Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Guest post by Rebecca Rogers Maher + Giveaway

Today I welcome to Ex Libris Rebecca Rogers Maher who is celebrating the release of her latest novel Fault Lines published by Carina Press just yesterday, congratulations Rebecca! :-) 

Fault Lines starts off with a premise that readers would (erroneously) think as rose-y: a wedding coordinator meets a photographer. But it is not a cotton candy romance, far from it. I was curious and intrigued so I had to ask Rebecca:

How did the idea come to you to mix the usually pastel colours and fluffy frosting world of wedding planners with haunted characters and a darker romance? What were the challenges of venturing away from the beaten path? Weren't you afraid you might shock or scare readers away?

Rebecca Rogers Maher: First, thank you so much for having me here today at Ex Libris!

This is such a great question.

You’re right that the premise of Fault Lines – “wedding coordinator meets photographer” – sounds like the lead-in to a cotton candy romance. And Fault Lines is definitely not cotton candy.

Sarah the wedding coordinator is a rape survivor, and Joe the photographer is a man with a difficult past of his own. Their story is heart wrenching and to me, utterly beautiful, but fluffy it is not.

Then again, real life rarely is. And that’s what I’m interested in writing about. Real life. Real women. Real, messy, gorgeous love.

Sarah is a strong, complicated heroine. She works hard and loves deeply, but when it comes to men, she’s frozen. She brings Joe home to bed with the intention of defusing the attraction she feels for him, but he takes her by surprise in a profoundly emotional and hot love scene. That sets into motion a process of facing lots of buried feelings, including painful memories of the past. Which in real life is a very, very hard thing to do.

Here’s the thing. I’m not afraid to say the word rape. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), one in six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. This is happening all around us. And it’s not just happening to other people. It’s happening to teachers, nurses, mothers, sisters, wedding coordinators, friends – it can happen to anyone. And when it happens, it is devastating.

I guess my question would be, doesn’t a woman who’s survived something like this deserve love? Doesn’t she deserve a happy ending? After all she’s been through?

I like cotton candy romances. But I also like stories with depth and authenticity. One of my favorite aspects of romance writing is that my characters get to have a happy ending. Whatever happens to them, I know they are going to find love, peace and joy in the end. To me, giving a happy ending to someone who’s genuinely suffered is much more satisfying than giving a fluffy person a fluffy white cloud to fly away on at the end of their fluffy story.

Of course the challenge in writing a more serious romance novel is being aware of readers’ expectations. I know that people often pick up romance books as an escape. (I certainly do.) So it can be jarring to get twenty pages into one of my books and realize how tough the story is going to be. But I believe that can be its own form of escape. Like riding on a roller coaster, or jumping out of a plane. It’s intense, but it’s also exhilarating. You feel it in your gut and in your heart, and it stays with you.

That’s what Fault Lines does. It’s more of a Thanksgiving meal than a sugary treat. It contains a lot of complex flavors and it takes a long time to digest. And it requires a certain degree of participation from the reader, because it brings up a lot of difficult questions and doesn’t necessarily answer them. But I think my readers have come to expect that from me. I don’t explain Sarah’s every thought or decision, because I know my readers are smart and engaged enough to come to their own conclusions without needing me to explain it to them.

Fault Lines gives a happy ending to a real woman who really deserves one. She’s not perfect, she’s not simple, and she’s not very sweet. But she’s a strong, funny, smart woman, like many women I know. And she deserves love.

I’ll take that over cotton candy any day.

Thank you again for having me here! It’s been great talking with you.

Come join me over on Facebook. I’m very chatty there!

Fault Lines by Rebecca Rogers Maher

Sarah Murphy plans other people’s weddings. She’s gorgeous and successful, but she also carries a dark secret.

At one of her events, she meets Joe Sullivan, a sexy photographer with a difficult past of his own. When he snaps a rare unguarded photograph of her and captures the real person hiding behind the facade, she feels exposed. To restore the upper hand, she tries to do what she always does: use sex to defuse the situation.

While Joe is eager to deepen his relationship with Sarah,
he’s aware of her emotional shield and the way she disconnects from her body. Seeing her at her most vulnerable doesn’t scare him off, but he needs to know what she’s hiding.

Sarah has a tough decision to make. Does she want to go on living a lonely, emotionally frozen life? Or can she finally risk revealing the truth and move forward with Joe?

Rebecca Rogers Maher lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and children.

Contact her at her website / Twitter / Facebook


One lucky commenter will win a copy of Fault Lines by Rebecca Rogers Maher!

Just leave a comment regarding Rebecca's post or tell us: do you prefer cotton candy or more serious romances?  

The more tour stops you comment on, the greater your chances of winning! Follow the tour HERE.

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 28 September 2012!

Good luck!

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