The JR Bunnies welcome Author Audra North!
Healing Her Heart from Entangled Publishing releases on May 27th! It’s up for pre-order now.
Tell us a little about Healing Her Heart, what inspired you to write Healing Her Heart?
I have a friend who is an anesthesiologist, and he was frequently telling me about some of the high-stress situations on the operating room floor. I often thought, what would happen if two people met under circumstances like that, and then the pressure cooker atmosphere was removed—what would happen? Healing Her Heart came from that!
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I used to let the characters sort of guide me where I needed to go, but that was before my writing schedule got so busy! Now, I try very hard to make sure I have a fairly detailed synopsis before I start writing, to be sure that the characters I want to write—and the situations I put them in!—are actually feasible.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
Oh, gosh. Sometimes I’m impressed by how slow I am to realize really obvious things. I started reading romance novels when I was 13 and it has already been my favorite genre. But when I first decided to try my hand at writing in 2010, for some reason I went with literary fiction! It was…not my best. (But I still put it on Wattpad…go figure!) I got a little interest from agents, though, and that at least gave me enough confidence in my writing to keep doing it. It just so happened that I was on maternity leave right around then, too, and was reading more romance novels than ever before, so when I started my second manuscript, I decided I’d try romance this time. Perhaps not surprisingly, that was the genre that really clicked for me!
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
I have a New Adult work, Losing It, coming out in July. Writing the heroine, Emery Phillips, was by far the biggest challenge for me. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to type The End on a manuscript as I was on Losing It. It wasn’t because the plot didn’t work or the characters didn’t work or anything like that. It was because Emery, herself, struggled so much emotionally to get to a point where she could accept and give love in a healthy, whole way. I didn’t want her to change too quickly, but I wanted to get her out of her comfort zone, and going into her head was pretty draining.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Yes! All the time! The hero in Falling for the CEO was inspired by a real-life CEO I met, who gives a set amount of money to every single one of his employees every year to donate to a charity of their choice. He is an incredible, generous real-life person, and I just knew he had to have his own book.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Sometimes it’s really hard for me to see the forest for the trees. I get so wrapped up in some particular scene that I lose track of the overall character arc, and then I have to go back and do major edits. I’m trying to get better at it by building really detailed outlines before I start writing, but it’s still hard for me.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
People have told me before that I look very demure and quiet, and then when they meet me in person they’re completely shocked by how loud and kind of hyper I am.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
This is going to sound so weird, but it’s crazy straws! I love drinking out of them, but they’re expensive and so hard to clean that I usually end up tossing them after a couple of uses, which is just terrible for the environment. But so much fun.
What TV Show/s are you addicted to?
I don’t watch TV, actually. I usually go a month or two without watching anything, and then binge watch streamed movies on a random Saturday until my eyes are dry.
Do you have a hobby that you like to try and squeeze in?
I love running and try to get out and do it at least four times a week.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
My house needs to be clean! If there are dishes in the sink or unfolded laundry, or toys that haven’t been put away, I need to go around and do a tidying up before I can calm my mind enough to write.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
I don’t listen to music while writing, but I do often hear songs that inspire stories, and then those songs end up being part of the mood of my book. Falling for the CEO’s theme song is John Lennon’s Happy Christmas, One Night in Santiago’s is Linda Ronstadt’s Perfidia, and Healing Her Heart’s is Mötley Crüe’s Dr. Feelgood. For reasons.
Do you write one book from start to finish or are there multiple works underway at any given time?
I always have more than one project going, but usually when I get enough momentum in one (like, the first fifty pages are written), then I take a break from the others and focus on just finishing that one. But, yeah, for the most part, I can’t just do one at a time. Like, right now I’ve got one with my critique partners, one that’s halfway done, and three that are about forty pages done! No to mention quite a few synopses and half-baked ideas.
Where were you when you got your first contract? What was the book and who did you tell first?
When Entangled accepted One Night in Santiago for publication, I had just left TJ Maxx, of all places, and was about to get into my car and drive home. I think that’s the first and only time I didn’t care that I ended up getting stuck in traffic. The first person I told was my husband. He’s almost always the first person I tell anything to.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Thirteen. My ninth grade English teacher gave it to me and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. After that, there was no stopping me. Johanna Lindsey and Jude Deveraux became my new best friends!
Do you have an all-time favorite romance book?
Oh, gosh. There are so many that I love. I have to pick just one, eh? In that case, I’d have to say A Duke of Her Own, by Eloisa James. I’ve read this book so many times, I could probably quote it in my sleep.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Several authors create that kind of excitement in me, actually! Charlotte Stein, Eloisa James, Courtney Milan, Ruthie Knox, and Delphine Dryden, to name a few.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I sort of do. I have a side business where I design and sell girls’ dresses, and I’m on the board of a philanthropic fund and run an associated nonprofit organization. But the cool thing is that I’ve specifically chosen these things because they give me flexibility with my hours. I stay at home with my kids two days a week, and I do writing and my other work on the remaining three days. Now that my kids are a bit older, I’m interested in doing something with girls in STEM fields, too! We’ll see how that works out. There are only so many hours in the day…
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and an all-time favorite?
My sister-in-law makes fun of me for having the movie taste of a teenage boy, but I recently saw Men in Black III and I loved it! I can’t believe I didn’t see it when it first came out! I mean, Josh Brolin…whoa. I’m fanning myself just thinking about him. All time favorite, though? I absolutely love Fellini’s 8 ½. I watch that work and think, that’s who I would have been if I’d lived in Italy in the early 20th century. And if I were a man.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Right now, I’m working on a category-length novel with a violinist heroine. I’m so excited for that one! I’ve got a charity anthology out in early June whose proceeds go to benefit RAINN. Several other authors have generously contributed their time and work to the anthology, including Ruthie Knox and Molly O’Keefe! In July, I have two releases—the last Stanton novella from Entangled publishing and a New Adult called Losing It—and then a fun collaborative project at the end of the year. It’s pretty busy!
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Any author? Margaret Atwood, hands down. I also wish I could spend a day just following her around and hearing what she thinks about everything. I bet you I’d be constantly fascinated, even if she just talks about lamps or dust bunnies or what have you. But if you mean specifically romance authors? I’d choose Charlotte Stein. She is so so funny. There was a whole thing about food in her latest release, Beyond Repair, and I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t breathe. I think she’d be a lot of fun to write with.
How did you hear about the “bunnies” at Joyfully Reviewed?
An author friend of mine pointed me to the site a while ago and I love it!
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side –
What is your favorite type of ice cream?
Talenti banana chocolate swirl. Yummmmm.
Team Sam or Team Dean? And Why.
Dean. Definitely Dean. I think it’s the cheekbones!