Hi Gerri, thanks for having me here today.
NOP: Tell us what inspires you.
Everything seems to inspire me: movies, a throwaway remark, a photo in a magazine, a news item. They’re all little puzzle pieces waiting to be fit into a story.
NOP: What were your aspirations as an author and have any of them come true?
I wanted to sell a book, lol! Especially to Harlequin Presents and yes, after 25 years of trying, that dream came true a year ago this month (May). My other aspiration was to be multi-published in multiple romance genres and I am. Next up: Independently wealthy J (or at least paying the bills writing full time.)
NOP: Now that you have a feel for the publishing world, would you do anything different if you had to do it all over again?
That’s such a tough one because our experiences shape us into who we are today. Would I be as happy if things had unfolded differently? I don’t know. But there was one rejection from an editor years ago, some advice I didn’t take. I regret that.
NOP: What genres do you normally write in?
Harlequin Presents is my main focus, but I indie published a romantic comedy and have an epic fantasy romance with Champagne Books. I’m also working with Harlequin Series Digital First on a pair of erotic romances, details to be announced as they become available.
NOP: Is there a genre you haven’t written in that one day you’d like to tackle?
I have a million ideas and they span the gamut, but I don’t imagine I’ll ever write horror or inspirational. Never say never, though.
Now for some quickies.
Reading or TV?
I don’t do a lot of either. Mad Men is my show that I must yell at the kids to pipe down if they interrupt, but otherwise I watch movies as my reward for a hard day at the computer. Generally I exercise in front of the television (pilates) which I can’t do while I read, so it happens more often. Reading is more sporadic.
Hand written letter or Homemade meal?
I type letters, but often cook from scratch. Or are you asking what I’d prefer to receive? Food!
Swimming pool or Hot tubs?
Freshwater lake, which is what we have and it feeds my soul every summer.
Dog or Cat?
We have a cat, but since hearing how many birds they kill, and learning he ate a skink (lizard) today, I’m feeling pretty guilty about having such a ferocious beast for a pet.
Flowers or Chocolate?
Hot or Cold?
Hot, hot, hot.
Talking or Texting?
Tell us a little bit about your book.
Paolo Donatelli met the woman of his dreams while engaged to someone else. He watched his best friend run off with Lauren then discovered his fiancée wasn’t carrying his child after all. Lauren’s conservative upbringing made Paolo seem too exciting for a small town girl like her. She married his best friend instead, a decent military man who turned out to be a player and a cheat. When her husband goes missing, she asks Paolo to use his connections to find out the truth—which is tragic. In consoling each other, they have a one-night affair and both feel guilty enough to pretend it never happened. The nine month clock is ticking on how long they can keep pretending.
Would you give us an excerpt?
Italian heritage and male curiosity demanded Paolo catch a glimpse of the female that had drawn another man’s interest. He turned his head and—
A pendulum of suppressed sexual need that he’d pushed far into his subconscious swung through him and exploded, nearly bringing him to his knees. Before his cousin could take another step, Paolo slapped his hand onto the ruffled front of Vittorio’s shirt, freezing him in place.
Iron congealed in Paolo’s arm, refusing to allow Vittorio near her while his gaze swept like a raptor, ensuring no one else dared approach her before he locked again onto her form and took in the vision of her.
She’d gained back a few pounds, but her cheekbones still stood out under eyes that were wide and overwhelmed as she searched the crowd. Despite her height, she projected an intrinsic vulnerability that struck him the way it had when he’d entered the house of Ryan Bradley’s family. Once again, every protective instinct in him rose like hackles, but she wasn’t nearly as helpless as she appeared. Lauren Bradley knew how to take care of herself. Like most women, she turned on the damsel in distress act to get what she wanted.
Ryan has disappeared, Paolo. No one will tell me anything. Please help me.
She had known how to get right to his heart, plucking at his deep allegiance to his friend despite playing them off each other for years. With one phone message, she’d invited him onto an emotional rollercoaster that had taken him weeks to recover from. A man in his position couldn’t afford inner turmoil. She ought to understand and respect that, but she was too self-involved.
Dio, she was beautiful, though. He vaguely took in a dress of white silk swirled with pearlescent design. A slash of dark purple was tangled over creamy shoulders and pale arms, but his gaze ate up other details: the swells of her breasts. The hourglass shape of her, nipped at the waist and flaring to wide hips that had cradled his like they’d been made to lock together the way they had. Her neck had been a slender arch under his rapacious mouth, her ears so sensitive his breath on them had made her quiver. And those lips, those plump, edible lips had roamed his chest and abdomen and—
“Are you forgetting you brought a date, Paolo?” Vittorio’s voice held the same amused mockery Paolo had heard all too often from family after his marriage had fallen apart. How could you not have suspected it wasn’t yours?
Lauren Bradley had the ability to make him miss certain things and overlook the rest. Shame rose to sting his cheeks, mixed with embarrassment and anger. She’d seduced him into another dishonorable position and he would never forgive her for it.
“That’s Mrs. Bradley. Off-limits. To everyone.”
Why did you take up writing romance?
I love stories that end happily and these are guaranteed. It seemed like the best job in the world to write them and it is.
When you start a romance, a common question is always – do you begin with a character, or a plot.
For me that’s a hard one. Often I start with premise, but not necessarily a common one like Boss & PA. More like, What if the heroine fell for the hero, but married his best friend? What circumstances would make that seem like a good idea for her? How could the hero let that happen?
Where can my readers get your book?
Please tell us more about yourself.
I married my high school sweetheart and we have two children (one of each.) I’ve been writing around family and a day job for so long it’s been my only serious pursuit in my spare time. I made the decision this year to NOT set myself up for failure by attempting to garden or golf. I enjoy both, but now the business side of writing has eaten up what leisure time I used to have. I still walk and do yoga and pilates. Those are a must when you sit as much as I do.
Do you have a website?
Please visit me. I love hearing from readers!
And thank you so much for having me here today, Gerri.