Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Author Interview Zanna Mackenzie

Today, I have Zanna on my blog for an author interview. Yesterday, I was on her blog.

She's talking about her contemporary romance called "The Love Programme" brought out by Astraea Press. The cover is gorgeous!

Here are her interview answers. Oh, how interesting.

What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
Only one thing? There are lots! I’d probably say it’s the chance to create characters and escape into their world – I love that.

What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
Having patience. When I get an idea for a book and start doing the research and character development I have so many ideas flying around I get terribly impatient and want to write all of the book at once. I always feel as though I’m not writing or typing fast enough!

What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
I write in romance and chicklit. I was fortunate enough to have two books launched by different publishers within a few weeks of each other this year – The Love Programme is a contemporary romance set in the Highlands of Scotland and How Do You Spell Love? combines chicklit with a hint of spells and magic.

What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?
Both of my publishers provided wonderful professional editors for me to work with when preparing my novels for launch and I learnt so much about the technical side of writing from going through the editing process with them it was tremendous. I’ve also learnt launching a book is just the start and that there’s a huge amount of promotional work involved after the launch day!

Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?
From my two published novels I’d have to say Lucy in The Love Programme. For starters she’s a travel agent which I used to be too many years ago. She’s also a bit shy, awkward and very confused – I can relate to many aspects of her.
What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.
I’d say I prefer the flawed beta hero. The guy next door type, essentially kind with a great sense of humour, who makes you smile. In movie terms I’d say guys like the Josh Duhamel character in Safe Haven and the Jude Law character in The Holiday.

Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.
Oh wow! Tricky question! Okay here goes… 1) I’m fascinated by the weather and used to record weather stats every day in a log book as a child. I had a thermometer recording max and min temps, a rain gauge and hygrometer for humidity readings. I still have a wi-fi mini weather station in the kitchen so I can see at an instant what the temp and humidity outside is. 2) I don’t own a single pair of high heel shoes but I love boots and have several pairs of walking boots, four pairs of wellingtons and four pairs of ‘smart’ knee high boots.  3) I dislike shopping – unless it’s for books!

What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack.
After I got my two book deals last year I was on a mega high and wrote like crazy for about ten months. I didn’t need anything to get me in ‘the zone’ and was constantly noting scene ideas down at all times of the day – including the middle of the night. Then I got burn out and couldn’t write at all. I was frustrated and worried I’d never manage to get back in ‘the zone.’ I sought advice from other writers and thankfully their advice worked. Now I’m careful to pace myself and like to play easy listening music when I write.

What book would you like to work on next?
I’ve just signed a contract for my next book with one of my publishers, Crooked Cat. If You Only Knew is in the chicklit genre and due out in Feb 2014 so I’m looking forward to working through the editing process over the next few months for that novel. In terms of writing, I’m currently extensively revamping the first book I ever wrote in the hope (fingers firmly crossed) it might see the light of day as a published novel at some point. The book is a romcom set in my favourite place – The English Lake District.

We have very similar taste in heroes - I loved Jack Black (Jude Law) in The Holiday and Josh Duhamel in Safe Haven. They were both stunning movies. And high heels are a definite no-no. Wellingtons are great but I've never owned them as adult until a few days ago. Thanks, Zanna, for an interesting interview.

Give us a blurb of your book and if you want, a short excerpt.

The Love Programme

Thanks to an embarrassing incident involving a wedding and her ex-boyfriend Marcus, Lucy has to leave her home town in a hurry and needs a place to escape to for a while. Best friend Fiona is convinced now would be a good time for Lucy to get herself a new life with some potential for romance thrown in. Fate seems to agree when Lucy is given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to star in a TV show and be a contestant on The Love Programme - two weeks of luxury living on a grand Highland estate coupled with, she hopes, fun and romance in wildest Scotland. When Lucy meets Paul - the young, handsome owner of the Highland estate - she thinks she may have found the love of her life but who is the mysterious Hannah and what part does she play in his life? When she discovers that Marcus is planning to follow her to Scotland to win her back Lucy has some serious soul searching to do. Does she have a future with Paul, with Marcus or is she yet to find the man of her dreams?

Here's an excerpt from this beautiful-looking book:

“Just sit on this suitcase, will you, Fi? I can’t get the stupid thing shut!”
Fiona, obligingly perching her bottom on the bulging case so Lucy could tug the zipper to close it up, said, “I can’t believe you’ve agreed to do this. You’re going to be on a TV show about love! Won’t you be embarrassed having everyone know all your business?”
Her face red from doing battle with the suitcase and, thankfully, managing to win, Lucy shook her head. “No. Where else could I get a few extra weeks off work and live the life of luxury whilst a man tries to impress me with extravagant dates? Plus, I’ll be getting relationship coaching from a top expert.”
Lucy checked around the room to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything. “Do you think I’ve packed the right clothes?”
Fiona lay back on the bed, stretching and spreading her arms out around her as though she was making the duvet version of a snow angel. “How should I know?”
“Mel said the programme is being recorded at the home of some Scottish laird. It’s a real mansion with a spa and acres and acres of land.”
Fiona pushed herself into an upright position, suddenly all attentive. “A laird, eh? Sounds interesting. What else do you know about him?”
“He’s not going to be one of the dates so don’t get all excited. He’s just rented his home out to the TV production company. Apparently he’ll be away on business most of the time we’re there, so we probably won’t even get to meet him.”
Fiona shook her head. “Shame, how exciting would it have been? Meeting a real life laird would be amazing.”
“He’s probably about sixty, balding, as round as he is tall and arrogant to boot.”
Fiona slapped Lucy on the arm. “Don’t spoil it for me. I was just picturing him as about our age, the classic tall, dark and handsome type. Big brown eyes…” She sighed happily. “Is it just me or do you find all those green wellies and Barbour jackets the country gents wear incredibly sexy?”
“No, it’s definitely just you!” Lucy shook her head despairingly.
As Fiona stared into space, no doubt continuing her little country gent fantasy, Lucy flopped down onto the bed. “Do you think I’m doing the right thing?”
“Of course you are. This could be a life-changing opportunity.”
“I’d like to be able to go on dates without feeling guilty about Marcus all the time.” Sighing, Lucy added, “I want to be free to have relationships like everyone else does.”
“I know you do. So, how can you doubt if you’re doing the right thing? You have to go to Scotland. You know you do.”
“I suppose so but will you be okay? I hate leaving you with your wedding just weeks away. There’s still some preparations to do and I am chief bridesmaid. Maybe I shouldn’t go. This is all crazy, I won’t go. I must be mad even contemplating it.”
“You’re going! End of story! The wedding is being perfectly managed by my mum and by Luke’s mum, so no worries there.” Fiona hauled Lucy to her feet. “What time’s your train?”
“I’m getting the overnight sleeper up to Inverness and then Craig, the TV guy, is going to meet me at the station and drive me to the country estate.”
“I’m so envious.” Fiona sulked, folding and unfolding the corner of the duvet around her fingers.
“I thought you were happy with your Mr-Not-So-Perfect?”
“I am.” Fiona sighed. “But a girl can dream, can’t she?”

Buy Links:

"The Love Programme" can be bought as an ebook or print book at: Amazon and Amazon UK

Zanna Online:

You can connect with Zanna at the following places online: