The best part of RT was, for me, talking to authors. I asked each the same three questions.
What is the most interesting piece of research you ever uncovered while writing a book?
How have people responded to you when you tell them you write romance?
If you had to have lunch with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
My latest book is Afternoon Delight (Berkley Intermix, 9/14). It featuresca NYC FDNY paramedic and a woman who runs a food truck. I had a blast researching food trucks, how you go about setting up a truck, deciding what to serve, how the ingredients are delivered, and shared commercial kitchens. I had just as much fun researching the training and daily life of an EMT/paramedic. That job is not for the faint of heart, or the weak of stomach.
It’s usually pretty positive, although I do get the occasional “when are you going to write something meaningful?” from people who are well-meaning but perhaps misguided about the genre.
I’d have lunch with Marissa and Adam, the characters from Unforgiven. They’ve been off sailing the Pacific for a few months now, and I’d love to catch up with them. Second choice would be Hunter and Lacey from Liberating Lacey. Have they gotten married? Inquiring minds want to know! ;)
My latest book is a romantic suspense called Lost, which comes out on May 20th. It’s a follow-up to Twisted, featuring secondary characters from that novel, but can be read as a standalone. The heroine, Tara, is a former police officer, trying to get over the guilt of a case gone bad where friends of hers were severely injured. She joins a cult called The Chosen to find another friend who has disappeared, and Jake–our hero and a former FBI agent–is sent inside to look for Tara herself.
I used to live in Texas and I’ve always been fascinated by borders and border-crossing (which may be why I write in a genre that’s neither one thing nor another!), and I saw a story in the news that led to this about a drug smuggling tunnel from Mexico. In this news article, one end of the tunnel came out underneath a parked car, which had been hollowed out and was used as the distribution channel for the drugs. It was in an area the police didn’t patrol and certainly didn’t ticket, so the car just sat there and they dug the tunnel all the way to Mexico underneath it. Anyway, that combined in my mind with my husband’s stories about how the religious compound near our house didn’t have to build to code so he was always nervous fighting fires up there made me think about all the things that COULD happen on a religious compound since they are exempt from so many regulations.
Well, this makes me laugh. Most people don’t react at all. But I do remember when my brother was talking to me after Twisted came out and he said that it had kept his wife up reading all night, even though it wasn’t the kind of thing she usually read. I thought to myself “well, perhaps she should read more of it!” but I don’t think I actually said that to him.
Which character…that’s a tough one. My family has always been run by women. Strong women run in my bloodline and strong women are what I write, so I would like to eat with any of them. But probably Tara, the heroine of Lost, because she has had (especially by the end of that book) so many different experiences and yet she isn’t as hard a person as Lucy, the heroine of Twisted.
My latest book is a New Adult called Tease which comes out May 27th. It’s the second book in my Ivy Chronicles. It’s the story of Emerson, a college sophomore; the hero, Shaw, is not a college student. He’s just gotten out of the military. The series follows three suite-mates at an Ivy League school.
I stumbled on this piece of research and it actually led to this series. The Huffington Post ran an article about a kink club that is actually sanctioned by Harvard. I decided to run with it, but make it an underground club.
It’s such a wide spectrum. I have people who say to me “Oh, you write porn.” I assume they don’t read the genre. A lot of people ask me where I get my ideas. If I’m with my husband, they ask if my books are based on him. I have been asked “Do you know Danielle Steele?” And they always assume I’m either making millions or on foodstamps.
I’d pick the three girls in my Ivy League series. I like writing about women with strong, supportive friendship. These are girls I’d like to have a glass of wine with. Pepper, Emerson, and Georgia would be a lot of fun. They are the kind of women that are there for you, who make you laugh, who are your go to girls.
Amber Lin and I spent some time researching the terrible things bad boy musicians do on tour while writing Three Nights with a Rock Star. One story we came across–and I’m not even sure if it’s true–is that Keith Moon from the Who drove his car through the glass doors of a hotel, right up to the front desk, got out, and asked for his room key. It was just so crazy and dangerous and over-the-top. So entitled. We didn’t have any of the guys from Half-Life drive a car into a building, but we do open the story with a fairly trashed lobby.
I recently told a stranger that I write romance for the first time. When I was mid-primp for RT, I casually mentioned it to the lady touching up my highlights. She got so excited that she splattered me with pink hair-dye and asked if I was famous. I assured her I wasn’t even a tiny bit famous and that I only had one little novella out at the moment, but she still called the other stylists over to meet me. It was a little embarrassing and a lot sweet.
I’d love to have lunch with Krist, the bass player from Half-Life, mainly because Amber and I are working on his story right now. He’s such a ball of conflicted angst. I’d lull him into a false sense of security with booze, fancy steak, and calculated indifference to his celebrity…until he accidentally spilled his darkest secrets. I’m sure he’d feel terrible about it afterward, but also strangely relieved.