Harlequin Author Interview
Read our interview with the Harlequin author
Manga by Miranda Lee
The Wedding-Night AffairPreviewSee Details
The Billionaire's Bride of ConveniencePreviewSee Details
The Playboy's VirginPreviewSee Details
The Passion PricePreviewSee Details
The Secret Love-Child Secret Passions 2PreviewSee Details View All Manga by This Author>>
All Author Interviews
All Artist Interviews
Could you please introduce yourself?
My writing name is Miranda Lee. I am Australian and live in the seaside town of Terrigal on the Central Coast of New South Wales, about an hour and a half drive north of Sydney. I am happily married to Tony and have three daughters who are all grown up now. I had my first romance published by Harlequin in 1990 ("After the Affair"), and have since had more than ninety books published by them.
How did you become an author for Harlequin?
I was at home with three small children and unable to go to work. My sister - Emma Darcy - suggested I should write romances, like she did. I took her advice, but I had to submit manuscripts for several years before I was offered a contract.
What made you want to become a writer? Have you always wanted to be one?
Initially, I started writing because I was bored staying at home and wanted to somehow earn my own money, rather than rely on my husband. I didn't always want to be a writer, but I have always loved books and movies, and have been told I was a great storyteller when I was at boarding school.
Who are your favorite authors?
Naturally, I love Emma Darcy, plus all the Australian authors who write for Harlequin. I think they are the best ever. In mainstream, I love Penny Vincenzi, Marian Keyes, Daniel Silva, James Clavell, Jeffrey Archer, Ayn Rand and John Grisham. They are all great storytellers.
What's your favorite book?
An impossible question for a lover of books. As a young girl, books such as "Anne of Green Gables", "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights" captured my imagination. As an older reader, I adored "Shogun" by James Clavell, which was set in your fascinating country of Japan. Then there was the brilliant "Fountainhead", by Ayn Rand, which resonated in my head and my heart for a long time. Recently, I enjoyed "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy. The heroine, Lisbeth Salander, is a brilliant character. Flawed, but strong and intelligent. A real survivor.
Which of your books do you like most and why?
First of all let me say that I like all of my books. I write to please myself first and hope that others might like the same things I do. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. But as they say, you can't please all the people all the time. There are two books which I simply adored writing and which have proven very popular over the years. "Maddie's Love-Child" and "The Secret Love-Child". Do you see a theme here? I enjoyed writing these heroines who were not traditional. Definitely not virgins. They were actually on the naughty side. Strong, willful women who knew what they wanted and went after it. I liked that.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Straight out of my head. Of course, the brain is like a sponge so I'm sure many of my stories have been subconsciously inspired by books I have read and movies I have seen. I have no trouble thinking up stories. The problem is actually writing them down.
How do you choose your characters' names?
With great care. A character's name - especially for the hero and heroine - has to be just right. Their name must fit their character and have the right sound. I use a name book and will search for ages for the right one. I am writing a book at the moment and decided to call my heroine Jasmine, which is a lovely name. But my heroine proved not to be a Jasmine at all, so I have changed her to Alice, which is exactly right for her cool persona.
Have you ever read one of your stories as a manga? If so, what did you think of it?
I wouldn't say I have actually read a manga as I cannot read Japanese, but I always look through them when they arrive in the mail to see how my stories have been translated into pictures. I love the fact that there are now English language manga titles.
How long does it take you to write a book?
When I was younger, I was a very fast writer. I could do four books a year quite easily. I actually wrote the "Hearts of Fire" series (six books) in less than a year. But now I am a much slower writer, mostly due to other commitments and family demands. Recently, however, I committed myself to a trilogy which I will have completed by the end of this year, so that is one book every four months. Still, I won't be keeping up that pace. I hope to write two books a year from now on.
Do you have any advice to give aspiring authors?
Don't expect to have the first book you write published. It does happen, but rarely. You must do your apprenticeship like you do in any job. You must read a lot and write a lot. Study books on writing (I still do). Go to conferences about writing. Immerse yourself in the craft. When you actually write, write about what you know and what you like. If you must write about a subject you know little about, do your research. Last but not least - don't give up.
How do you spend an average day?
I rise early (sixish), have a mug of black coffee while I watch TV or play games on my iPad. I am showered, dressed and breakfasted before I get Zac up and ready for school (our fifteen-year-old grandson lives with us). I do whatever housework needs to be done by nine, then I turn on my laptop and write till twelve. My brain works best in the morning. At noon I stop for lunch and watch the news with my husband, Tony, usually followed by watching a short lifestyle program. I will then lie down and read till Zac comes home from school. I then take the dog for a run; I have a Jack Russell terrier/beagle which I rescued from the dog pound. After that I drink wine and cook dinner when it is my turn (my husband and I take it in turns). If it is not my turn to cook, I just drink the wine. I do this every day except Monday, which is my shopping and non writing day. We go to dinner at a nearby club every Wednesday. At the weekend we occasionally go to a movie or to a family barbecue.
Do you have any interests other than reading?
I like to gamble (slot machines), but I hate to lose money so I only do this once a week, with a specific limit. I have loved sport all my life, and over the years have played netball, golf and bowls. I might go back to bowls once my grandson is finished his schooling. Meanwhile, I enjoy walking along the beach and watching sport on TV. I'm not a girlie girl, though I do like to look nice. I hate shopping for clothes, have very little jewelry and only wear perfume because my three daughters buy it for me. I love swimming when it's hot and the water is warm enough.
Do you have a favorite place to write?
Yes. My laptop sits on top of a bookcase in our family room. I stand to write these days, as years of sitting at the computer have damaged my derriere and it is painful to sit for too long. This bookcase is near a window which overlooks our backyard and swimming pool. I can also watch the TV at the same time. I don't like to lock myself away when I write, although when I really focus, everything else fades into the distance. Tony knows not to actually talk to me when I write, as this breaks my concentration. I try to write at least a thousand words during a writing session.
Next Week's Interview>> Natsu Momose