editor's choice



There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

–Ernest Hemingway


MOST WRITERS WOULD AGREE WITH HEMINGWAY. Although many of us use laptops these days. Writing is job like any other and to be good at it you have to be committed and put the time in. It’s not the easiest or most rewarding of jobs at times, not least because most people have hectic, busy lives and are juggling family, friends and, often, other work to do it. But when the muse strikes, it’s the best job in the world.  Here, Carole Mortimer, romance writer extraordinaire and well-deserved recipient of the prestigious RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, gives us a glimpse into her world as she prepares for publication of her indie book, Renegade Alpha (24 July), while finishing another book and preparing her family for the RITA awards and New York. A hugely successful writer of more than 200 novels, Carole is an extremely committed wife and mother – and a great NCIS fan.




I’m up by 8 o’clock with a coffee in hand. Coffee is always the first order of the day as I can’t function without that first cup. I then look at my emails, Twitter and Facebook, replying to anything which urgently needs 71bGj40QD8L._UX250_addressing, including an email I received from my US editor on Renegade Alpha (Alpha 5) on the subject of edits. Thankfully it’s mainly punctuation, and one paragraph that needs more clarification. I decide to delve into making the changes this morning, so that I can return to writing Warrior Alpha (Alpha 6) later this evening. After a few hours I break off to make lunch for my husband and youngest son, Peter, who is home from university for the summer now.

After lunch its housework – not my favourite thing, but it’s not going to do itself, so it has to be done. Conscious that I still have work to do, I clean the house as quickly as possible and then return to my emails in the afternoon. I’ve received one from my editor at Harlequin Mills & Boon. We’re trying to arrange a time at the RWA conference in New York to meet up and celebrate me being given the Nora Roberts’ Lifetime Achievement Award. The schedule is fierce, so we’re having a problem nailing down a time, but I‘m sure we’ll work something out. I send off some more personal photographs to the RWA for the awards presentation they’re preparing.

Its dinner time so I cook a family meal, and then have time to relax afterwards and watch my favourite programme, NCIS, for a couple of hours – got to love Mark Harmon as Gibbs! After time with my family, I send Renegade Alpha back to my US editor for proofreading with the edits she recommended. Then it’s back to work for a couple of hours, writing Warrior Alpha. This is the sixth book in my best-selling Indie ‘Alpha’ romantic suspense series, due to be published early October. Finally, I make it to bed at 1 o’clock in the morning.




Up by 8. Coffee. Emails, Twitter, Facebook. My son Josh is sorting out some promo for me for my release of Renegade Alpha on 24 July and after reviewing the options we decide where and how to promote it. I then return to my emails. I’ve received one from Tule Publishing, regarding my ‘Bad Boy’ book, Pursued by the Devil, which its publishing on 27 August 27. They need the buy links to my ‘Alpha’ series for the back of the book, and need an author photo, which I send them. I then write for 3 hours on Warrior Alpha. After a cold lunch, my US editor has proofread the changes to Renegade Alpha, and confirms it’s now ready for formatting and publishing. I contact another one of my sons, Matthew, who is my formatter for the Alpha series.

While my Harlequin Mills & Boon books are all edited, formatted, printed and uploaded online by their in-house team, for my indie ‘Alpha’ series, I do all of that myself. I now have a wonderful team around me, a US editor, the fantastic Jo, who designs my website and covers, a marketer in my son, Josh, and a formatter in my son, Matthew. Once Matthew has formatted it, I will then upload the finished book up to the e-retailers myself. It’s a big operation and a lot of hard work doing an indie series but it’s a great feeling doing it all myself and having complete control over contents, covers, publishing dates etc.

I, then, return to my not-so-favourite thing; more housework … Does it never stop? I decide to clean the sitting room today, leaving enough time after dinner for another dose of Gibbs and NCIS. By 11 pm I’m back at my laptop. Again it’s another late night, as I write for 2 hours on Warrior Alpha – my hero Nikolai is so gorgeous I can’t wait for my readers to meet him. My son, Matt, sends me an email with the formatted copy of Renegade Alpha, at midnight. I fire back a quick reply of appreciation, as he must have spent the last few hours working on it non-stop. I make a note to check it over in the morning, ready to upload it to Amazon and Smashwords.



Coffee. Emails, Twitter, Facebook. I announce the winners on social media of the competition I launched last week in my monthly newsletter. Five subscribers have won a signed copy of my HMB Regency, Griffin Stone: Duke of Decadence, due out on 1 August. I also email each winner just in case they don’t see the announcement on Facebook – it’s important to interact with my readers, because without them there would be no point in my writing. I check the formatting for Renegade Alpha. Once again Matt’s done a great job formatting, and I upload the final version onto Amazon and Smashwords, ready for its release date on 24 July. Again it’s time for lunch, washing in the afternoon, and then cooking dinner. Then more Gibbs and NCIS. But afterwards, I again get back to writing, as I find the evening to be one of my most productive times to write. I’ve written half of Warrior Alpha in the space of 3 weeks. The words are flowing smoothly onto the screen tonight, and before I know it, its 2 am – and time for bed.




Up by 8. Coffee. Emails, Twitter, Facebook. I need to finalise some details for my trip to New York on 21 July for the RWA conference. I order my dollars online, confirm my hotel and flight details are correctly booked. Then I have the mammoth task of sorting out ESTAs  – the visa waiver pass that US customs require us to have to enter the country. My whole family is coming to join me at the RWA conference to see me collect my Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, and we’re having a family holiday together afterwards. With 10 passes to order – my husband, 6 sons, 2 daughter-in-laws and 3-month-old granddaughter, Aoife, it takes me over an hour to do. I then squeeze in 3 hours of writing on Warrior Alpha, before lunch.

After lunch I go food shopping. Just as well, because another of my sons, Michael, rings as I’m preparing dinner, to say he’ll be down to stay with us tomorrow for the weekend, so I make a mental note to make sure a spare bed is made up for him. Then more NCIS, and finally back to work on Warrior Alpha at 11pm on which I work until 2 am.




Up by 8. Coffee. Make Michael’s bed. Emails, Twitter, Facebook. I send emails to confirm the dates of the five blogs I’m writing this month. They take a while to write but they’re invaluable as a great way for reaching readers, website owners, and bloggers. I turn my attention to my New York trip. My diary is really filling up for the 5 day RWA conference. Luckily a lot of them are breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings – usually I don’t have time to eat during the conference, so it’ll be a nice change. When the postman arrives, he has a package for me. It’s the jacket I’ve had made for the RWA Awards ceremony. It’s gorgeous and exactly what I wanted. In the afternoon I speak on the telephone with several of my sons. Everyone is so excited about our NY trip. Then it’s dinner, more NCIS, and I continue working on Warrior Alpha until 2 am.




We have Michael and Peter junior and two of our other sons and their families with us today. David and my daughter-in-law, Claire, with grandchildren, Jake and Ruth. Josh, who lives locally, and hasn’t seen David for months is coming with my other daughter-in-law, Esther, and their new baby, Aoife. It’s lovely having a new baby in the family again. With so many people around there’s no time for housework, thank goodness. I make a buffet lunch, as that’s easiest when there are a lot of us. The weather is glorious too, so we eat outside. When our two sons and their families depart, I manage to do a little gardening in the afternoon – the beds need weeding. Michael and Peter Jr, are online gaming, as usual. My husband and I sit down together in the evening for a well-earned rest after a hectic day of visitors, and I decide not to work tonight.




Sunday is the day I have a lie in until 10 o’clock. My husband’s very kindly brought me coffee and biscuits in bed. I read for a couple of hours – which is another favourite thing, but a luxury. Once I’m up, I put the meat in the oven for Sunday lunch, I change the beds and clean the bedrooms and bathrooms. After lunch, I have a restful afternoon, watching an old movie on TV. Thankfully, no one is hungry enough for tea after that huge lunch, so I don’t need to make any more food today. Another dose of NCIS, and I get back to work by 10.30 pm. I check emails, Twitter and Facebook, which takes a good hour, because I didn’t do any of it yesterday. Then it’s back to work on Warrior Alpha until 2am, and then off to bed ready to start a new week.

Yes, it’s a busy life … but a very happy one!


CAROLE MORTIMER has written over 200 books in contemporary romance, Regency, and her own hot romantic suspense series, ‘Alpha’. She is recipient of the 2015 Romance Writers of America Nora Robert’s Lifetime Achievement Award; 2014 Romantic Times Pioneer or Romance, and in 2012 was recognized by Elizabeth II for her ‘outstanding service to literature’. She is very happily married to Peter, they have 6 sons, and live on the beautiful Isle of Man. Renegade Alpha (Alpha 5) is published on 24 July 2015.


Related interviews: ‘Some like it hot – the joy of Carole Mortimer‘; ‘Mary Jo Putney – a writer with vision’; ‘Meet Kate Perry – Literary It Girl or ‘Demented Victorian

Related reviews: ‘Homeward bound – Nora Roberts’ The Liar’; ‘What makes a good Regency? Grace Burrowes’ The Duke’s Disaster’; ‘Believing Nora Roberts Land – take novelist Ava Miles’ advice‘; Book covers we love: Georgette Heyer’s Frederica – Arthur Barbosa

Related Pinterest boards: ‘‘Romance/gothic covers – the changing face of love’; ‘The Regency, 1811–20

Social media:Pinterest – “inspiration snacking” or something more?’

Notice: Please note the above images are intended to be used for promotional purposes only. In no way, have we have intentionally breached anyone’s copyright. To use the photographs featuring Carole Mortimer, please contact the author to request permission and credit her fully.

Copyright ©The Literary Shed, 2015. All opinions expressed are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments so please do contact us or fill in the form below. If you wish to reproduce the interview, please do seek permission and credit us accordingly. Thank you.