequin, which was a logical choice given my background, then moved on to Harlequin Presents.
Now I’m lucky enough to write full time. I live near London, which is a very cool city (cool in every sense, including the weather!). I love the buzz of the South Bank, the theaters galleries and museums. I have two boys and we have spent so many wet Sundays gazing at the Egyptian Mummies in the British Museum and dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum. It’s no coincidence that one of the first stories I wrote featured a family of dinosaurs.
I love walking, mountains, snow, Christmas, horses, my mountain bike, meeting up with family and friends, laughing, cooking, the smell of fresh coffee, opera, Paris, CW’s The Vampire Diaries, Homeland and, of course, reading.
Q. I have read and enjoyed most of your books, but I have a soft spot for A Night of Scandal. That book was part of the Notorious Wolfes series, a collection of stories in which each book was written by a different author. Did your writing process have to change in order for you to write that particular book? Did you exchange notes and feedback with the other authors?
When I first saw the brief for my hero, Nathaniel, I panicked slightly because he was an actor and I’d been told to avoid writing an actor! Then I delved deep into his background and realized I could connect his choice of profession with his black past. He uses his talent to hide who he really is. Once I connected the acting with his personality and conflict, the story came together for me and I was really excited.
For a continuity to work well there is usually a significant amount of communication between the authors via group email and the occasional phone call. The aim is to keep the details consistent. If something in my story isn’t working for me and I decide to change it, I need to work out how those changes will impact on other characters and then discuss it with the relevant author.
If readers are interested in more detail on how a ‘continuity’ works, the authors and editor involved with Notorious Wolfes explained the process in more depth in two posts at Dear Author.
Q. What comes first for you, the characters or the story? Where do you get your ideas from?
SM: Almost always the characters, and often those characters in a scene or situation. Sometimes the entire book grows from an idea for one particular scene.
Ideas come from everywhere – snatches of conversation overheard, people watching, the glimpse of a headline, a friend’s dilemma – writers greedily and shamelessly use anything and everything they come across. And then they add the ‘what if’ question and try to make life as bad as they can for their characters, which makes a writer difficult to live with because we’re always imagining the worst!
Q. What can you tell us about your new book, A Night of No Return? Just how damaged is Lucas?
SM: Lucas is very damaged, not just by recent events in his life but by his traumatic childhood which has shaped the way he lives his life. His way of living alongside the pain is to bury himself in work and push people away. His PA, Emma, also buries herself in work but for different reasons. Then the two of them are stranded in a storm and that single night changes everything for both of them. They end up re-evaluating not just their relationship, but also their life choices.
This is a Presents, so of course the story has glamour and all the other elements that are part of that line, but at the heart of the book it’s about two people who are living their lives in a certain way and not entertaining the idea of change until it is forced upon them.
Q. Let’s talk about favorites and least favorites: what’s your favorite trope (to write about, but also to read); and what’s your least favorite trope?
SM: I like variety. I do enjoy bad boy/good girl and bad girl/good boy. I’ve just turned in a book that was bad boy/bad girl which was so much fun to write. It’s called An Invitation to Sin, which is a perfect title for the book, and will be out in the US in June. I also enjoy writing lovers reunited because the conflict is already there and it’s interesting to explore a relationship gone wrong. But I’d hate to write the same theme repeatedly.
When I read, it’s all about the characters and the author’s voice. If a book draws me in I don’t care about the trope.
Q. I’m also a fan of your Medical Romances. In fact, your books were the ones that introduced me to that line. Do you have plans to go back and write more of those?
Q. What are you working on? What can we expect from you in the future?
SM: At the moment I’m working on a Sheikh story, the inspiration for which was a trip to an exhibition on the history of the horse at the British Museum. I had a sudden urge to write a Sheikh story full of prancing, snorting Arab horses. I describe it as Braveheart meets My Little Pony. As for the future, there will definitely be more Harlequin Presents but I’d also like to step outside the 50,000 word count and write a longer contemporary with a larger cast of characters.
Q. And finally, what’s your favorite Romance Novel?
This is the hardest question of all! If I were stranded in a log cabin in the snow and Richard Armitage was late arriving, I’d probably want a Nora Roberts. I’d be happy with any of them, but if you force me I’d pick Rising Tides. Along with half the world, I love Grace and Ethan and they are both so deserving of their happy ending.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Please come back soon!
SM: Thank you so much for having me!
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About the book:
Wild parties, wanton women, relentless work—nothing helps tycoon Lucas Jackson escape his dark and haunting past. Arriving at his rural castle in a snarling snowstorm, he craves only complete isolation.… But it seems oblivion can take an unexpected and highly intoxicating form!
Personally delivering the vital file left on her boss's desk, secretary Emma Gray starts to seriously regret her dutiful overtime mission. She never expected the dark side of the usually controlled Lucas could generate such a primitive, powerful—and entirely inappropriate—reaction.