Category Archives: Interviews

Q & A with … @AmyAndrewsbooks

Today I am delighted to be hosting a Q&A with Amy Andrews in honour of her new release ‘The Colonel’s Daughter’, brought to you by Entangled Publishing.

Q.  Apart from Simon/CJ (who are my favourite TWW couple!), what else gave you the idea for ‘The Colonel’s Daughter’?

A. Oh Simon/CJ. Sigh… loved them so hard! And sob! Just sob…. L Hard to choose a fav couple from TWW though. So many great characters. I always wished there was more of Sam and Leo’s daughter. And I do love CJ and Danny. And of course Josh and Donna. But anyway…I digress. I’ve been wanting to write a bodyguard book for a long time because I just adore that trope –  the ultimate off-limits romance! But I never really had an idea for one until Entangled asked me if I wanted to write Scorpio and I instantly knew he had to be a bodyguard and I had a very clear picture of Dean/Seth. The story came to me quite quickly after that.

Q. In ‘The Colonel’s Daughter’, why does Seth wear contacts to change his eye colour?

A. Seth has gone in undercover to watch Ivy for her father. He has a false name and he needs to become that person, become Dean –  not be Seth. His changed eye colour is a constant reminder that he’s Dean. He’s also very aware that a bronzed skin guy of Portuguese descent with startling blue eyes is something that is unusual, something that people remember and one of the most important things about being undercover is to never stand out. Be unmemorable. Unremarkable. Of course, it’s hard to not stand out when you’re such a damn hottie.

Q.  How important is the setting of Australia to your books?

A. Very. I’m Australian. I like to write about the places and the people I know and am familiar with. I like to tell stories that are Australian. I’m also less likely to screw up on those kind of details. I think the most important things about a romance is the authenticity of the love story so I don’t really think it matters where its set as long as the feelings are real and the reader is invested in the couple.

Q. My two favourite books of yours so far are ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ and ‘Ask Me Nicely’ from the ‘Naughty Or Nice’ series – any plans to write more books in this series?

A. Thank you.  🙂 Mack and Josie were a gift – like the planets had aligned.  🙂 And how could I not go on to write Sal’s book? But no plans to write any more in the series. At the moment….never say never, right?

Q. What’s your favourite trope to write?  

A. Okay, that’s a hard one. I love them all! I love a good off-limits trope and reunion romances. Also anything with a cowboy in it! One trope I haven’t written and would love to, is an amnesia story. But like the bodyguard I haven’t quite figured out yet how to pull that one off.

Q. If you had to choose just one, who is your favourite couple out of all the romances you’ve written so far and why?

A. Noooooooo! There’s over 50 of the suckers! 🙂 I love all of my couples for different reasons but I guess my current favs are Mack and Josie from ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’. Who can go past a heroine with a ten point sex list and a hero who’s man enough to tick it off?

Q. And finally, who are your favourite romance authors?

A. Oh, I’m so pleased you said authors, plural! 😀 Australian authors I love – and I’m talking contemporary here because that’s my fav genre – are Kelly Hunter & Sarah Mayberry (the queens of Aussie category rom IMHO), Ainslie Paton (love how Ainslie’s style is so different to anything else I’ve read), Madeline Ash (amazing new voice), Avril Tremayne (fabulously funny), Kylie Scott (love both her Zombie stuff and her rock stars) Ros Baxter (love, love, love). The first ever Jennifer Crusie I read changed my life and I’ve been a devoted fan ever since. Also love SEP, Rachel Gibson, Janet Evanovich, Wendy Marcus, Victoria Dahl, Laura Kaye, Ruthie Knox….recently read and love one of Tracy Brogan’s books too. And I could go on. And on. And on…. 🙂

Q & A with … @KittyMeader

Today I am delighted to be hosting a Q&A with Kate Meader in honour of her new release ‘Even The Score’, brought to you by Entangled Publishing.  For more Q&A with Kate, please see this post.

Q.  What gave you the idea for the “Talk, Dark and Texan” series?

A. Actually, I started with the premise in Book 1, Even the Score. I had an idea about a woman working at a wedding as a caterer or a bartender, coming across a weeping bride in the bathroom ahead of the ceremony, then a little back-and-forth that ends with the woman convincing the bride to jilt the groom. Then the first chapter would end with the caterer/bartender comforting the groom, being super attracted to him, but she can’t tell him she’s the reason the bride did a runner. After a bit of brainstorming I thought it would be stronger if the woman was a friend, maybe the maid of honor, and she already had a history of hate-attraction with the groom. The idea to make the heroes Texan came about when I was thinking about the hero—why would it be so important to him to marry this woman? Where had he come from and what was he trying to prove, hence Hunter as the #TrailerTrashTexanTycoon. Then because I like series that are more hero-centric, I thought having a bunch of Texan guy friends who had been screwed over in love would be a fun way to relate them.Kate Meader

Q. I am really looking forward to Brody/Emma’s story. What can you tell us about them?

A. I’ve never written an office romance before, so I thought that would be a fun one to tackle (another trope checked off—yay!). Brody is the logical, analytical, somewhat nerdy one of the Texan trio and Emma is the office manager at Score Property. So there’s lot’s of opportunity for high levels of UST (unresolved sexual tension!). But because this is a Brazen, the U in UST has to resolve pretty quickly which can be tricky with the boss/employee taboo. Emma projects cool and unflappable, but she’s hiding a rather wild past (and present), living a double life, actually. Brody’s been in a bit of a fog since a bad breakup, and when Emma gets into trouble, his protective instincts rear up.

Q. What’s your favourite writing spot?

A. I have an office/guest room where I try to wrangle my characters into submission. But really, I prefer the sofa as long as my husband’s not around playing PS4 or the guitar or watching soap operas (he’s a big Days of Our Lives fan. Yep, 30 years and counting.)

Q. How do you decide on names for your characters?

A. For guys, I usually do one syllable names or names that sound appropriate for the area they grew up in. Of course, then I came up with Hunter and Brody 😉 For heroines, I’m pretty much open to anything but Zoe or Chloe – those names grate on my nerves for some reason and have been vetoed from all future books.

Q. If you had to choose just one, who is your favourite couple out of all the romances you’ve written so far and why?

A. Some authors will say it’s always they one they are currently writing, but not me. I have clear favorites! I’m tempted to go with Cara and Shane from All Fired Up, the second book in the Hot in the Kitchen series. Cara’s a prickly heroine, not instantly likeable, and is probably the only character who’s made me cry while writing her. She’s so broken and completely unlike most of my other heroines who are largely rather put together. Shane’s the perfect hero for her (my only beta hero, IIRC), so sexy and patient and Irish. Giving Cara and Shane a run for their money is Alex and Eli, my female firefighter and headstrong mayor in Book 2 of the Hot in Chicago series. They’re really funny and sexy together, and I’d say I enjoyed writing them the most.

Q & A with … @KittyMeader

Dempseys Final

Q. After writing about chefs, what inspired you to base your next series on firemen?

A. I’m a big fan of the every day hero and there’s no one who embodies that more than a firefighter. These are regular guys who live in your city and neighborhood–and also happen to run into burning buildings. How amazing is that? I’ve always loved writing about family ties, the ones you’re born to and the ones you make. So for this series, I wanted to focus on a family where the bond is everything, not because of genetics but because of a foster sibling relationship and a brotherhood that originates in the firehouse. I thought it would add another layer to the idea of family that would resonate with readers.

Q. Was it hard to decide which of the Dempsey’s stories to tell in the ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ novella? And was it hard to get people invested in a new family of characters in so few pages?Kate Meader

A. Actually, I didn’t really have a choice! My original proposal was to have four Dempseys—Wyatt, Luke, Gage, and Alex—and tell three primary romances and one M/M romance over those three longer books. That’s what I sold to Simon and Schuster in September 2013. But then my publisher suggested I be part of their holiday anthology, which was a huge opportunity to get people excited about the Dempseys and the Hot in Chicago world before FLIRTING was released. So Beck was born. I’d never written a novella before, so it took me a while to get into the rhythm of writing short. I was determined to introduce all the heroes: Beck, Luke, Gage, Brady, Eli, and Wyatt all have their moment in the BICO novella. In fact the only person who doesn’t get a look in is Alex, but she has plenty of page time in FLIRTING.

Q. What can you tell us about Wyatt’s book? My inner matchmaker can’t help but wonder if maybe Logan’s widow will make an appearance ….?

A. Okay, I’ll admit that this pairing was my first idea. I had a notion that Book 3 would be a very emotional story with Wyatt in love with his dead brother’s widow (Wyatt and Logan were biological brothers, not just foster, so more taboo). But as I finished up FLIRTING WITH FIRE, I realized that the tone of that first book—and the entire series—was too light for those kinds of angst levels. He needed a woman who could bring him joy and would recognize all his great rock-solid qualities, and if there’s all this guilt dragging it down, it would be too hard to pull off (I’m no Kristan Higgins!). What we know about Wyatt from FLIRTING (minor spoiler here) is that he’s spending nights away from home and keeping his whereabouts/doings a secret. He’s the strong and silent type, who loves his family, but sometimes they are just a bit too much for him. His “secret” will cause a lot of friction with the family. As for his heroine, she hasn’t made an appearance yet, but they will have had a history. Can’t say more than that  🙂

Q. How important is the setting of Chicago to your books?

A. While I recognize that small town contemporary is a juggernaut to be reckoned with, I’ve always loved stories with urban settings. I think readers are always looking for an alternative to the “sweetness” of the small town. I’m originally from Dublin, Ireland, and now make my home in Chicago. As a backdrop to sexy, driven people falling in love, it couldn’t be better.

Q. And finally, who are your favourite contemporary romance authors?

A. So many, but I’d say a few of my favorites are Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. They write with such humor and heart, and I’m in awe of their craft.

Thanks for the great questions, CL!

Thanks so much for Kate for letting me host this Q&A.  If you ever feel the need to add another book to the series, how about a story where Logan’s widow meets a wickedly hot rebound guy …. who turns out to be a long-lost Dempsey / long-lost sibling of one of our existing heroes/heroines and she is thereby forced to confront her feelings for Logan / the Dempseys / new guy ?! (I’m not going to let this go!!)  😉

Q & A with … @JillShalvis

Today I am delighted to be hosting a Q&A with Jill Shalvis in honour of her new release One In A Million, the final book in the much-loved Lucky Harbor series.

Q. How did you first get the idea for the Lucky Harbor series?

A. When I started this series about three estranged sisters who get stuck together running a beach resort, I decided I was out of my mind. I don’t have sisters. I have a brother, and we like each other just fine. Then at the dinner table that very night, my three teenage heathens started bickering and fighting, and I just stared at them in awe and wonder.
I had my fodder! “Keep fighting,” I told them — much to their utter shock, since I’ve spent the past fifteen years begging them to get along.
After that night, it was a piece of cake to write the sisters. So then all that I had left to do was find the three sexy guys who could handle them.
It just so happened that, at the time, my neighbor was having an addition put on her house. For six glorious weeks, there were a bunch of guys hanging off the roof and the walls, in perfect line of sight of my office.
Which is really my deck. It’s a wonder I got any work done at all.

Q. How do you decide what to name the characters in your book?JillShalvis

A. I collect good names as I hear them and keep them in a file. When I start a new book, I flip through the saved names until I find one that suits me at the time.

Q. If you had to choose just one, who is your favourite couple out of the 12 Lucky Harbor couples?

A. Definitely Sawyer and Chloe from HEAD OVER HEELS. Wait, no. It’s Josh and Grace from FOREVER AND A DAY. No, wait. It’s Ben and Aubrey from ONCE IN A LIFETIME. No wait!! It’s Callie and Tanner from ONE IN A MILLION… 🙂

Q. What’s your favourite trope to write?

A. reunited lovers! Or in Callie and Tanner’s case, a crush turned love. 🙂

Q. As your ‘Lucky Harbor’ series is now coming to an end, do you know what your next series will be about?

A. I do. 🙂

Buy Links for One In A Million:

Q & A with … Susan Blumberg-Kason

Today I’m delighted to be hosting a Q&A with Susan Blumberg-Kason as part of her Blog Tour for her memoir Good Chinese Wife.

Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone WrongBook Summary (from Goodreads)

A stunning memoir of an intercultural marriage gone wrong

When Susan, a shy Midwesterner in love with Chinese culture, started graduate school in Hong Kong, she quickly fell for Cai, the Chinese man of her dreams. As they exchanged vows, Susan thought she’d stumbled into an exotic fairy tale, until she realized Cai–and his culture–where not what she thought.

In her riveting memoir, Susan recounts her struggle to be the perfect traditional “Chinese” wife to her increasingly controlling and abusive husband. With keen insight and heart-wrenching candor, she confronts the hopes and hazards of intercultural marriage, including dismissing her own values and needs to save her relationship and protect her newborn son, Jake. But when Cai threatens to take Jake back to China for good, Susan must find the courage to stand up for herself, her son, and her future.

Moving between rural China and the bustling cities of Hong Kong and San Francisco, Good Chinese Wife is an eye-opening look at marriage and family in contemporary China and America and an inspiring testament to the resilience of a mother’s love–across any border.

Author Q&A

Q. What made you decide to share your very personal story with the world and how does your family feel about it?

A. I wanted to write this book because I was constantly searching for one like it during my first marriage. A friend recently asked if I would have done anything differently if there had been such a book when I was married to Cai, and it’s hard to say what I would have done. But at the very least I would’ve known I wasn’t alone. Apart from my brother, I didn’t share any of the book with my family until it came out. My mother was upset because the book brought back old memories that she hadn’t thought about in years. My grandmother and Uncle Budgie (a supporting character in the book) were among the first family members to read it and they claimed they really enjoyed it. My mother-in-law is reading it now and I think it’s really been an eye-opener for her. My son Jake hasn’t read it yet, but it’s there for him when he’s ready. My husband Tom hasn’t read it yet, but talks about it all the time at work and is very proud of me for publishing it after having worked on it for six years.

Q. If you had to go back and do it all again, is there anything you would do differently? 1087665

A. In all relationships, it’s best to just be yourself and to do that from the start. So I would have stood up for myself in the beginning. Blindly going along with Cai from the start was a bad habit that was very difficult to break, as I show in the book.

Q. Did you and Cai ever spend the money Cai got from Japanese Father?

A. It was part of our marital assets, so we split that money in half when we divorced. It allowed me to make a down payment on a condo where Jake and I would live for six years. And it allowed Cai to buy an apartment and a car in China when he moved back there.

Q. After everything you went through with Cai, how did you find the faith and trust to give it a go with Tom?

A. I dated a lot in between marriages. I had one boyfriend after another and at first had a hard time trusting myself to make the right choices. But after some time, I built up the courage to speak up and to make sure I didn’t repeat the same mistakes I made in my first marriage. One of the keys to this was to not talk too much about my marriage with Cai. I was worried that other guys would think they could get away with just a tad less than Cai because they would know my tolerance point. Tom and I dated for eighteen months before we got engaged. We then had a year-long engagement, so I felt like I really got to know him much more than anyone else I had dated. I feel very lucky to have met Tom. A lot of it is just luck!

Q. Being ‘Eurasian’ myself, I know what it’s like to straddle Eastern and Western cultures, do you ever worry about how Jake will deal with this when he’s older?

A. Jake is amazing because he has totally embraced his two cultures. He is so proud to be Jewish and also very accepting of his Chinese culture. It seems like kids today are much more comfortable with their differences than when I was young. (I often felt like I had to keep my Judaism to myself). Jake is not shy about telling people that he’s a Chinese Jew and in fact wears a goofy t-shirt with his photo under the words Chinese Jew.

Q.  Hong Kong is like a second home to me but I still get a thrill every time I go back. What was it like taking your family back to Hong Kong? What are your favourite things about Hong Kong?

A. I took Tom to Hong Kong two years ago and was worried he might not like it. We stayed in Tsim Sha Tsui, a busy tourist area, because I wanted to be near the Harbour. But he absolutely loved it and on our last day there said that he wished we could have stayed a month. We’re going back in October for another short visit. I cannot wait to take my kids when they’re a little older. They know all about Hong Kong, so it will be fun to see them encounter the sites in real life. My favorite things about Hong Kong include the transportation (Star Ferry, trams, Peak Tram, double-decker buses), the colonial architecture (what’s left of it), and the neon signs (ditto).

Q. And finally, what’s your favourite dim sum? 🙂

A. Okay, let’s go straight to dessert. Going back to my childhood, my favorite has to be coconut rice balls stuffed with red bean or lotus seed paste. I don’t see them on dim sum menus in Chicago much, but they were always something I would look forward to when I first started eating dim sum-gasp—thirty plus years ago!

Love’s A State Of Mind Book Review: HERE