Monday, September 26, 2016

Interview with contemporary romance author Meg Benjamin

I’m a tour stop today for author Meg Benjamin. She’s talking with me about her new contemporary romance story, Running on Empty.

During her virtual book tour, Meg will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Ramos Family Trilogy is set in San Antonio’s King William District. Her Salt Box trilogy takes place in her new home the Colorado Rockies. She’s also the author of Going Up in Flames, part of the Sapphire Falls Kindle World series. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers.

Welcome, Meg. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Running On Empty is book three in my Salt Box Trilogy. Here’s the blurb:
She’s running her heart out to stay in the same place.

Ronnie Ventura has every reason to distrust Fairstein Productions: she’s had run-ins with their shows before. But Fairstein’s newest reality show offers Ronnie a chance to redeem herself from looking like a blonde bimbo. All she has to do is win a modified triathlon. Simple, right? Except this is Fairstein, and nothing is ever simple with them.

Ronnie’s boss at the Blarney Stone bar and café, owner Ted Saltzman, is a lot less convinced that another Fairstein show is just what Ronnie needs, particularly when he’s head over heels about Ronnie himself.  But she’s determined, and he’s a man in love.

Ted becomes her running coach, which fans their budding romance to a fever. But can Ronnie’s newfound confidence stand up to the usual Fairstein plots? And can Ted find a way to keep his true love in Salt Box if Hollywood tries to steal her away again?

What inspired you to write this book?
I really wanted to end the trilogy by returning to one of the supporting characters in Book 1 (Finding Mr. Right Now), Ronnie Ventura. Ronnie started off as a naïve and slightly exasperating bachelorette on a reality show, but through the course of the trilogy she develops into a much stronger, much more self-confident woman. I wanted to show what she’d learned and how much she’d grown from book 1.

Excerpt from Running on Empty:
Ted watched Ronnie circle the high school track. It was always a bit easier to train here since the track had quarter-mile markers and he could time her more accurately. Saturdays were the only time they could use it, though, until school was out.

They’d switched to two minutes of running followed by a minute of jogging for the warm-up, rather than the one-minute run, two-minute walk that he’d started with. Ronnie’s stride was really developing.

As he’d watched her over the past few weeks, he’d come to a surprising conclusion. Dick was right—Ronnie was a natural athlete. She loved to run, just like she loved to bike and swim.

He was a little embarrassed about how long it had taken him to realize the extent of her abilities. He was willing to bet that he would have wised up a lot sooner if she hadn’t been, well, Ronnie in all her Ronnieness. He wasn’t sure why the idea that a gorgeous woman could also be an athlete seemed so revolutionary. Probably more evidence of his troglodyte side.

Now she was sprinting down the stretch, knees pumping, arms swinging at her sides. She seemed to be enjoying herself, but lately she always seemed to be enjoying herself. The sight of Ronnie running full-out in shorts and T-shirt did predictable things to his libido.

Of course, the sight of Ronnie doing just about anything did predictable things to his libido these days. Even when he caught a glimpse of her bent over her bike, which was about as unsexy as you could get, he still found himself watching her long legs spin the pedals, her blonde hair steaming behind her helmet.

God she was lovely. And God he was a horny, lust-filled idiot around her.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next is a trilogy about a family-owned brewery in Colorado: Brew Romance, Love On Tap, and Ale’s Well That Ends Well. It should be out next year.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote for most of my life, since I was expected to publish a lot while I worked as a college English teacher. But I really wanted to try writing fiction. When I discovered romance and found my local chapter of the Romance Writers of America, I started to feel more confident about what I could do. When I finally got my first acceptance from Samhain Publishing (Venus In Blue Jeans), I began to feel like I’d actually made it.

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?
Since I retired from teaching, I write full time. I have a quota for myself—1,000 to 2,000 words a day. I usually write during the afternoon, but when I’m really under the gun, I write whenever I can. I’m lucky because I consider writing my full-time job and I make time for it before I make time for anything else.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m an insane plotter. I can’t start writing until I’ve at least done a summary of what the plot’s going to be (and I usually do a lot more than that). I may not stick with the summary because characters will frequently take off in directions I hadn’t thought about, but I have to have it. It’s sort of like a security blanket: it keeps me from coming to a stopping point and having no idea what’s going to happen next.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a college professor. I have no idea why, but it always stuck with me. And that’s what I did!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope you all enjoy Running On Empty. It was a real labor of love for me. Originally, it was supposed to be published by Samhain, but after they started having problems, I got the rights back and taught myself how to publish it on my own. I just didn’t want the Salt Box Trilogy to be incomplete!


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?

Unknown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Bea LaRocca said...

Good morning! Happy Monday! Thanks for sharing this excerpt and for offering the Giveaway. Have a great day!

Marcy Meyer said...

This story sounds good. Enjoyed the interview. Thanks for the great giveaway chance too.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good read.

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post, I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing :)

Unknown said...

I enjoyed this review. It was very informative. This book is a must read.