Friday, November 02, 2007

Interview--Nicole McCaffrey

Scandalous Victorian Nic tells us about her writing and her winter release The Model Man.

Why do you write historical?

Aside from having always been a history buff? LOL. Hmm… I’m fascinated by it. The courage it took to build a nation, the passion that held it together, the raw guts and determination it must have taken to travel west on a wagon train. Simpler times, simpler struggles. It seems so much more romantic than anything going on in the present day. I guess we could sum that up in one word: escapism!

What part of the Victorian era/setting do you write in?

I’m a real fan of the 1880s west of the Mississippi—the wild and woolly days of the old west. I also really love the Civil War era, but for some reason the whole idea of Cowboys and Indians, range wars and frontier justice calls to me the loudest.

What is it about the era that most intrigues you?

The struggles, the sacrifice, the courageous men and women who held things together during the war or built new lives out west. With the old west especially there’s a sense of lawlessness, that notion of black hats versus white, and good triumphing over evil that really appeals to me.

Where do you get your information?

Books. Many, many books, LOL. I really need to stop accumulating them. I start out with the internet when I need a quick answer, but I like to verify what I find by researching it further in books, which usually leads me to some other fascinating tidbit I didn’t know about, and then I have to hunt that down and learn everything I can about it, LOL. In other words, if I’m not writing about history I’ve most likely got my nose in a book reading about it. (Which makes me a very fascinating conversationalist! Not!)

What are you working on now?

A bunch of things! I’m revising and editing my western historical, Wild Texas Wind. Kensington requested that one quite some time ago and I’ve really been dragging my heels about getting it to them (Fear. There’s no other excuse for it.). A secondary character in that story is demanding his own story, so I’ve begun some research with a goal toward making that happen. On top of that, some fellow Wild Rose Press authors have asked me to take part in an anthology that will be released next summer called Sons of Summerville, so I’ve been brainstorming with them on story ideas. As if that weren’t enough, I’m also contracted through The Wild Rose Press for a Civil War historical, Northern Temptress, to be released next summer –I need to get busy polishing that story and get it off to my editor. Additionally, last year’s holiday Novella, Small Town Christmas, will be re-released this month in print format. Whew!

How many books have you written?

About six or seven since I really got serious about writing – before that, probably dozens that I started and never finished. Most will never see the light of day again, others I’d love to pull out and polish. Each and every one was a learning experience that saw me grow as a writer so it will be hard to go back and “fix” what I did wrong, but one of these days… LOL.

Do you write outside of the Victorian era, genre?

Yes. Both my Wild Rose Press releases, Small Town Christmas and The Model Man (due out early next year) are contemporary-set, and the Sons of Summerville story will be, as well. I think occasionally my brain likes a vacation from all the history and sends me ideas that don’t require as much nitty-gritty research.

Can you tell us a little about your upcoming release, The Model Man?

Well the underlying theme is that sometimes the person who seems all wrong for you turns out to the one person who is exactly right. It’s lighthearted and funny, but my editor really helped me to dig deep and pull the emotion out of these characters. Here is the back cover blurb:
Single mom and romance novelist Kelly Michaels has no time for a man in her life. But when mega-famous cover model Derek Calavicci puts the moves on her at a romance writers’ conference, she succumbs to temptation. Common sense prevails, however, and after a few passionate kisses she turns him down; she has impressionable teenagers at home, after all, she doesn’t need a one-night-stand with a much younger man, no matter how hot he is. When photos of their passionate moonlight kiss hit the tabloids, her agent has to do some fast footwork to save her reputation. Will the notorious bad boy go along with her scheme?

Derek rarely hears a woman say “no” – it’s been that way his entire life. If Kelly isn’t interested, he’s not going to push her-- even if she does melt like ice cream on a hot sidewalk every time he touches her. But when an unexpected opportunity falls into his lap by way of Kelly’s scheming agent, he jumps at the chance. Pretend he’s in love with Kelly Michaels for two weeks? No problem. After all, the lady may say she’s never going to sleep with him... but he's got two weeks to convince her otherwise.

What challenges have you faced in your career?

Name an era that doesn’t sell and I probably write --or have written-- it! Whether it was the Civil War, the old west or even The Model Man where my heroine is over forty and thirteen years older than the hero—if it wasn’t popular to write about, I probably had a story in the works about it. When I belonged to the RWA chapter in my hometown, I was usually the sole historical writer, and always the only member writing American history. I spent years unable to connect with fellow American Historical writers—I didn’t even know if there were any out there besides me. Thank God for the internet and the Hearts through History chapter!

What is you writing schedule like?

Ha ha ha. I do try to touch base with my characters each day, but the only “guaranteed” time I get to write is while my youngest is in preschool three days a week. I guard those two hours like a rabid Rottweiler – I won’t answer the phone, won’t check e-mail and shut down my IM. But if you’ve ever had a preschooler you know that preschool is really just a fun place to go and swap germs with other kids, so he’s home sick almost as much as he’s at school. I do try to get up early and write (around 5-5:30 a.m.), but usually just as I’m getting into that routine one of the kids will get sick and it takes me weeks to get back into the swing of it again. So my schedule is haphazard at best. For me consistency is key, so even if it’s only for five minutes or if I just re-read something I wrote the day before, I make that daily “appointment” with my characters. Every little bit counts!


Susan Macatee said...

Great interview, Nic!

I enjoyed reading about your stories. Although I don't read that much contemporary romance, "The Model Man" sounds intriguing. A romance writer and a male model. I'll have to check that out.

And I do remember those days with preschoolers. I didn't accomplish much during those days at all. I admire how much you're able to do. I know from experience it's not easy.

Jennifer Ross said...

I'm definitely getting The Model Man the second its available. What a great sounding story!

And thank you, Nic, for not having a proper, set writing/researching schedule. I was worried I was the only one like that.


Nicole McCaffrey said...

Thanks Jenn and Susan!

And Jenn, I assure you, there is nothing "proper" about me, LOL.

Kristin-Marie said...

Terrific interview!

It is interesting to read about the challenges and how you approach your writing. Your a fine writer.