November went by in a complete whirlwind for me, as I’m sure it did for many of you. One of the things I’ve learned to do in the past year is to give my writing priority. Unfortunately that means that sometimes endeavors I enjoy, which are also important, like this blog, may have to take the back seat for a bit. For most of November I was MIA. December promises to be pretty busy as well, but I will make an effort to chat with you here as often as possible.
Now on to today’s post. I’ve been tagged for the Next Best Thing by two wonderful people: Orly Konig-Lopez, one of the busiest writers I know (and one brave enough to have early morning Skype video chats with me) and M.L. Swift, NaNo winner and writer and blogger extraordinaire. If you don’t know these two, you should definitely get to know them.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure which work-in-progress I should post about. The monkey mind and I have a lot of projects in various stages of production. In the end, I decided to post about the debut novel penned by my alter ego which will be published with Carina Press on July 22, 2013. So does this count as my first official interview about the book? Me thinks it does.
What is the working title of your book?
Too Good to Be True is the title. Carina Press kept the title when they acquired the book (SCORE!), however, I went through several titles while writing the book before I decided on this one. It felt right because it best captured various elements of the story.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
My idea for the story stemmed from the fact that “settling down” could be sort of a double entendre. Does a person have to settle down (or settle for less) in order to settle down in marriage or a long-term, committed relationship?
The original title was Rory Gordon Settles Down. (The characters have also experienced a few name changes.) The story follows a character who struggles with this question and discovers the role that her own faults and unrealistic expectations have played in her life and relationships.
What genre does your book fall under?
Honestly, that question is a lot harder than it seems. I’m a rule-breaker when it comes to genre. I’d classify the book as women’s fiction with strong romantic elements and some ultra hot love scenes. Since that isn’t a category, per se, Too Good to Be True is classified as erotic contemporary romance.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is something authors often daydream about and I am no exception. In fact, there is a Pinterest board that explores this to some degree.
Actress, Annie Ilonzeh’s brilliant smile and spirit definitely invoke my main character, Melanie Gordon.
Former CSI actor, Gary Dourdan, was the inspiration for Raine Mason.
Actor, Lance Gross would make the perfect Jaxson Payne.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Obsessed corporate climber, Melanie Gordon, gets a game-changing job promotion, but it means returning to her hometown, Cleveland, OH, where she finds herself torn between the philanthropist whose secret past she may not be able to overcome, and the reformed bad boy who broke her heart six years ago, but who is now newly single and may be her only chance at saving her career.
Yes, I realize that is one incredibly lengthy sentence.
If you plan to publish, will your book be self-published or published traditionally?
Too Good to Be True will be published on July 22, 2013 by Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first imprint.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The book began as a NaNoWriMo project many NaNos ago. I didn’t finish NaNo that year and it would be a couple years before I went back to finish the book. I’d guesstimate that the actual writing of my first draft took six months or so. However, those six months occurred over the course of four or five years.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The first book that comes to mind is Erin McCarthy’s You Don’t Know Jack, my favorite erotic contemporary romance. I fell in love with this book several years ago because the characters feel like friends. They are funny and engaging and you are instantly invested in what happens to them. The plot involves the revelation of secrets and the impact they have on both parties (a recurring theme in my fiction). And the loves scenes (some of which could more accurately be called ‘love chapters’) are well-done and blazing hot.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison
I wasn’t aware of the quote at the time, but it is the sentiment of Toni Morrison’s eloquent quote that prompted me to write this book. I wanted a book that explored the many fascinating facets of women’s lives. We are brilliant, complicated, emotional, funny, and sexy and we shouldn’t have to apologize to anyone for it.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The Midwest, Cleveland in particular, is the setting for much of my fiction. I am a fan of chick lit. I was reading it pretty exclusively around the time I started writing fiction again, but I had a few serious gripes with the genre.
All of the stories took place in New York or Los Angeles. All of the women wore scads of designer clothes the average woman can’t afford. They all worked in publishing, television, or something just as glamorous. To be honest, it pissed me off. While I enjoyed most of the stories, what I really wanted to read about was a woman whose experience was relatable to the average woman. So that’s what I wrote.
My main character Melanie is a recruiter. She loves fashion as much as the next woman, but finds hers on the racks at TJ Maxx or on e-Bay. She loves shoes, but is sensible enough not to blow an entire mortgage payment on a single pair.
The stories I write serve as both a celebration of everyday, amazing women, like the ones I know and love. They are also love letters to my hometown of Cleveland that are as passionate and complex as the relationships between my characters. Thankfully, there seems to be a move toward fiction that takes place in the Midwest. I’m glad that Too Good to Be True is part of that move.
Now to tag three other authors. (This might be updated at a later date.) I am tagging:
- Kianna Alexander/Alexandra Kane, author of romantic fiction with suspense and paranormal elements.
- Sarra Cannon, an amazing young adult indie author who loves all things Hello Kitty and is kicking indie arse and taking names.
- Olivia Kelly, author of historical romance.
I’m lucky enough to have met these fabulous women who are members of my local RWA chapter. You should meet them, too.