Today I'm hosting a talented romance author, Jan Romes. Not only did she answer my hard hitting interview questions (okay, not exactly hard hitting), she's also sharing a bit about her newest release, Stella in Stillettos. Welcome, Jan!
Thank you for taking the time to stop by Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the Night today. I really appreciate your time. Can you tell us a little bit about your newest release?
Thanks for having me on your blog today, Amber! I’d love to tell you about, Stella in Stilettos!
I have two themes for Stella:
Sometimes the love of a lifetime is right under your nose; the heart knows it, the brain denies it.
We all do things we normally wouldn’t when it comes to love and friendship.
Stella Matson has had it with handsome guys who schmooze their way into a woman’s heart and walk out the door when they get a better offer. As far as she’s concerned, she needs to focus on the one thing that won’t leave her teary-eyed on a Friday night – her job with the lingerie company. When drop-dead gorgeous, Alex Clay, is assigned to her department, the plan to focus on work is threatened along with her heart.
Alex Clay is trying to find his place in the business world. His boss seems to be grooming him for big things by giving him a taste of everything from the mail room to the board room. When he does a short stint in the advertising department and meets hardheaded but intriguing, Stella Matson, she challenges his convictions and stirs an unwanted desire. He doesn’t know whether to kiss her until they’re both breathless, or find a new job.
What inspired this novel in particular? I love to write about heroines who have been hurt and aren’t ready to love again. Of course, I always throw them in the path of someone they can’t stop thinking about that has the potential to turn their life upside down yet again. I had this vision of Stella and her personality in my mind for a long time, so I had no choice but to give her an adventure that would test her to the point she either has to stop fighting the attraction for Alex and walk away, or give into it even though it makes little sense.
Who is your favorite character in this novel and why?
Definitely, Stella. I love Alex, but Stella helps him become the man he’s wanted to be all along. Stella is intelligent, guarded, and lonely. I throw a secondary character – her friend, Trish – into the mix of Stella’s life to expose her quirks, fears and loyalty.
What comes first--characters or plot ideas?
Sometimes characters. Sometimes plot. For this book, it was Stella all the way. I knew her before I gave her a situation to handle.
How important is setting? Does it play an integral role in this story?
Setting is very important in this story. It causes major conflict. Without the office setting, Stella and Alex would have never met. The office was a barrier to their attraction yet it provided ample opportunity to scale that wall.
What motivates your main characters?
At first, Stella is motivated to stay away from handsome men. She has a history with one who shattered her heart. And she’s afraid of being put in another lather-rinse-repeat situation.
In Alex’s case, he’s restless and trying to decide the right path for his career. He doesn’t need the headache of a relationship right now and he certainly doesn’t need to deal with the attraction of a co-worker.
What is the central conflict? Letting someone in again.
What is your favorite aspect about being a novelist? Getting the happily-ever-after for my characters, but making them work for it. I love to step out of the box and give them unusual, but realistic situations.
What draws you to this particular genre? I’m a sucker for love!
Are there any other genres you can see yourself writing and why/why not?
I’ve dabbled in romantic suspense, but it was lighthearted. I’ve considered challenging myself with suspense that is a little darker and deeper. Not sure when that will happen.
What’s your goal as an author? By that, I mean...why write? Why is it important to you?
My goal is to write stories that will make my readers laugh or smile, and give them that moment of ‘ahhhh’!
If you could snap your fingers and transport yourself anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
The sunny Caribbean. It’s one of my favorite areas in the world. I love the warmth of the tropics and the scenery is breathtaking.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee, mostly. I would never turn away a cup of tea though.
Night person or early riser?
Night person and early riser, both. I don’t sleep a lot.
Tell us 5 little known facts about yourself.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve gotten braver.
I used to be painfully shy.
I am a champion for the underdog.
Love to sing, but can’t carry a tune.
Wouldn’t mind selling my house to live in an RV (to discover the continental U.S. It won’t happen, but a girl can dream).
Jan, have you ever heard of the Facebook page "Road Trips"? I liked their page and now my scrapbook of "must see" places is growing. They post amazing pictures. It sounds like something you might enjoy. Now let's take a peek inside your newest release, Stella in Stilletos.
An excerpt of Stella in Stilletos:
A sudden knock at the door sent Stella scrambling from the tub and into the misshapen terry-cloth robe. She ventured a look in the mirror to re-tuck the few stray locks of hair that cunningly escaped the giant claw-clip on top of her head, and she noticed the hot water made her face blotchy pink. “Excellent, Matson. Ragged and well-done is not a good look.”
Her only consolation was it couldn’t possibly be Alex since his apartment was at least twenty-five minutes away; maybe longer, depending on traffic.
She padded in bare feet to the door and squinted into the peek-hole. Dark hair and violet eyes filled her line of vision. She squinted a second time.
Her hands flew to her tousled mop and she glanced down at the shabby robe. Last night she’d wanted to fill him with regret by looking like a million bucks. Tonight the regret part would come into play, only in reverse. He’d take one look and wonder what the heck he was doing there.
When she didn’t answer the door right away, Alex fell into a series of persistent knocks. “I know you’re in there.”
“Oh well,” she mumbled. This was the real Stella, uncluttered and unbeautiful. He might as well see her for who she really was. It would probably make whatever he had to say a little easier. She took a deep breath and unlocked the dead-bolt.
Even though the take-me-as-I-am attitude sounded good, her heart was still pumping erratically. She plastered on a congenial smile, braced for a frown and opened the door.
Amazingly, Alex smiled instead of frowned and cautious joy danced its way through her.
“Bet you weren’t expecting me so soon, were you?”
She cinched her robe tighter and shuttered her eyes suspiciously. “How’d you get here so fast?”
“You obviously didn’t catch it when I asked if I could come up. I was in your parking lot when I called.”
Stella held back a smile. “Yeah. Missed that. As you can see, I thought I had some primp-time. Since you’re Johnny-on-the-spot, what you see is what you get.” When he grinned, she realized she shouldn’t have used the word get. It was clearly suggestive, like the tub invitation.
Alex was still technically in the hallway. “Can I come in?”
Stella took him by the hand and tugged him in.
Once the door was closed, he swung her around so they were chest to chest and he kissed the tip of her nose. “I’ve been driving around for half an hour trying to figure out if I should call or stop by, or what. The car seems to have a mind of its own and pulled into your parking lot.”
His words made her insecurities kick in and her thoughts went into overdrive. He was going to slam the door on them. In the twelve or so hours they were apart, he must’ve had a change of heart.
A firestorm of emotion burned its way through her. She’d done it again. She’d given herself freely because she foolishly thought he was the one. He obviously wasn’t.
The heavy cynicism continued. Was Alex going to go off to find himself too? Was she still too inhibited? What lame excuse would he offer up? Argh! Her heart wasn’t ready to be snapped in half again.
“I’ll be right back.” She rushed to the bedroom and wilted against the closed door. So what if he slows things down, or breaks things off completely. Nothing should’ve happened in the first place. That rationalization didn’t help.
Salty tears rimmed her eyes, she blinked them away. She’d been an idiot. Actually, they’d both been idiots, but he was going to step up to the plate and fix things. He was going to make her listen to the voice of reason; the one her heart chose to ignore all day, the voice she should’ve been listening to all along.
I love it, Jan! This is definitely on my must read list. I'm going to get it ASAP.
More about Author Jan Romes: Jan Romes grew up in Ohio in the midst of eight zany siblings. Married to her high school sweetheart for more years than seems possible, she's also a mom, grandmother, and mother-in-law. Jan writes stories with sharp, witty characters who give as good as they get. When she's not writing, Jan likes to read all genres, find new ways to stay fit and healthy, and while she in no way has a green-thumb, she likes to grow pumpkins and sunflowers.
Buy Stella in Stilettos now on Amazon for only .99! http://www.amazon.com/Stella-in-Stilettos-ebook/dp/B00C90GOTK/ref=la_B005OMZICY_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1366430955&sr=1-3