The scribe in my Spotlight this week claims that star-crossed lovers are her specialty. And readers, based on her extensive backlog of over two dozen releases under her belt, Rosanna Leo tells no lies! From shifters in a nature lodge to badass bosses in Vegas casinos, this author has crafted a page-turning main character for almost every kind of romance reader.
Read on as Rosanna dishes about her latest project A Good Man (yes, she writes about handsome handymen, too!), how her grandfather’s wartime memories inspired her to write, and the author she’d love to have in a writing brainstorm session!
In a few sentences, tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks so much for hosting me, Eliza! I’m happy to be here. I’m a romance author from Toronto, Canada. I came to writing via a circuitous route after spending time in a number of jobs: a classical soprano, library employee, tourism representative and even working for a large Canadian meat company. (I think it might have been selling hot dogs that made me long for something more.) I’ve always written on the sly and am so glad I can now call it a career. I’m married, with two teenage boys, and a tabby cat named Sweetie.
What do you love most about the craft of writing?
I love the rush when a scene comes together. If I can make myself laugh or cry, I know I’m onto something and it’s so nice knowing I might be able to inspire emotion in others. It’s one of those intangible pursuits. You may not always know you’re on the right track, but when you’ve reached your destination, it becomes clear.
Tell us about your latest project.
My latest book is A Good Man (Handymen #1). This contemporary romance is the start of a new series, one set in my hometown of Toronto. My first three heroes will be Michael, Eli and Nick Zorn, three brothers who not only own their own contracting business, they are also Canadian TV stars. As the hosts of “Handymen,” they help couples realize their renovation dreams.
The heroine of A Good Man is Emily Daniels. Emily is a guest on Handymen and hopes to turn her grandmother’s old home in Little Italy into the base of her organic food business. She has a major crush on Michael Zorn, the hero of book 1 … but is engaged. When her fiancé breaks her heart, the attraction between Emily and Michael flares. However, when she realizes Michael is battling a heartbreaking case of PTSD, it becomes clear they might both have to fight for their relationship.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I remember writing an essay about my grandfather’s experiences in WWII when I was 12. The essay won a couple of awards in my school system and I got the bug. It’s so powerful when people respond to the words you put on the page. I’ve been writing since then, more or less.
What drew you to writing romance?
I’ve always enjoyed romance and no matter what I’ve tried to write, for me, the most important element was always the love story. It became clear I needed to write romance. I like the fact it offers hope and shows us the best in people. I also love the fact it often takes damaged souls and repairs them.
Which book(s) have influenced your writing style the most?
Rather than particular books, I can offer up the names of the authors who have inspired my journey in romance. Some of my faves include Kathy Love, Erin McCarthy, Molly Harper and Meg Cabot. My writing style is reminiscent of what you would find in these ladies’ books.
~’…no matter what I’ve tried to write…the most important element was always the love story.’~
Share a piece of your work that showcases your writing style best.
I’d love to share this excerpt from A Good Man:
Emily threw herself at him and wrapped her arms around his torso, cutting off his words and his breath. Only when he hugged her back did he realize how hard she was quivering.
She wasn’t just crying about the old photos.
“It’s okay, Em. Let it out, sweetheart.”
The collar of his shirt grew wet but he didn’t care. Wardrobe had tons of shirts. Besides, she felt good in his arms, all soft and warm. He rubbed her shoulders and the back of her waist, exploring and familiarizing himself with her luscious body. He breathed, drinking in her scent. His nasal cavities had never known such bliss. It was like that first clear breath after a long period of congestion. His fingers were pretty happy too, enjoying the give of her womanly body. It was all he could do not to slide them down, cup her sweet ass, and pull her up against him.
Just not while she was crying over another man.
She lingered in his arms and he did nothing to push her away. In fact, it surprised him how badly he wanted to keep her there, so much so that when Emily finally extricated herself, he wanted to pull her back into his embrace. Instead, he wiped her cheeks of the remaining tears.
“The makeup ladies are going to kill me for making you cry.”
It might have been his imagination, but her tears made her eyes appear even greener. In fact, her entire face seemed a riot of tempting color. Each shade called to him. The crushed roses in her cheeks. Her strawberry lips, so plump and moist. Even the doeskin brown of her freckles fascinated him to no end. He wanted to count them, to kiss and mark them all.
Kissing her made a whole lot of sense right now. Kissing her senseless seemed even better.
Emily’s eyes widened. Her lips parted in invitation. Michael paused, knowing it was wrong, even though every raised hair on his arms told him it was right.
As he debated with himself for a split second, she brushed her lips against his. It was quick and soft, hunger masquerading as something platonic. Even though a spectator might have called it a friendly kiss, he knew the truth. As brief as it may have been, he felt her yield to him, even if just a little.
From the startled look in her eye, Emily knew it too.
She took a step back. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”
“You’re right. I should have been the one to do it.” Michael licked his lips. “Your lips really do taste like strawberries.”
Name three of your best writing tips.
- Keep at it, regularly.
- Read from different genres, as much as you can.
- Don’t put it off until tomorrow.
Dead or alive, name the writer you wish were your mentor and why.
Ooh! Great question. I would love to have a brainstorming session with the incredible Diana Gabaldon. She’s so talented.
What would you say is your own interesting writing quirk?
I’m not too quirky when I write but I do require a quiet place and lots of coffee. No coffee shops for me – they’re too loud. And I like having my cat Sweetie around because her snores are soothing.
Shout out an indie writer whose work you love.
I have several but Jessica Cale has a wonderful historical romance series set in post-Fire London. It’s exquisite.
Do you have any specific writing goals in your radar?
Honestly? Just getting better, day by day.
Thanks for joining us today, Rosanna. Readers, feel free to stalk this sexy author at the following links:
Website & Blog: www.rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com