Bianca was born in Germany, spent her formative years in London and just got her US passport, but she considers herself a world citizen. She lives in Los Angeles because that’s where they make movies and she used to work on them. She writes novels because that’s kind of like making a movie in people’s heads and because she just loves books. Bianca has one son, because that’s all she can handle and she tolerates her husband because, well, she loves him and there is no help for that.
Oh yeah, and there is a cat.
What was the funniest mistake you’ve made as a writer?
Well, there is the whole thing of wasting the better part of ten years of my life on trying to write the next great American novel.
There was one funny thing that happened with this book. In the last round of galleys I caught a spelling mistake that was probably created by spellcheck and missed by me, beta readers, my editor, my line editor and me again. I managed to refer to organza as simmering instead of shimmering.
Have you done any projects that took you way out of your comfort zone?
Promoting myself takes me out of my comfort zone. I am doing a lot of that right now.
Who’s your favorite character you’ve written so far and why?
Henry, without a doubt. He is the man I wish I was married to.
What’s the craziest story idea you’ve ever had?
I have a project with vampires I’m sitting on right now. It’s a really fun project, but so far I have not had much time to work on it.
What project are you looking forward to next?
I’m in the middle of writing the next Sir Henry Mystery. There are two more books in the series and I may write two companion novellas as well.
Any basic writing tips?
Never assume prior knowledge on the part of the reader.
How do you come up with character names?
I had a lot of fun with the character names in this book. Virtually every one of them means something to me. Three lucky guesses where I borrowed Henry and Eliza from.
How do you decide where to set a story?
I like to know the locations I set scenes in intimately so I can add detail. Luckily I have lived in a few interesting places in the world and visited a few more.
How do you manage world-building? Is it all thought out ahead of time, or do you make it up as you go?
I don’t like to plan to much ahead, but I’m a history buff so I know a lot about the time period I write about beforehand.
Do you find it more difficult to write your first draft or to revise?
The first draft is the most difficult but also the most fun because I never know where it’s going to take me.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Write a good book, of course.
Seriously though, write something you will have fun with because there is no guarantee you will ever get anything other then the shear joy of writing the project out of it.
Do you have a favorite line or two that you’d like to share?
And one of my favorite scenes:
“Sir Henry, if you could, who, out of all the people we read about, would you like to have to tea?”
Henry didn’t even hesitate. “Rob Roy! He seems an interesting fellow.”
She laughed. “You might have a difficult time getting him to take you up on your invitation; you are English after all!”
He leaned his head to the side for a moment considering, then nodded. “Good point! Who would you want to ask to tea? Mr. Darcy?”
Eliza shook her head in dismay. “Too broody, he would scare me.”
“Mr. Bingley then?”
She shook her head again but a tiny smile played around her lips. “Too fickle!”
Henry raised an eyebrow and tapped his lip, trying to think. “Dr. Frankenstein?”
Eliza made a big show of swallowing hard but couldn’t quite stop the smile from broadening on her face. “I’m not sure he would be fit company for tea. He seems a little unhinged.”
Henry huffed, feigning impatience with the game. “Don’t tell me you want to have William Collins for tea?”
Eliza laughed out loud and crossed her eyes at him, which made him laugh. “Well, who then?”
She smiled and spread her hands out to the side, a little surprised Henry had not guessed. “Colonel Brandon, of course.”
“Ah, the sensible choice.”
It was Eliza’s turn to huff a little. “Sensible maybe, but he is trustworthy and steadfast, a good friend to all around him.” Eliza gave a triumphant nod, believing the subject closed and helped herself to a scone.
If you could instantaneously master one writing skill, what would you choose and why?
Spelling. I am horribly dyslexic and need to get everything I write proofread since the spellcheck frequently can’t figure out what I’m talking about. It makes for some very funny mistakes sometimes, but it does horrible things to my confidence.
What author’s style do you admire the most?
I love Lucinda Brant. She has incredible historical detail and her stories are always more then a romance. Some of them are mysteries as well, and my favorite, SALT BRIDE, is a thriller.
What is the single most important quality in a novel; what must an author do to win you over?
An author has to entertain me. If I’m emotionally engaged and/or love the writing and want to read the book because I’m entertained, I can deal with almost any subject. To me the first rule of successful writing is: NEVER BORE YOUR READERS! Boring them, to me, is a cardinal sin.
If your writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do with your success?
I would move my family out of the big city and hire a housekeeper to take care of us all whilst I spend my days writing the next book in my very own room overlooking the Pacific.
I would probably devote some of my time and lend my voice to various causes.
Oh and we would have to be close enough to a major airport so I could jetset around the world to my signings and readings.
You can find out more about Bianca Schwarz at http://biancamschwarz.com.