Monday, June 2, 2014

Interview with new adult romance author Becky Wicks

Becky Wicks is in the house today, helping me kick of a new month of interviews. She's the author of the new adult romance Before He Was Famous (HotFlush #1). She’s talking about her new book today, as well as giving us some insider details into her writing and her very active life.

Becky will be awarding an e-copy of Before He Was Famous to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop during the tour, and a Grand Prize of an e-copy of Before He Was Famous PLUS a print copy of Latinalicious, Becky's last travel memoir (HarperCollins) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too.

Becky Wicks is a HarperCollins author going indie! Itchy feet has led her to live and work all over the world since leaving England at age 21, including NYC, Sydney, Bali, South America and Dubai. Right now she’s scribbling the second book in the HotFlush series in Bali while slurping numerous coconuts and trying not to spill them on her keyboard.

Welcome, Becky. Please tell us about your current release Before He Was Famous.
Ah, Chloe and Noah. Well, this is a story about best friends becoming lovers, experiencing lust, pain and just plain romance along the way, but there’s an added twist. When Noah wins a TV talent contest he’s thrown head, hot body and guitar first into a crazy world of fame and screaming fans. Chloe, (an ambitious photographer) gets a job quite accidentally as a blogger and comes along for some of the ride, but these two have a secret past they’re not quite ready to face, let alone share with the world.

Things get kind of crazy on the road as they’re forced to face the secrets that have haunted them for four years. There’s someone out to get Chloe, and that’s someone even crazier than the Twitter obsessed pop-star Courtney Lentini, who wants Noah baaaaaaad. There’s his money-oriented manager Denzel, the rest of the band and a million new fans all threatening to come between these two, but in the end, they have to figure out what’s really important in this life, and fight for it.

What inspired you to write this book?
I always thought there was something so sweet and endearing about the whole friends-becoming-lovers thing, but one day I was watching The Voice, or X Factor, I can’t remember which one, and the idea struck me that what if one of them was famous?  You always wonder, watching these shows, how these people deal with the consequences. What goes on behind the scenes? How do their friends and families deal with their resulting fame? What about the guy and girl who thought they were unbreakable suddenly having to face a media frenzy and all the horrible, as well as wonderful things that go hand in hand with being constantly hounded? I wanted to look at it all in a more realistic way, through both their eyes.

With Before He Was Famous, I wanted to make people feel what these two are feeling in the middle of this crazy, destructive storm and perhaps consider that a life in the spotlights isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.

Watching Noah through the window I'm so proud, but weirdly it seems normal somehow, like this was always going to happen. He looks like a star, an actual superstar in front of the mic as he starts picking the strings.
His torso-hugging black shirt is just the right size to showcase his biceps when they flex over the guitar. The label pays for a personal trainer now, because he can't go to the gym without being mobbed. His muscles jut out like rocks and I know a million girls right now would kill to be me; to watch this, or to feel those fingers on their skin instead of on those strings.
Jayde's face flashes into my head momentarily and I feel guilty all over again. The way she looks at me lately, it's like she's willing a jumbo jet to land on my head. Noah doesn't cheat on her though, the way I cheated on Cooper. He doesn't disrespect anyone the way I disrespected my family that night.
Noah starts playing. Denzel starts nodding.
I haven't heard from Cooper in a while. It strikes me pretty often how I don't even miss him. How maybe his 'hangry' ways and disabled parking and permanent vapo-pen puffing were all just signs that it was over; signs I ignored because I was looking for reasons not to leave Boulder and my mom.
I look at Noah now in his fitted dark jeans, his Converse sneakers, the way his stubble and his thick curls make him look even more intense somehow as he works the frets and sings. If I'm honest, maybe I needed a reason not to be here, too, with the voice and the smile and the eyes that still undo me.

People using words like daggers
Only make me sharpen mine
But I'd give up my armor
Show the world a softer side
If you were up there waiting
Storing kisses with the stars
Where the branches of our past
Have built a future that's just ours...

The girls who gasp and shriek when they see him take a lot of getting used to. So do the paps. One asked me if I was his girlfriend and the next thing I knew, there was a photo of me in the New York Post with the header Mystery Brunette Seen Shopping with Noah Lockton. Oh, and the Tweets are just as weird to see: 

@NoahLockton I have your photo in my bedroom. What do you think of me naked? #PlayMe

@NoahLockton i love all of your songz u make me so happy!!!

@Noah Lockton When are you coming to Vegas? I'm saving all my money so you can #PlayMe

The label actually pays for his clothes now, too. We whizzed around Soho in a black car, running into stores, buying stuff he liked the look of and running before people recognized him. Sometimes we managed, sometimes we didn't but I got an entire exclusive blog out of it, which racked up over forty-thousand hits in a day. Marianne and Aaron couldn't believe it.
I suddenly remember my photography mentor waiting downstairs. He wouldn't come up. Said two would be too many. He's probably right.

Close your eyes, I'll be with you
I'm not going anywhere
There's a reason that I love you
And I know how much you're scared
Let other people climb the ladders
in a world of silly things
'Cause we'll be at top
Looking out at better things...

The producer, Mickey, fiddles with a series of sliding knobs to get the sound right. I fix the 50 mil to my camera and busy myself with close ups of his fingers working the buttons, until I catch what Noah's actually singing and the whole thing registers at once like a steam train smacking me in the face.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now I’m working on book two in the HotFlush Series, which is focused on Chloe’s friend Alyssa. She’s a fun character to write as she’s a bit more outgoing and outspoken than Chloe, but she’s got her own share of man troubles to deal with.

At the end of Before He Was Famous we see Alyssa hooking up with someone famous (I won’t ruin it) but this book continues with life through her eyes as she follows this path of fame into a Survivor-type reality TV show called Deserted. Cue lots of fun, hot sex and tension in paradise… but the mysterious Joshua Brenner, who never talks, doesn’t even seem to like her, is the one who really helps reality kick her ass.

It’s a lot of fun to write - I’m having to research a lot into what really goes on behind the scenes of yet another kind of reality TV show - but it kind of makes me want to run away to a deserted island (minus the camera crew!)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
To be honest I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself anything else! Funny how you just know sometimes, what it is you’re supposed to do… or at least what you’re supposed to try to do for a living! My mind is always making up stories. I was really lucky to get a publishing deal with HarperCollins for a series of three travel books when I was 29, which kind of funded several years of running round the globe reporting on random, funny things, but fiction is what I always saw myself doing eventually! It’s harder than non-fic, but a lot more rewarding, I think.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes I write full time… I have to make time for it, which sometimes means 12-15 hours at the computer in one day. I do a lot of freelance travel and lifestyle type stuff for various clients to pay the bills, as well as some social media (which is just as important as writing if you’re self-publishing!) I work pretty long days – but I try to start the day with yoga or pilates when I’m working from Bali, which I find helps chill me out and find my focus. I also love playing guitar and singing, but I’m not sure I’d do that in public…

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmmmm, that’s a tough one. I guess I work hard on my dialogue and on making my characters interact as realistically as possibly with each other, and to the situations thrust upon them. With my non-fiction books, they came out as quite humorous for the most part as I guess I tend to look at the silliness of life more than the seriousness, and some of that has transferred to my characters in fiction. I think our natural instinct is to play and laugh… I try to make people human! Hopefully that comes across but I guess we learn the more we write, what we’re good and bad at. The thing to do, I think, is to keep on writing and see where each story and each character leads you! Sometimes as writers our characters totally surprise us.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Funnily enough – a lollipop lady. I don’t know if that’s a British thing but they’re the ladies who help kids cross the road outside schools. Maybe I thought they held real lollipops? Other than that, I just wanted to write!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’ve also written three travel memoirs about my time in Dubai (Burqalicious), Bali (Balilicious) and South America (Latinalicious) as well as a comedy romance with author Sarah Alderson under the name Lola Salt, called The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft (not Croft). That one should raise a giggle or two... think Bridget Jones if Jackie Collins had written it, perhaps?!

Before He Was Famous is out now!

Social links:
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Thanks, Becky! Your life sounds like one fun-tastic adventure. Happy writing!

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