I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to interview the fabulous Kristina O’Grady, whose second novel, Damsel in Distress was released last month and which I’ll be reviewing laster on today (click here to get your copy) So let’s find out what Kristina loves most about writing time travel romances as she gives us the lowdown on her novels and her journey to publication. Happy reading!
Thank you so much for having me. I’m a great fan of your blog and I’m honoured to be here.
I grew up in Canada on a cattle ranch and in my twenties I met the man of my dreams, followed him to a sheep and beef farm in New Zealand, got married and started having babies. We have been blessed with three beautiful, healthy children that are growing up so fast. Last night, we watched a video of them when they were just babes and to see the difference and the similarities that just a few years makes is amazing. That we have the technology to do so is mind boggling if you think about it too hard.
…But I digress. Before moving to NZ, I worked as an Environmental Consultant in the Oil and Gas Industry in Western Canada. To this day, I still enjoy spending time outdoors and ‘getting back to nature’. Luckily for me, I’m able to take the opportunity to explore this beautiful country with my family every day, whether it is out-and-about on the farm or whether we are enjoying national treasures such as Lake Waikaremoana.
Can you tell us a bit about your new book, Damsel in Distress? (due for release 30th September, published by Carina)
Probably the best way to tell you about Damsel In Distress? is to share the blurb with you. Here it is!
A chance meeting that could scandalise the ton!
19th century England. Harriet is running for her life, chased by three men on horseback through Hyde Park. Knocked unconscious, everything goes black…
Philip, Baron Eaglestone, has never seen such a beautiful damsel in distress. And he’s even more intrigued when she opens her eyes, and begins to speak. Because this irresistible woman can only remember her first name, and has no knowledge as to who was trying to kill her… or where she is!
As Philip cares for Harriet, their attraction burns… and neither can shake the feeling that their chance meeting was truly a moment out of time. But if her memory returns, Harriet will be faced with a question. Will she return home or could it be that family is where her heart is – with a Regency rake!
I love the synopsis for Damsel in Distress. What inspired you to write a novel set in 19th Century England?
That in itself is a long story. About six and half years ago my Grandmother died. She had such an amazing life. She grew up poor during the ‘30’s, signed up for the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. As you are probably are aware women were not allowed into the services until then. After the war ended, she married my Grandfather who was the love of her life, but also a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. They travelled all over the country and lived several years in the Artic. Anyway, when my Grandmother died I thought someone needed to tell her story; and no, a time travel to Regency England wasn’t it! But it started me writing again. It also made me very aware that I didn’t know what I was doing! To make (a very) long story short, I decided to write something fun and flirty. That story turned out to be my debut novel, Debutantes Don’t Date. Damsel in Distress? is the story of Philip, who is the best friend of the hero in Debutantes.
I have always loved reading romanced set in Regency times and I LOVE time-travel romances. Some of my favourite novels are time-travels. So I suppose it’s of no surprise that my first two books fall into that genre.
Oh, I think that it the best part! Most of my research I get from reading other novels set in the Regency period, which as an author, reading other writers work is the best career perk. I also get books from the library which are full of information about fashion, politics and general knowledge about the time period as well. And the time-travel part? Well, as you probably guessed most of that is made up, but I did take some creative licence from Quantum Physics, which personally I find fascinating. In theory, time-travel actually could work. It makes you think.
What’s the best thing about writing historical romances?
The best thing about writing in general, at least for me, is the part where I get to make things up. Being Historical, I do have to my facts right which in itself is fun too, because, although I’m writing Historical it is still fiction so I get to use creative licence and elaborate all sorts of things. I do like to keep things fun! But writing in a historical time period I learn so much about a culture and its history that, honesty, I would never bother finding out about otherwise.
Can you tell us a bit more about your first novel; Debutantes Don’t Date (published 30th April 2014 by Carina)?
This novel is close to my heart because it is the first novel I’ve published. Here is the blurb for the first instalment of my Time-travel to Regency England series.
At the stroke of midnight…
One minute Grace Lancaster is an overworked event manager organising 2013’s New Year’s Eve ball… The next she’s kissing a rather gorgeous man at the Regency themed party. Everyone’s entitled to an out-of-character New Year’s kiss, right? Except Jasper Mossman, Earl of Bingham, isn’t at a costume party – he’s a real-life gentleman from 1813…
And, it seems, kissing a man in Regency London has consequences!
What Grace considers normal behaviour scandalises Regency society and so far she’s provided the irrepressible gossips of the ton with a season’s worth of conversation! In a scramble to protect her reputation, as well as his own, Jasper insists that they marry for the sake of her honour. Marrying Mr Darcy might be a 21st century girl’s dream – but the reality is far from romantic. Corsets are uncomfortable, no running water is disastrous! Grace had always planned on falling in love before she got married, but when Jasper takes her in his arms she just might believe she’s finally found her very own Prince Charming.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
I took a chance and entered a full manuscript contest with Romance Writers of New Zealand. We only had to submit about 5000 words for the first round. I entered to get feedback on my writing from the judges and I never expected to get into the top ten. But I did. I so wasn’t ready. My manuscript wasn’t finished and didn’t reach the required word count to qualify. Luckily we were given three days to get our manuscript up to snuff. Somehow I managed to finish it and submit it on time. I didn’t have time to finish my edits though, so unsurprisingly I didn’t make the top three. However, the judges I received feedback from gave me some fantastic advice about where my novel needed work and, armed with their words of wisdom, I made changes, cut scenes, added scenes and fixed up my flow and sentence structure.
In the meantime, Harlequin was getting ready to run their 2013 So You Think You Can Write contest. I thought, Why not? and entered. To my immense surprise, I got into the Top 50 out of about 640 applicants! Unfortunately my Regency Time-Travel didn’t fit into any of their categories, but the editor who read my story liked it and asked me if she could send it onto one of their imprints on my behalf. I am so very blessed the editor sent it to CarinaUK and the editor there loved it. I was offered a two book contract the Friday before Christmas. I think it’s the best possible Christmas present any writer could be given.
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I don’t know if I can answer this question properly. I love so many authors and so many different genres, I couldn’t possibly list them all. I will say though, that Sally MacKenzie has influenced my writing; I love her easy style and wit. Diana Gabaldon is the Queen of Time-travel and at the moment I am loving authors such as Katie Oliver, Rebecca Raisin and Samantha Tongue, who all write contemporary/chick lit romance. I also like James Patterson, Elizabeth Gilbert and John Boyne. Books such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, have made me realise that my destiny is in my own hands and have pushed me to achieve more.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I have two more Time-Travel to Regency England stories in my head waiting to be told but at the moment, I’m working on something a little different. I don’t like to talk about ‘works-in-progress’ too much before the whole story presents itself to me, but I can tell you that it’s about a movie star and a cowboy. No time-travel or Regency in sight!
A huge thank you to Kristina for participating in this interview and to Leah from Girls Love To Read. ♥