Hello my friends. Today I am chatting with romance author Barbara DeLeo about her newest release, Contract for Marriage.
Denise: Barbara, lovely to meet you. Thanks for stopping by here at L’Aussie Writing on your tour to let the world know that you have a new novel released. Contract for Marriage sounds a riveting read.
Barbara: Hi Denise! Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog today. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks since the release of my debut novel, Contract for Marriage, so it’s lovely to stop in for a chat. I’m a New Zealander so just across the pond from you, but am currently on a three month trip to Greece and Cyprus with my family. Today I’m in a tiny village on the west coast of Cyprus and it’s gorgeous.
Denise: I'm so jealous! I've not made it to Greece yet! But tell us a little about your writing journey thus far. How many books have you previously published or do you have in the works? Tell us about being picked up by Entangled Publishing.
Barbara: I’ve been writing seriously for the past seven years and in that time completed six manuscripts. I’ve always written romance but in the last few years targeted category length stories specifically.
I completed revisions on a number of manuscripts for different editors but my stories always seemed to be a little out of the box. When my agent suggested we submit my latest manuscript to Entangled Publishing, I was very interested. They’d only just started the Indulgence line and the titles were so fun and fresh that I was more than happy. When my agent called only a couple of weeks later with the offer for Contract for Marriage I was thrilled. I’ve since sold another book to the Indulgence line. “Last Chance Proposal” is out in January.
Denise: Why category romance? For readers who might not be familiar with these books, what do you think their appeal is?
Barbara: Category romance is generally defined as a romance between 40,000 and 80,000 words in which the primary focus is on the developing relationship between the hero and heroine. Someone once described category romance as a hit of rich dark chocolate while a Single Title romance was a three-course meal. I love a three-course meal as much as anyone but I also love my indulgent quick treats and that’s the way I like to think of my category romances. In terms of craft, they are an intense, tightly written story which needs to have full character development, a satisfying story and a happily ever after in one neat package, so they are an exciting challenge to write.
Denise: I see you love to travel and also that you set your stories in exotic destinations. Did any of your travel experiences turn up in Contract for Marriage?
Barbara: My husband’s family is from Greece and Cyprus (hence the current trip with him, his parents and our four children now!) and we lived and travelled in Europe when we were in our twenties. I love different sights and sounds and smells, so try to layer these into my stories. Contract for Marriage is set in New Zealand but Christo has Greek heritage so I was able to weave in some of my experiences with the Greek culture. While I’m in Europe now I’m taking photos and notes for some settings in future books.
Denise: Both your hero and heroine, Christo and Ruby, sound like very strong characters. How did you find the balance with their strengths? How did you play one against the other?
Barbara: What a great question! I love strong characters, strong alpha males because they know exactly want they want and will do whatever it takes to get it —including moving any obstacle to get the woman they desire— but I believe a strong hero also needs a strong heroine. When each of the characters is challenged by the other we not only get lots of spark, but lots of passion and emotion too.
In Contract for Marriage, Christo and Ruby are not only strong in their belief that they each should have the house, they’re also very strong in their desire to fight for someone they love. For Christo, it’s getting the house for his mother who has lived there for forty years, for Ruby, it’s acquiring a legacy for her baby. I think the fact that both their goals are such honorable ones, readers are prepared to see some fire and conflict between the two. The fact that they’re required to share the house until they can sort their issues out leads to all sorts of interesting shenanigans!
Thanks so much for hosting me today, Denise.
- Barbara would love to gift a copy of Contract for Marriage to one lucky commenter, so please comment before leaving. You never know...
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