Lizbeth will be giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Also Lizbeth will be awarding one eBook or Print copy of “The Rancher and the Rock Star” to one commenter at EVERY stop (print book is US/Canada only). So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC and book!
Welcome to the blog, Lizbeth!
First things first! I was to thank you for inviting me to visit It’s Raining Books. You have such wide-ranging content and it’s so much fun to look back at all the interviews. Talk about a place to add to your TBR pile! Plus, this is “The Rancher and the Rock Star’s” official release day, so I’m extra happy to be here celebrating with you and your readers.
I'm always interested when authors write about Rock Stars -- how much (and what kind) of research went in to making sure you had your details correct?
As for research, I claim as my primary source a lifetime of following rock singers’ careers. This dates as far back as the Beatles, so I’ve gone through a lot of singers, from Paul McCartney to Neil Diamond to Adam Levine, and I’ve always been fascinated in how they manage their affairs and their fans.
But in the name of real research, I read through several biographies while working on The Rancher and the Rock Star: recent ones on John Lennon and Steven Tyler, along with short pieces about Jon Bon Jovi and Bono. In addition, my son is a recording engineer, so he provided me with a lot of information for the sound engineering scenes in the book. He’s also played in a rock band for many years. The very best part of that is, when the band is active they practice in my basement. Having drums and bass pounding through the house only feeds my addiction to rock musicians—plus, I was privy to their hilarious conversations. Boys in bands are . . . interesting!
In truth, a lot of the story takes place outside the rock world, so I didn’t need tons of technical information. The concert scenes and the band member interactions are way fun, but they really act as enhancement to the rest of the story, which is true romance. This is a story about my hero Gray’s journey away from the craziness of his rock life to a place of balance.
Where did the idea for "The Rancher and the Rock Star" come from?
What’s fun is, I can actually point to a particular event that generated the idea. It was a conversation I had with my daughter, Jennifer, quite a few years ago.
In high school, she was a huge Elton John fan—which was pretty unusual since EJ’s music was from my era. She took some teasing for it from her friends but didn’t care a bit—she’s so loyal! One day she said, “Wouldn’t it be the pits if you got to meet your favorite rock star, and he fell in love with your mother”? That’s all it took.
I made up our ideal rocker, gave him a Juilliard background, had his first instrument be the clarinet, and gave my daughter (a clarinet player) the part of Abby’s daughter, Kim, in the book. Jennifer is definitely the inspiration for the scene where Gray helps Kim with her clarinet solo. And Kim definitely has to explore those what-if-my-mom-stole-my-hero feelings!
Pantser or Plotter?
This question always makes me laugh because I have no idea how to explain what I am. I’m a schizophrenic, ummmm, Plotster?
I’m not very good at sitting down before I start a book and creating the story (or the turning points or the beats or whatever) out of whole cloth. I’ve tried, truly I have! I tend to start with a character and a setting and then begin typing to see what happens. Unfortunately, I seem to love the sound of my own fingers tapping away, so my first drafts ramble through about 40,000 words. After that, when I really know my characters, have a sense of where I’m headed, and my critique partners are yanking hairs from their heads hoping I’ll start getting there soon, I can step away and plot the end of the book. Then I race to the finish. Once the book is roughed out, I have to go back and shorten the first half, flesh out the second half and come up with a cohesive whole. It isn’t pretty, but it’s what always happens.
Any odd or interesting writing quirks or habits?
Probably the oddest thing about my writing is that I prefer to do it late at night. My most creative time is from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. That’s when I let the fewest things distract me, and when I don’t feel the procrastination pull of cleaning bathrooms, brushing the dog, de-pilling sweaters, and playing Pocket Frogs.
I also love to write in timed bursts or sprints. I have a very good friend and fellow writer who doesn’t live anywhere near me anymore, but we “meet” frequently using Instant Messenger and time each other while we write as quickly as we can for 30 minutes at a stretch. If we do four or five sprints, I rack up a lot of pages. The timing turns off my inner editor – that little pipsqueak-of-a-critic inside who wants to tweak and revise as I go – and that’s the key for me. Spit out that first draft and then fix what’s on the page. Plus, I’m worthless without a deadline of some sort.
Anything new you're working on?
I’m working on a series of three books set in Alaska, and I’m really excited about them. They revolve around The Taggerts, a family of scientists. Think Jacques Cousteau meets wilderness Alaska. There are three siblings and their father, all brilliant, each with an important cause and a knack for falling in love with the most unlikely of people.
The first book is about the middle sister, a marine biologist fighting for Alaska’s endangered beluga whales, who falls for a lawyer working with a company that wants to build next to a critical habitat. I was fortunate to live in Alaska for three years and it’s one of the most fascinating places on Earth. The scenery is beautiful, the politics endlessly entertaining, and the people and lifestyle wonderfully quirky—all elements that I think will make fun, and unique, romances set in a place of genuine grandeur.
Any questions you'd like to ask our readers?
Musicians have always pushed the romantic fantasy button for me, so of course I have to ask who your favorite rock star is – or, if a singer isn’t your idea of a romance hero, what occupation drives you to fantasize about love?
And I have a related question. The prevailing “wisdom” among writers is never write about rock stars. Thank goodness Avon didn’t subscribe to that! But, really, are there subjects you avoid when deciding what book to read next?
As noted above, in addition to the gift certificate Avon/HarperCollins is giving away to some lucky visitor to my Virtual Book Tour, I’d like to offer a special gift to someone who comments today here on It’s Raining Books. If you leave a comment by March 1 at midnight, you’ll be in the running for a copy of “The Rancher and the Rock Star,” as well as some other goodies. Thanks so much, everyone, for coming by to visit!
There comes a time in every independent woman's life when she has to step aside and let a White Knight do his job.
Abby Stadler has fought to carve out a quiet, independent life for herself and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Kim. She may need a White Knight, but she doesn't want one. Especially when he shows up in the form of a superstar with a missing son and vindictive paparazzi on his tail.
To the world, Gray Covey is a rock god. To his teenage son, Dawson, he's simply an absent father. When Gray is forced to track a runaway Dawson to Abby's struggling horse farm in small town Minnesota, he finds far more than a widow and a ranch with a silly name.
Faced with one teen who despises him, one teen who worships him, and a woman who flips his heart on its axis, Gray must learn not just how to be a father, but how to be real superstar.
Growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota with three brothers and no sisters definitely shaped my personality. Even though my girl friends were great, I was much prouder of the fact that I was the only female allowed into the neighborhood Boys Only club. Girlie stuff (with exception of the occasional Barbie play date) was simply a waste of time. Baseball, climbing trees, begging my parents for a horse, and avoiding wearing dresses at all costs were much more fun--and seemed much more fair. After all, girls simply didn't have any fun in life.
Imagine my surprise when, after years of my tolerant mother putting up with me wanting to BE a guy, like one of the Beatles or the Monkees, I looked up at a picture of Paul McCartney on my wall one day--and fell in love. Like a doggone proper girl.
Making up stories was second nature to me. As far back as I can remember I told myself tales when I went to bed. As I got older and competent enough, I started writing them down. When most girls were reading themselves to sleep, I was writing until the wee hours.
After the momentous epiphany over the poster from Tiger Beat Magazine, all my written tales were romances. At first, they were romances about Davy Jones and Bobby Sherman and Paul. Then I discovered my own characters, and writing became more than a bedtime activity, it became a passion.
It took lots of years, fantastic adventures, the raising of two children, and a real-life love affair that is still going on, to get my stories ready-for-prime time. Suffice it to say--girls, I've learned, have ALL the fun. And my love affair with romance novels has never died.