Jen: Today we welcome another Author After Dark author to Romancing the Book! Liliana Hart, will you share a short bio with us?
Liliana: New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Liliana Hart has published more than 20 books, including the popular MacKenzie Family series. After starting her first novel her freshman year of college, she immediately became addicted to writing and knew she’d found what she was meant to do with her life. She has no idea why she majored in music.
Liliana is an avid reader and a believer in all things romance. Her books are filled with witty dialogue, steamy sex, and the all-important happily-ever-afters her romantic soul craves. Since self-publishing in June of 2011, she’s sold more than half a million ebooks all over the world. She lives in Texas with her husband and four children, and they occasionally let her meet her deadlines.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Liliana: SINS AND SCARLET LACE is the next book in my MacKenzie Family Series and it features Declan MacKenzie, who is a not so polished James Bond-type/man of mystery. Sophia Huxley is the heroine and she and Dec already have a tumultuous past. So much so that she married another man after Dec broke her heart.
I really struggled writing Dec’s book because I knew he’d been built up to be a larger than life character in previous books, so I knew he had to live up to those expectations in his own book. I feel like I accomplished that and fans will fall in love with Declan MacKenzie even more than they were. What makes him so great is that he’s such an Alpha character, but Sophia is more than his match and through it all how much he loves her is always at the root of the story.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Liliana: I am definitely a pantser. I’ll usually have a vague idea about the plot or I’ll see a key scene in my head, but I never know until I write it what actually happens. It makes it much more interesting for me to be as surprised as the reader while I’m writing. It drives my husband crazy because I’ll be writing and then all of a sudden I’ll burst out with a gasp and say, “I can’t believe he just said that,” or “Why did he just do that? He ruined everything.” And then my husband is like, “You realize you’re a crazy person, right? You just wrote that stuff. How can you be surprised by what they say?” Which technically I know is true, but that’s the beauty of not plotting. I get immersed in the story to the point where I’m like an observer of what’s happening on the page instead of writing it.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Liliana: My routine starts with the alarm going off at 6am and the kids getting up for school. I mostly just stand there slack-jawed and droopy-eyed, hoping they put their clothes on right-side-out. No caffeine yet.
My husband takes the kids to school and I immediately check email and answer anything that’s super important. I also check Facebook and Twitter to see if I missed anything during the six hours I was sleeping. I also take my turn on all of the Words With Friends games I have going.
It’s now 8:30am and my husband walks through the door with a giant cup of caffeine. My head clears and I hope I didn’t say anything too incoherent in the emails I answered earlier. It’s now time to write since I can think. I have a 1500 word per day goal, so I’ll sometimes finish before noon, but sometimes I don’t finish until midnight. It just depends.
At noon I’ll check email and social media again, and then my husband and I will grab some lunch and catch up on the business side of the book business.
After lunch I get back to the computer and write until the kids come home at 4pm. Then it’s homework/family time until they go to bed, and then I get the computer back out and do more social media and email responses. I’ll end the day by reading in bed for a couple of hours.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Liliana: I carry pen and paper on me at all times. I’ve had to pull over on the side of the road before to jot down an idea. I have a notepad by the bed when I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea. I’ve also written ideas on napkins in restaurants or on the back of my hand. Ideas can come from anywhere at anytime. I have to be ready.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Liliana: I loved to the research aspect of KILL SHOT. I love history, so I spent a lot of time reading World War II history, most specifically about Adolf Hitler and his personal life. I was an art history minor in college, so I knew I wanted to bring Hitler’s love of art into the book somehow as well. I also did the standard research on weapons and bombs, which I’m always terrified I’m going to end up on FBI watch lists, but so far so good.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Liliana: Ooh, I have a lot of favorite authors. Linda Howard, Diana Gabaldon, Julie Garwood, J.D. Robb, Lee Child, and Elizabeth Lowell are all automatic buys for me. I’m currently reading HIGHLANDER MOST WANTED by Maya Banks.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Liliana: Up next is KILL SHOT, which releases on May 14th. Gabe Brennan is a familiar character from my MacKenzie series, but this book is the first in a whole new series called The Collective. Gabe and Grace are absolutely my favorite characters in all the books I’ve written. Their chemistry is electric, and this series is quite a bit darker than my MacKenzie series. It’s a true romantic thriller, and I can’t wait for my readers to get their hands on it.