Yay, Nona, we did it!! After all me being unable to open files and asking you to resend things, you are finally live, lol! I REALLY hope you enjoy your time with me and my readers and they give you lots of lovely questions and comments - most of all, buy your book. LOVING the body on the front... *sigh*
Over to you!
1) When and why did you decide you wanted to be a published author?
I'd written for years, but could never seem to finish anything. I'd continually go back and polish what I'd done, but could never actually get to "The End". Hey, if I never finished, I could never submit a manuscript. Way to avoid rejection, right? But time was marching on, and I knew deep in my heart I wanted more than anything to be a published author. I had to make up my mind that it would come first with me, that I would "woman up" and finish a book. Of course, I had no control over whether it would be accepted by a publisher. But I'd leapt a huge hurdle just in completing it. For me, it was a bit like deciding to lose weight—I had to decide I wanted it badly enough to make it a priority, even if other things went on the back burner.
2) What is the best and worse thing you have learned from an editor/agent?
Actually, it was the same editor who gave me the best/worst news. The worst was "Sorry, but this isn't for us." (At least she didn't say "You suck!") But she went on to explain the shortcomings in the book, chiefly that the romance didn't focus enough on the connection between the two main characters. Duh! What was I thinking? I revamped the book according to her observations and submitted it elsewhere. The story "Uncollared" was accepted by Loose Id Publishing and will be released in August.
3) Favourite author/s?
I used to read a lot of historical romances, and though I've mostly drifted away from that genre, I really love Mary Balogh's books and will always pick up one of her novels. Now that I'm writing erotic romance, that's what I mostly tend to read. I love Cari Quinn, Lauren Dane, Lorelei James, Joey W. Hill, Leah Brooke, Danica St. Como…the list goes on and on.
4) What is your typical day?
Currently I'm taking care of my elderly mother, so my schedule revolves around hers. On mornings she goes to her senior day program, I get up early and get her ready for the bus, then walk the dog, feed the cats and try to spend as much time writing as possible. Other days I sleep a bit later and try to work some writing into the day around caretaking chores. I keep telling myself I have to establish a stricter schedule.
5) Share your blurb or short excerpt from your latest release with us
My newest release is an erotic romance titled "Her Perfect Man". Here's the blurb:
Kim Hansen has terrible luck with men. When her sexy downstairs neighbor shows a more-than-neighborly interest in her, she's suspicious. She's been burned too many times, by too many guys. Steamy sex is one thing, but Charlie Keller is smart, hot and successful—so what does he want with her besides a few nights of pleasure?
Though Kim does her best to shut him down, Charlie's not put off by her attitude. He doesn't scare easy. Kim thinks she's clever, using sex to maintain an emotional distance and to keep him off guard. But Charlie sees through her tough exterior to the tender heart beneath.
But Kim needs to be won over. Sure, their bedroom action is awesome, but given her past mistakes, she's convinced Charlie is too good to be true. Just too perfect. But if Charlie has his way, he'll prove that he's the perfect man for her.
I had a lot of fun writing this emotional and sexy story. Let me share an excerpt with you here:
He spoke just as she slipped her key in the lock. "Kim. What's this really about?"
She stopped dead. "What do you mean?"
"Does this have anything to do with your ex-boyfriend?"
She could pretend not to know what Charlie meant, but what for? Seeing Adam tonight with his girl had knocked her for a loop. The way he looked at her. She wanted to be the focus of someone's attention, too. If only for one night.
Before she could answer, Charlie spoke. "Because I don't like the idea of being anyone's second best."
Her forehead creased in confusion. "What?"
"I want you to know you're here with me. Not that you're pretending I'm him."
"You're not him." She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him to show just how much she wanted him. He responded, but when she drew back, she saw the hesitancy in his eyes.
"I don't usually do things this way," he told her. "Assbackward."
Kim knew Charlie was right. They were rushing things. She was rushing them. There was always a part of her that knew better. Every time she dived headfirst into deep water without checking for crocodiles, part of Kim would shake her head and think big mistake. But the other part, the part that needed to feel good, needed someone's arms around her, always won out. Even if she knew it wasn't real, wasn't love. For a little while, she'd feel less alone.
"Really?" She made her voice airy as she at last unlocked the door. "You mean you don't usually sleep with a woman on the first date? You're lucky I'm so easy, then."
"Don't." His hand grasped her elbow and when she looked at him he was glowering. "Don't call yourself that."
"Whatever. Look, if you don't want to be here—"
She was doing it again. Little Miss Hot and Cold. Drawing him close with one hand while her other pushed him away. How could someone with such a smart mouth and "I don't give a shit" attitude be so insecure?
"Listen up." Charlie's voice was firm. "I do want to be here." There were a lot of things he wanted to say, but he used humor to defuse the situation. "Give me a break, all right?" He hitched his mouth into a lopsided grin. "I'm not used to being treated like a sex object."
Kim grinned back, her stiff shoulders relaxing. "Well, you are." She opened the door and slipped her fingers behind his belt, pulling him inside. "Make the most of it."
6) Who would you cast to play your hero & heroine in a movie?
I can picture Ryan Gosling (I know, the man of the hour) as Charlie. Not the super-buff Ryan from "Crazy Stupid Love" or the drugged-out character from "Half-Nelson", but somewhere in between. I'm not sure who'd be a good Kim—someone attractive, but in an offbeat way. I'd have to think on that some.
Did you plan this book? Or write it as it came?
I tend to semi-plot. I have major scenes and turning points plotted on a grid and try to figure out how to mesh them. I don't work from a large outline or synopsis. But some events popped up in the story that definitely surprised me!
What surprised you the most when you became a published?
Before you're published, you see publication as a huge pinnacle you have to reach. If you can just reach that peak, you've got it made. When you get there, as thrilling as it is, you realize there's so much more to accomplish. You have to promote, attract readers, continue to improve your craft. I was so focused on getting published that I was pretty naïve about the rest of it.
9 Do you have a dedicated writing space? What does it look like?
My "office" is my bedroom. I have a lovely four-poster bed with a crocheted canopy. I just recline with my laptop on my stomach and write. Now if only I could clean up the piles of papers scattered around and the dust bunnies under the bed!
What’s next for you?
As I mentioned, my book "Uncollared" will be published by Loose Id in August. It's my first foray into a romance with BDSM elements. I'm very excited about it. I also have a short story contracted by The Wild Rose Press in the Scarlet Line which is an F/F erotic romance, my first same sex love story. It's called "Irresistible Impulse" and features Tania and Latisha, a couple who appeared as supporting characters in my first two romances. I'm really spreading my wings!
Thanks so much for sharing your blog with me today, Rachel!
To purchase Her Perfect Man:
To learn more about Nona and her books, please visit www.nonaraines.com and http://www.facebook.com/NonaRaines.author
Great interview, Nona - you sound one busy lady!! Okay, over to you guys...