Welcome to the AusRomToday Author Spotlight, Sandra Antonelli!
Describe yourself in one word:
What is your background with regard to writing?
I wrote on and off for a long time, but only got serious about it around 10 years ago. Then I pursued a Masters degree and a PhD in creative writing, with a super-massive focus on romance fiction. I’ve had 2 novels published prior to Driving in Neutral. My last novel, For Your Eyes Only, was written as a portion of my PhD Thesis and published before I had finished the academic portion of my thesis.
When did you first begin writing with a view of embarking on a career as a published author?
Almost 10 years ago.
Tell us a little more about Driving in Neutral:
I got the idea for it during a dinner party, where guests told stories of how they met their partners. I met my husband (Dr Shrinkee) in an elevator. One look at him and I knew I was doomed. When I started to write DIN, I borrowed our elevator meeting, but what happens to Olivia and Emerson is very, very different to what happened to me. In other words, I made up what happens to them. Totally. Honest. Shameless plug ALERT! Driving in Neutral launches on September 1st.
The central character, Olivia, walks away from her car-racing career and a bad marriage to embark on a new life built on control, calm and friendships. Though as with all of the best-laid plans, it doesn’t quite go to plan, does it?
No. It spins completely off track after she slams into a hazard with green eyes. So much for mapping out a her life.
Olivia’s first day of her new job brings her face-to-face, in a broken elevator no less, with Emerson, her claustrophobic boss. Her tactics for helping him overcome his phobia are unconventional at best and set the scene for yet another unplanned pit-stop for Olivia, this time love. What was your favourite part of writing this particular scene?
It was great to explore the depths of irrational fear and see if I could make Emerson’s anxiety come to life on the page, as he experienced it, and as Olivia watched.
What one character trait of Olivia’s makes her most endearing to readers?
She is a very loyal and loving friend.
One thing you’d like readers to know about the romance genre.
What, besides that it’s awesome? There’s a romance for everyone, for every taste. Sometimes you have to dig to find exactly what you ‘re after, but trust me, you want it, and it will be there.
If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Cleaning, cooking, baking, and wearing an apron.
Biggest accomplishment to date:
Having three books published and finishing my PhD.
What’s next for you?
I have a James Bond inspired story I am working on, as well as a third instalment in the Los Alamos series (A Basic Renovation and For Your Eyes Only).
Confessions of an Author:
Favourite snack whilst writing?
Coffee and cookies with a side of coffee.
Is there something we’d be shocked to know about you?
I like smoking clove cigarettes–but I never do.
What do you find easiest to write?
And, the hardest?
Physical fight scenes. It takes some real skill to make a fight come to life without putting in sound effects, which I hear in my head. That’s probably why I like dialogue. I can hear it.
Favourite travel experience?
Waking up in Sicily with a view of the Ionia Sea to my right and lemon grove and smoking Mt Etna to my left
Favourite fictional character:
The second Mrs DeWinter in Daphne Du Mauier’s Rebecca
Number one thing to do on your bucket list:
I don’t have a bucket list. If there’s something I want to do , I do it.
Milk or dark chocolate? DARK with peanuts
Red, white, bubbly? Coffee
Salty or sweet? Salty
Beach or mountains? Mountains—in New Mexico
Give or receive? Give
About the Author:
Sandra writes quirky romance novels for grown ups & smart asses, which, despite the “grown up” bit, means she has a juvenile sense of humour and a penchant for wisecracks. She was raised in Europe, the USA, and Australia. She is skilled at folding fitted sheets, excels at Trivial Pursuit, and adores peanut butter, coffee, and rat terriers.
Driving in Neutral
Levelheaded Olivia Regen walks away from her car-racing career and the wreckage of a bad marriage to take on new work that’s far removed from the twists of racetrack. Her new life is about control, calm and the good friends that she adores. But her first task on her very first day involves getting up close and too personal with her claustrophobic boss, alone in a broken elevator. Her unconventional solution for restoring his equilibrium shocks them both and leaves Olivia shaken. Determined to stick to her plan, Olivia drives headlong into work and planning her best friend’s wedding, leaving no room for kissing, elevators, or workplace relationships. But Emerson is not one to be out-manoeuvred. Can he convince Olivia that her fear of falling in love again is just another kind of claustrophobia – one that is destined to leave them both lonely?