1) Were you meant to become a writer?

Yes. I wrote as a child, then bits and pieces as an adult, and finally when a serious relationship crashed I decided to do something for myself and I took a writing course from Cassie Miles. I then began seriously writing.

2) When did you come up with the idea for your first book?

HeartMate, my first published book, is my fourth completed manuscript, but I’ll answer for that one. I actually got (and often get) the idea for this book from a physical object, namely a bloodstone pendulum. The pendulum transmuted into runes in HeartMate as being more “manly”. Since I had my hero, T’Ash throwing the runes as a daily exercise, I had to make him of a culture where that would be considered a good thing to do and, again, manly thing to do. I also had him making the runes and being a jeweller, so I also made him a blacksmith. I’ve heard the sight of T’Ash in his loincloth at the smithy was a favourite…

3) Any particular reason why you chose the romance genre?

I read many genres, but I like the romance because it inherently focuses on people, and always has a happy ending, an upbeat ending that affirms love and relationships and family. If we concentrate on love and the family and making that unit as strong as possible, I believe the world will be a better place – working from a solid basis up.

4) Do you need to do a lot of research before you write a book, or do you work only on fantasy?

LOL, that supposes that fantasy doesn’t need research, and of course it does. A person should know any myths they will be using (elves, unicorns, vampires), not to mention the sheer world-building of making your world as complete and as consistent as possible. As for me and my Celta, I use celtic/welsh names and plant names. The FirstFamilies are based on the qualities of Celtic astrological signs. I have quite a bit of Celtic research material (including tarot cards, and herbal tarot cards) as well as herbal/plant books for naming my characters. I am very strict with myself in naming. In Heart Thief, I have a spaceship that runs on nanotechnology, so I did some intense research on that. Since it’s easy to get lost in research, I do it as I go along.

For the new Llandrana series, I am basing my language on French, and doing research into the Knights Templars.

5) How long did it take you to create your first book?

I’d say a year, though when you’re unpublished, there’s the writing and revising and polishing that actually continues until it sells ;) I think I started HeartMate in 1996 and it sold early in 2001.

6) Was it easy to get it published?

No. HeartMate was a big change and new direction for Berkley, a futuristic/fantasy romance. There was only one publisher actually releasing futuristics and they rejected HeartMate. I had actually decided to cut down on my writing time and pursue other things instead in my free time before I sold.

7) How was the reception of this book?

It went very well. I worked hard on on-line promotion and placed some ads and did promo items (teabags and wallet calendars – now I do wallet calendars for all my books), but word of mouth sold the book – most especially about the telepathic cat with an attitude. It was different and people liked it.

8) Do you find it easy to deal with criticism?

LOL. Often no, sometimes yes, but a whole lot easier BEFORE the manuscript is done and the book is in print. Anything after that I can’t fix.

9) You are a cat lover. Do you think we humans can learn from them?

I think humans can learn from all animals, not just cats. I actually think humans are better than cats. Cats are supreme egoists. But naturally they have qualities that humans can learn from, to take life as it is, to make sure you are heard, to nap in the sun!

10) Do you consider reader’s comments when you are writing a new book?

Yes, especially if I am working on a book that a reader or readers have indicated they are interested in. Readers can really help add depth to a book, give an author a fresh slant on something they’ve written.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my books. As always, there were some interesting questions that I hadn’t thought about before and have helped me with my craft. Blessings, Robin.


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© 2005 Nickie Fleming/Jansan