Friday, 11 April 2014

Interview with Erin Nicholas + Giveaway

Those of you who follow the blog for some timke now know that one of my alltime favourite romance authors is Erin Nicholas. I absolutely LOVE everything she wrote so far. She always manages to make me melt, sigh and laugh with her stories and makes me feel as if her characters are my real life friends. I think reading an Erin Nicholas romance is one of the best adventures you could go on while reading, so join me in celebrating Erin's latest release, Up by Five, the fifth and final (though, who knows? ;-) book in her Counting on Love series! For the occasion I sat down with Erin and asked her everything I was curious about of the series. Join us, and you could even win some great prizes at the end ;-)

Stella: Hi Erin, welcome back to Ex Libris and congrats on the release of Up by Five, the last novel (or who knows ;-) in your Counting on Love series!! Since this is (maybe) the end of an era, I wanted to ask you a bit about the series and how the characters, books came to be, ok? :-)

Erin: Definitely! I love talking about these books and characters! :D And I got a little wordy here! Sorry :-) Such good questions though!

Stella: Glad you liked them :-) And no problem, I always love learning more about the behind the scenes secrets of books ;-) So first up is: You have penned 5 Bradford novels plus 2 novellas and saying goodbye was so hard you tied your new series to that universe by featuring some of the Bradford characters in cameo roles, was it nice to have the old friends back on scene, or was it hard trying to contain those guys and girls you know so well, didn’t they want to take the scene and “speak more”? 

Erin: It was really so much fun. I told a friend recently, I feel like the Bradford guys are like brothers. I just smile whenever I think of them. So having them show up in the new series was so fun! In the first book, I had to find that balance. Those guys have a way of running away with a scene for sure and I was so used to letting them that I had to work to contain them a bit :-) But it got easier as I got to know the new guys and realized they had a lot of great stuff to say too! Lol!

Stella: Now that you have the Counting on Love series behind you, tell us, how was the beginning: was it a bit rocky, intimidating starting something fresh after spending years and books with the Bradford guys or your idea of tying the two series together actually made the transition easy?

Erin: The idea for the new series came together so quickly and smoothly… and the deadlines were so close together because we wanted to release the books quickly… that I didn’t have a lot of time to worry at first. But oh trust me, when it came time to release each book I had a bit of a panic attack. I knew what I loved about the Bradford series and I knew what readers told me they loved and I didn’t want to copy it, but I wanted the same “flavor”, to give readers what they were expecting and looking for. So yeah, there were some panicky moments on my part with the overall vision. But, honestly, each book and each set of characters in the new series kind of wrote themselves. The books came together relatively painlessly and each one has its own personality I think. 

Stella: Oh they definitely do! :-) 
You have written the story of how the 4 Dixon girls and their brother found love, tell us, do you have a favourite character among them? Either because he/she reminds you of a real life friend/trait/yourself, or just because it was so much fun to write him/her?

Erin: This one’s hard. I relate a lot to all the girls on some level. They all have pieces of me and women I love in them. I had actually anticipated the guys being the core group and not as much time spent on the sisterly thing but that happened organically in the very first book and grew from there. I think it’s really a tribute to all the wonderful, strong, important female relationships I have in my life. I have one sister who I’m very close to and I’m blessed with a big group of wonderful girlfriends. So, I loved writing the girls. And I’m most like Amanda, though there are very big pieces of me in Olivia. But I loved writing Emma and Gabby maybe most, only because they were so fun and got to say and do things I’d like to :D

Stella: LOL, I think anyone who read Emma's story knows what you are speaking of, Emma is certainly a force of nature ;-P 
I know I couldn’t choose (or definitely would have a hard time to choose), but tell us: whose romance/courting made you go all “aww” and soft in the heart? (you can even include an excerpt to give glimpses to readers who maybe haven’t read it yet)

Erin: Definitely can’t pick just one :-) I love the opposites attract feel of Amanda and Ryan’s story, I love the “fight for us” attitude in Isabelle and Shane’s story, had a wonderful time writing the sassy girl and cocky guy who balance each other in Emma and Nate’s story, really loved writing the romantic story in Olivia and Cody’s and had a blast writing about the guy who didn’t want love and the girl who shook up his world in Gabby and Conner’s book. I just think they each had a unique story that really fit the characters and each was fun in its own way.

Maybe because it’s the most recent one, but I did really love watching Conner fall, though. He thought he knew what was best for everyone, especially himself, and he was wrong on almost every count :-)  Ryan falling was fun because he was so laid back and so not believing in loving just one person forever. Shane was so strong and insistent about his feelings for Isabelle. Cody is easily the most romantic. But it might be Nate that made me most melt. Because he’s so tough and so dominant that to see him soften up was really surprising and sweet.

From Best of Three

She looked up at him, unable to keep from grinning. “You got me.”

The look in his eyes was instantly hot and possessive and her mirth died.

He stepped forward. “I hope so. That’s exactly what I want—to have you. All of you.” Instead of reaching for her, he grabbed the blender and handed it to her. “This stuff represents our story. Crazy and unconventional and fun and nothing that I would have ever expected.”

She took the blender and hugged it. “Unexpected. Good word.”

“Falling in love with you wasn’t unexpected, though,” he said.

Her heart tripped. He’d fallen in love. He’d said it with witnesses. “Oh?”

“It took about ten minutes here in Carl-Mart to realize that I wanted to be with you every day for the rest of my life.”

She felt her eyes sting. “Ten minutes? Have you been talking to my brother?”

Nate shook his head. “I’m staunchly avoiding your brother.”

“Oh.” She motioned for him to go on. “You were saying something about not being able to live without me.” She especially liked that part. She wouldn’t mind hearing it again and again. For fifty or sixty years.

He gave her a half grin. “Exactly. And most importantly, that happened here, in Carl-Mart in the midst of blenders and Play-Doh, instead of in the hotel room or the park or your kitchen.”

That was nice. He hadn’t fallen for her in the sexy times. It had been the silly, fun trip to Carl-Mart, of all places. That was very nice. Romantic even.

He turned and picked something else up from the table. He handed her the baby blanket.

Tears threatened and her throat felt tight. “This is beautiful.”

“This is the most unexpected thing of all, obviously,” Nate said. “But the blender came first. I don’t want you to forget that.”

Stella: And now looking back, tell us a secret: whose story was the hardest to write? And why?

Erin: Oh, boy. Maybe Shane and Isabelle’s. There were two unique things in that book: one, a couple that was already together and trying to work through a hard time and stay together and two, a chronic illness that changes a life and their relationship. I had to make it interesting and balance the serious—giving respect to people who really do live with conditions like that—and the funny and sexy. But, interestingly, my editor felt that it was one of my funniest books and readers and friends who have chronic physical conditions have given me lots of great input so hopefully I managed it:-)

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia connected to the writing of the series. Was there a scene/character that did not end up in the final version, a real person inspiring a character, scene, etc.?

Erin: Good question :-) I remember where I was when I came up with the idea. I was sitting in my van outside of my daughter’s play rehearsal waiting to pick her up when it occurred to me that I should do a spin-off. Some reader e-mail and a comment from a beta reader made me think that Conner might be just the guy. He showed up briefly in both Just For Fun and Just A Kiss but was minor enough that I could do almost anything with him as far as his backstory—like give him four sisters :-). One thing that was kind of funny was that my editor had another, unrelated, book on her desk when the Bradford series was wrapping up. She read that book and called to talk about contracting it. I said “I think I have a better idea”. She said, “How it that possible?” lol! But I pitched this idea to her and she said, “let’s go for it.” The thing is, I’m not sure she was absolutely sure it was a good idea. I know she thought that I should try something new and not get too “typecast” or have readers never want to try anything else if it wasn’t related to the Bradfords. But she trusted me and let me do it and it’s been so fun! 

I also had a lot of Conner’s plotted and about three chapters written when I pitched the series to her. She said, “I love it. But I think we should make Conner’s book last… make him suffer through his four sisters falling in love”. It was the best advice she’s ever given me… and she’s given me a lot! :-) My plan had been to make Conner’s first, since he’s the “bridge character” between the two series. But turned out, this was WAY more fun :-)

Stella: I agree, witnessing Conner's tortures (=him watching his sisters hook up and fall in love with his guy friends) was priceless! :-D

Can you tell us what we can expect from you next? And tell us: is it really goodbye this time to both the Bradford and Dixon characters or do you still have plans? 

Erin: Well we are going to take a Bradford-Dixon break at least :-) I have a new series coming out this summer, Sapphire Falls, that is Unrelated to anything Bradford or Dixon :D Getting Out of Hand will be out in June, Getting Worked Up will be out in July and Getting Dirty will be out in August. This is a fun, sexy contemporary series set in the small fictitious town of Sapphire Falls and includes a genius nerd-turned-hot-guy, a playboy millionaire gambler and a cocky country boy. I’m excited for this series! Then in the fall we have a wonderful project planned! It’s the five year anniversary of No Matter What, my first published novel! For that anniversary we are going to rerelease No Matter What with a new cover and THEN develop a series with two more books! Adam’s brother, Tony, will get his love story in What Matters Most in December and Adam’s daughter, Emily, will get her HEA in All That Matters in February 2015. Fun fun stuff to come. And THEN… well, no specific plans and I will admit that there are some characters in the Counting on Love books that are nagging me a bit ;)

Stella: awww *happy sighs* You don't know how happy you made me by listing all these future projects. Now that means I'll have my Erin Nicholas romance fix for the coming months ;-) Once again congrats Erin and can't wait to "see" you next time! :-)

Book #5 in the Counting on Love series

He's in the middle of the last thing he wanted… and the best thing to ever happen.

Ace paramedic Conner Dixon has sworn to never live with another woman after raising his four younger sisters. They have been giving him gray hair since they lost their father fifteen years ago. Now they're all in love and Conner's ready to retire-- from worrying, fixing problems and cleaning up messes.

Of course, when his fellow paramedic, Gabrielle Evans, needs a place to stay after her apartment burns down, Conner can't say no. But it's no problem-- Gabby's just one of the guys.

Gabby's penchant for poker and her ability to overhaul a transmission definitely make her different from Conner's usual women. She also has no interest in getting involved with him. Conner's crazy mix of family and friends is the last thing Gabby needs right now. She has her sights set on medical school in the fall and knows success depends on focus and commitment.

But within forty-eight hours of moving in, Gabby's in the middle of a family crisis that could disprove all her I-don't-need-anyone bluster and Conner's in the middle of the last thing he wanted-a girl and all her stuff, all over his stuff. Still, the more she makes herself at home, the more he thinks that's maybe exactly where her stuff should be. For good.

Warning: Contains a girl who thinks she wants to be just one of the guys, a guy who happily proves why that won't work, and a very good reason to buy cinnamon roll icing-you know, other than for use on cinnamon rolls.

Author Bio:

I've been reading romance since my mom first let me into her book cupboard when I was about fourteen. LaVyrle Spencer, Julie Garwood, Debbie Macomber... they took my 'happily ever after' ideas from animated princesses to real people in the real world.

I've been writing romance almost as long. Many a family car trip was spent with my head bent over a spiral notebook in the back seat. I'll confess that my very first attempts at fiction were fantasy and paranormals, influenced by my father's love of the Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the original Alice in Wonderland. If Harry Potter had been around, I'm sure he would have been on the bedtime story shelf as well.

But it wasn't long until I started writing about true love and that's where I've been ever since.

I'm so thrilled to be able to share these stories with you! I hope that they make you smile, sigh, maybe even choke up a little. Most of all, I hope that they help you believe in magical things like first kisses, the spark of passion, and the power of true love.

Connect with Erin at her website - Twitter - Facebook - Goodreads


There are TWO giveaways!

Blog giveaway

A lucky winner will have their pick of any of Erin's books from her backlist!

To be entered just tell us 

1) if you have read any of Erin's books, if so which one is your favourite book or character?
2) or if you haven't yet tell us which book you'd pick and why?

Giveaway is openw orldwide and ends on 18 April 2014!

Tour wide giveaway

Erin is hosting a tour-wide giveaway of a $25 gift card with Amazon/Barnes & Noble.
To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 15 April 2014!

Good luck!

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