Today we are interviewing Contemporary Romance Writer Laura Breck. She is giving away a copy of DANCING IN A HURRICANE.
Alexis: Hi Laura, thank you for coming back to visit Happily Ever After Thoughts. Can you start by telling us why you set your romances in big cities?
Laura: Hello, Alexis! Thanks for having me here today. I love your blog, and I'm excited to chat with you and your readers.
Big cities have always fascinated me. I live in a little-big city, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and I love the variety of businesses and people here. A big-big city like Miami is even more exciting. The cultural variety, the nightlife, the beach! I enjoy traveling, and exploring cities always gives me inspiration for writing.
Alexis: Well, your trip to Miami was a great inspiration because I absolutely loved this book! Why don't you tell our readers what DANCING IN A HURRICANE is about.
Laura: I'd love to. Bree Prentis is from a relatively small town near Seattle, Washington. She's been estranged from her identical twin sister for five years because of a life-altering prank her sister played on her. When her sister is accidentally killed, Bree inherits everything from her: a beautiful home in Miami, an extremely lucrative, but mysterious business, and a sexy Cuban-American housemate and business partner, Sixto Doria.
Sixto is drawn to Bree's honest, wholesome personality, but he's hiding a secret from her. He knows the amoral, semi-legal secret behind the business they own. His reasons for keeping it from her are justifiable, but the guilt of his dishonesty puts an emotional wall between Bree and Sixto.
Alexis: This is a great set-up and your subplot strains their relationship as well. Where did you get the idea for this story?
Laura: I dream up my story plots. Literally. I woke one morning with the idea for the book. Everything from Bree and Sixto's first encounter to the secondary characters, Marisa and Rico who have their own story, to the darkest moment when all four characters' stories converge.
Alexis: Wow, you have a great muse! What are your favorite character traits of Bree and Sixto?
Laura: I enjoyed writing Bree's sheltered, conservative background. The culture shock she experiences in Miami was much like what I felt the first time I traveled to Florida. Sixto's dedication to his family is his strong quality. He would, and does, do anything to protect them.
Alexis: I know you write fast. Can you share with us what your writing process is like?
Laura: I do write fast on my first draft. I throw it down and clean it up later. My first draft flows quickly onto the page, then in the second and third revisions, I add details and flair. I usually plot the story very heavily, and write from that, but lately I've found myself 'pantsing' - writing by the seat of my pants. It's been working well so far!
Alexis: I understand pansting as that is what I do as well, but it makes for lots of revisions for me, (sigh). What can we expect next from you? Do you have any new releases coming or a work in progress?
Laura: I have a shorter story coming out soon (200 pages compared to DANCING IN A HURRICANE's 400 pages.) It takes place right here in Minnesota. I wanted to write a book about the most beautiful place on earth (in my humble opinion), the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on the Minnesota/Canada border.
It's remote wilderness camping where you head into the lake-dotted forest in a canoe, carrying everything you need on your back. The perfect setting for an ex-military hero, a city-girl heroine, sabotage, and romance!
I'm currently writing the sequel to DANCING IN A HURRICANE. WADING INTO A RIPTIDE is where I tell the stories of four characters introduced in Dancing: Élian, Cara, James, and Dayami. I'm having a blast writing it!
Alexis: Excellent! That means we have a lot to look forward to from you. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us. It's a pleasure having you visit.
Laura: Thank you for the great interview questions, Alexis. I'd love to hear from your readers. Do you enjoy a book about a big city? A small town? A remote wilderness? What's your favorite setting and why?
Alexis: For a chance to win Laura's DANCING IN A HURRICANE, be sure to leave a comment for her. If I have contact information, I will let you know when you win, otherwise, check the side column for your name on Wednesday under WINNERS :-)
For more information on Laura's books, go to http://laurabreck.com/
Alexis: Check out this excerpt from DANCING IN A HURRICANE.
Two hours later, Bree had gotten in an hour nap and was almost finished with her yoga workout.
At a knock on her door, she called, "Come in," from the down dog position.
He laughed. "All I can see is your butt."
"Because it's so big?"
He shook his head. "You're not okay with that, are you."
"Sixto, I'm fine with my body. It's not what defines me."
She looked at him from between her feet. "I'm an enigma."
He sat on her bed and watched her movement. "Does that hurt?"
"Being an enigma?"
He laughed. "No, yoga."
"Mmm. At first, then it feels good." She knelt and sat back on her heels. "Want to try?"
He scratched his cheek. "Not with you watching. But to prove that I'm open to trying new things, I'll borrow your DVD. Someday."
"That's the sweetest thing you've said to me all day."
He stood, but she put out her hand. "A couple more minutes?"
She balanced the top of her head on the yoga mat, put her hands on the back of her head, elbows down to make a triangle, and slowly lifted her legs in the air.
He walked over to her, standing in front of her. "Cariña, this is a view of you I've never seen.
She toed him in the chest. "Don't bother me while I'm opening my blood vessels."
He ran his hands down her calves. "Sexy blood vessels."
She giggled. "You have hair on your legs."
He glanced down at her face. "You're just noticing?"
A vision of him in his swim trunks crossed her mind. "But you don't have any hair on your chest?"
He stepped back and sat on the bed. "Weird, isn't it?" A teasing smile quirked his lips.
"Do you shave?"
"Yup. For photo shoots, I shave my chest and trim my leg and arm hair."
She lowered her legs and lay on her side, feeling the blood circulating through her body. "Does it bother you?"
His eyebrows drew together. "Not until now. Does it bother you?"
She sat up and crossed her legs, pretzel style. "Not at all." Leaning forward, she touched her forehead on the mat. "I shave my legs every day. Does that bother you?"
"Uh uh." He cleared his throat. "But that's what women do, shave their legs."
She sat up and looked at him. Did he think she found him less masculine because he shaved? She stood and walked slowly toward him, swaying her hips. "I like your chest smooth." Stopping in front of him, she stood with her knees between his. "But I'd love to see it with hair sometime." She put her hands on his t-shirt over his chest and rubbed circles.
He grabbed her and pulled her down on top of him.
"Cariña, I'll stop shaving. For you." He ran his hands up her back under her shirt. "No bra?"
She grinned her naughtiest smile. "Nope."
"Kiss me, Bree."
She touched her lips to his, slowly kissed him, enjoying the building tension. His body vibrated, but he didn't grab or overpower. He let her lead.
She ran her tongue along his lower lip. "Mmm. You taste good." He opened his mouth and she deepened the kiss, touching his tongue with hers. When she shifted, her nipples rubbed his chest and they both moaned.
Lifting her head, she looked into his eyes. "Too much?"
His voice choked. "Yeah."
She slid off him, avoiding his hard member and sat next to him. "Sorry. I know better."
She smiled. "You bring out the naughty in me."
He grinned and sat up, put his arm around her shoulders. "It's going to get worse." He kissed her neck then bit her shoulder.
A shiver of delight scuttled through her. "I know." She ran one finger down his clavicle to his stomach. "Help me be good."
He grabbed her finger, brought it to his mouth, and kissed it. "Do you realize, Bree, that your lips say no, but your body says yes?"
She narrowed her eyes. "What does that mean?"
"There's a term for a woman who wants to make love, but always says no."
"You're calling me a tease?" She grinned. She was never accused of that before. It was kind of exciting to have that much power over a man.
He stood. "You're gloating, but it's not much fun on this side of it."
"I…" She stood. "It's been difficult for me too, Sixto. You have to understand that while you have no doubts, I'm conflicted."
"Ha." He shook his head. "No doubts? Hell, woman, I'm second guessing everything I do when it comes to you." He backed up a step. "This is all new to me. I've never felt this way about anyone before."
She closed her eyes for a second, the sweet emotion of his disclosure made her chest ache. She reached for him, put her hands on his arms. "It's the same for me, Sixto."
Alexis: For a chance to win this great story, be sure to leave a comment for Laura :-)