Monday, August 20, 2012

Open Mic Monday presents author Christina Routon

Today I'm honored to host guest author Christina Routon on Open Mic Monday.  Christina Routon is originally from Manchester, Georgia, and currently lives in Alabama with her family. She works from home as a general transcriptionist, which allows her time to write fiction and non-fiction as well as work on her general transcription website. A self-professed geek, she enjoys tabletop role-playing games, watching Doctor Who (David Tennant is her favorite, but Matt Smith is growing on her), and watching anything written or produced by Stephen Moffat or Joss Whedon.  

So far, Christina and I have a lot in common.  David Tennant is also my favorite Doctor Who! Let's see what else she has to say before we take a look at her book, Hillbilly Rockstar.  

Where were you born and where do you call home? 
I am originally from Manchester, Georgia, a small town about two hours south of Atlanta. I currently live in Alabama with my family. We moved here two years ago in order to be closer to my husband's family.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
My next book will be non-fiction. I'm in the process of researching and interviews now. After it's complete, I'll work on the sequel to Hillbilly Rockstar featuring Michelle Nelson, Trace's co-host from the TV show. 

What books have influenced your writing?
Stephen King's On Writing definitely influenced me. Maggie Lawson's Deep Editing gave me permission to really express myself and use descriptive language. Many writers today are told to pare down, be succinct and more clear. I think this comes from writing blogs or for websites where writing has been reduced to bullet points. I have to remember creative writing needs to flow from point A to B to C. I also read a lot of fiction and I learn from others. I pay attention to how they write dialogue, how they craft a sentence and paragraph. 

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?

I would love to meet Nora Roberts. 

Did your book come out exactly as you thought it would or did the story change?
The story is very different than I first imagined. Trace was originally going to be a contestant on the show and Lisa a reporter. They were both from the same small town and she was assigned to cover the "local boy" on the show. 

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
Ebooks and paperbacks. Ebooks are easier to come by and more convenient, but I'm not letting my paperbacks go just yet. 

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?
Yes, I am, and it's a lot of fun!

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
Bridget Jones' Diary. The book was written in diary format, of course, but I felt it lacked so much of the color of the movie. The movie seemed to be more fleshed out. And who doesn't like looking at Colin Firth, imagining him being that guy, the guy who says "I like you exactly as you are." 

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I'm reading Powerful Magic by Karen Whiddon in ebook format. 

Did anything inspire your characters or story?
Trace was inspired by many of the country singers today such as Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton, as well as an acquaintance who is now working in the country music industry. The character of Trace was inspired by Kenny Chesney's song, Living in Fast Forward.

Are there any Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
Christie Craig and Dana Stabenow. I recently read Christie's Divorced, Desperate and Delicious and loved it. It was a funny, romantic comedy and I really enjoyed the story. I put the rest of her books on my wish list. I found Dana Stabenow on Kindle since she has the first of her Kate Shugak series free on Amazon. I enjoy mysteries and this one was different - the heroine was an Aleut native to Alaska and the story was set in Alaska. But what really got me was the excerpt to the second book describing a killing spree through a small Alaskan village, interspersed with Kate's springtime chores and trying to keep her dog, Mutt, away from the male wolf stalking the property. I had to read these books. 

Who designed the cover of your book?
Laura Morrigan at I used photos from Shutterstock. The cover is close to what I imagined. I wanted someone with their back to the camera, wearing a black hat, his guitar across his back, but I couldn't find a picture. I knew I wanted a guitar player and the blue stage light. Laura created a great cover from the pictures I found. 

Do you buy a book by the cover?
Sometimes, but with an ebook if I'm on my Kindle I rarely see the covers. In that case, I decide to buy based on the book blurb. 

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
I do. It's the best part of the day.

What are your pet peeves? 

Drivers not using a turn signal, misspellings on public signs, people their radio too loud at a gas station.

Any pets that you would like to tell us about?

We have two dogs and a cat. Ariel is our one-year-old German Shepherd, Scrappy is a terrier mix and Sunshine is our yellow cat. 

Coffee or tea?
I'm from the south, so tea, the sweeter the better. I drink it hot when it's cold out or if I'm not feeling well, and ice cold in the summer. 

What do you normally eat for breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?
My typical breakfast is oatmeal. I get plain instant and eat it at work. I mix it with some Splenda, raisins, berries and sometimes yogurt. When I have the time, I make waffles for breakfast. 

Your favorite gadget?
My smartphone. It's an older generation HTC and we're going to upgrade to new Droids soon, but I love this phone. I can check all my email accounts, Facebook, Twitter, take pictures, see my calendar, get driving directions. It's a long way from my first flip phone and digital organizer. 

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
At this time I don't have a choice for time. I have a day job so writing is done after dinner on weekdays and Saturday mornings. When I'm off work, on vacation or a holiday, I write after lunch. 

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
There are so many, but I want to go back to England with my husband and have the time to meander from London to Scotland before coming home. 

List 3 of your favorite movies  
Dirty Dancing, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones' Diary

An actor or a book character you have a crush on -
Colin Firth. I could look at him - and listen - all day. I love John Hanna's accent in the movie Sliding Doors. Sometimes during the movie I'll close my eyes and just listen. 

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and really enjoyed?
I just finished last season's Glee on Hulu. It's one of my favorite series and I'm glad I was able to finally catch up on it.

What would you like to write but aren't sure if you can?
A mystery and a time-travel. I love time traveling stories and actively seek them out.

Hillbilly Rockstar Blurb

Nashville Star meets Working Girl

Down-and-out country singer Trace Harper parties like there's no tomorrow. When his manager dies, the party's over. Trace discovers he's not just broke, he's $15,000 in debt.

Lisa Jenkins worked with Trace's dead manager and offers him a project that could revive his career - and put $100,000 in his pocket. But there's a catch - Trace must sign a morals clause for the length of the project. 

With nothing to lose, Trace takes Lisa on as his new manager and discovers life away from the party isn't all bad. 

But Lisa isn't exactly who he thinks she is, and when Trace's ex-wife shows up with proof of Lisa's deceit, Trace has to decide if he can trust her with his career - and his heart. 

Hillbilly Rockstar Excerpt
Awful was not the word for the set Trace Harper performed. Horrible, depressing, deplorable, unpleasant, ugly -- these words were closer to the truth. 
It was obvious Trace was drunk. Not tipsy, not buzzed, but high-as-a-kite drunk. He went through the set, forgetting words to songs he'd made famous only a few years before. He stumbled over the stage, laughing at his mistakes. When it came to his final ballad, the most famous of his career, he butchered the chorus that everyone else in the bar knew so well. No one seemed to mind, especially the women in the audience, in particular a bleached blonde in a halter top that barely covered her large breasts. She was standing below the stage, staring up at Trace as if he were a god to be worshipped -- and he seemed pretty happy to accept whatever worship came his way. 
Lisa watched him for a few minutes as fans greeted him, asking for pictures and autographs. He seemed to be having the time of his life, and either didn't realize -- or didn't care -- that his performance sucked. He was much different than the man she'd met at the office some years ago when he'd come in for a meeting with Charlie. She'd been new to the agency and to Nashville. Seeing celebrities around town and at work had fascinated her and there were a few times she'd embarrassed herself when speaking to them. It also didn't help that she'd had a huge crush on Trace Harper when he'd first come on the country music scene fifteen years earlier. But that was then, and this was now, and she wasn't a wide-eyed-twenty-something-girl with stars in her eyes anymore. 
Well, may as well get this over with. She made her way to the stage as the crowd around him thinned out, ignoring the blonde begging Trace for a picture. 
"Sure, honey." Trace flicked his black hat back on his head and put his arm around the woman. "Hey, you." He pointed at Lisa. "Come take our picture, sweetie pie." 
"I am not your sweetie pie, Mr. Harper." Lisa said. 
"Well, tonight you are, so take our picture." 
"Here," the blonde said, her voice high and squeaky. She handed Lisa her cell phone and cuddled closer to Trace, squeezing him around the waist and laying her head on his shoulder. Trace held up his beer and put his arm around the blonde's shoulders. Sighing, Lisa held up the cell phone. 
"If I take this picture, can I speak with you for five minutes, Mr. Harper?"
"What is it with the Mr. Harper crap? Sure, whatever, five minutes. Take the picture so I will never forget meeting the most beautiful woman in the world." 
"Oh," the blonde cooed, looking up at him and smiling. Lisa hit the button on the phone and took the photo.  
"Take another one, just in case." 
"In case of what?" Lisa asked. 
"Just in case." 
"Last one," Lisa said, and pushed the button just as the woman placed her palms on Trace's cheeks and pulled his mouth to hers. The camera caught the kiss, exactly as Lisa assumed the woman wanted. 
"Thank you so much," the blonde said to Trace before taking her phone and heading back to friends, all similarly clad in various tank tops, halter tops, jeans and mini-skirts, at a nearby table. 
"Now, what would you like to talk about, sweetie pie?" Trace ambled over to her, waving off a few people that were asking for autographs. "Hold on, folks. I promised this lady five minutes." 
With groans and sighs the crowd dispersed, but didn't go very far. Lisa did not understand how people still wanted photos and autographs after his terrible performance, but there they stood, waiting for him to finish talking. 
"Mr. Harper, I work for Cahill-Waters Talent Agency. I've been trying to get in touch with you." 
"Yeah, Charlie's company. Yeah, sorry, I've had some issues with my cell phone recently. Wait." Trace flicked his hat back on his head again and came closer, his brown eyes focusing on her face, then down her body. 
"Do I pass?" She crossed her arms over her chest, tapping her booted foot on the wooden floor. 
"I know you from somewhere." He scanned her again and Lisa felt as if she were being inspected from her blonde hair framing her face, down her skinny blue v-neck t-shirt and flared leg jeans to the cowboy boots peeking from the hem. "You were at Charlie's funeral. The blonde in the black dress and boots, with the redhead."
"That's right, I was there." It unnerved her to think of Trace seeing her at the funeral, seeing her now, and even remembering what she'd been wearing that day. 
He leaned in closer and she had to uncross her arms to keep him from bumping them. He bent just a little and whispered in her ear. 
"I loved that dress on you. I enjoy curves on a woman, and you got 'em in just the right places." He reached down, placing his hands on her hips. 
She pushed him away. "Mr. Harper, I am here as a professional. I need to speak to you regarding your representation with Cahill-Waters." 
He laughed, taking a step back. "Okay, not interested. I get it. What about my representation? You guys are just going to keep doing whatever you're doing, right?" 
Before she could answer, the crowd wanting his autograph had grown and were pushing closer them. A sea of bodies, primarily female, separated them and Lisa was forced to step back to the wall to keep from being crushed. 
"Hey, sweetie pie, I'll call you," she thought she heard Trace call out over the noise, then he was gone, trapped in a frenzy of female fans. 
Lisa headed back to their table and found Tanya snuggled in the lap of the dark haired man she'd danced with earlier. "Well, I tried."
"You didn't get to talk to him? Oh, this is Doug, by the way." Tanya smiled down at the man and ran a finger over his cheek. 
"Hi, Doug. Lisa. I did, but I wasn't able to tell him everything. He hit on me." 
"Really?" Tanya looked up at Lisa in surprise. 
"Yes, really. Now, can we go? I want to get home and get some sleep." Lisa grabbed her purse and jacket from her chair and slung them over her arm. 
"Okay. Bye, Doug." Tanya kissed the man then slid off his lap, taking her purse from the back of the chair as she stood. "I had fun. You got my number?"
"I sure do," Doug said, and winked at the cute redhead. "I'll be calling you later."
"You better." Tanya waved at him before following Lisa out of the bar. 
"Looks like you found a friend." Lisa unlocked her sedan and they climbed in, buckling their seat belts. 
"Yeah, I did. Too bad you didn't get to speak to Trace. Well, except to get hit on."
"Yeah, too bad." Lisa started the car, but didn't back up right away. She remembered the sound of his voice near her ear, the tickle of his five o'clock shadow on her cheek as he leaned close to her, his warm breath on her neck, the feel of his hands on her hips, and shivered. 
"What's wrong?" Tanya asked, noticing her shake. 
"Nothing," Lisa said. "Trace is a jerk, that's all. I'm not going to keep trying to call him. I'm going to send the letter to his agent. I have better things to do." 
She put the car in reverse and backed out of the lot, heading for home, determined to put Trace Harper out of her mind once and for all. 
"Lisa, I'm heading to Atlanta. I'll be back next week." Boyd Waters stepped into her office, his briefcase in his hand and his coat over his arm. "I emailed you a list of tasks I'd like completed by the time I get back."
"All right." Lisa looked at him, and they stared at each other in silence. "Was there something else, Mr. Waters?" she finally asked him. 
"I think it's time for you to move your office closer to mine. There's no reason to work in here anymore, is there? When the audit of the business is complete this space will be free for two or three managers to share." 
"Right now I'm comfortable where I am, Mr. Waters. And in all fairness, you should be aware that I am currently looking for another position."
Her announcement seemed to surprise him. "Well, I will be sorry to see you go. I appreciate you telling me." He turned to leave her office, then turned to face her again. "I almost forgot. Order some new business cards and stationery. Per the auditor's suggestions, and since Charlie is no longer with us, the business name is changing. Have the cards and letterhead read 'Boyd Waters Talent Management.' Order about five hundred cards and two boxes of stationery."
Sadness came over her and tears welled in Lisa's eyes. She felt helpless, unable to stop this man from taking over and erasing every part of Charlie that had been in the business. But no matter what he did or said, she would not let him see her cry. 
"Yes, Mr. Waters, I'll order them." Her voice shook. 
"Okay, I'm gone then." He walked out of the office. As soon as he was gone Lisa buried her head in her hands. She didn't want to be there anymore. There had to be a way to get out -- soon.

Hillbilly Rockstar is available at the following:
Barnes and Noble -
All Romance Ebooks -

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