Friday, 14 September 2012

Interview with Gina L. Maxwell + Giveaway

Today I'm very happy to welcome to Ex Libris the other author whose sexy debut novel was honoured to be chosen to debut Entangled's sexy new Brazen line: Gina L. Maxwell! Gina was kind enough to sit down with me and answer all my burning questions about fairy tales, sexy heroes and fighting for love... Read on to discover the scoop and win a copy of the wonderful Seducing Cinderella, the 1st book in Gina's Fighting For Love series!

Stella: Hi Gina, welcome to Ex Libris! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Gina: Thank you so much, Stella! I’m thrilled to be here. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this visit! Hm, a bit about myself? Well, I’m a hopeless romantic, wife, and mother with an unhealthy addiction to Keurig coffee and dark chocolate. I’ve also been told my super power is Sonic Perkiness. :-)

Stella: Your latest novel was chosen to debut Entangled Publishing’s new sexy line: the Brazen imprint, congratulations! Can you tell readers what they can expect of Seducing Cinderella?

Gina: Thank you! I was so honored to help launch that line. Seducing Cinderella is about discovering that what you once thought you wanted, might no longer hold true, and finding the courage to move forward and forge that new path. Reid and Lucie are both forced to reevaluate themselves and their desires, and to let their true selves shine as their love complements one another.

Stella: Do you remember what inspired the story, was there a specific moment/event/film/song that sparked the idea or how did it all start?

Gina: It first started with a picture. I’m a huge fan of model Parker Hurley and he has a photo of him in fighting gear that just makes my panties melt. I wanted to write a story about “that guy” from the picture. Originally, Reid was only supposed to be modeled after Parker’s looks, but the more I wrote him, the more my hero took on other aspects of Parker’s personality. In the end, I’m so thankful I let Reid be who he wanted because he’s a huge hit with the ladies. (Just like Parker!)

Stella: Lucie, the heroine of Seducing Cinderella is a physical therapist; she is working with Reid to prepare him for his big fight. I have to say I found the descriptions of the scenes where they are working out interesting and wondered whether you have any personal experience (whether from working as a PT or from having had to do some exercises) since they sounded so real or if you relied on research?

Gina: Thank you! It’s good to know my research paid off because I didn’t know the first thing about PT. I actually learned everything I needed through YouTube videos about torn rotator cuffs and the exercises used to rehabilitate them. The internet is a wondrous thing. LOL

Stella: Reid, the hero is a quite complex character he is a fighter yet he has an artistic side, he is also the fashion fairy godmother to Lucie, did you wonder if readers would find his character contradictory or realistic having such different facets?

Gina: I’ve been a huge fan of MMA for years, and I really enjoy watching the documentaries that highlight the different fighters. It’s so interesting to not only see how they train for their fights, but also get a glimpse into their personal lives: whether they have families, how they spend their down time, other hobbies they might have. It shows the fans that the men aren’t only the hardcore fighters we see in the cage, and I wanted to write a story about a hero with that kind of dynamic. However, even I didn’t know about Reid’s secret aspirations until the third chapter when he gave Lucie her first lesson in seduction. I was pleasantly surprised when he revealed the artist he hid underneath the fighter, and then I fell for him even more. There have been a few negative responses to his character. I certainly understand where those readers are coming from. Sometimes we’re just looking for a knuckle-dragging alpha! But that’s just not who Reid is. Overall the response to him has been amazing, so I couldn’t be more pleased.

Stella: And now let’s have Couple Therapy: Lucie, Reid, if you had to introduce each other, what 3 words would you use to describe the other?

Reid: [grabs Lucie’s hand & smiles at her] Dedicated, kind, sexy-as-hell.

Lucie: [rolls her eyes while blushing] You cheated; that’s six words.

Reid: I’m pretty sure it’s a rule that words with hyphens are considered one word.

Lucie: *snorts* You’re so full of it. Oh, it’s my turn. Three words? Protective, loving… [looks at Reid] Mine.

Reid: Damn straight.

Stella: What is the quality that you like the most in the other and the one that drives you up the wall?

Lucie: That’s easy. The quality I love most about Reid is his way with words. The man can wax poetic like no one’s business.

Reid: [chuckles] It’s a handy talent to have.

Lucie: Yes, which brings me to the next part of the answer. It drives me up the wall when he’s able to charm his way out of doing the dishes. [Reid smiles and winks at Stella] He’s great about helping with everything else, but run some soapy water in the kitchen sink and suddenly inspiration for a new sculpture hits and he books it out of the room.

Reid: I’m terrible at washing dishes anyway. You’re so much better at it. It’s one of the reasons I love you, actually. [Lucie laughs, obviously delighting Reid] Okay, my turn. The thing I most love about Luce is the way she makes me feel. When I’m with her I feel ten feet tall, strong enough to move mountains, and loved to the very depths of my soul. But the part of her that drives me up a wall is that she still doesn’t completely believe me when I tell her she’s the most beautiful, most amazing woman I’ve ever met.

Lucie: [throws a hand up, looking at Stella with moisture in her eyes] See what I mean? Resistance is futile.

Stella: What was your first fight about?

Reid: Ah, that’s a memorable one. We disagreed on how to tell Lucie’s brother about us. We planned a trip to go visit him in Hawaii. She wanted to tell Jax before we got there, but I wanted to wait and tell him in person. Man to man.

Lucie: Needless to say, Reid won the argument. But later admitted I was right when things didn’t exactly go according to his plan.

Reid: [grumbling] Bastard damn near busted my jaw clean off.

Stella: If you could have your dream cast who would play the characters in Seducing Cinderella?

Gina: The man who inspired Reid is male model Parker Hurley. (Specifically, a particular picture of him wearing nothing but a pair of boxing shorts and wraps on his hands. Yum!) I would LOVE for him to play the role because to me, he IS Reid. I can’t imagine anyone else. For Lucie I’d choose Katie Holmes. She has that sweet, girl-next-door appeal to her, and since my book is a combination of “big brother’s best friend” and “ugly duckling” tropes, she’s perfect.

Stella: Gina, can you tell us any behind the scenes secret related to Seducing Cinderella? (either to the writing process, or some tidbit about the characters, a scene that didn’t end up in the final version, etc.)

Gina: I can tell you that for the paperback release (which will be in a couple of months) we’re changing the cover to feature Parker as Reid! Parker and I have become friends since the release of SC and now my big goal is to get it made into a movie so Parker can be on the big screen. But before that happens, he’s graciously agreed to do a photo shoot for the new cover. We’re both really excited about it!

Stella: Seducing Cinderella is a scorching hot contemporary romance with its fair share of sweet, romantic scenes. I’m curious to know how did you fare writing the steamy scenes, did you have to get in the right state of mind to write them, were they challenging or to the contrary the words somehow just naturally flew?

Gina: No, I definitely have to be in the right state of mind for them. They’re actually the hardest scenes for me to write. Not only do you have to describe all the details of the action, but you also have to incorporate the emotions and thoughts of your POV character while the action is happening, all while not losing the pace. Totally. Exhausting.

Not only that, but you have to forget that people like your mother and ladies from church are going to be reading it. Not an easy thing to forget! LOL But, once I did, I was fine. When I write, I see the scenes and characters in my mind like a movie being played out. I truly don’t feel like any of it comes from me. I’m more like the court stenographer, sitting quietly in the corner and documenting everything I see and hear. So I’m not to blame for the intensity of my smexin’ scenes. It’s all the characters’ fault! ;)

Stella: A lot of fairy tales and fairy tale related movies are mentioned: Cinderella, Shrek, The Princess Bride, etc. So I wondered if you had a favourite “fairy tale” character or a favourite quote to share with us?

Gina: Oh, without a doubt my favorite fairy tale is Cinderella. I mean, who wouldn’t want a Fairy Godmother (or in Lucie’s case, a Sexy Godfighter) to poof her into a killer gown to attend the party of the year and have the man of her dreams fall instantly in love with her?

Stella: Seducing Cinderella is the first book in your Fighting for Love series. Can you tell us what we can expect of this series and which fighters the subsequent books will feature; have we met them in the 1st book?

Gina: Lucie’s older brother, Jackson Maris, is the hero for the second book. He and Vanessa find out what it’s like to learn from each other and fill the voids in one another’s lives. Book 3 features Vanessa’s younger sister, Kat. She's the total opposite of her sister—down on her luck, always mixed up with the wrong guy—but that begins to change when she meets Aidan “Irish” O’Brien, the ex-UFC fighter from Boston who’s trying to get back on the right path and back into the cage. As for Book 4…I have no idea yet. It will probably come to me as I’m writing the third book. I’m a pantser so I like it when things hit me organically without trying to over-think things. So as of right now, that one’s a mystery even to me. LOL

Stella: What shall we expect from you, what is next on your schedule?

Gina: Book 2 in the Fighting for Love series, Rules of Entanglement, will release November 20th. And for everyone who has hinted, begged, and pleaded…yes, it’s Vanessa’s and Jackson’s story! I also have plans for at least two more books in the series after that. I would expect Book 3 to release next Spring and Book 4 next Fall.

For those who still prefer paperbacks over ebooks, Seducing Cinderella will be released in print sometime this Winter with additional material. I’m very excited about that!

I also have a paranormal romance trilogy called the Prophecy of Souls that will be released through the Entangled Select line in both digital and mass trade paperback formats. The first book in the trilogy, Desires of the Soul, will release in Summer of 2013.

I might also write a prequel novella to my PNR trilogy to release between the first and second books in the trilogy. So, needless to say, I’m going to be a very busy writer the next couple of years, and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?

Gina: When I’m writing and I can’t think of the word I’m looking for, I use hand gestures to simulate what I’m trying to say—for example, if I’m trying to think of the word “undulate,” I might make a rolling wave motion with my hand—and it always helps me to figure it out. I have no idea why this works, and the technique has garnered me a strange look on several occasions, but I’ll keep doing it until the motion no longer gives me a notion. LOL

Stella, thank you so much for having us. Reid, Lucie, and I had an amazing time! I hope we can do this again in the future.

Stella: Would be my pleasure Gina, and I'm so looking forward to the next Fighting for Love books! :-D

Growing up in small town Fort Atkinson, WI, Gina L. Maxwell, formerly Bisbee, could often be found onstage in the latest theatrical production, performing with her high school show choir, or holding office in her local FFA chapter. She dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps in the entertainment business, of enabling her audience to forget about life for a few hours as they enjoyed the stories she told through her love of singing, dancing, and acting. It wasn’t until her sophomore year in college when she realized she had no acting talent to speak of and her dream needed some adjusting. Another ten years would pass before she discovered a different means to accomplishing the same dream.

Within those ten years Gina married her high school sweetheart, had two beautiful children, and moved more times than she cared to count. In 2009 she started writing as a hobby while her kids were in school, and it quickly became an obsession she couldn’t stop, and then a dream to publish stories of love and passion for romance addicts just like her.

Three years later, her dream came true when she signed with Entangled Publishing for a total of seven books in two of their imprints.

Her Fighting for Love series with MMA heroes debuted July 20th, 2012 for the digital Brazen imprint with the first book, Seducing Cinderella, and reached #9 on Barnes & Noble’s best seller list in just seven days.

The first book in her paranormal romance trilogy, Desires of the Soul, is set to release both digitally and in mass trade paperback in Summer 2013 for the Entangled Select imprint.

When she’s not writing or wrangling plot bunnies, Gina keeps busy with her wonderful family and their ever-growing extra-curricular schedules. Thanks to their immense patience and support, she’s able to do The Thing She Was Meant To Do and live her dream of bringing a little romantic fantasy to the world, even if only in the pages of a good book.

For more about Gina and her books find her at her website / Twitter / Goodreads.

Book #1 in the Fighting for Love series

He’ll teach her the art of seduction…for a price.

Mixed martial arts fighter Reid Andrews’s chance to reclaim his title as light heavyweight champ is shattered when he’s injured only months before the rematch. To make sure he’s healed in time, his trainer sends him to recuperate under a professional’s care—Reid’s best friend’s little sister, all grown up.

Disorganized and bookish Lucie Miller needs some professional help of her own. She’d do anything to catch the eye of a doctor she’s crushed on for years, so when Reid offers seduction lessons in exchange for 24/7 conditioning for the biggest fight of his career, Lucie jumps at the chance.

Soon Reid finds himself in the fight of his life…winning Lucie’s heart before she gives it to someone else.

Read my review


Entangled Publishing has offered an ebook copy of Seducing Cinderella to a lucky commenter!

All you need to do is leave a comment telling us which is your favourite fairy tale (we are flexible Shrek and The Princess Bride also count ;-), or which fairy tale would you like to see retold in a steamy new contemporary story?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 21 September 2012!

Good luck!

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