Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Emily Walker’s character on December 1st and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Emily A. Lawrence, the author of The Guardian of My Soul, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Kristen Mancuso, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Emily in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Kristen!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Kristen. Please have a seat.
Character Kristen Mancuso: Thank you for having me here.
Marie: Of course!
We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?
Marie: What is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
Kristen: I graduated from UCLA with a degree in management, and now I work for my mother, who is a fashion designer, in her marketing division. I enjoy the experience and being able to learn from her, but one day I hope to be my own boss.
So, tell us. What is your family like?
Kristen: Born and raised in a wealthy family, I’ve always had everything my heart desired, except the freedom to make my own choices in life. Ever since my father passed away when I was little, I’ve lived with my mother. Her overprotectiveness increased as I grew older. Even though I know she means well, that she loves me and wishes nothing but the best for me, she sometimes smothers me too much. That’s when I wish I had other siblings the most.
Marie: Parents can be difficult sometimes. 😦
Let’s try something else, shall we?
What did your childhood home look like?
Kristen: I was raised in my family’s mansion in Los Angeles, where we still currently live. Located in Beverly Hills, it offers a wonderful panorama of the rolling hills north of Sunset Boulevard. My home is peaceful and it’s equipped with any facility one could possibly wish for, including a gym and a large swimming pool.
Marie: Wow! Impressive!
So, do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?
Kristen: I love horses and I’ve been riding ever since I can remember. Whenever I get some free time, I’m eager to escape the madness of the city and head over to my family’s ranch in Kentucky where I spend most of my time with Marley, my fourteen-year-old black stallion.
Marie: Nice! I’ve always wanted to learn how to ride horses.
So, tell us…what is your greatest dream, Kristen?
Kristen: One of my other passions is designing jewelry. My biggest dream is to one day have my own company. I’m just waiting for the best moment to bring it up to my mother, who is unaware of anything that has to do with my love for sketching all kinds of new designs, nor of the stash I’ve created, which I keep hidden from her. She’s always envisioned us working together and one day passing on her company to me. Now that her dream has come true, I’m not sure how she will receive the news, but I can’t help but hope she’ll be supportive.
Marie: I see. Well, I hope it works out! \
Let’s try a different question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Kristen: I wish I could be a normal twenty-one-year-old girl and experience the freedom that comes with that age. What’s stopping me? My mother’s fame. I can’t go anywhere without a bodyguard. She says it’s imperative to be protected at all times. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just another way for her to keep up with what I do or if there’s really any danger out there…
Marie: That is unfortunate, but I’m sure she has a good reason.
All right, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now.
Who was your first love?
Kristen: I used to tell myself I would never fall in love…until I did. Problem is? He’s the very last person I want to love, the man I consider to be like a symbol of my lost freedom—my twenty-four-year-old bodyguard.
Marie: Love can certainly be unexpected.
So…what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, Kristen?
Kristen: My father’s death. He was my everything and then he was gone. Things were never the same after that…
Marie: I’m so sorry to hear that. 😦
Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Kristen: I’ve always wanted to be independent, to be able to do everything I set my mind to do, travel the world and grow outside the influence of high society. I’m still working on that…
Marie: Dreams take time, for sure.
Can you tell us…who is your role model, Kristen?
Kristen: My father. He was gentle, caring, successful, and he always knew the right things to say.
Marie: Sounds like he was a really special person.
Well, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Kristen: There are quite a few…but the one who creeps me out the most is the CEO of Jaya Cosmetics, Niall Tomlinson, who’s helping Mother with launching a fragrance.
Marie: All right.
So, what is your deepest desire?
Kristen: To grow old with the man I love and our children. To live life to the fullest and at the end of the day to have no regrets.
Marie: Well, that’s not a lot to ask. I think everyone wants their little slice of happiness in the world.
Let’s try a different question.
What is your greatest fear?
Kristen: Losing another person I love. I’ve watched my mother suffer for so many years. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to survive another loss.
Marie: Aww…again, I’m so sorry about your father. (Pats her guest’s hand.)
Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Kristen. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂
Kristen: Thank you for having me, Marie!
Marie: My pleasure!
(Waves goodbye to her guest.)
Marie: Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Emily A. Lawrence on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Hello, Emily!
Author Emily A. Lawrence: Hello, Marie!
Marie: We just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Kristen. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?
Emily: Kristen is a twenty-one-year-old girl freshly out of college, who, instead of being offered more freedom, is shackled with a new bodyguard, whom she can’t stand at first. Or can’t she, really? She likes to be in control…until she meets her match—Alec Warner.
So…what are your character’s greatest strengths?
Emily: She’s smart and cocky, and knows how to get herself out of a difficult situation.
Marie: Works for me!
Now, let’s take the opposition on that. What, do you feel, are Kristen’s greatest weaknesses?
Emily: Alec. No one has ever impacted her as much as he did. He opened her eyes in many ways and showed her a different world than the one she was accustomed to. She would do anything to protect him and their relationship.
Marie: I see.
So, let’s try something else.
What are some of her favorite foods?
Emily: She loves chicken, chocolate, and her favorite food is pancakes with maple syrup.
Marie: Can’t blame her for that, but certainly not all at once! (Laughs.) 😀
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Emily: Despite her wealth, she’s a humble, down to earth person.
So, will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Emily: Hmm, I think they will love her once they get to know the real her. She’s a strong woman who’s been through a lot, and I loved watching her grow throughout the story and become a woman in the end.
Marie: All right.
So, now that we have a real taste of Kristen, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for The Guardian of My Soul?
Emily: It was the idea of impossible love. Bringing together two people with apparently nothing in common, and from totally different backgrounds and social statuses, and watching them overcome all the obstacles they had to face in their relationship.
Marie: I like it! (Sighs.) I love romance…;)
Let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like, Emily? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Emily: I never sit down and plot. I don’t have an outline when I start a new story. I have an idea on how I want it to begin, certain events that should take place, and a vague ending, but I never know what’s going to happen next. I’m never sure what a writing day is going to be like. I get ideas as I write. Sometimes I have several options on how to continue and when that happens, I usually take a breather and detach myself from it for a while, thinking about how the story could develop depending on the path I choose. That said, I am definitely a pantser.
Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Guardian of My Soul or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Emily: My biggest challenge was and still is time. Since I am also an editor, I am always working on something, so it’s difficult to find time to write. When I do sit down to write, though, I shut everything off and focus on the words playing around in my head. If I were to offer any advice to aspiring writers it would be to write what they know, in the genres they enjoy reading most. If anyone wants to become a writer, they must be readers first—and most importantly, they must be willing to learn. It’s the only way to constantly improve oneself.
Marie: Oh, I totally agree! That’s great advice.
Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The Guardian of My Soul appears to be.
Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Emily A. Lawrence, a very talented author! 🙂
Here is the blurb for The Guardian of My Soul:
When Kristen Mancuso turned twenty-one, she thought she would finally find the freedom she craved. She was wrong.
In spite of the luxury she lived in, Kristen was unhappy, a prisoner in her own home. When her overprotective mother hired Alec Warner to be her personal bodyguard, Kristen rebelled against it, unaware of the true reason why he was needed. She didn’t know the kind of danger lurking just around the corner.
Having Alec shadow her every move was the last thing she wanted. Or, so she thought…
Kristen was drawn to the handsome, intimidating Alec. While committed to his job, he refused to allow her to control him the way she did other men. Though their relationship was volatile and explosive from the start, they discovered they had more in common than they ever dreamed. They battled each other while they fought demons from their past and secrets which could tear them apart.
This was a battle where losing could very well give them everything their souls desired…
*Content Warning: intended for mature audiences 18+
Emily is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!
I heard a banging at my door, not a gentle knock but a loud racket which shook the whole door. My eyes sprang open. What in the world? I looked around the room, trying to get my bearings. The hotel room was bathed in warm, bright light and my heart skipped a beat when I realized it was morning.
“Oh, Kristeeen?” Alec’s grumpy voice sounded over the loud banging.
Fred jumped off the bed and rushed to the door wagging his tail, visibly excited to hear him.
“Fred, how can you fraternize with the enemy?” I grumped, heading to the door. As soon as I opened it, my traitor of a dog jumped into Alec’s arms and licked him as if he were his favorite person in the world, making him chuckle.
“Finally, the princess decides to greet the day,” he said and grinned at me once he was done petting the dog. Suddenly, his eyes dropped and his smile slowly faded away.
I blinked, perplexed. Is he staring at my breasts? My God, he’s staring at my breasts! The realization elicited tremors all over my body, causing my nipples to strain against the fabric of my nightgown. Holy crap! My nightgown! I tensed when I remembered the transparent lace across my chest.
“Give him to me!” I snatched Fred out of his arms and used him to hide my aroused state. “What’s wrong with you, hammering at my door like a crazy man?” I fussed.
He cleared his throat as if to regain his voice before he answered me. “I’ve been standing here for more than five minutes calling you and nothing. What was I supposed to do? You said eight sharp and it’s almost eight-thirty.”
“Damn it!” I hurried back inside the room and put Fred on the bed, then quickly looked for something comfortable to change into. I took out a pair of denim shorts and a white shirt from my suitcase, then tugged at my nightgown to pull it off over my head. I stopped halfway when I noticed him sitting on my bed, casually assessing me. “Alec!” I gasped. Shock made me freeze. “What are you doing in here? Can’t you see I’m trying to change clothes?” I couldn’t believe he’d gotten a glimpse of my equally transparent panties.
“I’m just waiting to take your luggage.” He gave me a smile that set my teeth on edge. Clearly he didn’t find anything wrong with his actions.
“Wait outside, you peeping tom!”
“My bad,” he said dryly and left my room.
It took me a moment to recover and register the warm wetness between my legs. I sighed, once more feeling betrayed by my own body. “I can’t believe him! And I refuse to be turned on, no matter how he makes me feel!” I grumbled.
When I exited the room, I found him waiting in the hallway, and I marched up to him. “You saw me in my underwear! I’m furious with you.” I walked on, eager to put some distance between us.
“Hey!” He grabbed my arm and pulled me abruptly, my chest slamming against his hard torso. “You’re right. What I did was inappropriate. I’m sorry. I just found myself absentmindedly walking in. I didn’t mean to be rude,” he excused himself.
“You expect me to believe that?” I murmured, flush against him. His sudden change in attitude astounded me.
“Yes, I do.”
“You were checking me out.”
“Was not,” he retorted calmly, his face inches away from mine. Then I caught the smile in his eyes. He was lying like a dog.
“Let go of me,” I whispered, my chest heaving in agitation.
Being this close to him was doing funny things to me. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. Everything in me wanted to move closer, to lean in, to touch, but I stubbornly resisted the unwelcome temptation.
What are you doing to me? I cried out in my mind.
He leaned toward me slowly and I panicked, my breath catching in my throat. With a sudden jerk I managed to free myself from his grip and rushed to the elevator, never looking back. He followed me in silence, hauling my luggage after him. We traveled down together, and I was so aware of him, my whole body reacted as if he were a powerful magnet. I was drawn to him, hanging onto the rail just to stay upright. His eyes held mine with an intensity which made me feel lightheaded, and I gasped for air as the space around us suddenly appeared to be too small.
Ooh…love the tension. I definitely want to know what happens next! 😉
Universal Amazon link: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00GQMHNNI
About Emily A. Lawrence
Emily A. Lawrence lives in Transylvania with her family, hence her love for anything paranormal. Her passion for writing began in high school, and she hasn’t stopped since.
Having her family’s support, and encouraged by friends and fellow authors, she pursued her dream of becoming a published author, landing her first contract in 2013.
Emily loves immersing herself in the worlds she creates and giving life to characters readers can identify themselves with. Usually, she writes contemporary romance in three heat levels: sweet, sensual, and erotic. However, she plans to try her hand at other genres, too, such as paranormal or mystery.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures, new sceneries, food, meeting new people, or simply reading a good book.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Emily A. Lawrence, here are some of her author links:
Amazon Author Page:
Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Kristen, the female main character of The Guardian of My Soul, and Emily A. Lawrence, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂