Robin is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Washington Romance Writers, a faculty member at Romance University, a member of the Waterworld Mermaids, and a contributor to the Happy Ever After blog at USA Today.
A Night of Southern Comfort, her best-selling debut novel earned 4.5 stars and was touted by RT Book Reviews as bringing a “fresh, modern feel to the genre while still sticking to the things that get our adrenaline pumping — sex and danger”. When she’s not exploring the theme of fooling around and falling in love, she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, and stalking Joe Mangianello.
Robin lives in Maryland with her hilarious husband, brilliant children, and ginormous puppy.
Thank you for joining us here at Scribbler’s today, Robin.
What would you most like your reader’s to know about you?
That I am a reader first. I love romance. I love the angst, and the sex, and tears, and the laughs and I adore a happy ending. I write romance because I love it and I want to give others the escape that it gives to me.
Oh…and I don’t like my food to touch. Very important fact to know about me. ; )
Tell us a bit about your newest release; His Southern Temptation?
This story is one of the sexiest, funniest and most-heartbreaking books I’ve written. Lucky Landon is back in Elliott VA to settle down and lead a quiet life and get away from the death and darkness he had in the military. He’s proud of his service but what he had to do isn’t an easy burden to carry. But, he still has hope and he believes in love and he wants all of that with Taylor Elliott, the little sister of his best friend.
He’s willing to risk everything to have her and convince her to take a chance on the two of them. She’s been hurt and doesn’t believe in love but he’s determined to change her mind.
Taylor is a modern woman we can all relate to. She’s strong and she’s been hurt and she’s afraid to put herself out there. She struggles with the eternal question of whether you really can have it all.
When you wrote A Night of Southern Comfort did you plan this first story as a series or were you in your mind simply writing a stand alone story?
I saw it as a full blown series in my head. All four books and all four men were clear as day in my mind’s eye. So, while I wrote it knowing it was supposed to be the first in a series, I made sure it could stand alone —since I didn’t know if anyone would ever buy the other three.
Are your Southern comfort boys a composite of men you know or completely from your imagination?
I grew up in a small Southern town in VA and these guys are composites of my family and friends that I knew growing up and still know. I did change the names and events to protect the guilty and make sure I could still go home for Christmas!
What is your secret to seamlessly weaving such scorching curl your toes sex scenes with such a good old fashioned page turning suspense story?
I have no idea. I LOVE writing sex scenes. They are my favorite thing to bring the character development along as the story develops. People always show more than they think when they make love and that is the best time to show them grow and change.
The suspense stuff is really secondary to the love story but I love to set my characters against a little intrigue. As Lucky says, “Nothing gets the libido going like a little gunfire” and I think he’s right.
Do you figure out deep backstory for each of your characters before beginning or invent on the fly as your write?
I work from classic archetypes when I develop the characters and I know them pretty well when I start writing. Things do evolve as I write the book, but I always know two things when I start:
- What is the one thing they absolutely don’t want to do to reach their goal
- What is the one thing they would do anything to keep the love interest from finding out.
If I know these two things, then I’m golden.
When brainstorming story idea, do you begin with character or plot?
I start with the first line of the book and then I develop character and plot in tandem. Now the first line might not always stay the first line or it might not stay in at all, but I get that line in my head and I keep asking question until I figure out who, what, where and why.
In HST, the first line when I wrote the book ended being the first line of the second chapter when it was all said and done. “You never forgot the sound a round chambered in a gun three feet from your head.”
I started asking myself – who is holding the gun? Why? What kind of person is so familiar with he sound of a bullet chambered in a gun?
And it went from there . . .
Do you have a minor character you’ve written into one of your stories that you would like to turn into a protagonist for a future book?
Yes, I have two characters in my upcoming Brazen release, Playing the Part, June 10, 2013). Lincoln St. John-the rockstar best friend of the hero- will get his own story next year and in the same book, the heroine has a best friend, Chris, who I would love to write his story. That would be a complete change for me because Chris is a gay man but I think I’ll take the plunge and give him his Happy Ever After.
How about an excerpt from His Southern Temptation
If William Teague Elliott IV knew his baby sister was working the pole at the Jolly Gent he would castrate Lucky and enjoy doing it.
Lucky knew this, just like he knew someone was running drugs out of the back room, that he was drinking substandard watered-down whiskey, and he was going to hell for thinking that Taylor’s tiny g-string bikini was the sexiest damn thing he’d ever seen.
Adjusting to accommodate the hardening in his jeans, he leaned back in his chair, stretching out muscles sore from the past few weeks of unaccustomed farm work. The life of a Marine wasn’t one of a desk jockey, but making a living out of the land was entirely different. His father made Lucky’s former drill sergeant look like a sweet, little kindergarten teacher.
“Whoo hoo! Shake it Bambi!” A guy up front yelled out Taylor’s ridiculous stage name and shook his overly large gut and matching ass. The guy was harmless, not even trying to offer her a tip, so Lucky eased back in his chair. He shifted the brim of his ball cap down a little lower in an effort to hide the movement of his eyes as he switched between watching Taylor, the bar where they were serving underage patrons, and numerous pervs drooling over the dancers. Didn’t anyone watch porn in the privacy of their own homes anymore?
Where do you get your ideas your stories?
Everywhere. I listen the radio – music and stalk radio – I read other books, the newspaper. I eavesdrop on people’s conversations at the grocery store. I will hear a snippet of something and just have to spin it out.
Do you have a particular daily writing schedule or process you stick to?
I write something everyday – my minimum is 5 pages- and I’m usually very disciplined to get it done. Writing is a muscle and I need to exercise it everyday or I get lazy. Well, I am lazy and I have to fight it everyday.
I write in my office. It is the last 11 feet of my huge closet (8 feet by 22 feet) and I have it decorated and comfortably decorated. I sometimes write in the morning before work but usually at night when everything is winding down.
How do you balance the need for self promotion vs your writing time?
It is very difficult. I love to write but publishing is a business and I have to feed that machine. But, the bottom line is that if I haven’t put down my 5 pages at least, then I haven’t worked today and if I don’t work, I don’t have anything to promote.
How did you connect with your agent/editor?
I do not have an agent at present – stay tuned. My editor and I usually talk at least once by email every day or couple of days. We talk on the phone when we are brainstorming or actively editing a book. My editor, Alethea, is amazing and I love her. We “get” each other and I covet her input and guidance. We also brainstorm together and that has led to a couple of contracted books. I could not do it without her.
Do you have a favorite book?
No. Too many to count as my favorites. I’m a reader and my keeper shelf is overflowing. Now, if I could only take one author on a deserted island, I would take Shannon McKenna’s books. Hot, sizzling, suspenseful and the best alpha males ever.
Her book, Extreme Danger, is probably the best book ever written.
Shannon McKenna is my idol. But, I have others that I study and wish that I could be them when I grow up: Jo Davis, Hank Edwards, Harper Fox, Jill Shalvis, Josh Lanyon . . . . I could go on and on.
If you could sit down to dinner with any of your favorite fictional character/s who would it be?
From my books? Lucky Landon. He makes me laugh all the time.
From another author? Adrien English from Josh Lanyons series named after the same character. He’s a bookseller and smart and I think he would be an amazing conversationalist.
What’s your next project?
I’m currently writing the final book in the “The Boys” series. It’s Beck’s book and he is so much fun. Next, I try something completely different – a paranormal. It’s going to be epic.
When you do an interview like this what is the one writing process question you hope not be asked?
Anything having to do with a muse. I don’t have one and don’t believe in it. This is a job and I need to get my butt in the chair and write – something I love to do. If I waited for the muse to hit me, I’d always find something else to do because writing is hard. The most fun ever—but hard.
What is the strangest characteristic about yourself? (that you are willing to share?)
I do not like to linger over a meal. I eat and then I want to go. For someone who is very social and loves to talk, I’m anxious as hell to get away from the table and the remnants of a meal.
Thank you for joining us today at Scribbler’s, Robin
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