SPOTLIGHT ON… Historical Romance: Sasha Cottman

Sasha Cottman

Sasha Cottman

Sasha Cottman

Describe yourself in one word:

What is your background with regard to writing?
Unlike most other authors I have met I never had my heart set on a writing career. I hadn’t wanted to be a writer since I was a small child, in fact I fell into the romance writing genre purely by accident. I have always been a reader, but not of romance. Five years ago I accidently enrolled in a romance writing course and from that moment on I was smitten. Everyone says they would like to write a book someday, I guess for me, I just went one step further and actually did it.

When did you first begin writing with a view of embarking on a career as a published author?
I think from the moment I started joining professional bodies such as Romance Writers of Australia and Romance Writers of America the whole writing process began to change. I no longer saw it as a hobby, but rather something I was serious about pursuing as a career. At this stage in my life I still have a full time career in finance, so it is a case of having to juggle two careers and prioritise my time accordingly.

What is your writing routine?
During the work week, I try to write 1000 words a night. I usually head up to my writing room (with a cup of chai latte in my hand) around 8pm and write for an hour or so. Some days the words come really fast and I am done in an hour, other days I get only a few hundred words written and I have to give up and go to bed. I try not to set impossible targets for my writing. On the weekend I aim for 2000 words a day, broken up by separate writing sessions in the morning and early afternoon. One thing I have learned, after many $$ spent on physio therapy sessions is that writers need to stretch and exercise. After I am done with my writing, I usually have a half hour play on Facebook. I make myself earn my Facebook time.

Favourite snack whilst writing?
Nuts and chocolate, though I am trying to break that habit. It is all too easy to munch your way through a whole bag of M&Ms in one sitting.

If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Travelling. I have travelled a lot over the years and that moment when the big jet takes off is a moment of pure bliss for me. My sister and I are currently planning a trip back to England next year to catch up on research. I intend to spend many hours in the Victoria and Albert as well as the British Museum. My husband, while interested in travel, has a short attention span when it comes to museums so he is not making this trip.

What piqued your interest in the historical romance genre?
I have always had a passion for history, everything from Ancient Egypt to British and European History. I think when the time came that I decided to try reading romance novels I naturally turned to the only romance novel I had ever read which was Pride and Prejudice. Researching the way people lived in England 200 years ago is absolutely fascinating and one of the bonuses of writing historical romance.

Can you share with our readers one piece of historical information that has special meaning to you?
The Elgin Marbles have always held a special interest to me, not just because of the controversy which surrounds them today, but because there was such an uproar when they were first taken from Greece to England 200 years ago. Lord Elgin’s wife opposed what he was doing, and eventually left him. Byron said it was ‘cultural vandalism of the worse kind’ and there was a parliamentary inquiry held at the time. It just proves how similar our modern lives are to the people who lived during the Regency.

One thing you’d like readers to know about the historical romance genre:
Historical romance covers every time period from ancient times, right up to the 20th century. I note that some publishers are now considering World War II set romance novels as being historical. Some authors even manage to mix in vampires, shape shifters and time travel into their historical romances. The rules are changing from when historical romance pretty much meant Regency.

The one book that you’ve read over and over is…
Mastered by Love by Stephanie Laurens. The hero is the ultimate Alpha male, but one who decides he wants more from a marriage than just a loveless match. The heroine has long been in love with him, but never thought he would ever consider her as a possible wife. She holds out for a full commitment and love from the hero even though he fears he cannot love. If I could write half as well as she does I would be a very happy author. I went and bought a new copy of the book and got Stephanie to sign it when she was at the RWA conference in Melbourne in 2011.

Favourite fictional character:
Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, to me he is the perfect hero.

Number one thing to do on your bucket list:
Own a red convertible car. I know they are not practical but no one ever said your bucket list has to be sensible. A No.1 New York Times bestseller would also be nice.

What book has changed your opinion/stance on something important to you, and why?
I don’t think I have ever read a book which changed my opinion on something really important, but I do know that reading romance books cured me of my snobbish attitude towards them. I was one of those people who looked down their noses at Mills and Boon books, but that really was from pure ignorance of the talent and work which goes into them.

Biggest accomplishment to date:
Apart from family and my career achievements, my greatest personal achievement would be selling my first completed manuscript. When I got the phone call from Destiny (Penguin) two weeks after I submitted the manuscript to them I had to go for a long walk just to get my heart rate back down. I never expected to get the call that soon.

What’s next for you?
I am currently writing the sequel to Letter from a Rake, which is set up in the epilogue of the first book. I love reading romance series and had always wanted to write one myself. My favourite series is Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton family series which has 8 siblings and their various romance stories. She writes her characters as real people and I love that in a romance story.


Find Sasha online:

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