Today we're talking to Sheila Roberts on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the contemporary romance from Harlequin, "What She Wants".
Sheila will be awarding a print copy of What She Wants (US/Canada only) to 10 randomly drawn commenters during the tour. A Grand Prize of a $25 eHarlequin coupon plus a finished copy of What She Wants (US/Canada only) will be awarded to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so comment today -- don't forget to complete the Rafflecopter, below -- AND follow this tour (if you click on the banner above, it'll take you to a list of 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 really cool prize!
Thanks to Sheila for answering all my prying questions!
Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?
I think authors are often drawn to write the kind of thing they enjoy reading. That’s what I do. I love to read books that will make me laugh and feel good when I come to the end of the story. I’m interested in friendship, family and fun. I love a good romance. So that’s what I gravitate toward writing about.
What research is required?
There is always research required when writing a book. My first book in this series (“Better Than Chocolate”) was about a woman trying to save the family chocolate company. That meant I had to do some research on the world of finance and on the ins and outs of running a chocolate company. (Which included touring a chocolate factory, sampling chocolate and testing recipes. Oh, how I suffer for my art!) Any time I write about something I’m not familiar with, whether it’s a chocolatier or a fire fighter, I have to do research to make my characters and story ring true. This is one reason I write contemporary novels. I can talk to real life people about their jobs and go to real places. This makes research fun!
Name one thing you learned from your hero.
I love my hero Jonathan. He’s not your typical buff, tough romance hero. But he longs to transform himself into something special so he can win the woman he loves. While Jonathan isn’t a super stud (yet) he does have what’s most important in a man: a loving and loyal heart. Lissa Castle, who his loved since they were kids, tends to look right past Jonathan, always picking someone else. I think Lissa is a lot like many of us. We get caught up with things that don’t matter. Sometimes we pick men who are sexy and exciting but who are jerks over those boring, nice guys who will treat us right. (And I’m not talking about wining and dining. I’m talking about being there when we need them.) Sometimes we fail to see what’s right under our noses. As I wrote this book I relearned an important lesson. It’s what’s on the inside that really counts. The true measure of a man is his heart.
Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?
In the office, I’m boring. I save the interesting quirks for the rest of my life.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
I like to know where I’m going, so I plot. For me, writing is a lot like taking a trip. I want to reach my destination! Since I have no sense of direction – no matter which direction I’m going I always think I’m going north – I need a Garmin. I find I travel better in Story Land when I have some kind of map. I don’t like to waste time getting lost in my story any more than I want to get lost when I’m trying to go someplace. So I plan out my story before I start writing. That’s not to say that I won’t take some side trips. But I like to at least I know where I’m going and have an idea how to get there.
Look to your right – what’s sitting there?
A very, very messy bookcase. In fact, since I’m currently finishing a book, my whole office is a mess. It looks like a tornado blew through here. The rest of my house is neat but I can’t seem to create except in an atmosphere of chaos. Ugh. I have got to get organized!
Anything new coming up from you? What?
After “What She Wants” my next novel in the Life In Icicle Falls series will be “The Icicle Falls Book Club” where some of the town women are learning that it’s not all that simple to simplify your life. That is almost done and will be out later this year along with a re-release of one of my favorite tales, “Merry Ex-mas” which is about three friends dealing with their exes over the holidays. I had so much fun writing that book. And it comes complete with cupcake recipes. Yum!
Do you have a question for our readers?
Yes, in light of the theme of my current tale, “What She Wants” I’d love to hear your idea of the perfect man.
Jonathan Templar and his poker buddies can't figure it out. Take Jonathan, for instance. He's been in love with Lissa Castle since they were kids but, geek that he is, she's never seen him as her Mr. Perfect. He has one last shot—their high school reunion. Kyle Long is equally discouraged. The pretty receptionist at his office keeps passing him over for other guys who may be taller but are definitely not superior. And Adam Edwards might be the most successful of Jonathan's friends, but he isn't having any success on the home front. His wife's kicked him out.
When Jonathan stumbles on a romance novel at the Icicle Falls library sale, he knows he's found the love expert he's been seeking—Vanessa Valentine, top-selling romance author. At first his buddies laugh at him for reading romance novels, but soon they, too, realize that these stories are the world's best textbooks on love. Poker night becomes book club night…and when all is read and done, they're going to be the kind of men women want!
Now enjoy an excerpt:
The scent of chocolate floating up from the kitchens below greeted him as he walked in the office door and Elena looked at him as if he was St. George come to slay a dragon. "Thank God you're here."
People were always happy to see the owner and sole employee of Geek Gods Mobile Computer Service. Once Jonathan arrived on the scene they knew their troubles would be fixed.
He liked that, liked feeling useful. So he wasn't a mountain of muscle like Luke Goodman, who was the production manager at Sweet Dreams, or a mover and shaker like Blake Preston, manager of Cascade Mutual. Some men were born to have starring roles and big, juicy parts on the stage of life. Others were meant to build scenery, pull the curtains, work in the background to make sure everything on stage ran well. Jonathan was a back stage kind of guy. Nothing wrong with that, he told himself. Background workers made it possible for the show to go on.
But leading ladies never noticed the guy in the background. Jonathan heaved a sigh. Sometimes he felt like Cyrano de Bergerac. Without the nose.
"This thing is making me loco," Elena greeted him, glaring at the offending piece of technology on her desk.
Samantha had just emerged from her office. "More loco than we make you?"
"More loco than even my mother makes me," Elena replied.
Samantha gave her shoulder a pat. "Jonathan will fix it."
Elena grunted. "Equipo del infierno."
"Computer from hell?" Jonathan guessed, remembering some of his high school Spanish.
Elena's frustrated scowl was all the answer he needed.
"Don't worry," Samantha told her. "Jonathan will help you battle the forces of technology evil. When Cecily comes in tell her I'll be back around two. Try to keep my favorite assistant from turning the air blue," she said to Jonathan.
"No worries," he said, then assured Elena, "I'll have this up and running for you in no time."
No time turned out to be about an hour, but since Elena had expected to lose the entire day she was delighted. "You are amazing," she told him just as Samantha's sister Cecily arrived on the scene.
"Has he saved us again?" she asked Elena, smiling at Jonathan.
"Yes, as always."
Jonathan pushed his glasses up his nose and tried to look modest. It was hard when people puffed him up like this.
But then, as he started to pack up his tools, Cecily said something that left him flat as a stingray. "I just heard from Tina Swift that you guys have your fifteen year reunion coming up."
"Those are always fun, seeing old friends, people you used to date," she continued.
This was worse than Dot's cigarette smoke. Chatting with Cecily always made him self-conscious. Chatting with Cecily about his high school reunion would make him a nervous wreck, especially if she started asking about women he used to date. Jonathan hit high speed gathering up his tools and his various discs.
"Are you going to the reunion?" she asked him.
"Maybe," he lied, and hoped she'd leave it at that.
She didn't. "I moved back just in time for my ten year and I'm glad I did. There were some people I wouldn't have had a chance to see otherwise.
There were some people Jonathan wanted to do more than see. Some people with blond hair and … He snapped his briefcase shut and bolted for the door. "So, Elena, I'll bill you."
"Okay," she called.
The door hadn't quite shut behind him when he heard Elena say to Cecily, "He needs confidence, that one."
It was an embarrassing thing to hear about himself, but true. He needed a lot more than confidence though. How could a guy be confident when he didn't have anything to be confident about?
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