Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Some Strange Music Drags Me In... #AuthorInterview #RomanceNovels

 **Sharing an interview I did for Dancing Barefoot with Flash of Romance***

Q: Where did you get the inspiration for the title?

A: While writing this story, I listened to a lot of U2. One of their songs is called 'Dancing Barefoot' where they sing of spinning ceaselessly and losing gravity. "Oh God I fell for you" is one of the lyrics. It truly struck a chord within me—no pun intended. In fact, I've included the lyrics to the original Patti Smith song on the dedication page of the novel.

Q: What are the lyrics to 'Dancing Barefoot'? Could you share so we get a sense of what inspired you?

A: Definitely! Here are the original lyrics sung by Patti Smith, later redone by U2.

Dancing Barefoot Song Lyrics (Patti Smith)
She is benediction
She is addicted to thee
She is the root connection
She is connecting with he

Here I go and I don't know why
I flow so ceaselessly
Could it be he's taking over me

I'm dancing barefoot
Headin' for a spin
Some strange music draws me in
It makes me come up like some heroine

She is sublimation
She is the essence of thee
She is concentrating on
He who is chosen by she

Here I go when I don't know why
I spin so ceaselessly
Could it be he's taking over me

I'm dancing barefoot
Headin' for a spin
Some strange music drags me in
Makes me come up like some heroine

She is recreation
She intoxicated by thee
She has the slow sensation that
He is levitating with she

Here I go when I don't know why
I spin so ceaselessly
'Til I lose my sense of gravity

I'm dancing barefoot
Heading for a spin
Some strange music draws me in
Makes me come up like some heroine

Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Songwriters: Kral, Ivan / Smith, Patti

Q: Why did you feel compelled to write this story? 

A: The characters' struggle with learning to live according to their own truth rather than being bound by others' expectations resonates with me on a core level. As human beings, it is easy to be caught up in someone else's life agenda and forget that we are here with our own purpose.  There were times in my life when I became consumed with putting other people's expectations above my own and that is no way to live.

Q: What would you like people to take away from this story?

A: We're all unique and the status quo doesn't always serve us well. It's important to find what makes your heart sing and pursue it even if it's scary as hell for you to take that leap. 

Q: Reviewers have said that this book crosses genres and breaks the rules of the romance genre--but in a good way. What do you say about that? 

A. Dancing Barefoot is women's fiction combined with romance and straight up mainstream drama. There is a mystery involved, but it's subtle. The issues of co-dependency that Jessica, the heroine, has with her alcoholic mother are a core element of the story and one of the main reasons she has a hard time living her own life. The intensity between Jacques and Jessica is scorching--this is a straight-up true love story with them but there are some devious people sabotaging their relationship. If you like Nicholas Sparks' novels, for instance, where there is a lot of drama and real world issues present that aren't always pretty, then Dancing Barefoot is the right read for you. I don't pull punches when dealing with certain issues in this book, but I think that's what gives it its edge.

Q: Why is the story split into two parts—why not combine them into one large novel?

A. Well, originally that's how I wrote it. In Between, book one, was simply that—book one under the title Dancing Barefoot. By doing that I had an epic novel of over 150,000 words. I had an agent at the time who suggested it would read better as a two-part series. Then I had a publisher working with the story who wanted me to completely cut the beginning in Italy and start the story where it now begins in Dancing Barefoot. I did that—which is why Dancing Barefoot can be read as a stand-alone—and published it that way initially. This didn't sit well with me so I ended up publishing In Between, the true start of the love story, as its own book. Readers love In Between as much as I do so I'm happy that I went with my gut. 

Q: As an author, what is your main goal when connecting with a reader?

A: Entertainment. Despite the nature of some of my stories, such as human trafficking in Reckless Endangerment or breaking free of co-dependency/expectation in Dancing Barefoot, my goal is to entertain the reader. When authors take real life issues and frame them in a way that is non-threatening, we can make a true impact.  But my ultimate goal is to take the reader into someone else's world for awhile and to make them smile when they turn that last page. The greatest compliment I receive from a reader is when they tell me that they didn't want the book to end. That's when I know I've done my job well. 

An excerpt of Dancing Barefoot...

"I." He kissed her lightly. "Will." He slid his mouth from her lips to the line of her jaw. "Never." His tongue flicked over her earlobe. "Date you." 

Somehow she'd kicked off the high heel and now her barefoot slid up the side of his lower leg. "Yes, you will."

He laughed at her audacity, relieved to see that fire in her eyes. "It is good to know you have big dreams, Jess."

"Ava said you'd make Boston your home base if only I asked." She moved her hand over the bulge in his jeans and grinned with satisfaction. "I know there's a lot of heartache here, that you don't trust me, but the way I see it, you're worth me making a fool of myself over."

He couldn't believe her, even though he wanted to very much. He'd given back the ring, said all he had to say, had vowed to erase her from his heart. The gallery idea with Miranda had slipped from his lips without conscious intent. Looking at her now, he knew it would be too risky to let her close. 

"And then what? I leave for South America, you have a fit about me wandering off, we break up again? Is that how this will play out?"

"Technically, we never broke up," she whispered, gaze intent on his. "We never had a fight, I still wore the ring, so did you."

"You're confusing me and I don't like it." His dropped his forehead against hers and tried desperately to reign in his desire. 

"If you don't want a date, then let's go back to my place, lock the door and see what happens." 

"You know what would happen." He grabbed her wrists and made her stop touching him. "What are you really asking me, Jess?"

"I want..."  

"What do you want?"




“You're ashamed of me, of what we were to one another. Didn’t you say that last week? Yes, you said you don’t talk about Italy to anyone here.” He knew it was the truth when her eyes darted away from him. “You don’t want anyone here to know about our affair. You don’t want your lover to get upset—”

“You have the wrong idea about Marc. He—”

“Stop lying. Is it even possible for you to stop?” He pressed his thigh between hers, pushing her tighter against the bark of the tree. “You two are lovers. Deny it.”

She dropped her head against tree trunk and stared at him. “It’s complicated.”

“Of course it is. Nothing with you is simple. Come back to my hotel with me. Right now. Intervene.”

"You think I won't, but I will." Her lips trembled, eyes searched his.  

His gaze locked on her mouth. “Is that your plan? Seduce me away from Simone? How would Marc feel about that?”

“Stop throwing him in my face.”

“You want me back in your bed, Jess? Is that all you want? Sex and nothing more?”

Blue eyes darkened to indigo. Body shifted toward him. Teeth bit into her bottom lip. He knew she wanted him, but he wanted more than that.

“Do you want me to beg?” Her hands settled on his hips.  

“Yes, I do. Beg me.”

The war in her eyes was evident.

“Jacques, please—”

“No more.” He closed his eyes. “We aren't capable of a casual affair and you know it. We'll get sucked in and then what?”

“It could be different this time. We'll make it work.”  

"Why the change of mind? Ava? Last Friday night? What? Why? If you hadn't seen me last week, I wouldn't be on your mind at all. If I hadn't come to Boston for the exhibit, we would not be standing here. If I am the great love of your life, then you would have tried to contact me and explain. According to Kevin, I have a huge social media following. Not too hard to catch up to me. I don't trust you. I don't trust this, not at all. Are you using me again? Is this promotion scaring you and I happened along at the right time?"

"I never used you, never. I thought about contacting you so many times, but what would I say? Then what? I waited too long, was too messed up—maybe still am, I don't know—I didn't know how to say what I felt. Think of all the places you've been in the past five years, all you would have given up for me."

When she stopped speaking, he started thinking. Without opening his eyes, he moved his hands over her arms, felt the softness of her dress beneath his fingertips, heard her sharp intake of breath, felt her lips caress his chin.   

He shook his head, reality waking him up like a cold shower. “We no longer fit.”

Her hands fisted in his shirt when he tried to step away.  “What does that mean?”

“It means I think you and Marc will have a nice life together.”

“Marc and I are not a couple. He does his thing and I do mine, that's it.” Her hold on him intensified.

He looked at her—really looked—and saw a woman who was as far removed from his lifestyle as he was from a corporate boardroom.  

“I haven’t been fair to you. I came back here hoping to see you, that’s true. All of it was designed to open that door for me.” Confusion twisted his thoughts into meaningless meanderings going nowhere. “We were what we were and had what we had. I gave you back the ring, meant what I said. We've had our closure, bellazza mia. The end.”

“The end?” Fire returned to her eyes.  

“I look forward to seeing you at the gallery on Saturday. I hope you'll change your mind about showing your art.” A hole opened up where his heart once existed. “You should be there with me, like Ava says. You were there in the beginning—” 

“The beginning.” Her eyes flickered with pain. “There are other reasons that I keep Italy to myself, Jacques.”

“What other reasons?”  

"You're mine, my memory, mine alone. I don't share you, us, with anyone who wasn't there because no one would understand the magnitude of it. I don't tell anyone because it's sacred to me, you, Ava, our life together that summer...sacred to me." She shook her head, disbelief and sadness transforming her eyes into the color of the deep ocean. “Even when I boarded the plane home, I thought somehow, someway we'd be together. I didn't want it to end, but I needed to come home. I returned too late, I know I screwed up, but I never intended to end us, can't you see that? Now we have a chance to begin again. Brand new. Jessica and Jacques the sequel. Think about how amazing it could be.”

She made him doubt himself. The look in her eyes, the way her hands fisted in the material of his shirt at his waist, the longing that emanated from her. It was as if he had been caught beneath a wave and didn’t know which way was up.  

Without answering, he disengaged from her and strode across the park.  He had to give up the idea of her, surrender the notion that they'd once had a great love affair. Memory had a way of glossing over reality. He broke his stride and looked over his shoulder. She leaned against the trunk of the tree, a vision in yellow surrounded by green.

And he wondered why walking away felt so damn wrong.  

From the back cover...

Naked photographs plastered on a book cover remind Jessica Moriarty that the past isn't as dead as she'd assumed. Her carefully constructed life as an architect on the fast track to partnership is threatened by a love she'd abandoned five years ago when responsibilities had trumped dreams.

World-renowned photographer, Jacques Sinclair, could have chosen anywhere in the world for his book signing and photography exhibit, but he'd come to Boston to shake things up. He wanted answers, but they aren't what he expected.

Reunions aren't always happy—sometimes they stir up unwanted pain and forgotten passion. As Jacques and Jessica stumble their way back to one another for a second chance at love, they're ensnared in a web of conspiracy, manipulation, and sabotage designed to keep them apart. Will they be able to break free of the ties that bind them to seize the love of a lifetime? Or will the pressure to conform rip them apart forever?

**This is the conclusion of the two part Dancing Barefoot series and can be read as a stand-alone. However, to get the full impact of the love story, the author recommends reading In Between.**

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