For those of you who belong to my Total Exposure chat group, the authors on the loop give each other interviews on release days. I thought I’d post the interview Fiona Jayde gave me for the release of Holiday Bound here today.
Thanks for the great interview questions, Fi. I really had to think for some of them.
Fi: Congratulations on the release of Holiday Bound!
I’m really looking forward to this book – the excerpt sizzled with sexual tension! Now that I have you in the hotseat….LOL
How about a bit of a background on Holiday Bound ?
Holiday Bound is the story of a man who sort of falls instantly for a woman, but refuses to pursue his attraction because she works in his estranged father’s law firm. His father is this powerful, gorgeous man in his fifties, who looks much younger than he is.
To say that Alex Carradine and his father, Mitchell, don’t get along is a huge understatement. Mitchell is all about power, career, etc., but Alex is more of this earthy, balanced individual. Father/Son have a huge blow-out, and Alex ends up selling his seat at the Chicago Board of Trade and buying a ski resort on a wooded mountain. He’s thrilled with his choice while Mitchell is furious at him for throwing away his education and lucrative career. Alex figures his dad is trying to mend fences when he calls and says he’s coming to visit for Christmas with a ‘friend.’ When Alex sees Angeline Kastakis, though, he realizes his father wasn’t extending the olive branch, but jabbing at him by dangling Angeline–the woman he’d been so attracted to years ago–in front of his face. Unfortunately, it’s just the sort of thing Mitchell might do.
Angeline hasn’t ever slept with Mitchell, but she was hoping things would become more intimate after spending Christmas at his son’s ski resort. As fate would have it, though, Angeline makes it to Heavenly View, while Mitchell is snowed out. She’s trapped in a house with no heat, no electricity and a gorgeous man who either despises her or wants her like crazy–Angeline can’t decide which. So, their stuck together…and Alex has the intimidating task of having to convince her she was involved with the wrong Carradine.
But he rises to the challenge, don’t worry. 🙂
Fi: I’ve always loved the “stuck in a blizzard” storylines, and you’ve enhanced it by adding a unique twist to make it your own:) Was there anything you came across that inspired you to do this type of story?
I love ‘shut in’ stories, too. I must, because I wrote both Holiday Bound and Release in close succession during a Chicago winter. LOL. Hmmm, this is weird, because I can’t recall how this story came about! Seriously…trying to recall. I started writing it at the beginning of this year, and then was asked by Berkley to propose for a opened spot in their schedule (which became Release). So I had to go back to Holiday Bound when it was halfway done after writing that book. OH! I just thought of it. I was watching an old Mary Tyler Moore episode–LOL–and Mary is casually dating this man who looks younger than his age. And she meets his son, who was the product of a really early marriage, and she’s actually closer in age to the son, and she sort of falls for him vs. the father.
The back story of family strife between Alex and Mitchell Carradine was all my doing. Family dynamics, weirdness and conflict–yeah, I can write that. LOL.
Fi: You really make characters come alive!! Do they come to you fully formed or do you get to know them through the course of their story? How did you get to know Angeline and Alex?
I think they definitely get fleshed out in the writing process. For instance, when I first started writing Alex, I didn’t picture what his family life was like, what nature would have meant to him, what family meant, how he’d acquired his goals and values when they were so drastically different from Mitchell’s. His mother and the grandmother and grandfather who raised him aren’t actually in the story, but once I ‘got’ Alex’s background during the writing process, his character really came together for me.
Angeline was a little more fully formed when I started. I wanted her to come from a very loving familial background, but to have a splinter of ‘different-ness”, something that would have made her feel really flattered by being asked out by a super-successful, powerful man like Mitchell Carradine. Angeline is the daughter of Greek immigrant farmers, and while she has a great deal of natural sophistication and confidence, I can see how she’d believe she was really into Mitchell Carradine for a short period of her life. We all make mistakes, right?
A lot of times I don’t ‘spell out’ these little character building aspects in the book, but I think when I have them in mind, or just allude to them briefly, it adds depth and believability to the characters and helps to ‘buy’ their motivations.
Fi: I’ve mentioned before how I love your build up of sexual tension:) Who are your inspirations? Ss there a particular couple who has the best sexual tension as far as Beth Kery is concerned?
Thank you, Fi! Hmm, good question. As you know, I’m a File-ite, and I used to love the sexual tension between Mulder and Scully on the X-Files. There was something so intimate in how they could ‘read’ each other and how they knew these little idiosyncrasies about one another. I know when I wrote both Sweet Restraint and Release, I included a lot of that type of thing–when the h/h knows these incredibly intimate and personal details about the other person even before they become lovers.
When I’m writing, I notice I used the words eyes, stare, gaze, etc. a ton. One story that always stands out to me for sexual tension is the movie Witness, which starred Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. When I think of the tension between the two in that movie, I think of this incredible way they’d LOOK at each other. There was so much in those stares. Lovers’ stares are different than ‘regular’ looks because only a lover can see you with those ‘eyes’. But more importantly, while the gaze implies connection, it also assumes the space between the two, the distance…what’s keeping them apart. A lovers’ stare is by nature tension-filled, because it makes the reader aware on some level of the friction to close the distance.
Fi: How is writing a novella different then a full novel?
It’s SOO different. I haven’t mastered the art of it; not that I ever will, but you know. I have to say that Holiday Bound was the first shorter story that I’ve done that I was really happy that I got everything “˜in there’. The pacing felt okay to me, the believability as far as the main characters romantic angle, and the spacing between sexual encounters and “˜getting to know each other’ portions. Of course, Holiday Bound technically isn’t a novella, it’s a short novel, so maybe I shouldn’t congratulate myself too much for “˜getting it all in there”. LOL. For me, part of the difficulty with novel vs. novella is the erotic romance genre. It’s already a challenge, to make sexual encounters and evolving emotional involvement realistic in a novel, where you’ve got maybe 95 thousand words worth of space. But to do the same in 37 K or 28 K…or 13? Sometimes, I think that’s why the fantasy or paranormal genres work really well for short erotics, because you can make it “˜believable’ because it fits in with the rules of the world you’ve built.
Fi: Lets say you were going to have lunch with Sandra Brown. What would you ask her?
I’d probably ask her about times where she felt really frustrated with her writing or her career. I’d ask her if she thought it was worth it…and hope she’d say yes. 🙂
Thanks again to Fiona for the interview. And remember that Holiday Bound is on sale now (10% off for the first week) HERE.
And remember that I’m giving away a pre-order of my Feb 2, 2010 book RELEASE to one commenter on any blog post this week. (Check back on Friday afternoon).