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In 2004, Sofia Harper began her writing career as a romantic suspense author. A bit problematic because she couldn't write anything mystery-like to save her life or even her characters. On a whim, she penned a contemporary where there was no dead body or explosions to save her from the dreadful middle slumps of a book. It was only the characters and what they had to deal with. She hasn't looked back since. She continues to write contemporary romances, mainly under a different pen, filled with sassy heroines and unlikely heroes. These stories are filled with one-liners, but heartfelt and sexy.
Outside of writing, Harper works as a mail clerk for the federal government, has a paralegal certificate (that she has more use for as a dust pan) and is a mother of two rambunctious children. She lives in California where the wine is good and, despite popular belief, is not always sunny. Harper plans to spend the rest of her days writing, raising her children and drinking good wine. Occasionally she'll brush her hair and get dressed, but that's optional.
Welcome, Sofia. Please tell us about your current release, Hot Knight in Paradise.
Leah Smith is stranded and dependent on Marshall Jackson. Not a problem except he owns a dive in the Caribbean, is the grumpiest Good Samaritan ever and hot to boot. Did I mention she was robbed of everything? No. Well, she was. So, she's going to live and work with him until she has enough money to go back home.
Hijinks and romance ensue.
What inspired you to write this book?
There were many things and they sort of all bleed together. What folks probably haven't heard is that I had a long break from writing with the intent to publish. So I decided to write something out of my comfort zone and which I'd failed at previously—Harlequin-like novel. I had a spreadsheet and everything. There was a marriage of convenience idea (I so love those), a friends-to-lovers, but then I got blind-sided with the TV show Life and a discussion on AAR about rape culture. Now how that led me to stranding someone on an island. I don't know. My mind makes connections I don't fully understand, but I trust them because they haven't steered me wrong.
Excerpt from Hot Knight in Paradise:
“I find it hard to believe a man like you would consider bartending his calling.” She gave him a dubious look. “And I’m feeling like a margarita. Got some limes?”
“Of course.” He opened the compartment where he kept the salt. Using some of the tequila, he lined the lip of the glass.
“How’d you know I wanted salt?”
“If you want lime, you want salt.” He took his time making the drink. “You’d be amazed how listening can change the world.”
He cut the lime in quarters, placing one on the rim, the rest in another cup. “Now I didn’t say you didn’t get something out of what you do. I said it’s probably not your calling.”
The weight of his past darkened his tone and he leaned against the bar for support. “You can save someone’s life by what you say.”
She sipped her drink and then sucked on the lime. Her breath whooshed out. “You make a damn good margarita.”
“Thanks.” He nursed his bourbon as he tried to beat back the memories, but then her hand was on his face, bringing him back to the now.
“Hey, where’d you go? We’re debating.”
“Political analyst,” he said.
“I’m not that cynical about mankind,” she said.
Her tongue flicked out, licking at the salt from the corner of her mouth. His mind blanked. When his brain came back online he could only wonder if the tartness of lime would complement her taste. She must have noticed the expression, because her gaze went to his mouth.
Her tongue lashed out again. “It doesn’t make me uncomfortable when you look at my mouth with an I-want-to-bite-you expression,” she said quietly. “Though I want to say my eyes are up here, but—”
She bit her lip, and his gaze followed the action. He wished she’d look away, make a joke…anything to break the moment, but his heart rammed against his ribcage.
“I’m insane,” she murmured.
Marshall frowned, finally tearing his gaze from her mouth. Leah pushed their drinks aside and leaned over the bar, and then her mouth was on his, and he couldn’t think. His lips parted automatically, and she was there, supping on the taste of him. Leah’s tongue explored urgently, as if they’d been kissing for eons, and he matched her rhythm.
“Wait,” Marshall said, pulling back, which was probably the dumbest thing he’d ever done in his life.
He knew if she had enough time to consider what the hell they were doing, she’d end it and run. He took advantage of her moment of confusion and untied the scarf holding back the soft curls.
“There,” he sighed.
This time, he claimed her mouth. The kiss lost its urgency, and still the taste of her seared his tongue. He had the time to nip and lick, noting the softness of her lips and how the lime only made her taste better. He couldn’t be anywhere but in that moment. He tightened the hold in her hair, forcing Leah still and allowing him to deepen the kiss. He made illicit promises with his teeth and tongue until she moaned in his mouth, and it took everything in him not to have her there on the counter.
With the little room he allowed, she pulled back. “Wait.”
He loosened the hold on her hair. Leah climbed the counter, knocking over the stool in the process. Once settled in front of him, she fisted her hands on his shirt and yanked him forward. Forgetting honor, he pressed against her, felt the heat between her thighs along his erection. Keeping a hand in the curly strands, he exposed her neck. He sucked softly at first and then hard on the flesh between her neck and collarbone. Her legs tightened around his waist, binding him to the heat. Trailing kisses up to her ear, he bit the lobe. She gasped.
“Do you want me to stop?” he whispered.
“Yes,” she moaned.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I usually have a gazillion projects going on at one time. Mainly stories that need some sort of revisions. Since I can only work on one first draft at a time, I'm currently working on a con man book. Two reformed cons. Leverage style-heist. I stopped before sexy scene. Needless to say, I'm having so much fun writing it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I received my first rejection letter. Not even going to lie, I kind of cheered. Mind you, this first one had personal comments, which are rare to get for a newbie. I'd written for a little over a year by then. My poor CP had kicked me every which way about everything. I say poor CP because that first book was craptastic. But it wasn't until then that I felt legitimate.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work part-time as a mail clerk, which is so exciting, right? My writing schedule is weird to say the least. When I'm on a writing binge I'm up late at night. When the writing is much more placid and normal, I get my words done during the day while my kids are at school. But even when I was busy working full-time, full-time student and single mom, I stole my writing time. I made it a priority for at least an hour. If you don't make it important to you, no one else will.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
It's definitely the night owl aspect. I really can sit down for a full eight hours during the day and maybe get a page or three down. Once night time hits I can do ten easily. My mother tells me I've always been this way. Nine or ten o'clock at night I'd get a second wind. (Or maybe my first.)
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a doctor. It involves being good at science and math. I figured it was best for my future and imagined patients that I pursue other avenues.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I'm itching for good books. I finished all the books that interested me. They were all contemporaries. I'm in need of a good historical romance fix. Recommendations?
Ways to connect:
Thanks, Sofia. Readers, don't forget to comment for a chance to win a gift card! And to give Sofia some historical romance reading recommendations.