My guest today is Gemma Brocato who has been brave enough to answer Daisy’s twenty questions.
Welcome to the blog, Gemma.
Daisy, thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. I’ve enjoyed reading it in the past year or so that I’ve known you and I’m delighted to be able to contribute.
Due to the recent acquisition of Lyrical Press, my publisher, by Kensington Books, my debut novel, Cooking Up Love, is temporarily unavailable while they take care of the paperwork. But don’t worry! I’m giving away a copy of the book to one of your readers (a print copy for anyone in the US or a digital copy for anyone else in the world). Just leave a comment to enter the drawing.
1 How long have you been writing? All my life, it seems. I started focusing on writing a novel in 2005, but I’ve only actually pursued publication seriously for the past two years.
2 Do you have a favorite book you have written? I love each of my stories, for different reasons. I know you aren’t supposed to have favorites, just like with your kids, but my Hearts In Harmony, due out from Lyrical Press in May 2014, holds a special place in my heart. It’s the second in my Five Senses Series and is based on sound. I touch on some fairly emotional (at least for me) issues, and even though I know the story by heart, I still cry over some portions of it.
3 Have you always wanted to write? Not really. Not professionally, anyway. I never kept a diary or journal. I’m not even particularly good at writing letters.
4 Are you a plotter or pantster writer? Definitely a pantser, although I do a rough chapter sketch for each book, just to make sure the story remains cohesive.
5 What do you enjoy most about writing? Those moments when I’ve painted a character into a particularly sticky corner and I realize I’d given them an out in the first part of the book. The glare from the lightbulb going off over my head at those times is positively blinding.
6 Do you have a favorite affirmation on writing? Eg., This from Chuck Wendig is one of my favorites. The One No-Fooling Rule Is “write.” Write, write, … write. Write better today than you did yesterday and better tomorrow than you did today. Onward, fair pen monkey, onward. If you’re not a writer, something will stop you — your own doubts, hate from haters, a bad review, poor time management, a hungry raccoon that nibbles off your fingers, whatever. If you’re a writer, you’ll write. And you’ll never stop to look back.
My daughter made a bulletin board out of wine corks once and painted a quote from Anne Sexton on the frame. “When I am writing, I am doing what I was meant to do.”
7 How do you develop your characters? I don’t keep any outlines or anything like that. Although, I attended a workshop last spring that featured Michael Hague that dealt with the characters inner and outer journeys that I’ve found very helpful.
8 What is the most exciting time for you in your writing, the new beginning or the completed story? The offer of a contract? It’s all exciting but I most enjoy beginning a new story. Although, I’ve been known to celebrate contract offers at one of my favorite restaurants. When I received my second contract, they presented me with a lovely dessert.
9 If you have experienced rejection as a writer, how did you deal with it? I think we’ve all experienced rejection as writers. I try to find some way to improve my writing based on the comments of the contest judged entries, or agent remarks. I believe most writers are always trying to improve their craft, whether they are NYT best-sellers, or the unpublished, but hopeful author.
10 Do you ever write yourself into your stories? Not myself so much as my experiences. I do include bits and pieces of my family. In fact, my mother called one day to tell me she recognized herself in something I’d written.
11 Have you ever used a ‘real life’ incident in your writing? Yes, in fact, I just finished a scene in my current work in progress that happened last summer when my family was returning from vacation. It was a harrowing, but comical experience.
12 What is your favorite way to find inspiration? I do read the newspaper and often find inspiration there.
13 Who are your favorite authors? Gosh, there are so many. My number one favorite is Suzanne Brockmann. But I continue to discover new authors whose work I can’t get enough of for different reasons. My list also includes Laura Griffin, Lisa Jackson, Terri L Austin and one of my Lyrical sisters, Amy Lee Burgess. These ladies are in my auto-buy list.
14 Do you feel you are influenced by any particular authors? Not really.
15 What is the most difficult aspect of writing for you? The middle of any work always snags me. Once I work it out though, I usually speed through the end of the story.
16 Coffee or Tea? Both, depending on the time of day.
17 Early rising lark or night lover owl? Again, both. I stay up late and get up early. One of the nice things about working for yourself is the ability to take naps.
18 What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing? Meeting my girlfriends for coffee or lunch.
19 Do you think you will still be writing in ten years time? I think I will be. I hope so.
20 What question do you wish I’d asked? How much is your fee?
Book Blurb For Cooking Up Love
Jemima George leads a charmed life as a personal chef and assistant to reality television’s latest darling. But that changes in a New York minute when her Aunt Caro dies under odd circumstances, bequeathing her a small restaurant. Jem plans to sell the café and continue her life in NYC, until a dramatic phone call from her cheating boyfriend convinces her to experiment with the ingredients for happiness and accept her Aunt’s legacy. Throwing herself into remodeling the restaurant with the help of the town’s delicious contractor, Jem revamps the menu and renews her faith in herself.
Jack Kerrigan considered Caro a surrogate mother and hates the idea that the café could be sold. He doesn’t need the remodeling project, but if it means Caro’s beautiful, fascinating niece will stay to run the restaurant, he’s all in. He wouldn’t mind being savory to Jem’s sweet.
Jack’s brassy ex-wife is cooking up a scheme of her own, where Jack tosses Jem like a salad and comes back to her. Fold in a creepy attorney hiding secrets of environmental mayhem, add Jem’s claustrophobia, half-pint niece and nephew twins, one mysterious lockbox, and bring to a boil–a recipe for romance.
About Gemma Brocato
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a fortune from a fortune cookie that said she was a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss even the rejections, addressed to ‘Dear Author’, were gratifying.
After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.
Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.