Please help me welcome a special friend of mine, British romance author Danielle Rose-West. I’m so glad you agreed to an interview on my blog, Danielle!
Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.
My name is Danielle Rose-West and I live in the United Kingdom with my family and our small dog. I am something of a romantic dreamer and always have been. I have always been a rather shy person. When I was growing up, books were often my best friends!
I have loved reading since I was a small child. My very first books were by Enid Blyton. She completely fascinated me with all the different worlds she introduced me to. My very favourite books were her Far Away Tree series. I still remember every story in those books even now! Magical!
I love to read still, of course, and I enjoy spending time with my husband when we both have time off from work. I love to get out and about. I walk very day for exercise and it really helps me to plot my books. I really am a very ordinary person getting to live the dream of being a writer!
Why did you decide to write romance books? What is the appeal?
As I said before, I am a romantic dreamer. I have been hooked on romance since I read my very first romance novel, which I remember was So Speaks the Heart by Johanna Lindsey. Every book I write has to have romance at the heart of it. Truly, I don’t think I could ever write anything else. I love to put an unusual twist on the story because that really interests me as a writer and as a person, but at the end of the day, it’s still a romance! I believe completely in true love and in finding that one special person that fills all the spaces within you and completes you. I was lucky enough to find that in my life and my wish for every person in the world is that they will find it too. There is nothing like it!
How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?
It depends on the story, but there is always a certain amount of research that goes in. Even though there is an element within my books that is totally magical or paranormal, I do like to add realism in the storyline too. Generally, I do a lot of research using the net. I like to find videos wherever I can and pictures that really help me get a visual in my head. In my latest book, the story is centred on a large Georgian house. I found floor plans of those types of houses to give me a feel of the layout and pictures that showed me the inside and outside of those kinds of dwellings. It really made it come alive for me and I was able to write so much more vividly because of that. In my book, Forever You, the hero owns an olive farm. I found videos on You Tube that showed me how they made the oil, what the presses looked like etc. It was really interesting to see the way olive oil was made and to be able to paint that picture for my readers. I actually do love doing research. I learn something new with every book I write!
What is the best comment you ever received from a reader? The worst or weirdest?
I have had a lot of wonderful comments that really blew me away. One of the best has probably been when I received an email from a reader who told me how much she’d loved Wild Fire and wanted to know if the second book was out. It filled me with so much joy that someone loved my work enough to email me and let me know about it. Another one was someone that said she’d expected my book to be the usual cowboy meets girl, is mean, gets redeemed and then they get together. She was amazed that it was so much more than that and loved the book. I think the worst was when someone actually said that they didn’t think I could write an out for my characters without coping out by using my fairy godmother characters. That one hurt a lot because they hadn’t understood the concept of the book. I wanted my fairy godmothers to be part of saving the day. It was meant to have a magical element to the story and I loved how they were a part of things. It is always sad when a reader just doesn’t get it, but I accept there will always be someone that doesn’t. It’s part of being a writer.
Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?
I have an initial idea that really excites me for a basic plotline. Then I get ideas for scenes within the book and a rough feeling of the structure of the story. Characters start taking shape in my head and names are a really important part of that process. I have to find names for my characters that really suit them. When I sit down to write the story, I often have the first chapter really outlined in my head, but I don’t always have every bit of plot worked out. Sometimes that develops along the way and characters often write themselves, so it can happen that something pops up with the story that I didn’t expect. I actually re-wrote the ending of my latest book because the villain demanded it. The original version wasn’t quite right. I won’t stop with a story until all the elements are tied up and explained. Everything has to fit right before the book is published.
Can you tell us a little about your current work, Hidden in Shadows? Is there a story behind the story?
I was very much inspired to write this story by my mum. The original idea took root when I was working on Wild Fire. Some of the plot twists really surprised my mum, who was avidly reading the book as I wrote it. One day she said to me, “Why don’t you write a mystery. I think you’d be really good at it.” I hadn’t really considered it before that, but I have always loved mysteries. I think Agatha Christie was amazing. One of my favourite TV programmes, Midsomer Murders, have often had spooky episodes surrounding a murder. It inspired the idea of a set of romantic mystery, suspense novels with a paranormal twist. I have always loved ghost stories (not horror, but just really spine tingling stuff!), so I decided to write a series with that wonderful ghostly element and what better way to start than with an old haunted house! Who doesn’t love that!
What sets your heroine Jenna apart from all the other women in your hero’s Kyle’s life? Why is she perfect for him?
Jenna is the first woman that really sparks Kyle’s interest after his girlfriend Susan dumped him and left for a new life in the States. He is very attracted to her, even though he tries to fight it because he doesn’t really want to get involved with someone again, especially a woman that he’s working for. Jenna is a natural woman, who doesn’t dress up and wear tons of make-up. She doesn’t put on airs and graces, and that’s not something Kyle has encountered before. She brings out all his protective instincts and he just wants to help her and be her hero. They do bump heads a couple of times as we all do in life, but they are also both there for each other. If one of them is struggling and has a problem, the other one will do anything to help them. Jenna is perfect for Kyle because they complement each other. She makes him face himself and he does the same for her. They are both better people because of each other.
Have you ever had writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I haven’t really had writers block in one way. I have had chapters in books that just weren’t working. I would read them and know the scene wasn’t right, but couldn’t quite figure out what to do with it. Sometimes the plot wasn’t quite ironing out properly, stuff like that. Usually, I take a break from writing. I go for a long walk to clear my head and if that doesn’t work, I sometimes air the problem out with my husband. Often the problem solves itself when I simply talk about it and the solution becomes clear. I hope I never experience the horror of a full writers block. It must be awful.
Can you give us a little background on your hero Kyle that’s only in your author notes, and not found in your story? What inspired you to create this character?
Kyle is quite a serious man. He has a great friend in Michael, who is the person he is closest to before Jenna comes into his life. His family life growing up was troubled. Kyle is someone who doesn’t find it easy to open up to people because of that. His father spent more time working than being at home and his mother left when he was quite young. As a result, Kyle doesn’t like mixing with people so much. He is a quiet man who keeps to himself. He doesn’t like people prying into his life or getting into his personal space. I really felt Kyle and could see him vividly in my mind. He is inspired partly by someone in my life. That person is very private as well, so I won’t say who it is. But they are a diamond and so is Kyle. When Kyle gives his loyalty, he won’t be budged. He takes responsibility very seriously because he was so let down by his family. He won’t let others down in the same way. He is someone you could depend on.
Describe a favorite scene in your current novel?
I have so many favourite scenes in this novel. I love a lot of the scenes between Kyle and Michael. Michael is such a funny character and I laughed a few times with the things he says or does. The interaction between the two of them is something I loved writing. My other favourite scene is when Jenna finds out that Kyle wanted to buy her house. She has already had some rather weird things going on in the house and becomes convinced he’s responsible and is trying to drive her out of her home. She confronts Kyle and they have this huge row. Michael is present at the time and the only thing he’s worried about are the ghosts. The scene is both dramatic, with Kyle and Jenna shouting at each other, and funny because Michael is trying to convince them both that the ghosts are responsible for all the mischief. I loved writing that scene and have included an excerpt from that for this interview. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
What else do you have in store for your readers?
I am currently writing the second book in the Haunted by the Past Series and there will be a third book also. I have a further three books planned for my The Fairy Tale Match series and I have a third series in mind, which I am really excited about. I also am toying with a book with three short stories, all connected with a special magical thread. That one is still very much in the planning stages. There is lots still to come.
I would like to say a special thank you to Peggy, not only for hosting this interview for me but also for all her feedback and support when I was writing Hidden in Shadows. She helped me so much with tips and writing advice. It wouldn’t be the book it is today without her support. Peggy, you are an amazing author and an even better friend. Thank you!
Hidden in Shadows Books Synopsis
When she buys an old Georgian house, Jenna Mansfield thinks it’s the answer to all her prayers. She can start afresh away from her over protective family and the tragedy that led her to a nervous breakdown several years before. Ignoring the house’s reputation for being haunted, Jenna moves to Cornwall with high hopes for her future. The sexy builder she hires to renovate her new home captures her interest, but when strange events start taking place around her and rumours reach her ears, she is left wondering if her builder is harbouring a secret.
Kyle Tanner is furious when the house he wanted to buy and renovate to further his small building firm, slips through his fingers for the second time. He doesn’t expect the new owner to be interested in taking him on for the work, but she surprises him in more ways than one. Deeply attracted to his new employer, Kyle fights hard against the unwanted feelings she stirs in him and then the trouble begins.
Kyle and Jenna find themselves swept up in the mystery that surrounds Millington House and its ghostly residents. The past won’t stay silent and someone with a deadly secret lurks in the shadows. As events unfold, Jenna finds herself the target of a crazed killer. Can they uncover the truth before time runs out or will the past be forever hidden in shadows?
Stumbling along the coast road, she slumped down on a bench that overlooked the sea. Her gaze failed to register the waves as they tossed themselves onto shore. Kyle had wanted to buy her house, not once but twice. He’d lost out to the previous owners and then to her. She remembered Tiffany telling her how the Perkins had left terrified. Had Kyle been responsible for driving them away? Was he doing the same to her?
She thought of all the things that had happened, her lips thinning as her fury rose. It had to be. Kyle was trying to drive her away so he could buy the house when she put it back up for sale. Well, not in this lifetime! Shooting up from the bench, Jenna marched home. The pounding of her feet sounded like the beat of a drum preceding an army into battle.
She flew into the house, dropping her bag and the paint thinner to the floor before she stomped into the study. She barely registered the huge man working in the room with Kyle. Her whole attention riveted upon her tormentor.
“Why did you say nothing about having wanted to buy my house?” she demanded, her hands curled into fists.
Kyle spun around from the wall he’d been stripping. His shocked expression would have been comical in any other situation. Jenna didn’t find anything funny about it now.
“Who told you that?” he finally got out.
“Does it matter? It’s true isn’t it?” Jenna demanded, anger nearly choking her.
“Yes, it’s true. I didn’t tell you simply because it wasn’t important.” He clutched the scraper in his hand tighter, his knuckles turning white.
“Not important?” Her brow rose in question. He frowned at her deadly tone, his eyes full of confusion. “I would say it was more likely you didn’t want me to know so I wouldn’t guess what you were up to!”
“What the hell are you talking about?” He planted his hands on his hips, staring at her as if she’d lost her mind.
“Don’t deny it!” Her voice rose with increasing tempo. She waved her finger in his face, one hand firmly planted on her own hip. “Don’t you dare deny what you’ve been doing to me! I know your game. You did it to the Perkins too, didn’t you?” She stalked forward, practically shoving her face into Kyle’s increasingly confused and angry one.
“Look here, I haven’t the foggiest notion what you’re talking about!” He stabbed a finger towards her chest. “You need to sort out your facts before you go accusing people of things.”
“Really?” she snarled. She began ticking points off on her fingers. “Fact One, you wanted to buy this house, but was beat to it by the Perkins. Fact Two, they were driven from their home in terror, forcing them to sell. Fact Three, you wanted to buy this house again, but I beat you to it. Fact Four, odd things are happening here and I would bet money on it you’re behind them.” She glared at him triumphantly.
You can view a trailer for my book at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTngwYptOTU
Wild Fire – The Fairy Tale Match Book 1
Forever You – The Fairy Tale Match Book 2