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Hi Barbara. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview for The Toasted Scimitar.
For all us hungry writers out there, what does it feel like to be on the verge of the release of your first novel? What things are going through your mind?
I'm excited, thrilled and slightly embarrassed! I made the decision to publish under my own name but that means I'm very accessible. There isn't another Barbara Elsborg out there. So when my mother in law discovers what I've been up to, I'm expecting her to wrench her beloved son away from my perverted claws. I'm a little sad that my mum died last year before I made it - but since she switched off the TV if two characters got within inches of a bed, perhaps I've been saved from even more family wrath.
Tell us a little about your Romantica® novel, PERFECT TIMING.
The book took me about three months to write. I started it while I was on vacation in Orlando, Florida. I think I was inspired by the heat and the Jacuzzi. I shall say no more. But I hadn't read any Ellora's Cave books. I hadn't read any erotica - only sexy romances. I broke all the rules for the way to do this. Somehow - it worked.
It's a funny story. Oh gee, I hope people think its funny and it’s not just me. It wouldn't be the first time. I'm the one who has to have jokes explained when everyone else is rolling on the floor. I think maybe I'm accidentally funny.
The setting is a murder-mystery weekend in an English country mansion hotel. Daisy has turned up expecting a 1960s event and it turns out to be an over 60s weekend. But she's a good sport and joins in, especially when the hotel manager turns out to be such a hunk.
Tell us about the MCs in PERFECT TIMING.
Daisy Leaf is the heroine. Her arrival at the start of the story says it all. After she narrowly avoids hitting a sheep with her car, then a statue, the lump of wool pursues her up the steps of the hotel. Daisy and the sheep make a dramatic entrance, sliding on a marble floor and Daisy looks up into the eyes of Jake, the hotel manager. Jake is reluctantly in charge of the hotel for six months, a position foisted on him by his father, the Duke, in attempt to make his younger son more responsible. The arrival of sexy Daisy scupers those plans.
Is there an antagonist?
Adrian, Jake's snobbish elder brother, will inherit the dukedom when his father dies. Adrian thinks he's sterile and is desperate that Jake find a suitable wife. Daisy is not suitable and Adrian does his best to interfere with the developing love affair.
I've written a story about Adrian - called "Something About Polly" - Ellora's Cave currently has it under consideration. In this story, Daisy pushes Adrian to offer a lot at a charity promises auction. He writes 'Wild Sex' on a piece of paper as a joke and the lot is bought by Polly. Adrian tries to back out but Polly won't let him.
How would you rate the heat factor in PERFECT TIMING?
Heat factor in Perfect Timing - well, it's difficult to say. I hope it's nothing that would make people uncomfortable. What makes this different from a contemporary romantic comedy is only the sex - the amount of it and the detailed description of it. BUT, characters and plot are all important to me. There is a lot of sex in the book, but it's not gratuitous, nor emotionless. A lot of erotica that I've read (and I hadn't read any until I wrote this) seems to be sex for the sake of it with a small amount of story thrown in. That's not what I write. I hope I entertain and amuse and titillate to a certain extent but this is not a 'sex for the sake of it' story.
Can you explain the submission process for Ellora's Cave?
This story was originally written for a competition for one of their competitors. They didn't like it. I sent it to Ellora's Cave - following the procedures outlined on their website and waited. And waited and waited. I think I heard about 3 months later. They liked it BUT - didn't like the title (not the one it has now), they wanted more sex, steamier sex and a few other adjustments. I made the edits over about three weeks and lengthened it and resubmitted. Another wait and they said yes. Last August. Yippee. Apparently they accept 4 manuscripts out of 100, so I feel really thrilled to have been given this chance.
What were the steps involved in getting your novel ready to be e-published?
Ellora's Cave assigned me an editor, Carole Genz. As it was the first book I'd sent, it wasn't in the right format. They require RTF and specific font, etc. so Carole changed it for me and did line edits. I was so shocked when I saw all the changes and corrections. What I thought was a - ahem - perfect manuscript had been gone over with such precision -it was amazing. There weren't too many changes that required much more than a - yes, that comma is fine. I had one little wobble over the use of the words - got to be careful here - insert before the words 'lips' the other name for a cat. Got it? I didn't like that and Carole accepted my view. But I was happy with all the changes. I had the book back once more for a last read through and that was it. I was consulted about cover art, I could make suggestions within the limits of their house style, and they assigned it a release date.
Do you have any special plans for the release date?
Well, I'll be in the place where I had the inspiration for the book on the 30th April, so a glass of champagne in the jacuzzi sounds good to me.
Where can PERFECT TIMING be purchased on April 30th?
From the Ellora's Cave website. http://www.ellorascave.com/
Have you thought about doing any appearances or writers' conferences down the road?
I'd love to. Ellora's Cave is very supportive of their authors. They keep you in the loop of everything that's going on. They send reviews of all their books to all their authors. But I suspect that until I get into actual print - and they may well do that - I'm not much use on an appearance front. I'd need a few more books with them too. But they have two under consideration and I have another two almost ready to send.
What other projects are you working on?
Apart from the erotic romances I've written, I'm polishing a couple of contemporary romances and a suspense story. I also have a part-written YA paranormal that I'd really like to finish. About a summer camp for vampires, werewolves, faeries and shapeshifters.
So what will you do for an encore?
For an encore? Well, thrilled as I am that someone finally said yes - I want to get into print. It may or may not happen with Ellora's Cave. I'm not sure what criteria they use to decide who to put into paperback. So it's still a case of badgering agents and persuading them to give me a chance.
Thanks, Barbara, for taking time from your busy writing schedule to answer our questions. When next Wednesday arrives, I know I’ll be first in line to purchase my copy of PERFECT TIMING.