Welcome, Gina. Tell us about yourself.
Hi Diane! Thanks for hosting me on your site. I’m Gina Conkle, writer of Viking and Georgian romance. I’ve been writing since around 2002-2003, but I didn’t get serious about writing until 2012. I was born and raised in sunny San Diego, CA but now live in Michigan (I love it!) with my husband, Brian and our two boys. We don’t take a lot of vacations, but when we do we go all out. That means we visit old places like castles (the older and moldier the better). When I’m not reading or writing, I like to cook and garden. My big summer project was a garden and then blogging about cooking Viking meals. Check out the How to Eat Like a Viking blog series. It was a fun project I did with my younger son (he did all the photography).
Where can readers find you?
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
The pinpoint moment of “I want to be a writer” came in 5th grade. Two things happened: I’d read Gone with the Wind and my teacher, Mrs. Miller, had us write a creative story. My story was The Girl Who Stopped World War III. I remember getting lost in the words, the story images coming to life like holograms around me. It was great!
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
My most productive times are at night. Maybe it’s the cocoon of night, but for some reason I can go on to 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and pound out the words. I’m married to Mr. Early Riser, so I try to balance things and put in some early hours.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
For Viking romance, I’ve been to Sweden and Scotland. I also read some great Viking historians (Nancy Marie Brown, Jenny Jochens, and Judith Jesch to name a few). That’s for the historical background. On the fiction side, the characters just show up in my head. The people who talk the most get put on the page.
With my Georgian romance, Lucy Inglis and Job E. Lewis help me visualize Georgian England. I’ve never been to England. Some of the more vivid, colorful characters I’ve ever written just popped into my head while I was writing my Georgian books. Juliette Sauveterre, a favorite character from The Lady Meets Her Match, wasn’t planned. She just showed up while I writing the book. Now it looks like she’ll get her own book!
What did you learn from writing your first book?
I learned from my first book, Norse Jewel, never to compromise for the sake of publishing. This was my biggest lesson. The book was submitted as a single title, but they wanted it for a category line and asked me to cut the novel down to 70K words. I did and I regret it to this day. Honor your stories. Editing is one thing; story chopping is another.
How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?
I love spending time with my guys! Since I have boys, we’ve spent years talking about and learning about dinosaurs, insects, reptiles of every kind, super heroes, and science fiction, etc. Call me crazy, but I read to my boys as infants (even in the hospital right after they were born!). Both my sons love to read, and interestingly they’ve refused ereaders. They prefer print. We all like superhero movies, action-adventure movies, museums, and just hanging out. We had regular game nights for a long time (Monopoly, Scattergories, Boggle, BezzerWhizzer, etc.) When they were younger we’d play games like Uno, Go Fish, and Concentration (the memory game). Now the oldest son is in college and the younger son is a junior in high school. Brian (my husband) and I have more dates now, and we’re planning what’s next for us.
As a family, we’re already talking about movies (and the plots and characters) that we’ll see at Christmas Break when the oldest comes home! We stay in touch via skype.
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
I worked in biotech eons ago. Subtle scientific knowledge showed up in Meet the Earl at Midnight (a la Georgian era). I have a dark contemporary romance series percolating for years down the road that will involve both life science and physics.
Tell us about your latest book.
Survival’s in his blood…
Rough-souled Brandr’s ready for a new life far from Uppsala, but the Viking has a final task —protect the slave, Sestra. Her life's full of hardship…until she learns the location of a treasure. With war coming, stealing the enemy's riches will save lives, but only one man can defend her —the fierce Viking scout, Brandr.
The two have always traded taunts, now they must share trust. Passions flare as secrets unfold, leading one to make a daring sacrifice on their quest To Find a Viking Treasure
Excerpt “Maybe I get you.”
Brandr sliced the oars through water…back and forth, his body’s motion hypnotic and smooth. “Go ahead. Talk to me.”
The Viking could be a mystical warrior dressed in black against waning fog, his graveled voice working a kind of silken magic. Sun shined through clouds, the pearled orb anointing his head. Perhaps Odin did send Brandr to save the day.
Wraiths rose up from the channel as if to push them along. Did the Norse gods want them to succeed? She didn’t believe in Odin and his Valkyries, but the stories Vikings spun at night entranced her.
“You could tell me what you’ll do with your reward,” she said.
He snorted. “I said you could talk to me. Not the other way around.”
“That’s not how it works. People take turns talking and listening to each other. It’s called conversation.” She angled her head coyly. “Vikings can do it. I’ve seen it happen.”
Brandr squinted at tree tops rising above the mist. “Never been much for talk.”
“Your mouth never stops when trading jibes with me.”
His chuckle was raspy and low. “You have a way of loosening my tongue.”
To her shame, his laugh cut a scorching path through her body and her legs fell open under her skirts. Her knees were heavy, and she left them open.
“You’re a warrior long in service to Lord Hakan. Surely you’ll get a bigger reward than a handful of coins?”
His tarnished silver eyes pinned her. “Maybe I get you.”