Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Fun - Meet Author Kristen Strassel

How cool would it be to share the same birthday as Steven Tyler and Diana Ross? Our guest today certainly does! I think the stars were in a musical line for her when she created her rock-n-roll stories in the Night Songs Collection and the Spotlight Series. A member of my street team loves her just because they share BonJovi as their all-time favorite band.

Give a special welcome to author Kristen Strassel!

Thanks for joining us today, Kristen. Many know you write New Adult (NA), comtemporary, and paranormal stories. Love those hot vamps and shifters! So tell us a little about your work. 
How long have you been writing? 
I’ve been writing all my life. My writing partner, Julie Hutchings, and I grew up together. I won’t say that I’m old, but there was no internet.  We used to entertain ourselves by passing a notebook back and forth, each adding a couple of paragraphs to a story.  I’d tried to write the book that became Because the Night for years. I even moved to Vegas to do it! But I didn’t know how to write a book yet. I couldn’t get past the first few chapters.

 Fast forward to the summer of 2011 when Julie told me she’d been working on her first book, Running Home. We worked together, and both books are now published.

How many books have you published?
The voices in my head talk a lot. There are four and a half books available in The Night Songs Collection: Seasons in the Sun (novella), Because the Night, Night Moves, We Own the Night, and Silent Night. Secondhand Heart is the first book in my contemporary series, The Spotlight, with The Trouble with Bree (novella) and Too Many Reasons both releasing in the first two months of 2015.  I also have a couple of shifter novellas available: Lion and the Doe and Doe and the Hunter.

Gotta love those voices, they can get pretty demanding at times or throw curves at us.  Now let's get to the dirt of things. How naughty do you get with your writing?  
 Pretty naughty! I think one reviewer recently called one of my scenes “downright dirty.” I’m not sure if she meant it as a compliment, but it made me smile. Even better, the reader never “saw” what she was referring to. While some scenes, like that particular one, do fade to black, the reader does come into the bedroom with my characters. My characters explore some very light fetish type stuff, but most of it is good old fashioned sex.

It sounds like the love and romance in your stories will appeal to a wide range of readers. Tell us about something that stands out more than others. What’s the best thing you’ve ever written—the best line? 
I still enjoy “I’d just had unprotected sex with the world’s most irresponsible vampire.” But a new favorite of mine is in Too Many Reasons, wrapping up a sex scene: Like we’d entered the eye of the storm. That beautiful, peaceful place that we could lay together in the soft breeze and watch the thunder and lightning go off all around us.

Ahhh.... sorry, I was carried away for a moment. Say, if you could have any movie star take on a role as one of your heroes, who would it be? 
I actually have no opinion about this!  I’m totally oblivious when it comes to movie stars. I know, I’m weird.  Even better: I work in the film industry.

Oops, I almost feel off my chair laughing. Don't feel bad, I can never remember names of hotties and their movies. Maybe our brains just don't catalog hotness like some do. 
What are the hardest scenes to write for you?
I struggle with the beginning of every book. I don’t know my characters yet, and I find the place that I start writing isn’t always the beginning of the story.  Once I figure out what the characters are trying to say, things flow much better. If a scene is really a struggle, I consider how much value it actually adds to the story. Everything happens for a reason, right?

I'm a firm believer of that! 
Many authors do a bit of research for character building or story lines. What is the strangest thing you’ve Googled while working on a story?
I’ve googled the color that people turn when they’ve been strangled, a lot of things about witchcraft and freakshows, premature babies, what would cause a person to die from a car accident, weaponry….whoever’s been assigned to watching over my file in the CIA is definitely entertained.

Oh, I'm sure. LOL 
One of our readers just tweeted a question for you. "How close in real life have you gotten to one of your fantasies?"  
I have to plead the fifth on SOME things. LOL I’ve lived a pretty cool life so far. I do makeup for film and television. I’ve had a chance to meet some really cool people and see some really cool things. I’ve never been shy, and I’ve always been ambitious, so if I want something, I go for it.

You go girl!!!  Whoot-whoot!

And finally… anything you would like to share with us, an excerpt, a tidbit, or anything else about yourself?
Let’s see…two things I still want to learn: how to read tarot, and roller derby.

Fun stuff:
Favorite drink:  Coffee. I’m also a fan of wheat beer.
Favorite candy: dark chocolate covered cherries.
Favorite food: Lobster. But I will brake for avocado.
Favorite article of clothing or jewelry:  I love wearing boots, and I also always wear hoop earrings.
Favorite place to read: Laying in the sun. Heaven.
Place you want to visit some day: Iceland and Morocco. 

Thank you so much author Kristen Strassel for joining us today. I have a brand spanking new box of dark chocolate covered cherries here. I say let's put our booted feet up and enjoy a little decadence. 

Please visit Kristen on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Check out her latest books for your weekend reading.
The trouble with Bree is... 
Bree Farrell is ready to turn her life around. A twenty-one-year-old mother of two, she's not sure where to start. She could use a little help, but her string of horrible ex-boyfriends keep setting her back. First step: she's swearing off men forever. Or at least until she gets back on her feet. 

Josh Maxwell got a second chance at life, and now he wants to help kids who are in the same situation he was in. His new job as the coordinator at a preschool for underprivileged kids is the perfect place to do that. 

On paper, the school policy for staff not to get involved with the families of the students makes perfect sense. But when Bree meets the new coordinator of her son's school, she and Josh learn that some rules are made to be broken, no matter what the consequences.

Abby Gauthier is close to getting everything she's worked so hard for. The band she manages, Sinister Riot, has been offered a major record contract. But it comes with a catch: the band must add Eli Jamison, winner of the talent show The Spotlight, to the lineup. 

Devon Sinclair is the singer of Sinister Riot, and he's Abby's best friend. She's in love with him, but fears she'll lose him if she makes the first move. Devon thinks adding Eli to the band is dangerous, and he's right. Eli's interested in more than just making an album. He wants to take control of the band, and he wants to get to know Abby better. A lot better. When tensions between Devon and Eli threaten to destroy Sinister Riot, Abby must act on her true feelings or lose everything she's ever wanted. 

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