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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Guest Author Interview: Crista McHugh

Alexis: Hi Crista. Welcome to Happily Ever After Thoughts.  Thank you so much for coming.  Your latest release is actually part of a series. Can you tell us a little bit about this uniquely named Kavanaugh Foundation series?
Crista: The Kavanaugh Foundation is a secret organization of witches, vampire hunters, demon hunters, and the like that stand between us and the things that go bump in the night. There are only two rules for the members: 1) Never let the outside world know the Foundation’s true purpose, and 2) Never let someone compromise your duty. As the series goes on, I plan on revealing more about the Foundation’s origins.  
Alexis:  Sounds mysterious J How does your latest release KISS OF TEMPTATION fit into this series?
Crista: This is the third book in the series. The series doesn’t have to be read in order, but each story reveals a new facet of the Foundation and Morwen, the Head Witch.
Alexis: I love reading books in order, especially when I can get all three right away ;-).Where did you get the idea for this story?
Crista:  I actually got the idea from a documentary on the Mt. Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD. Archeologists discovered charred marks on the bones of some of the victims in Herculaneum and hypothesized that they were basically vaporized. This, in turn, made me come up with an idea for a vampire who was terrified of being burned by the sunlight because he’d been caught in the eruption in a past life.
Alexis: Ah, great back story for a character. What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?
Crista: I ended up doing more research on Ancient Rome and Pompeii to get a feel for this character’s background. I also researched landmarks of Rome, Paris and Copenhagen. And, thanks to another plot bunny from an episode of Ghost Hunter’s International, I researched a castle in the Czech Republic that reportedly has a gateway to Hell. I do admit to taking liberties with the train schedule from Rome to Paris, though.
Alexis: I don’t think anyone will mind too much about the train schedules.  I doubt that will be our focus when reading your fascinating story J What inspired you to write paranormal and fantasy romance?
Crista: I don’t deal with “normal” very well. My mind likes to ask “What if?” too much, and I’m a HUGE geek. I used to play D&D, after all. But I’m dipping my toes in historicals as well, but my heart remains in a world of magic and mayhem.
Alexis: Dungeons and Dragons? Really? Dragons certainly haven’t disappeared. I think they are on the rise in romance and as for dungeons, plenty of those to be found in both paranormals and historicals so I’d say your inner geek is doing well J Do you have any other romance novels in progress that we can look forward to?
Crista: I’m working on sequels to both Kiss of Temptation and my Steampunk Western, The Alchemy of Desire. I have a historical coming out in February from Carina Press, and I have a SciFi assassin novel that’s out on submission at the moment.
Alexis: Wow, you have those writing fingers in all types of romance.  How awesome for your readers! What do you like most about being a romance author?
Crista: The happy endings, of course. I love bringing two different people together, having them overcome extreme obstacles and fall in love with each other in the process.
Alexis: And that’s why we read romance!  Thank you so much for visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts. We enjoy talking about romance novels here and learning about the exciting authors who write them J
Crista: Thank you so much for having me!
Alexis: Check out the excerpt below and be sure to comment for a chance to win the $10 electronic gift certificate and one of Crista's books! To learn more about Crista go to 
“Where are you taking me?” Would causing a scene with a spell be safer than going along with this stranger?

He stared straight ahead as he pushed deeper into the throngs of people that glutted the sidewalk. “Away from them.”

“And why should I think you’re better than them?”

That made him pause. He stopped and turned to face her.

Her gut wrenched. Mio Dio, a man shouldn’t be that gorgeous. Ebony black hair framed a face with a strong jaw and a slightly crooked nose—his only flaw as far as she could tell. But his eyes took her breath away. They were such a deep blue, they almost matched his hair.

He looked her over from head to toe and sucked in a deep breath. His mouth fell open, and for a few heartbeats, they just stared at each other. Then his jaw tightened. “I’m the least of your worries.”

As if on cue, a woman’s scream pierced the night. Daniela spun around. The crowd parted like the wake of a speedboat, but it moved way too fast for normal humans. Her throat closed up. The vampires.

The stranger yanked her out of her daze and pushed her against the window of a crowded café. Gorgeous or not, she was getting tired of the Neanderthal treatment. She was about to give him a piece of her mind when his lips crushed against hers, cutting off her words and nearly making her swoon. At first she resisted, but he continued to kiss her, slowly wearing down her defenses. By the time his tongue brushed against the seam of her mouth, she eagerly opened it to him.

She couldn’t remember the last time a man had kissed her this way. So strong. So domineering. So possessive it made her toes curl. A flush spread from her face all the way to the pit of her stomach, and her sex ached. Although she barely knew him, she already wanted to forgo this sexual foreplay and head straight to the bedroom. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she began kissing back with a ferocity that surprised her.

Perhaps it surprised him too. A muffled gasp worked its way out of his throat. He pressed his body against hers. For a would-be rescuer, he acted like he wanted to screw her right here in the middle of the street. One hand grabbed her buttocks, lifting her so he could grind against her. The other worked its way between them and cupped one of her breasts.

Her head reeled with each delightful twist of his tongue, and she slipped further and further into her lust-filled trance. He could be working with the vampires for all she knew, but at this point, she almost didn’t care.

She froze and opened her eyes. Her mission. She needed to find the Staff of Octavius before Colette, not waste time playing tonsil hockey with a stranger. And as much as she wanted to continue, her duty to the Foundation came first.

He must have sensed her unfortunate jolt of reality, because he ended the kiss by gently sucking on her bottom lip. “I think they’re gone now.”

 Alexis: Don't forget to comment for a chance to win :-)


  1. What an awesome post, loved it. Would love to be able to read the whole book. Thanks Crista for the giveaway, that's very kind of you to do that.

    Have a safe, happy and peaceful Memorial Day holiday.


  2. Donna Marie Del GrossoMay 29, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Your book sounds exciting and so interesting! Pompeii, vampires and vaporizing? Wow! It makes me want to run out and get the other two!
    Good Luck!

  3. I love that you are not tying yourself to only one genre. THe Kavanaugh series sounds like a fantastic read and I am definitely adding these to my TBR pile.


  4. Diane, thank you! I'm glad you liked the excerpt, and I don't mind doing a small give-away because even if the winner doesn't use it to buy my books, they'll use to support writers in general. :-)

    Donna, thank you, too! Every story is a little different. The first book featured a werewolf ranch outside of Las Vegas, and the second book features a chase through the subway tunnels in Manhattan.

    Rechelle, thank you, as well. I love that I'm not limited to one genre, but rather, can write whatever story comes in my head. :-)

    For anyone curious about the series, there's a free read on my website that takes place between books 1 and 3. Also, if anyone would like a set of my Romance Trading Cards, please email me at crista (at) cristamchugh (dot) com, and I'll drop you a set in the mail. :-)

  5. Great interview Crista! And your books sound FABU!

    It's great to see another multi-genre person out there :)

  6. Whoa-I LOVE the backstory Crista! I've been awestruck by the history of Mt. Vesuvius since a kid and I actually got to see it in real life back in 1983 when I traveled to Italy. What a great premise. LOVE the excerpt too, what great storytelling!

  7. Fun interview. :-) I love it when an incident from the past sparks a story idea. Speaking of things Czech, I'm fascinated by the Sedlec Ossuary (Church of Bones).

  8. Maria, thank you! I like dabbling with multiple genres to keep me from getting into a rut.

    Marianne, I loved looking at Pompeii when I was in Italy 12 years ago - I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to show her. It's fascinating. And thank you!

    Pamela, thank you for stopping by. I was thinking about using the Sedlac Ossuary in a future story (thank you, Rick Steves, for "showing" me that place since I've never been there). The Czech Castle I used in my story was Hrad Houska.

  9. I'm glad I didn't miss this interview!
    Crista, I can't imagine not loving your series with the type of research you did. With that kind of aura around the stories, I know I will feel like I'm with the characters and that's the best thing about reading!