Monday, 12 May 2014

Author Hot Seat Welcomes Serena Fairfax

The author hot seat specials are designed to help readers get to know both popular, and up and coming authors, a little better. The questions are broken into sections - About your writing, about you, fun stuff and finally. Some of the questions are easy, other may need a little more thought and some may cause our author friends to hesitate before answering—still, they all answer. 

Today we welcome Serena Fairfax to the hot seat. Serena's new book, Alchemy is coming out on the 13th May, through Siren publishing. Please keep reading after the interview for a sneak peek at her book where to purchase it. 

Getting Started:

Tell us about your latest book. What was your inspiration for writing it, is it part of an ongoing series, the characters, the genre etc?
My latest book is a stand-alone  erotic romance entitled ALCHEMY  published by Siren Bookstrand and it’s released  on 13 May 2014. I’d visited Lake Garda  and its beguiling charm  inspired the backdrop.

About your writing:

How many books have you written during your career so far and which is your favorite?
I’ve written six so far. STRANGE INHERITANCE and PAINT ME A DREAM  ( both sweet romances) were published ages ago by Robert Hale Ltd. Then WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS (women’s contemporary fiction/search for roots/romance) and IN THE PINK (a quirky departure in style and content) are self published and LOVING THAT FEELING and ALCHEMY are erotic romances released by Siren Bookstrand. I can’t say I have a favourite. I like them equally for different reasons.

Have any of your books received negative reviews and how did you handle the situation?
BULBUL got a 3* review but I can live with it given the other reviews  trumped that. I think you’ve just got to grin and bear it. As Bing Crosby sang:
 You've gotta accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom, down to the minimum
Otherwise pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

Do you believe in writer’s block and if so, how do you overcome it?
Writer’s block is a pain. I try and deal with it by  just putting down the first thing that come into my head, even if it’s a rubbishy shopping list. That seems to re-trigger the creative process.

What is the one genre you would never write and why?
Oh,  never say never! Suppose   saving  one’s life depended on writing in a genre one hadn’t liked or tried before!   I’d have to emulate  Scheherazade who, after 1,001 nights of storytelling, was spared.

Have you ever written a book that you’ve regretted publishing and why?
 No,  but then my motto is non, je ne regrette rien.

If a reader said they wanted to write a book, what advice would you give them? 
Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Don’t give up.

About you:

Tell us what a typical day in your life is like?
Rise and shine. I’m a combination of a night owl and a lark. I work part-time now in the day job  but it still has a  significant effect on me (old habits die hard). However, once home, I’ve learned to leave it all behind and get down to creative writing. Mind you, though, law is pretty creative, too!

What sort of things put you in a bad mood? 
Any person demonstrating  wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

Do you have a bucket list and what’s one thing you still want to do that you haven’t done?
I’d love to learn to fly an aeroplane and  plumb the depths of the oceans.

What makes you laugh?
A witty person or situation.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
Joined the reception  of the wrong wedding. An hotel happened to be hosting two wedding dos on the same day and I found myself chatting to  a bunch of complete strangers and it   suddenly struck me that was  rather strange, given that I knew the happy couple, their family and friends rather well.

Do you like to read and what are you reading at the moment?
I have a couple  on the go.  They are  Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and “Catherine The Great” by Robert K. Massie.

If you couldn’t write anymore, what would you do instead?
 I’d  love to learn to make my own clothes.

Fun Stuff:

If you could go out with one famous person who would it be and why?
Only one?  It’s got to be Richard Gere. He’s a versatile actor and principled activist. And gorgeous.

Do you have a habit that drives your partner/friends/family nuts and what is it?
I’m perfect!

In your opinion, what makes a person attractive?
Wit and kindness.

What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
Llama meat stew  in the high Andes.

Would you rather have a classic 1969 convertible Mustang or have the use of a beach side condo any time you want?
Neither  actually, but if  forced to choose, it would be the Mustang.

And finally:

Would you rather survive an apocalyptic event (yes, even a zombie apocalypse) or die instantly without knowing what happened to your family and friends?

I’d rather shuffle off this mortal coil.

The backdrop is  sun-drenched Lake Garda where  church-mouse Tamsin Heriot, an English rose, pairs off with sexy, privileged Luca Leopoldo who’s half Italian half Somali. But Luca isn’t what he seems…
Orphaned, aged seven, when his childhood in Mogadishu is brutally destroyed, Luca is left emotionally broken.  Ragged and starving he seeks refuge in Italy where kindly aristocrats adopt him.
Ever since she was fifteen, Tamsin has had a crush on Luca and the summer before she goes to university, she’s determined to lose her virginity to him.
It’s eight years before their trajectories re-converge. Tamsin, still lusting after Luca, receives devastating news that triggers her return to the dilapidated family casa when an unexpected bond develops between her and Luca’s widowed, adoptive mother.
A Will alters what starts as a dalliance and there’s no shortcut to love, everything to lose, as the relationship between two wounded people, Luca and Tamsin, is pushed to meltdown.

Buy Links

Siren BookStrand:
(In 5 weeks time ALCHEMY will be available on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Apple iBooks, Kobo and Barnes & Noble).

I am eighteen, going on nineteen and have never been fucked. Tamsin morosely hummed her thoughts to the tune of Liesl and Rolf’s duet in “The Sound of Music” as she gazed at her reflection in the lopsided, oval bedroom mirror that scorching August day. The interior walls of La Casa della Fontana sloped, the floors listed, so straightening the mirror, in the crooked little house of the nursery rhyme, was routine. This grandly named, spectacularly moldering house in a picturesque village on Lake Garda had been snapped up by her bohemian parents, Patrick and Eve Heriot, on the back of a legacy from a crusty uncle, and it was from here that, for the past twenty-five years, they ran year-round painting and creative writing courses.
Tamsin’s first year at university beckoned in six weeks’ time. Below bold brows, large, gold-flecked hazel eyes set in a plump, milk-fresh face stared back at her and she sucked in her cheeks. She peeled off her nightie, courtesy of a thrift shop, her wardrobe mainstay, and sighed. Her luscious boobs owed nothing to silicon implants but her tummy was majestically rounded and there was no avoiding it, she was a dumpling who couldn’t afford liposuction.
Her spirits boosted as she brushed her hair. Licorice-dark, thick and glossy, it tumbled to her shoulders in loose curls. He would surely throw her down and lose himself in it. And those deep dimples when she smiled, which she’d almost forgotten how to.
The three graces – her trio of close girlfriends, all lissome and nubile with antelope legs, all clones of the hottest models - had been fucked, or so they bragged. Fucked by their brothers’ buddies, fucked by their fathers’ buddies, fucked by studs in one-night stands. Fucked against library shelves groaning with texts on particle physics, fucked in the swimming pool, fucked knee-deep in mud at Glastonbury, fucked on the hallowed green grass of Glyndebourne to the shrill vocals of Brünhilde wrapping up the immolation scene. There was no doubt they’d fucked and she claimed likewise, although disbelief was palpable and vociferously voiced when, with narrowed eyes, they compared notes. Well, this summer she’d get fucked, by hook or by crook. Her summer of love. The summer Cinderella would go to the ball. She refused to go down in history as the only virgin fresher.
She had A PLAN. A plan that had simmered gently all night after she’d masturbated whilst poring over “Bonking For Tyros” and munched her way through two bags of prawn flavored potato crisps. A plan she would implement at once.
A party of five couples was expected that evening on a week’s course. Patrick and Eve with Tamsin’s brother Gareth, six years older than her would, as usual, meet and greet them at Milan airport, herd them onto a minivan and, after two hours, speed proportionate to vehicle’s decrepitude, puttering down the autostrada, decant them at the casa. Nine-year-old Ruby, Patrick and Eve’s last hurrah, was vacationing in style in Ibiza, with her best friend Isla, at the hip, minimalist beach house owned by Isla’s family.
It was ten a.m. and Tamsin heard a rumble of bickering voices as the Heriots left. The minivan was temperamental, so plenty of time was allowed for mishaps. Tamsin was delegated to stay behind to lay the well-scrubbed, rough-hewn communal refectory table, to ensure the pre-cooked meal was properly defrosted and heated up and the wine was chambray-ing. That was an affectation of Gareth’s, since the Heriots could afford, and served, what could only be politely categorized as easy drinking.
She glanced down at the plan, although she’d no need to as she’d memorized it by heart.
Change bed linen and sprinkle lavender water.
Flash the flesh.
Buy condoms and new knickers.
Rehearse Luca pretext.
Ah Luca! Ever since she was fifteen, she’d had a crush on him. Her head swarmed with fantasies of the scion of Il Principe Salvatore Leopoldo di Monte Valla and Principessa Catarina. He, godlike, was sole heir to the noble title and extensive agricultural land holdings, to the sumptuous Leopoldo palazzo in Milan where masterpieces in oils by Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio and El Greco hung in proximity to canvases by Impressionists, Cubists and Fauvists. Comprising one of the most fabulous private art collections in the world, it was on loan to the Italian government. And few dynastic families in Italy possessed the twentyfour carat pedigree of the Leopoldos, who counted among their ancestors the Chief Treasurer to the Emperor Barbarossa, a Pope, a composer, two saints and Renaissance Ambassadors.
Yes! Tamsin swiftly executed items one and two, painted her finger and toenails a shimmering Chinese red, slapped a flash of azure on her eyelids and whirled down to make breakfast. Contemplating the third homemade roll with lashings of salty butter and gooseberry jam coursing through her arteries, she hesitated.

About the Author

Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and joined a London law firm.
Romance is hardwired into her DNA so her novels include a strong romantic theme. However, she broke out of the romance bubble with IN THE PINK, a quirky departure in style and content, that you can download free from her website until 1 August 2014.
She’s also written several short stories that feature on her blog
Fast forward to a sabbatical from the day job when Serena traded in bricks and mortar for a houseboat which, for a hardened land lubber like her, turned out to be a big adventure.
Apart from writing and reading (all kinds of books), a few of Serena’s favorite things are collecting old masks, singing (in the rain) and exploring off the beaten track.
She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, which is a very supportive organization. Serena and her golden retriever, Inspector Morse, who can't wait to unleash his own Facebook page, divide their time between London and rural Kent. (Charles Dickens said: Kent, sir. Everybody knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women). 

 Serena welcomes hearing from you, via the following sites.


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