Being part of a divorced family can have its rewards and challenges depending on the circumstances of the separation. Oftentimes, when a parent remarries the kids are able to mesh while finding a voice of their own. However, now and then strong personalities and resentful feelings can make the blending of two families a bit difficult. Finding a harmonious balance among family members while embracing the realm of possibilities for the future is the key to happiness.
This month’s Jen’s Jewels Carly Phillips addresses this very topic in her latest release, Dare to Love. Ian Dare has been hurt by his father’s betrayal and resents his half siblings. Along the way, he falls in love with Riley Taylor, his half brother’s best friend, which causes familial strife. Once again, Carly delivers a compelling romance with just the right balance of steamy love scenes and suspense.
As part of my interview, Carly has generously donated five copies for you to win. So, be on the lookout for the trivia question. Contest winners will be randomly drawn. Good luck! Be sure to keep up-to-date on all the latest news in the publishing business by stopping by www.jennifervido.com, follow me on Facebook jennifervido.com, or on Twitter and Pinterest @JenniferVido. And as always, thanks for making Jen’s Jewelsthe ultimate source for news on the hottest authors today.
Jen: As a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with over thirty books in print, your stellar career as a romance writer speaks for itself. What is the driving force behind your literary success?
Carly: Good fortune, hard work, fantastic readers! I seriously couldn’t explain it any better.
Jen: Your latest release, Dare to Love, is the first of a three-book self-publishing venture. Why did you choose to step away from your mainstream publisher for this project?
Carly: I have been very fortunate over the years to be published by wonderful people in New York/Traditional publishing. Everyone I worked with has been wonderful to me – nothing about my experience there played a part in my leaving. In the end, the decision came down to the fact that I felt I wanted to write books that I could put out quicker, were a little bit shorter, and that readers could get at a lower price point, something NY Publishing just couldn’t do. In my heart I felt I was missing readers who wouldn’t try me as a “new to them” author at 7.99. It’s a scary gamble, but I am loving the control over covers and pricing and content
Jen: What has been the most challenging part of the process thus far? And, the most rewarding?
Carly: The most challenging is time. Every day, there are more things added to my To Do list/plate and I need to balance that with writing and family and life. The most rewarding ties into that. Every day something new (and exciting) comes up that I hadn’t thought about before. I learn something every day and I love that. So it may be more time consuming, but I’m thriving on it!
Jen: Dare to Love is by far your most steamy romance to date. How did you arrive at the premise? And, did your interest to write a romance with more explicit love scenes come from readers’ requests, or was it sparked by your own desire to test your writing chops?
Carly: I am a massive and fast reader and for the last year or so I’ve been devouring the hotter, steamier romances. I started to see it translating to my regular writing. I think it just was time for me to write what I wanted and was starting to come naturally. I loved writing Ian and his more dominant traits.
Jen: Ian Dare is a dominant man afraid of falling in love. Yet with one glimpse, he is captivated by the sheer beauty of Riley Taylor. Is his attraction to her purely lust, or does Riley’s association with his half-brother whom he despises makes her more appealing?
Carly: Ian sees Riley for the first time on the arm of his brother. No doubt that sparks intrigue but I believe Ian is at heart, a better man than to go after her for those reasons. Initially it’s lust but within a very short time there is such a deep connection and they find so much in common despite her fear of dominant men, neither can resist the other.
Jen: When Riley accepts a position in the Dare’s family business, how does her relationship change with Alex, Ian’s half-brother?
Carly: Alex wants what is best for Riley. But Alex wanted to be the one to help her the way he has always done. So it was inevitable that Ian’s help would hurt Alex’s pride, as she’s always turned down his offer to help her with a job, an apartment, etc. Their relationship went through a rocky period but there is no way Alex would abandon her. No matter what he will always be there for her. He needed to put his pride aside and eventually he does. Not without a major misstep along the way!
Jen: When Riley and Ian’s relationship heats up, she soon realizes his need to dominate applies to not only the boardroom, but also the bedroom. In what way does this revelation alter her view of the relationship?
Carly: Riley had an abusive childhood, directed more at her mother than her – mostly – hers was emotional until something extreme happens. When Ian’s dominant nature coincides with an angry moment, she has cause to reconsider what she’s doing with a man like him. She has to reconcile who he is with her past. Not an easy feat.
Jen: Ian struggles with accepting his step-siblings as members of the family due to his father’s unforgivable act of betrayal. How does his relationship with Riley cause him to reevaluate his familial situation?
Carly: Ian will do anything for Riley, including extend an olive branch to his half siblings. It’s really a function of his feelings for her that allows him to put his pride aside, something he’s had trouble doing. Deep down Ian has wanted a relationship with them but he couldn’t admit it to himself or get past his pride. Until Riley.
Jen: Let’s switch gears now and focus on your career. Due to the major advances in technology over the past ten years, the publishing business has drastically changed. As an author, how has it affected your nuts and bolts approach to writing a novel?
Carly: The nuts and bolts of writing romance haven’t changed. My voice, what I like to write about, that’s all the same. I keep up with reading in my genre, so I know what readers like, what they are saying about different books and authors, etc. I try to stay current and grow with each book. The changes are to the way books get to readers, but it’s more behind the scenes.
Jen: E-books have revolutionized the way in which we read. How have they impacted your career? Which do you prefer…a book or e-book?
Carly: eBook. I read on my iPad mini with the Kindle app. I love my mini. I never leave home without it and I am never without a book to read!
Jen: Marketing is a vital component to an author’s success. Your presence on the web is truly remarkable. How do you balance your writing schedule with promotional obligations?
Carly: Thank you! I just … do it. There’s no real answer except multitasking. The web and social media is something I truly enjoy so it’s never a nuisance or a hassle. I just have to put the writing first and prioritize. If I do that, all the rest falls into place!
Jen: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by and chat with my readers. As always, I wish you the best of luck with your new series. Happy holidays and happy New Year!
Carly: Thank you, Jen. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you! I appreciate that you ask me back. Happy holidays and happy New Year to you and your readers!
I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Carly Phillips. Please stop by your favorite bookstore, online retailer, or library branch and pick up a copy of Dare to Love today. Better yet, how would you like to win one instead? Okay, send me the answer to the following trivia question to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll be entered to win!
What is Riley’s last name?
In January 2014, I will be bringing to you my interview with bestselling author Melody Carlson. You won’t want to miss it. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!