I am the author of The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels and its sequel, due out next March, The League of Gentlewomen Witches. I live in a coastal village in New Zealand, where I spend my days writing and drinking too much tea. Unlike the characters in my novels, I’m a goody two shoes; the naughtiest thing I’ve ever done is row a leaky dinghy through a storm after my parents forbade it. But one can’t live in New Zealand without inevitably falling into some escapade, such as getting lost in the forest, swimming with dolphins, and chasing a giant mythical wallaby across an island. I guess it’s no surprise I turned to writing light-hearted adventure romances.
My debut, The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels, is a historical fantasy romcom about lady pirates in an alternate Victorian England. Cecilia Bassingthwaite is the perfect lady, prim, proper, and always concerned with good manners. She’s also a thief. To her great delight, a rival employs a rogue pirate to assassinate her, a career development which is a real feather in her cap. But when her aunt is abducted by a madman, Cecilia finds herself teaming up with this would-be assassin to save her aunt – and all of England. Featuring dangerous women in flying houses, dreamy men in tight trousers, and an idiots to lovers plotline that takes you from literary allusions all the way through to explosions.
Read a lot and widely. But more than that, read mindfully, looking at why successful authors made the choices they did at plot, paragraph, and word level. Think about why their stories work so well, and how you can apply their craft techniques using your own unique voice. Get to know the rules of your chosen genre, and understand why those rules are important before you consider how you can manipulate or break them for your purpose. And finally, develop patience. Writing is a long game.