Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TBR welcomes Natalie G. Owens

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Natalie. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Natalie: I write stories of romance, suspense, and the paranormal - and I like to set my stories in exotic locations. My stories are populated with real-life characters that sometimes go through the wringer :). Occasionally I do have my dark moments, which is when I usually drum up the odd literary horror piece to quench the thirst, lol.

I got my first taste of serious writing in my teens by penning poetry, short stories, and articles for college and local publications. At university, I trained as a lawyer (sucked at it!). In 2006, I came to my senses and started freelancing as a writer and editor; and later still, I finally turned to thinking up plots and talking to my characters when everyone else was asleep. I sold my first story to an e-publisher in 2007.

I am married and have one son. I lived in Atlanta, Georgia, for a long time but since 2009 I call the beautiful island of Malta home. When I'm not working or writing - or muttering to myself about it like a batty old maid - I enjoy spending time with my family and friends (both online and offline), cooking, watching a good movie, taking trips, and most of all, reading. My taste in books is a bit all over the place, but I proudly possess an extensive collection of romance and thriller/mystery novels, both in print and on e-reader. I LOVE to meet and communicate with readers, as well as other authors. My strong belief is that creativity shouldn't be put in a neat little box. All writers should write what's in their heart - as long as they give it their best.

TBR: Tell us about SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR and where it's available.
Natalie: Something to Live for, it’s a romance novella with a paranormal twist. Presently you can find it on Amazon (, Kobo (, Smashwords ( and B&N (

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Natalie: Here’s an excerpt from SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR (#1 Moonlight Dating Series):

The solid wood front door was slightly ajar so he didn’t have to use his key. Discarding it on the inlaid wood console table by the entrance, he walked into a welcoming, classic modern sitting room steeped in earth tones. He stepped on an expensive-looking brown and beige Persian rug that covered most of the floor.
Someone had put money into this place. After looking at the outside, one wouldn’t think that such luxury and comfort waited inside. It was a two hundred year old structure, painstakingly renovated with a welcoming, state-of-the-art interior.
The large room flowed into an L-shape that carried beyond a large teak dining table with seating for six.
“You can close the door behind you,” said a lilting voice from the back of the L-shape.
His stomach made a flip like that of a schoolboy’s with a budding first crush. Laughing inwardly at the thought, he clicked the door shut and walked past the chocolate leather couch, around the table, toward the beautiful voice.
He found her sitting on a bar stool at the kitchen counter. A couple of large trays laden with cold meats, cheeses, and assorted appetizers sat untouched in front of her.
She turned toward him and looked straight into his eyes. Her eyebrows drew together.
“You must be starving,” she said.
Upon meeting her gaze, his belly did a bigger flip and he had difficulty swallowing the big lump that lodged in his throat.
God, she was beautiful.
He stared at her. Soft burnished locks flowed richly around her oval face to just below her collarbone. Tall and trim, she wore a simple silk green sheath dress that stopped above the knee and unpretentious flat gold sandals.
 An artist’s muse.
The best part of her, though, were her eyes. Fine jade eyes that looked at him, into him, through him. There was something infinitely alluring about that light green gaze. It was unique, and frightening. It was… intense. Would any man be able to keep secrets from this woman?
A deeper frown creased her brow. “Is something wrong?”
His gaze fell to her full lower lip that she was now biting on. “No.”
Boy, was he charming tonight. If he went on this way, she would think him a dunderhead and call off the whole thing.
“I was saying that you must be hungry,” she tried again, while she extended a hand toward him.
“As a matter of fact, I am.” He was at her side in two strides and took her offered hand as he sat on the stool next to her. It was supple and warm against his. He briefly rubbed his thumb above her knuckles and raised her hand to his mouth to drop a light kiss on it.
She laughed, a sweet, musical sound. “Men haven’t done that in centuries.”
“Does it matter?”
“No, but you don’t need to seduce me. We both know why we’re here.”

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Natalie: Romance is my bailiwick. I enjoy writing about characters who are flawed or have been through some sort of trauma in life. Who hasn’t had challenges? My stories draw from reality and twist it into a happy ending. They are escapism that a person can relate to. Both Alex and Melita have been through some tough times, but together they work through it all.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Natalie: I used to be a pantser but that got me in trouble! Especially for the longer novel I wrote over a long period. Even with short stories now, I need to have a clear idea of the main GMC and the character personalities. Otherwise things won’t gel. With the novel, the plot is quite complex with many elements and twists. After writing the first draft without a set outline, I found I still didn’t know the characters well enough. I had to rewrite it several times and now am on my last rewrite. This won’t happen again if I can help it, lol.

TBR: How do you develop your characters and plot?
Natalie: To engage with writing one has to look at the world somewhat with the eye of a therapist or detective. It’s all in the details and the intuition to dissemble behavior and/or a particular situation. Years ago, I started to realise, through compulsive reading, the fascination of creating characters that are so diverse. I’d ask myself, would this person truly act this way if confronted with a situation like this? When one writes a book, one looks outward at the world, not only inward. True, experience is important. In fact, I feel that a mature author with extensive life experience has an advantage; yet, experience is nothing if one is not able to decipher or interpret one’s environment in interesting ways. With a wider perspective, all limitations vanish, and the vastness of life and all its possibilities are at the author’s fingertips. All that is required is a sense of understanding; as I mentioned already, a keen, layered intuitive ability. Without this kind of empathy, a character will not seem authentic enough. As far as the story goes, who knows where reality stops and fantasy starts…

From the practical perspective of developing an idea into a book, I like first to have a very general, sketchy idea of a plot. Following this, I figure out who my main characters are going to be. Then, I scout for pictures on the Internet so I can see what my characters look like. At the same time, I develop their back story, which gives me insight into their GMC (goal-motivation-conflict) and helps me determine how they’re going to behave and react in particular situations. From this point on, I refine the plot/sub-plots and do a chapter by chapter breakdown. Writing a rough synopsis is a good springboard. In case of fantasy, I will need to do extra work related to world-building, and identifying the culture/norms of a particular society. These, of course, will have a direct bearing on the story.

TBR: Any tips or tricks for world building you’d care to share?
Natalie: I think the number one thing is that no matter how fantastical the world is, it must appear real to the reader.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Natalie: "My mission in life is not to merely survive but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." - Maya Angelou

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Natalie: For my upcoming paranormal romance novel, “My Immortal” by Evanescence played a huge role in my character and plot inspiration. It defines my heroine perfectly -

Strangely, I didn’t have a song for this last release, although the lyrics of Rascal Flatts’  “I’m Moving On” are pretty evocative.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Natalie: That my love of travel and researching places bleeds into my writing. Or perhaps it wasn’t that surprising J.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Natalie: It offers a high emotional charge because the characters are “seasoned”. I want to draw the reader in seamlessly, pull them into the story as though they are sinking into a pool of scented water.

TBR: What's next for you?
Natalie: Book #2 in the Moonlight Dating series, Everything to Lose, is scheduled for release very soon – in August! In this book I take the reader from Richmond, London to a quaint medieval town in Italy. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story of kiss and make up :). Please stay tuned!

Second, I’m currently working on polishing up my fantasy/paranormal romance novel that I previously mentioned, An Eternity of Roses, Book 1 of The Valthrean Legacy, to be released this year. For the most part I love complex stories with happy endings, a bright sun to follow the storm – what can I say, I’m a romantic at heart! I say this even though my first published piece this year classifies as literary horror or dark fiction. An Eternity of Roses is a lot different, although the gothic feel is there. It’s about star-crossed lovers who are separated by an evil witch's curse (Think Romeo and Juliet meets Snow White meets Highlander). A strong heroine fights impossible odds to get back the man she loves through a series of obstacles—including his total loss of memory. When thinking up An Eternity of Roses, I asked myself: what great love wants to be forgotten? The main characters' destiny is tied to that of a group of immortals called the Valthreans. (I posted the Valtrean legend on my site at under the Works in Progress tab). But all is not well in the Valthrean world... danger lurks around every corner.

Another project I’m really excited about is a fantasy series I’m co-writing with my bestie. Details TBA in the coming months :).

TBR: Any other published works?
Natalie: I have a literary horror short called, “A Kind of Judgment”. (

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Natalie: The most challenging aspect is balancing the author’s life with the personal life. The most rewarding aspect is to share your work with the world.

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Natalie: I think the one that most made me smile was that I give “hope to the HEA-Deficient”. LOL.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Natalie: There are so many and not only romance authors! Some of my favorites – Jon Trace, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Charlotte BrontĂ«, Charles Dickens, Lisa Kleypas, Amanda Quick, Robin Schone, Elizabeth Kostova, Liz Fielding, Erica Yong, Stephen King, Karen White, and the list goes on! And I have to give a nod here to the unlikely one who “introduced” me to the romance genre a long, long time ago – Dame Barbara Cartland :)

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Natalie: What do you look for most in a book and in what ways can an author entertain you better?

TBR: Readers, Natalie will give away an ebook to to one lucky commenter – winner’s choice! She'll pick a winner in one week and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

Thanks so much for visiting TBR, Natalie! All the best to you.


  1. So happy to have you at TBR, Nat. :)

  2. Sorry for my late reply, but I'm so chuffed to be here! I pick the winner on August 3rd to give people time to respond. Thanks!

  3. Therapist and detective - I like that! Great interview, Natalie!

  4. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to share with us today. I am definitely looking forward to reading your work. Have you found switching from big city Atlanta life to island living a challenge or is it a dream :)

  5. Great interview. Enjoyed getting to know a little more about you and your writing process, Natalie!

  6. Hey everyone thanks for visiting! Alicia, isn't that true? Denise, I was born on this island but it was still a matter of adaptation. There are still things I miss that I used to do or see in Atlanta, but you welcome the change, in a sense. Rhonda - thanks for visiting! xoxo

  7. What an interesting post. It was fun to learn more about Natalie. I liked hearing about how she writes (I need to have things mapped out, too). Great quote! Thanks for the giveaway. Something to Live For and A Kind of Judgement both sound interesting.

    haightjess at gmail dot com

  8. Hi Natalie, great interview! I think what I look for most, or what makes a book a favorite for me, is rich character development. We both like "flawed", realistic, multidimensional characters, so I know you know what I mean.


  9. Hey all, just wanted to let you know that I have a winner - Denise Z! Congrats, Denise. I will be contacting you shortly.
    Thanks, Natalie


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