Category Archives: Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Ellie from A SIBLING’S DILEMMA plus a conversation with author Molly V. Lovell!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been quite a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Monice DeSimone’s character back on November 8th of 2016 and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Molly V. Lovell, the author of A Sibling’s Dilemma, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Ellie Kent, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Molly in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Ellie!

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Ellie. Please have a seat.

Character Ellie Kent:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Ellie:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Ellie:  Um, right now I work at the Kensington Group as Mr. Kensington’s—the CEO’s—assistant. Keeping this between the two of us, I’m just working here because Cassie, my sister and a private detective, wants me to keep an eye out on Mr. Kensington for one of her clients. Although I don’t feel too good about being here as a spy.

Oh, sorry, you asked me if I liked the job too. I almost forgot. Um, I actually like it here. Mr. Kensington and I got off to a um…rough start at first. He can be really intimidating and, well, I’m shy to begin with. Being around him made it so much worse and it was really stressful. But, we’re good friends now so I actually enjoy my job. Although I wish I were there under better circumstances…

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! That’s a tough situation to be in. 😦

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Ellie:  Cassie’s the best sister I could ever ask for. She saved my life when we were younger and she’s sacrificed so much for me. I would do anything for her. She’s so strong-willed and powerful, and if she sets her mind to something, she just does it. I wish that I were as strong as she…

Marie:  Well, I’m sure you haven’t found the one thing that will test you just yet. I think we can surprise ourselves sometimes.

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Ellie:  Um…s-sorry. That’s not…um…can we move onto something else? I’m sorry.

Marie:  All right. Sure…let’s see.

Do you have any hobbies, Ellie? What do you enjoy doing?

Ellie:  I know this sounds really boring, but I like playing with my dog, Spots, and volunteering at the soup kitchen down the road. I believe in helping others. I actually just graduated with my degree in social work and I was set to work in that field, but Cassie needed me at the Kensington Group, so here I am. Wait, I think I might have already told you that last bit earlier. Sorry if I’m repeating myself. I do that when I’m nervous sometimes…

Marie:  (Chuckles.) No problem! I think we all have a nervous tick or two, right? 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Ellie:  I want to run a non-profit someday and work to eradicate extreme global poverty. I know I won’t be able to end it myself, but with the right capital and money management, I could at least stop a lot of people from dying from malnourishment, unsanitary conditions, and the like.

Marie:  Nice! It definitely sounds like a plan…

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

Ellie:  I wish that I were a stronger person—someone who is confident and voiced her opinions more often. But, it seems like almost every time I go to say something confrontational, I just think ‘who am I to say this? What if I’m wrong?’ and I lose my nerve and I don’t say anything at all. Cassie and Mr. Kensington are always so vocal about what they want in life and I wish I were more like them.

Marie: I think most of us are afraid of speaking out about things, to go against the mold, so to speak. I think that when you find that something worth fighting for, you’ll know it.

Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Ellie:  Love is a pretty strong word. I think to love someone is a beautiful thing—you give up a piece of yourself to the other person. The only person I can say that I love is my sister. Not in a romantic way, of course, but I want her to be happy and I’m willing to make sacrifices to see that happen.

There is someone I really like, though—Mr. Kensington. He’s so handsome, smart, and strong-willed. He’s been a good friend to me too. I would say that Edric, I mean Mr. Kensington, is one of the few people that I can talk to where I don’t clam up. I need to get over this infatuation, though; he’d never date a girl like me. All his girlfriends in the past were beautiful models. Maybe if I were prettier he’d like me, but I’m not. It’s never going to happen and I just need to get over this silly crush.

Marie: Aww…(sighs.) I love romance. ♥

I think you should just go ahead and crush to your heart’s content, Ellie. You only live once, right? 😀

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Ellie:  I was sick a lot as a kid. I’m not sick anymore though, so it’s nothing to worry about. But, um…I-I don’t like to talk about it much. I’m sorry…

Marie:  Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear it. That must’ve been difficult. I’m glad you’re okay now, though.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Ellie nods.]

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?

Ellie:  I didn’t dream of much growing up. I didn’t think I was going to make it to adulthood, to be honest. In a way, being alive, healthy, and able to live a relatively-normal life is a dream come true. On top of all that, I have a Master’s Degree, a decent job, and people that I care about and who care about me. Life is so much better than I expected.

Marie:  Happy to hear it!

I’m so glad you found a light to pull you through that darkness. 🙂

So, who is your role model, Ellie?

Ellie:  My role model? For people I’ve never met, I would say Kristine Pearson. She helped to develop a radio that allowed for educational programs and information to be easily accessible in developing countries, even with no power. I would love to make that big of a difference to so many people someday.

For people I know, I would say Mr. Kensington. He’s the hardest-working person I’ve ever met. He works, at least, twelve hours a day. And when he’s not working, he spends time with his younger brother and older sister, which is very sweet of him. He’s incredibly smart too—he helped make a brand-new type of video game technology. He’s admirable in those regards.

Marie: Wow! I agree. He sounds like a great man!

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Ellie:  I try not to dislike people. Whenever I find myself disliking someone, I put myself in their shoes and see why they act the way they do. Usually, it makes me a bit more sympathetic to them. It’s not always easy, but I try.

Marie:  Well…that is definitely admirable of you! I respect that you can do it.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Ellie:  Um…I…um. Wow, I um, feel really embarrassed admitting this but, um, I want to be with Mr. Kensington romantically. I guess if I’m talking about him in that light, I should refer to him as Edric. But I want to be with Edric. I should desire other things that are more beneficial to society, but, um…that’s my deepest desire. I’m so embarrassed. Please, please, please don’t tell anyone. I would be so mortified if Edric were to find out. I don’t think that I could look him in the eye again if he knew I felt that about him.

Marie:  Hey, it’s just us girls here! No worries. Your secret is safe with me.

Plus, who can blame you? He sounds like a total hottie.

So, tell me something, Ellie. What is your greatest fear?

Ellie:  I would say that my biggest fears are rejection and public speaking. Well, I suppose that I’m afraid of public speaking because I’m afraid of rejection. I always clam up when I talk to new people. Thank you for listening to me, though, and I’m sorry to have just rambled on about myself the whole time. It felt so good to get stuff off my chest, so thank you for that.

Marie: It’s understandable to have those fears. And public speaking? Yikes! Heck, I still get really nervous before my radio interviews. I’m always afraid I’m going to forget an important detail, or sound really dumb, you know? I think we’ve all been there before, hon.

But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything. 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Ellie. It was so interesting getting to know you!  🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Molly V. Lovell on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Molly!

Author Molly V. Lovell:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Ellie. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Molly:  She’s one of the few characters in A Sibling’s Dilemma that I can say is actually a good person. Her sister, Cassie, tries to be, but is willing to set aside her beliefs to get ahead in life. Edric, Ellie’s main love interest, is good to those he’s closest to, but is mistrustful and can sometimes be cruel to others.

Ellie wants to do the right thing in this story, but she doesn’t quite know what the right thing is. Cassie, a private investigator, wants Ellie to spy on Edric. Ellie reluctantly agrees, but when she gets to know Edric, she thinks that he’s actually a decent person and doesn’t want to be a part of destroying his company. She’s split between helping her sister and doing what she thinks is right. She’s in a rough predicament.

Marie:  No kidding!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Molly:  Ellie’s greatest strength is her compassion. She treats everyone with kindness, dignity, and respect. Ellie treats a multi-billion dollar CEO the same way that she treats a homeless person. She doesn’t care much about material things and actually does want to help others.

Marie:  Excellent!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Molly:  I would say that Ellie’s greatest weakness is her insecurity; it causes most of her problems. Ellie can’t seem to trust herself and, since she’s been hurt in the past, she doesn’t really trust others either, with the exception of her sister. I think that’s really sad—no one should have to go through life not trusting themselves or others. Now, Ellie would say that she does, in fact, trust others. She thinks that she trusts other people too. But, her actions show otherwise. She’s very, very guarded and won’t confide in others or let them help her. Getting her to talk about potentially painful things is like pulling teeth out of her; it’s not going to happen easily. Her insecurities and guardedness is something that she works hard to overcome.

Marie:  Okay… 😦 I think we all have certain insecurities, so I’m sure a lot of people can relate. And who hasn’t found it difficult to trust before?

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Ellie’s favorite foods?

Molly:  Ha ha…Ellie’s perfect meal would consist of half a tuna fish sandwich to eat, peppermint tea to drink, and tapioca pudding for desert. She eats it literally every day for lunch. Edric sometimes brings her in something different, though, since he thinks that it’s a little sad that she eats just a half of a tuna fish sandwich each day.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Interesting!

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Molly:  Ellie’s really smart and hard-working. She’s a lot more competent than she gives herself credit for. She can accomplish work-related tasks that are nearly impossible. Since she’s so insecure, she doesn’t notice this about herself, though, and views herself as a bumbling, incompetent person who’s lucky to have a job.

Marie:  Aww…well, maybe she’ll be enlightened about that soon.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Molly:  For the most part, I think that readers will like Ellie because she’s a good person. But, at the same time, they might find her insecurities annoying at certain parts of the story.

I like to make all my characters multi-dimensional. I hope that my readers will both like and dislike my characters during different parts of the book. In life, people are multi-dimensional. I try to have my characters be as life-like as possible. So, long story short, I think that readers will cheer for Ellie sometimes, but want to shake some common sense into her at other times.

Marie: Oh, yes, I know what you mean!

And I prefer characters to be real, flawed human beings too.

Now that we have a real taste of Ellie, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for A Sibling’s Dilemma?

Molly: Okay, so originally I wanted to write a novel about a sassy, foul-mouthed private detective (Cassie) that falls in love with a jerk CEO (Edric), who she’s supposed to spy on. But then, I started to really develop the characters. When I fully fleshed out the characters and added in more (like Ellie), I had to re-examine the premise of the story. I moved the main couple away from being Cassie and Edric to Ellie and Edric. The story changed a lot over time.

Marie:  Nice! Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Molly:  I would say that I’m a combination of both. I really, really flesh out my characters. Then, I daydream about certain scenes in the book and I connect them all together. Once I have a general map going, I start to write. When I write, unexpected things come up and I either keep these new plot points, or cut them out entirely. I like to work in drafts. My first draft of A Sibling’s Dilemma was much different than the current version (and not just because my first draft was riddled with typos. Ha ha!).

Marie:  (Laughs.) I hear you…sometimes characters have minds of their own. The ones in Upon Your Love wouldn’t shut up for me until I wrote them into the story too. 😉

How about another question?

So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing A Sibling’s Dilemma or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Molly:  Okay, so I didn’t have too many problems with writing A Sibling’s Dilemma. However, I have had problems, in the past, with writing other stories.

My main advice for writing is that you need to love your own story. If you don’t love it, it’s not going to flow well and it’s going to come out bad. Or even worse, it won’t come out at all because you won’t want to write it. This novel just seemed to flow right out of me; it wasn’t super hard to write. Editing it and polishing it up was a whole different ball of wax (I’m eternally grateful for my editor), but the book itself was easy and fun to write.

As for getting published, my main advice is to not get discouraged. All you need is one publisher to say yes. Getting rejected will hurt, but you’ll move on. If you never try to put yourself out there, you’re in the same boat as you would be if you just got rejected. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So, just try to put your work out there. And if you do get rejected, ask why. I know that it’s awkward to ask and having a conversation about all the things that you’ve done wrong. It’s not the ideal conversation that you want to have, but it’s a necessary one if you want to improve. Use that criticism to hone your craft and get even better. If you use the criticism constructively and you never give up, a publisher will eventually say yes. You can do it! 🙂

Marie:  Too right! Often if we try to force writing to happen when our hearts aren’t in the story, it doesn’t work out. 

Still, so much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get. And like you said, we have to try first!

Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!

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 A Sibling’s Dilemma appears to be. Congratulations on your new release, Molly!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this contemporary romance by Molly V. Lovell, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for A Sibling’s Dilemma:

Edric Kensington promised himself that he would never be close to anyone outside of his family. Ellie Kent promised herself that she would always do what she thought was right no matter what. Cassie Kent promised herself that she would never date a married man. Sometimes promises get broken. Sometimes feelings get hurt. Sometimes friendships collapse. Sometimes standards slip. And yet, sometimes people overcome their flaws and find love.

A Sibling’s Dilemma is a contemporary romance novel that revolves around two sisters: Cassie and Ellie Kent. Cassie is a private detective and Ellie is a recent college graduate. Cassie is hired by Charlie Logan, the CEO of a company specializing in virtual reality games, to spy on Charlie’s greatest professional rival—Edric Kensington. This is no easy task–Edric Kensington is known for being as cold and guarded as he is handsome. To successfully infiltrate Edric’s company, Cassie needs to have an insider work there. Her shy-and-sweet sister, Ellie, is the perfect fit. When Ellie first works for Edric’s company, she is afraid of the cold and aloof CEO, but, over time, she develops romantic feelings for him, just like Cassie develops feelings for Charlie Logan. The two sisters become torn between their friendship with each other and the feelings that they harbor for the handsome CEOs who have stolen their hearts.

Molly is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Ellie Kent sat nervously in the top floor of the Kensington group building. She wrung her hands and then fidgeted with the second copy of her résumé.

Am I qualified for this? I hope I’m good enough. I don’t want to let Cassie down.

She made herself as small as possible as she sat in the waiting room chair. Ellie smiled warmly at the nearby workers, turned bright-red, and then looked back down at her resume, avoiding all eye-contact with them once more.

They probably think I’m weird looking, or too scrawny. Ellie frowned. Her heart was racing a mile a minute.

“Mr. Kensington is ready for your interview.”

“Thank you.” She stood up and then followed the secretary over to the doors. The young woman went to pull the door open, realized that it could only be open by being pushed, blushed, and then pushed it open.

Oh God. I can’t even open a door right.

Ellie walked inside the room and saw Edric Kensington sitting behind his desk. He appeared to be quite bored and unamused. She was surprised by how young he looked, she guessed he was in his early-to-mid thirties. Surprisingly handsome too—he was tall and slightly muscular with strong and symmetrical facial features and unblemished, olive skin. The pictures in the paper didn’t do him justice.

Edric wore a crisp navy-blue suit and had silver cufflinks. His chestnut-brown hair was combed neatly and seemed to frame his face well. Everything about him seemed put together. Ellie immediately felt embarrassed by her own appearance. She wore a light grey skirt suit that she got from the thrift store, which was just slightly too big for her.

The CEO stood up from behind his mahogany desk and walked over to Ellie. She immediately felt intimidated by his height and somewhat muscular stature—it made her feel small and scrawny. And she hated feeling small and scrawny. Suddenly she wished that Cassie were there with her. Someone strong that she could draw strength from.

He reached over and extended his hand to her. “Edric Kensington.”

Ellie reached over to accept the handshake. It was strong and firm. Almost a little too much so; it hurt her small hand.

Oh no, I gave him a weak, limp handshake. I’m not supposed to do that. He probably won’t want to hire me because of it.

“Eleonore Kent.” Ellie’s pale cheeks were flushed red. She averted her eyes to the floor.

“Take a seat.” Edric pointed to the chair opposite his desk. He slowly walked away from the young woman and sat behind his desk—she noticed that he had a confident gait about him.

Ellie knew that she looked flustered. She was never good at faking confidence. Her violet eyes were wide and her cheeks were bright-red. She had a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look about her. When she sat down she made herself as small as possible—hunched over, with her hands curled up underneath her chin. In contrast, Edric sat behind his desk poised confidently.

Ellie took a copy of her résumé —the copy that she didn’t crumple nervously in the waiting room—and quickly handed it to Edric. He held his hand up in a ‘stop’ sign.

“I already have a copy, Eleonore.”

Ellie returned the paper to her lap and begun to wring this extra copy of her résumé, since she already tore the other copy to shreds.

“Your résumé is strong—I see that you’re probably going to graduate in a few weeks at the top of your class at an Ivy League university, with a master’s degree, no less. Excellent references. I see lots and lots of community service.” Ellie’s blush deepened. “I have one question. Why would you want to work here as my assistant?”

“I-I…” The young woman swallowed deeply. “I’m thinking of starting up a non-profit one day.” She blurted out and then looked at the floor.

“I see.”

He probably thinks my reasons are stupid and that I’m not cut out to run a non-profit or to run anything.

“What do you have to offer this office?”

The way that Edric said the word ‘you’ made Ellie feel even worse.

“I…” Her hands started to shake.

Don’t cry, Ellie.

“I’m organized. I work hard. I. Um. I’ll do the job.” Ellie stammered.

Edric scoffed at Ellie and shook his head. She blushed and ran her fingers through her silky white hair. “You’ll start now. If you can make it through the end of the day, you can keep it. You will work nineteen hours a week for the next two weeks until you graduate. Then you will work full-time. Understood?”

Ellie nodded her head. “Yes.”

Edric pointed to a wooden desk in the corner of the room. It was made of mahogany, like Edric’s desk, except it was smaller and less ornate.

“The computer is up to date and you’ll find whatever supplies you need in your desk. The computer has an email installed on it for you to use.” He handed her a large notebook and then began to pace back and forth. “This is my copy of my schedule for the week. You will take over managing it, since my incompetent secretary clearly can’t. Send out an email to my sales department to find out what our sales have been for the past four months then make a spreadsheet detailing these sales to me. Book a room for my four o’clock meeting and write me a report detailing all the people who are attending this meeting.” Edric paused. “Oh, and if you fail, you’re fired.”

Ouch! He comes on really strong, doesn’t he? But I’m really connecting with Ellie here. I can feel her pain.

Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B0746PHKR1

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-siblings-dilemma-molly-v-lovell/1127020533?ean=9781625266231

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7388674

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/a-siblings-dilemma/

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this contemporary romance! ♥

About Molly V. Lovell

Molly V. Lovell is a law student at William and Mary by day, novelist by night. Her hobbies include writing (obviously), painting, looking at cute puppies, and reading books about political theory, a subject that Molly has a Master’s Degree in. Molly was born and raised in Amesbury, Massachusetts, by her two amazing parents and she now lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with her loving husband.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Molly V. Lovell, here are some author links:

Website:  MollyVLovell.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MollyVictoriaLovell/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MollyVLovell

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Molly-V.-Lovell/e/B0747WCG9Y/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15587999.Molly_V_Lovell

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/Mollsie18/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Ellie, a female character from A Sibling’s Dilemma, and Molly V. Lovell, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here!

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A Character Interview with Astrid Angleton from A COWBOY’S TRUE COLORS plus a conversation with author Lana K. Dempsey!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Isobelle Cate’s character on July 22nd and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Lana K. Dempsey, the author of A Cowboy’s True Colors, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Astrid Angleton, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Lana in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Astrid!

AstridandVictorinBlanket

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Astrid.  Please have a seat.

Character Astrid Angleton: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Astrid: Okay.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Astrid:  I’m about to start college, so my jobs will include eating pizza and hanging out with my hot boyfriend, Victor! Oh, and I suppose some studying would be good too. 😉

Marie:  (Laughs.) Yeah, I remember those college days…

Astrid:  And yes, I think I’m very good at hanging out with Victor. Ha! Ha!

Teasing aside, I do love to learn. I was lucky enough to take some college courses in high school. Long story short I was able to skip my freshman year in college, which will allow me to move through school very quickly. I’m looking into studying psychology, or something in the sciences. I’ve not decided. So yes, I’ll work hard and play hard as the saying goes.

Marie:  Wow! That’s great!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Astrid:  My family is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, and a whole lot mystical. My mom was raised on Buckshaw Ranch and has more cowboy hats than anyone I know. My dad is a city man, and most likely always will be. This year has been rough. Dad abandoned the family. My sister, Cammie, had moved out prior so Dad being gone isn’t in her face every day like it has been for my brother Luke and me. I’m concerned about Luke; he’s not his usually jovial self. Luke is enrolled at the University of Texas and I’m worried what’s going on at home will distract him from his studies.

Let’s talk about something more positive. One of the best parts of my family is we all have some unique talents. I’ll tell you about mine, I can see emotions. It’s not the same as reading someone’s mind, but I can see what they’re feeling in the form of colors and shapes surrounding them. It can be intense and very personal at times, but it has proven to be very useful and has even helped save my life.

Marie:  All right. Hey, that’s a cool power!

Let’s try something else.

If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Astrid:  I spent summers and any time off at Buckshaw Ranch, which is a sprawling property not far from Austin, Texas. During the school year we lived in remodeled historic home in Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood. I loved that house, but with all the changes going on in our family we couldn’t stay there. Anyway, I doubt we’ll stay in Austin much longer. Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

I’m feeling a need to draw the family to Buckshaw Ranch. I think it will bring good things.

Victor and I have yet to decide where we’ll call home, whether it’ll be Buckshaw Ranch or WilLo Ranch, owned by his family. For now, we aren’t really sure.

Marie:  I don’t think you’re supposed to know all the answers at that age…;)

So, do you have any hobbies, Astrid?  What do you enjoy doing?

Astrid:  Did I mention my hot boyfriend? Ha, ha!

We spend weekends either at my family’s ranch or Victor’s family’s ranch. We like being out in the open spaces. I love to read, of course. I’m also taking some cooking lessons from Victor’s brother Reggie. Reggie is Victor’s twin. A while back, there was some crazy stuff happening and Reggie began baking to distract himself. Now, he can whip up a pie like nobody’s business. He’s certainly made that oven his bitch! Ha, ha! Now, we just need to find him a woman.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds like a plan…

And what is your greatest dream?

Astrid: I want to find a way to use my talent for reading emotions to help make the world a better place. I haven’t worked out how to do that yet. Of course, it’s not something I tell most folks, so it has to be on the down-low, which is why I’m thinking psychology for a major. Not sure how that’ll pan out just yet, but I’m working on it.

Marie: Psychology always fascinated me too, how people tick. I guess that’s partly why I found myself writing.

So…what kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Astrid:  College is stopping me, and well… I guess it’s starting me too. I mean, I feel impatient having to take the time to finish school. I’m ready to get on with a career and family. Education is important, even if you end up choosing a different path. I want to be independent and contribute to society. Once college is under my belt, then I’ll feel more like my life is beginning.

Marie: That makes sense to feel that way, but don’t forget to have some fun while you’re there too!

I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Astrid:  Victor Berenger. He’s hard to miss; he’s the giant cowboy waiting for me outside. See that vintage Ford truck outside? That’s him. He’s on the phone with his ranch hand. Victor’s parents are having him manage WilLo Ranch more and more these days, so he’s on the phone a lot.

Marie: (Waves to Victor.)

Okay, let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Astrid: Last year I saw a set of colors with no person attached. It took me a second to realize what I was seeing was a ghost. I never ran so fast in my life!  I was terrified that day, but it was nothing compared to the events that would come not long afterwards. Events that almost cost me my life.

Marie:  Scary indeed!

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Astrid nods.]

Who is your role model?

Astrid:  My role model is my mother, Kell. She held us all together when things got rough, still does. My Dad has some addiction issues and for a while there…well, let’s just say my mom rocks! Now she’s following her heart and I’m so impressed. I definitely want to be like Mom.

Marie: Well, I certainly admire the way you feel about your mother…

Sounds like she’s a special person.

All right…now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Astrid:  Myself. I used to anyway. I was very insecure and I faked my confidence level for most of high school. I’m happy to say I’ve matured a great deal in just these last few months. I understand now that love is a complex thing and no one is perfect. I’ve really come to appreciate my uniqueness.

Marie:  Lovely to hear!

Can you tell us something else? What is your deepest desire?

Astrid: I want to contribute to the world in some way, but I also want to have a family. I think Victor’s combination of strength, intelligence, and patience will make him a great father. I also want to pass on some of the traditions of Buckshaw Ranch.

There are some other deep desires Victor helps me fulfill on a regular basis as well. 😉

Marie:  (Clears throat.) Ah, let’s move on to another topic.

I do appreciate that you want a family with Victor, though. I love romance. ♥

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So, how about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

Astrid:  My greatest fear is losing those I love. Victor is the man of my dreams and if something happened to him, I know I would never love like this again. Losing my mom or my siblings would devastate me. I have some really good friends as well, so losing any of them would hurt so much. I want to keep them all safe and protected. It’s all about those we love. Nothing is more important in life than our loved ones.

Marie: You’re right about that.

I think we all have that fear sometimes, to lose the people we care about the most. Perhaps it’s what keeps us from taking them for granted.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Astrid. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Lana K. Dempsey on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Lana!

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Author Lana K. Dempsey: Hi there, Marie, thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor. (Bows pretending to curtsy.) I love your blog!

Marie: Oh, goodness! (Blushes.) Such a magnanimous entrance there. Thank you so much! 😀

Really, it’s always a total pleasure to have you on my blogs.

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Astrid Angleton. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Lana: Yes, I’d love to. Astrid is part of a group of eighteen-year-olds who are gifted with above average maturity along with some subtle supernatural talents. They’re drawn together to right a very ancient wrong. She’s very strong and quite often unaware of her own strength.

Marie:  All right.

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

Lana: Astrid is humble. Too humble. Victor and her friends have to beat her over the head to get her to take on the role that will one day be hers. She just doesn’t fully grasp her own value.

Marie:  Well, I think we all feel that way at times.

And what are some of Astrid’s favorite foods?

Lana: Astrid loves French fries, her mother’s cooking, and Victor’s brisket.

Marie:  (Smiles.)

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Lana: Astrid will be a role model and leader for other women. A few more life lessons and she’ll begin to understand.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Lana: Readers will relate to her as if she’s a friend of theirs. Astrid is a compassionate and loyal ally. You definitely want her in your corner. She’s someone I’d love to know.

Actually, I’d love to BE Astrid! Ha! Victor Berenger would be one hell of a catch!

Marie: (Laughs.) All right.

Now that we have a real taste of Astrid, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for A Cowboy’s True Colors?

Lana: The story is the beginning of a series of books called The Mystical Traditions of Buckshaw Ranch. I had the basic plot, but when I started writing, the story line for book one popped up first and became the foundation. That happened again when I started book two, WHERE A COWBOY HANGS HIS HAT, which was just released on July 15th. This is also why the characters in the first book are so young.

I have a novella coming out as part of Sable Hunter’s Hell Yeah! Kindle World which will be released on August 11, 2016. It’s a stand alone, but it’s officially a Buckshaw series story, as well. So now, book four is getting started and it should be the final stage in the original story. But, as history has shown, the characters sometimes make other plans while I’m foolishly plotting the story.

Marie:  That’s for damn sure! Interesting how the muse works, huh? :)

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Lana:  Mostly a pantster. I love that word, by the way. However, there is a lot to consider in a series, so I’ve been known to plot simply to keep it all straight. I’m a hybrid, I guess. Hopefully that means I’m good for the environment! Especially the Kindle environment. Ha, ha!

Marie:  I am a hybrid as well…I do both.

So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing A Cowboy’s True Colors or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Lana: The main thing I would advise is to finish your darn book! I missed opportunities because my book was still in the first draft stage. Also, I think finding a local writers group to help you with beta reading and feedback. Both of those things would have been wonderful to have on the front end. Finally, I would have gotten help earlier with the things I’m not so good at, such as the technical stuff. More than anything, you need support on all levels. You need a community, but I can say that goes for everyone whether or not they are a writer.

Marie:  Very true! And I agree completely. So much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get.

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 A Cowboy’s True Colors appears to be.

Lana: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Marie: It’s my pleasure!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful yet sexy, new adult Western paranormal romance by Lana K. Dempsey, a very talented author! :)

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Here is the blurb for A Cowboy’s True Colors:

Everyone’s last year in high school is always chaotic. This is especially true for Astrid at White Wood School. As if having a bully, an absentee father, and a best friend with a big problem weren’t enough – she also has to deal with having a secret power. Anytime she sees someone, Astrid also sees a kaleidoscope of colors surrounding them. Each individual’s emotions swirl in a changing pattern, allowing her to know what they’re feeling. This sixth sense complicates her life further, especially when she meets the one person who’s colors she can’t read – Victor Berenger, a tall, handsome cowboy with smoldering eyes. Every time Astrid is around him, she thinks her heart will beat out of her chest. When she finds out he is equally drawn to her, she’s thrilled. The man certainly knows his way around the bedroom. Life seems just about perfect…until the day Astrid’s vision takes a new twist. A set of colors appear on the school grounds–only this time they aren’t attached to a human! A mystery unfolds that threatens Astrid and her friends. To her surprise, Victor holds a piece of the puzzle. Join these two as they learn one another’s secrets, as well as the hidden, magical history of White Wood School.

*Content Warning: Contains explicit scenes and language. Intended for 18+ Audience

Lana is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

For the briefest moment he stopped his scan of the room and studied her. Or was she remembering that wrong? She was never sure. Either way, his expression didn’t change and he continued his inventory of his fellow classmates. After that, he hadn’t spoken to her until the last couple of days.

“Ah, yes. I’m sorry about that, I was a bit distracted. It wasn’t for lack of interest, I assure you.” Victor pressed himself a little closer to her under the blanket.

“You don’t seem very distracted now.”

This made him laugh. “Honestly, I’ve been worried about my brother. Right now he seems a bit taken with your friend, so I feel a little less guilty about indulging in my own interests.”

“Is Reggie okay?” she asked.

When Victor didn’t answer right away, her mind raced through various possibilities. Maybe Reggie was sick. He hadn’t been to school; they’d only just met him tonight.

“I’m sorry, I really can’t share that with you right now.”

Astrid instantly regretted having asked. The lighthearted mood was gone. Dang it! She chided herself for having brought it up. Then she had an idea. Before she could talk herself out of it she leaned into him and with her open palm drew a long caress down the length of his thigh. She felt him freeze up. Afraid she might have offended him with her forwardness, she paused and tilted her head up a little bit in an attempt to read his face in the dim light.

How wrong she had been.

Victor met her upturned face with the full force of his lips on hers. His leather jacket whispered as he reached around and grabbed her by the back of the neck to pull her closer to him. Despite her heart beating so hard it seemed about to jump out of her chest, she turned into him draping her knee over his leg. She brushed against the bulge between his legs with her thigh. The warmth there and the image of what lay beneath those Levi’s made her melt entirely.

“I’ve wanted to kiss you for so long.” Victor practically growled the words when he finally pulled away from her long enough to speak.

“I want to do more than kiss you.”

The feel of her voice, hot and sultry against his neck, was enough to drive him wild. How had he held this in for so long?

“That can be arranged,” he told her, thinking ahead of places he could get them some privacy. Maybe next time at her house, before her mom comes home, he plotted.

“Where can we go? I’m not kidding, I want you now.” The urgency inside her would not be ignored. This new, demanding part of herself seemed to be taking over.

“Now?” His heart stuttered a beat as he realized she was completely serious. Again he grabbed her by the neck and kissed her long and hard, this time pushing his warm tongue past those sweet lips. Eagerly she responded, pressing her chest up against him and letting out a tiny moan.

That was it, he was completely undone. I will have her now, he said to himself. “This way.” His voice was thick with the ache of desire. Gathering up the blanket he draped it over his shoulder and grabbed her by the hand.

She followed silently, her body alive, vibrating to an age old rhythm. Watching him walk ahead of her, she suddenly felt a proprietary right to watch the roundness of his behind without restraint. It was beautiful and she couldn’t wait to see it in the flesh.

Ooh! So sexy! ♥♥♥ 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/ACowboysTrueColors

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cowboys-true-colors-lana-k-dempsey/1123825650

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6238772

Lana teaser

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this hot romance! ♥

About Lana K. Dempsey

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I’m Lana, a lifelong Texan, dog lover, and writer of sensual romance. When I say ‘sensual romance’ I mean I include real life in my stories, and real life includes sex.

I divide my time between Austin Texas and a small family ranch not far from Shiner. Shiner is the home of Shiner beer, I’ve been known to stop off at their tasting room before rolling up my sleeves to get to work on the ranch. Like many Texans I’ve got a bit of everything in me, German, Native American, and some Creole influence. Nothing like a little spice to liven things up.

Writing is much like reading; I need to feel the story in the same way a reader would. I adore leading men who are strong, but aren’t afraid to love. My goal is to fall in love as I write, it’s the only way my reader will as well.

Come with me and get to know a hot cowboy or two. It’ll be fun!

Books:

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Lana K. Dempsey, here are some author links:

Website:  http://www.lanadempsey.com

Blog:  http://www.lanadempsey.com/blog

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LanaKDempsey

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lanadempsey1

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Lana-K.-Dempsey/e/B01DWSO7LO/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15166226.Lana_K_Dempsey

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lanakdempsey

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Astrid, a female character from A Cowboy’s True Colors, and Lana K. Dempsey, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, western, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Emmi Vendetta from EMMI’S PRIDE plus a conversation with author Jill Marie Denton!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed K.C. Sprayberry’s character on March 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 Jill Marie Denton, the author of Emmi’s Pride, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Emmi Vendetta, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Jill Marie in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Emmi!

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Marie Lavender:  Hello, Emmi.  Please have a seat.

Character Emmi Vendetta: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Emmi: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Also, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Emmi:  I’m the vocalist, manager and agent for Second, a rock band my friends and I formed eighteen or so years ago. Fortunately for us, we’re well-received by the media and our fans, and have a few awards to back up our skill set, so I can claim to be good at it, yes. It’s been a whirlwind but I can’t imagine a better way to spend two decades.

Marie:  Wow, that’s great! 🙂

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Emmi:  I do my best to shield my family from the mayhem. My childhood was fairly normal, and based on their preferences and my own, I prefer to not answer questions about them.

Marie:  All right. I can respect that.

If it doesn’t bother you too much, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Emmi:  It was suburbia in its purest sense. I’m the all-American middle-class girl you imagined living next door in your cul-de-sac. I just took a more publicized route in my teens, but the house and the people inside were as typical as they come.

Marie:  I see.

Do you have any hobbies, Emmi?  What do you enjoy doing?

Emmi: Hobbies are a hard thing to find time for, but I spend a good majority of my time with music on in the background. It’s essential that I stay on top of trends and what’s prevalent in music, but it keeps my mind on track, too, while I’m pushing paper around. I’ve been writing lyrics most of my life, and I’m constantly writing phrases that might become lyrics on any paper within reach. I don’t enjoy the treadmill but I lean on it pretty fiercely. Being fuller-figured in the media is always a source of antipathy, so I just shoot for ‘healthy’ and let the chips fall where they may. Other than that, I just enjoy every moment of this life and all the beautiful opportunities our hard work has provided.

Marie:  Okay.

So…what is your greatest dream?

Emmi: If you’d asked me this a few years ago, I’d have told you I wanted time off. I’m a little wiser now, and know I’m glutton for punishment in the form of work. Nowadays, I just look forward to having a home base, someplace where I can sort my work and start more memories. Being on the road, touring endlessly since my early twenties has made me crave a bed and home of my own.

Marie:  That’s understandable.

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Emmi: I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve become the person I was meant to be. I knew that I needed more than a calm, steady and domesticated life and I went out and achieved it. While the success is a little overwhelming at times, I know in my heart that I took the right path with both my education and Second. I always have other skills to lean on, but for now, I love being Emmi, with all the pros and cons rolled in.

Marie: Lovely to hear that! 😉

So I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Emmi: Other than music icons, I assume. Those are always the first men that pop into my mind when I think back on love. In truth, love’s always been second in line behind some other duty, but I think the boy that made me realize what love was and how it felt to have my heart sputter was Robert. I wish I remembered his last name. In any case, he sat in front of me in some trivial computer course in middle school. I always wanted to touch his long hair or wear his flannel shirt. Ah, the nineties.

Marie: (Chuckles.)

All right. Let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Emmi: Professionally, I’d invested some hard earnings into a band a few years back, forming them from a group of talented misfits and naming them like a set of quads I’d birthed personally. I spent so many hours of my time coaching, producing, and finessing only to have their tour cancelled due to the lead singer’s inability to commit. I lost quite a bit, both monetarily and in reputation, when that happened, and had to eat crow with quite a few club owners and venue organizers to rebuild relationships I’d meticulously built. Personally, I had to accept that sometimes, no matter how much money you throw at it or how hard you try, some people will never understand and never support your ambition. Sometimes those people are close to you, and you have to let go of the toxicity before it destroys your dreams. Accepting that truth was devastating, and is still something I live with every day.

Marie:  Yikes! Sorry to hear that.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Emmi nods.]

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?

Emmi: Well, I think I achieved the dream of many, not just myself, but it certainly wasn’t the glorious, laid-back road I dreamed of as a child. There’s a reason that bands break up, a reason that so many friends end up hating each other once they’re forced to work, live and eat together for years. I’d anticipated rocky roads, bitch-fests, and attitude because I’m always pushing for better, but I’m fortunate to have partners in crime that understand how hard it is to maintain fame and how fleeting it can be. They, for the most part, are patient with their perfectionist, workaholic boss, but they also know how to deal with me after two decades of friendship. I didn’t expect to have to tour as much as we did, to lose as much sleep as we have, but in retrospect, it’s been worth it.

Marie:  The good dreams always are…;)

Okay, let’s try something else.

Who is your role model, Emmi?

Emmi: It’s likely you won’t know this gent, but the first name that I thought of was Ian MacKaye. I’ve been a fan of his music since childhood when I discovered punk rock and realized it was a great outlet for me. Ian succeeded where others failed, starting a recording label, producing some top-notch talent and continuing to record unique songs by his own set of guidelines. So many in this industry have to do what they’re told, conform to some set of commandments set by their labels or the media. He never accepted their money to do what they wanted. He always set his own rules, let the fans decide, and it ended up serving him well. It was wonderful to have such a talented, headstrong and inventive idol over the years.

Marie:  He definitely sounds amazing!

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Emmi: The media, especially the paparazzi, but that comes with the territory. Without fan interest, there’d be no clandestine photos taken and no gossip in circulation, so it’s par for the course. But I could live without their hounding, assumptions and speculation, as could a few other celebrities, I’m sure.

Marie:  All right. I can’t blame you there.

So, can you tell us something? What is your deepest desire, Emmi?

Emmi:  Secretly, I hope that one day, heaven deigns to send me someone to share my passions with. For the moment, I’m fine being the solitary wolf, the headstrong female with the career, but I hope I realize when he comes along that not every relationship is a burden and not every love is destined for despair. When he comes along, I hope I’m smart enough to realize it and not be skeptical, like I’d normally be.

Marie:  You’re right. It does take courage to let someone get that close to you. I have no doubt you’ll find him. (Sighs.) I love romance. ❤

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How about another question…

What is your greatest fear?

Emmi:  That all we’ve accomplished as a band will fade before we’re ready to say goodbye to it. Success is so fleeting, so elusive, that if we look away or lose focus, it’ll be gone before we can argue. I believe that success is a measure of effort, so we’ll keep pressing forward, going for broke, until we’re ready to hang up the instruments for good.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan, but I think you have nothing to worry about. 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Emmi. It was so interesting getting to know you!

Emmi:  Thank you for having me here, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Jill Marie Denton on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Jill Marie!

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Author Jill Marie Denton:  Hi, Marie!  A pleasure to be here.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  :)

So, we just got to talk to a female character of your story, Emmi Vendetta. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Jill Marie: She’s the epitome of career professional, just in an occupation that usually ends quickly and tragically. During the course of her rise in Second, she achieved a doctorate in general medicine and a law degree. She’s intelligent, witty, and undeniably charismatic, though the media browbeats her about her curves and blondness, insinuating she’s an over-eater and loose in morals. Having to rise above, to reshape their opinions, has brought out the prideful, self-reliant side she shows to the world.

Marie:  She sounds awesome!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Jill Marie: Emmi is a go-getter in every sense of the word. She’s built her successes and wealth through years of living on a tour bus, studying the industry, passing the bar exam in various states and not compromising to make life easier. She’s the first in and the last out, the type of worker that makes those around her step up and follow suit. And she’s lovely inside and out, once she accepts you and drops the barbed wire fence around her heart.

Marie:  Nice!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Jill Marie: Her unwillingness to compromise, to accept second best, often puts her at odds with those who won’t step up. Untrusting and unwilling to let a task be done imperfectly, she carries the workload herself. She’s also emotionally distant from those outside her circle, afraid to show vulnerability to the critical and judgmental media. With her band mates, she is a true, loyal and expressive friend, but outside that group, she is guarded, suspicious and overly careful.

Marie:  Well, I think we can all be somewhat protective of ourselves…

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Jill Marie: Emmi is a vegetarian as much as her life permits. She prefers to “save animal meat for the other animals,” to quote her directly. She loves Italian food like her family prepared growing up, heavy on tomato and herb. She also loves ginger, including drinks and treats. Her ideal meal is iced mint tea, vegetable lasagna and bread so garlicky, it scares off the undead.

Marie:  (Laughs.) All right.

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Jill Marie: She’s selfless in ways she doesn’t realize, and she has a maternal streak that makes her insistence easier to handle. She manages the band of friends like a den mother, though she considers herself a despot.

Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Jill Marie:  My hope is that readers will enjoy her, though at times her reasoning and considerations can be illogical. Women are tricky, especially the headstrong and dedicated ones, and Emmi is no different. I love writing strong women, the kind that younger generations can relate to, and in time, I’m sure readers will enjoy the compromises she makes in pursuit of love.

Marie:  I’m sure they will too!:)

Now that we have a real taste of Emmi, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Emmi’s Pride?

Jill Marie: I’ve had these characters, Emmi and her Second mates, in my head for the better part of twenty years. They’re based on bits of me and friends I’ve had. Their stories were begging to be told, and once I realized that a handsome, persuasive and passionate actor she crushed over would be a perfect antagonist for the careful musician, the book practically wrote itself.

Marie:  Great! I love how the muse works.

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Jill Marie:  I’m a little of both, to be honest. I think conversations in books need to be “pantsy” in that they should flow the way a normal chat would. Planning it too carefully makes it sound contrived. I enjoy having a rough path in mind before beginning a story, though. Having an idea of where to start and end is crucial in managing a novel’s length and flow, but adhering too closely to an outline makes it easy to disregard new ideas as they come.

Marie:  Oh, I fully agree. I dance around in both realms as well.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Emmi’s Pride or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Jill Marie:  I’ve had issues with writer’s blocks during the novel writing, and found myself utterly unable to form sentences with any sort of cohesion or develop dialogue anyone would relate to. I had to take a few breaks to read, re-imagine and reinvigorate before writing again. I also felt the constant need for feedback during the writing process, unsure if anything I wrote was worthy of publishing. In doing this, I realized a lot of writers have anxiety over the same issue, and end up giving their books away to willing readers simply to exploit reviews and encouragement. Finding a publishing deal is incredibly difficult, takes thick skin and many hours of labor, potentially resulting in decline after decline. If all else fails, for your first efforts, create an eBook and price it reasonably. Market yourself around that eBook, create a name for yourself and never give up!

Marie:  Thanks for the tips!

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 Emmi’s Pride appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful book by Jill Marie Denton, a very talented author! :) This contemporary romance debut novel just released on April 8th!

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Here is the blurb for Emmi’s Pride:

Emmi Vendetta is the charismatic lead singer of Second, a rock band on an unstoppable trajectory. Blonde and curvy, she captivates on stage, forming a powerful and sultry image for the five-female group. But as the band manager and agent, she is Second’s professional face, and offstage, she takes that role, and her dedication to it, seriously.

One night, she stumbles into the man of her dreams, dark and handsome British actor Simon Piers. Suddenly, the safe, cold wall she puts between her heart and the speculative media is threatened. Her body craves what her steadfast and cautious mind fears most; media critique, dismissal of her proficient image and Second’s downfall at the hands of outside interests. But their gravitation is inescapable, and her desires cause her resolve to falter.

Will Emmi’s pride stand in the way of the happiness Simon promises, or will she find room in her life for a chance at true love?

Jill Marie is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Her ear came alive with voices not in the room as two of their guards were discussing an incoming paparazzi blitz. The word was out on their attendance. Both were asking them to retreat with as much dignity as possible and to cut their evening short before the reporters burst through the paltry line of security the benefit had hired.

That was her cue. No one hated invasive paparazzi more than Emmi, and Deis was quickly whisked from the circle of thanks by her manager’s fierce grip.

“They’re coming,” Emmi said hurriedly, moving with Deis to the front entrance, where the limo would be waiting.

Not needing to be convinced, Deis hurried out the door and down the grand steps to the guard, poised at the car door. She knew not to argue with her manager about avoiding undue publicity.

Emmi was a few steps behind when she ran fully into a black-garbed wall of man.

The movement into her path was so sudden, so unanticipated, that she couldn’t catch herself. Heeled feet slid on the granite as she toppled into the figure she’d nearly bowled over. She didn’t have the chance to be embarrassed, to say a single word in defense. He was holding her biceps before she could regain her footing, kept up right by his warm hands. Fortunately for them both, his body was poised to catch her forward momentum. She gasped as he held her steady.

He was silent as she lifted her head and met his intense yet concerned gaze.

Holy hell. It was him.

Simon Piers, in all his dark and dangerous glory.

He was dressed in a flawless black suit, classy in a white shirt and matching tie. When he finally released her arms, all she could do was try to recover. No words would come.

For the first time in her life, she was caught utterly and foolishly unprepared. She’d seen him for months, on her tablet screen or when she closed her eyes. Her band mates all teased her about her infatuation. His chestnut hair cut modestly, eyes like molasses, body firm like she’d seen on Netflix, and that smile that crossed from one cheek to the other coyly. She’d imagined smiling charmingly and being he confident rock star she could be when she met him. But now, with his body pressed to hers and in his grasp, she was wholly undone.

She finally caught her breath, which had whooshed out violently at contact, pulled herself together and met his gaze with as much pride as she could muster. How long had she been out of sorts?

It felt like minutes. She feared her look came off as panic, or even amazement, instead of the quiet confidence she willed herself to portray.

Deis raised her voice from the backseat of the limo. “Come on!”

She glanced over his shoulder at her band mate, then back at him. He was smiling now, his eyes narrowed slightly at her torn expression. His breath was soft, slow, compared with her embarrassed panting. He had to recognize her, but didn’t bother to add to her shame by asking for a thing. She managed a polite smile, averted her eyes hastily and continued down the steps without looking back.

As the limo drove away, he stood near the door, eyeing its escape down the narrow street. They were long gone and his mind was pouring over their momentary encounter, a grin on brazen display, when he finally ducked into the white-collar crowd.

Ooh…Interesting!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01E0ZGIVK

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-saga-book-one-jill-marie-denton/1123581095

Books-A-Million:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Second-Saga-Book-One/Jill-Marie-Denton/9781634912358?id=6582324584278

Book Locker:  http://booklocker.com/books/8508.html

About Jill Marie Denton

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Jill Marie is a long-time fan of women’s fiction and rock music, marrying her two interests in Second Saga. She is also a classically-trained French chef, Human Resources professional and Master’s student in her home state of Delaware. Aside from reading, writing and cooking, she is also a dedicated contributor to women’s websites and online magazines, such as BE, for romantic fiction and culinary development. Above all, she delights in creating strong-willed, relatable characters for her audience in her novels, and continues to write to help women realize their inner strength and the power of their passion.

Jill Marie’s Book:

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Jill Marie Denton, here are some author links:

Website/Blog:  http://www.jillmariedenton.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JillMarieDenton

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JillMarieDenton

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Jill-Marie-Denton/e/B01D3HTLVA/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15103692.Jill_Marie_Denton

Publisher:  http://booklocker.com/books/8508.html

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Emmi Vendetta, a female character from Emmi’s Pride, and Jill Marie Denton, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

8 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Amy Pearson from THE LIE plus a conversation with author K.C. Sprayberry!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Aurora Zahni’s character on December 29th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting K.C. Sprayberry, the author of The Lie, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Amy Pearson, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to K.C. in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Amy!

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Amy.  Please have a seat.

Character Amy Pearson: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Amy: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Also, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Amy:  Hi, everyone. My name is Amy Pearson. I’m a senior at Landry High School in Georgia, a band geek, and a musician. My brother, Bryce, is always telling me that I have to believe in what I can do, so I have to say I’m a great student with a 4.0 GPA. As a musician, I play the keyboard, flute, clarinet, oboe, and guitar. I also sing. And if my YouTube page can be believed, people actually like what I do.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Great!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Amy:  Well… I have a brother, Bryce. He’s two years younger than me, plays football, always gives me grief about the stupidest stuff, but he’s a good person to talk to. My dad does reno on houses that my uncle sells. Dad’s kind of cool. He’s a volunteer fire fighter in his spare time. And then there’s my mom. Her and me—we don’t get along well. It’s because of my bestie, Jane.

Mom thinks Jane is a horrible influence on me, but she… Jane… doesn’t have any other friends. And she was so nice to me when I had asthma as a kid and couldn’t go outside much.

Marie:  All right. Sorry to hear that.

The mother-daughter relationship can be complicated sometimes.

If it doesn’t bother you too much, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Amy:  Just like everyone else’s around us. A typical middle class southern home. Nothing spectacular. Until we moved into the old home place, a gift from my grandparents after our house sold and we needed a place fast. It was right after that happened. Don’t ask me about that. It was really awful.

Marie:  Okay, sorry. I sense it’s a touchy subject. I know there’s a story there, but I won’t pry.

Do you have any hobbies, Amy?  What do you enjoy doing?

Amy:  My music is my life. I love recording tracks with my instruments. Sometimes just one, or I might do a few tracks with two or three instruments. Then I write songs and my brother sets up videos on our YouTube page.

Marie:  Sounds like fun!

So…what is your greatest dream?

Amy:  Graduate high school, go to Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Be a Marching Southerner. And get a general music degree. I don’t know after that. It’s too far away to think about.

Marie:  That’s understandable. It’s hard to see that far ahead. It was for me too.

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Amy:  I want to be a person my mom can love without getting all mad because of my only close friend. I want to be able to just hug her and not have her ask what Jane did now. And I want to have more friends than Jane. It gets really weird only being able to do things with her all the time, but she says everyone else makes fun of her, so I can’t do stuff with them.

Marie:  Wow, sorry to hear that! 😦

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Amy:  Trey Melton.

He’s a hunk, kind of like that actor, Brant Daughtery from Pretty Little Liars. Was the quarterback for the Landry Wildcats, until he blew out his knee. And he’s pretty sweet. We’ve just started seeing each other seriously, now that I kicked Jane out of my life.

Marie:  Good to hear! (Sighs.) I love romance…

The Lie

All right. So, let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Amy:  That. It’s really hard to explain, kind of complicated. See, the school board took away the band’s funding. And we got very upset. That’s when Jane came to me with this plan, but she couldn’t tell the other kids in band about it. I had to do that, or they wouldn’t have gone along. So, I did, but it didn’t feel right. And then it happened. We didn’t mean for it to happen. It was only supposed to be stink and smoke. The school wasn’t supposed to burn down.

Marie:  Yikes! Okay, I can see this is difficult for you.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Amy nods.]

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?

Amy:  To be a musician. To go professional. Maybe. I’m not really sure I can do that, though. The kind of music I do isn’t really popular, but it’s what I like. But the people that like my YouTube page are always telling me I’m good enough to be on The Voice or American Idol. I mean really? Me? That’s so crazy.

Marie:  Well, it sounds like you have the talent! What I’ve learned is it’s easier to try something and then decide it’s not for you rather than regret you never did it. 😉

Okay. Let’s try something else.

So, who is your role model, Amy?

Amy:  To be honest, my younger brother. Bryce is so cool. He’s really smart too. And he never lets anyone put him down. He’s hot too (don’t tell him I said that!). Not only is he great in the classroom, but he’s a gunner on Special Teams for football, and he’s stellar at that. The biggest thing I admire about Bryce? Even though I get irritated with him about the silly stuff, he’s always there for me when something Jane talks me into blows up.

Theo James (Bryce)

Marie:  Good to hear! I’m glad you have a close relationship with your brother.

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Amy:  It took me a long time to figure it out, but I really don’t like Jane. Probably never have. But she’s so needy. And kind of mean. She always puts down my family, but I can’t tell her to go away. I don’t know why, just that I can’t. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t have any other friends.

Marie:  All right. I can see how pity might have led you into a rough situation.

So, can you tell us something? What is your deepest desire, Amy?

Amy:  To have a normal life. Not to have to put up with Jane’s games, her constant innuendos that people hate her for no reason, or are down on her. She’s so harsh. Never gives anyone a chance. She even makes me feel stupid for wanting to do things without her. Jane smothers me, but I don’t know how to make her go away.

Marie:  Okay. How about another question…

What is your greatest fear?

Amy:  Losing the music in my head. I think I’d die if that happened. That music has always been there. I think I’d go crazy and fade away if it stopped.

Marie:  Funny, that’s exactly the way I feel about writing! 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Amy. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

Amy:  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 K.C. Sprayberry on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here again! Hello, K.C.!

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Author K.C. Sprayberry:  Hi, Marie!  A pleasure to be here.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  🙂

So, we just got to talk to a female character of your story, Amy Pearson. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

K.C.:  Amy is a typical teen. She works hard for approval from her parents, but is also pulling away as she starts her senior year of high school. Amy has an inner core of strength but she doesn’t realize that because of her bestie, Jane. But Amy is starting to pull free of Jane’s toxic influence, to spread her wings by making new friends, getting involved with her classmates, and getting ready for college.

Marie:  Okay.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

K.C.:  She’s a loyal friend. Amy is willing to do what’s needed to help out when necessary. She also loves to cook and bake. Amy makes a killer pumpkin cheesecake and some really great sweet potato tarts.

Marie:  Nice! But seriously, she sounds like a great person.

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

K.C.:  Amy’s greatest weakness is that she likes to believe the best about people. She won’t give up on a friend, no matter how badly that friend treats her.

Marie:  An admirable trait, but I can see how that could get her into some trouble…

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

K.C.:  She loves pretty much everything. The spicier the better. Her favorite burger is from Fuddruckers, the Southwestern.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

K.C.:  That’s she’s a sweet, loyal person who can do so much better than she thinks she can.

Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

K.C.:  They’ll hate how she won’t stand up against Jane, instead leaning on her brother heavily. But when things get tough and Bryce isn’t around, Amy will discover she’s a really strong person who can take care of herself.

Marie:  Great! 🙂

Now that we have a real taste of Amy, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for The Lie?

K.C.:  My editor and I were kicking around ideas one night on Facebook PM. And somehow the conversation got around to lying. How a lie is like the ripples in a pond and you never know how far those ripples go. Then I told her that I’d be right back, knocked out an opening to the first chapter, and showed it to her. She read it, suggested a couple of things, and told me to run with it. Boy, did I run with it. The Lie finished at a little over 102,000 words, the longest and most difficult book I’ve ever written.

Marie:  Impressive!

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like, K.C.? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

K.C.:  I do like to plan, plot out my books, but honestly, after chapter three, all planning flies out the window once the characters take over. They will direct from the background, often screeching out, “I would not do that!” until I fix the problem. Some stories have just been “panster” from beginning to end. I’ve tried being a plotter, but it never works out.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sometimes those characters just don’t listen to us…

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Lie or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

K.C.:  The getting published part wasn’t hard at all, but I have a fabulous publisher in Solstice Publishing. The real challenge lay in writing this book. Originally, it started out as single viewpoint, Amy. Then younger but definitely louder brother Bryce started screaming in my head that he was not going to let his sis go through this alone. So, sigh, I went back to the beginning and began inserting his viewpoint into the chapters. And he’s good. So’s Amy. Anytime I tried to shortcut on the story line, they were after me to get it together and do it right. The end result was not just the most powerful story I’ve done to date, but also the longest one.

Marie:  Awesome!

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 Lie appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by K.C. Sprayberry, a very talented author! 🙂 The book comes out on March 4th!

Here is the blurb for The Lie:

For high school siblings, Amy and Bryce, the night began with a football game. Bryce was stuck at home with a cold, brought on by an uncaring coach. Amy was in the stands, playing with the band whose funding had been taken away and given to the football team.

Her best friend, Jane, brought the band together to play a prank on the team in protest.

The prank went wrong. Horribly, tragically wrong.

And the lie that started it all would not stop.

K.C. is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Amy:

The sun is peeping over the mountains all around us. The members of the Landry High School Band fill in the last of the holes where we placed our planned revenge to go off tonight. None of us has had any sleep since we woke up yesterday, yet we’re charged up and ready for the rest of today and well into tonight.

“Where are your friends?” I ask.

Jane Preston, my bestie, the true mastermind of this prank, smirks at me.

Her light brown hair flies around her face in the early morning breeze. She swipes a few strands away from her pinched mouth and grimaces. Jane is always angry, always ready to take revenge for what she sees as a slight against her. Her slender body hunches forward, what she calls a protection method against all of her enemies. A lot of people don’t like her. I’m her only real friend. That’s because I feel sorry for her. Honesty turned on… a trait I value not only in myself but everyone close to me… I sometimes wish that Jane will stop being so weird and mean, and learn to be part of the group.

And she won’t let me alone whenever I try to get away from her. Jane would make more friends if she tried a little harder. It’s like she enjoys scaring people, so they don’t get close to her. But she’s always complaining about how everyone hates her.

Bryce:

I hear Amy coming home. She doesn’t know that I’ve been awake all night, waiting on her. Not that she sneaks out much—she never does stuff like this, unless it’s a Jane plan. I pretty much figured that from what I caught of the muffled phone conversations going on until eight last night. That’s when I heard the window going up, a box being hidden behind the bush, and Amy sneaking away.

She’s lucky that Mom and Dad didn’t catch her. Thanks to me. If I hadn’t gone into the kitchen, faking that cough, Amy would have been in major trouble.

That fake coughing will have earned me another day off school, once Mom sees me this morning. She’s a total overprotective mom when it comes to our health. Big deal that I had asthma as a kid, even had to carry an inhaler that I lost whenever I could. I’m way past that now. The cough is what’s left of the cold I got doing sprints in a driving cold rain last Friday night, after we once again lost a football game.

At least I won’t have to do that tonight. Someone has to deal with Coach Williams. He’s totally out of control lately.

Interesting!

Pre-order Purchase Link:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01BX85XSG

About K.C. Sprayberry

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Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in Northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovated tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines. Three of her books (Softly Say Goodbye, Who Am I?, and Mama’s Advice) are Amazon bestsellers. Her other books are: Take Chances, Where U @, The Wrong One, Pony Dreams, Evil Eyes, Inits, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates, The Call Chronicles 1: The Griswold Gang, The Curse of Grungy Gulley, Paradox Lost: Their Path, Canoples Investigations Versus Spacers Rule and Starlight. Additionally, she has shorts available on Amazon: Grace, Secret From the Flames, Family Curse … Times Two, Right Wrong Nothing In Between, and The Ghost Catcher.

K.C.’s Books:
Coming Soon:

 

The Lie

Available:

 

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FamilyCurse

 WhoAmI

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing K.C. Sprayberry, here are some author links:

Website:  http://www.kcsprayberry.com/

Blog:  http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/KC-Sprayberry/331150236901202

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/KC%20Sprayberry/e/B005DI1YOU/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5011219.K_C_Sprayberry

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/

Authorgraph:  http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/kcsowriter

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/kc-sprayberry/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Amy Pearson, a female character from The Lie, and K.C. Sprayberry, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips, Young Adult

Writers are not lazy

Fellow writers, a perfect article to show your families, or anyone who is not supportive of your job or your dreams!

Source: Writers are not lazy

7 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Message, Readers, Writers, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Mary Susan from THE ISLAND AND THE KITE plus a conversation with author Aurora Zahni!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Barbi Barnard’s character on December 22nd and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Aurora Zahni, the author of The Island and The Kite, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Mary Susan Bennett, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Aurora in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Mary Susan!

MaryS

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Mary Susan.  Please have a seat.

Character Mary Susan Bennett: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Mary Susan: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Mary Susan:  My name is Mary Susan Bennett and I am from Heller Park, New Jersey. I come from a place where we don’t spend a lot of time describing what we look like, but I suppose I’m a frumpy redhead whose girlfriend describes as “curvy.” You can read about my adventures in The Island and The Kite by Aurora Zahni.

Marie:  Great! Thank you for that succinct description.

So, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Mary Susan:  I am currently a waitress at a wonderful coffee shop named Cybele’s Reverie. I am a great waitress and can currently not think of a better way to spend my time and get paid for it.

Marie:  Well, it’s awesome that you enjoy your job so much. 🙂

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Mary Susan:  Small. Both my parents passed away recently and I lost touch with a lot of my other relatives after my cousin Coralie was also tragically taken away from us.

Marie:  Oh, no! I’m so sorry to  hear that. 😦

That must have been very hard.

If it doesn’t bother you too much, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Mary Susan:  It was a simple ranch style house. When I was twelve, my parents let me take over the basement.

Marie:  (Smiles.) All right, I can tell there’s a story there, but I won’t pry.

Do you have any hobbies, Mary Susan?  What do you enjoy doing?

Mary Susan:  I like to listen to music and meet new people. When I meet someone, I try to connect with them and learn what they are passionate about. Shared experience is the cure for the human condition.

Marie:  Oh, I fully agree! And what a refreshing take to hear that!

So…what is your greatest dream?

Mary Susan:  I just want to make it through this world leaving a positive mark on the Universe.

Marie:  That’s certainly admirable.

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Mary Susan:  I don’t understand. I am precisely who I am, can’t be anything else really and nothing stops me from doing anything really.

Marie:  Good to hear!

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Mary Susan:  Stefi Angel. Is this a trick question and did Stefi put you up to this?

Marie:  Nope. (Winks.) I swear I didn’t know about you two before today.

In any case, it’s good to hear you say that. I just love romance, if the name of the blog wasn’t an indication. (Chuckles.)

The Island and the Kite

All right. So, let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Mary Susan:  I can’t talk about it. My entire existence is based upon moving forward.

Marie:  Okay, I respect that. I won’t push. I can see this is difficult for you.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Mary Susan nods.]

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?

Mary Susan: I had such a carefree childhood that I never thought about it. I’ve always mostly accepted things for their own intrinsic beauty and appreciated what the Universe offered up to me. So I guess, yes, I have achieved my dream.

Marie:  Well, great!  😀

Let’s try something else.

So, who is your role model, Mary Susan?

Mary Susan:  My boss, Hilary Palmer who I think saves the world on a regular basis and would probably be much better for an interview.

Marie:  (Waves a hand.) Nonsense. You’re doing great! But, it’s good to hear that you admire your boss.

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Mary Susan: I’ve never done that. Why would you?

Marie:  Indeed! That’s an excellent point. I wish everyone could be so genuine.

So, can you tell us something? What is your deepest desire, Mary Susan?

Mary Susan:  Desires are never deeply hidden in me. I can get caught up in it on a moment’s notice.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question…

What is your greatest fear?

Mary Susan:  To fake anything in life.

Marie:  And it’s certainly refreshing that you’re not! 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Mary Susan. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

Mary Susan:  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 Aurora Zahni on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Hello, Aurora!

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Author Aurora Zahni:  Hello, Marie!  A pleasure to meet you.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  🙂

So, we just got to talk to a female character of your story, Mary Susan Bennett. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Aurora:  Mary Susan is the best of me. She doesn’t judge and lives in harmony with the world around her. She has come through tragedy with a strengthened point of view, which she inherited from her parents.

Marie:  And as I was saying before with Mary Susan, I think that’s very admirable.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Aurora: She is often nonplussed by conflict. She is so easy breezy that she can face off with just about anything like a champ.

Marie:  Wow. I wish I had about ten cups of that! (Laughs.)

That’s awesome!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Aurora:  She doesn’t judge anyone, good or bad. She is just as often hurt by this as she is saved by it.

Marie:  All right. So, a sensitive soul…I can relate to that.

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Aurora: She loves eating, and her favorite treat is a Binkie, which is a bacon laced cream filled angel food cake pastry which may or may not remind you of a Twinkie from both heaven and hell.

Marie:  Good Lord! That sounds evil and scrumptious! 😉

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Aurora: Ha, “being unaware.” It’s like they say, birds don’t know they are flying. Mary Susan doesn’t realize that she has any positive or negative properties, just hopes she does good in the Universe.

Marie:  (Sighs.) I wish we were all so innocent.

So, will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Aurora: If you don’t like Mary Susan, I don’t want to know you. Mary Susan, however, would still be nice to you.

Marie:  (Smiles.) Great response.

Now that we have a real taste of Mary Susan, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for The Island and The Kite?

Aurora: Mary Susan had a small part in my first novel. She always stuck out to me as a character, and I wanted to give her a proper showcase. I wanted to send her on an adventure filled with trials and tribulations to see how she fared. And hey, I even gave her a love story, which I never do.

Marie:  Great!

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like, Aurora? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Aurora: I pants to plot points. I never plan out an entire book, because I feel that it guides the story too much and allows for “Hand of God” moments, as opposed to the organic development of a the plot. So I just write and revise often so I can always have an idea of what is ahead and keep it all in continuity.

Marie:  I can respect that. Sometimes it’s better to listen to the muse.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Island and The Kite or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?’

Aurora: This is my third published novel and it went fairly smoothly. I tend to write self-indulgent stories, but after two of those I was a lot more open to writing for an audience this time.

That balance is something important all writers need to address. You need to write the story only you can write, but that anyone can read.

Marie:  That’s good advice!  We should cater to different audiences at once.

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 Island and The Kite appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Aurora Zahni, a very talented author! 🙂

The Island and the Kite

Here is the blurb for The Island and The Kite:

Two girls. Two stories. One day.

A murder spree and magic tea help two star crossed lovers see the light.

 Mary Susan and Stefi Angel are two constant exes who can never get it right, always as eager to give up as they are to start up again. But one day in New York City helps change that forever.

The city is in a panic as the T and S Killers rising body count has everyone on edge. Free spirit Mary Susan just wants to see a movie and ends up trapped in Hell’s Kitchen being chased by vigilantes and murderers alike. She spends the night trying to escape the city that never sleeps and deciding if she should give Stefi another chance.

Star basketball player Stefi Angel can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to love…until she drinks magical tea and suddenly has all the questions and the answers. She just hopes she can get Mary Susan to believe they have the kind of love worth fighting for and that it’s not too late.

Aurora is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

“So…” Stefi took a deep breath. “How am I doing, red?”

“Not bad. Maybe you’ll get most of me after all.”

“I want it all this time.”

“We’ll see.” Mary Susan laid her head on Stefi’s shoulder. “Hey.” She poked Stefi’s arm. “I have a gift for you back at my place.”

“I bet you do. Just let me get you cleaned up first.”

“No, silly. A real gift in a box with a bow and everything.”

“I think I have everything I need.”

They devoured their breakfast and Mary Susan napped on the drive back to her place. “Where’s your roommate?” Stefi asked when they got there.

“At work.” Mary Susan removed her outer layer of clothing and announced, “I need to shower.”

Stefi smiled and took off her shoes and socks. “Okay.”

“That wasn’t an invitation. I’m filthy and I really need to shower. Will you wait for me?” Stefi nodded and then watched Mary Susan and the curves she loved walk to the bathroom in her skivvies. Be a better girlfriend. Stefi brought down all the shades and curtains in the room and put on some music at a low volume. When Mary Susan got out of the bathroom, she was already in bed waiting for her.

“Stefi…it’s been a long day. I don’t know what you think is going to happen here.”

“Be quiet and come here and trust me.” Mary Susan listened to her and then cautiously slid under the covers. Stefi put both her long arms around her and gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. “Now I want you to sleep. I’m here. I’m yours. And I’m not going anywhere.”

The Island and The Kite Teaser

 

Ooh…this sounds really good!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00OOAXZYK

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-island-and-the-kite-aurora-zahni/1120965559

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/5189750

About Aurora Zahni

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Aurora Zahni is a former rebel who’s trying to bring a little bit of Judy Blume and Sylvia Plath to the Twilight Generation. Over the years, she has given half-assed / full throttle contributions to numerous zines and blogs, written a web movie and done significantly well in countless competitive eating events. When she was in the 8th grade, she was on the local evening news. A dead body was being lifted out of the water at a marina by the Meadowlands and you could clearly see her standing in the background watching, looking a bit excited for the camera. Looking back it may have been the highlight of her entire childhood.

Aurora’s Books:

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The Island and the Kite

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Aurora Zahni, here are some author links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authoraurorazahni

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/aurorazahni

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Aurora-Zahni/e/B00I3JC9I6/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7092273.Aurora_Zahni

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/shirley5283/aurora-zahni/

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/aurora-zahni/

Radio:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/beaucouppublishingllc/2014/12/09/a-bc-chat

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Mary Susan Bennett, a female character from The Island and The Kite, and Aurora Zahni, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, LGBT, Mystery, New Adult, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Elizabeth from MERCY’S ANGELS plus a conversation with author Barbi Barnard!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed C.J. Anaya’s character on December 18th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Barbi Barnard, the author of Mercy’s Angels, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her  characters, Elizabeth Clayton, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Barbi in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Elizabeth!

Elizabeth

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Elizabeth.  Please have a seat.

Character Elizabeth (Momma) Clayton: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Elizabeth: Okay.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Elizabeth:  I am self-employed. I own a bar/ pool hall.

Am I any good at it? I think so. I make a good profit and have a steady clientele. People enjoy coming here and return again and again.

Do I like it? I like that my bills are paid and I can support my girls the way I want to. I’m happy with being my own boss and doing things the way I want. I like not answering to anyone.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!  😉

So, tell us. What is your family like?

Elizabeth:  Female! I have a step-daughter and an adopted daughter. My daughter Jenni is grown and married, and my adopted daughter Tiffi just graduated college. I have been separated from my husband twice as long as I was with him, so I don’t count him. I love the fact it was just girls. I never had to have the puberty talk with a male child.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Okay.

What did your childhood home look like?

Elizabeth: Typical small wooden two bedroom clapboard home. Nothing fancy. My mother kept it clean and decorated for a family. My father took pride in his yard work.

Marie:  I see.

Do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Elizabeth:  Quilting and reading. I enjoy going to my pond and watching the ducks and swans swimming. It’s restful to me. When the weather is bad, I enjoy reading fiction.

Marie:  (Smiles.) Reading is awesome!

So, tell us…what is your greatest dream, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth:  To see my girls do everything they can dream of. I want them to be happy and successful in whatever they choose.

Marie:  All right.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Elizabeth:  A little more confident and assertive. What’s stopping me? Insecurities from childhood have carried over and sometimes I don’t feel confident. When it comes to my girls, I can find the courage to speak up for them but not always for myself.

Marie:  Yeah, I think sometimes it is hard for us to defend ourselves as women.

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Elizabeth:  A sweet young man who seemed larger than life to me. Sometimes I think he was just a figment of my imagination.

Mercy's Angels

Marie:  Ooh, I would love to press for details, but I  see you’re trying to be mysterious. Still, I just love romance so I can’t help but want to hear it…

All right. So, let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Elizabeth:  I was held hostage for close to six years. Abused in every way imaginable.

Marie:  I’m so sorry to hear that. That’s horrible. 😦 

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

I can see this is difficult for you. Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Elizabeth nods.]

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?

Elizabeth: I wanted the fairy tale. Children and a husband. A happy family that spent a weekend with the grandparents. Did I achieve that dream? No. I have my girls, but there are no grandparents to visit and no husband. I didn’t have a happy marriage. And never had any children of my own. Both my parents are deceased. I have tried to do right by my girls and to be everything they need, but I worry they missed out on a “normal” childhood.

Marie:  Well, I think you can only do your best. And you sound like a great mother. 😉

Let’s try something else.

So, can you tell us…who is your role model, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth:  I honestly can’t say I have one. I try to be one, but I brought myself up and never had a mentor. In a way I guess my girls are role models for me as I live vicariously through their success.

Marie:  Okay.

Well, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Elizabeth:  Yes, a few actually. Mostly men I have come across in my life. In business, you have to smile through a lot of negative things.

Marie:  I hear that.

So, what is your deepest desire?

Elizabeth:  To live life happy and content. And to visit a foreign country.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question…

What is your greatest fear, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth:  To relive my past or to have my girls live my past. I donate money to shelters for women. I never want someone to not have help when needed.

Marie:  How admirable!

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Elizabeth. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

Elizabeth:  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 Barbi Barnard on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Hello, Barbi!

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Author Barbi Barnard:  Hello, Marie!  A pleasure to meet you.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  🙂

So, we just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Elizabeth. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Barbi: Elizabeth is a survivor. She doesn’t see her own strength and how her strength impacts those around her. She has let herself become an introvert and isolated herself.

Marie:  I think we all struggle to see ourselves the way others do…

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Barbi:  She has a strong independent nature. She can do anything without any help. She makes things happen. She can see a problem and find a solution for it.

Marie:  Awesome!  And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Barbi: Her insecurities. She is afraid to let people get close to her. She doesn’t trust people. She is afraid of people she lets into her circle hurting her.

Marie:  That’s sad, but knowing her past, I can understand her hesitance.

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Barbi: Elizabeth loves Mexican food. Chicken enchiladas are her favorite.

Marie:  Those are pretty good!  🙂

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Barbi:  She has an inner strength. She has no idea how others see her. She feels shame from her past and sees it like a cloak when looking in the mirror. No one else sees it. They see a strong, confident woman.

Marie:  All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Barbi:  I believe they will love her. She comes from a background that few have lived. Her survival of that makes her a hero to some and a strength to others.

Marie:  Great!

So, now that we have a real taste of Elizabeth, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Mercy’s Angels?

Barbi:  I was told to write what I know. To put on paper the thoughts that plagued me. There is a lot of truth in the stories. Some are happy, and some are dark and twisted.

Marie:  Okay.

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like, Barbi? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Barbi:  Definitely a pantster. I tried the plot outline and having a plotted out story line for each chapter. When I look back on the notes, I see so much that went way off track.

Marie:  I can respect that. Sometimes it’s better to listen to the muse.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Mercy’s Angels or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Barbi:  Getting published these days is just a matter of clicking a mouse, but having something worth reading is harder. You have to take the time to have it edited and proofread. I thought I did an okay job and when I see the original file, I cringe. Nothing beats a professional editing job. Talk to others. There are plenty of Indie writers that are willing to give advice or just be a sounding board for every aspect of your project.  What would I do differently the next time? I would have spent more time with the characters’ development. Let the reader see more of what made them who they are.

Marie:  That’s sound advice! And I have to agree. It’s certainly not good to rush into publishing. And readers will call you out for those mistakes. I’m glad you figured it all out, hon.

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 Mercy’s Angels appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Barbi Barnard, a very talented author! 🙂

Mercy's Angels

Here is the blurb for Mercy’s Angels:

First in the Mercy’s Angels Series.

This is also the story of three women who all have one thing in common: Angels Mercy MC.

Elizabeth forced to live the club life by threats and violence.

Jenni watched in disgust and confusion.
Tiffi heard the stories from her family.
Three women. Three tales of courage, determination… and a little humor. Find out how “Momma” became the owner of a Motorcycle Club…

Barbi is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

The sound of the bikes coming in through the back has me rising out of my chair and throwing my e-reader to the floor. I can see four of them through the doorway, coming up from the path by the pond. I miss that sound, of multiple engines rumbling along.

Some would be afraid. Not me. It brings a sense of security to my heart. The memories of riding in a group of hundreds, going on a day trip to a park are fond. The charity rides and relays where we met lots of other charters and clubs were great. Too bad the memories of the people I was forced to live with aren’t.

Greg looks good. He has grown into a good-looking man. He doesn’t look old like some bikers do. His eyes are bright, his skin is smooth, and his clothes are clean and new. The exact opposite of what my mind remembers from my youth.

He sees me and his smile is big. He takes a step to walk to me and stops. Is he unsure of his welcome? I walk out the door toward him and see the smile on his mouth curl up to his eyes. He is now running to me. I am crushed to a broad chest and spun around.

“Oh, baby girl. You are beautiful. I’m so sorry I didn’t stay around for your transformation into a woman. Wayne is one lucky f****er,” he laughingly tells me.

I have to swat him for the remark. “Your mouth hasn’t changed, but the rest has. You look good,” I snort at him between laughs.

“Clean living, little sis. Clean and sober living.” He looks into my eyes, so I know he means it.

I gasp. “Are you telling me the truth? How can you be clean and still wearing an Angel cut? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” I cry.

He laughs. “The club is all clean. Nothing dirty at all. We lost a lot of our members to other charters because of it. I think it was worth it and as it was my turn to hold the chair, I brought it to the table for a vote. Those that wanted to stay, did. And those that wanted to transfer out, left. It is that simple.”

My head is spinning and my knees are weak. I can’t picture a clean club. I was born into the drugs and guns. The sex and mistreatment of women. People naked on the bar. Men ripping clothes from the women and forcing them to take on two or three men at a time. It’s a wonder I didn’t turn into a nun from what I lived through.

“I’m so glad for you,” I tell him. “I worried you would walk the path Richard walked. I never want that for you.”

“Not to worry, baby, I have a legitimate job and I stay on the right side of the law and government. I’m a productive member of society with not even a pimple of a criminal record,” he boasts.

This makes me happy. I jump and crash myself into his chest. My hold on him would strangle a smaller man.

“Come meet the guys. I told them about you on the way here and I don’t think they believed me,” he tells me.

Ooh…I definitely want to know what happens next!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B013OGE96M

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1NzCv9u

CreateSpace:  http://bit.ly/1mfny3b

About Barbi Barnard

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Barbi Barnard is a native of North Louisiana. Married with grown children. And a growing amount of grandchildren (eleven at last count). Barbi went to college after the youngest started school and has a degree in Office Management and Accounting. Barbi loves to spend time with her family. With such a large family, a revolving door would help as there are always people coming and going in the Barnard house. The need to read books was instilled at a young age as it was the preferred pastime of the adults that influenced her life.

Barbi’s Books:

[Coming Soon]

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[Available Now]

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Mercy's Angels

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Barbi Barnard, here are some of her author links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbiBarnard

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/dubsdoll

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/1NIGA99

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13688579.Barbi_Barnard

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/100596288266654182721/posts

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/503629170808547347/

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/barbi-barnard

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Elizabeth Clayton, the female main character from Mercy’s Angels, and Barbi Barnard, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

 

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Angela from THE HEALER plus a conversation with author C.J. Anaya!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Emily A. Lawrence’s character on December 8th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting C.J. Anaya, the author of The Healer, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her  characters, Angela Beaumont, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to C.J. in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Angie!

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Marie Lavender:  Hello, Angela.  Please have a seat.

Character Angela Beaumont: Thank you for having me here.

Marie:  Of course!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Angela: Okay.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Angela:  Occupation? I’m currently maneuvering my way through the drudgery of what we all call high school. Gag. I’m extremely good at annoying my teachers, dating as many boys as I possibly can, and belittling freshman whenever I get the chance. So, yes. I’m very good at what I do.

Marie:  (Laughs.) All right.

So, tell us. What is your family like?

Angela:  Dad split when I was two. Good riddance. It’s just me and mom, but she’s MIA quite a bit due to her single mom status. I rely on my best friend Hope and her father Dr. James Fairmont to get me through the week.

Marie:  Sorry to hear about your father. 😦

Let’s try something else, shall we?

What did your childhood home look like?

Angela:  It’s a home, I guess. Four walls, a roof, and a huge Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. Thank the good Lord for that unexpected addition.

Marie:  Okay.

So, do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Angela:  My hobby is more like a life calling that was thrust upon me at birth, and I fully intend to chew out the higher powers that be who assumed I would appreciate the ability to view a person’s death upon physical contact. Usually has to be skin-to-skin, though. There went my social life. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to be making out in the back seat of some hot football player’s car only to see that in exactly seven days, six hours, and fourteen minutes he’s going to break his neck on the football field after a particularly nasty tackle? Mood killer. Then I’m scrambling to find ways to prevent him from playing which usually involves getting him suspended from the team in some sneaky, underhanded way. He’ll thank me later.

Marie:  Wow! That’s tough.

So, tell us…what is your greatest dream, Angie?

Angela:  I’d just like to be normal, to be honest. It’s a bit demoralizing to run into strangers, see their deaths, and then have no way of finding them to prevent the accidents or even murders that are about to happen. It’s even worse when I do know the person, but misread the situation. I lost an owner of a really tasty restaurant because I thought the kitchen fire she died in was at her eatery. Apparently, it was in her own house. Survivor’s guilt is a way of life for me, and watching people burn to death in visions without being able to actually save them sends me to a dark place that not even Hope can immediately pull me out of. So, yeah. Order me up a side of normal please.

Marie:  Sorry. 😦

Let’s try a different question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Angela:  Well, if we’re picking anyone in the world, I’d like to be a celebrity with loads of money, buy myself an island to rival that of any island Johnny Depp owns, and surround myself with animals instead of humans.

Okay, fine. I’d like to be someone like Hope. She’s kind, caring, patient, and sees the good in everyone. I wish I could be as optimistic as she is, but I’ve seen too many things to make me believe that the human race is really worth all of the effort she puts into caring. Which is a bit ironic when you consider how often I try to save every single stinking human I see expiring from preventable deaths.

Marie:  I see.

All right, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Angela:  Never had one. I only date a guy if I’ve seen his death and I’m trying to figure out a way around it. Or if I’m due to let off some steam in the back of their car. Relationships are a no go for me. I can’t imagine loving someone and being witness to the various ways they’re going to die. I’d spend my life in constant contact with that person and never have a moment’s peace. Hope is the only person I can be around who doesn’t have that effect on me. When I touch her, I see nothing but light. It’s odd. I have no idea why I can’t see her death, but I’m not complaining. I consider it the one thing going right for me.

Although, recently Hope and I have run into two guys who are exactly like she is. Tie, blond, tan and gorgeous is all light as well. I can’t pick up anything with him, and it’s obvious he’s smitten with Hope. Victor is the hottest Asian dude I’ve ever laid my eyes on, and he falls under the light category as well. I must admit that every once in a while, I have fantasies that Victor and I will go live on our own secluded island where I’ll never have to see another person’s death ever again. Of course, he’s completely into Hope as well. I’m not jealous because Hope is amazing, but I am sad that the only two people I could possibly have a normal relationship with are so obviously infatuated with Hope. Ah, well. Guess I’m just meant to be lonely…and a total lip whore while I’m at it.

Marie:  That is rough. Sorry.

Let’s try something else.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, Angie?

Angela:  The first time I had a vision of another person’s death was when I was seven, right after a really bad fall from Hope’s tree house. I could have sworn I died and saw my grandma on the other side, but when I woke up, I was in a hospital with only a few bumps and bruises. My mom came in to check on me, grabbed my hand, and wham…I saw her getting into a car wreck that very night. I generally see things from the person’s point of view and experience the pain as they do. It was awful. I thought I was losing it and began screaming like a crazy person. Of course, my mom stayed with me after that. Crisis averted in that respect, but after telling her what I was seeing, my mom thought I really was crazy and that’s when the therapists came into play. I learned very quickly that sharing the details of another person’s eventual death gave people cause to lock you up. Not to mention the fact that it makes them fear you and the possibility that you could be right. No one wants the frailties of their human existence broadcast to them through a detailed description of their death. Best to keep that stuff to myself. I’ve never even discussed it with Hope, and since I never have to worry about her death, it works out for us.

Marie:  Wow. 😦

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Angela nods.]

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?

Angela:  My dream is to find someone I can have a normal relationship with. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can see and prevent unnecessary suffering and death. It took me a while to get on board with that, but if my role in life is to save people then so be it. I just wish I didn’t have to feel so lonely while doing it.

The Healer

Marie:  Well, I don’t think it’s too much to ask really. And I have faith that you’ll find what you’re looking for. 😉

So, can you tell us…who is your role model, Angie?

Angela:  Every fabulously dressed celebrity ever. I love fashion and generally follow all of the celebrities with voracious interest. My appearance is the one thing I can control in my otherwise abnormal existence so I pay attention to the details. If you were looking for something inspiring or empowering…I got nothing. I’ll always want to be like my best buddy Hope, but I think our differences work for us.

Marie:  Okay.

Well, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Angela:  Nope. If I don’t like you, you’ll be the first to know about it. I’m not one for brown nosing, and I don’t suffer fools well. Life’s too short for that crap.

Marie:  Very true.

Let’s try another question.

So, what is your deepest desire?

Angela:  I would like to see where things go with Victor. So, yeah, I really don’t want to be alone anymore.

Marie:  You have plenty of time. And I bet Mr. Right is just around the corner…

How about something else?

What is your greatest fear, Angie?

Angela:  Someone finding out what I can do and locking me up for the rest of my life, or people believing I’m crazy…and locking me up for the rest of my life.

Marie:  Aww…well, I suppose that’s a reasonable fear. But I think things will work out for you. (Pats her guest’s hand.)

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Angie. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

Angela:  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 C.J. Anaya on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Hello, C.J.!

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Author C.J. Anaya:  Hello, Marie!

Marie:  It’s good to see you again!  The last time I saw you was during your interview on the Writing in the Modern Age blog.

So, we just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Angela. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

C.J.:  Angie is an exact carbon copy of my best friend, Jennifer Earl. Snarky, sarcastic, tough, compassionate, and fiercely loyal. You definitely want Angie on your side in a fight.

Well, yeah!  🙂

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths? Weaknesses?

C.J.:  Angie comes across as a bit abrasive at times, but her erratic, sometimes self-destructive behavior is something she does to cope with the visions of death she constantly sees. She craves companionship, but that physical contact comes with serious strings attached. She is trustworthy and loyal, but she doesn’t believe that she is worth much of anything when it comes right down to it.

Marie:  That’s very sad. Having that kind of gift must be extremely hard. 😦

So…let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

C.J.:  Angie is all about double cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes.

Marie:  Can’t blame her there!  😉

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

C.J.:  Angie doesn’t realize how selfless she is. She puts her life on the line to save other people, but always berates herself if she isn’t able to prevent a death in time. She’ll spend more time focusing on that than on all of the good she has accomplished.

Marie:  Okay.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

C.J.:  Readers will love Angie. She’s that type of friend who is wild and crazy. The life of the party, a bit irreverent at times and honest to the point where a little diplomacy and tact would be useful, but she’s so ready and willing to get in a fight for you. Her sarcasm and snarky attitude covers a multitude of pain and heartache. Her tough exterior covers a softer side of Angie that makes her a very likable, complex character.

Marie:  All right.

So, now that we have a real taste of Angie, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for The Healer?

C.J.:  I had a really amazing dream involving a spirit trapped in a Japanese statue. Then I developed the main character, Hope and her best friend Angie, from that dream. Even though this series focuses mainly on Hope, we see a lot of Angie in it, and fans of the series have loved her so much that I have decided to write a follow up series telling Angie’s story.

Marie:  Oh, that’s great!

Let’s try a different question.

What is your writing style like, C.J.? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

C.J.:  I’m a little of both, actually. I do a lot of discovery writing, and I certainly outline, but I find that I have to be willing to break away from that outline when the story and characters carry me in a different direction.

Marie:  I hear that!  Characters can certainly have a mind of their own.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Healer or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

C.J.:  I had to learn my own writing process and realize that it was okay and necessary to write a crappy rough draft. The important thing is to get it out there so you can go back and edit everything. Flesh out the scenes, the characters and the plot and structure once you’ve knocked out that first rough draft. Don’t edit yourself in the creation process. Wait to edit later. I think that for me, the next time I write a series, I will get all the books written and then release one every month or so just so people don’t have to wait so long for the next book, and I don’t have to feel the pressure of finishing a series that people are frustrated they have to wait for.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! Thank you for the great advice. And I have to agree. As writers, we have to allow ourselves to make mistakes during the writing process, and still enjoy the arduous journey involved in it. The editing can come later.

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 Healer appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by C.J. Anaya, a very talented author! 🙂

The Healer

Here is the blurb for The Healer:

A girl, a prophecy and two warring gods equals destiny!

Seventeen-year-old Hope Fairmont longs for a normal teenage life, but with a gift like hers, normal equals healing illnesses and injuries instantly. Keeping a secret like that isn’t easy, but a small town is the perfect place for her to heal those who can’t heal themselves, and an even better place for her father, James Fairmont, to hide his daughter from the rest of the world.

Life takes an unexpected turn when two handsome strangers move into town and begin unearthing other secrets concerning Hope’s future and past, revealing to Hope that her gift for healing may be the fulfillment of an ancient, Japanese prophecy gone wrong.

Staying away from these mysterious newcomers would be the smart thing to do, but Victor’s gentle, easy manner, and Tie’s mixed signals and strange mood swings draw her hopelessly closer to revealing the secret she and her father have been so desperate to hide.

Hope’s life is complicated further with visions of a previous life and the arrival of an unknown enemy sent to assassinate her before she learns what she is truly capable of.

With the support of her father, the fiery loyalty of her best friend Angie, and the child-like love of Kirby, a ten-year-old patient, Hope must fight against the forces of a relentless demon god while unwinding the tangled pieces of her past, proving to herself and those she loves that destiny isn’t determined by some cosmic reading of the stars, but by the individual choices one makes.

Embark upon a journey of heart-stopping adventure in this contemporary young adult paranormal romance filled with mythological creatures, Japanese gods, divine healing powers and a romantic love triangle. A romantic story of love, loss and second chances, this clean teen paranormal romance infuses traditional mythology, fantasy and contemporary themes to create a thrilling story readers are sure to enjoy.

C.J. is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Sandy nodded and gave Victor a flirtatious wink. He smiled bashfully. He didn’t seem to realize how attractive he was. It made me like him more. Sandy moved her attention back to me.

“So, what have you got for us this visit?”

“Huh?” was my dumb response.

“Your song for tonight. Are you entertaining us with something bluesy or maybe a nice up tempo rock song?” she pressed.

Realization came crashing down around me. “Oh, no. I’m not doing anything tonight. I’ve been a little busy, and I don’t really have anything ready.” I kept my eyes locked on Sandy’s and silently begged her to read the panic in them.

“That’s not true, Hope,” I heard Angie say.

My head flipped around, and I watched her hold up a folded piece of paper.

“What’s that?” asked Victor.

“The song Hope wrote today. At least I think you wrote it today.”

“Where in the world did you get that?” It was the song I’d written in my car before I’d left to see Kirby. The one helping me release all of Tie’s emotions from my system.

“I found it in your pants pocket at the hospital. The lyrics are pretty good. I can’t wait to hear you sing it.”

Her comment was given innocently enough, but her eyes gleamed wickedly, and full comprehension of her intentions for tonight became crystal clear. She’d set me up. She’d found the song and orchestrated this little date to Expresso to get me to showcase my singing capabilities in front of our dates. I was going to kill her.

“I didn’t know you wrote music, Hope,” Tie commented. “You seem to be endowed with several amazing talents.”

My discomfort was growing, as was his infuriating smile.

“Are you going to sing for us tonight?” asked Victor who seemed genuinely interested.

“Not a chance.” My reply was sharper than I’d intended. “That song isn’t finished yet, and I haven’t run the music by the band. They’d need a couple of practice runs before getting it right.”

“Oh, come on, Hope. You’ve done a lot of impromptu performances without practicing beforehand, and the band is always able to follow you,” Sandy argued.

“No worries. I made copies of Hope’s song at the hospital and already passed them out to the band. They should be good to go,” Angie said giving me a triumphant grin.

Sandy’s eyes lit with happiness. “I’ll go tell Jackson you’ll be singing next,” she said, jumping up quickly and heading toward the lead guitarist.

I wanted to leap up and run out the door. This date had been a mistake. Beads of sweat began forming along my hairline. I could hear Tie chuckling softly. I gave him an icy glare and then turned the full force of it onto Angie. “You are by far the worst best friend I’ve ever had,” I said.

“You’ll thank me later.” She reached across the table and gave me my lyrics. I ripped them from her hand and did my very best to hold back the biting remarks floating in my head.

There was some tapping on the microphone and a bit of feedback as Jackson cleared his throat. “Excuse me, everyone. Our next performance will be by one of our most popular musicians tonight. Please give it up for Hope Fairmont.”

Ooh…love it! I definitely want to know what happens next!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00KPI7HX0

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-healer-c-j-anaya/1117444169

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/4900935

About C.J. Anaya

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C.J. Anaya began writing short stories for family and friends when she was thirteen years old. This soon morphed into an extensive project every year during Christmas as a way to create a fun and inexpensive Christmas gift.

Her passion for reading and writing led her to following her own dreams of becoming a published author. She was born in Utah and raised everywhere else. She even lived a few years in Brazil, enjoying the people, the culture and learning the beautiful language of Portuguese.

As a mother of four children she can be found at any given time changing diapers, playing dress-ups with her daughters, getting her fanny kicked in Mario Kart by her snarky little son, and escaping into a corner of the house with her kindle for a nice, quiet (LOL, in her dreams) read. She is also married to the most deliciously, handsome looking Latino. As always, she has plenty to write about.

C.J.’s Books:

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The Healer

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing C.J. Anaya, here are some of her author links:

Website:  http://www.authorcjanaya.com/

Blog:  http://www.authorcjanaya.com/blog

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cjanayaauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/cjanaya21

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/C.J.-Anaya/e/B00IC5M3RI/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7803964.C_J_Anaya

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/116158733482155810639/posts

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/authorcjanaya/author-c-j-anaya/

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/cj-anaya/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Angela Beaumont, a female character from The Healer, and C.J. Anaya, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips, Young Adult

A Character Interview with Kristen from THE GUARDIAN OF MY SOUL plus a conversation with author Emily A. Lawrence!

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!

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?

Kristen: Okay.

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.

Marie:  Oh…interesting!

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.

The Guardian of My Soul

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?

[Kristen nods.]

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!

Emily A. Lawrence

 

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.

All right.

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.

Marie:  Great!

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.

Marie:  Great!

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! 🙂

 

The Guardian of My Soul

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! 😉

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Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00GQMHNNI

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-guardian-of-my-soul-emily-a-lawrence/1117525594

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/4536309

About Emily A. Lawrence

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.

Emily’s Books:

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The Guardian of My Soul

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Emily A. Lawrence, here are some of her author links:

Website/Blog:  http://authoremilylawrence.blogspot.ro/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/author.emily.a.lawrence

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/EmyALawrence

Amazon Author Page:

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/20344150-emily-a-lawrence

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/116252410801447580127/posts

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/authorlawrence/

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/emily-a-lawrence/

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! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, New Adult, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Vikki McGlory Ward from THE END OF CAMELOT plus a conversation with author Diana Rubino!

For our 220th post, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Devika Fernando’s character on March 10th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Diana Rubino, the author of The End of Camelot, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Vikki McGlory Ward, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Diana in a bit, but now we have on stage…Vikki!

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Marie Lavender:  Hello, Vikki.  Please have a seat.

Character Vikki McGlory Ward:  Hello.  Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Marie:  We’re going to start out with some simple questions, okay?

Vikki: Of course.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Vikki:  I’m living my dream as a housewife, but I design costumes for my father’s Broadway musicals. I’m also busy with our two kids—although Al and I decided we want four, so I’m hoping for twins.

Marie:  That’s great!  So, what is your family like?

Vikki:  A bit crazier than others, mainly because my father was in the rackets in the 1930s and he’s a composer of Broadway show tunes. I had an unforgettable childhood. My father took me to every Broadway musical that came out. We had famous people to the house all the time for dinner and cocktails, and to me, they were just folks; I didn’t care how famous they were, or if their albums played in the background. Dad gave me piano lessons, although it wasn’t my calling the way it was his—I preferred painting, sewing and designing fashions as a creative outlet. I never knew my mom. She died tragically and suddenly when I was an infant. But my father’s second wife Greta treated me like her own daughter. We went everywhere together – museums, hair salons, shopping, for long strolls through Central Park. But in school nobody cared whose kid I was. It was a strict Catholic school and I was in a uniform like everybody else. My family is Roman Catholic and we still have all the saints’ statues in the hallways and backyards.

Marie:  What did your childhood home look like?

Vikki:  A stately Tudor in Bronxville, then a red brick colonial in Westchester County. My father also brought us to his beach house on the New Jersey shore, which he bought the year I was born. I don’t like to go there, though. It’s where my mother overdosed on pain pills and I don’t want to be reminded of that. She died in the hospital the next day.

Marie:  Oh, I’m sorry to hear that! (Squeezes Vikki’s hand.) Let’s try a different question, shall we?

Vikki:  Yes.

Marie:  Do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Vikki:  Designing costumes, going for bicycle rides with my husband and kids. I love to sing opera arias, although I’m not trained, and I make sure I’m alone when I do it. Fortunately, Al and I share a lot of interests – opera, painting, fashion—and one that most couples don’t share—guns. We have contests at the shooting range to see who’s the best shot. He also likes to hunt, which I don’t. But I’m good at cooking the venison he brings home.

Marie:  So, what is your greatest dream, Vikki?

Vikki:  To write my father’s memoirs with the notes he won’t let me see until, as he says, “I’m planted.”

Marie:  (Laughs.) I wonder what he meant by that!

So, what kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Vikki:  I want to be more introspective, to look within and find my spiritual path. But I’m always out there doing something with the kids—it never ends. I’m too exhausted at night to meditate or do any soul-searching.

Marie:  I see.  Yeah, obligations can often tear you away from the things want. But, I’m sure you love your children considerably.

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now.  Who was your first love?

Vikki:  My first husband Jack Ward. I stayed in D.C. after I graduated Georgetown, still thinking I wanted a career in politics. I got a job as a political consultant with a couple of ex-CIA agents. Jack was a reporter for the Washington Post. I always enjoyed his articles—they had a clever undertone of cutting-edge humor. Sometimes he mentioned personal details: his close calls as a stunt pilot, his solo in a sailboat around Cape Horn, the political and show business parties he attended…I was hooked. I couldn’t wait for him to reveal another personal item, like the next installment in a serial. Then he became a television reporter for NBS. I was in my glory, able to see him every night at six and eleven. When So Far So Good came out—that was his memoir—I took the day off from work to read it. I devoured it, tore out the pictures and taped them to my walls. On television, he was as commanding and powerful as any president, and that was it—I had to meet him. So I spent every spare moment in front of NBS Studios waiting for an ‘accidental’ encounter. Finally it happened. First it was eye contact and a little small talk, ‘I’m your biggest fan,’ that kind of stuff. I had to talk fast. I read up on the items he reported so I’d be able to hold a conversation with him, and one day just blurted out an invitation to my place for dinner. He was so surprised, he accepted. I had him over the next night, and he fell in love with my aglio olio. I was already in love with him. When that evening ended, I’d already planned out the rest of my life… I wasn’t going to let him get away. I wanted him and I got him.

Marie:  Aww…that’s a sweet story.

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So, Vikki, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Vikki:  Losing Jack. He was found dead in the bathtub of his Dallas hotel room the same day President Kennedy was shot. He wasn’t supposed to be in Dallas. He never took baths. I immediately knew he’d been murdered. I found his notes and his tapes, and learned that he was embroiled in the plot to kill JFK—but his mission was to prevent it. From that horrific day on, I vowed to find out who was behind the murders of JFK and my husband. Bringing that bastard to justice became my quest, and once I found him, I knew that Jack could rest.

Marie:  How terrible! I’m so sorry. 😦

Well, let’s move on to something a bit lighter, shall we?

[Vikki nods.]

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?

Vikki:  To be a wife and mother, and indulge my passion for painting, designing costumes and seeing them on the stage. I must say I am living that dream, despite having lost Jack so tragically. But I know everything happens for a reason. Al told me many times if he hadn’t met me, he doesn’t know if he’d be alive today.

Marie:  (Sighs.) I love romance.

So, who is your role model, Vikki?

Vikki:  It’s got to be my stepmother Greta. She rescued my father when he was still deeply grieving for my mother. She brought him back from the brink and gave him two beautiful kids.

Marie:  I agree. How inspirational!

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Vikki: Al’s former fiancée, Mona. He was forced into the engagement by both their families, and the times I met her, she seemed silly, self-centered and took advantage of Al. But I was very cordial to her, and would never tell anyone how she rubbed me the wrong way.

Marie:  All right. So, what is your deepest desire?

Vikki:  To give my kids a normal life, and I hope they never have to face crime or murder or even greed.

Marie: Yes, I think we all want the best for those we love.

Let’s switch to another question.  What is your greatest fear?

Vikki:  That some underworld figure will come after me. It’s an irrational fear, but when you learn your father was a gangster, and my having met killers such as Jack Ruby and underworld figures on my quest to find Jack’s killer, that fear never leaves you.

Marie:  Wow, that’s terrible!  😦 I can certainly understand your fears.

Well, I hate to say it, but we’ve run out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Vikki.  (Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have Diana Rubino on the stage today. Hi, Diana!

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Author Diana Rubino:  Hi. Thank you so much for having the two of us here, Marie! 🙂

Marie:  My pleasure! 

As you know, we just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Vikki. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Diana: Vikki’s father Billy McGlory brought her up alone, until he married Greta, his second wife. Vikki has a degree from Georgetown and a Master’s in Political Science. She met Jack Ward in D.C. when he was a newspaper reporter. She and her father are very close; they get drunk together and have a good time.

She’s wanted to be everything from a cop to a ballerina to a singer to a lawyer to a jewelry designer. Her grandmother Vita urged her to do whatever she wants. She’s 90 and very feisty.

Marie:  Wow, what a unique background!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Diana:  She’s brave and doesn’t care about putting her life in danger; she lived for Jack and finding his killer.

Marie:  Okay. Now let’s take the opposition on that. 

What, do you feel, is her greatest weakness?

Diana:  She inherited her father’s impetuousness and flighty nature, but hopes she’ll grow out of it.

Marie:  So, what are some of her favorite foods?

Diana:  Anything Italian, especially lasagna and strufoli (honey balls).

Marie:  Italian food is pretty awesome!

Let’s try something else.

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Diana:  Her courage is admirable. But she didn’t consider it courage; she had to find her husband’s killer because she believed that was her mission, and if she got killed trying, that was her fate.

Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Diana:  I believe readers will like Vikki because she’s a strong, brave, loyal woman who put her life on the line for justice for her murdered husband. Besides that, she’s pretty cool. She sings opera but has every Beatles album and dances up a storm when Shindig is on.

Marie:  She is pretty interesting!  Now that we have a real taste of Vikki, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for The End of Camelot?

Diana:  This is going to date me, but I was six years old when President Kennedy was assassinated. Everyone who was alive that day knew exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. I was in my first grade classroom. The teacher got a call on the classroom phone and told us ‘the president was shot.’ A collective gasp went around the room. It was ten years before I saw the footage of Ruby shooting Oswald, on a documentary.

My grandmother was a huge JFK assassination buff. She listened to all the radio talk shows and recorded them. She got me embroiled right along with her. I never lost my fascination with all the conspiracy theories. I always wanted to write a novel centering on this event, and it fit in perfectly as the third book in this series.

Marie:  Great!

So, Diana, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Diana: Absolutely a plotter. Just like I couldn’t drive cross-country without a GPS, I’d never attempt a coherent novel without a detailed outline. Of course it changes along the way, but the basic structure keeps me from going astray.

Marie:  That’s understandable. Eventually, I have to break down and plot mine as well.

So…I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The End of Camelot or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Diana:  I took some flack from a member of my crit group because he didn’t think it was realistic for Vikki to be sleuthing, seeking out underworld figures, and going after them with her gun, as she tried to find her husband’s killer. So I made it as believable as possible, although this is a thriller and Vikki is larger than life. It was also a challenge to write the sewer scene–I won’t spoil it and say how, but Vikki winds up in the New York City sewer system and finds her way out. That scene was hard to write. I needed it to be realistic and incredibly gross–and I managed to do both. 🙂

What would I do differently next time?

My editor needed me to change the scene where Vikki visits Jack Ruby in prison. He’s the guy who shot Oswald after Oswald shot JFK. She didn’t want me to write the scene as it happened, with dialogue, in case there was a problem. So I had Vikki tell the hero Al about the visit later on.
Next time I’m writing a historical with people who lived more recently, I’ll have to be careful about who I can put directly into a story and who I can’t!

That’s good advice. I’m glad it worked out for you! 😉

Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog.  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The End of Camelot appears to be.  Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Diana Rubino, a very talented author!

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Here is the blurb for The End of Camelot.

November 22, 1963: The assassination of a president devastates America. But a phone call brings even more tragic news to Vikki Ward—her TV reporter husband was found dead in his Dallas hotel room that morning.

Finding his notes, Vikki realizes her husband was embroiled in the plot to kill JFK—but his mission was to prevent it. When the Dallas police rule his death accidental, Vikki vows to find out who was behind the murders of JFK and her husband. With the help of her father and godfather, she sets out to uncover the truth.

Aldobrandi Po , the bodyguard hired to protect Vikki, falls in love with her almost as soon as he sets eyes on her. But he’s engaged to be married, and she’s still mourning her husband. Can they ever hope to find happiness in the wake of all this tragedy?

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00UF3XYI2

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-end-of-camelot-diana-rubino/1121492967

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-end-of-camelot

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Diana_Rubino_The_End_of_Camelot?id=jnPxBwAAQBAJ

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-end-of-camelot/id979056619?mt=11

About Diana Rubino

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Diana Rubino’s passion for history and travel has taken her to every locale of her stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. Her urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband Chris. In her spare time, Diana bicycles, golfs, plays her piano and devours books of any genre.

Diana’s Books:

Coming June 1st: 

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Coming June 17th: 

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Available Now: 

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Diana Rubino, here are some of her author links:

Website:  http://www.dianarubino.com/

Blog:  http://www.dianarubinoauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DianaRubinoAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DianaLRubino

Amazon Author Central:  http://www.amazon.com/Diana-Rubino/e/B005C4ZSHO/

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=47749428

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/100382402048172055582/posts

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/845147.Diana_Rubino

Publisher:  http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=656

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Vikki, the female main character of The End of Camelot, and Diana Rubino, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so fun to have you here! Readers, don’t forget to check out Diana’s latest release!  🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Event, Fiction, Historical, Interview, Mystery, Readers, Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Writing, Writing Tips