Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Interview with romance author Christina Elliott

Romance author Christina Elliott joins me today to chat about her new romantic suspense novel, In the Heat of the Tropics.

During her virtual book tour, Christina will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card 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!

Christina Elliott is a former Miami newspaper reporter and editor. She now writes spicy romantic suspense novels from Los Angeles, where she’s glad to report there are far fewer bad-hair days but sadly far less Cuban coffee. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

Welcome, Christina. Please share a little bit about your current release.
It’s a sexy romantic suspense set in a sweltering Miami summer, when a serial killer has returned to haunt the city. Ambitious Tribune reporter Ingrid Sorenson is assigned to cover the story and her primary source is brusque homicide detective Rick Gonzalez. The pair spar as Ingrid wants more details for her big story, while Rick seeks to keep her at bay. Their clashes, however, also ignite sparks of passion. Breaking all professional rules, they risk their careers to give in to mutual desire. But as tension ratchets up over the murderer’s increasing body count, renewed mistrust of each other’s motives wedges them apart. Is Ingrid using Rick to gain bigger headlines? Is Rick carrying out a long-held grudge against journalists? As a raging tropical storm breaks, Ingrid gets a tip that leads her straight to the crazed killer’s lair. She and Rick must choose between putting their careers first or their blossoming love.

What inspired you to write this book?
I love both gritty crime fiction and romances so to me romantic suspense is a great genre that combines both elements. Miami is also a sexy setting, and having lived there, I wanted to write about the city, especially its heat, which becomes an overwhelming presence in the summer. I was a newspaper reporter in Miami so that was my obvious lead character, Ingrid, and knowing that reporters often clash with cops over big stories, that formed the basis for the romantic and mystery plot.

Excerpt from In the Heat of the Tropics:
She arrived before the police had erected a tent around the victim, and even standing at the mouth of the alley, she could see the silhouette of a man reclining at an odd angle in the driver’s seat of a minivan.
A man murdered in his car. Just like the John Killings. Could the John Killer have returned to mark the year anniversary of his last murder? She tried to control her excitement. If it was the serial killer, this would be a huge story. And she just happened to be working that night.
Then that detective had shown up, wrenching her incredibly good luck to incredibly bad inside two minutes. She still didn’t even know the guy’s name. But maybe he wouldn’t be working the case. Maybe he was just on duty and got the callout, and maybe it wouldn’t matter if he was on the case. Her primary contact at the P.D. was media relations. Still, it was a bad break. Developing a personal relationship with detectives was the way to scoops. She didn’t need him possibly poisoning other cops against her.
            The coroner’s tech was photographing the body and the car. Detective Asshole was standing with folded arms, watching. Every now and then, he turned in her direction—checking on her. With her initial excitement fading to disillusion, a wave of tiredness overcame her. She wiped her forehead with her forearm. The air had cooled at this time of night, but it was still muggy. She trudged back to her car, posted a two-sentence brief online about a suspicious death in an alley north of downtown from her phone and headed home.
            As she raced down the normally traffic-choked U.S. 1, she recalled that whole embarrassing video incident. As Mel had predicted, she’d been hauled into Marlena’s office the next day to give her side of the story. Thankfully, Marlena had concluded that it wasn’t Ingrid’s fault. Why would an undercover operative be so reckless as to show up at a media conference? Still, Ingrid had been nervous that it would be held against her when she applied for the police beat, but it hadn’t. Neither did it seem to matter to Major Montoya when Ingrid had gone to the station to introduce herself as the new Star reporter. The only person who held the grudge was the detective, although he seemed to have landed pretty well if he was investigating homicides.
Despite being an asshole, he was cute, hot actually. But being an arrogant jerk seemed to be the required personality trait of good-looking men, as if they knew handsome guys were in short supply and acted accordingly. Still, Ingrid wondered whether something could’ve developed between them if the video thing hadn’t happened.
She had felt a frisson of … what exactly, attraction? … in that look they’d shared, and he must’ve rushed to get to the door before she left the press conference for a reason. She stopped herself. What-ifs were nothing but a trap of despair. They didn’t bear thinking about.
She pulled into the driveway, tires crunching over the carpet of red berries fallen from the palm trees in her front yard. She was due back at work in a few hours for her regular day shift. She’d get some sleep and head back to follow up the homicide. If she could break the story that the John Killer had returned, and stay ahead on the story after that, maybe she could nab a promotion to a coveted slot on the investigative team. Then she’d never have to worry about running into Detective Asshole again.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Another romantic suspense, titled Angel’s Lust. It’s set in Los Angeles, where I now live, and it’s another sexy setting. It’s the home of Hollywood, of course, but it’s also the epicenter of the adult entertainment industry. I found this pretty interesting, so the latter forms the backdrop for Angel’s Lust. The love story is between two homicide detectives competing to solve the suspicious death of an executive that is linked to the adult entertainment industry. The case deepens into sex trafficking and an unsolved murder. I’m hoping to get this to my publisher early next year, “hoping” being the definitive word!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Interesting question. Really after my first novel was published, I decided I could call myself a “writer.” Before that, I felt it was too pretentious of me to consider myself a “writer.” But really, I’ve been a writer pretty much my whole life. I was a journalist for many years and thus I was a writer, although I didn’t think of myself as that. If anyone is actively writing, you have my permission to call yourself a “writer”!

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 write fulltime, but I do different kinds of writing as my livelihood. I work as a freelance public relations writer, writing speeches, press releases, op-eds for corporate clients and agencies, and I also edit book manuscripts, dissertations etc. I’m busy on and off, which I like as it allows me time to work on my passion-writing fiction. When I’m novel-writing, morning is my best writing time. I use the afternoons to do marketing, promotion, emails and so on.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a bunch of different notebooks on my desk. One is for jotting down interesting metaphors, character or place names, ideas. Another is my daily to-do lists etc. Another is my work in progress book-outline, notes, questions I have to resolve. Still another is the notebook I take to writing conferences, seminars and so on. Then I have notes in computer folders, bits of paper etc. Somehow it works!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I really did want to be a writer. I was a voracious bookworm, so I wanted to write the books I adored reading. In high school, I discovered journalism so even though I was shy, I knew that was a career that would allow me to write. I wrote short fiction on and off through the years but about 12 years ago I decided to fulfill my childhood dream of writing a novel.

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Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Christina said...

Thanks for having me on your blog today, Lisa! Happy Holidays!

Bernie Wallace said...

Who is your favorite author currently writing books? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Victoria Alexander said...

I love the cover, thanks for sharing :)

Christina said...

Victoria - I'll be sure to pass on your compliment to the cover designer! I thought it turned out great, too!

Christina said...

Hi Bernie - I love Megan Abbott, she writes crime fiction that really explores character, and she's a great writer, a very literary style. How about you? Favorite author? Who's on your 2018 reading list?

Karen H said...

Finally...I'm caught up with this tour. So far, I've enjoyed reading about this author and her books. This one sounds really good.