I’m thrilled to welcome Jennifer St George author of The Convenient Bride to the LoveCats today.
She writes contemporary romance for Penguin’s new digital-first imprint, Destiny Romance. Her debut novel The Convenient Bride is out now!
The Convenient Bride has just been launched by Destiny Romance - can you tell us a little about the story?
Sienna De Luca will do anything to save her family's hotel, and the ruthless Italian businessman Antonio Moretti knows it. With problems of his own, he proposes a marriage of convenience and plans to use Sienna to secure his next business deal. But things don't go quite according to plan.
In keeping with her part of the bargain, Sienna travels to Venice to be with Antonio, who introduces her to a life of great luxury and opulence. But after thinking he can manipulate her at his will, Antonio begins to realise he has seriously underestimated Sienna…her intelligence, her skills, her courage – and her beauty. Unexpectedly, Sienna gets too close and when she discovers his dark secret and Antonio's perfectly planned life begins to unravel.
What was the inspiration for The Convenient Bride?
I visited Venice for the first time not long ago and found it one of the most magical and captivating cities I’ve ever seen. Venice is the perfect backdrop for a romance and who can’t love a wounded Italian hero? Unbearable grief also features in the story and unfortunately this is an emotion I know something about having lost my sister in tragic circumstances.
Your story revolves around luxury hotels. Have you ever stayed in one?
In my life before romance writing, I worked in marketing for large corporations including Guinness and Ford. My jobs required extensive travel. For example, I launched Guinness in Russia, marketed forklift trucks across Europe and travelled to Germany, Japan and Korea to select new cars for the Australian market. So, having spent many day sand nights in five-star hotels, I was able to draw on this experience when writing The Convenient Bride.
The romance writing award season has just wrapped up and you have had some wins. Can you tell us about them?
It’s funny how everything seems to come together at the same time after several years of hard work. I came 2nd and 3rd in the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) Emerald contest and have just arrived home from New Zealand a few days ago where The Convenient Bride won the 2012 Clendon Award. I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed but obviously delighted.
What keeps you entertained when you’re not writing?
I love keeping fit so I walk up to the Byron Bay Lighthouse about four times a week. Just today I saw four whales very close to shore, which is always thrilling. I also love walking on the beach with the family and our new puppy, Toffee. My indulgence is watching my favourite movies over and over. I’ve enjoyed Sense and Sensibility, Gone with the Wind, Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey and Bridget Jones’ Diary more times than I care to count.
Having just been published, what would you say to aspiring authors?
Never give up.
I decided very early on that to gain publication I had to take my writing very seriously and that it would probably take a long time. I established a very strict writing routine (including getting up at six am on New Year’s Day when I was rushing to finish a manuscript for RWA’s 5DI program) and worked hard at learning the craft. I attended every romance writing workshop I could, studied relevant textbooks on writing and devoured stories similar to the line I was targetting. I applied to the RWA critique partner scheme and found a wonderful writer in Melbourne.
Probably the best thing I did was volunteer for RWA. I’ve met so many multi-published, award-winning authors who have given me advice, guidance and encouragement (obviously Rachel, you were one of those wonderfully generous authors along with a couple of other LoveCats!). I believe I would not have been published without their help.
Aw, you're too sweet, Jen. :) What’s Next?
Following the last two whirlwind weeks with the Romance Writers of Australia’s annual conference and then the New Zealand conference, it’s back to reality. I have to plot my next book and return to the discipline of writing every day.
My next book, Seducing the Secret Heiress will be coming out with Destiny Romance in a few months.
If you’d like more information about Jennifer, visit:
website: www.jenniferstgeorge.com or www.destinyromance.com