It’s MuseItUp Publishing Monday, and since November is such a dreary month it a perfect time for some nice warm romance. Today’s guest is Tricia McGill and she’ll be talking about her book Remy.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi Lisa, and thanks for interviewing me today. I was born in North London, too many years ago to recount. I moved to Australia in the 60s and have lived near Melbourne, Victoria ever since. I began writing seriously after an early retirement and my first efforts were short contemporary romance but I soon realised I wanted to bring in more characters and a villain or two, so graduated to mainstream, then time-travel and historical. But I’ve always stuck to romance as I just have to give my main characters that happy ending we all desire and not everyone gets in real life.
What is the title of your most recent novel, and can you tell us a little bit about it?
My latest release is Remy, a historical romance set in the early 1800s when Australia was still a land of convicts, explorers, free settlers and military. Remy is a follow up to Blue Haze and tells the story of two lovers, Remy and Sara, who have a myriad of setbacks and hurdles to overcome before they can live their “happy ever after”.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve always enjoyed writing but as I said above it wasn’t until I was forced to give up my job in the clothing industry due to a health problem that I began to write in earnest—and then couldn’t stop. My first book was a contemporary romance and to this day it has never been published. I think that one took me a month or so to write.
How did you choose the genre you write in, or did it choose you?
I think it was a bit of both. I was given a box full of romance novels and until then enjoyed reading an array of genres. Like many other beginner authors I thought, “I can write as well as that”, and so it began.
Random Question #1: Light or dark chocolate?
Both. I love light chocolate but these days stick to dark as I’m assured by the experts that it’s better for you. I seldom buy light chocolate but have kind friends who give me my favorite on birthdays etc.
Do you work from an outline, or do the characters dictate the plot (I’m a mix of both)?
When I started writing I mapped out an outline scene by scene, and plotted my characters journeys minutely, but then I realised it was much more fun to let my characters tell me where they wanted to go as we went along. I know where my story will begin and where it will end and some of the things that will happen along the way. Most of my stories ended up entirely differently to how I planned them at the start so I decided early on that it’s best to give the characters their heads and let them go where they will.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
As I said, I started out writing short contemporary romance. I went through the agony of rejections before moving on to writing longer manuscripts. I was fortunate in having a husband who was behind me solidly and when I was about to give up in dejection he wisely told me that it wasn’t worth the effort if I wasn’t having fun. So, I decided from then on that I would just enjoy writing and would never let rejection get me down to the point of giving up. About then I received a wonderful letter of encouragement from a multi-published author who had read my historical Blue Haze after it placed in a contest. She urged me to continue and convinced me my work would be accepted one day. I heard of an e publisher who was looking for manuscripts(this was in the infancy of e-books don’t forget) and the exec editor had already read Blue Haze and actually asked me if she could publish it. Sadly my husband, who had supported me so devoutly through the struggling years, didn’t live to see my first book published.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I never dwell on what might have been—so no, it’s been a tumultuous journey but I never worry about what cannot be changed. Fate decides what will happen and in my case she always seems to put me on the right track.
Do you have any tips for new authors marketing their first book?
Believe in yourself and persevere. I’m astounded by the talent that abounds. When I began writing I had no idea how to market or promote my work but these days there are so many avenues for promotion that it’s just a matter of finding what suits you the best.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
As Remy is set in the early 1800s and based in the penal settlement of NSW the answer of course must be no. I guess it’s 50% garnered from research and 50% imagination. I have used real life experiences in some of my other books though.
Do you have any favourite characters?
My heroes. I fall in love with them all as I write them. Poor Remy has to endure so much on his journey to happiness that he remains one of my favourites.
Random Question #3: Tea or coffee?
Definitely tea. I hate coffee! Can’t abide the smell of it.
How did you come up with the title?
Remy came into Blue Haze right at the tail end and his full name is Jeremy. When he assured me he wanted his story written I decided Remy rolled off the tongue better. Originally the book was titled Remy O’Shea but when I submitted it to Muse it Up I decided to revamp it.
In regards to a new project, do your new characters speak to you, or do they shout?
Speak to me while they are invading my brain, and then begin to shout as we get further into their journey, especially when they decide I am going another way to what they desire.
Have you ever had a character derail your plot?
More often than not. My characters are very bossy. Half the fun of writing is finding out that your characters have very different ideas to your original plan.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I am a volunteer with a community group. We supply computers to our clients who are mostly disabled or housebound. I do a lot of the paperwork now as well as things like the annual report etc. I gain a great deal of satisfaction from this work. I also teach people who have limited use of their hands to use a voice activated computer. To help someone who has never touched a computer before, and has no control over the mouse at first use become a competent computer user is very satisfying.
Last Random Question: Are you a dog person or a cat person? Or horse, bird or whatever else floats your boat. LOL.
In order of preference—dog, horse, elephant. My old dog had to be put to sleep a few weeks back and I have since adopted a Shih Tzu cross and a Foxy. The foxy is a darling with few bad habits-the little Shih Tzu is less obedient but is learning fast that it doesn’t pay to disobey mama. I’ve had lots of dogs and horses in my life and they feature hugely in my books.
If it was possible, would you ever want to meet your protagonist?
Oh yes. I love time-travels and would dearly love to be able to go back in time to meet some of my characters, especially Remy. But, I would always want to come back to my nice home with my comfy bed and my hot and cold running water.