Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Author Interview: Gina Rossi

Today I am honored to welcome multi-published Gina Rossi to our blog. Gina has graciously agreed to share some valuable novel writing tips with us today.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I’d long to say plotter − and I start every book intending to be a well-organized plotter − but I’m a panster through and through, and that’s how I always end up writing. Before I start a book, I define my characters as well as I possibly can, work out a rough beginning (say, the first three chapters), plus the last chapter, then I go for it. I’m always surprised by the twists and turns that happen on the way. It sounds a muddle, doesn’t it? However, I reckon if you’re a pantster by nature you shouldn’t fight it, because you’ll likely find a clear stream of creative thought without the formality of a plot plan – I would go as far as to say especially without a plot plan, As a newbie writer, don’t put off writing because you haven’t got a whole story plotted out. Start today, now, and see where that loose bundle of ideas takes you…

If you have to choose only one element that is absolutely essential to every novel you’ve written, what would it be?
Conflict in every scene is essential, even on every page if possible. By this, I don’t mean a bomb has to go off on page one, a plane crash on page two, and a cruise liner sink on page three, all hands lost to saltwater crocodiles. There are many forms and levels of conflict (think of it also as tension, pressure, anxiety, niggles, all that kind of stuff) even in regular, daily life. If your hero (or heroine) encounters a range of such conflicts – big, medium and small − as he moves through the story, the reader will a) relate to the hero and his human problems, and b) most important, keep turning the pages to see how he overcomes these obstacles.
Regarding conflict, I find it really helps me if I can answer these four questions across about ninety percent of my scenes, as I write my way through the story.
1.     What is the main character trying to do?
2.     What goes wrong?
3.     What does he/she do to fix it?
4.     Why does it matter?

How much time do you spend on getting to know your characters before you start the first draft? Why?
A lot. I use a detailed character questionnaire – which I’m very happy to share if anyone wants to try it out. When I know a character intimately, I know exactly how he/she will behave in reaction to just about any situation the story throws at me. I study faces, too (yes, I get heaps of funny looks), trying to work out how looks, mannerisms, voices, body language, and even clothing, influence or affect character. You can tell a book from its cover, I’m convinced. Of course the most tedious part of all this research is searching ‘hunk’ and ‘hottie’ on Pinterest. Good luck with that!

Do you submit to multiple publishers at the same time or stick to one?
I submit to multiple publishers, why not? Some publishers request – instruct − you not to, but never give a reason why, so I ignore. I imagine it’s to make life simpler for them. Submit as many different works as you possibly can, often, widely, and simultaneously. Don’t submit one thing to one publisher and sit back and wait on them. And, while that’s all going on (and you’re keeping a detailed spreadsheet of what’s what and where) get on with your writing.

My advice to the novice writer in one sentence:
Even (especially) if you are unpublished, go around telling people you are a writer, and put ‘writer’ next to ‘occupation’ when filling in forms – that way you have to write, and publish, one way or another, or people will think you’re an idiot. 

Could you please give us a list of your published books and a short blurb about each one? Please state the publisher and year published as well.


(first published by The Wild Rose Press in 2012, self-published in 2014)

A romantic adventure set in the majestic landscapes of Southern Africa

Georgina Blake flees a refined life in eighteenth century England to hide a scandal. Determined to start a new life, she voyages to the wild and beautiful Cape of Good Hope, unprepared for the adventure, danger and heartbreak that await her. On a remote farm, hidden in a magnificent mountain valley in the Cape hinterland, she meets intriguing stranger, Anton Villion, who threatens her precarious new-found security, yet steals her heart. Anton, privy to a painful secret, is drawn to Georgina, but wily Louisa Summerton is hell bent on a swift union with him, leaving Georgina adrift in a savage landscape. Will Georgina and Anton’s love lie buried forever, along with the truth? Made for one another, yet driven apart by fate, will they ever meet again? Will they be able to salvage sufficient strength and courage to embark on a journey to redemption and everlasting love? 

Available from all Amazon  sites.

(published by Thornberry Publishing UK in 2013) 

A contemporary, chick lit romance featuring a London career girl whose life changes when the childcare agency throws her a curved ball.

Beth Johnson, an upbeat, hardworking, single mum living in London takes the humorous challenges of life in her stride. Her career is fast-tracking but that’s secondary to baby Jacob – his care and development is paramount. When her impeccably-organized childcare routine implodes at the worst possible moment, she has no choice but to leave Jacob with unlikely ‘nanny’, Davit Kacharava, a Georgian migrant. Is she making an enormous mistake, letting this stranger into her comfortable world, even if he is gorgeous? She’s drawn to Davit but he resists, so why does she reveal to him the shocking secret that overshadows her life? And can she face the truth – do what’s right for herself, Jacob and Davit – before it’s too late?

Available from all Amazon sites. 

(self-published in 2012)

A contemporary romance novella set in the glorious Cotswolds, paying tribute to the Paralympians of London 2012

Disillusioned and dumped, London girl, Olivia Sinclair, hides out in the English countryside, unaware that handsome local stranger, Zachary Jordan, is a world class athlete. Deeply attracted to his intuitiveness and apparent sixth sense, Olivia nevertheless shuns him when he scares her badly on a date and, worse, when she finds out he has stolen something precious from her. Then she discovers the devastating truth about Zac. He's blind, and somehow, in their brief encounters, she hasn't noticed. She's determined to make amends, but Zac, crushed by her carelessness, doesn't want to know, and Olivia faces a gruelling, uphill battle to win his respect and love

Available from all Amazon sites.

Where can we find you on social media?

Twitter: @Ginagina7

A Word (or Two) from Gina Rossi

All my wonderful family and friends aside, writing is the most enjoyable element of my life. I write historical and contemporary romance - being an ardent fan of the happy ever after - and am both traditionally- and self-published. Apart from developing full-blooded characters, I enjoy creating a specific setting for each book I write, mainly because I love to read books that are firmly grounded in their own landscapes. I've been lucky enough to live in the most beautiful parts of the world, from stunning Cape Town to the green depths of the English countryside, and the sunny French Riviera.
I try to never let my memories be greater than my dreams!
If you read my books, I hope they bring you much enjoyment, just a step away from the real world.

About Gina Rossi

Gina Rossi was born in South Africa. She grew up in Johannesburg and lived in Cape Town before moving to England to live near Oxford,in the Cotswolds. Now settled in the sunny south of France, Gina is able to write full time. Her debut historical romance 'The Wild Heart' was listed for the 2012 Joan Hessayon award. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) in the UK, and the Romance Writers Organization of South Africa (ROSA)

Thank you Gina for visiting us today and providing our readers with some excellent novel writing tips. It is always a pleasure to find established authors willing to share their knowledge with aspiring authors. 


  1. Love the interview Gina and great advice as well.

  2. I loved this post. Thank you, Gina and Yolande for the lovely advice and encouragement. I especially loved your take on conflict on every scene and writing even when you don't really know how the story will unfold because it just might surprise you. I really enjoyed this interview :)

  3. Hi there!

    Loved this post! Such great advice!!
    And of course, Gina, you know I've read your books and love them! Ah, Davit from Life after 6 Tequilas - my favorite Georgian hero :)

    Thank you, ladies :)

  4. Some excellent advice here. Thanks, Gina and Yolande.

  5. How lovely, Gina and Yolande! Awesome advice, Gina. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Great tips! Thanks Gina and Yolande. :)