Straight Talk with Catherine Hemmerling

Catherine Hemmerling is going to give us some Straight Talk

Have you had any fun fan moments since you became a writer?  
When my book was about a month from being released, my doctor sent me to have some blood taken for some tests. While I was there, the person taking my blood was being friendly and asked what I did for a living. I told him I was transitioning into a new career as an author and that my first book was out in a month. He was so excited for me and asked me all about my book and the release date and all that jazz. When he finished taking my blood, he wouldn’t let me leave until I signed his appointment book. He said he couldn’t wait to tell everyone he had taken my blood! That was my first autograph request and I don’t think I will ever forget it.

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?
Well, my books are all based on actual historic events, so I suppose I start by finding the historic event I want to work with. That said, my books are also very character driven. Once I have the historic event, I then build my characters; who they are, where they come from, what their story is. Then I fit the historic event and plot into their already existing lives and what they are dealing with personally. My plots are always driving my heroine and hero together, even if they may experience a few bumps along the way – usually due to the historic event.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?
In addition to writing, I am a huge arts and crafts lover. My parents and I have a small business called The Oak Tree, which sells handmade arts and crafts. I especially like to knit and make jewelry. We also work in woodcrafts, clothing, and wine accessories (glass charms, bottle stoppers, and wine bottle carriers).  My mother and I tend to wander the earth looking at everything and wondering what we could make out of it.

What was the inspiration for your book?
Strangely enough, my books are a combination of loves. I am a huge fan of Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier, the Brontë sisters, etc. I also love (and collect) Nancy Drew mysteries. And as a child of the 70’s, my favorite TV show was Charlie’s Angels. My books are truly a combination of these inspirations. They are set in the past; they all have a bit of mystery, secret passages, and hidden messages; and, of course, there is Lady Lancaster sending her “girls” out to solve murders, intrigues, and wrong-doing. Quite the trifecta, don’t you think?

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?
Horribly, horribly difficult! We went through three other titles before deciding on Taming Her Forbidden Earl. I either go too simple or too long. There is apparently a science to titles that I just don’t get. I am hoping it will get easier as I go along. Luckily, I have a great publishing team who is helping me out.

What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?
To put myself through college, I worked in accounting with a side job of wedding planning. At one point the accounting gig led to a temporary position in IT (Information Technology) where I was asked to create user guides to a new computer system the company was installing. They knew I was an English major and computer savvy, so they thought it would be a good role for me. And they were right. That began my career as a technical writer. Once I graduated college, I moved to the Silicon Valley and began working for some very high tech companies writing End User Guides and Developer Guides. It was a great career and I was writing, but not what I loved. It took 20 years to get back to the fiction writing I craved. It was a nice “welcome home” when my first attempt at a novel was greeted with excitement, first by my agent and then by Entangled Publishing. I do believe I have figured out what I want to be when I grow up … an author.

Who are your favorite authors? What authors have influenced your book?
I mentioned some of my favorites under the inspiration question, but the truth is, I am a voracious reader. I love the classics (Dante, Sophocles, Homer), but I also love a variety of contemporary authors. I re-read The Chronicles of Narnia every year. I’m currently eagerly awaiting the final book in The Wheel of Time series. I collect Jude Deveraux books and Julia Quinn books. In fact, I would say the number one influence on my book would be Julia Quinn. I love her style.

Aside from writing, what do you do in your free time?
I spend a lot of my time with family. I try to get out and walk every day or so. I now live in the mountains and love the beauty of nature around me. I usually have a number of craft projects going and there is a book I am reading in every room of my house and dozens on my Kindle calling my name. I also enjoy a bit of television. I especially like crime shows and, yes, a bit of reality TV.

Do you prefer print books or eBooks?
Tough question as my book is an eBook, but in all honesty I prefer print books. I even collect old (OLD) books. The feel and smell of a book can take me to a warm cozy place. I love a good library or study. That said, the convenience of an eReader? That cannot be denied. I read a lot and I read fast. If I am going on a 3-day or longer trip, that could mean 3 or more books. Not exactly light packing. With an eReader I can take hundreds of books with me on only a slim, fit-in-my-purse, device. That is a miracle if you ask me. Therefore, the short answer is that I think both are needed in this day and age.


About Taming Her Forbidden Earl:

Everyone knows William Bredon, the earl of Pembroke, has a reputation as a captivating rogue, determined to never marry until his duty to produce an heir requires it. So when he invites Lady Hannah Rochester to dance, Hannah vows to keep her distance. After all, it’s clear her mother would forbid a match with the devil-may-care ladies’ man. But the undeniably gorgeous William, with his dark humor and seductive gaze, draws her in nonetheless.

Of course, Lady Hannah is not completely what she seems, either. A member of the dowager Lady Lancaster’s Garden Society, she secretly spends her days solving mysteries and uncovering intrigues, and when she brings William into the fold, a sinister plot develops that throws the two together. William’s protective nature ensures he remains by Hannah’s side, but he will not surrender his anti-marriage stance. Can intrigue, passion, and maybe even a little bit of scandal reform the most notorious of rakes?

Title: Taming Her Forbidden Earl
Author: Catherine Hemmerling
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 250 pages
Release Date: December 2012
ISBN: 978-1-62266-817-5
Imprint: Scandalous

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