Paula is a fellow member of my writers' group, Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, and it's my very great pleasure to welcome her here today.
1 - Tell us a little bit about DESIRE BY DESIGN's journey from idea to published novel.
I have two 'writer me's' -- the one who likes writing single title, dark paranormal romance and fantasy, and the one who likes creating short and sweet quirky romances. And always, I'm about the characters. Eve Doucette in DESIRE BY DESIGN spoke to me, and this was the story she wanted. She told me she was insecure working in a man's world because she felt overlooked and belittled. She's partly right and mostly wrong.
When I took her to my editor and said I'd like to write something a little different from demons, my editor was supportive. I love Entangled Publishing for that reason. They didn't try to pigeon-hole me, but let me experiment.
2 - Is it a standalone single title, or is it part of a series?
Right now DESIRE BY DESIGN is a standalone contemporary category romance, and part of Entangled Publishing's Bliss imprint, so it's 'sweet'.
Eve has three hot brothers and the potential for a series is there, but the door was left open in case my editor and I decide to go in a different direction. One of the brothers is currently tugging on my shirttail, demanding I listen.
3 - Hmm...that sounds promising for us readers. (Keep tugging, brother!)
One reviewer said, "This book was hilarious! Fans of Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgans will love this book. It is filled with a multitude of 'I Love Lucy' moments," while another said, "I laughed, I swooned, I laughed some more and smiled those little happy smiles at all the lovely heartwarming moments." As an author whose previous releases have been darker paranormal stories, what drew you to explore humorous contemporary romance?
I needed a break!
Whether serious paranormal romance or a sweet, funny category, my stories are all very character driven. I spend a lot of time inside their heads. You'd be amazed at how stressful it can be to view the world through the eyes of a demon/mortal hybrid.
4 - You know I can relate to that, Paula!
If you name three romantic comedy movies that hit the same tone as DESIRE BY DESIGN, what would they be?
This is a tough one for me. I'm more of an epic fantasy or comic book movie fan.
Me, too. I'd be at a loss to answer this one myself!
Lord of the Rings, for example, or anyone you could put a costume on. Since the local video store closed down I'm stuck with Netflix options or what's in the theatre, and I live in a house full of guys. (So it's a good thing our tastes are similar.)
But I loved How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, and Knight and Day, and they're somewhat similar in tone. A bit slapstick but still romantic. DESIRE BY DESIGN doesn't have any car chases, though.
5 - LOL! Are there aspects of Eve Doucette to which you can relate?
Eve may be a little more extreme, but I certainly see areas where we may have some similarities. Insecurity is the biggest, and probably Eve's unfortunate tendency to say the first thing that comes into her head. My sister refers to that as 'lacking a filter'. Guilty.
6 - How about Matt Brison? (I've personally discovered that all of my male protagonists share more of my personality than my female characters.)
I can only *wish* I shared characteristics with Matt. Sigh. I'm not that reasonable. Ask anyone.
7 - Do you find yourself focusing on the romantic storyline and the humor aspects separately, or is humor simply a part of your contemporary voice?
Humor is definitely a part of my contemporary voice. It's really a part of my voice, period. But because I'm so character driven, the overall tone is generated by the characters and their situations. In my paranormals, moral and ethical problems arose from the worldbuilding that really didn't lend themselves to a lot of humor. It would have taken away from the message my characters were trying to send. I don't have to worry much about worldbuilding in short contemporaries, so there's more freedom in the tone for my voice to shine through.
8 - Can you see yourself writing a more serious contemporary romance any time in the future?
No. My contemporaries are my mental escape.
I can definitely see how you would like to switch gears.
I really like escapism, which is why I like writing paranormals and fantasy. Take me away from reality. Please. :-)
9 - Would a more humorous paranormal storyline have any attraction for you?
Funny you should ask.
(Woo hoo! A scoop!)
I have one in the works. But as a single title paranormal, it won't be laughs from one end to the other. It's going to have its dramatic moments. I love this particular one (okay, I love them all...) but again, it's the story that my characters demanded I tell.
10 - From any genre of romance, who are your favorite sigh-worthy hero and your most inspirational heroine?
I love Kenny Karmody in OUT OF CONTROL from Suzanne Brockman's Troubleshooters series.
I mean, I seriously love him.
I read his story three times, lent the book to someone, and now I have to go hunt it down so I can read it again.
And for a heroine, Ayla from CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR. Hands down. Talk about resilient. Now I want to read those books again, too.
11 - LOL!
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12 - DESIRE BY DESIGN is currently sitting at 4.5 stars on Amazon.com from 21 reviewers, and at 4.29 stars on Goodreads from 34 ratings.
13 - Here's a short excerpt:
She lifted her coffee cup to her unsteady lips and concentrated on business. She couldn't resist poking him a little, just to see if he'd laugh. She could use one herself.
"You don't have any ideas of your own, do you?" she said.
He slumped deeper into the sofa and clasped his fingers behind his head, his gaze stroking her from head to toe. A lick of heat leaped into his eyes. "I've got plenty of ideas."
She focused on her coffee and tried not to take his words too seriously. Matt was a rich, handsome man, famous in his field, and flirting came naturally to him. It had nothing to do with her.
"Why don't you just come right out and tell Bob that this project isn't your style and be done with it?" she suggested. "Then you wouldn't have to worry about new ideas."
"I don't know," Matt said slowly, smoothing his chin with the pad of his thumb. he had a nice chin, strong and solid--it went well with the rest of him. The navy running gear showed off a far different frame than the one she'd expected based on his business suits. "It's been a long time since I've had ideas like this," he added. "They might be well worth exploring."
Eve took a long, flustered swig of coffee and choked on it, burning the inside of her nose.
- Paula Altenburg, 2013
Thanks for dropping by, Paula!
Thanks for having me. This was fun!