Friday, September 18, 2009

Interview with Nicola Marsh

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Harlequin Mills and Boon author Nicola Marsh. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have 2 new releases out this month: A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON (Harlequin Romance) & TWO WEEKS IN THE MAGNATE’S BED (Harlequin Presents). Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new books?

‘A Trip with the Tycoon’ is set in exotic India. The heroine, Tamara, is trying to rebuild her life after the death of her abusive husband a year earlier, and is exploring her heritage. Her story takes place on the luxurious Palace on Wheels train through Rajasthan, and in Goa too.

‘Two Weeks in the Magnate’s Bed’ is set on a cruise ship in the South Pacific. A shy, geeky, museum curator meets a sexy undercover sailor. Fun!
Both books have very interesting titles. How did you arrive at them?
Harlequin Mills and Boon have a very astute marketing department who choose titles with catchy ‘hooks’ in them. Tycoons, billionaires, babies, bride, are all popular. Both titles were chosen by my publisher.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love reading romance so it seemed natural to write what I love.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of these books?

I’m a real mix of both now. When I have an idea, I like to flesh out the main characters and storyline with a 3-4 page outline. From there, I start writing the story and that’s when I’m a total ‘pantser’. If I ever get stuck, I resort to trusty pen and paper to plot, with a sentence or two to sum up what needs to happen in the rest of the book.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the books? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I did a lot of research for the Indian book, scouring websites on India, including sites for the fabulous food in the book. For the cruise book, I was lucky enough to take several cruises years ago so pretty much went from memory.

Research is individual to each book, I use Google a lot!

Where did you get your idea for these particular books?

Harlequin asked me to set ‘A Trip with the Tycoon’ in India and I wanted to bring the country alive. So rather than set it in one city, I chose the luxurious train journey, which visits cities
like Jaipur, Udaipur and Agra (home of the Taj Mahal.)

Having a half-Indian, half-Australian heroine who wants to explore her heritage was something I’ve wanted to write for a while, so I was rapt to get the opportunity with this book.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Tamara, the heroine in ‘A Trip with the Tycoon’, is emotionally vulnerable. She’s had it rough the last few years, dealt was several traumas, and I loved writing about a woman who rises above her past and triumphs.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I’ve tried various methods with different books. When I first started writing I used character sheets, then tried character interviews for a book or two, but these days like to discover my characters as I go along.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I have several authors I find inspiring to read: Barbara Samuel and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Both bring a unique richness to their characters that leaves me turning pages at a frantic pace.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I currently have a free online read available at eharlequin. ONE INDIAN SUMMER is a prequel to A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON, and is the story of how Tamara’s parents met.
Set in Goa, the online read gives readers a taste of India, hopefully enough of a sampler to go buy the book!

What do we have to look forward next?

My next release is MARRIAGE: FOR BUSINESS OR PLEASURE?, a Harlequin M&B Modern Heat out in the UK in December, and the USA as a Harlequin Presents in Feb 2010. It’s a marriage of convenience story between reunited lovers, set in cosmopolitan Noosa, on Australia’s far north coast. The story packs plenty of heat!

Thanks, Nicola!

To celebrate her book releases, Nicola is offering a free signed copy of TWO WEEKS IN THE MAGNATE’S BED to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Nicola worked as a physiotherapist for thirteen years before she tired of saying "I'm going to write a book one day" and actually did it. She started writing late 2001 and found once she started she couldn't stop!

The inspiration for her first novel, THE TYCOON'S DATING DEAL, came from a magazine article on speed-dating and she sold this book in May 2003. It won the CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Harlequin Romance 2004.

Nicola currently writes for Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance and Modern Heat/Presents series, has published 21 books and sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide.

She's a Bookscan and Waldenbooks bestseller, has finalled in several awards including the prestigious HOLT (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent), Booksellers' Best, Golden Quill, Laurel Wreath, More than Magic and won several CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Awards.

Check out author’s website at

Buy: Two Weeks in the Magnate’s Bed

A Trip with the Tycoon


Kim Watters said...

Good Morning Nicola. How's the chocolate? Thanks for stopping by today. It sounds like we have similar writing styles. :) I still do character interviews and outlines, but somewhere along the way, things always seem to change when I discover something new. Of course for me that means going back and fixing things earlier in the book, but it's always for the better. Have fun today and thanks again.

Marilyn said...

Nic and Tamara, very nice interview. I loved Two Weeks in the Magnate's Bed.

kimmyl said...

Hi Nicola, I love reading your books and would love to enter to win this one. Loved the interview.

Estella said...

Hi Nicola,
Do you have a set schedule for your writing or do you write when you can?
Your books sound great.

Carol Webb said...

Hi, Nicola. Thanks for stopping by! Your books A Trip The Tycoon and Two Weeks in the Magnate’s Bed sound wonderful. I love being swept away into a completely different country. It beats the cost of airfare . :) Definitely on my TBS list!

Nicola Marsh said...

Kim, if there's chocolate, I'm there!
Thanks for having me :)

Nicola Marsh said...

Marilyn, I'm so glad you enjoyed Two weeks in the Magnate's Bed.
I think you know some of the story behind it... ;)

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Kimmy.
I always love hearing from fans :)

Nicola Marsh said...

With 2 littlies, I tend to write when I can, Estella. If on tight deadline, that's usually with them playing at my feet while I type on Alphasmart.

But my set schedule is get up early in the morning, start at 5.30 for an hour, then when toddler naps, then again at night, starting at 8.30 and working for a few hours.

And yes, I'm tired all the time ;)

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Carol.

I love getting swept away to other countries too. Part of the fun of reading. :)

Mari said...

Nicola, I love Harlequin Presents! I even like the titles!
What is the best thing about being an author?

Emmanuelle said...

As usual, very interesting interview !
I'm always amazed by authors's writing schedule.
Being a mom myself (8 and 3 yo) I admit I'm very impressed. Sometimes it feels like taking care of my sons takes all my energy !!
Congratulations ;-)

Nicola Marsh said...

I have to say one of the best things is seeing my books on shelf.
And picking them up and holding them.
No matter how many books I've written, every time I get to hold one of them for the first time, it's like my first book all over again, a real thrill :)

Nicola Marsh said...

Emmanuelle, being a mum is wonderful and exhilirating and exhausting!
Writing is great because I can work around my kids.