Writer Wednesday (er, Monday?): Meet Sharleen Scott

sharleenscottWelcome to Writer Wednesday!

What’s that you say? It’s Monday? Oops. Yup. My bad.

See, much of last week I was at the hospital with a loved one, and, well, I forgot to post dear romantic suspense author Sharleen Scott‘s interview.

I apologize to her (and to you), but am so pleased to share more about Ms. Scott now.


Red heart shapes on a handwritten old journal.

What inspires you to write?

I enjoying sharing my stories. I’m inspired to write romance, specifically, because I love the romance journey. It’s great fun to create characters, conflicts, and plot twists, and tie it all up with a happily-ever-after ending.


Which type of romance do you love the most, and why?

Romantic suspense. I tried writing contemporary romance but my characters’ worlds always seem to contain mysteries and murders. I enjoy building the suspense.


Bull rider at sunset

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.

The hero in Caught in the Spin is a retired champion bull rider and my heroine is a big rodeo fan, so I spent a lot of time reading about bull riding. I discovered that rodeo teams are huge at some colleges, which opened up some interesting backstory for my character. Tom Black was a college rodeo champion while pursuing degrees in business and psychology. Both degrees helped him in my story where he owns a ranch post pro-rodeo career and runs up against a psychotic killer.


Testament 1Name two things people don’t know about you:

1. I always include plants in my garden to feed the birds when the snow flies. This year I planted broomcorn as well as sunflowers.

2. I’m a genealogy nut. I can spend hours on it.


What’s your favorite romance novel of all time?

There are actually two. First is Nora RobertsIrish Trilogy. Three books, I know, but they go together and all are excellent. The other is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Jamie and Claire. Need I say more?


citsA Bit About Caught in the Spin:

When Tallie Peters lands the job of assistant to Nashville’s’ premier music manager she’s sure things are finally looking up for her and her son. Meeting gorgeous former bull rider Tom Black confirms it. But Tallie’s new life dives into a chaotic spiral with the premature release of her brutal ex-husband from prison. He wants his son and will stop at nothing to take him. Tom offers Tallie and her son refuge behind the gates of the Masterson-Black ranch but soon finds that the best security measures are no match for a determined ex-con with nothing to lose.

Find Caught In the Spin on Amazon!


Vintage TypewriterA Bit About Sharleen: 

Sharleen Scott is the author of the romantic suspense Caught series and Tangles, a novel about a family dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. She is currently writing the third book in the Caught series.

Want to connect further with Sharleen? Find her here:

Amazon | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks so much for being here, Sharleen! It was a delight to host you.

Writer Wednesday: Meet Catherine Chant!

Welcome to Writer Wednesday!

Today we’ve got Catherine Chant rockin’ the house – which is especially apt, considering she writes rock ‘n’ roll romantic fiction and stories with paranormal twists for young adults. How cool is THAT?

Read on to learn more about Catherine and her latest work – and I hope you’ll leave some love in the comments. Because authors need groupies, too! 🙂

Red heart shapes on a handwritten old journal.

What inspires you to write?

I think I’m going to be in the minority when I say I’m not the type of writer who feels she has to write (like that I’ll die if I couldn’t). I’m creative in so many different ways that if writing were no longer an option, I’d find another outlet and be okay with that.

So why do I write if I don’t have to? I write because I enjoy it. It’s that simple. I like telling stories. I like starting on a path and seeing what’s around the corner. I enjoy discovering the unexpected, and I would love for readers to come along for the ride. I’m constantly inspired by the question of “What if…?”

[ML: So glad I’m not the only one who feels that way – though if I did, I think I’d get a lot more written.]

Close up of fountain pen on old letter

What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

When I was in elementary school, the teachers would tell my mother that my assignments were sometimes late because I spent too much time looking around the room to see what other kids were doing.

I made that same mistake when I started writing. Sometimes it’s disguised as learning from others, which is fine, but if you pay too much attention to what other writers are doing, it’s easy to forget to work on your own stuff. Write for yourself first and don’t worry so much what everyone else is doing.

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

This is a hard choice. I’ve read and loved a lot of books. But I’d have to say that the romance that stands out the most in my mind after all these years is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I read it when it was first published back in 1991 and it just struck a chord with me. The history, the emotions, the romance. It has it all. That book made me fall in love with the whole time travel genre and inspired me to write my own. Before that moment, I’d mostly read gothic romances.

chef at work

Name two things people don’t know about you.

1. I always say I’m a horrible cook (it’s been a running joke in my family since I was a kid–I was majorly inept in Home Ec class), but I’m actually not that bad. I don’t much like cooking, though, so I’m happy to have everyone believe I’m horrible at it and that’s why I don’t cook more.

2. Before I got into writing, I was an artist. I drew and painted pictures all the time. Looking back, I probably should have gone to art school and become a graphic designer, but my parents wanted me to have a “practical” career, so I went to a traditional four-year college and studied math and held a technology job for 15 years. Now I’m back in the arts, so I got here eventually.

NSTS-Cover-400x600A Bit About Nothing Stays the Same (young adult time travel romance)

How far would you go to save someone’s life? Leah and Brennan are going all the way back to 1973.

One Choice Changes Everything…

In 1973, The Beat Detectors are the hottest TV pop band to hit the airwaves since The Monkees, thanks to the appealing vocals of rising teen idol Ronnie Basford. But behind the scenes, not everything is rainbows and unicorns. Ronnie realizes much too late that one bad decision can ruin your whole life.

Forty years later, Ronnie is dead from an apparent suicide and his sixteen-year-old son Brennan wants answers. He needs to understand how it all went so wrong. When he finds himself dropped back in time, to the set of his father’s TV show, he’s determined to redirect the course of his father’s life and create the happy ending Ronnie deserved.

Soccer star Leah Reinard has been crushing on Brennan Basford for ages. When they end up at the same summer job, she thinks the fates have finally aligned in her favor. That is, until Brennan suddenly disappears from existence. One day he’s there, the next day, he’s gone. And no one but Leah even remembers him. Can Leah find Brennan in time to stop him from ruining both their futures?

Available from Amazon.com: https://amzn.com/B01IASDPV4

writingA Bit About Catherine: 

Catherine Chant is an active member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and a Golden Heart® finalist. She writes rock ‘n’ roll romantic fiction and stories with paranormal twists for young adults. Catherine is currently working on a new young adult suspense novel, and the next book in her Soul Mates series.

You can connect with Catherine at her website CatherineChant.com, on Twitter @Catherine_Chant, on Facebook CatherineChantNovels, or on Instagram Catherine_Chant

Thanks so much for being here, Catherine – I’m thrilled you chose to be a guest. 🙂

Writer Wednesday: Meet Nillu Stelter

NilluSWr-wr-writer Wednesday! Say it three times fast – then stop, and keep reading, because today we have Nillu Stelter with us. I met Nillu via the flash circuit, where I first admired her prose – and she mine, evidently, as she invited me to collaborate with her on a multi-author short story. She’s been a great vocal support for me, and I’m so pleased to have her here today!

Thank you, Margaret, for hosting me here at your blog for Writer Wednesday. I am imagining us kicking off our shoes and sinking into the sofa with some tea and chocolate. We begin…

What inspires you to write? 

I write for the clarity it brings, that sense of immersion and wonder. I can take the time to weave intricate sentences or get the nuance just right without worrying that it is already someone else’s turn to speak. I can examine a thought carefully, tangibly, without it slipping through the fog of my brain like a wandering child at a funfair. In a world of constant change and fleeting lives, it comforts me to leave a record of my thoughts.

Which type of romance do you love most, and why?

flashpointv3 FINAL[2]I like time travel romance – I’ve been meaning to read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander for so long – because they bring together some of my favourite story elements: magic and love. I also like how this genre doesn’t always have to have happy endings. I like my romance with tragic elements. Think Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness (oh that immortal line: ’that night, they were not divided’), Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or David Nicholls’ One Day. Period romance is also delicious. I can’t wait to gobble up A Matter of Time.   

[ML: Oh, you are so sweet! I actually am reading Outlander for the first time (!), and it is a rich, heady book. I don’t claim to be in Gabaldon’s league.]

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book. 

One of my characters is called Soraya, taken from the Persian to mean ‘princess’. I found myself reading about Soraya, Princess of Iran, who married the last Shah of Iran, at eighteen years old, and found she could not conceive. She refused to share her husband with another woman (he could have had two wives), and they parted after seven years of marriage, both unwillingly, because he needed an heir. The Shah went on to remarry and have children. Princess Soraya moved to France after their parting. When she was found dead in her Paris apartment in 2001 at the age of sixty-nine, her younger brother commented “after her, I don’t have anyone to talk to.” He died a week later. 

Name two things people don’t know about you.

I have a butterfly tattoo on my hip. One wing expanded during each of my pregnancies, so it was lopsided and then slowly returned back to normal. In another life, I used to write briefings for the Mayor of London.

[ML: Did you take pictures of the lopsided butterfly?] 

An Old Man From India Version FiveWhat one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

Only one? But I have so many! If there was one, it’d be this:- I wish I had sought out writer friendships in the early days of wanting to write. It is hard sustaining this dream when you are sitting by yourself in a turret. There’s an osmosis that happens when we make writer friends. It sped up my learning straight away, inspired me, made me accountable, and it comforts me to be part of a community of people on the same journey. I find Twitter and critique groups especially helpful here.

[ML: I agree, 100%!]

Nillu’s debut novel, The Voyeur 

The Voyeur is a literary romance set in Mumbai, where romantic love is traditionally played out behind closed doors. It is a story about sexual politics and second chances. In it, a man cheats on his new wife with disastrous consequences for them both. His only way to redemption is to love and be loved again. He remeets the wife he betrayed, and the lover he risked it all for. Can he be forgiven and rebuild what he broke, or will he end up with nothing?  


Tonight had come to pass like every other night since he lost her. As darkness fell, he made his way through the city’s streets in the sticky air, drawn to a white-washed mansion in Juhu he hadn’t visited before. Glittering white lights framed the house as if from a fairy-tale and, as Akash approached, the pungent smell of pink rose bushes overwhelmed him. He crept across the courtyard, camouflaged by the grime and dust that had become his natural attire.  It was the best and worst decision he had ever made.  

As he peered through the glass, a maid with flour in her hair kneaded dough for roti. A baby slept in a basket, wrapped in a deep orange swaddling blanket despite the heat. Nearby a woman in an embroidered salwar kameez sat in a rocking chair. At the table, a young man with fine eyebrows read a newspaper, his shirt buttons popping across his belly, his dirty bare feet in contrast to the sterile extravagance of the floor tiles. From time to time, he looked up to speak to the woman by the baby. Then an older woman entered the kitchen and Akash’s stomach lurched as if he was riding a ramshackle fairground ride.  

She stood taller than the average Indian woman. She pushed her shoulders back with pride and her sari pulled tautly across her body in haughty dismissal of accepted styles for older women. Akash recognised her before she turned. The hair on the back of his neck rose in anticipation and his chest constricted as he caught her in profile. As she turned towards him, Akash’s head emptied for a moment before an explosion of unwarranted thoughts filled its cavity. Then, his mouth slackened, and he thought only I wish I could be someone else. Someone without my history. Someone cleaner, fitter, richer, deserving of her. His legs shook, and he flailed as his feet became tangled in the fairy-lights, falling against the pane of glass with a dull thud. For a moment he held his breath, considering himself lucky. Then all hell broke loose.  

“Ye kya hai? Maa, call the guards! Muna, stay inside with the baby!” shouted the man as he grabbed a flour-covered rolling pin from the kitchen worktop and dashed out of the room.  

Akash staggered up, held captive by the almond-shaped eyes of his lover for a long moment before stumbling back into the shadows on feet that did not want to do his bidding. She had not recognised him, he felt sure. Relief replaced his shame at his sad state. His legs felt submerged in tar as he ran, passing landscaped gardens and a swimming pool. He headed for the street, still reeling from the sight of her, and made it onto the gravel drive before the man even reached outside. His pursuer fought against his plumpness and the humidity, slow and heavy, cursing as the gravel slowed his bare-footed progress. Glee bubbled up inside Akash as if from a dormant volcano, uncontrollable and unwelcome. Joy at finding his lover threatened to send every other emotion into the stratosphere.    

He had to get away. Experience taught him the rich were the most vengeful if they caught him. Like gods in their palaces, with iron-wrought fences, sleeping guards and noisy dogs to keep them safe, they rose up in squawking outrage at their pillaged sanctity. Fat, manicured men, with great wealth and photo-ready families, belonging to the ranks of the privileged few in a city where the streets teemed with the god-forsaken. This one continued his cries of outrage as he chased after Akash, his breath heaving, driven on by his anger and hatred.  

The guards, woken by their master’s shouts and the old woman’s call, unleashed their snarling hounds. He screamed when a large dog, its fur ravaged, sank decaying teeth into his bare leg. Fear filled Akash’s belly at last, like a serpent unfurling and stretching deep within him. The men surrounded him, their eyes filled with glee and self-righteous anger. Vice-like they gripped his forearms, paying no heed to the dogs still snapping at his legs. An outbuilding with dimmed lights nestled in bushes a few hundred yards away. There they made their way as Akash’s leg bled and bruises sprang up beneath his skin as if he were an ageing piece of fruit. 

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About Nillu

old-books-11281939505MsrnNillu is a writer of literary fiction, poetry and essays. She is happiest barefoot with a book in hand. They are the first thing she unpacks when she is somewhere new. She lives in London with her husband, two children, one angelic and one demonic cat, though she secretly yearns for a dog. She has a BA in English and German Literature and an MA in European Politics. After graduating she worked in national and regional politics, but eventually reverted to her first love. If you fly into Gatwick and look hard enough, you will see her furiously scribbling in her garden office, where she is working on her debut novel. 

Want to connect further with Nillu? Find her here:

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Thank you so much, Nillu! I truly enjoyed reading this and learning more about you. And, oh, how I wish I were close enough to see you in your garden! 😉