Today I am very happy to welcome back to Ex Libris the wonderful Karen Erickson, who is celebrating the release of the 3rd book in her Worth It series, a series about the three dashingly handsome Worth brothers and their way to finding love ;-) I was lucky to read Worth the Challenge and let me tell you I fell in love with Rhett and enjoyed his story a lot (as you can see in my detailed review). So please give a warm welcome to karen, read on to discover more about the book, the series and some of its behind the scenes secrets, and you could even win a $50 USD Amazon gift card, yay! :-D
Stella: Hi Karen, welcome back to Ex Libris! :-)
Karen: Thanks so much for having me, Stella! So excited to be here again. :-)
Stella: Worth the Challenge, the 3rd novel in your Worth It series was just released 2 days ago, congratulations!! This series is about 3 sexy and handsome brothers and how they find love, but could you tell readers a bit more about this series?
Stella: How did the idea for the story, the series come to you? Any specific moment/event that sparked the inspiration for it that you could share with us?
Karen: My old editor at Samhain emailed me one day and said, hey I have the best idea for a book—you want to write it for me? So I said sure, took notes and stashed them away. A little over a year later, I was ready to write it. The idea she gave me was the basic one from Worth the Scandal. A boss/assistant storyline, with the idea of intrigue and betrayal, company secrets being stolen and given to their rivals, etc.
Stella: Could you introduce Rhett and Gabriella, the hero and heroine of Worth the Challenge to us? (and btw was Rhett in any way inspired by Rhett Butler? ;-) lol)
Karen: Well, here’s a scene from the first time Gabriella set eyes on Rhett:
The velvety deep voice had her whirling around, stopping short when she realized who stood directly in front of her.
Rhett Worth, in the flesh.
Oh, and what glorious flesh he was made of. Immaculately turned out in a charcoal-gray suit that emphasized the broadness of his shoulders, the width of his chest, his dark brown hair pushed off his forehead, he looked as if he had walked straight off the Worth Luxury billboard she’d seen in Times Square on her taxi ride over.
And here are Rhett’s thoughts upon meeting Gabriella:
She was pretty, Gabriella Durand. Not his usual type, but attractive nonetheless. She had a much more natural vibe going on, what with the honey- colored hair pulled back into a casual ponytail, minimal—if any—makeup on her face and the simple black dress she wore. No jewelry adorned her ears or neck, no flashy rings on her fingers, and she wore flat black sandals that looked more suited to the beach than an office.
Clearly, Gabriella didn’t live in the city.
Also clearly, Rhett can be a bit of an ass. :-) Now, I am a big fan of Rhett Butler. But no the character wasn’t inspired by Mr. Butler. Actually, my oldest son was on a soccer team years ago with this cute little boy named Rhett. Dang, that kid was cute—and an amazing soccer player. I wasn’t writing then, but that name always lingered in my mind as a good one to use…
Stella: Did you already know at the beginning of the Worth series that the 3rd brother would be in charge of perfumes? Or was that something that took shape as the stories progressed?
Karen: I did. Once I started plotting and planning the three brothers and their jobs within the company, I knew the new perfume project would be perfect for Rhett the bad boy because he so desperately needs to prove himself to his brothers that he’s worthy (nice play on words, eh?).
The three books were contracted before they were completely written so I had to know where I was taking it! I am a pantster by nature but I do contract by proposal so I need a roadmap of sorts. Of course, the fourth book came at me out of nowhere and I love those sorts of surprises…
Stella: I love perfumes and scents and I found the little details you included about the procedure of creating scents fascinating. What kind of research did you do? And scent tours, what are those exactly? And hot/cool scents?
THE PERFECT SCENT. It followed the creation of Sarah Jessica Parker’s first scent (Lovely) and the creation of a new scent for the fashion house Hermes. Both very different, very interesting ways of doing it, I must say.
I based the way Worth Luxury and Rhett and Ella created their scent on how Hermes does it. They hire a perfumer in house (versus contracting out via a license agreement for a perfume company to create the scent for them), create a theme and brief (which lists the elements they want in the scent, whether they’re literal or an ‘idea’ they want the scent to represent) and then they pick a place where they think the scent should be based.
Worth Luxury (and Hermes) creates a story. It’s not just a scent—it’s a lifestyle, it’s a theme. It’s art. And I wanted that to be portrayed as much as possible without boring the readers with a bunch of facts. I could’ve mentioned more, trust me. :-)
Most of my research was based online, the book I mentioned above and fashion magazines. It’s amazing how much fashion magazines talk about scents! The temperature of scents has to do with what they’re based on. Certain colors hint at that (blue and green for instance, are cool, since you can associate them with water and grass). Perfumers are amazing. That they can take a scent and break it down into its most basic elements is rather fascinating.
Stella: With Worth the Challenge being centred around scents and perfumes, I have to ask: do you have a favourite scent memory? A scent that whenever you smell it you are transported back in time to a summer spent at your grandma’s/ your first kiss/ your first baby, etc? Or a favourite perfume?
Karen: Recently I discovered a bar of soap at a fancy gift shop that when I smelled it, it reminded me of my great-grandmother’s house! I didn’t buy it (I should’ve) but it smelled so much like her. I can’t even begin to tell you what it is though. Floral based, that’s for sure.
I smell a certain cologne and it makes me think of an old boyfriend (Polo). The scent of fresh cut grass makes me think of spring/summer. And I love all the fall-scented candles. Pumpkin is my favourite! Yummy. :-)
Stella: Worth the Challenge was planned as the final part of the trilogy. Was writing it a bit harder due to the success of the first 2 novels and knowing how beloved those characters and brothers are? And a bit bittersweet since you knew you would have to say good bye to the characters?
Karen: What was hard about writing Worth the Challenge were the high expectations everyone had for Rhett. Almost every single review I’ve received for the previous two books mention Rhett and how much they couldn’t wait for his story. Readers have written me and say they are excited for his book. His story felt highly anticipated to me.
So as I started writing his book, I worried. What if I didn’t do his story justice? Rhett made me so anxious! Once I got into it though, the story flowed and I was pleased with the results. Considering the fourth book idea came around just prior to writing Rhett’s book, I knew I could continue on and ‘hang out’ with them one more time.
Stella: Do you have a favourite brother? And why that one? ;-)
Karen: Well, they’re all my favourite when I’m writing their book, of course. Alex made me cry near the end. Such a stubborn jerk he could be, he drove me crazy (and I created him!). Hunter was so dang frustrated throughout most of his book, I felt sorry for him.
But Rhett…he’s my favourite. I thought I had a handle on him when I started writing his book but more of his personality was revealed as I went on. Like the fact that even though he was such a ladies’ man, he said the stupidest things to Gabriella. Like he had no finesse. And he’s desperate for his brothers’ approval. Oh, and he’s scared of love. But all those Worth brothers were scared of love.
Stella: Those who have read Worth the Challenge know that it’s not the end, that they don’t have to say goodbye to the Worth brothers yet *winks* would you like to tell us a bit more about that +1 story? ;-)
Karen: Well, I’ve sprinkled a bit of information throughout this interview (but not much, I know). All I can say is this—it’s a secret Worth. And that story focuses on the challenges this person faces, caught between two families, unsure of what’s a lie and what’s the truth. Plus, this person’s other family will kick off my new series, The Renaldis, an Italian family who run a fine jewelry and accessories business.
In fact, I just finished writing the short story that will kick off the new series and the hero’s name is Matteo Renaldi. Oh my word, he’s a growly sexy beast! That story will be available for FREE, tentatively scheduled for June 2013.
Stella: Could you please summarize Worth the Challenge for us Twitter-style (in 140 characters or less)?
Karen: Bad boy hero, good girl perfumer, must work together & fight the chemistry brewing between them. Tropical breezes + sexy nights = love?
Stella: What is next on your schedule? Any future plans you’d like to share with us?
Karen: I have so much going on it’s ridiculous. My book in my new series for Entangled, JANE’S GIFT, comes out on October 25th. I’m excited about this one, it’s more of a “sweet” romance and is based in a fictional small town in California. I recently turned in the second book for this series, CAMERON’S HOMECOMING, and the hero just had me. I mean, completely had me the entire time I wrote his book. He’s sigh-worthy, if I do say so myself. That one should come out in the spring.
I also have a short novella coming out in a five-author Christmas anthology with Avon Impulse (entitled FIVE GOLDEN RINGS) on December 11th. I’m also re-releasing two old Christmas novellas I received the rights back to. They’ve been re-edited and extended, given new life and pretty new covers. Those should come out in November.
It never stops, Stella! I’m constantly writing and hopefully, y’all are constantly reading (fingers crossed that’s the case! LOL).
Together, they’re magic. Now to capture it in a bottle…Book #3 in the Worth It seriesFor once in his errant life, Rhett Worth is ready to prove to his older brothers he’s more than good looks and a woman-melting smile. Except he’s screwed up. And it’s about to hit the fan as he prepares to tell them he’s failed to deliver the master perfumer, Michel Durand, to create Worth Luxury’s signature scent.Then salvation walks through the boardroom door, all wrapped up in a petite, seductive package.Gabriella Durand is prepared to beg the Worths to give her capricious father another chance. Instead, she finds the devastatingly handsome Rhett Worth offering it to her as if he’d planned it all along. And Gabriella, hungry to emerge from her father’s shadow, jumps at it.Soon they’re in Maui to hunt for the perfect scent…and find it in the tropical breeze that washes across their entwined bodies. Now the pressure is on to capture that passion in a bottle—before they let love complicate the delicate mix. Before a whiff of betrayal threatens to destroy everything.Available now at:
There are TWO giveaways going on:
Karen has generously offered an ebook copy of Worth the Risk, the 2nd book in the series (for a chance to win Worth the Scandal, the 1st book in the series CLICK HERE.)
To enter just leave a comment answering this question: do you have a favourite scent? A scent that whenever you smell it you are transported back in time or just like the feelings it evokes? What is it?
Karen is giving away a $50 giftcard (Amazon or B&N - winner's choice) to one lucky reader who follows her book tour.
To be entered just complete the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway