Former socialite, Lexi, adores her new, fulfilling life as a gorilla vet in the Congolese jungle. Even the surrounding political volatility can’t dim her contentment – until she meets the sanctuary’s enigmatic benefactor, Sir Anthony. He’s wealthy and arrogant, appearing more concerned with his company’s image than the welfare of the sanctuary he’s endowed. He symbolizes the empty, pampered life she left behind – so why is she falling for him? When rebels attack the sanctuary, Sir Anthony is the only man who can keep her safe – yet he’s also the biggest threat her heart has ever faced.
Isn’t the internet wonderful? I’ve had the great pleasure recently of being able to fill the pages of Being Anne with interviews and guest posts from writing friends made through Book Connectors and Writers Authors and Readers. Today I’m delighted to introduce you to author Louise Rose-Innes who I “met” through the Good Housekeeping Book Room. Her sixth novel, A Passion So Wild, was published on 1st April. Louise has described it to me as a heart-warming tale of love and survival, set on a gorilla sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with elements of life in Africa, love far from home, tough decisions, political instability and the plight of the endangered gorillas – and much more than “just a romance”.
And yes, I did say “sixth book”. I’ll tell you more later how to find out more about Louise’s other books, but first I’m delighted to welcome her to Being Anne.
I grew up in Africa and am a keen conservationist, so the endangered gorillas are very special to me. I also love SAS-style rescues. There’s something so macho about strong men with the skills and training to endure in the hostile environments and who come to the rescue of independent women who need their help.
You have a wonderful Pinterest page on A Passion So Wild – I’d love to hear more about that research…
My research took me all over the world – virtually speaking. Using social media I corresponded with the Gorilla Doctors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and got a first-hand account of what life is like for them there. They have no electricity (just generators), no telephone networks, no cellular networks, food is trucked in to the out of the way places at risk of hijacking and theft, rebels are a constant threat… There are so many natural obstacles that come into play in the novel, based on the setting and the situation, that the characters are constantly adapting and trying to work in an unfamiliar environment. Because it is so different in the DRC, I kept a photographic diary of all my research.
You have some of the best locations for your books – the Antarctic, the Bahamas, tropical island resorts, Capri and even the Arab nations. Did you research them all personally, or has much of it been on-line and in the library?
I have travelled a fair bit. I went on holiday to Capri a couple of years before I wrote the book and the beauty and glamour of the island really stuck with me. I’ve been to Mozambique in Africa, although not the luxury island resort, but I’ve got a friend who went there and when I saw her pictures, I knew I had to set a story there. So each of the locations are of personal interest to me, or somewhere I’ve been.
In Personal Assistance, my romantic suspense novel, I used a fictional Arab island ruled by a correct royal regime to mimic some of the Arab nations where similar crises are taking place today. Thanks to Google Maps and Google Earth we’re able to literally walk down a road in Syria, for example, and see what it’s like on the screen in front of us.
I see you describe your writing as “contemporary romance”. Do you have an image of a reader your books would most appeal to?
My readers love romance. It’s always central to the story and they expect a happy ending. I myself love happy endings, which is why I write these type of books. My novels are always set in the modern day, as it’s what I relate to best. My readers enjoy the exotic and interesting locations that I choose for my stories, and hopefully I can make them feel like they’re there on some level. I learned a lot when writing A Passion So Wild, and I like to think of my reader sitting there going, “Oh my goodness, I did not know that.”
Which of your books is your personal favourite? Or is it always the latest one?
It’s always the most recent one as it’s the one I’m most involved in at the time. I did love writing The New Year Resolution though. I wrote it for a friend of mine whose goal it was to have a date on New Year’s Eve. I based the main character on her (and got her vote of approval afterwards) so I suppose you could say that is my favourite.
Does the writing get easier with six books out there doing well, or does the pressure of expectation make it more difficult?
The writing itself gets easier. I’ve learned what works now (for me) in terms of sentence structure and descriptions and dialogue, and I’ve found my voice, so I don’t lament over sentences like I used to. I can quite easily write 4 or 5,000 words a day (if I have the time). I do have some other projects on the go and am a single mom, so I usually only write in the morning, until around 12:30.
And how about you, the writer. Did you always want to write fiction? And when you decided to do so, did you simply sit at your keyboard and write?
I always enjoyed writing, even at school. My English teacher once told me my creative writing task sounded like a Barbara Cartland novel (and not in a good way). I was upset at the time, but now I think that may have been a sign of things to come!
I wrote my first full book when I was pregnant with my son. Prior to that I’d written bits and pieces of books, half a screen play and done a couple of online writing courses, but it wasn’t until I sat down and planned the book that I managed to finish it. The others got lost in the middle because I didn’t have a blueprint or any idea of where I was going with the stories.
I know you gave up work last year to write, which is always a brave leap to make. Did it feel particularly brave? How are you finding it?
It was more of a forced decision actually. I had taken on too much at work and found myself out of my comfort zone. I tried to off load some of the work but my boss didn’t want to hire anyone else, so it was either continue going down that road, which left me very stressed with no free time, or to quit. So I quit.
I thought I’d give it a year and then see how it was going. I enjoy working for myself as I’m disciplined and I write fast, so I can take on other projects. I build WordPress websites on a freelance basis and give writing courses on Savvy Authors. I don’t think I’d make enough with my books alone to not take on any other work at this stage, but it’s a transition, and one day I hope to be able to write full-time.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I take my son to school and then go to my favourite coffee shop with my laptop where I read my previous day’s chapter and plan the next one. Then I go home and get to work. I write from 9am to 12pm and usually manage about 2,000 words. Then I break for lunch and check my diary for all the other things I’ve got to do that day. I’ll work on a course, or a website, or my blog and some promotion, before leaving at 3:30 to fetch my son. After that my day is dedicated to him, so the next time I look at my laptop is when I’m in bed, or the next morning at the coffee shop again.
Planning, writing, editing, publishing, publicising once the book’s out there – what’s your favourite part of the whole process? And the most difficult?
I love all the stages of being an indie author. Planning is exciting as the story comes to life. Writing is the most time-consuming, but I love putting th words on paper and telling the story, editing I outsource to a freelance editor and then do the changes. This is probably my least favourite part but it is an opportunity to tweak and tighten the text which I like. There are so many stages to self-publishing a novel from formatting to the cover design to pricing strategy and metadata…. But I love all of them. I’m quite technical so I enjoy working with the various retail platforms like Amazon KDP and Createspace, Smashwords and others…
And it gives me a great sense of achievement to see my book out there for sale. Marketing the book is an ongoing thing. I try to generally get my book in as many places online as possible but it takes work. Social media can be time-consuming so I delegate it to afternoons only, but I do enjoy it, and it makes writing more sociable.
And what writers do you particularly admire? if someone said “your writing reminds me of…”, who would you really like them to mention?
My contemporary romances do have a thread of humour in them, and I’d like to think they make people laugh, or at the very least smile. So probably a bit Jilly Cooperesque mixed with authors like Heidi Rice and Lucy Kevin and Joanna Lindsay. My romantic suspenses are more adventurous than suspenseful, but I’d say that readers who enjoy LJ Ross, Nora Roberts and Nikki Logan would enjoy my books.
Thank you Louise – good to get to know you better.
For more details of Louise’s other books, visit her books page on her website (where you’ll find buying links) or visit her author page on Amazon.
Louise Rose-Innes is an Amazon bestselling writer of contemporary romance and gripping action-adventure romantic suspense. Louise was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and after completing her Post Grad in Marketing Management from the University of Cape Town, came to England to work and travel. She now lives in leafy Surrey with her family and when she’s not writing, is walking through the beautiful countryside or kayaking on the river Thames.
Louise is a member of the Romance Novelists Association (RNA), the Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa (ROSA) and the Alliance of Independent Writers (ALLi).
Louise loves to hear from her readers, so visit her at website or on her Facebook page – or connect with her on Twitter.