Tuesday, August 06, 2013

GUEST AUTHOR: Nina Harrington

Ten Questions with Harlequin KISS and Carina UK author Nina Harrington

It gives me great pleasure to welcome award winning Harlequin Kiss author Nina Harrington onto my blog today to talk about her new adventure - romantic mystery. Nina is the author of Recipe for Disaster released July 31st from Carina UK.

1) Have you always been a writer?

I vaguely remember writing down short bedtime fantasy adventure stories to tell to my two younger brothers when they were small so I do believe that I have always been a writer.  I certainly have always been an obsessive reader of both fiction and non-fiction.

2) Do you have a particular writing process? 

Since I am now a full time writer I know how important it is to keep a writing routine so I head to my office straight after breakfast and spend the morning creating new words.
The afternoons are for social media, admin and spending time out of the office to let my subconscious brain work on story problems.
If I am on deadline I will probably spend another couple of hours working on the manuscript in the evening but otherwise I love to read for pleasure and watch drama and movies.

3) Is there a particular book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?
Oh what a tough question. Lois McMaster Bujold and her Miles Vorkosigan series. But Susan Elizabeth Phillips comes a very close second.

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?
Can I have two?

“Follow your heart but listen to your head” – Steve Jobs.
And ‘Carpe Diem’ – Seize the day. Life is short. This is not a dress rehearsal.

5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

*I love to travel and for my 40th Birthday I climbed an active volcano on the Indian Ocean Island of Reunion.
*I have a research doctorate in nanoparticle technology.  Which is no help at all at the supermarket or when writing intimate contemporary romance scenes. 
*I have a healthy respect for the open water and even after 7 years of lessons I still cannot swim.

6) Congratulations on your release of Recipe for Disaster. What made you turn to Romantic Mystery?

I love to read commercial crime and romance fiction for pleasure, so when the story idea and characters for a mystery set in an Italian deli came into my head and refused to leave, I knew that I had to tell Bunty and Fabio’s story. And have some fun along the way.
If you enjoy reading Jennifer Crusie, Janet Evanovich and Susan Elizabeth Phillips this book might be just what you are looking for.

Bunty Brannigan makes the best cannoli in London!

London chef Bunty Caruso Brannigan has no time to celebrate her 30th birthday. She is working every hour to create a menu for an award ceremony, and to keep customers coming through the door of the Italian deli she has inherited from her parents.
Bunty’s life was complicated enough when all she had to deal with were her best friends from convent school, and the students in her baking classes, but then reformed bad boy, lawyer and Italian stud Fabio Rossi gives her a birthday present with a difference and things begin to really spin out of control.
What will happen when all of the Caruso family secrets are out in the open?
Will her Italian godmother sort things out from beyond the grave in her special way?
Will Fabio make Bunty change her mind about dating Italians?
Will the convent girls be forced to go back and tell Sister Teresa the truth about the visiting choirboys and the missing communion wine?
And how much chocolate do you choose to create a life size man part?
Let the mayhem begin. And don’t forget the cannoli!

7) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?

Bunty glanced up across the tables spread out around the room. It didn’t matter that she looked a mess. Not to her friends and family who had come out on a cold January evening to help her celebrate her birthday.
She grinned across at Maria who was carrying out yet more plates of more lamb and roast potatoes. Her friend replied with a jaunty wink as one of the catering students patted her bottom the second the plate hit the table and Maria pretended to squeal, and then sat down heavily on his lap and wrapped her arm around his shoulders.
These were her real friends. Her real family. Girls from the local convent school she had known all of her life and their husbands and boyfriends, pals from the local shops, students she taught at the catering college. All loud, boisterous and having fun. And that was precisely how she liked it.  No false pretences here. Real people who shared her life each and every day.
She was so lucky to have them.
A warm glow of happiness and contentment spread from deep inside her like a furnace that pumped the heat from her heart to the very ends of her fingertips.  She had never felt so safe and secure for years. Protected. And cared for and part of a very special community of friends who looked out for one another.
Maybe turning 30 was not so bad after all when she had friends like these in her life. So what if she didn’t have a mega TV career like her cousin Luca? She had something much better.
Bunty leant sideways and rested her head on Alex’s shoulder. ‘Have I said thank you yet for pulling this all together? It’s amazing and I love it.’
Alex laughed out loud and gave her a one armed hug. ‘Several times. It’s the wine you know. Causes short term memory loss in older women. I have built up resistance over the years so it takes a lot longer to kick in.’
Then Alex started rubbing her hands together and humming the last verse under her breath. ‘Now. Back to the important stuff. What totally outrageous thing have you decided to do before the end of the day? Remember the rules – it has to be spontaneous, the opposite of what you would normally do, and fun! Points will be awarded for the most ingenious solution!’
‘Dance on the table? Bunty suggested then shook her head and waved her arms around. ‘No. Forget that one. The table legs wouldn’t cope with my current body weight and this food is too good to waste and it would only lead to spillages... Something outrageous. Um…’
Then she looked over Alex’s shoulder back towards the entrance to the restaurant and her breath caught in her throat.
Standing not three feet away from her was one of the best looking men that she had seen in her life. She was 5ft 9ins so he had to be at least 6 feet 2ins in his very shiny slim smart black shoes. Her gaze tracked up his body before the sensible part of her brain clicked in to stop it.
Slim hips. Broad shoulders. A hand made cashmere and silk business suit in a shade of midnight blue which was so perfect it made her drool. A tailored white shirt open at the neck just enough to draw attention to his natural tanned skin at the throat. Dark chestnut brown hair that curled into neat waves which simply begged to be touched.
‘Hello,’ he said in a rich deep male voice which crossed the air space that separated them and reverberated inside her head. ‘I’m looking for a Bernadette Caruso Brannigan. Have I come to the right place?’
He was Italian mixed with a delicious topping of American English. And he had come looking for her.
‘Bunty whipped around in her seat before Alex caught her open-mouthed staring at the top three buttons on his shirt, which were unfastened, revealing a hint of tanned skin with dark chest hair. Taunting her.
If he dressed like this in January, August would be interesting.
For some reason her breathing had become irregular and she suddenly felt remarkably warm.
Oh Alex,’ she breathed in a low hiss of appreciation. ‘I owe you big time.’
‘This is so true? But what particular thing have I done now,’ Alex replied between mouthfuls of garlic bread.
‘You didn’t tell me that you hired a male stripper.’
‘Who? What?’ Alex looked up and whirled her head around like a meerkat before it froze in the same direction Bunty was focusing on.
‘Oh. I see what you mean,’ she coughed. ‘Girl, I don’t know who he is, but I think you have just found your challenge. What are you waiting for? He is all yours. Go get him.’

8) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

I’m lucky enough to have a three-book contract with Carina UK to write romantic mystery so I’m working on my second novel with my editor right now.  But this time it is set in the Mediterranean and features hunky coastguards and a heroine who makes Lara Croft look like Tinkerbelle.
I am also writing contemporary romance for Harlequin KISS/ Modern Tempted.

9) Plotter or pantser? 

Plotter.  Nerd girl and proud.
10) Digital books or print books?

Both. I adore print books and embarrass myself and my family by sniffing new books the moment I buy one, especially non- fiction books.
 But the closure of so many book shops and the limited range they sell means that the convenience of having instant access to wonderful fiction at the click of a screen from anywhere in the world is like a siren call. Irresistible.

Thank you so much for taking part, Nina.
To discover even more about Nina Harrington, and to keep up with her latest projects and shenanigans, you can visit her at:
Facebook     Twitter     Website

Buy it now… 


Blogger said...

Sprinter - DarKz (170BPM)

Blogger said...

I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.