author, Christmas Yet to Come
Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)
I was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in Dubai, studied in Texas and live in Toronto. For now. My background is in science, and I work as a medical laboratory technologist, but I love writing romance and fantasy. I make my own bookmarks with calligraphy, grow tomatoes in the backyard, and read everything.
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
I’m not sure I’d survive the experience. But while there are dozens of countries I’d love to see, I could travel to them all on my own. If my publisher is sending me anywhere in the world, I’ll pick a location I could never get to otherwise. There’s no red-eye flight to the South Pole.
Most writers are readers. What are some of the books you have on your nightstand and/or on your "must read" list?
My three favorite novels are Gone with the Wind, The Fountainhead—controversial books, but if some aspects of them work brilliantly for me, I can ignore the problematic parts—and Watership Down.
Two books I’d like to read soon are Helen Oyeyemi’s White is for Witching and Pamela Morsi’s Courting Miss Hattie. I think that’s the only one of her historical romances I’ve missed out on.
Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance? Do you write steamy romance as well?
All my other romances are steamy, but the Ghosts of Christmas novellas stay sweet.
These stories start with a ghost who becomes human, and who struggles to adapt to her new circumstances over the next day or two—all the time she has before Christmas. So while she falls for the only man who knows her secret, they don’t go further than kisses.
The stories also take place in Victorian England, so it felt much more natural to keep the heat level to a simmer rather than a boil.
What are the elements of a great romance for you?
Romances are like cakes. There’s such a dazzling variety of ingredients that can go into one to make a delicious treat, so readers have plenty of choice. I love strong independent heroines and commanding confident heroes who nevertheless have a sense of humor or a vulnerable side (Rhett Butler again, sigh). I want to close the book knowing that these two will have a wonderful future together. Diversity, a vividly realized setting and well-written love scenes matter to me too.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
That no matter how difficult real life is, you get to give someone a happy ending.
Please share about your book.
When banker Justin Welland discovers a woman shivering on his doorstep, only the heavy snow and the lateness of the hour make him offer her a room for the night. His servants are away for Christmas, he works too hard to celebrate, and the woman is wearing nothing except a strange shroudlike garment.
Which doesn’t conceal how lovely she is, but his fascination turns to stunned disbelief when she walks through the wall of his bedroom. She claims she’s a spirit—the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come—and she’s seen a vision of his death. Justin gives the gloomy prediction the scoff it deserves, but discovering that she has never celebrated the season herself makes him feel differently. That he can change. He’ll decorate his empty house somehow, so she’ll enjoy her first Christmas. Even if she believes it will be his last Noel.
If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be?
Silent faceless wraith becomes human.
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
She’s the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, now turned into a human. He’s a workaholic banker who wants to create a special Christmas for a woman, even though he has no idea how.
Do you have a favorite character you have written so far?
Yerena Fin Caller, in my fantasy romance The Deepest Ocean. When she was eight, the guild Seawatch bonded her to a great white shark, hence her name. She now has a mental and empathic connection to the shark, so the two of them scout for warships. Seawatch’s ruthless training has left her emotionally repressed and obedient to the point of amorality.
Then she’s ordered to join Captain Darok Juell’s crew. Darok is the opposite of her—reckless, passionate, warm-hearted—and he draws her out of her shell as they sail deep into pirate waters to rescue prisoners. Except Yerena’s secret orders are to sink his ship.
…Thank you for the interview, and have a wonderful festive season! J