~ Spotlight Interview with Tracey West ~ RTR
Q: What can you tell
readers about Nina Bruhns: the lady, the wife, the mother, and the
A: I guess
in all of the above I feel you only have
one chance to do it right in this world, so you better try to do your
while you can. There are so many people who are afraid to really live,
to show their feelings, so afraid to make a mistake that they shut
off from living life to the fullest out of pure fear. I try to do the
Sometimes that gets me into trouble, but I have very few regrets. I
fearlessness comes out in my books and makes them interesting and
least that’s what I’ve been told!
Q: There is
a lot more to your career than just your upcoming title, SWEET
SUSPICION due on
bookstores in February. What can you
tell us about your writing? How long have you been writing?
I came late to reading romance,
but after finishing my first one I was hooked! I’d long toyed with the
writing a mystery, but always thought an essential ingredient was
most mystery novels—the emotion. When I discovered romantic suspense,
about 3 seconds to realize this was what I wanted to write. I think my
characters and their stories tend to be unique. I enjoy writing about
situations that interest me, and those tend to be... um, different
also have been told my writing is very sensual and captures the
between a man and a woman well, along with the physical setting. I love
the setting another character in the book whenever possible (as in SINS
Q: You have
had many accolades, won many awards or been nominated for your
books, do you find that this puts more pressure on you when you are
your next book? Do you feel you have a
lot to live up to in terms of making this one better than the last?
Actually, no. I don’t think about it that way. I only think about
after the book is finished and out. Then I send it in to a few contests
that’s when I start worrying <G>.
Will they like it? Is it horrible? But I absolutely
don’t think about
awards while writing the book. Just the characters and the story. If
you’ll drive yourself crazy I’m sure.
Q: What is a
day like in your life? Do you have a strict writing schedule?
My daily goal is 5 pages a day. I don’t stop
if I go over, but really try to get my daily quota done so I don’t get
on deadlines, etc. Since I have kids, I try to do my writing while they
school during the day. I also bring my laptop and work at
Q: What do
you find the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?
The hardest: writing the last 3 chapters. By
then I just want to put all the characters on a plane and crash it.
kidding...sort of. But seriously, by the end of a book I feel as if
the characters forever and they’ve become good friends. I miss them
when they’re gone, even though I know they’re enjoying their
happily-ever-after. That’s why I like to revisit them in later books.
last 3 chapters you have to put them all through hell, and that’s
case anyone out there has been
misinformed, there is nothing easy about writing! Nothing I can think
anyway. ;D Okay, maybe coming up with new stories. If you’re a
that’s the easy part. There are always too many to choose from!
Q: Where do
you get your ideas, inspirations from?
Everywhere! I see plots in every
possible situation. Usually it’s something I see (a person or a scene
movie or something like that) that captures my imagination, and won’t
alone. What makes me go with a particular idea is if it ‘feels’ sexy
of interesting possibilities. There has to be a real chemistry in the
characters or it’s not my kind of story.
Q: Do you usually outline
stories before you write them, or do you "go with the flow"?
usually plan to the extent that I jot down 1-2 sentences about each
what happens, major plot points, etc, just so I don't go off on
tangents or get
lost, which is easy to do. Kills the pacing! But I don't usually plot
details far ahead, since they'll probably change by the time I get to
point in the book. That's how I prefer to work. A basic framework to
with, including GMC for the characters, then the actual story emerges
characters' interactions in the situations you place them in. Very
character-driven, which means plotting in advance is difficult for more
the broadest elements. So, it’s kind of
a combination of outline and go with the flow.
Q: Do you ever experience
block? If so, have you found your own ‘cure’ for it?
No, almost never. I realize if I
start getting blocked it means there’s something wrong with the plot
characters are trying to tell me something. So I listen and usually
there’s some flaw somewhere. Hopefully it’s fixable. If I just can’t
what comes next, I analyze the problem scene using the Scene and Sequel
which tells me exactly what needs to follow, structure-wise (highly
technique). Voila, no blocks.
Q: What is your biggest
there are way too many to choose just one. I guess if I had to pick
would be for sensual indulgence. Whether it be the taste of a piece of
chocolate, or the smell of wild orchids, or the fine hand of a bolt of
silk, or… well, I guess I could go on and on. But you get the idea. To
experience all the wonders we’ve been gifted with on this earth is my
Q: What are you reading
now? Do you
have any favorite authors?
A: I am
always reading something. Right now it’s a stack of Golden Heart
<G>. I have a ton of favorite authors and books. It’s impossible
narrow down the list! I also love discovering new ones, so my list is
ever-changing. Perennial faves are Linda Howard, Kathleen Eagle, Jane
Nora Roberts, Amanda Quick. But I love reading, and anyone who writes
on my list.
Q: You also write erotic romances under
the pseudonym of Nikita Black. Will we
see any other stories you have done in the future?
crossed! I am in the home stretch of SLAVE TO LOVE, an erotic thriller
been working on for years in-between SIM contracts. My plan is to have
by the end of February. So that would be the next release. I have a
Nikita books I’d love to write. The problem is time. I have to write my
first, because they pay the bills. I wish I could write more as Nikita,
Q: Did you find the
to be a bigger challenge for you than the straight romances?
A: Not at
all. In fact, in some ways they are easier. Since I’m writing them for
and my fans, and not to fit a guideline-driven publisher’s idea of what
into them, I have a lot more freedom to just let my subconscious take
over in a
way that’s not possible with a SIM. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing
but the books are definitely written within a certain framework that
always keep in mind. Not so Nikita. This last one (SLAVE) has
over and taken me places I had no idea I was going when I started it.
would not be possible in a straight romance.
Q: Were you nervous at
all on how
the public, your fans would react to the erotic romances?
really. They actually came first, so I didn’t have an established
readership to shock <G>. My
writing has always been the kind that elicits very different reactions
people. While unpublished, I constantly got 3s and 9s in the same
early on I realized you can’t please all the people, so you may as well
even try. I write the Nikita books with a certain kind of woman in
mind, and am
very careful to warn readers in advance what they’re getting into. I honestly don’t want to offend anyone. I
respect everyone’s taste and opinions. But there’s a big demand for the
edgy story Nikita writes, so I don’t let it worry me that some people
like them. That’s fine. But I was very
surprised at the overwhelming positive reaction they got, and all the
they won. That was fun.
Q: What did you want to
be when you
grew up? If you weren't an author, what would you want to be?
Growing up I wanted to be a big
band singer :D. Yeah, this was in the
age of heavy metal rock and roll. What can I say?
I weren’t an author… I guess if I
were still in my 20’s I’d probably join the FBI. I love the whole
thing, especially the big picture stuff (comes from being an
doubt). But I’m past FBI recruiting age <G>. Hmm. I could see
artsy movie theater/coffee shop/bookstore. I could also see owning a
tasteful erotic clothing store :D. Or
running a B&B somewhere on the beach.
Q: Do you need any props
Do you listen to mood music or light scented candles?
Just the computer and me. Preferably in total silence. A candle would
but with my luck I’d probably get so deep in my writing I’d burn the
Q: I have enjoyed all of
to-date and I have enjoyed every one of them immensely.
If I had to choose a favourite, I do not
think I could. What book is your
<G>. But if pressed, I guess of
all the books I’ve written so far, my personal favorite is SWEET
only by a hair. I love all my books because I love my characters.
Q: What makes a hero
you? What hero is your favorite that you have written to date?
A hero must be drop-dead sexy from word one. He has
to be heroic toward
the heroine at all times, even if he treats rest of the world with
has to look good in jeans <G>. I love a wounded alpha-male. A man
knows what he wants and knows how to go about getting it. But he needs
heroine to heal and be whole again. As for my own heroes, they’re all
so much a
part of me it’s impossible to pick one over the other. If I were stuck
desert island it would have to be Jacque <G>. But if I had 3
Cole would be the one for sure. Still, Auri is the hero who tugs most
heartstrings. On the other hand, all the heroes I’ve created have been
guys and I love every one of them.
Q: What do you hope
readers to take
with them after reading one of your books?
A: A warm
feeling in their heart, a tear in their eye and a smile on their face.
they have laughed and cried, and come away thinking that true love can
happen, no matter how impossible it seems.
Q: Do you think there is
about you that readers would be shocked to discover?
No doubt. I look innocent and proper, but inside lurks a wildwoman!
Q: Are there any goals
that you set
for yourself when you began writing that you still have yet to obtain?
A: Oh, tons
of them. I think if you fulfill your all goals you haven’t made the
You constantly have to challenge yourself and strive for that which is
of reach or things get boring.
Q: What are some of your
hopes/dreams for the future, with respect to your writing?
A: I look
forward to getting a million dollar contract, a juicy Hollywood deal,
staying #1 on the New York Times list for twenty weeks running. :D Like I said, you gotta dream big! But
seriously, just to do this for a living is a dream come true. Anything
more is gravy.
I’d just like to be able to continue writing stories that my fans love.
all I really want.
Q: Your book coming out
2004, SWEET SUSPICION, is a spin off of SWEET REVENGE (previously
2002), what can you tell us about it?
Who are the characters and what connection do they
have to SWEET
This one features Grace
Summerville’s (from SWEET REVENGE) wild twin, Muse Summerville, as the
The hero is Remi Beaulieux, of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and also SWEET
I got so much reader mail on him he had to get his own book! The two
take place during the same period of time, involve the same mystery,
actually come together at one point toward the end. We get to see Grace
Creole from SWEET REVENGE in cameo appearances, along with Beau and Kit
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Here’s the back cover blurb:
He had to stop kissing her…
Muse Summerville was the only
witness whose testimony could put a notorious crime boss behind bars.
Beaulieux was the FBI special agent assigned to her safety. The FBI had
about that sort of thing. But in the twenty-four hours since he laid
her, Remi had broken every last one of them.
For years Muse had hidden behind
reputation as a party girl. But sharing every moment of every day---and
sultry second of every night---with her sexy protector was making it
hide anything. Suddenly her life wasn’t the only thing on the line.
Q: Will you have more
released in 2004?
A: Yes, Ghost
Of A Chance comes out in
September 2004. Here’s the blurb:
She was imagining
Clara Fergussen loves pirates. And the sultry
atmosphere of the South Carolina sea islands certainly
sorts of fantasies. But when the sexy buccaneer Clara dreamed of her
night on Frenchman’s Island suddenly walks in and
declares himself to be 200 year-old
Tyree St. James, the notorious Blackbeard of Magnolia Cove, she knows
losing it badly. There are no such things as ghosts… Are there?
All Tyree wants is to spend the last
week of his two century curse in peace and quiet. But the sudden
a young, beautiful travel writer on his remote estate puts him in mind
he will miss about life on earth. Unfortunately, falling in love won’t
his imminent, permanent demise. That would take a miracle…
Q: Is there anything at
would like to add Nina, that we have not covered?
that I love to hear from readers! Please feel free to drop me an email
time. I also have a newsletter that I send out about two or three times
if you’d like to get all the latest news about both Nina and Nikita
To join, go to my website and click on Newsletter.
learn more about Nina Bruhns and her stories by visiting her website at
and also Nikita Black information can be found at http://www.nikitablack.com