Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Interview with contemporary romance author Hilary Wynne

Contemporary romance author Hilary Wynne is here today. She’s talking about her new novel, Stay and sharing a wonderful excerpt.

Welcome, Hilary. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m originally from sunny Southern California and spent my summers in South Florida. I attended college at FSU and received my Masters in New Mexico. I finally settled in the Washington, DC area. My happy place has always been anywhere near the water.

When I’m not writing, I help run a business with my husband, watch an inordinate amount of sports (my kids play something 365 days a year), indulge my competitive spirit on the tennis court, and spend time with my awesome family and friends.

I am an avid reader, but find my characters feel neglected when I hang out with other author’s characters for too long. When I do read, historical fiction is my favorite genre. I love traveling and experiencing different cultures, places, and times.

Please tell us about your current release.
Stay is my debut novel. It's  contemporary romance set in South Florida. The story is about a couple, Alexa and Julian, who fall in love despite a reluctance on each part to really let go and believe in what they share. They are forced to navigate some intense situations dealing with love, loss, friendships and the rawness of everyday real life. Stay is their journey.

What inspired you to write this book?
I plowed through a ton of romance novels this time last year and saw an opportunity to add something different to the mix. I had never read a story set in Miami which spotlighted the very distinctive and diverse culture that exists there. I lived and worked in this community in my teens and twenties and wanted to bring it to life via a novel.

Excerpt from Stay:
I’m getting off my bar stool when I hear a sexy voice behind me. “Someone needs to stop putting baby in the corner,” Julian says playfully.

I’m glad he can’t see the huge smile plastered on my face. He runs his hand gently down my arm as he walks past me on his way behind the bar. Goosebumps pop up all over my body. He looks down at my glass, sees it’s almost empty, and goes about making me another drink. I’m not sure how he knows what I’m drinking but when I see him mixing a Vodka Cranberry with a splash of Sprite, I know he has been paying attention to what I like.

I flash him a smile. “So now you’ve moved onto old movie quotes, Julian? Did you use up all of your good pickup lines earlier this week?”

“Ouch, Alexa, that hurts. I only use that line on the special ladies. It’s a classic.” He is smiling back at me and I realize how happy I am to see him. I’m also flattered he remembers me. I hate that I’m feeling so insecure, but all of the Internet “research” I have done this week has only confirmed that there is no shortage of women vying for his attention.

“Thank you,” I say as he slides the drink over to me.

Julian leans down and places his forearms on the bar. All of the muscles in his chest and arms bulge out from under a tight khaki-colored t-shirt. He looks so sexy and something tells me he knows it. I’m taking it all in when I notice a small tattoo on his left wrist. It is barely peeking out from under his watch, but I can see it’s in a script font and appears to be a name. I’d love to know what it says, or whose name it says, but I don’t feel comfortable asking. He sees me looking at it but doesn’t offer any explanation. I wonder if it’s the name of a former, or current, love.

As I ponder this, Julian slowly reaches up with one hand and gently runs a finger through one of my curls. “Better,” he says quietly as he twirls it slowly. He doesn’t look away and neither do I.

“Better?” I pick up my drink and take a sip. I need something to cool me down. My whole body starts to overheat when he touches me.

“I prefer your hair this way. Es muy sexy.” He keeps twirling.

Hmm. Okay. This is seriously hot. I love when he speaks to me in Spanish.

“I’d rather take this woman to bed than the one with the ponytail. I can picture you straddling me, your beautiful hair floating across my chest as you make your way slowly down my naked body.”

I’m in the middle of taking another sip of my drink when he says this and his comment makes me choke. Holy shit! What a visual. And so quickly too. We’ve only been talking for a few minutes and he’s already talking about getting naked? Apparently he thinks my “discomfort” is funny and laughs out loud.

“Is something wrong with your drink?” he asks through a sexy smile.

I try to recover by putting my lips seductively on the straw and taking a slow sip. “Mmm, no, it’s perfect.”

He arches his brow at me, intrigued by my not so subtle reply. Hell, I can play this game too. This is fun.

“Good, because I always try to give it the way it’s wanted.”

“I bet you’re very giving, Julian.”

He pauses, narrows his eyes and looks serious for a moment. “You have no idea, Alexa.” I love the way my name rolls of his tongue. He caresses it when he says it.

His eyes are locked on mine and the way he is looking at me is making me squirm in my chair. I think we are both imagining “giving” something to each other. I try and break the tension with some more teasing.

“Do you give this hard of a sell to all the ladies, Julian?”

Julian chuckles and shakes his head slightly. “Alexa, you are the only lady I want to give anything hard to at the moment.”

Well, he’s definitely not shy or sexually repressed.

We are talking pretty quietly but I still look around to see if anybody else heard him. This conversation has taken an X-rated turn. The couple sitting next to us at the bar are totally engrossed in the beginning stages of a hook-up and seem oblivious to anything around them. Nobody else is paying any attention to us either. I look down towards the other end of the bar and catch Luke staring intensely at me. He is shaking his head. I’m not sure if Julian sees him do it, but I don’t want Luke to come down to where we are. His presence last time caused Julian to walk away and I don’t want that happening again. I nod and smile at Luke and give him a little wave to say, I’ve got this. He scowls at me but doesn’t come closer. I turn my focus back to Julian and take another sip.

“Okay, Julian, I’ll play this game with you.”

“I assure you, coraz√≥n, this isn’t a game.”

“Really? You’re not just trying to see how much you can shock me?”

That makes him smile. “Well, unless you have a really good poker face I haven’t shocked you very much yet.”

The truth is that I do have a pretty good poker face. I am a little shocked by how “descriptively” he talks to me. I have never met a man who is more overtly sexual. It just oozes through his pores. He is incredibly sexy and confident without being creepy. No doubt he has been perfecting his craft over the years.

I’m doing my best to play it cool because I like how he is talking to me and I don’t want him to stop. But, I also don’t want him to think I’m “that girl”; the one who makes a habit of picking up men in bars. I don’t want him to think I’m a prude either. I tell myself to get a grip. I can’t believe I am so concerned with what a guy I don’t even really know, thinks about me. How did this happen? I try to play it all off and give him a fake, shy little smile.

“Oh, I’m a little shocked...and kind of scandalized.”

“Only a little?” Julian shakes his head. “I guess I need to up my game.”

His comment makes me laugh. If he ups his game I’m in serious trouble.

I look down at my drink for a moment and swirl my straw. When I look up, Julian is staring so intently at me that it sends shivers through my body. “I thought this wasn’t a game.”

Julian has been leaning up against the bar the whole time we have been talking. He straightens up and takes a step backward. I can feel my eyes widen. Wow. It is impossible to miss the erection straining through his jeans. I can’t help but stare. I bring my straw up to my lips to take a sip. I’m suddenly feeling very hot all over again.

With a tone that is serious rather than cocky he asks, “Still look like I’m playing?” Oh my God. He is shameless.

I continue to look at his crotch and shake my head, “Nope, looks like the real deal to me.”

“Oh, Alexa, It’s very real. Let me know if you need any more proof.”

I’m seriously so flustered right now that I don’t know what to say. So, I do the only thing a respectable girl can do in a situation like this. I thank him for my drink and turn to walk away. I can feel his eyes on my body and I hear the laughter under his breath. Damn. Round two definitely goes to Julian in a knockout.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I just finished Hold On, the second novel in the Alexa Reed Series. Hopefully it's out in early spring! There is at least one more book for sure in this series so that's up next. I've been asked quite a few times lately if I'd think about writing from different character's POVs or just their back stories. I'm considering that as well. I am thrilled that readers are wanting to really get to know these characters.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still struggle with that. When someone refers to the author I look around to see who they're talking about. I guess publishing two books and blogging qualifies me, but it's still a little surreal.

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 don't think I write full time but my family might disagree. I run a business and am a mom to very busy kids so my days are pretty full.  I usually get up early to write and then stay up late writing. I have the dark circles under my eyes to prove it. It's all worth it though and when I'm not writing everything feels a little off.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I listen to music when I write. It helps me concentrate, which everyone finds strange. It also sets the tone for my writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have a book titled "My Book About Me." When I was five I wrote I wanted to be a veterinarian.  I can't remember ever having that dream, but I do remember always loving to write.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you... This is an incredible journey I'm on and it truly wouldn't be the same without all of the support I'm getting. I'm being allowed to follow a dream and it's amazing.

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Thanks for stopping by today, Hilary!

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