Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel
Today we are continuing with Maureen Driscoll. Yesterday I posted reviews of Ms. Driscoll’s books – Never Miss a Chance and Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid. I really enjoyed reading these two books and we are currently giving away a copy of each book. See the post at the top of the blog to enter to win!
For now, let’s learn a bit more about Ms. Driscoll and her books!
Barb – Tell us a little about yourself.
Maureen – I grew up in Helena, Montana. It’s the home of Myrna Loy and Gary Cooper, so I am guaranteed to never ever be the most famous person from Helena, Montana. After studying journalism in college, I worked in Washington, D.C. for ten years, mostly as a press secretary in Congress. I got married, then when I went through a very painful divorce, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a writing career. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster professionally, with some great jobs (writing for Jimmy Kimmel Live when it first went on the air) and some not-so-great jobs (I wrote a few late night informercials: Call now and you’ll receive…).
Unfortunately, no kids, but I do love living in LA.
Barb – How long have you been writing?
Maureen – I’ve basically been writing in one form or another pretty much since college. I answered a Senator’s mail for two years, which taught me a lot about research. I read my first romance novel four years ago and fell in love with the genre. I wrote the first draft of NEVER A MISTRESS, NO LONGER A MAID two years ago. I had a terrific agent who sent it out. But when we finally got all the rejections, she suggested I self publish on Kindle and the Nook, which I did this past May.
Barb – Who are your cheerleaders? Who encourages you to keep writing?
Maureen – My mom has always been my rock and so encouraging. I have great friends who keep me going. And I’ve met some wonderful people through the books. It’s been so touching to hear from readers. I had a review from Rakehell that wasn’t very favorable about either book. But in the first one, she said she was highly suspicious of all the glowing comments on Amazon. Believe me, none of the comments have been solicited. I’ve been fortunate that a lot of people have just responded to the books. It’s a dream come true that people seem to like the Kellingtons so much. Of course, I’m also someone who gets quite depressed with the negative reader comments – I hate disappointing people!
Barb – What do you love about writing?
Maureen – I love when it goes well. I’m primarily a comedy writer for TV and the Internet, so I love it when I write something that makes people laugh.
Barb – What’s the hardest part of writing a book?
Maureen – Working on the plot. I’ve been a bit stuck on this next book because I don’t want to get it wrong. I try to make myself just sit down and do it, but I always find some excuse to run to the kitchen and eat chocolate.
Barb – Who is your favorite character in Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid? Why?
Maureen – I think I have the same favorites that a lot of people do: Liam, the duke and Rosalind his love interest. Unfortunately, their story doesn’t come to fruition until the 6th book, but you’ll get a little bit in each book until then. I really like Rosalind because she wears glasses (like I have since the 2nd grade), she’s not the prettiest girl (ditto), but she’s a great friend and has what she believes to be a case of unrequited love. Of course, the pressure will really be on once it’s time to write that book. I’ll be eating mountains of chocolate.
Barb – What is your favorite character in Never Miss a Chance? Why?
Maureen – I really like Lizzie, but there was a character that completely snuck up on me….Edith. She’s supposed to be one of the villains of the piece, but I ended up really liking her.
Barb – I loved the heroines in both your books. Did you plan to have such strong and unique-for-their-time characters or did it just evolve that way?
Maureen – Thank you, I like them, too! I really like strong women. Some of the harshest – and most deserved – reviews have been that I made them both too modern. Which I very much understand. But I like that they went up against the standards of the time. My mom has always been really strong – she had to be as a single mom with two kids. I definitely like that character type.
Barb – What is the hardest type of scene for you to write?
Maureen – I always wonder if I’m crossing the line with the love scenes. In August of this year, I had my 30th high school reunion. At the closing night banquet, they posted one of the racier scenes on an overhead projector and now I have a new most embarrassing moment from high school. It was all in good fun. But I definitely blushed.
Barb – Do you have to do alot of research on historical details before/during your writing?
Maureen – I read the great book What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, and read numerous online articles. I should’ve done more research, and am doing a lot more for the third book since it involves travel across England and geography is always my weak point in all areas of life. But part of it was just being a voracious reader of Regency novels. There was one detail that was 100% out of a different era that no one probably even cares about, but I used it anyway. The part in the book about boiling hair from a horse’s tail having the unforeseen benefit of fewer infections was actually a discovery from the American Civil War. But I figured someone could’ve come across it accidentally a few decades earlier. I was once on a horrible vacation in a guest cottage where the only book to read was a 1960 edition of The History of Surgery and I geeked out on that thing. Of course, I loved how in the last chapter they said “there may be some evidence that smoking might be bad for you.” But I digress.
Barb – What are you working on now?
Maureen – Arthur’s book. It is not going swiftly. I thought it’d be easy because I was going to base it partly on King Arthur, but that’s much harder to do than I thought it’d be, in part because Guinevere cheats on Arthur and we’ll have none of that in this book. However, there is a Lancelot type character in the book. Hal’s book is actually going to be the easiest to write. That one’s already completely mapped out.
Barb – Where is the best place for readers to find copies of your books?
Maureen – Right now, the only places are Amazon and Barnes & Noble because they’re only e-books. But even if you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can download them to your computer. I wish I had hard copies of the books, but it’s just too expensive to do.
Barb – What is the best way for readers to keep in touch with you?
Maureen – I have a Facebook page Maureen Driscoll Fan Page. I hate the title, but Maureen Driscoll is a really common name, so people were searching for me and not finding it. So I added the “Fan Page” and now it just looks like I’m a jerk. In theory I’m re-doing my blog, but that hasn’t happened yet. I’m also on Twitter but rarely update. All of those things make me reach for the chocolate.
Barb – Anything else you’d like to add?
Maureen – I just feel very blessed by the outreach of people like you and the readers. Thank you for giving me a chance. I love romance novels and I feel very fortunate to be writing them. I wouldn’t be doing this without the kindness and encouragement of the readers. And…if it’s a dream of yours, it’s never been easier to do. If you want to write, WRITE.
I’d like to thank Maureen for not only dropping by and sharing, but offering up copies of her books for our current giveaway. Make sure you take a few minutes and have a look at her books!
Amazon Purchase Link for Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid (Kellington Book One)
Amazon Purchase Link for Never Miss a Chance (Kellington – Book 2)