Gerri was born in Connecticut where she currently lives with pugs, Mimi and her cats Louise (Weasley) and Harry. If you haven’t picked up on it, Gerri is a huge JK Rowling fan. In addition to writing, Gerri loves to cook, sketch and paint and spend as much time as possible with her granddaugher.
Tell us Scribblers a little about Puppy Love.
Puppy Love is the sequel to The Yuletide Bride, so you will meet some of familiar characters and be introduced to a few new ones. Here is a little blurb:
Sparks fly when a chance encounter entangles Lord Robert Nelson with the lovely Claudette Valentine and her dog, Madeline. The attraction is undeniable, but her father's plan to find her a wealthy husband holds a hidden agenda that Robert can't abide by. A story of attraction, longing, and if destiny can be changed, a loving marriage, instead of a loveless one.
Do you consider Puppy Love to be a sequel to Yuletide Bride or is Robert and Claudette’s tale a stand-alone story?
What one thing about your hero, Robert that drives his heroine Claudette crazy? And what one thing about Claudette that drives Robert demented?
At the stage of their relationship, they still have stars in their eyes and have yet to discover anything that drives the other crazy. Claudette is quite headstrong, as is Robert, which in the future might prove to be problematic. Guess you’ll just have to wait for the third book in the series to see.
How much influence do your characters have on which direction the story takes you?
They tell me their story, I’m merely the typist.
How much research do you do into the time period before you begin writing and how much do you do on the fly?
I get the idea for a story and then I do research to see where my idea can fit. I do write fiction, so my writing is historically based though I may tweak things here and there.
What is the most interesting activity you’ve participated in for research?
Nothing too crazy, because I do write historical romance. Although I am contemplating writing a contemporary romance so I can feature my former skydiving experience.
If you could cast anyone to play the roles of Robert and Claudette, whom would you pick?
Since the author generally has no say in things of that nature, I haven’t given it much thought. I suppose I could see Collin Firth as Robert. Not sure about Claudette. Guess I’ll have to give it some thought. Any suggestions?
Would you share an excerpt form Puppy Love?
I would love to.
The snow crunched beneath Robert’s boots. Tightening his scarf, he pulled his coat closed when a gust of wind blew a swirl of snow around him.
“Mickey, let’s make short work of this, eh?” A chill shook Robert’s body.
The dog pulled him along the sidewalk toward the park. Despite the fact that the sun shone brightly, Robert’s breath frothed in a cloud before him as he huffed and puffed to keep up with Mickey.
Rounding the corner, they came upon the wrought iron gate to the park. It was then that he caught sight of a dark-haired woman in a bright red cloak. She walked alone but for the large black dog by her side. Mickey lunged forward, and nearly pulling free of Robert’s grasp, the oversized pup dragged his master along. Robert slid and skittered trying to keep his footing upon the slippery snow-covered sidewalk. The commotion caused the dark-haired woman and her dog to take notice.
“Mickey! Mickey! Here boy. Settle down now,” Robert called in an attempt to gain a measure of control over the animal.
Too late. The large black dog appeared to have developed quite an interest in Mickey. The two dogs stood nose to nose for what seemed like an eternity, but in actuality was only a second. The brief moment vanished when they raced around chasing each other, winding their leashes around both Robert and the dark-haired woman, and in so doing, drawing the couple into an awkward face-to-face embrace.
“Madeline! Stop this instant!” the dark-haired woman shouted. The black curly haired dog, so intent on play with Mickey, did not listen.
“Mickey!” Robert shouted. “Mickey, settle down now.”
The two dogs, running out of leash, finally came to a halt and stood panting.
“I beg your pardon, Madam. This is the first I have had occasion to take Mickey here for a walk. I had no idea he—”
“It’s quite all right,” she replied. “Maddie and I have met this dog before, isn’t that right Maddie?”
“You have?” Robert reached around the woman in an attempt to untangle the leashes, but it only drew them closer in their embrace.
“Monsieur,” she stammered. Her lovely French accent rang in Robert’s ears like a familiar and favored song. A smile involuntarily curled the corner of his lips upon hearing it.
“Again, I beg your pardon, Milady, but perhaps if I—”
Upon hearing Robert’s voice, Mickey started to pull on his leash and only tightened the snare.
“Yes, we have had the occasion to meet. However, I must say that Monsieur Hastings seems to have a better grasp on the task of walking a dog.”
Robert’s cheeks burned. “Please forgive me,” he said. Gazing down into her smoldering brown eyes he couldn’t hold back a smile. His heart leapt when she returned it.
“If you would allow me to reach around you, I believe I should be able to get this sorted,” he said, drawing his thoughts back to the situation at hand.
“Oui, yes, of course.”
“Perhaps if you were to hand me the strap attached to . . . Maddie is it?”
“Madeline, her name is Madeline.”
At hearing her name, a soft whine escaped the dog. I wonder what her owner’s name is, Robert thought. The dark-haired woman did as she was asked, and reaching around her with both hands, Robert made short work of disentangling the leather snare.
“There we have it,” he said, handing Madeline’s leash back to the dark-haired beauty. His hand lingered overlong when their fingers touched. Despite the fact that she wore gloves, heat rushed up his arm and nestled in his chest.
“Merci, Monsieur. Thank you.”
“Robert. Robert Nelson.”
“Thank you, Monsieur Nelson.”
“Robert. Please call me Robert.”
She moved to take a step away from him and suddenly panic rose in him at the thought that she would walk out of his life never to be seen again. His heart hammered with the thought.
“Wait,” he said.
She paused and turned back to face him. Her red hat sat askew upon her head and loose tendrils of hair escaped her once neatly pinned coiffure.
Robert’s gaze traveled over her features. Her cheeks were pink, perhaps from the cold, her dark lashes rested against her creamy skin and her pink lips formed the perfect pout.
“You haven’t told me your name,” he said with a smile.
“Claudette. I am Claudette Valentine.”
“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Milady.”
Mickey and Madeline sat together with their tails thumping in the snow.
“It appears that our dogs have become fast friends,” he said.
“Oui, it would seem so.”
“I wonder if we might walk together, for the sake of the dogs and their new found friendship.”
She paused for the briefest of moments before answering, her gaze going from Robert to the dogs. “For the sake of the dogs you say? Oui?”
“Yes, for the dogs, of course.”
“I suppose if it were for their sake then yes, let us walk together.”
She turned to walk further into the park and slipped on the icy walkway. Robert stepped up and grabbed her around the waist preventing her fall. Helping her stand upright once again, he reached up and adjusted her hat. Again his gaze locked with hers and his heart throbbed in his ears.
“A dangerous business this dog walking,” he murmured. “Kindly allow me to escort you, Milady.” He presented his elbow.
Placing her hand upon his arm, she allowed him to escort her further into the park.
“Tell me, Lady Valentine, what brings you to London?”
If you could rewrite anything in your book what would it be?
There is one section I would like to tweak, but my characters wouldn’t hear of it.
If your hero or heroine could rewrite a scene in their story which would it be?
Since they told me the story, I would imagine it’s exactly how they want it. However, I’m sure Lady Claudette would much rather have had Lord Nelson move a bit faster in his pursuit.
What is the one piece of advice for other authors who are considering self-publishing?
I would say, get a good editor, and be prepared to do a ton of marketing. Self-publishing is a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it.
What in your opinion is the biggest pro and con between self-publishing vs traditional publishing?
Pro for self-publishing – you get a much larger share of the royalty. The con is that you have to spend a lot more to get the book up and running.
My books published through traditional publishing had no up-front cost. The publisher assigned me an editor, they paid for the copyright, cover art, and formatting. They took care of uploading the books to all the e-book sites, and published the print copies. Although the percentage of profit is less, the initial expenditure is as well.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
I sleep until the bed tosses me out. Then with a mug of coffee in hand, I head to my comfy recliner. After getting cozy in the chair with my lap top and, of course, my pug (Mimi Sue), and with music playing softly in the background, I place my fingers on the keyboard and begin. I turn off my “inner editor” and just let the characters tell me their story.
Is there a genre you’d like to attempt to write?
Yes! I’m one of those writers who always is working on a few different things at the same time. I’m working on a contemporary romance as well as a YA. One thing I would love to try is Steampunk, but on the one occasion I tried, I found myself staring at a blank computer screen.
If you could become one fictional character for a week, who would it be?
Elizabeth Bennett, simply because I’ve always been in love with Mr. Darcy.
What are you reading now?
Voyager, the third book in the Outlander Series. When the Starz Series began, I decided to read all the books. I’m only on the third book because my writing time takes precedence.
What writer has most influenced you as a writer?
Without doubt, J.K. Rowling.
What books or other projects do you have coming up in the future?