Tag: Author Interviews

Blog Tour: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

Posted June 14, 2016 by Rowena in Promotions | 11 Comments

Thanks so much to Sarina Bowen for answering some questions we were curious about and sharing them with us here on Book Binge. She’s here on the blog talking about her new release, Bittersweet.

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
True North #1
Releases on June 14, 2016 by Rennie Road Books

The new series is set in Vermont. True North is populated by the tough, outdoorsy mountain men that populate the Green Mountain State. They raise cows and they grow apples. They chop a lot of wood, especially when they need to blow off steam. (Beards are optional but encouraged.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE || KOBO

Book Binge: Tell us about your inspiration for this series.

Sarina Bowen: I always knew I’d write another book about Vermont, because it’s just such a cool place in the world. It’s rugged and sexy in a way that’s different from my hockey books.

Book Binge: If you had to choose a song for Audrey and Griff, what would it be?

Sarina Bowen: Rock & Roll by Eric Hutchinson.

Book Binge: Tell us about Griff. What was your favorite part about his character?

Sarina Bowen: I love the contrast between his crusty exterior and his soft heart.

Book Binge: What about Audrey? What was your favorite part about her character?

Sarina Bowen: Even though people have told her she’s incompetent her whole life, she never really believed them. And she persevered.

Book Binge: Do you have a particular scene that was your favorite in Bittersweet? A scene that you’re excited for readers to experience themselves?

Sarina Bowen: The cider tasting scene. I cracked myself RIGHT UP, and I can’t wait until everyone gets to read it.

Book Binge: What are your favorite things to do when you’re not writing?

Sarina Bowen: I discovered yoga this year, and it’s been great. (I know, I’m the last one on the planet to try yoga. It’s not quite cutting edge.)

Book Binge: What are you reading and loving right now?

Sarina Bowen: Unraveling Josh by Edie Danford.

Book Binge: What are you working on right now? What can readers look forward to in the coming months (and next year) from you?

Sarina Bowen: I’m writing Brooklyn Bruisers #3 even though ROOKIE MOVE (Brooklyn Bruisers #1) isn’t out yet!

Teasers

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving away 3 e-copies of Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen. Be sure to enter the giveaway, using the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

About the Author

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont’s Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

Website: http://sarinabowen.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarinaBowen
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorsarinabowen
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarina.bowen/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sarinabowen/
Tumblr: http://authorsarinabowen.tumblr.com/


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Author Interview: Erin Watt Discusses The Royals Series

Posted March 31, 2016 by Rowena in Promotions | 10 Comments

author interview

Two of my favorite New Adult authors have written a contemporary YA book together. To say that I’m excited for this madness is putting it mildly. I’m a huge fan of both Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy so I know that I’m going to love the hell out of Erin Watt’s new series called The Royals.

They are both here today to answer some questions that I had about their new writing adventure. Check it out!

Paper Princess

Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt
Releases on April 4, 2016 by EverAfter Platinum

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

Pre-Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Interview

Book Binge: To our knowledge, this will be the first YA book that either of you have written. What made you guys decide to try your hand at writing a contemporary young adult novel?

Erin Watt: Yes, we haven’t written anything YA before. In a flurry of emails, we discovered we both loved Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl. We agreed that it would be amazing to write something fantastical and over-the-top in the vein of a YA soap with strong romantic elements. The toughest part of writing it wasn’t the story but getting the tone right. We’ve both read a ton of YA romances and they vary in heat level, but we believe it’s in line with Gossip Girl and the Sea Breeze series. We recommend it for the seventeen and older crowd.

Book Binge: Can you share with us what your writing process looked like? Did you guys just swap off chapters or did you write huge chunks of the story and then swap off?

Erin Watt: Our writing process is fairly unsophisticated and done primarily through emails and text messages. About two weeks passed from the time we plotted out Paper Princess to the last word typed in that first manuscript. We would each write approximately 2,000 words. Sometimes, we called dibs on a particular scene that was vivid in our heads. Sometimes we couldn’t stop writing and started exchanging even larger and larger chunks. These characters came alive for us and the words flowed so easily.

Book Binge: What was the inspiration behind The Royals?

Erin Watt: It started with Ella. We knew she’d be tough, but vulnerable. Strong, yet lonely. In order to showcase her, we had to put her in challenging situations. What’s the worse thing you could do to a girl like Ella? Give her a family who she could love that didn’t love her back. Shove a poor girl into a rich society. Make her fall for the most unsuitable guy around. We tortured her, and we suppose, by extension, the readers.

Book Binge: What can readers expect from Paper Princess?

Erin Watt: High drama, a strong emotional hook, messed up characters, and a forbidden romance. Oh, and the best darn heroine we could write. We love Ella.

Book Binge: What’s the plan for The Royals series? How many books can readers look forward to and will this series follow a different couple with the following books or will we get the same couple and different adventures for all books?

Erin Watt: We’re doing three books for sure. If there’s a strong reader response, then we’ll write more. We have a ton of characters that are crying out for their own stories. We’re excited to see which characters the readers want. We aren’t promising we’ll deliver all of them, because we have our own favorites.

As for whether the series will follow a different couple, we think that’s a bit too spoilerish but you’ll definitely have a better idea of where we are taking this series after you read book 2!

Book Binge: …

Series

Giveaway Alert

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy writing schedules to answer some questions we had about The Royals, I am super thrilled to finally get my hands on the book this week.

Good luck!

Author Links

Erin Watt: FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM
Jen Frederick: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM
Elle Kennedy: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM


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Blog Tour: A Q&A with Anne Mather

Posted March 23, 2016 by Rowena in Promotions | 3 Comments

AForbiddenTemptationbyAnneMather
The Forbidden Temptation by Anne Mather
Released on February 23, 2016 by Harlequin Presents

Order the Book

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | KOBO

An unwanted desire…

With the death of his wife still raw, Jack Connolly’s mood is dark and dangerous. He’s not looking for a woman, until he meets buttoned-up but beautiful Grace Spencer, who stirs his senses back to life. Yet Jack cannot act on his feelings, as Grace belongs to another!

An impossible affair…

Trapped in a fake relationship to safeguard her family, Grace knows crossing the line with Jack would risk everything she holds dear. Beneath the hunger she sees in Jack’s eyes is the promise of something more…but is it enough for her to surrender to a taste of the forbidden?

Anne Mather is here today with a quick Q&A to promote her book The Forbidden Temptation. Check it out!

Q&A with Anne Mather – A Forbidden Temptation

1) What’s your favorite love story? Fiction or non-fiction. I have dozens of favourite love stories, but GREEN DARKNESS and KATHERINE by Anya Seton are high on my list.

2) Is anything in A Forbidden Temptation based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? No, A FORBIDDEN TEMPTATION is not based on any real life experiences, but I can say that the Northumbrian Coast is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the UK and incidentally, I do believe in ghosts.

3) You get a brilliant phrase/idea/thought at an inappropriate time (while driving, drifting off to sleep/in the shower). What do you do? I always make a note of any ideas I have, and in consequence I have a notebook full of them!

4) What’s your favorite line from any movie? I love the film, DIRTY DANCING, and there are many lines from that script I could nominate, not least the most famous ‘nobody puts Baby in the corner.’

5) If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be? The only slogan for life I believe is Charles Darwin’s ‘IT IS NOT THE STRONGEST OF THE SPECIES THAT SURVIVES, NOR THE MOST INTELLIGENT, BUT THE ONE MOST RESPONSIVE TO CHANGE’.

6) If you could live anywhere on this planet, and take everything that you love with you, where would you choose to live? Tell us about your choice. I love where I live now, and although I enjoy travelling and seeing different places, I wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else.

7) What was your favorite scene to write in A Forbidden Temptation? Why? I think one of my favourite scenes was when Sean was confronted by Lisa’s ghost. I really wanted Sean to meet his match.

8) What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive? I don’t remember having to learn to write. I started scribbling in exercise books as soon as I could write and my stories grew as I did. There’s nothing destructive about writing. It’s the best job in the world.

9) What are five words that describe your writing process? Time, time, discipline, discipline, satisfaction.

10) What are you working on now? What is your next project? I’m in the process of writing my next book for Harlequin Presents. I’m also working on an ebook, SILENT ECHO, that is coming out with Kindle later this year.

About the Author

Anne Mather

Anne Mather is the pseudonym used by Mildred Grieveson, a popular British author of over 160 romance novels. She also signed novels as Caroline Fleming and Cardine Fleming. Mildred Grieveson began to write down stories in her childhood years.

Mildred Grieveson was born on October 10, 1946 in England. She had writtenall through her infant and junior years and on into her teens, the storieschanging from children’s adventures to torrid gypsy passions. Her motherused to gather these up from time to time, when her bedroom became toountidy, and dispose of them!

Mildred has always wanted to write – which is not to say she has alwayswanted to be a professional writer. One the contrary, for years She wroteonly for her own pleasure, and it wasn’t until her husband suggested thatShe ought to send one of her stories to a publisher that they put severalpublishers names into a hat and pulled one out. The trouble was, She neverused to finish any of the stories, and Caroline, her first published book as Anne Mather, was the first book she’d actually completed. She was newlymarried then, and her daughter was just a baby, and it was quite a jobjuggling her household chores and scribbling away in exercise books everychance She got. Not very professional, as you can see, but that’s the way itwas. The rest as they say in history. And now, more than 160 books later,She’s literally – excuse the pun – staggered by what happened. She alsopublished books as Caroline Fleming or Cardine Fleming. Her Anne Mather’snovel, Leopard in the Snow, was developed into a 1978 movie.

Mildred now has two grown-up children, a son and daughter, and two adorablegrandchildren, Abigail and Ben.


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Lori Foster Q&A

Posted September 23, 2014 by Holly in Promotions | 0 Comments

No LimitsTo celebrate her latest release, we have a short Q&A from Lori Foster to share with you.

A surprise inheritance reunites a mixed martial arts fighter with the woman he’s never forgotten in the first in a smoldering new series from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster… 

Cannon Colter is quintessential hero material: chiseled jawline, shredded body—the works. He’s also the guy who rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. These days, she’s older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Even the prospect of sharing a house and business with Cannon. 

Cannon knew Yvette wanted him three years ago. But she was young—and some things are worth waiting for. Thrown together by her grandfather’s legacy, he realizes how deep Yvette’s scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town. As pent-up desire explodes between them, protecting her becomes the only fight that matters. And he’ll break all the rules to do it…

No Limits is available now from HQN.


NO LIMITS Lori Foster – Q&A

 

 

  • Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, NO LIMITS?

 

 

This is Cannon’s story, a character that readers met in my last series, Love Undercover. From the second Cannon showed up on the page, I knew he’d get his own story. He’s that kind of guy, the guy who steps up and takes notice and gets a lot of notice in return.

In NO LIMITS, Cannon reunites with Yvette, another character from the previous series. They parted under strained circumstances, with Cannon just heading into professional MMA and Yvette young and traumatized from a horrific threat. Cannon saved her then, but he was noble because of her age and what she’d been through. Now she’s older, more independent, and he’s ready to make up for lost time.

 

 

  • Can you also fill us in on the prequel to the series, HARD KNOCKS?

 

 

HARD KNOCKS gives readers a peek into the MMA world and the fighters who will have novels in the Ultimate series. You get to see the inside of Cannon’s gym, the set-up and what the guys do for the neighborhood, as well as the close relationships they share. It’s a short romance featuring Gage and Harper, two fun, strong people with a few romantic quirks to work out. It’s short and sexy and gives readers a taste for how the novels will be more about fighters in a romance than about fighters fighting in the cage.

 

 

  • How has your UFC obsession influenced the writing of NO LIMITS?

 

 

Well, I’ve gotten into the idea of picking silly fight names for the heroes. And from the fight names, I’ve come up with some “inspired” reasons for them. It also makes it easier to justify the guy being totally ripped – although not all fighters are. I’ve learned in actual fights the physical appearance can be deceiving. It’s more about heart and talent, training and speed, than how a guy looks. But naturally any hero I write about will be blessed with a six-pack and boulder shoulders.

 

 

  • What was it like getting inside the mind of a mixed martial arts fighter?

 

 

I’ve interviewed a few fighters over the years, chatted with others while getting promotional photos and during before and after “meet and greets” while at live events. Every single fighter I’ve met has been extremely nice, unassuming, dedicated to fans, and (though it sounds silly) very sweet. It took only a few questions to see how much they give to the sport they love, the discipline it takes to stay in training, and the confidence they gain from having extreme ability. Since I’ve never asked a fighter about his love life, that part of the story is pure imagination on my part. But then I only write good guys, and talented lovers.

 

  • What is your process for choosing names like Cannon Colter?

 

 

I’m a terrible cheat when it comes to names. More often than not I see a name on Facebook or Twitter that I like. I never, ever use a first and last name together, but I do pick and choose and mix and match. When I see a unique name, or a name that resonates with me, I grab it up. When I’m writing, I’m far less focused on names than I am on personality. Names for me are an afterthought, so stealing from my social media sites makes it easy.

 

 

  • What are Cannon and Yvette’s best physical traits?

 

 

Although Cannon is a fighter with a shredded bod, it’s more his smile and his eyes that get to Yvette. He has a very sincere smile, because he’s a very sincere guy. And when he looks at a person, it’s felt through and through.

 

For Yvette, she has long beautiful hair, but it’s more about the deceptive confidence she tries to exude that draws Cannon – that, and the way she looks at him like he’s a superhero. What guy could resist that?

 

 

  • What is the best scene (in your opinion) between Yvette and Cannon?

 

 

There’s a fun scene where Yvette is at the rec center (the gym) and the fighters start arguing. Cannon is irked, his buddies are irked, and Yvette thinks they might come to blows. She tries to put herself in the middle and sort of gets sandwiched between some pretty hot flesh. I smiled while writing it, so I hope readers smile when they read it.

The poor guys didn’t know what to think. They’re big, physical guys who don’t mind working out a few differences on the mat, but they’re also friends, and they’re fighters with a load of control often utilized in a fight. But with Yvette, they all want to be gentle – while struggling to figure her out.

 

 

  • What music did you listen to while writing NO LIMITS?

 

 

I have a long playlist of about 150 songs. Much of it is from KORN and Kid Rock and Marilyn Manson, but I’ve also really gotten into Disturbed, The Pretty Reckless, Papa Roach, Skillet and Puddle of Mud. Oh, and Cage the Elephant. I like loud, strong music that I can sing along with while I’m writing.

 

 

  • How is this series different from your previous works?

 

 

The Ultimate series is a different setting, different characters, different plots – and yet you still visit some of the characters from Love Undercover series since it remains in the same fictional city and state. In the last series the focus was on Rowdy’s bar and the police station. There are visits to the bar still, but much of the action takes place at Cannon’s rec center and in different houses owned by the characters.

The stories remain super-sexy, the guys remain alphas, the women remain smart and independent, and elements of suspense go throughout both series. But I hope each character has their own personality and for me, that’s where the differences should be most evident.

 

 

  • What character did you find yourself most drawn to, and why?

 

 

I love Armie Jacobson – and I’m pretty sure readers will too. He’s outrageous, too sexy, has effortless talent in the cage, and a wounded background that has influenced his life greatly. I love all the guys – Gage, Cannon, Denver, Stack… but Armie stands out.

 

 

  • Do you prefer writing about small town romance settings (like in NO LIMITS) or city settings?

 

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever written a large city setting. Smaller towns, always fictional, work best for me because I like the lack of anonymity in a small town. Everyone knows everyone, or has at least heard of everyone, and it can lead to some touching, and embarrassing, situations. I like the warmth of knowing your neighbors and caring about them. And I like the ease in creating the town.

 

 

  • Who would play Cannon and Yvette in a book-to-film adaptation?

 

 

Josh Duhamel, while a little too old, would make a fabulous Cannon! He’s big and gorgeous and built. I think he’d be perfect if NO LIMITS was ever made into a movie. For the heroine, Mila Kunis is beautiful and I can easily picture her as Yvette. They’d make a hot couple!

 

 

  • What are your five favorite verbs to use during a love scene?

 

 

Favorite verbs to use in a love scene… Only five, huh? Wow, that’s difficult. How about catch/caught, press, contract, nuzzle/nibble, lick/suck. I’m not sure I could write a full love scene without them.

 

  • Can you tell us about the process behind the cover artwork?

 

 

Ooooh, I LOVE getting new covers, it’s so exciting. The way it works is that I give my editor an idea of what the characters look like. Usually this means emailing her my own character sheets – notes I keep on the characters to detail (and help me remember) height, eye and hair color, body type, etc… I usually include any and all info like the car he/she drives, job description, age and any other pertinent information that I might need to recall from book to book.

 

My editor also asks for a synopsis, but since they usually start working on covers long before I know what the story is about, it’s a guessing game on my end. I know there’ll be a hunk, a heroine, some suspense, hot sex, lots of emotion, and a happy ending. The how and why is often not clear to me at that point.

 

Then the publisher has a meeting with the art department and they brainstorm cover ideas and come up with a concept that I get to see.

 

The concept is just an idea. It’ll show a model, but not THE model. It’ll show a pose, but not THE pose. I see where the placement of my name and the title will appear, along with any quotes.

 

Once that’s approved, the art department does a photo shoot and from those images they choose the one they like best. I weigh in with pleas of chest hair. Chest hair is always my #1 requirement if they show the model with his shirt off. To be clear, this is for new novels, not novellas or re-issues. For those they generally use stock art. It’s all very fun and I can honestly say I’ve loved the artwork so far.

 

 

  • If you were stranded on a desert island with one of your many characters, who would you choose and why?

 

 

Since I’m an enormous wimp and not at all heroic, I’d love to have Trace with me, from Trace of Fever. He’s bossy and take-charge and lethal. He knows what he’s doing, how to protect and how to survive. Plus I think he was pretty sexy.

If it needs to be a character from my current Ultimate series, I’d say Denver – for many of the same reasons. He’s far more autocratic than Cannon or Armie or Stack. He’s big, brawny, and when necessary he can be lethal. I’d feel safer with a real bad ass if I had to be stranded.

 

 

  • What was the most difficult part of the process when writing NO LIMITS?

 

 

My heart broke for Yvette. She’s one of more damaged heroines I’ve ever written (although there have been a few) and she struggled so hard for her independence. More than anything she wants Cannon, but because he’s so brave and strong she doesn’t feel quite worthy, and the stigma of being seen as a victim really hit her hard. I image something like that would be very, very difficult to overcome.

 

 

  • Have you written an outline for the NO LIMITS series or do you make it up as you go?

 

 

I totally make it up as I go along. Or I should say my characters make it up. I never try to figure things out in advance because as sure as I do, the characters will have a different idea and they’ll rebel, making it difficult to write until I give them their way. Fighting it is futile. But since they’re seldom wrong, it works for us. (And yes, I’m nuts. I don’t fight that either.)

 

Usually the characters will give me enough clues along the way to keep the writing flow steady. For instance, while I was writing NO LIMITS, Denver stepped up and talked about Cherry and made it clear his book needed to be next. Now while I’m writing HARD KNOCKS (Denver’s story) Stack is giving me nudges, saying, “Me next, me next. And I’m going after Vanity… whether she or I know it yet or not.” So that’s how I know Stack’s story will be after Denver’s.

 

Armie has said he wants to wait, stew on things a while, come to grips with his future… so I’m letting him get used to the idea of what is to come.

 

 

  • What was your go-to snack while writing NO LIMITS?

 

 

Goldfish cheese crackers and pretzels. Occasionally I drink Mountain Dew when I need more caffeine but I usually snack with Lipton Citrus Green Tea as my drink.

I also love baby carrots. And far too often I cave to the call of the Pringles can.

 

 

  • What’s your favorite part of the book?

 

 

There’s a fight scene in the book. Not a sporting match, but an angry, defensive, you-dared-touch-what-is-mine kind of aggression filled with rage and loss of control and an awakening of strong emotion. Call me barbaric but I love writing scenes like that. I love getting down to the basics of how love can affect a person, whether it’s in sex or fighting off danger or just showing vulnerability awareness. It’s the real stuff people are made of.

 

  • What are you working on next?

 

 

I’m writing Denver’s story right now, titled HOLDING STRONG. It’s due out in spring 2015 and I’m loving Denver and Cherry together – and them as a couple with the rest of the fighters around. It’s a very fun dynamic.

 

After that I’ll do another benefit novella for June 2015. It’ll be part of the Buckhorn family and all proceeds from sales of the book will go to a charity. I’m not yet sure which of the Buckhorn clan will be featured, but I’m sure it’ll all come to me in plenty of time.

 

And then I’ll jump into Stack’s story. He should be ready by then – which means I’ll also be ready. Luckily the characters keep me writing. In fact, if there were more hours in the day, I’m not sure they’d ever let me stop!

lori fosterAbout Lori: 

Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. She also received the Romantic Times “Career Achievement Award” for Series Romantic Fantasy and Contemporary Romance.

Lori believes it is important to give back to the community as much as possible, so she routinely arranges events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations.

This book is available from HQN. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Wendy Wax Discusses The House on Mermaid Point (+GIVEAWAY)

Posted July 3, 2014 by Rowena in Giveaways, Promotions | 8 Comments

Publisher: Berkley, Penguin

author photo 2011 IMG_7757rc3

Wendy, thanks for joining us and sharing news of your new novel THE HOUSE ON MERMAID POINT.

So many readers are delighted to have a chance to be back with Maddie, Avery and Nicole, the characters you introduced in TEN BEACH ROAD a few years ago. Was it difficult to get back into their lives?

You know, I thought it would be. I was still so caught up in the fun of WHILE WE WERE WATCHING DOWNTON ABBEY and readers’ response to it, that I began to question whether I’d be feeling “at home” with the reassembled ensemble as I had when I wrote Ocean Beach. As it turned out, I found myself immediately at ease when I started that first chapter and looking forward to finding out how they would tackle the challenges I knew were coming. I know it helped that I had already spent time with them while writing my holiday novella, CHRISTMAS AT THE BEACH.

Has a lot changed for the women of TEN BEACH ROAD since OCEAN BEACH?

There have been some big life changes, but the characters are still friends, still taking things one renovation at a time. The case of “regulars” has gotten bigger as characters from the first book have become more involved from one book to the next and become known to readers. Mermaid Point becomes host to the entire Do Over cast and crew – some with small roles and others central to the plot. You’ll find everyone from Kyra, Dustin and Deirdre to Chase, Joe, Troy and everybody’s favorite, charming network executive Lisa Hogan, who once again claims the element of surprise as her ace in the hole.

For those who are just now discovering the novels these characters share, will you give us some background?

You bet. Readers first met Maddie, Nicole and Avery when the three were deeded ownership of Bella Flora, a crumbling historic home on Florida’s Pass-a-Grille Beach, in TEN BEACH ROAD. At that time, all they dared hope was that renovating and selling it would let them rebuild their lives and the bank accounts drained by a Ponzi scheme. They had no idea they’d end up living together for the next two summers, hammers in hand, starring in their own DIY reality television show, Do Over. Indeed, in their second book, OCEAN BEACH, the women – still in desperate straits financially — headed to Miami’s South Beach, with another project and cameras rolling to film their first season. In THE HOUSE ON MERMAID POINT, the show is about to make its on air debut even as they film their second season. This time they’re in the Florida Keys where they’re expected to turn Mermaid Point, the private island of aging, down on his luck rock legend William Hightower, into a bed-and-breakfast. Against his wishes, of course.

Rock ‘n roll and renovation? How did you arrive at that combo?

It started with again needing a character who, to begin with, could afford the sort of house that would make an interesting television setting. So I started thinking celebrity. Then, during my early research, I fell in love with the Florida Keys. I was headed to Key West when I was shown a private island in Islamorada that I just had to have. Then I needed a really high profile, extremely wealthy – at least at one time – mega star. Lots of musicians lived and partied in the Keys and before I knew it, I was thinking about some of my favorite bands and Southern rocker William “Wild Will” Hightower was born.

Who are some of your favorites?

The Allman Brothers, Lynrd Skynrd, Wet Willie…

It was a kick revisiting those times and walking down memory lane helped me imagine Hightower’s music being just as magical as that of the musicians I followed and the wild ride that is part of his past.

I may have had a bit too much fun with the musical memories called up during the writing, I actually ended up trying my hand at a ballad, Mermaid in you, one of the songs for which my mythical Hightower became famous. As part of the release of THE HOUSE ON MERMAID POINT, I touched base with two young musicians who are sons of a friend. Their group is the 10th Concession and they’re well known in the southeastern U.S. They looked at my lyrics, and while I was quickly demoted from writer to co-writer, they worked with me, created the music and now the song has been recorded. It had it’s live debut on June 30th and will be available as a free download. I hope you’ll check it out. Info is posted at authorwendywax.com.

What’s next?

I am happily up to my neck in a new book. But I’m still debating so many different ideas that I don’t want to share too much yet. Lots keep changing. It is, however, set in Manhattan and at New York’s Lake George. More to come …as always, I’ll be sharing more book news on my site, on Facebook and other places. I hope everyone will visit with me in those spots. Also, appearances for and the latest about THE HOUSE ON MERMAID POINT will be shared online along with giveaways and other updates.

Thank you, Wendy.

Thank you! I appreciate being able to share THE HOUSE ON MERMAID POINT with you and visitors of your site.

the_house_on_mermaid_pointExcerpt:

There had been a time, many times actually, when William Hightower would have left rehab in a limo. That limo, sent by his record label, would have had tinted windows, a fully stocked bar, and an eager woman with long legs, big breasts, and a talented mouth perched on the back seat.
His release would have been celebratory and newsworthy with photographers and fans jostling each other outside the gates so that they could snap photos and scream his name as the limo sped by.

The articles and news stories would run for weeks after his release. Each would begin with pictures of him on a stage surrounded by a vast, undulating sea of enraptured fans. Back when the braid that hung down his back was darker than the night sky over a Florida swamp. When he’d swaggered across a stage as if he owned it. As if he were a real Seminole warrior and not a scared kid from a dusty no name town who had two drops of Native American to every gallon of Florida Cracker blood in his veins.

Back then the alcohol and drugs were just part of the gig. They hadn’t yet slowed his fingers or marred his voice, or eaten away the muscle and sinew that held him together, like termites gnawing on a wood shanty. The pain of watching his little brother leave their band, the aptly if offensively named Wasted Indian, in a hearse, hadn’t yet been carved into his face like a name slashed into a tree trunk. Back then the roar of the crowds had convinced him that he was alive. And destined to be young forever.

Today the car that whisked him away from rehab had not been sent by a record company and did not contain drugs, alcohol or a woman, eager or otherwise. It was a muddy brown BMW driven by his angry, tight jawed son whom he barely knew. The only one left from that once-vast sea, the only one bound by the obligation of blood.

“Thanks for picking me up,” Will said.

A grunt was his only answer. Which was perhaps more than he deserved.

“And for arranging my … stay.” It was as close as he could come to admitting that he, William Hightower, who had made and blown millions, couldn’t have afforded the month spent at Three Palms Whole Health Center, which practiced an holistic and adventure based approach to beating one’s demons. Not even if he’d wanted to go there.

There were no gates to drive through. No waiting press. No screaming fans. Just a clean modern building sandwiched between a lake where he’d paddled a kayak until his muscles burned and a pool where he’d numbed his mind and his body with lap after lap. He was leaving far fitter than he had arrived. Fitter than he’d been since he’d played his first gig at seventeen. He’d give the Three Palms folks one thing; they’d forced him to clean up his outside while they’d hammered away at his interior. As if there were anything left in there.

The hair that had once hung down his back barely brushed his shoulders; the glossy black was streaked with gray. His face, bruised and battered by 61 years of hard living was still dominated by a hatchet of a nose and high harsh cheekbones that the camera had once loved. His dark eyes were framed by a spider’s web of lines, but they were clearer than they’d ever been; allowing him to see the world around him as it really was; stark and unrelenting.

They drove south from the hermetically sealed town of Westin, Florida in silence, palm trees sliding by, bold blasts of tropical color climbing walls and snaking up tree trunks. The flat morning light was unforgiving, leaving only the stingiest triangles of shade.

In Florida City the turnpike emptied onto US-1 then onto the two-laned eighteen mile ribbon of asphalt that locals called ‘the stretch.’ It was here that the real world began to dissolve while paradise crooked its finger just ahead. Even on the crappiest day ‘the stretch’ could cause heart rates to slow, stress levels to drop, and brain synapses to fire less frantically. But today Will’s mind flitted at random as Tommy drove sedately, his eyes fixed straight ahead.
Despite the open windows the silence between them hung hot and heavy, stuffed with things that had never been forgiven and which Will sincerely hoped would never be discussed.

A chain link fence was all that held back the scrub and brush as they skirted the Everglades and crossed over the Monroe County Line. Will stole the occasional surreptitious glance at his son, who had inherited his size and coloring and who looked so much like the younger brother he’d been named for that it hurt to look at him. He thought about the boy’s mother, who’d been a casualty of the life they’d lived, too. So many people gone for no good reason.
From the top of the Jewfish Creek Bridge sun glinted off the impossibly turquoise water that flanked them and a warm salt breeze tinged the air and rifled Will’s hair. In Key Largo scuba and bait and tackle shops began to fly by. A strip mall sign promising Pilates in Paradise caught his eye.

The silence spooled out. Will’s eyelids grew heavy. He was close to nodding off when Tommy said, “I talked to the bank. Then I brought in a Realtor to look at Mermaid Point.”

Will’s eyes blinked open. This was what happened when you gave your only blood relative power of attorney. In case of emergency. Never thinking that you might be thrashing it out in rehab when they decided to declare one.

He’d bought the tea-table shaped key on a whim back in the early eighties when Key West had ceased being a place to hide out, kick back and chill. When cruise ships began to arrive and depart daily and crowds longing to be wild and eccentric planted a flag and declared Key West their capital of crazy. Everyone he cared about had fled. Will had only made it seventy-nine mile markers up US-1.

“I’m not interested in selling Mermaid Point.” Not his island. Not ever.

They were passing through Tavernier. Mariner’s Hospital and McDonald’s flashed by and then they were crossing Tavernier Creek. Soon they’d be on Upper Matecumbe, the third of Islamorada’s four keys.

Almost home.

“Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t sell the island without doing something about the house and the outbuildings,” his son said. “Not in the condition they’re in.”

It was Will’s turn to grunt. When he’d bought Mermaid Point it had been one of many homes Will owned. Now it was all he had left. All he wanted to do when he got there was stretch out in a chaise by the pool and zone the hell out. Which wouldn’t be anywhere near as easy without a drink or a joint in his hand.

At the moment he was trying not to think about how he was going to live the next week, let alone the rest of his life, without numbing up. He wasn’t sure his pool—or even the Atlantic Ocean, which his pool overlooked—were big enough to swim the number of laps it would take. He didn’t know if there were enough laps in this world to make the need to detach go away.

“The thing is if the house and grounds could be renovated it would make a great place for an island vacation or a corporate retreat. And you could keep the rooms rented out all the time — I mean you’re still a name. People would pay a fortune to come stay in a property owned and operated by William the Wild.” The tone was derisive. As if he were relating something that he didn’t understand but he knew to be true. “You could make a living as the ‘genial host’ of the Rock n Roll Bed and Breakfast. Or, I don’t know, maybe we should just call it the Wild House.”

“You’re joking.”

Will kept his voice even. He wasn’t even home yet. He was not going to get worked up. Hadn’t he just spent a month trying to learn how to stay calm and in control? “And it’s not like you’d ever get approval for a Bed & Breakfast. There’s an ordinance against them. And a moratorium on building.”

Tommy shook his head dismissively. “That’s just semantics and small town politics. And I never joke about money.” Of course, he didn’t. The kid was a damned Investment Banker with a calculator for a brain. If he didn’t look so much like a Hightower Will might have doubted the paternity test. “Unless you want to end up on the sofa sleeper in my living room? Or an old age home for former rock stars?”

Will crossed his arms over his chest and turned an eye on Tommy. He’d used this look to good effect with record people who’d wanted to turn him into some fancy boy crooner when he was a rocker through and through. And with fans who didn’t understand boundaries or personal space. “That won’t be happening.” If he’d earned anything in all the decades played out onstage, it was privacy. “There’s no way in hell I’m sharing my island or my home with strangers.” He shuddered when he thought of wide-eyed honeymoon couples or worse, sad-eyed retirees in the bedroom down the hall.

You didn’t own a slab of coral rock barely tied to land if you wanted strangers anywhere near you.

His son turned and looked at him. “Well, I’m afraid you don’t really have a choice. You don’t have enough money to live on without using your sole remaining asset one way or the other. You can sell Mermaid Point and the structures on it and live frugally for the rest of your life.” His tone indicated he didn’t believe William had the ability to do any such thing. As if he’d been born to wealth and hadn’t earned his fortune one damned song at a time. “Or you can renovate, play the host to anyone willing to spend the money, and at least keep a roof over your head.”

William’s throat was so parched he could barely swallow. He didn’t know how he’d made such an obscene amount of money and ended up with so little. Or how the son who despised him had come up with such a horrifying plan.

A drink would have smoothed things out. Would at least allow him to pretend he wasn’t a broke, recovering alcoholic. Slowly, he reached in his pocket and pulled out a tootsie roll pop. He unwrapped it carefully and placed it in his mouth as they passed Whale Harbor Marina. The Lor-e-lei whizzed by on his right. Pretty soon they’d see Bud n’ Mary’s Marina which would make him as good as home. He sucked on the thing in silence refusing — in a ridiculous test of will— to give in and bite into its chewy center like he wanted to.

Danielle, his favorite group leader at the facility, had given him a large bag of the pops as a going away present. Idly, he wondered why no one had ever invented a whiskey-flavored version with a shot of Jack Daniels in the center. Maybe that’s what he should do to get back on his feet. Invent an alcoholic version of the Tootsie Pop.

He turned his head to hide his smile, concentrating on the hard, sweet candy in his mouth. Maybe an alcoholic but sugar free version so all the poor alcoholics didn’t become diabetic on top of everything else. He crossed his arms on his chest and let his eyes skim over the familiar surroundings as he sucked on that candy shell.

He could tell by the position of the sun that sunset was only a few hours away. From Mermaid Point he could watch the sun rise over the Atlantic in the morning and see it set over the Gulf every night; both were sights he hadn’t gotten tired of seeing yet.

Back in the day he could have scribbled down a hit song on a napkin between sets in a bar. But that was then. Before he’d turned as old as the fucking hills and lost most everyone he’d ever cared about. This was now. And he was pretty certain that he didn’t have so much as half a melody hidden anywhere inside him.

THE HOUSE ON MERMAID POINT
Wendy Wax
A Berkley Trade Paperback Original/Fiction
On Sale 7-1-14/$15.00 ($17.00 Canada)
978-0-425-26332-7

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