What was the last book that you read that you’d now recommend?
I read an advanced copy of Renee Rosen’s Fifth Avenue Glamour Girls. It’s about the rise of Estee Lauder, and I highly recommend everyone pre-order it.
Have you read any classics lately that you were reading for the first time?
I recently read Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I love the Marilyn Monroe movie, so I picked up the book that it was based on. It was a fun read.
Do you re-read books? And if yes, what was your last re-read?
I do re-read some of my favorite novels from time to time. My last re-read was Watership Down. That novel is one of my all-time favorite books, and I reread it every few years.
What are your go-to genres?
I read historical women’s fiction but I also enjoy post-apocalyptic novels such as Stephen King’s The Stand.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I loved the Bunnicula series when I was a kid. I was in the library the other day and saw that there is a new one out, and I will have to read it.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
I’m doing research on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor for a proposal, so all of the books on my bedside table are about them, including That Woman by Anne Sebba and Traitor King by Andrew Lownie.
Do you bookmark or dogear your page in a book?
I bookmark my pages because I don’t like damaging them with dogears.
What is your ideal reading setting?
I like to read in bed at night. It’s a good way to end the day, and it helps me sleep.
Tell us about your favorite indie bookstore?
Warwick’s in La Jolla, California, is my favorite indie bookstore. The staff is wonderful, and they’re very supportive of authors.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
The first time I learned that language had power was when I won a short story contest in 6th grade. At the time, I was fascinated by Greek mythology so I created a myth about the Greek gods and the creation of the silver swan constellation. It was the first time I’d really been recognized for writing and it gave me the encouragement to believe in myself and my creativity.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I’ve been to London and visited many of the sites that I’ve read so much about in my research. I’ve always been a British history lover so it was wonderful to see such iconic places as the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey.
Where do you get most of your writing and editing done?
I do most of my writing and editing in my office. I have it decorated with lots of gold, white and grays, and it looks out on to the backyard which allows me to keep an eye on my four-legged writing partner when he’s chasing lizards.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing the first draft can be an exhausting process for me but I love editing and refining. It excites me to be able to really pull everything together and sharpen the story, characters and dialogue.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have about four unpublished or half finished manuscripts. I’ve been rather lucky in that most of the things I’ve written have been published.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do not read my book reviews but when I’m tagged in one on social media, I ignore the bad ones and politely thank the authors of the good ones for reading and enjoying the novel.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I’d tell my younger self that yes, it will happen and it will be better than you’ve imagined.
When you’re not reading or writing, what are you doing?
I have a black belt in karate, so when I’m not writing, I like to train in the dojo.
What are your three favorite things right now?
My three favorite things right now are silly 1960s movies like Sex and the Single Girl, decorating for fall and Halloween, and planning for holiday parties and get-togethers.
Your favorite travel destination and why?
I love Hawaii, especially the big island. It’s relaxing and beautiful and I have many happy memories from our multiple trips there.
What’s your favorite meal and go-to drink order?
My favorite meal is prime rib, medium rare with a baked potato and a salad with blue cheese dressing. My favorite drink is diet Pepsi, it is how I get my caffeine fix.
What six people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?
I’m going to go with a few classics, Oscar Wilde for sharp and witty dialogue, W. Somerset Maugham for great insight into characters, and D.H. Lawrence for thoughts on internal monologue. I’d also love to meet some of my historical fiction characters such as Princess Margaret, Valerie de Vere Cole from my novel The Last Debutantes, and Princess Louise from An Indiscreet Princess so I can see how they stack up to my fictional versions of them.
If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be, and who would play you?
A long time ago, I worked at a major motion picture studio in Hollywood. It was very much like The Devil Wears Prada and I think it would make an interesting story. I’d love for Kate Winslet to play me in a movie if she was playing a current version of me.
What’s the last TV show or movie you watched that was really good?
I loved The Lost City with Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum. It is funny, goofy and fun. Sandra Bullock plays a romance writer and Channing Tatum is her cover model. I used to write historical romance for Harlequin under the pen name George Lee so the scenes where the two main characters are at a romance writer conference really brought back memories.
You have to sing karaoke; what song do you pick?
I’d pick Ray of Light by Madonna. I actually sang that at karaoke once and realized that I’m a much worse singer than I’d thought.
If you were being taken to a deserted island and could only bring one book, what would it be?
I’d bring The Stand by Stephen King because it’s one of the longest of my favorite books. Also, the first time I read it was while sleeping outside at summer camp as a teenager so it would be rather nostalgic to read it on a deserted island.
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